The DI­ARY

Socks and dregs and sausage rolls are very good in­deed – un­like the Beeb’s lat­est Hog­manay of­fer­ings

The Herald on Sunday - - VOICES - Ron McKay

Lights, cam­era, ac­tion man

SCOT­LAND’S one-man movie in­dus­try, Has­ton McLaren, has just won an­other clutch of awards for his first film, A Life In Au­gust – a movie he didn’t just direct, pro­duce, shoot, write and com­pose the mu­sic for but also starred in and prob­a­bly even pre­pared cor­don bleu meals for the crew, AKA him­self. And all this he fit­ted in around his day job. Last month, the film won a pres­ti­gious in­ter­na­tional award at the Ac­co­lade film fes­ti­val in La Jolla, Cal­i­for­nia, and now it has won four golds at the In­ter­na­tional In­de­pen­dent Film Awards in En­cino, Los An­ge­les, in­clud­ing cin­e­matog­ra­phy, orig­i­nal score and best ac­tress – Lisa Miller.

It’s been a six-year jour­ney – more an ob­ses­sion – by Has­ton (or Harry, as he’s known) since he de­cided to spend six hun­dred quid on a video cam­era and do it him­self.

Harry’s day job is head of elec­tron­ics and avion­ics de­sign at a light air­craft main­te­nance com­pany based at Cum­ber­nauld air­port, where he in­stalled the tech­ni­cal giz­mos in the air­craft 007 flew in the film Spec­tre and built some of the other air­craft which were used in the more de­struc­tive se­quences.

He was once also a pro­fes­sional mu­si­cian and sound en­gi­neer and claims that the whole project has cost less than £20,000, although his wife, June, tells him that one of the few things he can’t do is count. He fi­nanced it on credit cards. So what next? Harry vows he has no plans for a fol­low-up. “My wife in­sisted I say that,” he says.

Sausages are the boy

THE pub­lic re­la­tions coup of the year so far – though ad­mit­tedly there’s not much com­pe­ti­tion af­ter less than a week – comes from Greggs, no­tably as­sisted by Piers Mor­gan.

The re­tail chain launched a ve­gan sausage roll (is that not an oxy­moron?) which was first de­nounced by the TV host who then tweeted that he had or­dered one from room ser­vice (what kind of ho­tel stocks Greggs?).

The com­pany re­sponded that it was wait­ing on his or­der, which Mor­gan later pro­nounced wasn’t at all bad.

There fol­lowed a run on ve­gan sausage rolls and many branches quickly sold out.

It is no doubt a huge co­in­ci­dence that Greggs and Mor­gan are rep­re­sented by the same PR com­pany.

Get­ting sniffy

A chum of the di­ary sniffs out the lat­est scents on the mar­ket just so your si­nuses don’t have to.

She has dis­cov­ered a new uni­sex per­fume from Tom Ford, which is said to be a “tempt­ing di­chotomy of play­ful, can­dy­like gleam on the out­side and lus­cious flesh on the inside” – prose that Piers Mor­gan might have penned. Ap­par­ently, in­no­cence in­ter­sects with in­dul­gence, too. It’s called Lost Cherry but, ac­cord­ing to our chum, car­ries more than a hint of re­gret.

The curse of socks

DID your mum or granny re­peat­edly warn you to make sure your un­der­pants were clean on to­day, in case you get knocked down by a bus? Prob­a­bly just af­ter she told you that if you didn’t eat up your por­ridge the bad man would come and take you away to the fire.

Well, I feel the same about socks. What if I get run down by the num­ber 64 en route to Auchen­shug­gle and the paramedics dis­cover that one doesn’t match the other? They’d prob­a­bly switch off the oxy­gen, or pause mid-CPR, and walk away in dis­gust.

Does any­one nowa­days pair socks, never mind darn them? It’s ab­so­lute chaos in my sock drawer – I take it as a Brexit anal­ogy – and

with the new ones I’ve been given over the fes­tive pe­riod fated, af­ter only one out­ing, never to see their twin again, the in­fer­nal gud­dle will only worsen.

Why isn’t there some law that socks can only be plain black? If the EU can leg­is­late about bent ba­nanas why isn’t there this bind­ing di­rec­tive on foot cov­er­ings?

Is it any won­der that mil­lions of peo­ple, at least half of them in odd socks, voted to leave?

The joy of sex

SOME lawyers have very odd sec­ond jobs and in­ter­ests. There’s Stephen Fox who buries stiffs as a Glas­gow undertaker when he’s not in his gown and wig.

But, putting a to­tally dif­fer­ent in­ter­pre­ta­tion on the word, er, stiff, there’s John Web­ber Fraser, head of lit­i­ga­tion at PRP Le­gal, who is now ad­ver­tis­ing him­self as a sex coach.

He’s formed a com­pany called Ev­ery­body Loves Limited with Karen Welch who, I pre­sume, is the wo­man he is cosy­ing up to on their Face­book page.

I don’t know how you qual­ify as a sex coach but I imag­ine it takes plenty of prac­tice.

They seem to be dis­ci­ples of Betty Martin’s Wheel of Con­sent, which I imag­ine is an in­ti­mate po­si­tion in­volv­ing cart­wheels. They’re look­ing for vol­un­teers for a cou­ple of hours a month.

As my ath­letic days have gone, I’ll pass on that one.

In memo­riam

THE year is barely new and al­ready two great peo­ple have passed.

RIP Air­drie’s Tommy McAleese, bet­ter known as Dean Ford, a bril­liant singer and song­writer who fronted Marmalade and wrote (with Ju­nior Camp­bell) Re­flec­tions Of My Life. The roy­al­ties from that song kept him alive in Los An­ge­les when he fought chronic al­co­holism and worked as a chauf­feur to celebri­ties.

Prior to that he was the lead singer with the Glas­gow band The Gay­lords, although the name didn’t have quite the same mean­ing back then. If you haven’t heard beau­ti­ful The Glas­gow Road, writ­ten and per­formed by him with ex-Badfin­ger gui­tarist and pro­ducer Joe Tansin, here it is: www.youtube.com/ watch?v=QQ­tat8hn-18.

Dean died on New Year’s Day and a day later Bob Ein­stein, the US co­me­dian, writer and out­ra­geously dirty jokester, went to that great com­edy im­prov in the sky. He was a reg­u­lar as Marty Funkhouser on Curb Your En­thu­si­asm – his best joke is too filthy to re­peat – and as Larry Mid­dle­man on Ar­rested De­vel­op­ment and as mad stunt­man Su­per Dave Os­borne, a mas­sive hit in Canada.

Per­haps the best trib­ute to him comes from Cana­dian co­me­dian Scott Thomp­son who tweeted that he hoped Bob’s cof­fin is trans­ported to the ceme­tery on top of a pa­rade float that mis­judges the height of an over­pass.

We all love a good bit of clas­sic com­edy, cour­testy of Ricky Ful­ton, a good film – sin­gle­hand­edly brought to you by Has­ton McLaren – and a lovely new per­fume – well, less said about that the bet­ter

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