There’s an old joke about how to tell the difference between a good lawyer and bad one. The bad one lets your case drag on for years, the good one makes it last even longer. But, honest, some of my best friends are lawyers and I even have one in the family. They are pretty widely reviled, however, if not quite at the same level as estate agents, politicians and journalists.

Just recently I’ve discovered two firms of fake lawyers, allegedly based at the prestigious Edinburgh New Town address of 16 Charlotte Square. There is at least one bona fide law firm at the address, Dickson Minto, but as far as I can discover the address is also some kind of correspondence letterbox, with more than 150 companies allegedly headquartered there.

Divine Grace Solicitors LLP claims to operate from Charlotte Square, specialising in business law, according to its convincing website. There are even photographs of its two principals, Alvin Brock and Ursula Isaac. However neither the company nor the two “solicitors” are registered with the Law Society, either in Scotland or England. The telephone number is, predictably, now unobtainable. So, beware, it’s a scam.

The Law Society of Scotland is investigating the firm and advised anyone contacted by someone purporting to be from the firm not to engage with them.

Then there is Bansal & Co LLP, another fake at the same address. There is an English-registered company called Bansal & Co – no LLP – and the principal is Ram Tirath Bansal who is a bona fide English lawyer. His address on the Southall Broadway in London – between Royal Sweets and the Moti Mahal restaurant, he helpfully points out – is the one also given for the fake company alongside the Edinburgh location. The website for the fake operation has now disappeared.

“I don’t know who did this,” an effusive Bansal told me when I contacted him. “But it’s nothing to do with me. Somebody forged it and added LLP. I have now reported it to the police and to trading standards.”

Filofax files

Ploughing through a cupboard which hasn’t been cleared since before decimalisation I came across my old Filofax which, for those who don’t know, was a posing fetishist’s organiser in the analogue age, packed with a lot of paper and sundry inessentials. It was at least 30 years old. In one of the pockets were faded newspaper scraps of reviews of my first novel. Kate Clanchy, who managed to spell both my names wrong, probably got it right when she said that although it was well written it left a nasty taste in the mouth. Martha Gellhorn was kinder, so she probably didn’t actually read it.

But, flicking through addresses, it roused many ghosts. The late Joe Beltrami is there – “Get me Beltrami,” was the (alleged) criminal’s first call, now it’s Findlay. I wonder, is Denis Law still at the same address and number? Vanessa Redgrave? Jeffrey Archer? But here’s a name which hasn’t dropped in years, well since he dropped, actually. Pastor Jack Glass, a man so rabidly anti-Catholic even Ian Paisley called him an extremist.

Jack lived in Ruthven Street in Glasgow’s west end. He was against everything, from the Pope, obviously, to Billy Connolly (who, in response, paraded outside Glass’s church with a banner saying “Jack is a wee pastor”) to Marilyn Manson. He was probably also against vertical sex, which obviously leads to dancing.

When a rumour went round that the Pope was going to visit Iona Abbey, Jack materialised there one lunch time, grabbed the pulpit, denounced the clerics as “the lickspittle of the anti-Christ” then disappeared to catch the ferry back to Oban. Ah, yesteryear.

Glass founded his own church in Glasgow, the Zion Sovereign Grace Baptist, when a vision came to him after a day-and-a-half of praying and fasting (chemicals are quicker and easier) which is still going to this day in Govanhill. There’s even a picture of Jack at the head of its Facebook page.

Glass was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1993, which he described as “a personal attack by Satan”. When it seemed his treatment was successful, he proclaimed: “I think the devil suffered a tremendous defeat. I’ve lived to see the devil run away. I’m like Lazarus, who rose from the grave. Jack Glass is not dead yet.” Within a twelvemonth he was. One up to Satan.

Angels evicted

In their time, Hells Angels have busted many a head and reached a pretty impressive level of infamy across the world. But now they’ve been given their marching orders. Their clubhouse, at 77 East Third Street in New York, became angel-less at the end of last month, turfed out for redevelopment after 50 years by the Whitestone Realty Group. Timid gawkers watched as the bearded and tattooed bikers loaded their gear, their Harley-Davidson hogs and probably industrial quantities of drugs into a giant moving van.

The six-storey building, with its Doric columns, was also their apartment building where, according to a 1994 New York Times report, “countless decibel-cranking parties, LSD-laced misadventures, drug deal, orgies and random acts of violence against passers-by took place”. The building also featured a plaque on the front: “IN MEMORY OF BIG VINNY 1948-1979.” Vincent Girolamo allegedly pushed his girlfriend to her death from the roof of the building and was killed by another Angel before he could stand trial.

The Angels have now relocated to a former Baptist church on Long Island, which seems fitting.

Animal behaviour

ARCH-Brexiteer Mark Francois has barely been off our screens recently, but this week his interventions were pure poetry.

At a meeting of the aged faithful during the week, for some inexplicable reason he read all of probably the world’s worst poem, Tennyson’s Ulysses.

Much better would have been William Topaz McGonagall’s ode to the poet, and at 48 lines shorter too:

Alas! England now mourns for her poet that’s gone –

The late and the good Lord Tennyson.

I hope his soul has fled to heaven above,

Where there is everlasting joy and love.

Francois also said if Brexit didn’t happen there would be disruption to the EU “by perfidious Albion on speed”, surely a promise of treachery fuelled by a class A drug.

To be fair, perhaps this over-heated rhetoric was simply down to a massive sugar rush. Francois loves his sweeties. Until the system was reformed, MPs were allowed to claim a food allowance of up to £400 a month without receipts. He, however, was scrupulous in recording his sugary snacks, including Mars bars, KitKats, wine gums, Twiglets, Jaffa Cakes, chocolate biscuits, Pringles, crisps and “bags of sweets”. The Tory MP for Rayleigh also claimed for Haagen Dazs ice cream, lemon sorbet, choc ices, crisps, Bournville and Trebor Mints – oh, and Peperami 5 packs. He was probably sold on the slogan, “It’s a bit of an animal”.