Northern (high)lights

THE Diary has always been exceedingly smug about its lofty perch in the media tree, for surely there is no scribbler, scrivener or scrawler on a toilet wall who is more popular than this column?

At least that’s what we used to believe. However, with this week’s live-streaming launch in the West of North Korea’s national TV channel, we’re no longer quite so cocky.

For North Korean telly has got the lot. Military folk goosestepping. Military folk saluting. Military folk dancing the cha-cha-cha on the local version of Strictly Come Dancing.

Okay, we made that last one up, but you get the idea.

Perhaps it’s a tad grim for some tastes, though it’s nowhere near as existentially bleak as a half hour episode of River City.

So will the Diary be able to compete with this new kid on the block?

Of course.

With the help of a few brass thumbscrews and a branding iron, we’ve managed to persuade our regular contributors to up their game and supply us with stories that are the very model of perfection.

Stories every bit as impressive as the following classic yarns from our archive.

Courting disaster

A HERALD reader once suggested on the Letters Pages that Scottish courts should sit in the evening, but Sheriff J.P. Murphy, told us: “Of course this has been tried. A pilot scheme in Dumbarton some years ago was not a success.

“The public did not turn up. Among the explanations for non-appearance were, ‘I would have missed Coronation Street,’ and ‘I was afraid I’d get mugged at the bus stop.’”

Telly visionary

WE recall Clydebank comedian Kevin Bridges' reaction when the BBC announced he’d be starring in his own television series.

Said Kevin: “It’ll be great to see something on national TV made from Scotland that doesn’t have an appeal for witnesses before the closing credits.”

Belly laughs

A READER once told us that his mother always used to say: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

He then added: “She was a lovely woman. Terrible surgeon, though.”

Button it

ONE of our readers took an elderly relative to Crosshouse Hospital, Kilmarnock, where the doctor taking notes asked for her next-of-kin’s telephone number.

“That will be my daughter,” she replied.

“And the phone number?” asked the doctor.

“Button one,” she told him.

Cop that

IN the ‘Harry the Polis’ series of true tales about the Glasgow constabulary, author Harry Morris wrote of the ned from Govanhill who called Gorbals police office and said: “I just saw a poor old woman fall over on the ice today, right outside the chippie. At least I think she was poor. She only had £1.20 in her purse.”