P&J Column 13.8.15


The Labour Party: if you want to beat them, join them.

Doddie Esslemont, Radical Independence Campaigner

As the life president, first officer and chief cook and bottle washer of the Independence for 39G Seaton Drive party, I am the prime, and indeed only, mover in the most radical independence movement in the country. I stand not merely for independence for, but also from, Scotland, with a demilitarised, UN-monitored zone in the common lobby and border controls on the landing. You might think it surprising, therefore, that I have registered to cast a vote in the ballot for the Labour Party leadership. Amazingly, Labour’s due diligence system did not pick up on the fact that I am the leader of a rival party which now commands almost the same level of support in Scotland as they do (1 vote). In order to participate, I have to pay £3 and state that I agree with the core principles of the Labour Party. You might think it would be difficult for someone who believes in the break-up of the United Kingdom to be able to make that pledge, but not a bit of it. I fervently wish the Labour Party to become utterly unelectable, and given the performance of their last leader and the current crop of candidates, that appears to be what the Labour Party wants, too.

J Fergus Lamont, Arts critic and author of “Speak Unto Nations – the Robin Galloway Story”

Truly, commerce is the enemy of art. When I set off for my annual pilgrimage to Edinburgh, to gorge myself on the richest morsels of cultural sustenance the Festival has to offer, I was anxious to avoid being sucked in to the corporate venues, or succumbing to the tawdry sales-pitches of the ticket hawkers. When I first began attending, in the 1960’s, it was possible to wander into a Grassmarket pub and find Steven Berkoff improvising a one-man Antigone, or to bump into the proto-Monty Pythons cracking wise with Clive James and the Goodies up Arthur’s Seat! Now, alas, the great drawback of the incredible success of the Fringe is that one is harangued on every corner by some bean counter, more concerned with bums-on-seats than breaking theatrical boundaries. What a stroke of luck, then, that whilst strolling the Royal Mile enjoying an alfresco lunch (some evocatively nomenclatured ‘chipsansos’. I believe it’s a Nepalese delicacy) I chanced upon a truly magnificent piece of improvisational street-theatre. The solo artiste, a post-modern histrion, shuffled into view, wheeling his props – a broom, dustpan and rubbish bin – on a makeshift barrow, and then bedazzled us with a masterclass in satirical mime. As this modern day Decroux despondently pantomimed a desultory attempt to rid the streets of the detritus of our modern, disposable society, I felt sure my heart would break. His perfunctory sweeping and the insouciant emptying of his dustpan beautifully conveying the profound truth, that one man can only do so much to stem the swelling tide of consumerism.

“Bravo! Encore!” I bellowed, hurling the remains of my ‘chipsansos’ at his feet. And then, the pièce de résistance. With a look which communicated what I can only describe as an infinite sadness, he thrust the broom and dustpan toward me and muttered, “I’m no clearing that up, pal!” I was now a player in this extraordinary improvisation! Giddy with the excitement of it, I swept the detritus into the dustpan, and along with it the shattered remains of the fourth wall. The crowd, thanks in no small part to my contribution, finally appreciating the subtle message of this bravura piece, burst into thunderous applause.

I wept.

Jimmy Hollywood, Sandilands’ most eligible bachelor

Jimmy is nae a man fa is regularly up tae speed wi’ current affairs and fit’s in the papers and that. Fit floats my boat is the ladeez (obvs), posting selfies online and watching Miami Vice on DVD.

But I couldnae help being distracted the ither day by a muckle furore aboot David Beckham’s 4 year auld daughter, Harper. There seems to be a fair amount of do-gooders and “perfect” parents getting in a richt fankle that the wee toot is still reliant on something cried a ‘pacifier’. That wis confusing, ‘til yesterday, I thought ‘the Pacifier’ wiz a Jason Statham movie, but it turns oot it’s fit the yanks cry a dummy.

I hiv tae say, I think it’s unfair the wye the Beckhams ayewis come in for pelters fan ither famous femilies dinna. So gie peer wee Harper a break, she’s only 4 year auld. That Maggie Simpson his been sooking on her dummy since 1989!


See the Flying pigs live in ‘Dreich Encounter’. His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen, 2-11 June 2016