Susan Morrison: Save us before it’s too plate

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Whatever happened to dinner plates? You know, those incredibly sensible, round, slightly dipped things that you put dinner in. Remember?

Naming no names, but various Edinburgh restaurants have served up my dinner in tin cans, rolled-up newspaper cones and on a piece of slate. We knew it was genuine slate from the heart of Wales because it told us that on the menu which, let’s be honest, is about the most pointless bit of information you could ever have on any menu. What next, the calorie count of the dessert?

It was all very innovative, I am sure, but one of the defining properties of slate is that it permits things to flow off its surface, something the designers hadn’t considered when the chef wanted to serve steak with peas.

It wasn’t really a matter of eating, more a race against time before the entire meal wound up in my lap.

The plate question came up during dinner in a nice, unpretentious bistro in Newcastle, with some lovely academics. Actually, better declare an interest here, it was The Stand Comedy Club Bistro. Good food and on a plate. It appears the good folk of Newcastle have suffered the same outbreak of plate-fancyitis. There were tales of tin trays like the sort of thing you get in school cafeterias, and old vinyl singles pressed into service for prawn cocktails, not to mention a bizarre story involving green glass slabs with old copies of the Jackie magazine glued to them.

Now, Gillian is from Belfast. They suffer the flat plate horror, too. She’s traumatised, because she loves what she called – and I have never heard this phrase before – a “wet dinner”.

Is this a Northern Irish thing? I mean, hand on heart, have to say I know exactly what she means, which is a weird sort of Celtic connection. Is it just the chilly north that likes meat and vegetables bobbing about on the plate?

It can’t be, though, because I have it on good authority that the folk down south – further south than Newcastle – appear to like drowning their dinners in watery brown stuff.

Is it a class thing? The good old working classes were not content until the potatoes started to surf on an ocean wave of Bisto.

Nope, can’t be that. Many moons ago I remember Prince Phillip fulminating on the subject of substandard gravy.

So who is declaring war on the wet dinner which cannot be served on flat plates?

Injured at work? You should claim some da-Madges

Ah, dear dear Madonna. I love the fact that we are almost exactly the same age, but you can still rock the kids at the Brit Awards.

I also love the fact that you can fall downstairs and get right back up and keep on singing, baby. That’s showbusiness. Or is it technology?

But remember, Queen of Pop, you’ve had a fall at work and it wasn’t your fault. And it was fairly public. If I were you, I’d change my phone number pretty sharpish or you’ll find any number of charming young things calling you from – The Injury Lawyers for You to ask about compensation.

And don’t think they can’t find your phone number just because you are Madonna. They can and, by gum, they will.

Going Laa-Laa in my new suit

At night Grangemouth looks like a giant theme park for Blade Runner, Alien and Aliens 2, with a roller coaster ride for Avatar chucked in for good measure.

I know we’re supposed to hate it, on account of it being big and dirty and stinky, and now we like our industry clean and neat, with the entire workforce holding multiple degrees and wearing white overalls, but the Clydeside rust in my blood rises whenever I see the chimneys and smell the reek of something actually being made.

It’s a Disneyland for me, so you can imagine my excitement when I was invited on site.

Safety is paramount, and so even a quick visit means getting decked out in the full-on white helmet, goggles and the orange jumpsuit.

It is rare, I imagine, that they have to dress someone this vertically challenged, and with the sort of bahookie that regularly cuts off mobile signals.

As a result I looked like the only Tellytubby to be held in Guantanamo Bay.


Hello fellow Leithers! Fed up with the way the Kirkgate looks? Think it needs a bit of a facelift? Want to see the back of that big tusk thing which, whilst we’re on about it, why did anyone think a giant needle was appropriate for Leith?

Well, guess what, the council wants to hear from you. I know! You have knocked me down with a giant needle. It’s online at and takes a couple of minutes, but it means you get your tuppence worth.