Posts Tagged 'Inverness'

Questionable Time #106

questionable time 106 david dimbleby thats all folks

Good morning Lemmings and as the above picture suggests, changes are afoot around these parts – big changes that mean that this will be my last post-QT write-up for the foreseeable future although not the end of Questionable Time itself. However, before I get stuck into explaining all that, there’s still the matter of last night’s show to contend with. Fear not though– this won’t take long.

It’s almost like they knew this would be my last show…

…And decided to celebrate the good news by engineering an episode specifically designed to irritate me. I mean c’mon – Scotland? No politicians? Only four on the panel? Jesus guys, a carriage clock and some WH Smith’s vouchers would have sufficed – no need to go to all the trouble of putting together a personalised nightmare just for me. But they did. They went to all that trouble and more, going so far as to book a panel that is known by no-one in the whole world ever and in a location primarily associated with gorse and darkness. If that wasn’t bad enough there was also a very cruel raising of hopes when I googled “Ricky Ross” and was delighted to find that we would be spending the evening with ‘Freeway’ Rick Ross – an ex-drugs kingpin from LA and all round ne’er-do-well who was sure to spice things up by recommending which asses caps should be popped in and who exactly should lick a shot. Alas, it was not to be as what we were actually getting was Ricky Ross, frontman of seminal mid-80’s twaddle pedlars Deacon Blue and all round walking haircut. Thanks QT production team! This is the best send off a boy could ever hope for!

Things can only get better, right?

Well, sort of. The lack of politicians made for a really odd atmosphere where the crowd – all geed up with the usual appetite for a damn good blaming – found themselves a little stymied by a lack of anyone to really blame for anything other than Alan Savage, a harried looking man who repeatedly got it in the neck for no lesser crime than simply existing/pointing out that a currency is sort of a helpful thing for a country to have. The others fared better though, what with Scott Hastings doing his best to prop Savage up yet ultimately looking like he’d got lost somewhere between a Rotary Club meeting and the Grandstand studio, Joan Burnie displaying an aptitude for both the having and eating of cakes and Ricky Ross actually turning out to be very good despite occasionally veering a little too close to the Bono/Sting Line and hoping that claiming not be a politician would somehow disguise the fact that he very clearly wants to be a politician.

So yes, it wasn’t as bad as I feared but there was something missing in that the stakes weren’t high enough: No one involved was going to get a bollocking if they messed up, no careers were on the line and as a result it all felt like an end-of-term game of rounders where you’re only allowed to throw underarm rather than the usual bare knuckle brawl that’s driven by fear, malice and reckless ambition.

Then something magical happened…

So there I was, drifting in and out of the show as I sat inches away from the telly, trying to get a shot of a man in the crowd who looked like Central Casting’s go-to guy for any Vietnam Vet related role and feeling vaguely miffed that I was going out with such a whimper. Then the camera fell upon a gentleman of advancing years and a very stiff gait – let’s call him ‘The Highlander’. At first it appeared that we were in for a standard ‘doddery old man in very drawn out response’ offering but a few seconds in things started to get weird: First there was talk of love for both Scotland and the Union – fair enough really – but then his face started contorting into this sort of rolling snarl and an arm came jerking up as he moved on to other, more dramatic subjects. There was talk of dead relatives, the Highland Regiment and then – out of nowhere – “BRITISH ARMY! [Unidentifiable chunter] BRITISH FOREVER! WE WILL NEVER CHANGE! WE WILL KEEP OUR UNION TOGETHER IN THE NAME OF JESUS!”. Lemmings, I could have died with delight. They hadn’t forgotten me! They’d laid this guy on especially in lieu of the carriage clock!

