IT'S not even day one, and already my World Cup runneth over.
I HOPE you will forgive any inconsistencies in these comments, but I fear I am having a heart attack. This is hardly a subject for levity. I don't happen to have at my numbing fingertips the precise figures for Scotland's annual death toll from myocardial infarction, but I am sure it is far higher than anyone would wish. A statistic I grasped personally when I read the phrase on my father's death certificate.
IT IS becoming increasingly difficult to connect the two faces of Britain - and I'm not referring to John Prescott's off-diary activities. This week saw the UK declared the yob capital of Europe. I can't say I recall any broadcast footage of the competition (will the Italian team now present their menacing hand- gestures and broken bottles? Thank you. The next heat will be seven-a-side brawling).
IT'S hard to locate the crucial feelgood factors of an era which you have observed from a height of 24 inches or so. When Harold Macmillan was delivering his instantly-famous "most of our people have never had it so good" speech at Bedford in 1957, I suspect I was focused on deciphering the Rosetta Stone that proved to be a Farley's rusk.
Eighty Queen Street bar and restaurant
THAT strange cicada-like thrum that you hear is the sound of massed keyboards giving simultaneous birth. Millions of words billowing like coral spore on a moon tide; each responding to an irresistible stimulus: the news that John Prescott has admitted a two- year affair with his assistant private secretary, Tracey Temple.
IT MUST be something to do with global warming. I'm sure the "silly season" - that hiatus from serious thought and political comment seemingly enforced by Parliament's very long holidays - is normally scheduled for July and August. But things have been getting so silly this week, I can only assume the calendar has been revised.
I'd like a little musical accompaniment this week. A solo violin perhaps; or that particularly doleful Vivaldi cello concerto which sighs its way through so many arty films. For this was a poignant moment. The grown-up kind, only available to over-21s.
IT MAY be due to the lack of smoke, or the joyous arrival of a brand new tax year, but life in Scotland seems a little bit more sane this week.
THIS is the opportunity of a lunchtime. A Saturday lunchtime to be precise, and I'm offering the very best table in one of Scotland's very best restaurants. You will, of course, have to pay your own bill, and provide your own transport - not to mention some suitably entertaining company. But I have taken care of the difficult bit. I have ensured the reservation. Now how much would you like to bid for this inestimable advantage? A fiver? A tenner? More?
I HAVE decided to declare this the Week of the Researcher. It was Sir Jeremy Isaacs who alerted me to the unsung marvels of these neglected souls, whose work sustains the on-screen appeal of other talents. "The key to good documentary is research," he insisted. "I started as a researcher, and nobody outside television knew what that meant. They thought it must be market research and we wanted to know whether people preferred Persil to Daz. But we were doing basic journalism."
A WEEK of perplexing polarities. After the discredited British historian David Irving was sentenced to a three-year jail term in Austria as a penalty for denying the Holocaust, the liberal conscience of western Europe has squirmed and agonised.