Feb

03

Papa’s Eulogy

Welcome everybody, and thank you for coming along today to St Mary Magdalene’s. We’re here to wish farewell to your friend, our Dad, our Papa, in this beautiful little church, more or less next door to where our family did so much of its growing up. Most of you will have a favourite memory of […]

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Jun

12

IT’S MURDER BEING SCOTTISH

When I lived in New York I never really got to grips with the TV ‘news’. The nightly round-up made the Dundee Courier’s mythical front page for the Titanic disaster – Dundee Man Lost At Sea: Giant Turnip Found in Forres – seem like universal insight. The square-jawed anchormen and professionally-perfect women did cover international events. But only […]

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Jun

04

Are ye dancing?

“Are ye dancing?” “Are ye asking?” When I was a schoolboy, I saw Francie and Josie deliver this routine at Perth Theatre. Dressed in vivid Teddy-boy suits, the Scots comedy duo – aka Rikki Fulton and Jack Milroy – lampooned the Scottish dancehall mating ritual. Fresh from the searing humiliation of Scottish country dancing classes […]

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May

29

A Sobering Train of Thought

It was a journey of two halves and the contrast couldn’t have been more startling. I was on the London-Glasgow train on a Sunday afternoon. Having stood on my headphones, I couldn’t listen to music or watch a movie – so the other passengers passed for entertainment. On the first half of the journey, a […]

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May

23

Big Society

I was sitting in a client’s reception area when the guy came in. He was big, very big, and hadn’t seen his feet in a long time. Probably a salesman, he wore a suit. His stomach didn’t hang over his belt though. You could see it drooped down inside his trousers towards his knees. He […]

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May

13

No sex please, we’re Scottish!

Last week, the Scottish Government published a consultation paper on the licensing of ‘sexual entertainment’. In my whole life, I don’t think I’d ever heard the phrase ‘sexual entertainment’ before. Certainly, growing up in a typical Scottish house in the 60s and 70s, there wasn’t any. At the first hint of hanky-panky on television, my […]

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May

05

A Sticky End

In case you hadn’t noticed, the makers of McCowans Highland Toffee went into administration last week. However, there may still be hope for the 90-year-old brand and its 200 employees. The administrators Grant Thornton have revealed that there are two potential bidders to keep the business going, one of which is a consortium of Scottish […]

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May

01

How do you sleep at night?

How did you sleep last night? Did you sleep the sleep of the just? Or did you just toss and turn and watch the clock, fretting away the hours till dawn? Or did you simply choose to stay awake watching TV, playing computer games or tapping at some digital device until the wee small hours? […]

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Apr

14

FROM MADMEN TO SADMEN

No doubt you’ve seen the TV series Mad Men – the beautifully realised soap opera set in the 1960s on Madison Avenue, New York’s traditional ‘advertising district’. Over the past few years, it’s been hard to avoid the sleek style and seductive storylines of this award-laden show, and especially its chisel-jawed hero: the brooding, bed-hopping, […]

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Apr

13

Scotch Missed

How come the great brands of Scotch are not particularly Scottish? That’s one of the great ironies of international marketing. Certainly, it’s true that all brands aim to build on what makes them different. Since all ‘Scotch’ is equally ‘Scottish’, nationality in itself brings no competitive distinction to any individual brand. So, perhaps it’s not […]

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