P&J Column for 11.3.13

Mission 37? More like Mission Impossible!

TANYA SOUTER – lifestyle advice with a local flavour.

I da ken aboot yous, but it wis nae surprise tae me tae hear that the average oil worker his pit on mair than 3 stone in the last 10 years. My pal Natasha wis telling me that her new man, Gary, works aff-shore, as a roundabout. I says ‘No Natasha, you mean a roustabout’. She says ‘You hinna seen the size of him’.

Apparently oil bosses are fed up laying on extra helicopter flights tae winch these Billy Bunters oot tae the rigs, so they’ve set up “Mission 37” tae try and keep ab’dys waistline’s nae bigger than 37 inches.  Tae pit that intae perspective, it’s somewye atween Vanessa Feltz and Eamnon Holmes. That target sounds like a right cop out.  I ken plenty of fat lads fa squeeze themsels intae 36 inch waist skinny-fit troosers. You ken fit I’m spikkin aboot, they’re trying tae look like Russell Brand, but they end up looking like a pack of Hall’s sausages. But if you’re such a greedy-guts that ye canna even manage tae dae up the fly of a thinner man’s breeks, here’s Tanya’s top diet tip tae help ye shed enough pounds tae mak sure you get a seat on that chopper.

Fowk often say that breakfast is the maist important meal of the day, and they’re richt. So ditch the bacon, eggs and fried bread in favour of a morning meal of all-bran followed by prunes soaked in syrup o’ figs.  It’s jist common sense – ye canna pit on weight if your breakfast gings through ye like a BMW through Tilyldrone!

J. FERGUS LAMONT, arts critic and author of ‘Blethering Awa!: A post-Brechtian analysis of the Life and Work of Art Sutter’, attended His Majesty’s Theatre.

Few will be aware of the theatrical triumph I attended a last week at Aberdeen’s foremost avant garde performance space, HMT. It was a radical reworking of ‘The Mousetrap’ by the venerable crime writer and 99p store magnate Agatha Christie. I had my doubts that this hoary old chestnut would prove its worth in the modern arena, but I was stunned by what I saw. The complex power of this astonishing work can not be over stated. You may never have heard of it, it has received little, if any, publicity, but I can assure you this is the finest theatrical thriller I have seen since the Singing Kettle’s towering ‘Inspector Parrot and the Big Green Planet’.

This searing production transplanted the action to the time period of the 1980s, all legwarmers and vulgarity, and in a stunning symbolic coup de theatre, the entire cast of ‘The Mousetrap’ are dressed as cats. They open proceedings by gyrating wildy around the auditorium whilst wearing elaborate feline make-up and skin-tight lycra, clearly symbolising the breakdown of moral order in Thatcher’s Britain, as represented by the murder-ravaged Monkswell Manor.

The story is radically deconstructed. Frequently, the cast break into song; crimes against persons brilliantly evoked as crimes against the ear.  Who did it? That would be telling! Especially as in this production he was known only as ‘Rumpleteazer’.

I wept.

VIEW FROM THE MIDDEN – Rural affairs with MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) presenter, JOCK ALEXANDER

It’s been a revitalising wik in the village! I wiz maist interested tae see that, in the big city, a 10 point plan has been unveiled tae save Aiberdeen City Centre. Amongst its recommendations I spotted several that are already in effect here in Meikle Wartle. Encourage residential use of the main thoroughfare? We achieve that here by the simple expedient of only having the one street. Create a world class public facility that celebrates the ile? We celebrate that every October fan Tam Young’s Massie Ferguson leaks a great load of  Castrol GTX on the A920 and the toonsers ging skiting aff intae his tattie park. Oh fit a laugh we hae, at their expense; and fit an expense they hae, peying Tam tae tow them oot! And, of course, it saves Tam the bother of howking his tatties.

I was very interested tae see the proposal that trams should be brought back a mere 55 years efter crowds of Aiberdonians were pictured, jubilant, as the last lot were burnt tae ash in a great muckle bonfire at the beach. Of course, we’ve hid an ecologically sound public transport infrastructure here in the village for mony a day. ‘Shanks’s Pony’ we cry it. Because it’s a pony, and it belongs tae Davie Shanks.

But Aiberdeen could dae worse than to look to Miekle Wartle – we dinna hae ony unsightly bookies, pawnbrokers or pound shops in the village square! We dinna hae onything noo, nae efter Feel Moira got a bit over zealous wi the firelighters at last wik’s village barbecue.  So – raze Union Street tae the ground! It’s certainly done wonders here tae encourage a closer community. We’ve nae choice, really, as we’ve got tae huddle thegither for warmth.