Am I wrong or is Bryan Ferry looking more and more like Rikki Fulton, the older he gets?
I learned long ago to avoid commenting on US politics on this blog. However I would like to know my good friend Pat Wright’s view on the new situation and on the fact that regardless of that outcome, every on-line bookmaker listed on Oddschecker still had Hillary Clinton as a very short-priced favourite to win the next Presidential election.
I’m interested, Pat, that’s all.
I have just driven to Haddington and back, and arrived home wearing my Mr Grumpy hat. Isn’t it time that farmers were obliged to clear up, on pain of a financial penalty, the crap, mud, etc that their vehicles leave on the public highway?
In Time – REM. To get me in the mood for going to the dentist, and also because it contains a wonderful version of ‘Star Me Kitten’, with vocals by W S Burroughs.
Lowlight of my day: I’m going to the dentist in an hour.
And so farewell Mr Acker Bilk. I go back to the Trad Jazz days of the Sixties, when all the top bands played the old St Andrews Halls in Glasgow. Acker was the only one I didn’t see live, but there were plenty of tales of him in the surrounding pubs. As a young man I once tried to match the scrumpy record that he set in a pub called the Avalon. Big, big mistake.
For a few weeks I’ve been avoiding Scottish football results. As a Motherwell fan the last decade has been unsettling; the club has been well run on a shoestring, having learned the lesson of the administration experience, and we’ve had a succession of excellent managers. On a couple of occasions we’ve even been the best of the rest, winners of the unofficial championship that ignores the Old Firm teams. That’s not what we’re used to, not we supporters who begin every season with a prayer for survival.
Nothing lasts for ever; there was always going to be a blip. The last couple of months have been luckless, and the club is back in what used to be its customary position, holding up the league. However I doubt that there were many fans who didn’t have faith in Stuart McCall to turn things around.
Sadly Stuart didn’t share that faith for he resigned over the weekend. He’ll be missed, and he’ll be a hard act for any successor to follow. Who will that successor be? Time will tell, but whoever takes the job won’t be in it for the money. David Moyes? Maybe not.
Stacey Kent – Close your Eyes. In preparation for hearing her sing live, next Sunday in the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh.
To everyone I met on my signing tour yesterday, thank you for being there. And many thanks also to GM for arranging everything, for the constant tweeting and doing the driving.
PS Good luck to Robert Topping, a true bookseller, and to his family. I look forward to meeting up again, next time I’m in St Andrews.
My good friend Jackson is going to love this one.
I’ve just opened a letter in today’s mail. it’s from the Leader of the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Ms Ruth Davidson, inviting me to a drinks reception in Edinburgh on Tuesday, November 11, so that she can thank me in person for my support during the Referendum campaign.
I’ve suspected in the past that Ruth might be from another planet. Now I know for sure.
Thank you, my dear, but I won’t be attending.
Two Men with the Blues – Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis . . . . . and it’s Live!
This morning I read one of the great sporting quotes, by a boxer named Chuck Wepner, after he lost to Muhammad Ali in a fight that was said to have inspired the Rocky movies. This is what he said:
“The day of the Ali fight I bought my wife a powder blue negligee and told her ‘wear this tonight, ’cause you’ll be sleepin’ with the heavyweight champion of the world’. That night, when I got back to the room, she said: ‘Do I go to his room or will he be coming to mine?'”.
Is that the end of Scott and Bailey, after only four seasons of the ITV flagship cop show? It looked that way last night, with one of the three lead characters retiring, another applying for a new job, the third seemingly bound for stardom in the force, and Rachel’s sket of a mother killed off.
If that is how it plays out, the producers have probably timed it right, for a concept that is overtly sexist, and an affront to health education, cannot go on for ever, however entertaining it might be.
The worst thing its makers could do would be to bow to the critics and continue the show with a male actor as the third lead player. It was what it was, and it was brilliant, but its time is up.
After looking up Loretta Lynn, I checked out Jimmy Scott, to discover that he died last June aged 88, unremarked upon by the British media, most of whom had never heard of him, I’ll wager. Their loss, for he was a true great. If you don’t believe me, check out the catalogue he left behind him, from his younger days with Lionel Hampton right up to the recordings he made in his seventies. There will never be another.
To all the girls: WIllie Nelson.(It was a gift, okay.) The old guy duetting with 18 very high class ladies, including his daughter Paula, and Loretta Lynn, who’s even older than him. In her dotage, she sounds remarkably like Jimmy Scott.
If the bookies are right, and as we all know they usually are in a two-horse race, the Scottish Labour Party is about to choose a leader who is not a member of the Scottish Parliament.
We are being told also that Gordon Brown, who styled himself as the saviour of the Union towards the end of the referendum campaign, doesn’t want the job. Both offer clear evidence of Labour’s ambivalence towards Holyrood and its lack of commitment to the notorious ‘Vow’, to which its UK leader was a signatory.
I’ve been reading the headlines about Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, being careless in his use of words about immigration, and being compelled by Downing Street to back-track.
I have some knowledge of Mr Fallon, albeit from 30 years ago, when I spent quite a lot of time with him. He is a very smart guy, and unless he has changed he is a man who knows exactly what he is saying, and is aware of its effects. He knew he would generate headlines, and in the process, raise his own profile with the right of his party, the people who will choose its next leader, possibly within the next twelve months.
As for Downing Street ‘slapping him down’, that was a sham. A few million Tory voters are on Fallon’s side, and Dave knows it.
I had a fine time last night at a dinner hosted by Ian Rankin and Mark Greenaway, in the latter’s multi-rosetted restaurant at 69 North Castle Street, Edinburgh. The intimate event was the precursor to a much larger project, ‘The Big Dinner’, the brainchild of the wonderful Olivia Giles, CEO of the charity ‘500 Miles’, which supplies artificial limbs and other prosthetics to amputees in Zambia and Malawi.
‘The Big Dinner’ will take place on March 7, when thousands of people will sit down to eat at venues all around the country, with the goal of raising at least £500,000, to get people back on their feet. To be part of this unique and exciting evening, follow this link:
Last night was part of the preparation for the project. Its purpose will become clear as the promotion of ‘The Big Dinner’ is rolled out over the next few months. All I’ll say for now is that there were five writers round the table, the other guests being that formidably talented trio, Lin Anderson, Hardeep Singh Kohli, and Sara Sheridan, all of us being filmed and interviewed as we enjoyed the work of the real star of the evening, Chef Mark.
For example, this is his Chicken and Potato Pressé,
complemented by beetroot meringue, pickled heritage plums, goats cheese parfait and bread tuille.
If you’d like to try it, this is where you’ll find it and the rest of his unique and imaginative Scottish menu:
There was much interesting conversation: (the best of it wasn’t recorded). My only regret is that I was driving, for I know a good wine by its nose.
Note the date again: March 7, 2015.