Wednesday 31 October 2018


Graham Norton was resplendent  in a tartan suit as he stepped out to talk about his new book in Glasgow. 
Graham was staying at the Blythswood hotel before heading through to Edinburgh where   he admitted one if his favourite authors was Scots born Denise Mina. 
Graham got the crowd laughing at the bash particularly when one fan asked him to listen to their radio show Despite Irish born Graham being a Celt there were language barriers as he misheard the title and asked if it was spelled bomb.
The radio person replied in ernest, ‘No drop as in D.R.O.P’
Graham should have had his big red chair with him. 

Billionaire Tom Hunter was looking pretty cool in a tracksuit when I bumped into him in town. 
Sir Tom told me he wasn’t on a keep fit regime. 
Instead the 56 year old who was with wife Marion and friends including former Clyde 1 boss Paul Cooney been at a gig in town and told me he wanted to fit in with the rest of the cool crowd. 
Tom has always been a very down to earth man and I remember visiting some of Glasgow’s favourite chippies with him and his posse in the past. 
He’s been busy of late working on the kiltwalk and he asked me to ask you if you can take part in the next one. 
I might well be doing it too now. 
You can choose a charity of your choice and Sir Tom will top up by forty percent whatever money you raise. 
He said: “We has over 20,000 walkers this year and are very chuffed with that.”

I indulged in what must be one of the most unusual desserts of this year at Oro Italian in Glasgow. 
Their ice cream cheeseboard sees Melt in the mouth versions of Mozarella, Marscapone and Ricotta all appearing on one plate. 
It was really odd when the Buffalo Mozarella flavour was served up with olive oil, salt and balsamic glaze, but it all worked beautifully!! 
What an amazing concoction by chef and restauranteur Domenico Crolla who tells me is now off to Roma to pick up yet another food award. 
Kilts were very much in vogue on Tuesday night as both Enrique Iglesias and Eric Cantona wore one to mark their visits here. 
Enrique’s kilt was presented to him by radio presenter Adele Cunningham who managed to get him a special pink Heart radio kilt made to order by Slanj. 
Robin Galloway, who was also backstage, advised Enrique to wear nothing underneath but only those in the front row can tell whether he did - or not. 

I’ve triple booked myself this Friday night so if I see you please give me a drink of water to rehydrate me. 
Firstly I’ll be saying a very quick hello at The Dockyard Social where they have a special evening with some bloggers ahead of their Halloween market this weekend.
Then I’ll be heading westwards to Clinica Medica to go live on Facebook around six thirty pm and talk about some fat removing treatments with Dr Awfa Paulina (I should take the hint after all my weeks of gorging) 
And lastly I’ll be freaking myself out at the launch of GlasGLOW at Botanic Gardens - with a Halloween themed magical sound and light show.
I’ll let you know if I survive...

Saturday 27 October 2018


The King Eric Cantona in the meantime sported a rather fetching number to his Street Soccer event at the Hilton.
Footballing giant Eric had popped out in the afternoon for a stroll and a fitting before the big bash.
I met him before he changed into the outfit and said a wee Bonsoir to him. I studied French and management at Glasgow uni so it was nice to try a bit of my Oral French on him! The other journos there were a tad bemused.
Eric and Scotland manager Alex McLeish had a good laugh as Alex reminded Eric that he scored two goals out of three in a France Scotland match. Alex delighted in saying that the shoe was on the other foot when the French came to Scotland and we beat them.
Mark Hateley was amongst the guests too and told me Eric was a ‘controversial genius who lives on the edge.’ He recalled that he played against him in Monaco when he was a really young boy.
Eric who helped to raise over 190,000 for the Street Soccer Charity, was loving his kilt and even popped downstairs for a wee drink while wearing it.
One enthusiastic fan showed him old pics of Charles Aznavor and Johnny Halliday and Eric joked that they were all known as the French Collection.

