Thursday, 29 January 2009

From The BBC: 'Depressed' town wins Plook award

A Fife town has been selected for an undesirable architectural prize for its "depressed investment-starved centre".

Glenrothes has been named the most dismal place in Scotland in the 2009 Carbuncle Awards.

It beat off stiff competition from Motherwell in Lanarkshire and New Cumnock in Ayrshire.

The infamous Plook-on-a-Plinth is given by design magazine Prospect to the place deemed the worst for planning and architecture.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

"Where’s mine?”- Lord of All The World to take interest in royalties

With the news this week that Glasgow City Council is to sue companies making image use of the Christ of St. John of The Cross painting, it is thought that Jesus himself will shortly begin an action to secure his own share of earnings.

Speaking from Paradise, where he sits at God's right hand, Jesus told The JT: "Actually, I used to sit on God's right hand but he got terrible pins and needles!

But seriously folks, this Dali painting was only one relatively late example of 2000 years of Christian representational art featuring me. Time for some payback, methinks."

Indeed, lawyers contacted by The JT confirmed that so central is our Saviour's image to the history of Western Art that Jesus could be looking at a sizeable payout. Malcolm Missives of Robb & Cheetham explains: "Palestine 2000 years ago was controlled by a complex interplay between the governing Roman power and local, Jewish religious law.

Tragically, Palestine at that time was so backward that the whole lucrative area of image-rights litigation hadn't been developed. A situation which of course directly led to the Passion Of Our Lord and, much worse, reduced sources of fee income for lawyers."

Mr Missives indicated that his practice would be willing to act for Our Lord and confirmed that,
whichever one of The Trinity he is, would be looking at a fair-sized sum: "We estimate Jesus could be looking at a settlement of £3 trillion, or fifty quid after our outlays and fees."

It is thought that Jesus is not too bothered about the artistic merit of interpretations through the ages, as he told The JT: "If people want to believe that a semite living in The Holy Land would have blonde hair and blue eyes then I'm fine with that. Just give me the money."

Inside: Lawyers! Do you read The JT? How much would you charge The Lord? How much? Listen pal, Jesus has been crucified already...

Dali - Christ of St John of the Cross

"Christ of St.John of The Cross" or, as its known in Glasgow:
"Haw Peter! I can see your hoose fae up here!"

For an explanation of this gag send a s.a.e. to.... For an explanation of what a s.a.e. is, ask someone older than you.

Jesus, an artist's impression

Monday, 26 January 2009

Scots on the box

No Holds Bard, BBC 1 Scotland, 9.00pm, Sunday 25th January

ltogether now in our best declamatory reading-poetry-out-loud-in-an-accent-we-never-use-normally-voice:

"Let no man claim,
lest he be arrested,
that the BBC with Burns
aren't doing their bestest."

Thank you, thank you. I'm available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals, talk to my agent he handles that sort of thing.

It's true tho' isn't it? BBC Scotland's has been giein' Rabbie the full-on, blanket coverage for his 250th and why not? It's only once a year for fuck's sake, (unlike River Fuckin' City) and I imagine that the powers that be are fervently praying that the coverage of the bard gives the Homecoming Scotland campaign a bit of a boost.

OK, the organisers of HS are are pains to claim that the Year isn't just about Burns, which is a relief, because if it was, then 2009 would be the shortest year on record.

But, I'm still a bit concerned that the initial emphasis on Burns is a bit unwise in marketing terms. To put it crudely, with Burns Night awa with the cattle and January no yet loused, I fear we're in a post pop-shot situation. We've had the climax, and now we're just going to spend the rest of the year cleaning up.

Anyway, back to the Beeb. No Holds Bard was billed by the BBC press office as a "60-minute comedy mocumentary" with a "star-studded Scottish cast", detailing the lives of characters taking part in an annual Burns recitation contest. No problem with the veracity of that second bit. Every bastard was in it. It would be quicker to list the Scottish acting talent who didn't get the gig, believe me.

Mocumentary? That I'm not so sure about. Referring to my extensive video library dedicated to this genre (Christopher Guest's movies and TV's People Like Us among other examples) NHB didn't feel like a mocumentary. First, it wasn't on film if you know what I mean. The producers had used that video format which gave the show the look of a soap.

