More top stories
THE OTHER morning, while flossing my toenails, I found myself listening to an item on the Today programme. This, I should add, is a rarity. Usually, I listen to Today in the way I listen to the rest of Radio 4: as a kind of womb music for adults. The voices go up and down, they grow agitated and calm, and sometimes there is a burst of hysterical laughter or applause, though nothing very funny or notable has been said.
LATELY, I have been much exercised by bottoms. Before you write, ladies, there is nothing improper or suggestive about my sudden interest in posteriors; quite the reverse. It is just that my life has been made a misery by oversized bahookies.
AS A RULE, I am not a regular traveller on the information superhighway. It is not that I have anything against the internet, but it is filed in my mind alongside cannabis and skateboards: these being things of which I am happy to disapprove without the need of experience.
TECHNOLOGY, I have always felt, is overrated. Within my lifetime, I have witnessed the invention and promotion of thousands of labour-saving devices. Most of them have come and gone with no apparent easing of the burden on humanity. Indeed, in most cases, devices which were intended to make life easier have, instead, conspired to make it even more unpleasant.
THERE is, I regret to say, enough calamity around without me telling you about my Christmas holiday. The events of late December have been locked in last year’s diary, where they will stay until after my death, when I expect them to be exhumed and turned into a film to be broadcast, after the watershed, on BBC2. As a general observation, I am prepared to note that advocaat is dangerous when taken on an empty stomach, particularly when one is wearing ice skates.
I DO not have much in common with Mr Frank Sinatra, but on the question of holidays, I am at one with Ol’ Blue Eyes. In the song It’s Nice to Go Travellin’, Mr Sinatra concludes that, though the journeying is fine, it’s nicer at home.
WHEN it comes to the debate about the relationship between the government and the people, I have never been one to use the term "nanny state". It is an odd irony that the people who employ this phrase have, invariably, been raised by a nanny, and are therefore intent on seeking revenge for the myriad disappointments of childhood.
SOMETIMES, though not often, I surprise myself.
MR SPIKE Milligan was known for many things, not the least of which was his depressive sense of humour. He was my favourite Goon, though I am aware that there are some among the church who favour Mr Harry Secombe, for his habit of miming hymns on clifftops.
AS IF I did not have enough reasons to be doleful, we are now in the middle of National Sausage Week. I have nothing against sausages, as long as they are taken with HP sauce, but I was a little bemused to discover that they have become the subject of a seven-day fiesta. How did this come about? Is there a committee of the great, the good, and the tediously Machiavellian, which meets to decide which foodstuffs are worthy of promotion?
AUTUMN, in its first flushes, before the final falling of the leaves, is an uncertain season. Without wishing to sound positive, it is my favourite time of the year. The trees fling forth their last bursts of optimism before the big freeze, and the sky rains with the spiky armour of fallen chestnuts.
THE doors, then, are open. The light of the mind is shining out. The new parliament has, after a very Scottish delay, begun its work from that curious campus in Holyrood.
MANY thoughts flashed through my mind when I heard that the billionaire, Mr Paul G Allen, and the designer, Mr Burt Rutan, had been awarded a $10 million prize for their role in the development of a spacecraft named - with an annoying disregard for punctuation - SpaceShipOne. The ship flew twice to a height of more than 62 miles, opening up the terrifying prospect of space tourism under the stewardship of Mr Richard Branson, the entrepreneur who has had trouble with trains.
IT IS not yet October, but the smell of cordite is in the air.
KNOWING nothing about sport, I yield to no-one in my admiration for Mr Colin Montgomerie. It is not, you understand, that I care two hoots about the Ryder Cup, or the fact that Mr Montgomerie overcame personal strife before his triumph against the Americans.
SINCE the triumph of that most ironic foodstuff, the golden delicious apple, my intake of fruit has declined. For emergencies, I keep a box of dried figs on the lid of the piano, and my Scotch salads include a sliced tomato along with a slither of watery ham, a boiled egg, a leaf of lettuce and a handful of warmed crisps. On occasion, I will suck a lemon.
IT WAS WITH some dismay that I read of the Executive’s plans to ban smoking in public places. It is not, you understand, that I am in favour of cigarettes. Given charge of the legislature, I would outlaw them immediately. Cigarettes are smelly, repulsive, and a drain on the National Health Service.
LAST WEEKEND, in what was surely somebody’s idea of a wizard wheeze, I was sent to report on the proceedings of the Edinburgh International Television Festival. The point of this joke is that, for the last six months, after an accident involving a telephone, I have been without a television set, and hence have no idea about what passes for entertainment these days on the small screen.