Thursday 25 October 2018


CHRIS Pine skipped out of his film premiere in Edinburgh to spend time in the security office of Cineworld.
Fans of the star couldn’t believe it when they caught a glimpse of the star in the basement office of the cinema just half an hour after the film began.
One said: “We were having a nosey at the back of the building when we saw Chris Pine in the office with the security guards. He was about to come out for a smoke but when he saw us he turned round and went back in.”
Most of Edinburgh and beyond we’re thrilled when Chris walked the red carpet at the Edinburgh
Some fans had been out earlier in the day searching for him but Chris was too busy being interviewed in Borthwick Castle before heading to Edinburgh Castle afterwards for a reception.
The star has a huge love of history and spends a lot of his time exploring museums near where he is shooting.
I can now reveal that when he was in Glasgow shooting earlier this year he headed out to the transport museum where he almost went incognito.
Unfortunately for him he was spotted by own young fan as he  got a quick bite to eat in the museum cafe by the Riverside.
Chris is followed by fans wherever he goes and the collective name for them has always been Pine Nuts but since the film which features s full frontal of the star the term has er, coined a new meaning.  

Saturday 20 October 2018


FROZEN singer and former X Factor Star Saara Aalto is a secret Outlander and Sam Heughan fan.
I had the pleasure of speaking with the uber talented singer ahead of her opening tour gig at The Poetry Club SWG3.
She told me: “I love the Outlander book series so much and read it ten years ago and fell in love with Scotland because of the book.  When I first went into X Factor I was at the Edinburgh auditions and that moment changed my life so Scotland has special place in my heart. The first time I came to Glasgow was with the X Factor tour but last year when I did Glasgow Pride I came here with my fiancée and we made a road trip and hired a car and my girlfriend drove.  We tried to find  Culloden Battlefield and some others places from Outlander like the castle and I would have loved to meet Sam Heughan.”
Saara who was also asking after singers Emily Middlemas and Ryan Lawrie as well as Caitlyn Vanbeck during our convo was looking forward to showing off her classical and acoustic side as well as performing her big showgirl numbers. 

Wednesday 17 October 2018


London born singer Azim will be crying Freedom when he comes to Paisley on October 18.
Azim, who has recently been working with Scots songwriter and producer John McLaughlin  will play the  Bungalow music venue after releasing his new single Freedom on October 12.
Azim who offer up a mix of tracks based on conflict and tension can’t wait to play the Bungalow venue. 

  Having learned the acoustic guitar after Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens made his comeback he has always strived to reflect the reality of London life, encompassing religious or socio-political opposites, or the epic odyssey of a migrant father fleeing war
He said: “Theres so much to being much out there to draw upon, especially since we had Brexit and TrumpI dont want to hide from any of it.”
Azim, who cites his influences as Richard AshcroftNoel Gallagher and Jimmy Hendrixexplained: ”My song Freedom is a depiction of modern life in a big city. My music is my freedom and if people want to go their own way freedom belongs in their hands.”
“I know how important the word Freedom is in Scotland so I’d love people to come along to the night and embrace it.”

Monday 15 October 2018


Boaby the Barman may be no more but Still Game’s Gavin Mitchell is still numb.
He said: “It’s not sunk in if I’m honest. We finished a few weeks ago and then I got the lurgy.”
I met the lovely Gav at the 35th anniversary celebrations for STV’s famed detective series Taggart.
Seamore Neighbourhood Cinema had taken over Maryhill Community Central Hall for the occasion and Gav was in esteemed company alongside show creators - writer Glenn Chandler and producer Robert Love.
Gav told  me: “I actually appeared three times, in three roles on the show, as a barman of course and then a pathologist Robin Carlisle Forbes who was actually kind of posh, and then as a gangster kind of businessman which was a brilliant storyline.
He added jokingly: “He was nice but a bit like me, so er, don’t cross me or I’ll break your nose with a pool cue.”
As we sat watching the first ever episode of Taggart - then a three part mini series called Killer in 1983 - it struck me just how brilliant it was - and how timeless the writing still is. Only the dodgy patterned wallpaper was a bit out of date.
Gav said: “Robert and Glenn both created Taggart, so to be with the creators thirty five years on in Maryhill in the community Central halls is phenomenal. To be in Jim Taggarts stomping ground, in his hood with his creators is refined company indeeed. It’s a bit like being with Keith Richards and Mick Jagger and I’m the Ronnie Wood of the company. I’ll always be the newbie.”

