Archie Fraser, Gentleman of the Road
There was I, taking my ease in the abandoned skip outside the Balaclava Lounge, customarily using The Press and Journal as bedding, when my one functioning eye was drawn to the headline: “Russians drew up plans for invasion of Aberdeen in 1980s”.
Incredibly, the Red Menace had apparently chosen our region as a prime spot for invading the UK and even sent spies to scope out the city. Their key findings included “the coastal area north of Aberdeen is ideal for amphibious landing” (subsequently proven correct by the arrival of a species of foreign toad, just north of Balmedie).
Interestingly, there is no mention in the report about the Russian view of our key cultural talismans of the 80s, the Aberdeen Soccer Casuals. Imagine if they had become literal Red Army footsoldiers? The casuals would have cut a dash in Sergio Tacchini and Ushanka hats, presaging, by 20 years, the “look” of Jamiroquai. In fact, that’s what I am wearing right now thanks to a swap with my Yuri, my Latvian brother in arms. I get his hat and track suit and he gets my fisherman’s jumper and the leg warmers that I found round the back of Danscentre.
“I can’t help wonder if things might actually have been improved had the Soviets successfully invaded”
I do try to be upbeat about my current situation (no postcode, one set of tatty beets, distinct aroma of cabbage) but I can’t help wonder if things might actually have been improved had the Soviets successfully invaded back then. For one thing, we’d all have names like Petra or Solzhenitsyn – mind you, that’s not so different from what I hear being called out by the Yummy Mummies outside Gordon’s at pick up time.
Prof Hector Schlenk, senior researcher at the Bogton Institute for Public Engagement with Science
When I was a fashionable young man of 14 with a receding hairline, glasses and a bow tie, “food science” meant calculating the trajectories of the eggs hurled by fellow pupils in my direction.
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But now, the term relates to possible solutions to the increasing global demand for meat. Humanity will be unable to raise enough animals to feed the world’s population of nine billion by the year 2050, and even if it were, farming livestock on that scale would be a major contributor global warming. Based on the empirical evidence, we should all immediately adopt a vegan diet, but there are obvious drawbacks to that:
1) If everyone was vegan, vegans would have no one to talk to about how great it is to be a vegan.
The solution? Lab-grown meat (not be confused with reconstituted meat, like that time I purchased a perfectly tubular chicken in a tin). A US company claim a single bovine tissue sample can yield enough “clean meat” to make 80,000 quarter-pounders. Enough for a years’ supply for their President. Another company has grown chicken nuggets using cells from a hen feather. Those who have sampled them report an excellent taste and an odd consistency. Frequenters of late-night fast food eateries will have had an identical experience.
Naturally, I have been out and about this week to educate the good people of the north-east about this amazing scientific breakthrough. Oddly, when I have explained the process, people have told me they feel squeamish at the thought of digesting artificially grown “Frankenmeat”. Interestingly, explaining the alternative, using video and audio recordings from an abattoir, had a very similar effect; until I was thrown out of MacDonalds.
Davinia Smythe-Barrett, Ordinary Mum
Like all ordinary mums, I am constantly faced with ethical dilemmas around the raising of my darling children, Emmeline and Fidel.
Lately, the spectre of vaccinations has reared its ugly head, with the local GP offering both of them the “flu jab”. They also offer it to me on account of the chronic respiratory condition I developed after having chickenpox in my 20s. So taking a stand against the global vaccination conspiracy has become an annual event.
When we arrived at the surgery waving our “Down with Big Pharma” placards, Ems’ friend from the stables, Alicia, was there with a horribly swollen cheek. Her mother (another ordinary mum, Jocasta) had tried everything: aloe vera extract, echinacea tea, urine immersion (naturally) and even an oatmeal poultice, all to no avail. She had become so desperate she’d gone to see the GP. Turns out the poor thing had mumps! The doc seemed incredulous as to how someone in their teens could contract it in this day and age until Jocasta pointed out that just like me, she had quite sensibly refused to allow her offspring to be given the MMR jab as a child.
Anyway, after seeing poor Alicia balloon-like face, staging a protest didn’t seem appropriate, so I politely declined the vaccination offers and headed back home. Talk about a coincidence – the very next day both Ems and Fidel woke up with swollen cheeks, fever and aching joints! I’m so glad I bumped into Jocasta – she saved me lots of trial and error so I wont be messing about with ineffective homeopathic remedies. I’ll go straight to rooibos and raspberry tea with agave extract!