OUR man at Jimmy Reid’s 70th birthday bash at Haggs Castle Golf Club in Glasgow - Jimmy only played the game once, turning up on the first tee with his clubs upside down in the bag - reports that few folk could have gathered together such a diverse bunch of pals: the Queen Mum of Scottish nationalism, Winnie Ewing; the Father of the House, Tam Dalyell; the Godfather of Scottish fitba, Ernie Walker; the multi-talented Elaine C Smith and not only veterans of the legendary work-in at Upper Clyde Sh
As the wine flowed freely, mention was made of Jimmy’s famous speeches. His immortal admonition to the UCS workers: "There will be no hooliganism, there will be no vandalism, there will be no bevvying ..." has also been adopted as the editor’s daily admonition to the Diary. His "rat race" speech as rector of Glasgow University was hailed by the New York Times, no less, and printed in full in that paper, as the greatest speech since the Gettysburg address.
THERE were lighter moments ... at Jimmy’s expense, of course. Ernie Walker recalled when Jimmy suddenly became a rugby fan and Ernie moved heaven and earth to get him tickets for the Scotland game in Paris. Not only tickets but also flights, a nice hotel room, a day at the races and a posh dinner. All buckshee, by the way. After all this, on the day of the match he found a bemused Jimmy outside the hotel. "What’s happened?" says Jimmy. "Have you not organised a taxi?"
Broadcaster David Scott defined the three promises most likely to be broken: "Your cheque’s in the post; I’m a reporter from the Sun and I’m here to help you, and Jimmy Reid saying: "Just one more for the road."
Jimmy joined the jazz band to sing his party piece, All of Me, which our man reports was not so much Sammy Davis Junior as Sammy Davis Definitely Getting On A Bit, but pretty damn good all the same, before the oldest left-swinger in town re-lit his huge cigar, from - where else? - Fidel’s Cuba, and took to the dance-floor.
Yeah, yeah - the 1963 Beatles
A COUPLE of duchesses no doubt, but unfortunately neither of these lovely ladies fae Fife is the Duchess of Kirkcaldy. But it was that night in late October 1963. The Beatles were playing the Carlton cinema in Kirkcaldy and the jigging continued at the Raith Ballroom till 4am ... and all this on a Sunday. The girls were prizewinners who had got to meet the boys.
John Murray, local music maestro, sent us the photo and we’re glad to say he has made contact with the legendary Alan King .
"The next Sunday," John tells us, "the Beatles appeared on the Royal Variety Performance." But we’re glad to see they got their priorities right and an appearance before the Duchess took precedence.
John also tells us his sources point to the Duchess being indeed Cecilia Sutherland, not Mary Yardley, the Marchioness of Methil.
It seems John Lennon’s cousin, Stanley Park’s stepfather - you still with us? - was Cecilia Sutherland’s brother-in-law. The young Lennon used to stop off in Kirkcaldy on his summer holidays to team up with the Duchess and her husband before travelling north to join the rest of the Sutherlands in Dorness.
The Duke, as Lennon himself was referred to, popped back to Kirkcaldy for a visit in 1969 with Yoko.
John Murray had heard he stopped at De Vito’s in Crossgates for an ice cream. "I asked but they weren’t sure - although they’d once had David Bowie in."
Our man on the shores of Loch Lomond last week was astonished when a continental-style coffee stall at the Scottish Open refused his Scottish pound notes. "The manager says we cannae accept Scottish pound notes," explained the spotty youth.
When pressed further the plukey one replied: "Sorry, I don’t know why."
The tournament was, of course, sponsored by Barclays Bank.