Second, it was far too well directed to successfully con us into thinking we were watching a doc or moc for that matter. The set ups were just too accomplished, the transition edits too professional to help the joke along. It needed more jiggly camera work and people getting their words jumbled up - you know, like Reporting Scotland every night.

And, third, (or "c" if you will) there was just too much acting going on. Watch any of the great mocs and you "see" very little acting. The "interviewees" usually play it dead straight. The humour is in what they say, and the situations they find themselves in.

Perhaps one of the weakness of NHB derived from the very diversity of acting backgrounds the show drew on. For example. Ashley Jensen, understands TV, understands tone and pacing. Gerard Kelly, understands panto. Gerard's pyscho-prison governer was less mocumentary, more Buttons charging around the stage looking for laughs in the Saturday matinee at The Kings.

The mocumentary genre relies on consistency of tone to allow us, the audience, to sit back and enjoy the gags. NHB was all over the shop. It desperately needed a monotone voice-over to anchor it. It needed more time spent on the script and less on the set-dressing. It needed to be thought through.

There was some funny stuff in it. The interplay between Paula and Boyd (Felicity Montagu and Vincent Franklin) as the nervous incomers from That England was good. Paula, a self-made woman in love with her creator, terminally self-deluded into thinking she can do Burns and convinced the locals are welcoming. And Boyd, cleaning up the vandalism left by the local ethnic-cleansers, one ear on his wife's confabulations, the other braced for the sound of breaking glass.

There was a tart, black edge to that interplay that could use opening out. The BBC commissioning a sitcom about English incomers being terrorised by local heiders? The look on Alex Salmond's face? Count me in. So, No Holds Bard? More like No Turn Left Unstoned, but not totally bad.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


View through wing mirror

Although no T-Rex had been sighted on this bit of the Kinlochewe road
for 65m years, Archie wasn't letting his guard down

White stag

Stag finally admits it:" Alright, I do have a problem with
BeRo Self-raising but I'm going to get help."

Dog on plinth

"Ta, daa!"


In the week after Craig Brewster received his jotters as manager at crisis-torn (etc, etc - feel free to insert own cliche here as liked) Inverness Caledonian Thistle, directors at the club, nestled among the other portacabins that make up the splendour of Inverness, told The JT that they didn't have a fuckin' clue what was going to happen next!

Ashen-faced sources close to the club told The JT: "This week, in search for a new manager, names such as Robertson, Butcher, Sutton, Knox and Ardiles have been linked with moves into the management hot seat at whatever the fuckin' name of the club ground is. I can confirm that next week, the search for a new manager at ICT will really get interesting with Maradona, Pele, Bobby Moore, Mahatma Ghandi and Joe Stalin all putting their names keys, hats, I forget how that cliche goes, into the ring, stall, tent, whatever."

As is it thought extremely unlikely that the next week will bring any resolution in the search for a manager at ICT, directors will implement Plan B: asking anyone, living anywhere in the known universe if they'd like the job. When that plan fails they'll switch to Plan C: asking Craig if he wants his old job back.

Inside: Listening to coverage of a Rangers game last week on Radio Scotland and the commentator referred to "Walter Smith putting his tent out". I didn't know that Wattie during his busy week could find time to volunteer with The Scouts so well done him.

ICT's grund

Look! The fucker's massive! Surely to Christ...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

"Let's Rawk!"etc - elderly lady glad to have hobby, salary

National treasure and beacon of merriment in these troubled times, list MSP Christine Grahame is to present a motion to Holyrood demanding that Aussie rockers AC/DC be honoured in Scotland.

Ms Grahame told The
JT: "When Malcolm and Angus Young formed the band a scant 10000 miles away from Scotland in Sydney back in 1973, I bet they never thought that one day a middle-aged woman with far too much time on her hands would be seeking unsolicited honours on their behalf."

