P&J Column 22.3.17

The aircraft laptop ban makes sense – plane and simple

Reverend Edmund Everend, Minister, Holburn North-North East

I see that, due to an increased security risk associated with so-called Islamic State, the UK is to follow the US in banning the use of electronic devices on certain flights.  Speaking in my capacity as a man of god, it pains me greatly that relations between the faiths have deteriorated to such an extent that such measures are necessary.  However, speaking as someone who, while travelling, is regularly jabbed in the ribs by laptop-wielding spreadsheet-monkeys, I say, truly, The Lord works in mysterious ways. And roll on the regular shuttle Aberdeen to Heathrow shuttle from Air Turkey.

The mobile electronic device is the curse of the modern age.  As I said to the last earnest young man who whacked me across the cranium while getting his laptop down from an overhead locker, “Is your work really so urgent that it can not wait?  Every day I see my harassed parishioners glued to their mobile phones as they watch their children play football, as they enjoy a well-earned meal out with their families, and even during church services – oh, who am I trying to kid? – especially during church services.  Really, never was mankind so deceived as when employers gave electronic devices to their employees and dressed up enslavement as emancipation.”  My travelling companion laughed and said, “Never so deceived? Really?  Not even when they were told fairy stories about loaves and fishes and the rolling away of the stone?”

I smiled seraphically and lo, shortly afterwards some unexpected turbulence provided me with an opportunity to spill my wine unto both his lap and his confounded machine.

God bless.

Archie Fisher, gentlemen of the road.

George Osborne is set to become editor of the London Evening Standard whilst remaining as an MP. Now, the Evening Standard is not one of my usuals. On the rare occasions I find a copy in a bin at the station I find the paper to be rather thin, and as a result, a poor insulator and hopeless for shirt-stuffing against the cold. However, I applaud Mr Osborne for keeping himself busy. Having recently lost his £130,000 a year job as Chancellor he’s having to eke out an living on his meager MP’s salary, his consultancy at the American financial giant BlackRock, a fellowship at the Arizona-based McCain Institute and his fees as a public speaker – he’s barely making a million pounds a year. With only his Baronetcy and a trust worth £4 million to fall back on, he has little option but to take on more work. The parallels between George and I are extraordinary. Osborne went to independent schools; I was educated independent of any school. Osborne misbehaved himself in the Bullingdon Club; I soiled myself in the Cotton Club. And of course while he juggles at least 4 jobs, I also multi-task in a variety of part-time roles.

Every morning you’ll find me scouring the gutters round the back of the Bon Accord Centre for fag ends, which I sell on – an example of the kind of entrepreneurial spirit of which I’m sure George would approve. Then it’s a quick liquid lunch, before commencing my role as unofficial town-crier, loudly declaiming the day’s news to passersby at the Edward VII statue. Next, positioned as I am directly across from the Trinity Centre, it’s an ideal spot to charm funds from those I observe crossing the road to avoid the Chuggers. I don’t require your direct debit details, madam, just a pound coin from the depths of your purse will see me on my way.

So there’s another similarity with George; we’re both interested in cold, hard cash!

Tanya soutar, local lifestyle guru

I dinna ken about yous, but I’d love tae hae something named efter me for posteriority. Yon auld mannie on the TV wi’ the animals, David Attenborough, his got a’ sorts named efter him; a research ship, a flightless weevil and noo a fossil o’ an ancient shrimp.

My ex-boyfriend Lee got something named efter him an a’. He lent his name tae the perfect seat in the Broadsword in Tilly.   He worked oot the exact spot that wiz the perfect distance fae the bandit, pool table, juke box and the bar. Woe betide onybdy else that sat in it!  “That’s Lee’s seat” they’d say. And if you moved quickly, Lee wid only chin you the once. Efter a particularly fractious Setterday nicht I noticed they’d gaan as far as tae mark it on the carpet, fan they drew the ootline o’ a body in chalk. Must have worked, because naebdy sat there efter that!