P&J Column 11.1.18

‘I’ve grown 4 inches’ – and other tall tales.

Hector Schlenk, Senior Research Fellow, Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, people are forever asking me questions; lately, I’ve mainly been asked about changes that one’s body undergoes when outwith the confines of Terra Firma.

They’re referencing, of course, the news that a Japanese astronaut had grown a staggering 9cm during his 3 weeks on the International Space Station.  This caused panic at Mission Control as that would have made him too tall for the journey home. People grow in space because in zero gravity, there’s less pressure on their vertebrae, and the spine elongates accordingly, but even so, 9cm was unheard of.

Of course, the poor old fellow had just made a mistake and had in fact only grown a much more manageable 2cm. It just shows how far the human race has evolved, when a man can reach such stratospheric heights whilst being unable to successfully operate a tape measure.

View From the Midden – rural affairs with MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) presenter JOCK ALEXANDER

It has been an innovative wik in the village thanks tae the shiny new laptop computer fit I got as a Christmas gift fae Feel Moira. At last I am een o’ yon ‘silver surfers’, experiencing a new world of electronic content thanks tae the interweb. Oh it’s magic stuff; partly news, partly videos of wee furry craiturs, but maistly ither videos of consenting adults daein’ things I didnae even ken were things ye could dae.

Michty, I’m fair tricket wi’ my McBook. Nae be confused wi a “MacBook” which is an entirely different thing fit costs an airm and a leg. Nah nah, the “McBook” is a one-of-a-kind device specially soldered thegither by Moira, fae the remains of twa toasters, and some spare blades aff a combine harvester. Mind you, mak sure ye dinna leave it running ower lang, or the combine blades stairt spinning and it it micht jist cost ye an airm and a leg efter a’.

But it’s fair kept me occupied. I’ve been enjoying the mony ‘webcams’ that ye can look at, particularly the een situated on Aiberdeen’s Broad Street, showing a team of mannies in florescent vests howkin’ awa at the road surface and pulling it a’ oot, scant wiks after they pit it doon in the first place. Noo I’m nae an expert, so I couldnae say if it was worth the 25 thoosand quid it cost, but it did gie me a richt good laugh.

Noo I’ve got masel a’ high-teched up, I’ve also been checking oot the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. They hid a wee robot fae Korea cried Cloi that wiz meant tae be able tae work a’ yer kitchen appliances, but instead of telling ye fan the washing wis ready, or fit wis for tea, it jist sat there and stared blankly at the mannie in the expensive suit that wiz spiering it questions. I wiz affa impressed. They’ve actually invented a robot that can dae a’thing aroon the hoose that yer kids dae. Cheerio!

Shelley Shingles, showbiz correspondent and Miss Fetteresso 1983

Totes excites! The highlight of any showbiz correspondents’ year is on the horizon! Awards season!!! That’s when folk like me get to hang around the red carpet interviewing folk like Baldrick Cummerbund about arty films that we haven’t seen, and actual news about things gets pushed deep into the paper by photos of celebs in fancy frocks!

This year might be a bit different, because loads of female stars are mounting a protest against the sexism that is rife within the entertainment industry, by only wearing black to the ceremonies. I’m totes behind my sisters in this, and nothing gets that message across better than something sheer in ‘midnight jet’ with a plunging neckline and a thigh-high split! Go girls!!!

The best news though was that my old pal Joanna Lumley has been picked to host the BAFTAs! I’m so chuffed for her, and I know she’s been keen to raise her profile so she’s not just remembered as the posh wifie who made slippers out of her bra. Of course, me and Jo go way back. I first became aware of her in the late 70’s when she was at the height of her New Avengers fame and funnily enough I saw her recently at the luggage carousel at Aberdeen Airport, whereI was acting as a spokesmodel for Keillor’s Travel Sweets. ‘Purdy’ I shouted to her as she sailed past. ‘You’re not so bad yourself, darling’ she replied. Wise words from a great lady.

See the Flying Pigs live at HMT Aberdeen in ‘Now That’s What I Call Methlick!‘ June 2018. Tickets available now.