P&J Column 4.1.18


A ‘pious Vegan’  – Someb’dy fa eats nae animal products. Nae even a pie.

Tanya Souter, local lifestyle guru

It’s hisna been a good couple o’ wiks tae be a chef. Nick Nairn took a bunch of fives to the fizzog files oot and aboot in Aiberdeen and found himself sharpening his nose on the kerb-stone. Peer Nick, he’s my favourite o’ a’ the celeb chefs and I hope he’s daein’ better soon. A mannie wis lifted for the attack the next day. It’s an embarrassment tae the city that something lik ’at could happen on Union Street. Fan I wis a quine, hidings wis dished oot doon Jack’s Brae or at the Green, far there’s nae Cctv.

Anither chef in a bittie bother is the een doon in Shropshire fa his hid to close her restaurant due to the protests efter she posted on Facebook that she had “spiked” the meal of a “pious vegan”. (I hid tae look up baith that words, but it means somebody fa disna eat ony animal products, nae even a pie.) Her excuse was that “she had not fully realised the consequences of what it meant”. Had not fully realised the consequences of nae checking her privacy settings, mair like!

My pal, Big Sonya, gings oot wi a top chef. He works in a kebab shop on Bridge Street. He’s only been there six weeks and a’ready he’s been promoted fae being the boy that bags up the sweaty side-salads for the chicken pakoras to chief poppadum turner, so basically the sky’s the limit. I says to him, “Is it ever OK to lee to folk aboot fit’s in their denner?” He got very serious and he says to me, “Tanya – a chef’s reputation can tak years to build and seconds to destroy. The bond atween a chef and the customer is one of absolute trust. Nae matter how abusive or rude the customer his been, you must never, ever – let on to onybody fit you hiv done to get yer ain back.” I held in at him. He wizna giving much awa, but he did say that sometimes a chef will ask ye in a funcy wye if ye’d like something extra, and if you say yes, then that’s his excuse to get back at ye. So if you’ve iver been makin’ a nuisance o’ yersel in the late night queue, be careful if the boy ahind the counter asks if ye’d like yer chips and cheese served “a la salive”.

J Fergus Lamont, arts correspondent and author of “From Who’s Wa’? to PoohBah!-The Willie Young Story”

In the dying days of the year just gone, I was privileged to stumble upon not one, but two astonishing cultural delights.

First of all, I was astounded by what I witnessed at a live concert at His Majesty’s Theatre by Little Jimmy Osmond; the child-prodigy auteur of such pieces as the haunting ‘I’m Going To Knock On Your Door’ or the proto gender-fluidity anthem ‘Long haired Lover From Liverpool’. Expecting a gentle evening of virtuoso performance and comfortable retrospection, I was instead assailed by a mind-blowing prog-rock spectacular; a significant departure from his earlier stylistic choices. In this new material Little Jimmy appears as his own evil alter ego (“Abanazar”) in a daring conceptual tour de force involving a dragon, a flying carpet, and a complex narrative involving some terrifying cross dressing middle-aged men and a magic lamp which recalled both Yes and King Crimson, all performed over the continuous white noise of children’s screams. Incredible.

Naturally, on departure, I thought that that would be my cultural highlight for the festive season but fortuitously, still disorientated and suffering from a temporary deafness, I boarded the wrong bus parked at the rear of the theatre and was deposited, not at my home in Kincorth Circle, but in Stonehaven, where I found myself caught up in a second stunning coup-de-théâtre. Eccentrically dressed local yeomen, some in kilts, some in shirt and tie, others still in boiler suits, swung large spherical orbs of flame around their heads, to whoops of encouragement from onlookers. Clearly I had stumbled upon a rare open-air performance of the Greek playwright Euripides’ lost work ‘Phaeton’, in which the titular hero discovers his real father is the Sun God, Helios.

Compelled to join in, and passing a wire rubbish basket, I set it alight and swung it around my head. However in my excitement I lost my balance and fell, tearing the knees from my mustard cords and inadvertently launching my basket in the direction of an open window. Suddenly, a kilted gentlemen forcefully helped me to my feet, and noticed my damaged trousers. “What do you think your doing?’ he enquired,“Euripides!” I replied! ‘No I never’ he declaimed ‘you ripped them yourself!’

I wept.

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