John Gibson: Auld Nick’s back with the cravat

Artist Jack Vettriano. Picture: Robert Perry.
Artist Jack Vettriano. Picture: Robert Perry.
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The trademark cravat, camouflaging and oldie’s wrinkles, was the giveaway. Nicholas Parsons, Auld Nick to some of chums, would dodge up a close somewhere in the Royal Mile because he always knew on his frequent Fringe engagements, I’d assail him with “now then, Nick, tell me your actual age”. He was always “80-ish”.

The game’s up for the cornerstone (gravestone?) of Radio 4’s Just a Minute now, though. A shindig will be held next month in a London hotel marking his 90th and that’s official. Everybody knows about it, even the dogs in the street are barking about it.

“I don’t mind being 90,’’ Nick’s saying. Just a minute – yes, you do!

I’ll be looking out for the cravat on the Royal Mile next August. The oldest man in the Fringe with 91 looming.

Back for Jack?

The nomadic Jack Vettriano – one is obliged to be nomadic when one’s been born and raised in Methil.Prince Philip remembers it well, as I recall – is talking about resettling in Edinburgh.

Until he comes back Jack enlightens us: “It worries me sometimes that critics think I get a sexual thrill from my paintings. I don’t, because I have been there. I have been. I have been in those paintings. And it’s not any fun . . . I do suffer from depression and melancholy. I’ve dabbled in therapy but I don’t know, it’s become too fashion and too expensive. I think what you need is a good friend or a good girlfriend,’’

Jack lived in the Capital’s West End and if he lands back there he could create a braw painting of hard-hatted workers on the endless Shandwick Place shambles and hang it in Lesley Hinds’ office.