WE HAD suspected that the Church of Scotland was a hotbed of anarchism before the point was made during George Rosie’s stint at the Book Festival - no-one in control, elected ministers, Moderator chucked out annually ...
And, spookily enough, Stuart Christie’s book, My Granny Made Me An Anarchist, landed on our desk to further confirm this thesis the next day, the Granny in question being Agnes McCulloch Davis (pictured). "A lifelong Presbyterian," Christie states, "by her example and the wisdom she showed, she gave me a clear moral map and inculcated in me an inerasable ethical code - a sort of secular Calvinism - which led me directly and inexorably through the political and ethical quagmire to anarchism." Whether Granny ever intended that Stuart should try to blow up Franco with explosives stuck up his kilt in Real Madrid’s stadium in 1964 is another matter.
But the autobiography of Britain’s most famous anarchist, the first part of a trilogy, will be followed by General Franco Made Me A Terrorist and Edward Heath Made Me Angry.
Meantime, Christie claims he has not mellowed: "Even if you oppose the war in Iraq, it’s not advisable to attack Tony Blair with a bomb, but rather with a custard pie."
During his prison term, Spanish authorities thought he was funded by the Beatles. His comrades sent him money using the only English code-names they knew: John, Paul, George and Ringo. But as Christie proudly points out, he himself was named after the country’s best-known Stuart, Bonnie Prince Charlie, who, as another son of Partick, Billy Connolly, says, "is the only man in history to be named after three separate sheepdogs".
Jesse becomes Killer for Paisley
MINUS his gladioli, Morrissey was still exercising his Wildean wit to the delight of his fans at the start of his Scottish tour. He’d turned up at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh with his backing band in kilts.
"My mother always told me never to talk to boys in kilts, but she didn’t know what she was missing."
He then introduced his band, exhibiting an extensive familiarity with Scottish culture unblunted by a decade in Los Angeles. One of them was called Jesse. "But when you go to Paisley, Jesse, your name is ‘Rock’ or ‘Killer’. Got it?"
Morrissey kicked off in Edinburgh but tonight it is Paisley Town Hall and tomorrow Perth City Hall. (Then it is on to Blackpool and Bridlington Spa.)
When the tour was being arranged he specifically asked for gigs in Scottish towns beginning with P. Whatever happened, then, to Peterhead, Penicuik or Prestonpans?
The miserable one demonstrated even greater familiarity with Scotland, referring to his new album, You are the Quarry, every time as You are the Falkirk Quarry.
Meanwhile, we hope no-one spoiled the evening for the man who wrote Meat is Murder by telling him his gig was on the site of the old Edinburgh abattoir.
The two-way Mirror
OLD lags at the Mirror are wondering if they’ve scored another own goal. In yesterday’s paper, Tommy Sheridan was reviewing The Enemy Within - The Secret War Against the Miners, by Seamus Milne. It’s a murky tale of how the Secret Service was used by the Thatcher government to undermine the NUM, and Tommy refers specifically to the story of Arthur Scargill receiving Libyan money and Moscow gold to pay off his mortgage.
"Yet they were a tissue of lies and deliberate distortion," he states.
That would be Mirror lies - it was their story. However, Roy Greenslade, former editor of the Mirror, published an extensive mea culpa two years ago, entitled Sorry, Arthur, detailing how they had got it wrong. But as many at the Mirror remember, Ted Oliver and Frank Throne, the two reporters originally assigned to the story by Greenslade’s predecessor, Richard Stott, always stood by their original story, and Oliver sent a letter to the Guardian after it had published Greenslade’s apologias. Will Tommy’s effective rebuttal of their original story in the Scottish Mirror settle the argument for once and for all?
Incidentally, Ted Oliver’s other claim to fame was that Vinnie Jones once bit his nose.
Sir Sean's tour de farce
SHURELY shome mishtake as Sir Sean, the greatest living Scotsman and Nat at that, was refused admittance to the new parliament yesterday.
One would have thought they needed all the good publicity they could get, but as "Colonel" Reid was not there to give him a personal tour, he was left twiddling his thumbs for the rest of the afternoon. The Presiding Officer no doubt wanted to give him a briefing as M would, or should that be Q?
Sir Sean had been checking out plans for the new Film Festival building in Lothian Road, which will be named after him.
Rather than Connery Hall, we hear he wants the full moniker. So look out for the Big Tam Connery Picture House - only a stone’s throw from where he grew up in dear old Fountainbridge.
Speaking in Tongs, Gaelic style
NOT exactly the catchphrase of Janey "Good" Godley (right), but our piece on Tongs Ya Bass and the Glasgow comic’s Calton background has had readers arguing over its origin.
"Tongs, ya bass" became Glasgow’s unofficial motto in the Sixties and was miles better than "Mr Smiley", dreamt up by Michael Kelly.
However, while many thought "bass" was short for bastard, it was, in fact, a corruption of the ancient Gaelic expression for "battle and die".