Saturday, 17 March 2018

Hold the front page

Earlier this week a quirk in the atmospherics meant that Fantasy Bob overheard what appears to be an editorial conference at a major Scottish media outlet.

- Right we need a big splash on the back page - sports editor what do you have for us?
- Eh - nothin' - Rangers and Celtic weren't playing.
- Nothing?  There must be something.
- Zippo - Rangers or Celtic huvnae signed nae unknown forriners this week.
- I thought one of their players got a new haircut.
- Naw that wis last week.  We're in a tragic news drought.
- There must be other sports.
- You dinnae wint us to cover the Hibs do ye?
- Other sports, not other teams.
- We done that - we done an article aboot golf last year.
- I remember that - a Rangers player got a hole in one.
- What about cricket?
- Whit's that?
- Aren't Scotland playing qualifiers for the world cup just now?
- Are they?  How would I ken?  I'm the sports editor.
- They beat Afghanistan.
- Nae a great fitba nation.
- They're unbeaten so far.
- See whit happens when you appoint big Alex McLeish.
- Nothing to do with McLeish.  We need to give the cricket some coverage.
- OK OK.  How mony Rangers players is involved?
- None.
- OK  Must be a' Celtic players then?
- No.
- Oh no, it's nae Aiberdeen players is it.  I'm no going up there for interviews.
- No - it's cricket - it's nothing to do with football.
- Cannae go on the sports pages then.  This is a Scottish paper.

Saturday, 10 March 2018


As the Beast from the East recedes the full horror of the life or death struggle is becoming clearer.

No empire biscuits to be found....
Many faced extended periods of empire biscuit deprivation as panic buying stripped the shelves of all provender.  In many parts of Scotland shoppers disaster loomed found only fresh fruit and vegetables.

Even Fantasy Bob could not resist the hysteria of panic buying - as a result, he now has 6 new cricket bats.

Mrs FB did not seem overly impressed as he returned from the blizzard blasted wasteland proudly bearing these trophies, although she did eventually concede that, used with dexterity and a sense of purpose, they might be used to move the snow from the path to the front door.  FB felt that her trenchantly expressed scepticism that FB had any dexterity, far less a sense of purpose, did little to help the household's overall response to the extreme conditions.  But he bit his tongue.  Thus adding injury to insult.

Much as the media tried to downplay the horror by continuous hysterical reporting of references to red alerts, extreme conditions and life or death situations, the sense of panic was not eased.  Emergency services were inundated with calls.  Police Scotland report that they received 50% more 999 calls than usual.

'Your kebab is cold....?'
FB is sure that there were many in genuine difficulty but, as increasingly seems to be the case these days, there were many calls which suggests that many of FB's fellow citizens understand that the word emergency now means a situation of mild inconvenience.  Police therefore had to respond to such life or death matters as a desperate request to borrow a show shovel;  a frantic concern that a gate was frozen; an imperious command that since there was no bread in the shop and could the police make a delivery; a sobbing inquiry as to where an open cigarette shop could be found.

These calls only add to the long history of similar 999 calls - distraught citizens have called to report that eggs in the fridge were broken, that their kebab is cold and that they have forgotten their password.

FB has never called 999.  Obviously he has been oblivious to threat.  He needs to reassess his generally stoical outlook.  He needs to revise his sense of emergency. He regularly faces life or death situations.

The next time he sees the ball being handed to an 11 year old leg spinner. He knows what to do.  999.