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The Purcell Strings

Reading the papers and blogs over the last couple of weeks, there was always the underlying theme that there was more to Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell’s resignation than simply stress/exhaustion/cocaine addiction. Alarm bells started ringing when one of Scotland’s most expensive solicitors was appointed as Purcell’s spokesman in the wake of his resignation, first as Council Leader and then as a councillor.

So it was really no surprise when the Sunday Times this morning published a story involving Purcell, multi millionaire businessman, Willie Haughey, Scottish Enterprise, former first minister Jack McConnell and even the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

There’s a rule of thumb, don’t know if it has anything more than apocryphal basis, that if there is a  Labour political scandal, there’ll be someone somewhere caught with their fingers in a till, whilst  a Tory political scandal will mean someone has their fingers caught in someone else.

There’s allegedly a few fingers in a few tills HERE

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Present and Incorrect.

There are many things, dear reader, that I am rubbish at.

Drawing, most sports that involve hand eye co-ordination, most other sports,  making decisions (although I’m not so sure about that) and a whole host of other things spring to mind.

But the thing I’m worst at, and the thing I hate most, is shopping in general and buying presents in particular. It’s not a lack of generosity or anything, I’m just crap at choosing presents and coping with what’s involved in doing it. This has been thrown into sharp focus by Mothers Day . Actually I’m quite encouraged by clicking on that to see that the original modern concept of Mothers Day came out of a pacifist movement in the USA. However it has become the construct of card manufacturers, florists, choclatiers and many others since.

Like Christmas it’s another completely unnecessary marking of a day by superfluous consumerism.

However rather than try to reason with either my wife or mother about that (the old saying about discretion and valour comes to mind), I along with millions of other clueless sons, husbands and fathers set about trying to choose some gifts for this occasion yesterday. I’ve excluded daughters here. There may be exceptions but women in general have the ability, nay the knack of buying the right thing for the right person. Unfortunately my daughters delegated the task to me. Och! they’re still young.

I did go seeking out cards with them last week. Any card which gave the merest impression of being in any way “soppy” was greeted by my elder daughter with the exclamation “barf bag please dad!”.

I had intended getting something from one of my fellow small shops but I was working yesterday (typically I had left it late) and didn’t manage to get out before closing time at 5:30. So I was basically left with the choice of my two least favourite shops out of all shops.

Argos and Asda.

I detest Argos. It’s not even a proper shop – it’s a catalogue with a warehouse. Every corner cut and every competitor undercut. I did go in and have a look but it was a token gesture. I flicked aimlessly, cluelessly and without a scintilla of inspiration, through the pages for a few minutes and that was it.

So, Asda it was. The bastard son of Wal Mart. They actually employ a wee guy to stand at the door and smile and wave and say hello to people.

“Hello there!” said Tommy (for it was he) smiling and waving as I walked in. I’m caught on such occasions between sympathy and respect for someone doing a pretty difficult job and the uncontrollable urge to shout “Aw just go and take a good run and fuck to yourself!” and perhaps accompany it with some gratuitous assault or other.

The foyer area was jam packed full of flowers and plants in various stages of decay. Many of them were dyed in gaudy colours. All the bouquets might as well have had a big label on saying “Bought at supermarket/filling station on way home (delete where applicable) on them. Some of the orchids were actually quite nice but looked very delicate.

Up to the CD aisle it was, on the way picking up a wee filter coffee maker for a fiver. I’m the only one who drinks coffee in the house so a smaller coffee maker seemed a good idea. I looked at the CDs. Piles of rubbish especially produced or at least grouped together for the occasion. Compilations with pink covers called things like “Thank you mum!” “Hits for mums” “Twenty love ballads” and other horseshit.

Then, talking of horseshit, I spotted Rod Stewart’s new album. It’s a collection of Motown songs. Mrs Bigrab has liked Rod since his Faces days (ie when he was pretty good – before he met Britt Ekland about 35 years ago) and whilst I wondered if she’d appreciate this, it was getting to the desperate stage. Down to the books and I picked up one I thought she’d like, then a wee box of chocs and a wee plant display thing for my own mum.

Down to the front to pay in one of these self serve kiosks. “Excuse me sir there’s a queue!” said a young lad who seemed to be employed with the specific purpose of telling people there’s a queue. He wasn’t kidding. Just to get the opportunity to pay there was a queue of about twelve folk.

Eventually I got to the kiosk. An automaton guided me through the process. The coffee maker wouldn’t scan. The Rod Stewart CD, which I was trying to hide in case anyone thought it was for myself wouldn’t scan.

An assistant helped.

The machine wouldn’t accept my money.

An assistant helped.

Meanwhile in Wal Mart’s HQ they’re probably devising more reliable bar code readers and money grabbers so that they can do away with assistants completely.

I hope as the kids and I offer the pathetic baubles later that Mrs B might for a minute reflect on the horror that had to be endured to get them.

She’ll probably just smile, say thanks and think “What a pile of shit!”

I wonder if I should say “Like Christmas it’s another completely unnecessary marking of a day by superfluous consumerism.”

Do you think it’d work?