August 26, 2012


Just what IS the etiquette for using a mobile phone? Apart from the obvious such as resisting making a phone call in the middle of a packed cinema or theatre.

Perhaps we need to educate people. For example: a mobile phone is not a megaphone. There is no need to yell into it.

Sometimes, if the person at the other end of the railway carriage is having a loud conversation, I like to yell responses to the half of the dialogue we’re all party to.

It usually starts with an annoying ring tone, and the person at the far end yelling: “Hello!”

I can’t help myself. I answer: “Hello!” equally loudly.

“I’m on the train!”

“So am I!”

Things usually goes downhill from that point on.

And here’s another consideration: people deserve more attention than a wee hi-tech gadget. In other words, when in social situations it is courteous to switch your phone off.

And when people are being served in a shop and are chatting on the phone while handing over the goods, the money and collecting their change they are NOT multi-tasking; they are just being ignorant.

Also, people really don’t like it when you put your mobile phone on the dining table and then gaze longingly at it during the meal as though hoping for a call that will relieve the tedium of your present situation. If it rings, you’ll still hear it even if it’s in your pocket.

And clickety-click sending a text while somebody is talking to you is the equivalent of yawning in their face.

All of which explains why one of my favourite film clips of all time is Dudley Moore in the film “Crazy People”. At the beginning of the film he is stuck in traffic on a bridge. Next to him is a sporty convertible with the top down. The driver is yelling into his phone, annoying everybody around him.

Moore calmly gets out of his car, walks up to him, smiles and asks if he might borrow his phone – just for a minute. Intrigued, the driver hands over his phone, and Moore throws it as hard and as far as he can off the bridge.

What worries me is that I can see myself doing that one day when it all becomes too much.

Drew McAdam



August 19, 2012


Had an egg for breakfast? Did you enjoy it? Then you probably didn’t read the remarkable new research from academia. (Scientists seem obsessed by eggs these days. I can’t help wondering if some egg producers have done something to annoy the lot of them.)

The latest? A Canadian study has revealed that eating egg yolks could be as damaging to your health as smoking cigarettes. What?

Who are paying these people? Obviously not the chicken and egg farmers, eh?

However, in another study, Professor Judith Buttriss of the British Nutrition Foundation said that eggs now contain 70% more vitamin D than 30 years ago. Two medium eggs provide around two-thirds of the recommended daily amount for vitamin D.

So that’s good, right?

Yet another survey, this time in Louisiana, USA. Researchers released a statement informing us that eating eggs for breakfast is more effective at preventing hunger for overweight people than having cereal – a way to lose weight, in other words.

Subjects were split into two groups, with half given an egg breakfast and half given a cereal breakfast. Three hours later the thousands of participants in this experiment were given lunch to test their hunger. Sorry, did I say thousands? I meant to say twenty.

That’s right, 20 people. Half given eggs and half given cereal… those who had the eggs didn’t feel as hungry as the others once lunchtime rolled around. Wow!

Meanwhile, Boston University’s latest research demonstrates that a diet rich in the nutrient choline protects the brain from the effects of ageing. And where do you find this magic nutrient? That’s right – in eggs.

And it’s not just scientists who take an unhealthy interest in eggs.

In 1988 Health Minister, Edwina Currie, told reporters that “Most of the egg production in this country, sadly, is now affected with salmonella.” Egg sales plummeted, and the Government had to provide compensation of millions of pounds to cover the cost of purchasing surplus eggs and for the slaughter of unwanted hens.

It was, of course, all tosh. Goodbye, Edwina.

Me? I’m going to work on an egg. And while I travel through the rush hour I can consider that my egg is poisoning me, boosting my memory, meeting my vitamin D requirements, reducing the signs of ageing, helping me lose weight, and killing me as surely as the cigarettes I smoke.

I can also consider that these academic authorities on the humble egg really should go out and get real jobs.

Edwina Currie could help them formulate their letters of resignation.

Drew McAdam


August 13, 2012

When it comes to technology there are two types of people. Those who work happily with the latest advances, and those who don’t.

Actually, there is a third category; and that’s the one I fall into. It’s the group who think technology works by magic and little pixies.

It was time to upgrade my phone from the clunky press-a-button-and-make-a-call brick, and I decided – stupidly, given my luck with hi-tech gizmos – to get one of the very latest, top of the range pieces of techno-kit.

As a result, I have now lost every single friend and work contact from my old phone. However, my new contact list – and I’m not kidding here – consists of everybody I have ever known in my entire life. It has updated itself with every contact from my Facebook, Linked-in and Twitter accounts.

Now, because of my line of work, literally hundreds of people follow me on these social network sites, and their details are now cluttering up my new phone. Which is great, except I don’t have any phone numbers for them. Pictures, dates of birth, food preferences – yes. Phone numbers – no.

This meant I had to spend hours adding all my REAL contacts manually. One by one. And I bet I’ve made a few mistakes. Goodness only knows who I’ll be talking to in the coming weeks.

The one thing about the new phone that appealed to me is that I just have to talk to it, and it does what I tell it. Voice activated – imagine!

“Text. Allan Scott”. Up pops his mobile number. I then say: “Hello, Allan. I will meet you in one hour.” It sends the text, just like that.

Cutting edge technology, right? Wrong.

Because somebody, somewhere, who doesn’t know me from Adam gets a message that reads “halo aileen eye wall moot you on won hire”.

Yes, this wonder-phone can take photographs, play music, keep my diary, guide me with GPS, access the interweb thingy, and keep me abreast of the news. All of which is wonderful. So, hopefully, one day I’ll work out how to actually use my phone to call somebody.

In the meantime, should you receive a cryptic text from a number you don’t recognise, it’s probably me still shouting at my new phone.

Drew McAdam


August 5, 2012

The new fashion accessory, they come in all shapes, colours and sizes. And I loathe them with a passion.

I’m talking about bags of all descriptions. Rucksacks, duffel bags, those silly stuff bags and so on. But the worst of all is the ubiquitous backpack.

There was a time when the only place you ever saw a rucksack was at Scout camp, halfway up a mountain, or in a Youth Hostel. Now they’re everywhere.

Over the past few days I’ve been reviewing shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, and it seems that everybody has a rucksack of some description strapped to their back. I mean, what DO they carry in there? Is it really necessary to carry all your worldly possessions with you everywhere you go?

Lines of self-absorbed student-types will be walking down a packed street, then suddenly stop and turn around. The humps on their backs turn into lethal weapons, clubbing children to the ground and bowling over innocent bystanders.

In the queues for tickets, the fact that each person has a rucksack doubles the length of the line. And when they start looking around at their surrounding, you’re going to get a fridge-sized pack of nylon and webbing right in the face.

Even just one pedestrian with one of these things on their back suddenly changing direction as they march along the pavement could take out a dozen innocent passers-by.

Maybe we could start a new trend. A couple of tourist rucksacks with legs sticking out the bottom as they amble along the pavement, blocking your path? You have every right to creep up behind them and set fire to their backpack. What fun.

Of course, the answer might be for me to buy one of my own and stuff it with my belongings. That way, if somebody nearly takes me out with their haversack, I can do it right back to them.

Actually, thinking about it, it might be fun if we ALL had them; turning a whole street into the biggest pillow fight in the world.

Drew McAdam