I was driving home from Peebles last Wednesday evening. I switched on the radio and was instantly plunged into the sickening events on Westminster Bridge.
Radio makes much more vivid pictures in your head than TV ever can. “A body in the Thames . . . catastrophic, life-changing injuries . . . policeman stabbed to death.”
Then the news guy said, “Theresa May was escorted to safety” and I felt relieved she was OK. I felt glad.
I don’t hate British politicians and wish them dead for their policies or their beliefs.
If you let those feelings take hold in your heart then you’re no better than the knife-wielding saddo who drove his car into a crowd of innocent pedestrians because some sadists with long beards told him it was OK to kill anybody who didn’t share his “religious” beliefs. We live, not in a theocracy, but in a democracy where you make your political point on protest marches or at the ballot box. Not with a weapon in your hand and hatred in your heart.
So, when I criticise Theresa May and Co and wish Scotland was run from Holyrood, not Westminster, I’m not expressing hatred. I don’t hold with anybody who characterised our last indyref as a poisonous, divisive process.
Of the Scottish electorate, 96 per cent were registered to vote and 84 per cent voted. That makes Scotland one of the most politically-engaged countries in the entire world.
Was there violence during the campaign? Well, Jim Murphy (who?) got an egg thrown at him then wore his yolk-stained shirt for the next fortnight like it was some kind of war wound.
Yes, there were a few internet trolls on both sides who said horrible, racist, misogynistic things. That’s what internet trolls do. But they don’t represent the majority. The conversations I heard in shops, in the post office and across tables in pubs with complete strangers were conducted with passion and curiosity. Not hatred. I expect that when it comes, as it undoubtedly will, our second referendum will be conducted in the same spirit as the first.
I was moved Body and Soul by biopic of Amy’s short life
It’s hard to believe Amy Winehouse only made two albums in her short life, given her extraordinary voice and songwriting ability.
My daughter introduced me to her in 2003, playing her first album, Frank, in the car during long journeys from Edinburgh to our home in Peebles. I was blown away that a 19-year-old could write such honest, witty lyrics and wed them to such brilliant jazzy tunes.
My daughter said: “I went to see her in a tent at T In The Park, dad. There were only about 30 people there and I was at the front. She caught my eye early on, she even winked at me a couple of times.”
Amy’s on my mind because I just caught up with the biopic of her life on Amazon Prime and it’s left a bruise in my heart.
If you haven’t seen it, I’m not spoiling anything when I tell you there are no acted scenes in it. Everything is real footage and audio of her life and music, brilliantly laced together by director Asif Kapadia with commentaries from her best friends, her first manager and her bodyguard.
Early on we hear her say: “I just want to play small jazz clubs. If I got famous, I mean super-famous, I think I’d go mad.”
We know what happened next. It was documented in the songs on her final Grammy-winning album, Back To Black, that charted the disintegration of her detructive relationship with the man she met and married, Blake Fielder-Civil.
He was the guy who introduced her to heroin and told her “life is short”. Pathetic and prophetic in equal measure.
If the film’s to be believed, her dad wasn’t the ideal figure in her life either, turning up with a film crew in St Lucia when all poor Amy wanted to do was get away from those paparazzi and popping flashbulbs. Neither man tried very hard to make her go to rehab.
It seemed that the man who cared most about her was her idol Tony Bennett, with whom she recorded the duet Body And Soul, the last recording she made before her death in July 2011.
Watching his kindness towards her, and her desperation to please him and get the song right, was unbelievably moving.
I’ve got a spring in my step
It’s okay, you can finally come out of hibernation. Cast off your thermals. Get some Vitamin D into your peely-wally body. Spring has finally arrived in Scotland.
I’d been promising to take Zsuzsa to Lauriston Castle for years. It’s a wee gem of a place with breathtaking views over the Forth.
The daffodils were out in force, as were picnicking families with dogs, footballs and frisbees. Blue tits were doing somersaults in the budding tree branches, blackbirds were trilling love-songs in the bushes and some fearless souls were actually licking ice cream cones.
Full of the joys, we drove on to the magnificent Jupiter Artland in Ratho. It was shut until May. Maybe they know something that we don’t?
Football fans savour torture of cliff-hanger
I couldn’t be at the Hibs-Falkirk game last Saturday, but listening to it on Sportsound (with my headphones in to spare Zsuzsa) was an infinitely more nerve-jangling torture than actually being there.
You can always rely on the Hibees to make it hard for themselves and their fans.
Bairns boss Peter Houston had that Cheshire Cat grin on his face from the moment Craig Sibbald cancelled out Efe Ambrose’s opener right up until the final two minutes of time added on when James Keatings shifted the ball onto his dodgy right peg and curled the ball into the Falkirk net. Houston slumped in his seat like somebody had just pulled the valve out of an inflatable man.
As if one last-minute winner wasn’t enough we had another hero-to-villain wonder goal on Sunday night.
Booed onto the pitch with eight minutes to go by an educationally-challenged section of the sparse Hampden crowd, Chris Martin conjured up a three-point clincher that sets up a classic win-or-bust Scotland-England tie at the national stadium. Now there’s a nerve-jangler for you.