P&J Column 28.4.16

ant and dec

At this rate, there’ll be no celebrities left for Ant and Dec to send to the jungle.

Entertainment news with showbiz insider SHELLEY SHINGLES (Miss Fetteresso, 1993)

2016 continues and the celebrity death-count just gets higher and higher. It’s enough to make you think that the Grim Reaper has traded in his scythe for a combine harvester.

When I heard the news about Prince I thought, “what a shame, that’s bound to cast a shadow over the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.” But then I found out that it wasn’t Prince Philip at all, but Prince Prince, of Purple Rain fame. At current rates there’ll be nobody famous left in the world by Spring 2019. I just hope that Bruce Forsyth’s eating his five a day and that David Attenborough is taking the right amount of gentle exercise.

But the saddest loss this week was the fantastic Victoria Wood. I bumped into her once, down in Lancashire on a promotional tour for Spink’s of Arbroath, bringing some much-needed glamour to the smoked fish industry. I was dressed as a sexy smokie (stockings, suspenders, foam-rubber haddock’s head) and wanted something to read in back of the bus on the way back up the road. I got the driver to stop at a corner shop in Bury, and Victoria and I met when we both reached for the last copy of the Woman’s Weekly. Victoria took me from head to toe and said “I’ll leave that for you, love. I’m guessing your need is greater is mine.”

Wise words, from a lovely lady.

Professor Hector J Schlenk, Senior Research Fellow at the Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science

As a scientist, people are forever asking me questions, such as “Will increasing global temperatures really raise the sea level?”, “Can computer algorithms find me my perfect partner?” and “What was the name of Oasis’s debut album?” To which I answer “Yes, no and definitely maybe”.

But this week they’ve mostly been asking me about UK astronaut Tim Peake running the London Marathon on the International Space Station, and the challenges presented by sport in space.

Running in near weightlessness presents problems, as every time Tim bounded on the treadmill his body began to float around the space station as if he were doing the moonwalk (that’s the Neil Armstrong kind, not the Michael Jackson kind). To combat this he was strapped into a harness that kept him “grounded” and completed the marathon in a little over 3 and a half hours at an altitude of 200km. Now I concede that this is quite impressive, but not as impressive as the bloke I saw who ran it on the ground with a fridge strapped to his back! Beat that, NASA!

Peake’s efforts got me thinking about how we could adapt other sports for extra terrestrial competition. Darts would work quite well, until one of the astro-arrows pierced someone’s spacesuit. whilst weightlifting would have to become weightless weightlifting, which is just lifting if you think about it.

One of my favourite sports is snooker, and the absence of gravity would indeed be a challenge for a game that requires balls to rest on a table. This could be combated by spinning the snooker table around an axis at a rate of 2500rpm, which would create the requisite centripetal force to keep the balls on the baize. However, the players would be subjected to G-force that would make them feel dizzy, be violently sick and then drift into unconsciousness, which would both challenge the loyalty of even the most die-hard snooker fans, and nostalgically recall the exploits of Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins.

Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football columnist with a tricky run-in

So it looks like Leicester City is going to hang on by the teeth of their fingernails and win the Premiership. A lot of folk has said they is an unfashionable team, but I think their strip is smart enough. Their manager, Claudio Winkleman, is a changed man from when he used to manage Chelsea, and also looks very different without the heavy eye make-up and fringe. He seems to be a really nice cheery guy, kind of like your grand-dad, if your grand-dad came from Italy and spent a lot of time out in the sun without a hat on. “Dilly ding dilly dong!” was his latest quotable quote in the press conference.

The lessons for Aberdeen from Leicester is clear. Buy a pair of absolute beasts for centre halfs and get a great ball-playing wide-man and a striker that can run like a whippet. And get an ice-cream van to do the half-time team-talks.


See us live in ‘Dreich Encounter’ at HMT Aberdeen, June 2-11