Terrorists of the week They don’t look like terrorists. Sometimes they look more like superannuated models. But their ability to keep the population in a state of fear and alarm is matched only by ISIS. For days before she struck, the terrorists of the weather industry warned us of the 'danger to life’ posed by 'xOphelia’, the name they gave to the remnant of some American hurricane. We were assured that, even if we somehow managed to survive the experience, public transport would be severely disrupted, roads blocked, towns flooded. The ever-impressionable media dutifully circulated this hysterical guff. In fact, 'xOphelia’ turned out to be no more than a night of high wind. By the following morning the much-anticipated apocalypse had come and gone, leaving – according to one newspaper (the i) – 'a trail of devastation.’ The devastation in Scotland amounted to the partial collapse of a derelict tenement building in Glasgow that was scheduled for demolition, and the lifting of the roof of the scout hut in Castle Douglas. Otherwise, not a lot. In the whole of the UK – a country of 66 million people – no-one but no-one died and there were no reports of serious injury. The BBC reported at one stage that schools in Scotland had closed. They had. That’s because they were closed anyway – for the mid-term break. But are the meteorological mafia repentant that they got it wrong yet again? Absolutely not: there’s more life-threatening hot air on the way, you bet. (The next one is called Brian. Lock up your daughters.)
Weather event of the week It is not enough that we have weather. We now have 'weather events,’ in which each passing breeze or bout of above-average rainfall is given a name. How long before we have 'weather festivals’?
Strange yellow light in the sky of the week That must have been the strange yellow light in the sky. Except there was no unanimity on the colour of this unsettling phenomenon. Some thought it was red, others orange, but according to a recent opinion poll – the one we conducted in the office – a majority of those who witnessed the strange yellow light in the sky concluded that it was yellow. Whatever it was, it was, um, a bit strange. But then it wasn’t there any more. Which was even stranger, if you think about it.
Is there any female entertainer who doesn’t claim to have been raped or sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein CBE? A few are gradually emerging from the woodwork. The Icelandic songstress Bjork claims it was someone else who assaulted her – a source of relief to the overworked cops on both sides of the Atlantic who are struggling to cope with the burgeoning casebook of Operation Grope.
Vulnerable child of the week Gwyneth Paltrow of de-coupling fame, who alleges she was harassed by the great predator when she was 'just a kid,’ which turns out to have been the age of 22.
Apology of the week From Mr Winestain himself: 'Guys, I’m not doing OK, but I’m trying. I got to get help. You know what, we all make mistakes.’ Mr Winestain CBE is believed to have checked himself into a sexual rehabilitation clinic of some sort, no doubt prior to 'helping the police with their inquiries,’ as people do.
Welshwoman of the week Hillary Clinton, whose disastrous presidential campaign gifted the White House to Trump, boasted of her Welsh roots before pontificating on the state of the world at the Cheltenham Literature Festival (which is too posh to be a mere book festival or even a weather event). Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Trump (who boasts of his Scottish roots) threatened to close down the American TV networks for peddling fake news, a topic on which Trump is something of a world authority.
Prevaricator of the week (before nasty Madrid decided to impose direct rule) The president of brave little Catalonia, who refused to clarify whether he had declared independence. While we wait to hear what was in the president's mind when he declared independence, or sort of declared it, or didn't declare it at all, a fashion note: it isn’t a wig as many of us had lazily assumed. His wacky hairstyle is designed to cover facial scars left from a road accident in 1983.
Political candidate of the week Bettina Rodrigeuz Aguilera, who is proposing to stand for the US Congress, claims she was abducted by aliens at the age of seven and taken aboard a spaceship before being released into the community. Although the media regarded this as news, it merely confirmed the widespread public assumption that all politicians were abducted by aliens at the age of seven, this life-changing formative experience helping to explain their unusual behaviour in later life.
Proof that, occasionally, even the young have to be discouraged The rise to power in Austria (always a country worth watching) of one Sebastian Kurz, aged 31, on the back of a sinister anti-immigration campaign and his willingness to enter into a coalition with a bunch of far-right zealots.
Clot of the week (lifetime achievement award) Boris Johnson, who refused to apologise to the House of Commons for claiming that a Libyan city could be turned into a luxury resort after they’d cleared all the dead bodies.
Traitor of the week Chancellor Phil Hammond, the only member of the Tory cabinet who speaks any sense about Brexit, was denounced as a 'saboteur' by one of his predecessors, Nigel Lawson, for daring to articulate uncomfortable truths about the dire economic consequences of Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal. It was the start of open season on Hammond in the right-wing press, whose motives in pushing for the hardest possible Brexit are increasingly suspect, though largely unexamined.
Grandees of the week Grandee, in its original meaning a man of elevated rank or station, is now routinely invoked to describe any has-been politician. Thus Nigel Lawson, even in his dotty old age, is inevitably a grandee. More surprisingly, though, the term is also being applied to two venerable rent-a-mouths in Scotland, Jim Sillars
and Kenny MacAskill, both of whom have little good to say about the first minister and tend to say it loudly. Scarcely a day is allowed to elapse without some fresh pronouncement – often of an inflammatory or provocative character – from wur very own grandees.
Media mogul of the week Alex Salmond finds time hanging heavy on his hands – the usual place in the anatomy where time seems to hang – since the end of his triumphant run at the Edinburgh Festival. His Sunday stint as a phone-in DJ on LBC isn't quite enough for a man of his many talents, so he has decided to take over the ailing Scotsman newspaper, dispose of its few remaining readers, and rename it the Eck.
Currency of the week The Scottish pound, which George Kerevan claims will be recommended in the hotly unanticipated report of the SNP's 'Growth Commission.' It only remains to find a name for this exciting new legal tender. The most obvious choice, the Eck, is out of the running as it looks likely to be the new name for the Scotsman. The
Nic has been installed as the bookies' favourite, but it could be worth keeping an eye on the Sturg.
Shanarri of the week The one and only Shanarri Twain, at the top of the album charts after years out of the limelight.
Scare story of the week 'Killer fungus threat to our bananas' (front page of the Daily Express, 16 October), accompanied by a photograph of a half-peeled banana, just in case we’d forgotten what a nanna looks like.
The world has gone mad story of the week Terry the Teacake, attached to a balloon, was launched into space from Houston (Renfrewshire). Terry’s progress was followed on a social media stream for two hours, four minutes, by 33,000 people who had nothing better to do than watch a teacake in space.
Latest news from Troon After recent excitements, it was a relatively quiet week in the deceptively sedate Ayrshire coastal resort. It is, however, necessary to report that CCTV is being installed in the grounds of the august Marr College after an outbreak of vandalism.
Latest news from heaven The Daily Mirror reported on its front page a theory that Jack Duckworth and his wife Vera are 'having a drink together' in the celestial version of the Rovers Return, a place apparently beyond the reach of the health fanatics and exercise freaks who have taken over the world of the living.
Office discussion of the week There was a debate on whether the word 'whore' should appear in the Scottish Review when there are more politically correct alternatives. The editor ruled that it was permissible in its context, but agreed that it might be necessary to prevail upon the late John Ford, author of the play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore,' to change the title of his masterpiece to 'Tis Pity She's a Sex Worker.'
Double Take is edited by The Midgie with the assistance of staff writers Kitty Brewster (politics), Sheriff Muir (legal and constitutional affairs), Mary Culter (arts, media and gender issues) and Kirk Oswald (sexual indiscretions, weather events and fishing news).