The NABS Burns supper

In my spare time, when I’m not writing this drivel, I sit on a fundraising committee for the advertising and media industry in Scotland called NABS (National Advertising Benevolent Society). It pays for the repair of broken Ferrari axles and so on. (That’s a joke!)

Last night was the inaugural Burns Supper for said charity and despite doing bugger all in terms of organising it I found myself on the top table clapped in as we followed the piper into the the main suite at the Roxburgh Hotel in Edinburgh. Then, to my delight, I found I was seated next to wit and raconteur, Charlie Mclean, one of world’s greatest authorities on Malt whisky and allegedly the most famous whisky writer in Macedonia.

He can certainly lay claim to having one of the more distinguished moustaches in Edinburgh.


It transpires that all that nosing, swirling and spitting out of whisky to “taste” it is a load of bollocks. You just neck it and move on. That was an interesting and reassuring insight. Between us and not many others we “nosed” a bottle of Old Poulteney.

The event was a triumph and Keith Crane should be knighted or something for his efforts.

My highlight of the evening was, on telling Charlie that he must read a sublime Newfoundland collection of short stories by Alastair Mcleod, called “The lost Salt Gift of Blood” which had been recommended to me by Simon Scott he told me that he had recommended it to Simon Scott.

Now, this is a book that is beyond reviewable. It is possibly the finest book I have ever read (pre blog days) and concerns itself with life in Newfoundlanfd. Taut, sparingly written and seemingly monochromatic it is a bleak but intense insight into human life.


It’s been out of print for years but second hand copies are available through Amazon. Sadly, I lent my copy to some bastard who never gave it back to me but I urge you to read it.

(If you are the bastard I leant it to could you give it back please.)

I played golf in the winter league this morning. I think the “nosing” affected my performance a tad. Four 7’s on the back nine not being the basis of great success, although my partner, Jon Rough (good name for golf), pissed it and won the medal.

(PS.  I gave the book to the Mrs, so forget the above random accusation.)