September 26, 2011

It’s what many people have been waiting for. Pills that reduce your facial wrinkles. Yes, an anti-wrinkle pill.

Trials have shown that the collagen-boosting pills reduce the wrinkles of women who take the pills three times a day. And after 14 weeks of pill-popping, the women showed an average 10% reduction in the depth of their crow’s feet wrinkles.

Now, 10% is not a lot. But to many women I can imagine it means a great deal.

As The Interrogator on the Trisha Goddard Show, much of my success was down to being able to tell when somebody was genuinely happy about something – and when they were faking the smile. Here’s a wee tip for you. If somebody smiles, and the eyes lift, producing crow’s feet, then it’s a genuine smile. If they smile with only their lips, they’re are faking it.

For the technical among you, a smile that lifts the corner of the mouth uses the zygomatic major muscle. Meanwhile, a genuine smile uses not only this muscle group, but also the orbicularisoculi muscle, which raises the corners of the eyes and forms crow’s feet.

The fake smile is also known as the PanAm smile, named after the airline company whose flight stewardesses flashed the same perfunctory smile to each and every departing passenger. Can you imagine a world with no “crow’s feet”. A world with no laughter lines?

Well,while performing in St Petersburg, Russia, I pointed out to some of the guests that the inhabitants don’t have laughter lines. To smile there suggests that you are a wee bit soft in the head. Remember, they suffered horrendous hardships under Stalin and the murderous Nazi siege. In truth, they haven’t had a lot to laugh about over the years. Hence, no crow’s feet.

Attractive? I don’t think so.

Let me tell you this, ladies. Laughter lines and twinkling eyes are attractive. It’s something of which you should be proud. It denotes the fact that you have a lot to smile about; that you laugh often and readily.

And that, despite what the pill manufacturers might try to convince you, is far more attractive than a pasted on, fake smile.

Drew McAdam



September 19, 2011


TWO things: car insurance and bulky rubbish uplifts by the council. You would think them unconnected, but bear with me.

There was a pile of rubbish at the side of my house and I arranged for a bulk uplift. Now, don’t get me wrong. This was hardly a mountain of junk. It wasn’t as though I expected the rubbish collectors to clear a scrapyard or anything. There was just an old bike, some ancient and rusting gardening tools, and that was about it.

But by the end of the allotted day the rubbish was still there. A call to Oor Cooncil drew a sigh from the person on the other end, and the comment “What have they come up with this time?” suggesting that this was a common occurrence.

The report uncovered the “fact” that they had come for the uplift but there were more items than I had indicated on the list (not true), and that my garden was full of dog doo-doo. (Not true – the only dog in my garden has been cremated and is resting beneath a rose bush.)

So, what about the car insurance? Well, council workers are being informed by the Big Cheeses that they are expected to obtain business insurance for their private, family vehicles because they use their cars to travel to Council meetings!

Now, I feel sure that those responsible will no doubt realise that if their workers are to purchase business insurance for their cars then they should be recompensed for their mileage, fuel and vehicle depreciation. That’s the way the real business world works, rather than Cooncil Fantasy Land. Just a thought.

And here’s another thought. Wouldn’t it be grand if Oor Cooncil concentrated their attention on doing the job for which they are paid – by us – and provided a service that works, rather than thinking up little oddities to make people’s lives more complicated?

Yes, I think so too.


September 11, 2011

It’s that time of year again. Bits of straw stuck under the windscreen wiper blades and in the radiator grill. Broken branches in the middle of country roads. Snaking convoys of crawling commuters, each led by a tractor hauling a block of straw bales the size of a continent.

Now, I understand that farmers have to get the harvest in. But do they understand that the rest of West Lothian has to get to work, get home from work, catch trains and planes? Thousands of other road users are trying to take kids to school and keep hospital appointments.

Is the transportation of bales of hay on wheezing, crawling tractors with their daft wee flashing yellow light – but no brake lights or indicators – really so crucial? So crucial that it has to be done during rush hour? Surely not.

I was once caught in the Livingston to Edinburgh A71 commute. Trapped behind a tractor and trailer – a trailer so long it could have carried a couple of end-to-end oil rigs – that trundled its way from the Lizzie Bryce Roundabout in Livingston to Sighthill in Edinburgh. It travelled the entire distance at a speed of between 5 and 10 mph. No exaggeration.

Of course, it was morning rush hour so nobody could overtake on account of the ridiculous length of the trailer and the heavy traffic streaming in the opposite direction. And not once, not once mark you, did the driver pull over to let the traffic disperse on that entire journey.

That crawling queue stretched from Livingston to Edinburgh. But, hey, the farmer had somewhere to go – so stuff the rest of us. The only conclusion is that he, and the rest of his colleagues that insist on taking their crawling machinery onto the road at rush hour, must either be stupid, doing it on purpose, or thoughtless. You decide.

This has long appealed to me: finding out their view on the subject by driving into their fields and then crawling along at 1mph in front of their combine harvesters mile after mile while they are trying to get on with their work.

Okay, so my Volvo and I might end up crushed inside a hay bale. But at least I’d have made my point.

Drew McAdam


September 5, 2011


Don’t you just hate uninvited guests?

There’s a knock at the door and there, on the doorstep, is a pile of cases and the Welsh family you met on holiday. The Cardiff Cutthroats to whom you were ever-so-polite by suggesting, “If ever you’re in West Lothian, do call in. Maybe stay a day or two…”

Well, I have an uninvited guest. And even though there’s only one of him, he’s a bigger problem than the Welsh family and their drunken skinhead sons. More frightening, too.

I’m talking about the spider who has moved into my bedroom. No ordinary spider this. We’re talking Psycho-Spider from Hell. I mean, I’ve seen big spiders… but this one is the size of a Mini Cooper.

What’s more, he has the power of invisibility. He marches out, faces you up, and when you try to rugby-tackle him he just vanishes.

I tried this special spray that’s supposed to deter spiders “without harming them”. It’s made from coconut extract and hawthorn oil… He loves the stuff. Not much of a deterrent, that; a better idea would be a big stick with nails in it.

Not only do I suspect that he is raiding the fridge at night, but I know he’s there, in the darkness, watching me when I’m trying to get to sleep. And it’s not just at night; I can feel his beady pair of eyes on me right now as I write this.

Actually, did you know that spiders have four pairs of eyes? That’s eight eyes fixed on the back of my neck as he lays his plan to devour me.

In fact, the other morning I awoke in terror at the sound of clumping feet, and I was sure he was coming to get me… As it turned out, it was a host of crows tap dancing on the flat roof of my dormer window. More uninvited guests.

No wonder I look as though I haven’t slept for a fortnight – that’s because I haven’t.

Now, I’m really not keen on squishing him, not least because of the mess that’s going to make. But short of going to bed fully clothed with a bucket over my head so he can’t get at my face, I can’t think what else to do.

It’s become a battle of wits: me versus the Ninja Spider. It’s either me or him. So, if my column doesn’t appear next week, you’ll know he’s won.

Wish me luck.

Drew McAdam