P&J Column for 30.6.14

Who says the council aren’t crowd pleasers? On Broad Street they’re bringing the House down.

J Fergus Lamont – Arts Critic and author of “Sarah Mack – Lust for Glory”

This week, at Aberdeen’s Broad Street, a mesmerising piece of performance art unfolds at a stately pace. Daily, the daring agit-prop artists’ collective known as “Safedem”, expose new perspectives on the city as, in the style of Foucault, they ‘deconstruct’ St Nicholas House. A broken sliver of concrete and glass stands, doomed but proud, atop the rubble, with Provost Skene’s House in muted counterpoint. It is sculpture; it is song; it is a paean to the dance we dance following the Pied Piper of progress and renewal. It is a perfect symbol of our disposable age, and the knowledge that this building is to be replaced by another, largely identical construction fashioned from concrete, glass and steel provides a deliciously comic lesson in futility.  I was moved, both by the scene and the digger driver, who colourfully threatened to run me over if I didn’t get out of his way.

Also in Aberdeen this week a pod of dolphins erupted in joyful colour onto our streets. You may have seen them outside the Arts Centre, or on the Castlegate, although not, ironically, outside the Dolphin chipper, who may have missed a trick, there.

My personal favourite is at the harbour. Mute, quizzical, studded with pebbles that speak of the sea, and bejewelled with a mosaic of mirrors that reflect back one’s own image, distorted, changed, in reminder of the transformative power of art. So deeply impressed was I that I could barely tear myself away. Even after I drove off I was compelled to return, and when I left for a second time, again I felt the need to drive back and consider afresh this inspirational cetacean. A third time I left, and a third time I returned. At which point, I was arrested for kerb-crawling.

I wept.

Jimmy Hollywood, Sandilands’ most eligible bachelor.

I hiv had some great nights at The Marcliffe ower the years. My second cousin’s wedding, with a hipflask in my sporran. A fitba fundraiser with Georgie Best as the headliner. Yon night I got friendly with an American lady ower fae Houston for a conference, fa took me back tae Pitfodels and showed me her accommodation. ‘How do you like your eggs in the morning, Sugar?” she says to me. ‘Scrambled’ I says, ‘and sitting next tae twa rashers of bacon, a sausage, grilled tomato, mushrooms and a wee slice of black pudding.’

So I wiz sad tae hear that The Marcliffe is being sold and even mair sadder tae hear it’s going tae be knocked doon and converted intae luxury hooses. The developer – naen ither than F-bomb dropping AFC Chairman Stewartie Milne – is building a swanky housing development because “there is a shortfall in terms of high-end executive housing in the Aberdeen area”.


Noo, I am nae a hugely successful hotelier. I am nae a hugely successful property developer. I am merely hugely successful with the ladies. But… am I mental, or is this nae jist aboot the only kind of development Aiberdeen disnae need?

Local property prices are a’ready through the roof. By ‘local’ I mean, in the nice bits of toon. Property prices here in Sandilands remain – much like mony of the residents – depressed. Fit wye div we need anither dose of multi-million pound hooses on the North Deeside road fan we hiv an infrastructure that maks Spaghetti Junction look like a masterpiece of urban planning and a city centre that’s been on the slide since Bruce Forsyth was a loon?

Dinna tell me we hiv a “shortfall” in massive mansions only millionaires can afford. Come on boys. Get a grip. There’s fifteen thousand folk waiting on a council hoose in Aiberdeen, and getting onto the property ladder here is harder than the bouncer’s stare at chucking-oot time at The Broadsword.

And that, (besides the fact she maks a cracking Lasagne and disnae charge me ony rent) is fit wye this thirty-eight year old love guru, still bides at hame with his ma.

Cava Kenny Cordiner – the football columnist who’s box to box for the full ninety.

Aloha!  Kenny here with my latest update from the World Cup in Brazil. The football has been gooder than ever, but there is not no doubt what topic has been domineering the back pages.  I’m talking of course about Euro-Guy’s cereal biter, Luis Suarez.  If you ask me it’s a storm in a tea-bag.  So the lad’s sunk his gnashers into an opponent’s shoulder like an angry futret, but like I always sometimes say, it is a man’s game and when you enter the field of play the goalie gloves is off. Personably, I feels sorrow for Suarez.  I realise that might raise a few highbrows, but I see a lot of myself in the lad.  Like him, I have also been called a “Torcher Genius”.  Him for his great skills but dodgy behavior, and me on account of that business with the fire at my wine bar and the big insurance pay out.

Meanwhile, England had a stinker and flew back home with their legs between their tails.  The glory days of 1966 seem longer ago after every World Cup.  Never mind, no matter how far back it is, I’m sure that whenever England is playing, we’ll get to hear about it all over again.

Until next time, adidas!