F in trouble

WE recently discovered that crime writer Ian Rankin doesn’t know who the killer is when he starts a novel, only figuring it out after he has progressed deep into the narrative. Which has us wondering whether other famous authors have improvised without forward planning. Reader Caroline Davis suggests the following scene may have taken place moments after F. Scott Fitzgerald completed his most renowned work…

Fitzgerald is slumped over his writing desk, mumbling to himself: “Now what shall I call the book? Let’s see… The Average Gatsby? The Halfway Decent Gatsby?”

He shakes his head dismissively. “No. None of those will shift any copies.”

He thinks some more, then suddenly claps his hands in delight: “Eureka! I’ve got it! The Not At All Bad Gatsby!”

Frosty reception

STROLLING round Sainsbury’s, reader Freddy Brown spotted mince pies for sale. “The Christmas selling spree has started, and it’s not even Halloween yet,” says Freddy, who adds: “I suppose Christmas has to arrive early nowadays. We have to get the excitement over and done with before the next three-month lockdown is announced, and all the winter festivities are put on freeze yet again.”

Astral weekly shop

WE recently published a photograph of a van spotted in the Highlands which had the name Van Heilan written on the side, thus combining, for perhaps the first time, gnarly heavy metal music and pretty Scottish scenery.

Reader David Donaldson suggests a similar sort of vehicle should be named Van Morrison, and it could be put to good use delivering messages from a popular supermarket chain.


RADIO Clyde DJ George Bowie has revealed the most annoying thing about his partner. Her inability to clean her car. “There's still Happy Meal boxes in there from 2007,” shudders George.


WITH a regretful sigh, reader Yvonne Burke informs us: “I was forced to fire myself from cleaning my house. I didn’t like my attitude and I got caught drinking on the job.”

Mammoth task

WITH scientists claiming they can bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction, the Diary is devising uses that modern society can make of the fuzzy, lumbering creatures. “If we breed them in Scotland, we could put one in goal for the national footy team,” suggests reader Alex Campbell. “They’re not especially limber and have limited tactical awareness. But since they’re about six times the size of the goal, none of that should matter.”

Hirsute-able cost

BARGAIN hunter Gary Mitchell tells us: “I bought a wig for a pound. It was a small price toupee.”

Read more: When Ian Rankin doesn't have a clue