Susan Morrison: Giant telly was a real turn-off

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That giant screen used to worry me, stranded up there on Festival Square. It had a faintly Stalinist air about it. You’re not telling me that Comrade Joe wouldn’t have gone in for a great big telly if he’d had the chance.

I feared faintly that the Lord Provosts were going to start using it to communicate with the passing buses, or shout at people who dropped litter and fag ends on the pavement. Actually, that might have been a good use for it.

It worried me that one day I was going to go past to see Donald Wilson trying to lead the city off in a two-minute hate against people who put the milk in first to their tea or something.

It was all a little, well, Big Brother is Watching You, although ironically, one of the last times I saw it in action I do believe it was Big Brother on the screen, but no-one was watching it.

It stood so forlorn and neglected. They could at least have gone the whole hog and built an equally huge armchair with a massive coffee table with a ten-gallon mug and plate of custard creams the size of transit vans in front of it.

Oh I know, the square was crammed the day they opened and closed the Olympics and the moment Murray finally won at Wimbledon there was not an inch of flagstone to be had, but by and large it was as ignored as a telly in a Wee Free Kirk household on the Sabbath.

One wet, miserable November day, when the rain was coming into the city at a 45-degree angle and the wind was scything through the square like a cutting remark from a frosty headmistress, I saw one wee boy and his incredibly soggy dog just staring at the huge jumbo screen with a look of sheer bafflement, before dog and boy decided they had far, far better things to do.

They turned away, just as we all have from our Great Big Telly.


Our boy has been returned to school. Oh yes, the freedom of the long summer holidays is ended and that means a visit to the hairdresser. You’ll note, hairdresser, not barber. He has developed ideas about his hair.

I suggested to the hairdresser that we might discuss styling. He took one look at the challenge before him and said not really. What we’re talking about here

is shearing.

I’ve got a foot in the door as EU troubleshooter

John Lewis is a wonder. It is a temple to retail and sets the gold standard for customer service.

However, we must discuss the door. That’s right, the big revolving door on Leith Street. The one that stops whenever an over-eager shopper or an unknowing tourist gets too close to the sensors which put the brakes on before the door slices said retail addict or tourist in two, which would never do.

As a safety feature, it is doubtless vital.

However, if you happen to be exiting the door as a cheery crowd of Eastern European tourists who do not understand the careful mechanism of the door are entering the building, you can have a bit of a situation on your hands.

The door slammed to a halt, with me trapped on one side, in what is effectively a huge specimen jar. I looked like a faintly interesting scientific experiment. On the other side the baffled visitors milled about, thus further triggering the said excellent safety feature.

We were going nowhere.

In an effort to be helpful, and also to get home, I began trying to organise the tourists, using the traditional method of shouting loudly and slowly, whilst waving my arms about.

They all turned to look at me, with the same air of polite confusion many people showed when they looked at the big telly screen.

Using what I believe to be a ground-breaking combination of modern dance, vocal projection and facial expression, I managed to persuade them to stay away from both doors, mostly at the same time. There were occasional slip-ups, but we all eventually managed to shudder round to freedom.

All those years of watching The Crystal Maze finally paid off.

Bring a baby to adult show? You must be kidding

And this week’s fabulous Fringe-goer question comes from a willowy hippy and her mate in crumpled linen: “It says this show is not suitable for children. Can we bring a baby?”

The question unsettled me on two counts. One, this rather noisy show starts at 11.30 at night, and secondly, they just said “a baby”, not “our baby”, which rather led me to believe they might just pop off and borrow one to complete the Earth mother look the female of the piece was going for. Answer? No. Babies are children, to the best of my know-ledge.