P&J Column for 29.12.14

At the Council’s Oil Summit there will be no toilet breaks. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

We face challenging times in Aberdeen. With the oil price dropping like a stone, the solid foundation upon which our local economy rests suddenly looks a bittie dicey. Of course, we have seen this before. I well remember the oil crash of 1986, when a repossessed house in the Bridge of Don could be snapped up for the price of a poke of chips. And things could be worse: at least there isn’t a vast programme of office and hotel construction going on throughout the city. But action is urgently required. That is why we, the Council, have convened an emergency summit meeting on the future of the oil industry. Of course, the usual naysayers and malcontents have been giving us the unconstructive catcalls to which we have become accustomed. “It’s knee-jerk,” they say. “It’s not properly thought-out.”

Well, we know exactly what we want to achieve from this meeting. We want to give the impression that we are doing something so, when the excrement collides with the extractor, no one can say we sat on our hands. And we know exactly how to go about it. We are going to lock a load of people in a room without agenda, direction, sustenance or toilet-breaks until, they all agree to whatever half-baked proposal is put in front of them. And if that sounds in any way irregular, let me assure you that it is not. It’s how we’ve been deciding policy for years.

Shelley Shingles, showbiz correspondent and Miss Fetteresso 1983

2 more sleeps! I am getting hot flushes just thinking about Wednesday night in Stonehaven, and I’m not talking about the swingers and their great balls of fire! I am so excited to see my fave 80s synthpop band, The Human League, on Hogmanay that I may have to pop into the Asda at Portlethen for a packet of Tena Lady on the way there. I’ve always loved their songs. ‘Mirror Man’ is an all time fave and ‘Fascination’ brings back some very special memories for me. It was playing when I snogged Eric Black that time in Mr G’s. But there’s no doubt which tune will get the Stonehaven crowd jumping on Wednesday night!

In case you have been living in a cave, The Human League’s ‘Don’t You Want Me Baby’ has become something of an anthem to Aberdeen fans, only they cleverly change it to ‘Peter Pawlett Baby’ which is totes hilare, and never gets old! The Dons fans even got the song in the charts earlier this year, and singer Phil Oakey even tweeted his approval of the new version. Straight after he got his royalties cheque!

Of course, me and Phil go way back. I first met him at Oscar’s in November 1995. I was doing some promotional work for an Irish cream liqueur on the night The Human League played the Capitol. What a get-up! Frilly shirt, one earring, black eyeliner and lopsided hairdo. Not one of my best looks. But anyway Phil and the two girl singers came in after the sound check and ordered a round of drinks. I put on my best seductive look and says “Don’t you want my Bailey’s?” I’ll never forget what he said to me.

‘No thanks love, just a Vimto for me and two pints of heavy for the lasses.”

Wise words from a great guy.

Tim Bee, The Conscientious Objector

I more than very much object to the fact that my attempt to get to London to participate in the Regent Street sales was interfered with by the closure of Kings Cross station. I objected strenuously when First Bus closed off the local bus stop that I don’t use for gas-main works last year, forcing me to walk a hypothetical extra hundred yards to catch the bus that I never catch. So imagine my dissatisfaction when the announcement came over the train that an entire main-line station was shut, and we were going to be stopping in Doncaster. Doncaster! If I’d wanted to shop in a grey, draughty city of moderate size that’s had the life sucked out of its main thoroughfare, I would have stayed in Aberdeen.

Naturally, I made a Bee-line for the guard – a gentleman called “Peter”, we had been told, in interminable prior announcements, repeated at every bleeding stop (a practice to which, might I add, I vigorously object). Let me tell you, I gave him what for! He stood there, a picture of zen-like tranquillity, and calmly and patiently explained that essential engineering works had over-run; that while the delay was highly regrettable, there was clear statistical data that the railways really were less busy at this time of year, so it made good sense for the works to be scheduled at this time; and that ultimately they would improve safety and service levels.

Well, I object to this most strongly of all. I have a right to rant and rave at public servants as and when I see fit. But if they are not going to have the common decency to go red-faced with rage and try to shout me down, where does that leave us? Doncaster, as it transpires.