P&J Column 3.12.15

Hot spiced wine? I’d have to mull it over.

Archie Fraser, City Centre denizen and gentleman of the road

I am unlikely, in my remaining years, to venture out with this good city; being a fellow of somewhat limited means as well as being banned from Aberdeen train station for an as yet undefined period. As a result, my dreams of traversing the globe to take in all of its magical Christmas sights, sounds and smells are unlikely ever to be realised. I will never visit the Winter-markets of Trier, Germany; go ice-skating in Central park, New York, or roast chestnuts on an open fire in a snowy Wenceslas Square in Prague.

So, imagine my delight to find that I no longer have any need to visit these far flung places, now that Union Terrace Gardens have been transformed into what I can only describe as a veritable Winter Wonderland!

As a long-time observer of Aberdeen City Council’s approach to Festivals and ‘events’, I have firsthand experience of the success – or otherwise – of their previous endeavours. In previous years I have marvelled at – and slept in – the Nativity Scene at the St Nicholas Kirk yard, recreated the final movement of Torvill & Dean’s iconic ‘Bolero’ after two tins of special brew at the Castlegate ice rink, and regurgitated a second hand KFC Club Sandwich over Angus the Bull during the Christmas Lights Parade.

However, this year the council has surpassed itself. We have our very own German market – and what riches therein lie, for a gentlemen of the road! My goodness, the bins along Union Terrace are packed with discarded bits of bratwurst and mince pie, and a cavalcade of disposable cups each containing a drop or two of Glühwein, truly the nectar of the Gods. On Sunday night, the legend that is Muffler Mitchell was at death’s door. In the freezing temperatures, he was not long for this world. That was until I managed to nick through the back of one of the tents, grab a beaker of the sweet, spiced elixir, and pour it down Muffler’s throat. The next 5 minutes were unforgettable.

For those of you who have seen the film “the Mask” then I may not need to say much more. Suffice to say Muffler found a new lease of life in that magical combination of cloves, cinnamon, orange and lukewarm Jacob’s Creek.

Jumping six feet in the air, Muffler let out a cry that would rouse even the most somnolent Councillor from his slumber at an afternoon meeting on Marischal Square and went tearing towards His Majesty’s at a speed that would rival Usain Bolt being chased by a lustful Loraine Kelly. He ran straight at the wall of the theatre, ran up the wall à la Donald O’Connor in Singing in the Rain – regrettably leaving footprints apparently disappearing up Elaine C Smith’s nostrils – and landed perfectly on his tattered Doc Martins. The next thing I knew, Muffler had a policeman in a head-lock and was singing “Silent Night” at a volume which can only be described as genuinely ironic. Shortly thereafter, Muffler enjoyed a cosy night in the cells, incarcerated, inebriated and full of something akin to the Christmas Spirit.

So, on behalf of Muffler, myself and all those who call the stars their ceiling, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our City Fathers for the greatest gift of all this Christmas – temporary licensing laws permitting drinking in the streets again! God bless them, everyone.

Cava Kenny Cordiner, the sports columnist who’s just as good on clay

I was glued to the tennis at the weekend to see Britain win the Dickie Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years. What made it even more impressive was that they beat their opponents, the Belgiums, in their own barnyard. All I can say is “Take a bow, Andy Murray”.

The Scottish hero practically done single-handed. Not only that, but he won a heap of games playing with his brother, so he done it doubles-handed as well. Legend.

After the match, the commentators was coming out with all these stats, saying that Andy had won all 11 of the matches he’d played in the Davis Cup this year. Only one lad won a game that Murray never played in. So the rest of the team have a bit of a cheek standing anywhere near that trophy, to be honest. The fact is, they would never have won it if it wasn’t for Andy’s Hercule Poirot efforts.