Muhammad Ali returns to Glasgow

Seconds out – a play focused on Muhammad Ali’s ‘forgotten’ fight in Paisley is returning35431322_10216915224936956_8887085018225049600_o to the stage due to phenomenal demand.

‘The Greatest’ took audiences and critics by storm when it was premiered as part of A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Glasgow’s Oran Mor in March.

The comedy-drama played to sell-out audiences and will return – “by phenomenal demand” – for another week’s run at the Oran Mor from July 23rd-July 28th 2018.

‘The Greatest’ tells the story of Jimmy Marshall, a gallus pensioner in a Scottish care home who has a bold claim – he insists he knocked out Ali … the night before the World Champion fought an exhibition bout at Paisley Ice Rink in August 1965. Continue reading “Muhammad Ali returns to Glasgow”


Find out if Laugh Begins at Forty at the Fringe

A new age has dawned for the Edinburgh Fringe … and it begins at 40.

A fantastic line-up of stand-up comedians are uniting to show that good comedy is timeless.

‘Laugh Begins at Forty’ offers an ever-changing daily menu of older mirth-makers.

The line-up includes Lynn Ruth Miller – the irrepressible 83-year-old who recently shone on Channel 4’s ‘First Dates’. Continue reading “Find out if Laugh Begins at Forty at the Fringe”

Bargain hunt (or the imperfection of memory and instant cappuccinos)

I am shopping for instant cappuccinos in Home Bargains (don’t judge me – my tastebuds are aspirational middle class but my wallet cannot back them up) when a woman in her early-60s cries out:

“Alan – it’s you!”

She greets me with utter certainty and gives me a hug. She smells of mints, nicotine and Brexit.

I’m blind-sided but – against my own will – instantly snap into autopilot.home-bargains

Smiling in a frankly disturbing manner, I offer a piss-weak watery gambit:

“Oh hiya – how’s the family?”

While she chunters away about getting a new ring and more hours at her cleaning job, I try desperately to place her.

  • Work? (possible)
  • Distant relative? (also possible)
  • Ex-girlfriend? (not possible – unless mind-damaging chemicals were in operation on both sides)

Continue reading “Bargain hunt (or the imperfection of memory and instant cappuccinos)”

Misery on the buses – next stop Hell

If Hell is other people then public transport is the modern day equivalent of a ferryboat across the River Styx.

I don’t want to give too much of a slippering to buses and trains – communal transportation is great, connecting society and reducing isolation – what’s not to like, right?

The clue is in the word communal. bus_hell_4413

A person is fine, but when they multiply and become people then I find myself adopting the role of an alien sent to Earth who is trying desperately to fit in, but failing.

Perhaps I should explain here that since an early age I have been a magnet for malcontents, truculents and trumpets of all shapes, sizes, ages and genders.

Simply put – I have an unerring knack for finding fruitcakery – like a desperate pig on a truffle hunt.

If there’s awkwardness, embarrassment and potential thuggery I will draw it to myself – like water on a bathroom floor seeking dry sock. Continue reading “Misery on the buses – next stop Hell”

If Trump Jr is an alpha male then I’m an omega feminist

Masculinity is a foreign country: they do things differently there. 

With due apologies to L.P. Hartley for mangling his wonderful line, that elegantly sums up how I feel about being a man.

The nature of manhood cropped up again recently when the New York Times published a frankly disturbing photo of Donald Trump Jr sitting on a tree stump sporting dad jeans, plaid shirt and dead eyes.

Bored menace

Is this what a real man looks like, I thought – faux-lumberjack outfit, awkward body language and an expression somewhere between bored menace and a Terminator having his hard drive defragged?

Truth be told, I’ve never been brimming with blokery – when it comes to chromosomes my X is next to my Y, but neither feels particularly comfortable – it’s like the Chuckle Brothers wearing skinny jeans or a coalition government. Continue reading “If Trump Jr is an alpha male then I’m an omega feminist”

Freedom of speech comes at a cost, says world’s oldest baby

It seems counter-intuitive that free speech might have a cost, but the more I look at social media, the more the true price becomes clear:

Our collective sanity.

The sheer volume of abuse, opinions and half-facts on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Buzzfeed et al is surely reaching event horizon.

There has to come a point of no return after which the crushing weight of invective and inhumanity collapses in on itself like a dead star.

(Before you point it out – I know this opinion piece itself is yet another piece of flotsam adding to the flood. I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite.)

I realised the deleterious power of social media first hand when I – briefly – trended on Twitter. Continue reading “Freedom of speech comes at a cost, says world’s oldest baby”

Don’t worry about being happy – feeling okay is good enough

This statement isn’t going to blow your mind – in fact, it may not even wheeze on it to any significant degree.

But I think I’m content.

That’s no small thing – not in today’s societal stew of selfishness, intolerance and deranged one-upmanship.

Serve that broth with lashings of corporate-sponsored envy, a side order of sour grapes and then over-salt the whole thing with sensory-deadening threats wafting from every orifice.

Suddenly the dish is less appetising than Piers Morgan in a candy-floss thong.

So why am I content?

Why am I even – on occasion – happy? Continue reading “Don’t worry about being happy – feeling okay is good enough”