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.
A new experience: being involved in a minor traffic accident in a car park then discovering that the driver of the other vehicle, a middle-aged geezer who lives and works in Edinburgh, does not speak a single word of English.
The day I hate; the last Sunday in October.
The Score – Fugees. God, am I having a good day!
The Early Years, Vol 2: Tom Waits
Rex doesn’t get it yet ‘cos he’s only eight months old, but one day he will, I promise.
I’d never heard the word ‘Rabona’ till last night, although I’ve seen the trick done by a few top-class footballers before Lamela’s “wonder” goal last night for Spurs. I am still struggling to work out how any human can do that without falling on his arse.
I am something of a geek. If it’s out there I’ll buy it. This month’s acquisition is a thing called Amazon Fire TV. It’s their version of Apple TV, but it’s easier to use and lets you access all the music you’ve ever bought from Amazon, plus pics etc. Crucially it lets you access Netflix as well as Amazon Prime. So far it’s a winner.
Oscar was never better named.
He did it, no question, even if he did get a ‘Not proven’ verdict on the murder charge. He turned into a Quentin Tarantino character and started blazing away at a door knowing there was someone behind it. All through the trial I waited for the prosecution to hammer away at the key questions:
‘When you heard the noise, why did it not occur to you to check whether your girlfriend was still in bed beside you?’
‘When you heard the noise, why did it not occur to you to ask Reeva if she’d heard it too?’
‘When you got out your gun, why did it not occur to your to turn and say to Reeva, “Stay here while I investigate.”?’
Of all of it, that’s the part I don’t understand, and that’s where reasonable doubt must kick in.
In all the circumstances, five years for shooting and killing your girlfriend, most of it to be served under ‘house arrest’, seems like the deal of the day.
I’m not a big Strictly fan . . . that is an understatement . . . but I happened to catch the end of the results programme last night. It featured, to my astonishment, the duetting Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.
I like Lady G even less than I like Strictly, but Tony Bennett could make anyone sound good. The remarkable thing about the pairing is not that someone thought to put them together, but that when his partner, now 28, was born, Mr B was already sixty years old.
Dipped into the unwatched BluRay pile last night, and pulled out ‘Nebraska’. Bruce Dern has been on most people’s ‘What ever happened to ….?’ list for years, but not any more. It’s the best thing he’s ever done; too bad it took him 55 years.