IAN WILSON is a man with a face like a clenched fist who believes he is the vanguard of a moral crusade.
Having taken early retirement from his career as a childcare worker, he has time aplenty to devote to his cause. Every morning, he fills the pockets of his overcoat with crisp pink notes and maps, before tightening the knot of his tie so that his complexion assumes the exact shade of outraged purple.
After a well-balanced breakfast, he leaves his well-appointed home in the Renfrewshire commuter village of Kilbarchan, and wanders the streets and thoroughfares of Glasgow in search of the Fallen. It does not take long. They are plentiful on the streets of Scotland's largest city – sorry forms, hunched unblinking before a flurry of polished brogues and heels.
Mr Wilson is one of the few who stop. Here, like a man sat in a bath of whisky, he will preach his sermon of indignation and resentment. He asks his unwilling flock why they squat on pavements and in doorways without shame or pride. Then, he reaches into his overcoat. He hands one of the Fallen a 20 note and a sheet of paper. The note does not bear the face of the Queen, but that of a children's cartoon character. On the paper is laid out directions to the nearest Jobcentre Plus.
The gift, says Mr Wilson, represents a "helpful suggestion." He does not understand the Fallen. Why, he wonders, do they sit on cold streets holding up pieces of cardboard, when they could devote their time to searching for gainful employment?
Mr Wilson resents the fact many of the Fallen receive benefits, yet continue to beg. Some of them, he has been told, can make up to 30 a day. That turns his cheeks an even richer hue of purple. Only the junkies madden him more.
Mr Wilson insists he bears no animosity to any other member of mankind, and denies the suggestion that his gift is more insult than suggestion. One of the Fallen, he recalls incredulously, reported him to a constable of Strathclyde Police, who warned Mr Wilson that while he was not breaking the law, he might get into "bother."
It has not deterred him. When prompted, he will recount an ideology as strong and resolute as a ship's hull. "This is about our culture of having decent, hard-working folk paying for this lot who harass us and hang about our streets," he states.
His work for the day done, he returns to well-appointed home for a well-balanced evening meal. He prepares more crisp, pink notes, before settling down for a full night's rest.
Tomorrow, after all, Mr Wilson must pose yet more questions, the answers to which are infinitely more complex than he could ever imagine.
Documentary shows the way to go home
IT IS with embarrassment that I now consider a documentary on tarmacadam an ideal evening's viewing. The blame for this EL Wisty-esque development lies squarely with my girlfriend, who was born and partly raised (her family relocated, she's not semi-feral) on Fair Isle.
At the start of our relationship, I could not shake a romantic fascination with her birthplace. She met every query with the same answer: "I was three when we left."
But this week, we finally tracked down a 1978 documentary on Britain's most remote inhabited island from the Scottish Screen Archive.
Within three minutes, we were watching her father, Jim Wilson, resplendent in a polyester tie-dye T-shirt and bell-bottoms, commandeering a steam roller, resurfacing one of Fair Isle's single-track roads.
I like to think that courtesy of her surname, she has some Byzantine legal right to return and live on Fair Isle. What better place to escape the recession?
• I would never dare to accuse Joe Galliott, the man who this week became trapped under his sofa for two days, of hoodwinking a nation. Perhaps his traumatic experience has laid siege to the clarity of his recollections. Something, though, is askew. Wearing a white vest and sloppy grin, the 65-year-old told the press this week of how he fell against the three-seater sofa in his Somerset home, which suddenly flipped, catching him "like a rat in a trap". Stranded for over two days, the retired bricklayer survived by sipping from a bottle of whisky that "had rolled within reach". Am I the only one to question the chronology of these events?