Susan Morrison: Let sleeping teenagers lie

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One of the joys of driving home late at night is listening to Radio 4, which is either incredibly good or incredibly bad. Either which way is fine by me.

If it’s really bad, it’s a great way to keep a post-midnight driver awake, because nothing is more energising than screaming abuse at Poetry, Please.

When it’s good, well, like the little girl in the poem, it’s very, very good indeed.

Earlier this week there was a wonderful academic explaining why teenagers need to be cut a bit of slack. It turns out that while they might be lying prone under the duvet, having achieved a state remarkably close to hibernation, their brains are actually being re-routed more often than Edinburgh traffic.

Now, we all know that the minute a baby lands in your arms and fixes you with that stare that says “good bye, sleep”, the brain is in hyperdrive. It’s wiring faster than an electrician called in to do a total rewire on Castle ­Dracula just before sundown on a winter’s afternoon.

Once the bonny baby reached the stage of blowing out four candles on the cake, everyone thought the job’s a good ’un, and there we go, one complete brain, and that’s your lot until age intervenes, or gin, whichever is first. In my case, it’s a race too close to call.

Nope. Do you remember that moment when your cute little Mogwai turned into Spike the Gremlin, with a similar predilection for eating after midnight, and a similar aversion to immersion in water?

Well, it seems that the minute Thomas the Tank Engine gets the boot in favour of Grand Theft Auto that brain undergoes redevelopment on the scale of a scruffy London council estate in the hands of an offshore property tycoon.

This explains a lot. The teen brain is essentially building a new tram system through its own grey matter every single day, and just like the tram builders, certain non-priority things will get overlooked.

For the trams it was deadlines, budgets and the possibility of crossing roads easily. In the teen world it’s clean underwear, basic hygiene and keeping eyes open when walking.

After all, new pathways are being laid down, and things have to be shunted about or closed for a bit. It’s like diversions on the motorway. Who amongst us has not been caught out when driving home late at night on the familiar M8, and suddenly found that you’ve been diverted via Whitburn, with the concomitant panic that can cause? In that event, brushing teeth and standing up straight are the least of your worries.

So the next time you venture into the teen lair and wonder why your darling child appears to be allergic to coathangers, panic not. They are building a brain. They don’t have time to pick up their pants.

Needled by chaotic Leith bus stops

Speaking of rebuilding, Kirkgate and the Foot o’ the Walk are getting a much-needed revamp.

The giant needle has completely vanished. Things do have a tendency to disappear around Leith if folk are not careful, but this does seem a bit on the ambitious side. Just warning you, should someone try to palm you off with a seriously big bird bath for the garden.

At the same time, the council appears to be on a drive to make Leith fitter, by moving the bus stops about.

Hordes of Leithers are swarming about the pavements like contestants in The Crystal Maze. Rumour has it that you win a daysaver if you find the right stop for the right bus. And that’s fast becoming a seriously big-ticket prize.

Farage wheelie good choice to be Clarkson’s replacement

So, Jeremy Clarkson got his P45 after all. Well, what do you expect if you go around yelling at people, calling them names and punching them on the coupon?

What’s that you say, Jeremy? You’re a fantastically talented chap and this is political correctness gorn mad? Quite right.

Why, there was a time in this country when a member of the Establishment, be he a member of the landed gentry, a presenter of popular music on the wireless or a vastly fat backbench MP, could cruise about the country bopping the lower classes and behaving in a beastly manner to staff below stairs without fear of losing one’s job, or even prosecution.

I suppose the rush is on now to find the replacement. Well, if the CV must include boorish ill temper, xenophobic tendencies and the ability to crash things, we must be looking at Nigel Farage, above.

Mind you, Jeremy is leaving the BBC at the same time one of the floppy haired boys is abandoning One Direction. Coincidence? I think not. Boys, meet your new bandmate. And at the same time, we lose the great big unwatched screen in Festival Square. Pity, since it’s about the only screen big enough to truly reflect Clarkson’s ego