Play for today

AT 82 years old, Sir Ian McKellen is to become the oldest professional actor to play Hamlet. Writer Ian Pattison (the chap who brought you Rab C. Nesbitt) met the actor many times when he lived in London, always in Kensington. Their conversations were invariably cordial, succinct and professional, and usually went like this:

McKellen: A bottle of Gordon's Gin please, and six Schweppes tonics.

Pattison: Certainly.

McKellen: Could you put it on my account please?

Pattison: Certainly.

McKellen: Thank you. Goodbye.

Pattison: Thank you. Goodbye.

Pattison adds: “I once made the mistake of asking him if he'd like a bag. He answered in blank verse. It took a long time. I looked like Yorick by the time he'd finished.”

(Most of the above is true, we should add. Though as the vignette makes clear, Ian Pattison hadn’t quite completed the aspiring bit of the aspiring writer gig.)

Food for thought

BOARDGAME aficionado Roger McEvoy claims there will never be an edible version of Scrabble. “If there is,” he adds, “I'll eat my words.”


DAVID Cameron’s recent conduct has called into question the activities of former politicians, though erstwhile Glasgow Labour MP Tom Harris has always been one of the decent chaps… until this week, when he picked his boys up from school.

“I stopped off at Greggs to buy them a wee snack,” explains Tom, “then returned to what I thought was my car, and was surprised that it was locked. Naturally I tried harder to open the door before realising that my car was actually parked just behind this one, whose owner was, thankfully, unaware of my activities.”

Tom was mortified. And his boys? Devilishly delighted by father’s faux pas.

Flight of fancy

RETIRED pilot Doug Maughan recalls arriving at Heathrow, resplendent in his BA captain’s uniform, and walking past a crowd of passengers off a flight from Glasgow. A young lad shouted excitedly: “Dad, look, it’s a pirate!”

“Ah, if only,” sighs Doug. “They have better hats.”

Virtual victuals

FINALISTS have been announced for the Scottish Virtual Restaurant Awards, to be held (virtually) on May 12. Is there a virtual cash prize, we wonder, to be spent on virtual food and booze, before suffering the inevitable virtual morning-after hangover?

Gno big deal

IT was recently revealed that there’s a garden gnome shortage in the UK. “I’m not upset,” shrugs David Donaldson, who despises the ornaments. “Does that make me gnomophobic?”

Beddy-bye Bezos

CURIOUS reader Neil Byrne asks: “Before Jeff Bezos goes to bed does he put his pajamazon?”