P&J Column 22.9.16


35 year o’ ‘Tak the Fleer’? Robbie, tak a bow!

View from the Midden; Rural affairs with Jock Alexander

It’s been a momentous wik in the village. Like ab’dy fa works in the media (I am still the main face on Meiklewartle television – fronting oor prime time shows ‘Escape fae the Country’ & ‘Grumpy Old Meldrum’)

I jist canna believe the showbiz news fit broke this week.  I ken the writing’s been on the wa’ this filie syne, but still, it’s an affa shock noo it’s act’lly happened.

No, I’m nae spikin’ aboot Brad & Angelina’s divorce; Robbie Shepherd’s retired from the radio.  I wis stammygastered tae hear that the North-East’s ither media superstar is hangin up his Nicky-tams and standin’ doon efter 35 year presenting ‘Tak the Fleer’ on BBC Radio Scotland. That gave me pause fer thocht. “Michty”, I thocht tae masel.  “Surely it’s been mair nor 35 year?”. Fit am I gaan tae dae wi’ my setterday evenings of noo? Weel, open a bottle of Glenfiddich and watch Strictly, of course, jist like afore.  I’ve niver actually listened tae Robbie on the radio, I’m nae a weirdo.

Of course, me and Robbie ging way back.  We first met back in the early ‘80’s fan he was jist a young loon of 70. I bumped intae him coming oot o’ a portaloo round the back o’ the royal enclosure at the Braemar Gathering.

I’ll niver forget fit he said tae me:


But joking aside, it is a sad day for broadcasting in the North-East. Robbie wis Scotland’s answer tae John Peel, playing a lot o’ challenging material – oh aye, some of that stuff wiz in 12/4 time, ye ken. I fear that wi’oot him, Scotland’s cultural life will be verra much the poorer, and there’s nae doot in my mind that he will be absolutely irreplaceable.

But someb’dy his tae dae it, so I hiv sent in my CV tae auntie Beeb (weel, if we’re nae careful they’ll gie the job tae Sandy Toksvig). I hiv pointed oot that, like the great man, I am also a niche broadcaster, my special wee niche being jist roon by the bandit in the snug in the village bar. Far I hope auld Robbie will noo hae the free time tae join me for a wee celebratory dram. Or sivven.


Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit who’s behaviour shouldn’t surprise anyone, knowing what we do about his previous conduct.

Joey Barton has only played for The Rangers for a couple of months, but he has already made an inedible mark on Scottish football. He’s been suspended by the Ibrox outfit following a training-ground bus-stop with a team mate, and now, to rub insult onto his injuries, he is being invigilated for betting on football. Personally, I have never thought there was nothing wrong with a player having a flutter on any match so long as they don’t have no influence on the result. Having watched Joey’s performances so far this season, that would be all of them.

There was unbelievable scenes in the final of the World Series triathlon at the weekend. Jonny Brownlee needed to win to take the title but his legs turned to ice cream and jelly with 500m to go. His brother Ally put his arm around him and dragged him to the finish line where he collapsed in a heap from exasperation. Mental.

As it turns out, some South African boy won the race so Jonny never took the world title anyway. Fair play to Ally, though. He could have won the race himself, but he put family first and common sense second to put further strain on a man in obvious medical distress for no reason whatsoever.

After the race Ally says he would have done the same for anyone, and that reminded me of my footballing career. One time when I was playing for Culter, my pal and fellow midfield enforcer Basher Greg picked up a knock early doors in a grunge match against Banchory. He says to me, he says “I’m struggling Kenny”. So I says to him, I says “Don’t worry Basher, I’ll do your tackling for you”. Which I done. Well, I done it for about 5 minutes until I crunched two-footed into their cheeky nyaff of a winger. When the whistler gave me my waltzing orders, Basher looks over at me and says to me he says “Thanks a bunch Kenny”. “Any time” I tells him, “apart from the next 3 games, what I’ll be banned from.”