Friday 12 October 2018


Two Scots Italian Restaurants have beaten their English counterparts by being nominated for the Italian food Oscars. 
Glasgow’s own Oro restaurant in Kilmarnock Road joins Edinburgh’s Locanda De Gusti in being nominated for a trophy at the Melius Ristorante awards -rewarding the top 100 restaurants outside of Italy. 
And while Scotland has two nominations, England only has one - in the form of restaurant Beck at Brown’s in London. 
Scots chef Domenico Crolla said: “Every time I’ve competed in the U.K. for the past ten years Scotland has always done better than England whether it’s a pizza or restaurant contest. Scotland has always beaten England.”
Domenico reckons Scots restaurants are better rated because they are owner run.  
He said: “We have a culture of owner run restaurants here including Indian, Chinese and Italian which are all operated by the owners who offer an authentic experience. 
Other restaurants from Dubai and China are one the list so to be on the same list as them is quite an honour.”
Domenico can’t wait to represent Scotland when he visits Rome on October 29 for the awards ceremony. 
He said: “I don’t have the legs for a kilt but I’m looking forward to it. All the restaurants are of a high standard and it’s going to be close competition.”

Thursday 4 October 2018


THE Greeks no longer smash plates during a good night out - instead, since the 1970s legislation which now makes it forbidden, they are more likely to toss some flowers or napkins at one another in celebration.
And did you know olive oil forms the basis of the triangular Cretan diet (meat and fish at the top) and, as well as its other health benefits, is a recognised aphrodisiac?
These two facts are just some of those I learned on my Cretan holiday.
You see, as the good professor once told me, Crete is like a bikini.
You might think you can see it all, but the best bits are always hidden away from those but the most curious of eyes.
A week in Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is just not enough to delight in the many thrills it has to offer.
From the myths and legends of the Minotaur and its associated labyrinth, and Gods like Zeuss and Poseidon, to the history of the Minoan civilisation and its place as the important 'first link in the European chain' to it's current status as a front runner in eco-tourism and ambassador for the healthy Mediterranean diet, its DD cup runneth over.

Located by the Agean sea - so named after the myth of the King who drowned there- it also offers more pleasant aquatic opportunities by way of cruising, scuba diving, snorkelling, and wind surfing as well as beaches like Elafonissi.
And for those with a fish phobia, like me, who prefer a piece of glass between them and the creatures of the deep, the Thalassocosmos-Aquarium, a former American base at Gournes will prove an exhilirating experience in less intimidating surroundings.
Here you can stare eyeball to eyeball at over hundreds of species and thousands of living organisms from the humble Octopus to winged fish, sharks and seahorses.
The largest city in Crete is Heraklion and direct flights from Glasgow or via London will bring you straight into its central airport.
Catering for families and couples, as well as those who just want a retreat from our ever bustling cities, it is mountainous and picturesque, with little fishing villages and harbours to break up the landscape.
You are more or less guaranteed 13 hours of sunshine a day during August, and the temperature still hits the mid-20s in October.
My particular experience was of the five stars on the island - of which there are many, but those with a more limited budget will find plenty including some lodges at places like the eco-friendly Millia Village priced at around £75 a night.

A stay at The Aldemar Royal Mare Thallasso was a real treat - a refined yet sumptuous five star with an olde world attitude towards service and quality and an adjoining spa. The nearby oppulent Minos Palace hotel offered real style and sophistication and some rooms even come with a private pool.
Tourists love a good night out and The Cretan Village in Karouzanos is up a windy cobbled footpath where food, drink and dancing awaits - not to mention the odd donkey. Romance is very much alive and as the raki - grappa wine- goes down, you may find yourself getting amorous with... anyone!
Near the main city of Heraklion lies the world famous Knossos, the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete, restored, by archaeologist Arthur Evans who had an educated if not imaginative mind. With its frescoes and restored interiors it undoubtedly brings alive some of the late Minoan relics.
A visit to the Archaelogical Museum of adjoining Chania showcases some of the artifacts removed during the excavation work.

Chania also boasts a pleasant harbour by which to walk at night and an imposing lighthouse, and nearby is the serene Cavo Spada hotel - a modern retreat with a pool so large the lifeguard needs a boat to get from one end to the other.
For budding historians, a trip to the Melidoni Cave with its rudimentary prayer altars proves haunting. A monument to those burned alive in 1821 forms the centrepiece of these caves and somewhat eerily the pictures I took here depicted facelike forms etched in the walls, soi much so that I had to seek comfort in some of the local food - of which pastries are a speciality.
Crete has so much to offer so who needs plates? You'll find a holiday in Crete smashing in so many other ways. was a guest of the Greek National Tourism Organization.

- Posted with love from Scotland by