Some of them may be dinosaurs who may be living in the wrong century, but the members of The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers own the Muirfield course and have the right to determine how it is used and by whom. 

As it happened 64% of those proprietors  voted in favour of admitting women to membership of their club. Most people would see that as a significant step forward, but they tend not to be the people who take to the social airwaves, for fear of being pilloried by the politically correct.

The tail wagging the dog isn’t a sustainable situation in the long term. I suspect that it won’t be long before the matter is revisited, maybe with a little gentle persuasion by the R&A, which really doesn’t want to lose the course as an Open venue.

Categories: General, Politics, Sport


I’ve just seen a TV ad for coins commemorating the Queen’s 90th, by an operation calling itself Windsor Mint. 

Sounded official, but I looked it up to be sure. It’s German.

Not inappropriate, I suppose.

Categories: General

Music while I laze

Corinne Bailey Rae – The heart speaks in whispers. If you can only buy one album this month …….

Categories: General


May 17, 2016 1 comment

Well, did Dany stick it to those sleazy Khals or did she not?

Categories: General

Public investigations

Private Investigations has been released. It is out there, officially, and selling like churros, as they say in Spain.

I’ve just completed a short series of events, curtailed so I can start on the next Skinner. As always, when I do these things, I find myself being moved, in the most surprising and unexpected ways. By George Rattray, who went to great lengths to get to the West End yesterday and arrived bearing gift: by the lady in WHS who made me feel famous: by Dr Johann Dvorak, from Vienna, who just happened to be passing: by the guy with the motor cycle helmet, who bought a book for his mum, then tore straight off to the Royal Infirmary to delivere it; and by the impeccably mannered little girl in the pink dress who approached me at the signing table and asked, very politely, if I had any books by Michael Morpurgo. (I didn’t but I knew a man who had.)

To all of them and to all of you, thanks, yet again.

Categories: General

Music while I work

Run — George Strait. Thank you, Wallace, for making me a serious country listener.

Categories: General

Still going strong

Excellent event in the Eric Liddell Centre last night, courtesy of Marie and the rejuvenated Edinburgh Bookshop. Thanks to her and Cat for spreading the word about Private Investigations and for giving the Capital’s readers a choice.

Independent book shops are really important; they know their own customers and they cater for their tastes, rather than being tied to pushing what head office, hundreds of miles away, dictates.

Categories: General

Listen out

By the way, Private Investigations is also published today in downloadable audio format, on

Categories: General

Deck of cards

So it’s Trump 10, Republican Party 0.

I wonder what my friend the Senator thinks of that.

Categories: General, Politics


May 5, 2016: official publication date of Private Investigations, the 26 Skinner novel. A huge thanks to everyone at Headline for their skill and commitment in getting it out there, and to everyone in the book trade for making it available to you.

We’ll be celebrating at 7pm this evening at an event hosted by the Edinburgh Bookshop in the Eric Liddell Centre, 15 Morningside Road. 

Look for me also on Saturday at WHS in the Gyle, midday, and AtkinsonPryce in Biggar, then on Sunday at Waterstones West End at 1pm and at Costco Loanhead at 3pm.

Categories: General


‘The greatest story ever told,’ that’s what Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler declared, as the final whistle went last night at Stamford Bridge, and Leicester City became Premier League Champions.

Stand aside, Jesus.

Categories: Sport

Way, Jose

Categories: Videos


April 29, 2016 1 comment

Yesterday I shared on Facebook, with a recommendation, a Guardian piece by Marina Hyde a columnist whose work I enjoy. I did so largely because of her description of PGA tour golfers as ‘tedious evangelical shitehawks’, a view with which I agree absolutely, on the basis of the Sky coverage that I see.

Then I read the extended treatise on which Ms Hyde’s article was founded and realised that she got everything else entirely wrong. In fact, Michael Jordan is uniquely qualified to be Tiger Woods’ friend. In terms of the idolatry US sports can bestow on its heroes, he alone has been Tiger’s equal in the way he transcended his sport in his supreme years. Only he knows what comes after, and can advise on the basis of personal experience.

