Author

Gerry Farrell

Gerry Farrell: Google Lab’s latest innovation: a jacket that’s a wearable computer

It was entirely fitting that on my way to a country as obsessed with the future as China is, I bumped into a pal of mine, Steve Vranakis, the executive creative director of Google Lab.

He was keen to tell me about the lab’s latest innovation: a jacket that is basically a wearable computer.

Opinion
Danny Macaskill riding the Cuillin ridge on Skye

Gerry Farrell: I found the future of toilets in China

The toilet in my Shanghai hotel room was a technological wonder, writes Gerry Farrell.

Opinion
Once upon a time a pint of heavy was hard to imagine without a pie too

Gerry Farrell: Keep your hipster haggis and bring back the ‘pie and a pint’

From the age of 16 (non-legal drinking age), it was my joy and custom to meet pals in Edinburgh city centre for an afternoon “pie and a pint”.

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If you dump furniture in the street you're a lousy neighbour

Gerry Farrell: Stop dumping on your neighbours

Zsuzsa and I just took a wee tour round the back streets off Leith Walk.

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Gerry Farrell with his brood of reluctant anglers at Coldingham Loch

Gerry Farrell: My September trout is the one that got away

Tony Bennett still sings a song called September Song with a lyric in it that always gets me: “Oh it’s a long, long while from May to December/ But the days grow short when you reach September/When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame/One hasn’t got time for the waiting game.” It gets me because my dad used to sing it to my mum around the house when he was my age and she would join in. Now they’re not around any more except in my quite frequent and pleasant dreams of them and at 60, I feel that I’m in the September of my own life.

Opinion
An upturned bin at a smoking shelter at the Scottish Government HQ

Gerry Farrell: Frankly, they don’t give a damn about Victoria Quay

Clark Gable was once voted the best-looking film star in the world. He only had one problem: bad breath. Four weeks ago, Rough Guide readers voted Scotland “the most beautiful country in the world”. Our tourism bosses were beside themselves with glee. Malcolm Roughhead, chief executive of VisitScotland said: “We are delighted that Scotland has received this remarkable accolade from Rough Guide readers, but of course it will not be a surprise to anyone who has encountered our wonderful country.”

Opinion 1
Fun activities give youngsters a break from problems at home

Gerry Farrell: Not a Village Person in sight at the real YMCA

If you’re old enough, you might remember that as you crossed the Forth Bridge and got near Kirkcaldy there was suddenly a sharp, chemical smell. It came from a linoleum factory owned by a company called Nairn’s (now Forbo-Nairn). Nairn’s used to employ lots of people in Kirkcaldy but now they only have a small set-up. GEC the electronic firm was a big employer too but they aren’t there any more. In the 80s, the coal mines closed.

Opinion
Playing Rocket will teach you how to create, build and deliver a successful business in a day

Gerry Farrell: Running a business is Rocket science

On Monday between 11am and 2pm, I bankrupted a perfectly good ­confectionery business. A couple of hours later, I brought it back into profit. If I’d had another two hours, I’d have turned it into one of the most successful sweet-manufacturing companies in the world. Go me.

Opinion
Roberta Pia - aka Bob -makes music, throws parties and entices people to come to parties and make music. Picture: John Sinclair

Edinburgh’s Living Legends: ‘Bob’ Pia

Gerry Farrell, ad man extraordinaire and Evening News columnist, celebrates some of the people quietly making a difference to city life

Opinion 1
Medic turned comedian Adam Kay lifts the lid on life as a junior doctor in his new book This is Going to Hurt. Picture: Hugo Burnand

Gerry Farrell: Laughter is the best medicine for Adam

Between the date of your birth and the date of your death there’s a little dash. That’s your life. If you or your family have ever been in hospital, you’ll know that the people who do most to stretch that dash out a little longer are the doctors and nurses who work in our precious but beleaguered NHS.