It is thought that this current campaign will replace moving the bones of Mary, Queen of Scots north in Ms Grahame's affections. "Yes", Ms Grahame told The
JT, "I was very interested in that idea for a while. I've forgotten why I was so concerned about that. I'm much more committed to this new idea I've got, whatever it is. What's my name again?"

brain box Professor Beaker sees Ms Grahame's latest campaign as evidence that care in the community is working. "In days gone by, someone of Ms Grahame's advancing years would've spent her days sitting quietly, staring into space and occasionally mumbling rubbish. Now, thanks to the list system in place at Holyrood she can still do all of that, but in the warm., while in receipt of a nice big salary. Which is nice."

Ms Grahame has met members of the band privately at a recent after-gig party. "I honoured members of the band in their dressing room in the usual way rock band members expect to be honoured. And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got this really funny taste in my - " (Rest of line removed on legal advice.)

Inside: "I see Barack Obama can trace his lineage back to William The Lion. Unlike George Bush who can trace his lineage back to Lenny The Lion."
(JT entry in the Last Ever Joke About George Bush competition.)

Cheerio George.

Sunday, 18 January 2009


Just before the ice gave way, too late Larry the Lab spotted
the cartoon beaver brandishing the cartoon saw

Radical trainwash idea a hit with drivers, less so with terrified passengers

Design flaw in genetically engineered "living blankets" idea
only to become obvious at shearing stage

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Consultants continue to take the piss, Auditor General finds

Audit Scotland found this week that the government and associated quangos are making too much use of consultants. Robert Black, Auditor General, pausing only to adjust his big witchfinder-type hat told The JT:

"We'd like to see the government departments currently using outside expertise, to actually learn from the consultants how to do the task for themselves in future."

For example.

Whereas, in current practice when a grinning hayseed paid by us asks a consultant what the time is, the procedure followed requires the consultant to borrow the civil servant's watch and advise of the "value of the current data point within quasi-sidereal temporal measurement parameters".
The time, in other words.

In future, under Audit Scotla
nd's proposals, the consultant would simply instruct the publicly-funded half-wit in question on how to tell the time, thus obviating the need to hire a consultant every time said numptie wants to know how close it is to home time.

But a consultant we contacted unfortunately doesn't think that things would be that simple.

Pausing only to draw air sharply in through his teeth our source said:
"Yeh, tricky one that. I mean you're talking doing an initial health and safety audit, a skills set evaluation, lots of face to face meetings to agree output measures. And then, actually writing the telling the time procedure up and getting that audited. I mean I couldn't even think about looking at doing the work 'til next month at the earliest. I'm still working on that guidance on how to eat mince and tatties for the senior directorate staff. Nightmare mate, fuckin' nightmare."

Inside: Meanwhile, in an intervention that must win some prize for stating the bleedin' obvious, MSP Jeremy Purvis told the BBC that "taxpayers' money should not be wasted unnecessarily." Naw really?

Robert Black prepares to hunt down money wasters and burn them, possibly

Antiquarian Curiosities: an occasional divertissement

"The Reverend Walker, just chillin' on Duddingston Loch."

Sir Henry Raeburn. Medium: Oil on Canvas. circa 12th March 1790, about 3.30pm

Sir Henry's association with Apple Mackintosh Reds, "Manufacturer of The Och Aye Pod by Royal Appointment" was unfortunately brief.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

On Etiquette

I have received a number of anxious missives enquiring on matters of etiquette following revelations in the press that certain members of The Royal Family are given to addressing certain people of ethnicity as "paki" and "sooty". 

Given that the question of how to address members of The Royal Family is often  fraught with difficulty, readers are naturally wondering which appropriate, "affectionate" form of address is available in such circumstances. 

I can confirm that such a form exists that will serve. On being introduced to the Princes Harry or Charles the correct form of address is: "How are you white bread, honky pencil-dick?" 

Be assured that their Royal Highnessess will take this in good part.

Inside: I see Prince Andrew "gave" his 17 year old daughter Princess Sophie a BMW as a birthday present. By this of course is meant that we gave her a BMW as a birthday present...

Links we like

Hello again, fellow link likers.
Of the links below, two are directly recommended by a
JT reader and two are just ones that have I found down the back of my mental fridge - links I'd meant to share but hadn't.

Guests go first in our house, so thanks to Regina Iain for sharing the following:
First up, a clip that Iain tells me is a big hit with his fellow Canadians. Very long nights in Canada during the winter, not a lot to do, which might explain why this brilliant bit of blasphemy is such a hit.

