Fiona Duff: Triple dose of comedy genius

Canned Laughter ... Andy Gray, Allan Stewart and Grant Stott. Picture: Douglas Robertson

Canned Laughter ... Andy Gray, Allan Stewart and Grant Stott. Picture: Douglas Robertson

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FOR the past few years one of my pre-Christmas treats has been a trip to the Kings Theatre to see the pantomime. The chemistry between Andy Gray, Allan Stewart and Grant Stott is a thing of great fun for both the audiences and those three chaps on stage.

Last Christmas I managed to miss the show – mainly, it must be admitted, through my own incompetence, as it certainly wasn’t for the lack of my husband and daughter asking when we were going to see Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

By all accounts it was even better than usual, which was just another reason that I spent a few days in January working out how I could kick myself – but even now that I am doing yoga every week it seems an impossible feat.

However, it seems that the panto triumvirate have heard about the great hole in my life experience and have got together for a non-festive show. At the end of the month they will be appearing in Canned Laughter, a play written for them which will no doubt allow for the ad libs and corpsing that they just cannot resist. In fact, Mr Stewart has assisted in the script with Ed Curtis – a man who has directed the Kings Theatre panto for the last three years, so he won’t be going into this with his eyes closed. If they sold tickets to the public to watch the rehearsals I would be queuing up for one of those.

The story is of three comedians who were Scotland’s hottest act in the 1970s. Fast forward to today and I imagine that something has gone awry along the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a woman involved (there’s one of the fairer sex in the show, a character played by Gabriel Quigley), but then again I shouldn’t really speculate. Knowing comedians, there will be all sorts of bubbling tensions and personal rivalry, and it will all be done in the best possible taste (in the Kenny Everett sense, I hope).

It’s going to be a grand old night out which will probably leave me and my friends with aching ribs and stiff jaws from laughter. Not of course that I will be complaining, as they do say that having a good giggle is one of the best medicines available.

But best of all I won’t spend the interval wondering what on earth to buy my father-in-law for his Christmas present.

EU debate is like the Hokey Cokey

To paraphrase The Clash – should we stay or should we go? I am not talking about being at a party at 1.30am, knowing that the best bit is over and it is unlikely to get better, although then again you never know what might happen. I suppose in a way that is quite a good metaphor for our membership of the European Union. In or Out – it’s just like the Hokey Cokey.

The trouble is that there are intelligent people on both sides of the argument. Needless to say there are also nutters, but I find it best just to ignore them. The EU is profligate, makes stupid laws (to which only the UK seem to adhere) and how much does it really help trade? As one Outie friend said to me, would Mercedes and Renault actually stop selling cars to British drivers?

The best thing about this referendum compared with the independence one 18 months ago (do you remember that?) is that it doesn’t seem to be creating the discussions and arguments of autumn 2014.

Back in those days, virtually every social gathering would culminate with some debate that at times looked as though it might end in fisticuffs. This time around, that sort of rage seems to be confined to members of the Tory party.

So at present I am sitting on the fence on EU membership. I suppose we just have to work out the right height for that fence.

See red over recycling boxes

Calling Edinburgh Council rubbish department! Actually, thinking about that wording means I may have all departments contacting me, as each one of them is pretty rubbish. I mean have you seen the state of the roads? And the planning officers should be on trial for crimes against humanity (or at least our eyesight for new planned buildings, and sanity for anyone trying to refurbish an old one).

Anyway, I’d like to ask one of the bods in charge of recycling why there were full red boxes outside every house in my street all over the weekend. Despite saying that they will be collected every other Friday, as often or not they just lie there untouched. A couple of weeks ago it was blowing a hoolie, and the whole area was littered with cardboard and plastic bottles.

No wonder this city is in danger of losing its World Heritage status. At times it just resembles a midden.

A seagull with perfect timing

Anyone who has seen me tootling around town in my trusty old banger will know that I am really not bothered about cars. Heck, maybe it would be nice to have a super sleek sports car, but with my maintenance skills and my dog’s muddy paws it wouldn’t remain sleek for long.

The current machine that gets me from A to B has more dents than a can of beans in the Sainsbury discount aisle and has been missing a hubcap since my daughter borrowed it one day during the Christmas holidays.

However, last week I really did think that it could do with a wash so I went to the garage, bought a token and scrubbed off all the filth until it looked almost presentable. So you can imagine my mood the next morning when I went to drive off and saw that some disgustingly mannered seagull had decided to do its doo all over my rear windscreen.