Regular as the Balmoral’s clock. Jimmy Savile for years would come up to Edinburgh – let’s call them mercy missions – and we’d meet every time. I was showbiz columnist then and Jimmy was being Jimmy Savile, not averse to brainwashing me with his home-baked philosophy.
“Life is Russian roulette,” he proclaimed through the cigar smoke.” Everyday life has a bullet up the spout. Is this the day it gets fired?’’ It wasn’t fired that day. It was fired last Saturday.
That philosophising day he’d kitted himself out modestly for a typically low-profile lunch with three rings, two bracelets and a green tracksuit. And there was the cigar.
What was yet to come was the spectacle of Jim alighting from a car in Princes Street in a red flannel nightgown and pom-pom cap. He came to Edinburgh every year to lead the Evening News Charity Walk.
“Listen,’’ he insisted, “being a single fellow like I am, I have a theory. Every day is Christmas Day and every night is like Hogmanay. A lot of people can’t face the day but soon as it’s light I’m up by six through the summer.
“I’m astounded,” he fumed through the fug, “that my marital status continues to intrigue western civilisation. Tell your readers I can’t wait to hear the patter of tiny feet around my house . . . as long as they’re in high heels.”
Bit of a lad, Sir Jim. To the end. We have to wonder who gets that Glencoe cottage in his will. Or will the National Trust claim it for posterity?
Some people, they come on too close and personal. Talking about relationships. “You said you believe in mahogany. You mean monogamy?” a reader asks. No, mahogany. It was wooden for me.