Do not share this clip with that Auntie who went off to be a nun. With her, best stick to clips of kittens and balls of wool.

As in kittens playing with balls of wool obviously, not a kitten with woollen balls, that wouldn't make sense: Glasgow Jesus


Also from Iain, a gem of a marketing opportunity for the Homecoming Scotland campaign, which my spies tell me isn't going all that well. With uniquely talented (ahem) "all-round entertainers" like this waiting to welcome the world, I think the marketing wallahs are missing a trick.

At least that is, until the subject of this clip is sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

Two clips now, very different but united by great guitar playing. Until I saw a recently repeated doc on BBC2, for my sins I'd forgotten how good a writer the late Jake
Thackray was and sotto voce, that he was also an understated but quietly brilliant guitar player. See what you think: 

Finally, in an act of supreme self-abasement, I reluctantly share with you the gob-smacking goodiocity of Joscho Stefan, a laughably young German gypsy style guitar player.

I say reluctantly, because the JT reader probably remembers that your editor likes to think he can play the guitar. He also likes to think that Maura Tierney is sending him coded messages via the TV but that's another matter. The only way I could play the guitar as fast as this kid is by being strapped into the back of a Tornado with the re-heat engaged.

I hate this guy so much.

Enjoy, while I go off for a well deserved sulk:

Sunday, 11 January 2009

From Scotland on Sunday

"THE Duke of Sutherland last night suggested he is not "doing that well" out of a deal that will see him gain £100m and avoid a huge tax bill by selling two Titian masterpieces to the nation.
The duke... claimed he could have received much more for the works – Diana and Actaeon and Diana and Callisto – had he sold them on the open market."

Friday, 9 January 2009

(Not) Scots on the box

Life of Riley, BBC 1 Network, 8pm Thursdays.

For those of you not in the know, this sitcom with Caroline Quentin was developed by BBC Scotland as part of a deal to get some of the BBC's money spent outside the M25 area. That is, to allow BBC Scotland to make a bigger contribution to those parts of the network that aren't here, at home, where we all live.

I trust that's clear enough.

As part of this current package there's another sitcom upcoming written by the Peep Show blokes so let's keep our fingers crossed. Meantime, what we've got to show for this money migration north is Life of Riley. As far as I can see there's not a lot of anything especially Scottish in the show. It appears to be set in That London, and in a move likely to endear the show to millions to Scottish viewers, one of the kids has a St.George's flag in his bedroom. Well done, the set designer!

So what's it like (living) the Life of Riley? It's not bad, it's just beige.

Life could've been written anytime in the last 30 years, it's a "classic" sitcom, not in a FawltyTowers way, more of a Terry and June way.

The perfectly fine Caroline Quentin and Neil Dudgeon play a couple of wed-agains trying to make their new, extended family of step-kids work - with predictably hilarious results! Well at least half of the last bit is true. The "jokes", first delivered on the getting to know you night on The Ark, are competently and predictably delivered to adoring laughter from the studio audience. An audience who, on this showing, must be exclusively made up of a day trip out from the Home For The Easily Amused.

There is an attempt to spice things up a bit by wheeling out the old pregnancy kit, Ohmygawdwho'suptheduff gag, but it's all very nice and a bit dull. The most objectionable and depressing thing about the show lies in the way the child actors are treated, given lines to speak that no kid in real life would ever say. In consequence, they come across as slightly creepy cut-down adults, grownups trapped in bodies too young for them. Brr.

If you want to see script design that plays to the strengths of child actors, look at Outnumbered, a sitcom grazing in the same field as Life but allowing the child actors to frame their own lines.
Consequently the kids wipe the floor with the big people in every scene. Brilliant!

Life of Riley makes My Family look like comedy gold and, and there I just walked into my own carefully dug trap. The fact is that dreck like My Family are ratings busters. They deliver audiences and in truth, there's no reason in principle why Life can't repeat the trick.
It's not comedy in my book. In my book, comedy surprises and, occasionally, shocks. Life is about as shocking and surprising as a nice cup of tea and a bit of a sit down. But so what? I don't have to watch it do I?

