P&J Column 19.4.18

Now Aberdeen is popular with tourists – easily identifiable by their pac-a-macs and expressions of disappointment.

Ron Cluny, official council spin-doctor.

I was delighted to see that the number of tourists visiting Aberdeen has continued to grow. This is one in the eye for the naysayers, always so keen to do the city down. Official council figures show that the Spectra Light Festival, and Nuart have both played their part.

If only we had a vibrant summer festival to capitalise on the energy and dynamism of young people, we might really have been able to make the most of the arts dividend. But, you can’t have everything, as I invariably have to put at the bottom of every agenda of the Finance, Policy and Resources Committee.

The city has also benefitted from the increased global interest in the Highlands from fans of the successful TV show ‘Outlander’, which just goes to show the benefits that accrue when you come before Inverness in the alphabet.

Our figures also suggest that the final group of people who have come to the city are holidaying civil engineers, who get a real kick from seeing exposed foundations and large mounds of building equipment lying about. They have provided a much needed shot in the arm to the new hotels at the Airport and on Broad Street.

Davinia Smythe-Barratt, Ordinary Mum

It’s been a frustrating week for Social Justice campaigners like myself, engaged in the struggle against ‘The Man’, as the press have unfairly rounded on my comrades, both real and imaginary, who oppose the monstrous new stadium at Kingsford. Who cares if they used a pseudonym to give interviews to the press? Haven’t we all done it? I’ve got a pseudonym, actually, and I don’t mind admitting it.

I leave my disparaging hotel and restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor under the name “Don’tMessMum” safe in the knowledge that the proprieties can’t retaliate against me. It’s been a lifesaver, as it prevented my friend Saskia booking into the same god-awful yurt we used on holiday near Rabat. I mean, no wine cooler? Seriously?! We wanted ‘back-to –basics’, not prehistoric!

Those in favour of the stadium have been busy gloating about the apparent “scoop” that the ubiquitous and vocal anti-Kingsford campaigner Angus Jamieson does not, technically, exist, but I’ve got news for them. Fidel has been helping me put together an anti-stadium petition on his computer. He is a whiz with technology. In fact, I can hear more pages whirring from his printer right now. It already bears over 1 million names, though admittedly many of the signatories appear to have identical handwriting. He says it’s called Linotype Zapfino Extra.

To be honest, the whole pseudonym business is something of a sore point for the Smythe-Barratt household, after what happened when my husband Milo set up his offshore account in the Cayman Island under a fictitious name to avoid paying thousands of dollars in tax. Is that a crime? Incomprehensibly, yes. Still he’ll get parole in 3 moths, and the sentence keeps him out of the UK long enough to maintain his non-dom status. So, silver linings.

VIEW FROM THE MIDDEN – Rural affairs with MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) presenter, JOCK ALEXANDER

It’s been a Luddite wik in the village. Ab’dy has been reeling fae the news that noted pub chain and purveyor of reheated foodstuffs, Wetherspoon’s is abandoning a’ social media. Their boss says it’s nae helping the business, and that withoot it they’d be “mentally and physically better off”. Weel, I could hiv telt him that. We in the Village hiv jist discovered the questionable charms o’ Twitface and Instabook and a’ yon, as it’s nae been lang syne onyb’dy in the Village his hid Wi-Fi (in fact, it’s nae been lang syne onyb’dy in the Village his hid a Hi-Fi). But, much like Christianity, we did withoot a’ that muck for hunners o’ years and we managed oor social interactions jist fine. We didnae hae folk in online forums sweiring at strangers and spikking awa tae themselves. We hid them daen it oot in the open air. We didnae hae “Internet trolls” hiding in darkened rooms. We hid real eens hiding under bridges. Or at least that’s fit we telt wir kiddies so they’d avoid the shacky een o’er the Burn o’ Wartle far Feel Moira’s family bade. Aye, a’ things considered, we wiz better aff withoot social media. If we hid an argument, we didna get wirsels a’ workit up ower a keyboard for oors on end, we resolved wir differences swiftly and conclusively – wi’ a punch-up roon the back of the chip shop. Cheerio!

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