P&J Column for 5.2.15

A ‘dismal plook’? Maybe, but it’s OUR dismal plook.

Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

So, the self-appointed arbiters of taste at ‘Urban Realm’ Magazine (circulation, a paltry 4000) have decided that Aberdeen is “dismal” and have awarded us the so-called “plook on the plinth.” (Ah, alliteration. It is such a juvenile device, one you’ll never catch me committing.) Well, I cannot say I am surprised. The practice of kicking Aberdeen has become so commonplace now that I would have been astonished had we not won. And so we take our place alongside Cumbernauld, Linwood, and Cumbernauld again among the crème de la crud. “A resurgent Dundee has overtaken us”, we are told; there has been “ a litany of embarrassing missteps”, apparently. Somehow NOT expending a vast amount of public money destroying a much-loved green space in the city centre has been held against us, while tearing down and redeveloping the single most-loathed building in the city is also recorded as a black mark on our architectural ledger. “Go figure”, as our American cousins might say. Kim Sears might put it more pithily. Frankly, the judges’ decision-making baffles me. How can any city that has a Jamie’s Italian, a Nandos and two Pret a Mangers be seen as anything other than hip and vibrant? We have been given no credit for the many recent visionary descisions made by the planning department which have done so much to improve the appearance of the city. What about the wonderful conservatory that Alfie Mutch has had added to his home on Corthan Crescent, or Mrs S. Baker of Logie’s new triple-glazed windows? Most shockingly of all, the new boaties on the pond in the Duthie Park have gone entirely unmentioned. In these circumstances it is hard to feel that one has had a fair hearing.

Unjust as this award may be, ultimately, however, I thank Urban Realm for it. Anything that makes us reflect on ourselves and our actions cannot be wholly unwelcome. We are told that the intention in awarding us the ‘plook’ is to raise awareness of planning issues and spark debate. Taking it in that spirit I have obtained a copy of the full citation. It is challenging. It is thought-provoking. And I can also report that I have found it to be soft, strong, and surprisingly absorbent.


‘Cava’ Kenny Cordiner, the sports columnist who keeps a civil tongue in his head.

As my regulation readers will know, back when I was playing I sometimes always let my tempura get the better of me, as is proved by my career tally of 38 red cards. But even though I has the worst discoplenary record of any player in the annuals of Scottish football, I has never not been one for bad language. It’s like I always tell my wee lad Zander; “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me’. So there’s nothing to be gained from effing and blinding at an opponent. You’ll achieve much more by kicking him up in the air. Kenny was no angel, but you could never accuse me of ungentital conduct, and I am proud to say that not one of my sending-offs was for dysentry. So when Melody asked if I had saw what lip readers say they seen Andy Murray’s fiance Kim Sears say – I says to her, I says “I don’t know what to say” – and that’s not something I says lightly! Fair play to Kim for wearing her funny t-shirt at the next match. Well, Melody told me it was funny. Old Kenny never understood one word of it.

Melody never seen what the fuss was about herself. She’s always sworn like a super-trooper. She’s lucky that there wasn’t so many cameras around when she was on the touch line cheering me on, or Youtube would have a lot of clips of her shouting dog’s abuse at a lot of refs! There was one time when she did get caught bonny but it was not at no football match. She was in the studio audience when I was a consonant on ‘Superscot’. The questions never fell right for old Kenny and when I got a nature question wrong, the camera cut to her crying Jane Franchi all sorts!

I still remember the question, too. “What sort of animal has a common variety called hermit?” Everybody laughed when I said “frog”, but I wasn’t so daft as I look. I just never heard the question properly – I thought Jane had said “Kermit”.