Gerry Farrell: I'm making a list and I'm checking it twice

He's making a list and checking it twice, he's gonna find out who's naughty or nice. That's right. Santa Claus is coming to town so I've decided to help him out by making a list for all the grown-ups who've been hitting the headlines this year.

Wednesday, 7th December 2016, 9:00 am
What will Donald Trump find under his Christmas tree? Picture: AFP

1. Donald Trump: He’s getting a Mars landing craft and booster rocket so he can see how it feels to be an illegal alien. Oh, and a jar of skin-thickening cream.

2. Obama: He’s going to become a world-class diplomat so I think we should get him a ScotRail season ticket. He can broker a peace deal between Edinburgh and Glasgow using ScotRail Shuttle diplomacy.

3. Sir Robin Barr: I’d give him Irn-Bru back. Maybe he’ll bring back the 30p bottle deposit return and we won’t see quite so many empties littering our motorway verges.

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4. Kanye West: He gets a giant hat to fit his giant head.

5. Theresa May: I’d give her a heart.

6. Nigel Farage: A cannon he can fire himself out of. The sooner, the better.

7. Jon Snow: Isn’t it time somebody gave him a quiet tie and a pair of black socks?

8. Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger: They both need a sense of humour.

9. Melania Trump: The poor woman deserves a two-week holiday away from the Donald. Plus some reverse cosmetic surgery so she can actually move her mouth out of its permanent pout.

10. Andy Murray: He’s going to need a bigger trophy cabinet.

11 Gordon Strachan: Goagsy should get an un-shoogly peg for his jaiket.

12. Her Majesty The Queen: Give her a litter-picker so she can clean for herself and a copy of the Yellow Pages so she can look up some cut-price tradesmen to do up Buck Hoose.

13. David Attenborough: Who would deny him the gift of eternal life? Failing that, some Dolly the Sheep-style technology so he can clone himself.

14. Rupert Murdoch: The owner of The Sun should be sent where the sun don’t shine.

15. Michelle Obama: Did you see her with James Corden on Carpool Karaoke? Give her a recording contract immediately, Santa.

16. Jeremy Clarkson: Simple. Give him a bicycle.

17. Angela Merkel: What this lady needs is a punchbag. So she won’t take any more crap from second-rate male politicians.

18. Sting: A bag of giant gobstoppers.

19. Hillary Clinton: Some anti-spyware software and a \

bigger wardrobe for all those trouser suits

20. Helen Mirren: A publishing deal. She can write a book called How To Stay Gorgeous Forever.

21. Vladimir Putin: Let’s make sure he gets what he deserves. An overnight stay in Aleppo.

22. Pope Francis: He needs a new car. He’s driving around in a second-hand Ford Fiesta.

23. Keith Richards: A crash helmet, so if he ever falls out of a coconut tree again he won’t need hospitalised.

24. Homer Simpson: Trousers.

25. Sir Cliff Richard:Cheese. He obviously can’t get enough of it

26. Kevin Bacon: I’d give him a one-way ticket back to the States, he’s apalling in those EE cinema ads.

27. Irvine Welsh:The miracle of hair. It’s too cold this time of year for one of our national treasures to have a napper like a pickled egg.

28. JK Rowling: She should be given one of her own invisibility cloaks so she can have a coffee and an amaretto bisuit in Valvona & Crolla without getting harassed by the hoi palloi.

29. The Proclaimers: Give them beards. It’s time they started looking their age.

30. Scott Wilson, Tynecastle Stadium MC: Just what he’s always wanted – The Proclaimers’ Greatest Hits.

31. George Galloway: Give the guy a loan of Kanye West’s giant hat.

32. Alan Stubbs: A tin of silver polish so he can come back up every weekend and give the Scottish Cup a wee shine.

33. Robbie Neilson: All he needs is a decent haircut.

34. Ian Rankin: It’s time for a change, Rebus is past it. Let’s give him a new lead detective – and make sure it’s a woman. Shebus, anybody?

Don’t hesitate to offer help, or seek it out

THIS week, a pal of mine posted on Facebook that she was “feeling empty”. Later that night she was supposed to be driving home. Instead, she drove her van on to the slip road leading to the Forth Bridge. She parked and walked on to the bridge. In the dark, with the icy wind blowing into her face, hardly knowing where she was or what she was doing, she began summoning up the courage to climb over the rail and jump into nothingness.

Just as that irrational thought was taking hold, she was wrestled to the ground by two big policemen. They marched her gently but firmly to their car and drove her to St John’s Hospital in Livingston. She was seen by two psychiatric nurses and they helped her set up a care plan.

She was back at work the next day feeling that she had something to live for again and grateful for the courage and decisiveness of those two police officers. Without it, she would have been a grim headline in this paper.

For those of us prone to depression, Christmas can be a time to dread. To rub salt into the mental scars, there’s cheerful music in the shops, happy families out late looking at the lights and office staff staggering up the street full of booze and bravado. It’s cold and the darkness descends in the middle of the afternoon.

It might only take a rebuke from the boss or a few harsh words from a friend to tip a vulnerable person from feelings of loneliness and emptiness into a bad decision.

If you have the slightest suspicion that somebody you know is feeling down, don’t ignore the impulse to help. Ask them if they’re okay and take it from there, just listening to what they have to say.

If you feel that way yourself, tell a friend. Or phone one of these two free helplines and tell the voice on the other end what’s going on: Breathing Space, 0800 83 85 87, opening hours Mon-Thurs 6pm-2am and Fri 6pm-Mon 6am. Or Samaritans, 116 123, lines open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including Christmas Day.

Here’s one I made earlier

Tonight, I brought back a hot, ready-cooked chicken from Tesco. I took it out of the bag, microwaved some mash and we were tucking into a hot dinner inside five minutes. Tell me why can’t it be the same at Christmas? Can’t the supermarkets cook up a load of turkeys ready to take away hot and save us all that stress and swearing in the kitchen? (Ed. No they can’t Gerry, they’re shut and in their own kitchens stressing and swearing.)