That was the west wing that was …and other tales

Richard Lutz rummages through the waste bin of the last seven days.




“Link or square?” I was asked a couple of times this past week.

In Scots dialect, mind you, and means do you want a long thin normal sausage sandwich or a Lorne sausage?

The latter is, as its nickname suggests, a square of sausage laced with rusk and spices and with more bite to it. Perfect for a late morning meal. Gulped down with Scotland’s irrepressible orange-coloured drink called Irn Bru which resembles something you’d find as a thin layer covering a polluted river and tasting like bubble gum, it all adds up to a filling, naughty meal.

“I’ll have a square with brown,” and two minutes later l get my roll swathed with Worcestershire sauce.

No matter where in Scotland you are, this sausage of choice is available – even in posh snooty Edinburgh, where I spent some time at its annual Festival. It’s entertainment overload from high-end arty stuff like opera to down and dirty comedy to all night music. I saw a rock and rolly musical about Glasgow teenagers who lobbied to keep an asylum family facing deportation in their tower block (political-lite and a bit cheesy) and a great comedian called Tom Binns who eschewed the great tools of comedy (sex, loneliness and more sex) to conjure up a great schtick about a bumbling fake clairvoyant. Those of you in the English Midlands will be happy to know his fraudulent psychic was named after a Leicester university – Ian de Montford.

To me, the Festival is one of Britain’s great annual events – the other being the surreal Appleby Horse Fair, when travelling folks jam the pretty little Cumbrian town to do whatever traveling folk do; race horses, sell horses, drink, carouse, gossip, and make deals and arrangements for the following year. Police keep a low profile, the horse traders rule the streets and pubs and we visitors are either ignored or minimally tolerated.

House of Spacey

House of Spacey

To round off the week was the completion of watching all the West Wing episodes – 132 of them. It was a warm hearted series with believable characters, good twists and a palpable feel of optimism as Obama, in real life, drifted into view. Good cameo spots too from Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin and the late Roger Rees.

It is in stark contrast to the my house’s new box-set which we plunged straight into – ¬†House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. This is heartless fiction, vicious, mean spirited and a straight lift from Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Richard III. Two visions of the White House, one cute and cuddly, the other ¬†brutal and devilish. Take your pick and choose how you like your politics, with or without venom?


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