Talk of the Town: Alex gears up for a busman's holiday

IT'S summer, so Alex Salmond and his colleagues will soon be packing their bags as they go on tour around Scotland, taking Cabinet meetings to parts of the country which do not normally get to share in the excitement of politicians holding meetings.

So where are they off to this year? Well, they are starting off in Dornoch, then moving on to Stirling, the Isle of Bute and Kilmarnock.

All very nice – but as the Conservatives were quick to point out, Stirling, Bute and Kilmarnock are all in Holyrood seats which the SNP won for the first time in 2007 by less than 1,500 votes. And Dornoch is in Caithness, where the sitting Lib Dem MSP has announced he is standing down, and the SNP is just over 2,000 votes behind.

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Surely the SNP should be paying for this "summer electioneering" out of its own pocket, and not with taxpayers' money, said the Tories.

Give us a break..crash the folk dancers instead

FILM fans had to endure frustration when the Edinburgh International Film Festival – or EIFF – launched its programme last week and its over-subscribed website promptly crashed under the weight of demand.

Visitors who sat patiently hitting refresh in the hope of finally reaching would have had plenty of time to ponder why the festival site wasn't hosted at the more succinct address

That's because the latter address hosts another festival known to its friends as the EIFF – the Eastbourne International Folkdance Festival.

Get your skates on

IT could be a dream come true for some lucky local youngsters. A Capital-based management company is scouring the city for "rhythmic young performers" aged 16-23 with "clean vocals" and "urban dance moves" to establish a fresh Scottish boy band.

If you fancy your chances of becoming the next JLS – or indeed a latter-day Bay City Rollers – turn up at the Dancebase Studios, 14-16 Grassmarket, on Sunday, 27 June at 10.30am sharp. Tartan trousers are optional.

No thanks, I'm full

PUT-UPON mums and dads can find it a relief to discover a pub that will allow them to bring in their brood while they meet friends for a drink and a chat.

But quite what parched parents will make of the policy of a local bar in Holyrood is open to debate.

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Clearly hoping to clarify its position on the issue, the Tun has put up a notice informing parents children are not permitted on the premises "unless for the purposes of a meal". They might be shocked to find that while most people like children, many can't eat a whole one.