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The Flying Pigs: It may be a brave new world oot there, but some o’ the fowk in it are still gypes

The Flying Pigs: It may be a brave new world oot there, but some o’ the fowk in it are still gypes

View From the Midden, rural affairs with Jock Alexander

It’s been an innovational week in the village. Media commentators are spikken aboot how a’ life will need tae adapt tae new wyes o’ daein things in the wake o’ the pandemic. This is correct, though going by the photies I’ve seen o’ sunbathing crowds on beaches doon sooth, it may be a brave new world, but some o’ the fowk in it are still gypes.

The Flying Pigs

Villagers here are nae so convinced by their ain invulnerability tae dangerous particles fit ye canna see. Living in the shadow o’ a sewage works maks us tak such things mair seriously. Indeed, in the north-east generally, current rules is being followed correctly. As an example, tak the recent attempt at an anti-lockdoon rally in Aiberdeen, tae which naebdy turned up aside fae the press photographers, fa hid tae tak pictures o’ een anithither.

Noo that the Scottish Government his announced the front cover of its road map to oor tentative first steps towards the ootside chance o’ ga’an oot tae see yer grunny, we’ll need tae see foo we can try tae get Meiklewartle open for business again, file still observing the current rules. One solution fit caught my eye recently wiz in Amsterdam, far they are adapting an open-air restaurant tae “Covid-secure” dining. This involves sitting couples in specially immunised mini-greenhooses, each wi’ enough room for their ain wee table complete wi’ a romuntic cunnle. So the hale thing’s like having yer denner inside a tea-light holder. Staff hiv even worked out foo tae hand o’er the food wi’ oot getting too close tae customers, by balancing it on a plank o’ wid and shoving it in through yer greenhoose door. This seems a bit unwieldy, but is it ony dafter than some o’ yon hipster artisan places fit serve yer burger on a roof slate, or pit yer chips in a wee metal bucket?


For the pioneering Meiklewartle socially-distanced dining experience we a’ready hiv plenty of abandoned coo sheds ga’an spare, wi’ individual stalls fit we can stick a table in providing it’s nae wider than an Aberdeen Angus. We also hiv an abundance of space, and since naeb’dy turned up tae Haldie Winton’s barn-raising, a great load o’ planks o’ wid. So athin’s in readliness, Skittery Wullie has even been making noises aboot training his pigs tae balance plates on their backs and act as waiters, but I think that’s jist cos he wints tae dress them up in bow ties again.


Shelley Shingles, Showbiz correspondent and Miss Fetteresso 1983

O.M. actual G! Now that the whole of 2020 looks like being a “write-off” for theatre, gigs and festivals, you might think it would be tricky to report on the showbiz whirl from the isolation of my own home. But actually it’s been totes simples, cos so many stars have been streaming themselves into my living room. In many ways it’s been just like those crazy days back in the ’80s when all my celebrity pals would get together in my flat in Crown Street for the Champers after-party. Art Sutter, Robin Galloway, Frank Gilfeather – you name them, I’ve had them all on my sofa!

And of course it’s important at this time for people in the public eye to realise what you can give back, and that it’s not all about them – so I’ve been doing my bit for lockdown entertainment with my own weekly podcasts.

Every Thursday after The One Show I get my make-up on, stick on a de-ageing filter, pour a big pink gin, and I’m away! The great thing about live streaming is there’s an audience for everything, including my special cutdown versions of Bucks Fizz songs on the ukulele, interspersed with some of my favourite showbiz anecdotes. The feedback has been amazing, OK so there’s no audience response “in the room” but I can definitely feel the love from all the normal people out there.

Whenever I finish recording I’m sure I can hear the distant sounds of applause; which makes me feel very humble.

But for me the very best bit of all this live streaming from the stars is that you get a fantastic nosey into their houses. I have to admit, I wasn’t really listening when Gal Gadot was singing about having no possessions, I was too busy checking out her soft furnishings!

The truth is, at a time like this you can learn a lot about yourself, for example, if it wasn’t for the current pandemic I’d never have found out that I’ve got the same curtains as Keith Richards!

Of course, me and The Stones go way back. I first met them in 1981 when they played at the Capitol.

Our careers were on very different trajectories – they were just kicking off their European tour and I was on the cusp of being crowned Miss Fetteresso just two years later. But I’ll never forget what Mick Jagger said to me that night.

“Hello Aberdeen.”

Wise words from a true gent.

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