True, but it does make me slightly depressed that the result of all that network largesse results in BBC Scotland producing a sitcom that's just beige. I'd be the first to admit that good comedy writing, suitable for sitcom formats, is a bit thin on the Scottish ground at the moment. And while that exhausted workerist tendency exemplified by Dear Green Place seems to have thankfully played itself out there's no genre replacement emerging.

Having moaned my tits off about re-treads and re-cycling for what seems like hours can I close by completely contradicting myself? Bring back Rab C Nesbitt. Iain Pattison's resurrection of Rab over Xmas wasn't perfect by any means but it did have surprises and the occasional shock.
RAB C good, Life of Riley beige.


Thursday, 8 January 2009

Forth Crossing crisis: metaphor supplies already overstretched.

With the debate on the funding crisis surrounding the new Forth crossing, concern is growing that those shite metaphors beloved of politicians might already being running out.

In a stormy session at
Holyrood, Annabel Goldie, pausing only to adjust her comfortable shoes, accused Alex The Smug of "wanting to burn bridges not build them". Iain Gray weighed into the debate by saying : "I agree with what she just said."

With the brain-d
ryingly tedious matter of funding the crossing likely to drag on for quite a while, Professor Beaker is concerned that the store of bridge-related metaphors may already be near exhaustion point. "It really could be a matter of this being a bridge too far. Oh shit, there's another one gone. Sorry."

The issue of funding could be resolved by the use of a mechanism called "tolls", an admittedly
revolutionary idea whereby the user of the service actually, you know, like pays for it?

But this has been
rejected, in a well thought out plan by the SNP government, as a spokeshalfwit now explains : "with the pace of global warming quickening, you'd think the last thing a responsible government would be doing is encouraging car use by reducing the real cost. You'd think that wouldn't you, but you'd be wrong."

nside: Logic 101. I use car parks and I pay for their use. I don't have to use a particular car park, but I do. So why then do I have to pay?

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

From The Scotsman

Tories name TV presenter as Scottish spin doctor

THE Scottish Conservatives have named a television journalist as their new spin doctor. STV presenter and political correspondent Michael Crow has been appointed head of strategy and communications in Scotland.
In the newly created role, Mr Crow will act as the link between Tory Central Office in London and the Scottish Conservative group in the Scottish Parliament.

The decision to appoint Mr Crow was seen at Holyrood last night as a statement of intent by the Conservatives in Scotland ahead of the next general election, when the party needs to do better than it has for generations if David Cameron's desire to represent the UK is to be realised.

Andrew Fulton, the Scottish Conservatives' chairman, said: "As a journalist for 15 years, Michael brings with him a huge amount of media and political experience."

Mr Fulton then didn't go on to tell The JT: "An added bonus is that since Michael was previously employed by STV, no one outside Glasgow post code areas will have any idea who he is."

Monday, 5 January 2009


Woman with Brussel sprout peelings
First week in January and pissed woman finally notices Xmas dinner sprouts

Canada gees landing on reservoir

"After you, ay? No, after you ay?" New study finds why  Canada geese take three hours to land anywhere...

"Ten. You're showing ten fingers. Now give me a carrot, bitch."

Sunday, 4 January 2009

"Day fucked - if - I - knaa in the Big Brutha House and is Tommy gannin' for the exit?"

With bookies' sentiment already running against Tommy Sheridan to stay the course inside the (ahem) "Celebrity" Big Brother House, one can only ask this. If they throw oor Tommy oot have they any idea what they're going to miss out on?

  • Tommy presenting a brief, three hour, slide-show titled, "Portraits of traitorous ex-comrades from the SSP who are pure gonnae get it after the revolution so they uhr."

  • Tommy leading his fellow housemates in a rousing, twenty four verse version of "We must sweep away the forces of reaction with the iron broom of revolutionary practice!" With toilet breaks.

  • Tommy mentally mapping the areas of the house not covered by cameras and then sidling up to (rest of sentence removed on legal advice).

  • Tommy declaring the House a republic, Brotheria, and immediately nationalises the monopolies, the risks, the cluedos and other multiple copies of boardgames found in a cupboard.

Inside: Anyway, if the perjury trial goes tits up at least Tommy will have got some confinement practice in. "And next on Channel Fowa. Sorry I meant Four."