But that wasn’t even the half of it: In a breach of the usual Do Not Give Clearly Unhinged Audience Members A Second Bite Of The Cherry protocol, The Highlander was returned to later in the show and treated us to an extended encore that covered the poor (he’s CONCERNED FOR THEM), showing the losers down at the rugby team what’s what (“WATCH ME!”), and blood (I think he was referring to his own but probably wouldn’t have minded if it was someone else’s either). Basically, it was the single greatest display of frothing randomness I have seen to date and a fitting way to draw the curtains on my Questionable Time career. My sincerest thanks go out to whoever booked the audience this week – you’ve made my year – and should anyone wish to relive the glory of The Highlander’s headlong plunge into the abyss, you can do so here and here.


Ross: 7/10


Hastings: 5/10

(Built of) Brick(s)

Burnie: 6/10

(Is in good) Nick

Savage: 4/10

(Got a lot of) Stick

The Audience: 5/10

(Were) Quick (to have a go at Savage)

The Highlander: 100/10

Tick(s every single box I ever wanted ticking)

And that was that – a victory from the jaws of defeat that has bookended my time here with considerable aplomb.

So that’s nearly it from it – I say ‘nearly’ because I’m hoping to put up a post next Friday that sort of outlines everything I’ve learned about QT over the last 5 years (5 years!) and also I’m hoping that the new management will let me return to do the odd post every now and then. And who is this ‘new management’? Well, I’m delighted to say that regular Questionable Time contributor Elizabeth has been blagged into willing taken on the role as QT Fuhrer and will now be in charge of things around here.

As for me, well I’m moving on to other things – like colourising photographs for cash monies – but I’ve had a hoot doing this and would like to thank all the regular readers for making this little corner of the internet the strange and rather special place it is. Huge thanks also go out to the following: Jalf, Rick, Benry, Kev and Beef for the years of looking on in a bemused fashion, @markinreading for being a clown of note, @dimblebot for services to evil and nefarious scheming, members of the QT production team past and present for aid afforded, Ellen E. Jones at The Independent for taking a massive punt on me, James Corrigan for all the kindness and assistance, Elizabeth and Mike for their outstanding contributions (both past and future), the Ribs-in-Laws/Frere Ribs/Elder Ribs/Step Ribs for the years of support, the Frau Ribs for putting up with me for all this time and most of all to my mum who – believe it or not – has proofread every one of these reports over the years and made up for the fact that I’m a 34-year-old who still struggles to arrange letters into a coherent order. None of this would have been possible without you guys so heartfelt thanks all around.

Right, I’m done. Come back next week if you wish to see what five years of Questionable Timing does to man (it’s not pretty, I can tell you that for free), but if not then thanks for reading and I hope you continue to come back here when Elizabeth takes the helm in September.

so long lemmings

Questionable Time #31

questionable time 31 davidi dimbleby kilt

Good morning Lemmings and seriously, do we really have to do this? Do we really have to voluntarily relive what was probably the dullest episode of Question Time I can recall? I guess we do. If you didn’t catch it last night then well done to you, you’re ahead of the game but if you did then I guess that reading this may at least have some cathartic value. We can treat it like a support group for those embittered by the fact that they lost an entire hour of their life last night. Anyway, here we go… *sigh*…

Inverness appears to be some sort of Reverso Logan’s Run…

I did most of my growing up in a very sleepy seaside town so large concentrations of the elderly hold no mystery for me. However even I have to admit that the sheer volume of oldsters on display last night was a frightening spectacle to behold, so thick was the floor with those in their autumn years. Quite how a town gets into a state where everyone under the age of 30 has either fled or been forcibly removed is a mystery – as are the logistics of how you’d run such a settlement (who delivers the papers? How do they cope with such high levels of unemployment in the educational sector? Do they even bother putting up ‘No Ball Games’ signs?) – but the very fact that this clear perversion of demographics can exist at all is enough to give me the jibblies. Not only that, but the studio looked very warm last night and I suspect that a day of heavy rain may have induced the wearing of extra layers amongst the crowd, something that did little to counter the clammy atmosphere of mothballs and torpor. In short, this was never really going to be a riot of a show.