Opinion
Vanessa Kisuule tackled racism in her poetry

Gerry Farrell: Wham, bam thank you Slam

We were loitering with intent

Opinion
Spud (Ewen Bremner), Renton (Ewan McGregor), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) in Trainspotting

Gerry Farrell: The wildest night out since the 21st of Gray

A fortnight ago, we escaped from the Edinburgh Festival, swapping media luvvies, Royal Mile flyer-hander-outers, litter, diesel fumes, guide-led tourist crocodiles and moustachioed unicyclists for empty beaches, clouds and sunshine, spouting whales, single-track roads, signs in Gaelic and some big stones that just stood in a field doing nothing.

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Fionn Whitehead waits for rescue in Dunkirk

Gerry Farrell: My family and other party animals

How many cousins have you got? We’ve got 30 – and that’s just on my mum’s side – the Murrays.

Opinion
Will Young is touring the summer festivals talking about the benefits of meditation. Picture: Tom Van Schelven

Gerry Farrell: I’d like to offer you a peace of my mind

You’ll fork out three quid for a cappuccino but how much would you pay for peace of mind? Honest, I’m not selling you ­insurance but I did notice that back in April, financial giant Standard Life started offering their staff free ‘mindfulness meditation’ classes. One in five American companies already do the same. Mindfulness isn’t just for Buddhist monks and happy-clappy hippies. Everybody’s doing it.

Opinion
Studio 24 is to close after 22 years as a music venue

Gerry Farrell: End of an era...or end of an earache?

Another one bites the dust. Edinburgh’s live music venues seem to be melting away like Fab ­lollies in a heatwave. ­Studio 24 rocked Calton Road for 22 years; in three days, it’ll be gone forever. That’s how it is – as music changes, venues change.

Opinion
The Leith community comes out in force for the port's gala day parade at the weekend. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Gerry Farrell: Cast your vote in favour of saving Leith Decides Day

The election’s over. Britain’s leadership is in tatters. Nothing has been decided. It’s at times like this we should forget the “big picture” and look at the small picture. Because it’s the small things we decide to do for ourselves in our own communities that really matter. Right now I couldn’t care less what Westminster decides. I care what Leith decides.

Opinion
Fidget spinners have captivated kids on both sides of the Atlantic. Picture: John Devlin

Gerry Farrell: Kids today have got a finger on the pulse

I swear I won’t be writing anything about Theresa May’s entirely pointless election tomorrow. I’m sure you’re all as frazzled as I am with the hot air that’s been blown in our faces for the last couple of months. If so, I have a suggestion for you. Turn off the telly and all your distracting social feeds and buy yourself a fidget spinner. (Or a ‘spidget finner’, as my wife called it the other day.) If you don’t know what a fidget spinner is you must be living in a child-free zone or cowering in a lead-lined nuclear bunker waiting for the Apocalypse.

Opinion
Even this massive burger would be no match for the Chompie variety encountered by Gerry in Arizona. Picture: Getty

Gerry Farrell: Supersize me.. and everyone else in the US

There were two mirrors in our Phoenix motel room. One presented us with a flattering, slimline profile, the other one told the truth. We had both put on at least half a stone during our two-week American adventure.

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Americans have lots of reasons to be proud of their country. Picture: Getty

Gerry Farrell: America’s great but be grateful for the NHS

There’s a lot wrong with the United States of ­America but there’s a lot right with it too.

Opinion
ME sufferer Emma Shorter

Gerry Farrell: Why are you ignoring ME, Ms Robison?

The Edinburgh girl I’m ­interviewing today doesn’t want you to feel sorry for her. She wants you to feel angry. Emma Shorter, 23, is one of Scotland’s 21,000 ME sufferers. ME stands for “myalgic encephalomilitis” and is a systemic neuro-immune disease. The lazy name it’s been given is chronic fatigue syndrome. In the 80s, it was mockingly called ­yuppie flu in the media and sufferers were dubbed skivers.

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