Where she did her own readers a disservice was in not drawing their attention more fully to the central premise of the ESPN analysis.

Having now studied the extended original, I find myself pondering two questions: 1) Is Tiger Woods, if not bat-shit crazy, at least part of the way en route to that state of mind? 2) Is he a guy for whom the Second Amendment should be set aside, in respect of any arms other than golf clubs?

Read it and see what you think.

Categories: General, Sport

Of interest?

April 26, 2016 5 comments


Categories: General

From my Diary

7pm, Wednesday May 4; launch event for Private Investigations, the 26th Bob Skinner novel.

Venue: Waterstone, 175 High Street, Kirkcaldy.

7pm , Thursday May 5; event for Edinburgh Bookshop, contact shop for tickets on 0131 449 1917.

Venue: Eric Liddell Centre, 15 Morningside Road, Edinburgh.

12 noon, Saturday May 7; public signing.

Venue: WH Smith Books, Gyle Centre, Edinburgh

3pm, Saturday May 7; public signing.

Venue: Atkinson-Pryce Books, 27 High Street, Biggar.

1pm, Sunday May 8; public signing

Venue: Waterstone West End, 128 Princes Street, Edinburgh

3pm Sunday May 8; public signing.

Venue: Costco, Loanhead.

Categories: General

Grimm reading

April 18, 2016 1 comment

Scanning through the Herald this morning, I came across a story with the headline, ‘Actor couple warn parents not to leave it too late if planning pregnancy.’

It began, ‘A leading actress has warned couples against delaying parenthood after she and her film star husband had to turn to IVF to have their daughters.’

What’s wrong with that? Well, putting aside the fact that the Herald actually admitted to lifting the piece from the cesspit of prurience that is the Daily Mail, putting aside its inability to differentiate between jobbing actors and those in the front line of their profession . . . it isn’t news.

Thousands of families across the country have the same story to tell, and the fact that the lady who is quoted has appeared in such dramas as Grimm (so did my mate Nurmi, another jobbing actor, until they killed him off in the current series) and The Vampire Dramas adds nothing to it.

What’s bad about it? The subtle implication that IVF is in some way wrong, and the emphasis on its cost. For most people it isn’t a career-driven choice, it’s a first and last resort.

My message to  the Herald and its editor: think before you publish, even on a slow news day, and most of all, work harder. I’m a paying subscriber to your online paper, but I have a background in your industry, and so I know sheer downright laziness when I see it.



Categories: General

Mixed Emotions

April 18, 2016 Comments off

Just as Valderrama peeled off some of the rust in my game after seven weeks off, so too did it inspire me to dust off the cobwebs from my keyboard. It takes special places and experiences sometimes…

Source: Mixed Emotions

Categories: Uncategorized

Circus life

A couple who work at the circus go to an adoption agency.
Social workers there raise doubts about their suitability.
The couple produce photos of their 50 foot motorhome, which is equipped with a beautiful nursery.
The social workers then are doubtful about the education that the child would get.
“We’ve arranged for a full-time tutor who will teach the child all the usual subjects along with French, Mandarin and computer skills.”
Then there are doubts about raising a child in a circus environment.
“Our nanny is an expert in paediatric welfare and diet.”
The social workers are finally satisfied.
They ask, “What age child are you hoping to adopt?”
“It doesn’t really matter, as long as he fits in the cannon”


Categories: General


April 11, 2016 5 comments

“You can’t let it get to your head when you win, and you can’t let it get to your heart when you fail. You’ve got to take it as it comes.”
Quote of the week, but whose?

Categories: General


Before I move on from Scottish Field, the current issue has a ‘restaurant review’. The subject is an eaterie which I will not name because it isn’t very flattering.

Leaving aside the idiocy of any person making a judgement based on someone else’s taste buds, the thing about the piece that aroused my ire was its by-line: ‘The Mystery Diner’.

I’m sorry, but if you do a hatchet job on someone’s business and you don’t have the cojones to sign your name to it, you are beneath contempt. You’re not a journalist, you’re a vandal daubing a public place with a spray can.

The editor of Scottish Field is Richard Bath. My name is out there for everyone.


Categories: General

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