It’s a sad day when Melanie Phillips is the only thing keeping you awake.

Panel wise, this could have been an ok episode as Charles Kennedy (when he’s not ‘missing his plane’) is usually pretty solid and Alan Cumming had the potential to bring something different to the table. However, as neither of these guys really got into their stride until right near the end of the show (Kennedy appeared to spend the first half trying vainly to wake up whilst Cumming got hobbled by questions of nationality and tax status) so the floor was left wide open for Melanie Phillips to extrapolate wildly on how seemingly innocuous developments will inevitably lead to a dystopian and apocalyptic future. Maybe think about not giving rich pensioners free money? Sure, BUT DON’T COME CRYING TO ME WHEN YOU SEE THAT THE ENTIRE WELFARE STATE HAS BEEN DESTROYED. Thrupence on petrol? Oh, no big deal UNTIL THE PINKO HIPPIES IN GOVERNMENT START PUTTING WIND FARMS IN YOUR BRAIN. Spice this up with some choice phrases like “incentive for mass fatherlessness”, liberal (or anti-liberal, I’m not quite sure which) use of words like “bogus” and you start to get the picture.

Now on any given Thursday I would probably pour scorn on absurd antics such as these but I’m giving Melanie a free pass this week as she was literally the only thing keeping me in the realms of consciousness last night. Yeah I know, semi-endorsing Melanie Phillips feels like a weird and dangerous thing to do so to balance things out here’s a pshop of her in a Bin Laden outfit (see Fig. 1). Questionable Time: It’s all about the balance.

melanie phillips osama bin laden

Fig. 1

Ok, so Lord Forsyth was semi-interesting…

Is it just me or was Lord Forsyth being positively seditious towards the government last night? The reason I have to ask is because although I’m sure that the content of his speech was pretty treasonable his tone was so hushed and gentle that it sounded more like a lullaby than a sustained attack on the likes of Cameron and Osborne. A similar thing happened when he and Phillips got stuck into a joint rant on the Euro: I got the impression from what he was saying that he was genuinely angry yet the most his demeanour could muster was the look of being vaguely ticked off. Odd, in a semi-interesting sort of way.

And just who exactly are these people?

A funny thing happens to me when I watch Johann Lamont: Her lips move, a sound comes out that is in a language I am fluent in yet I hear nothing. Well that’s not quite right, I do hear something – a little like the noise of a fridge humming into life – but nothing that I can convey any meaning from. This isn’t an accent thing either, it’s just that the part of my brain that deals with processing language just seems to shut down whenever I lay eyes on her. As a result I have absolutely no idea what she said last night but judging from the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd I don’t think I missed much. And as for Alex Neil, the first thing to say is that he isn’t Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon. I don’t know what happened last night – maybe they double-booked their annual leave or something – but I suppose it’s nice to occasionally have a Scottish episode that doesn’t involve Caledonia’s answer to The Carpenters. Apart form that all I can really tell you is that a) Alex Neil is very satisfied with being Scottish and b) is even more satisfied that a Scottish man like himself should get to go on the telly. Oh God, I can’t do this anymore…


Forsyth: Zzz…


Kennedy: Zzzzz…


Lamont: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…


Neil: Zzzzzzzzz…


Cumming: Zzzz…


Phillips: !!!!!!!!!!


The Crowd: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz




There. I’ve done all I can. Well done if you made it this far, now let us agree to never speak of this episode again. Still, I guess it was an appropriate end to a week of ‘celebrations’ that looked more like a humanitarian disaster. Say what you will about the British but we sure now how to stand about in the rain looking uncomfortable and vaguely nonplussed. Oh and in a final twist of the knife I’m afraid I won’t be around next week as I’m off to see NOFX and intend to get so messed up that even watching QT on iPlayer is going to be out of the question. Professionalism: I has it.

In a fortnight Lemmings, in a fortnight…

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