Scots stuffed fish heads hailed in 1,000 greatest experiences

By Rory Reynolds

AN UNUSUAL Scottish dish has been included as one of the top experiences in the world by a respected guidebook.

Crappit heid – stuffed fish head – was hailed alongside global landmarks, like the Himalayas and ancient Inca ruins in the latest edition of the Lonely Planet’s 1,000 Ultimate Experiences.

The dish can be traced back to 18th-Century coastal communities near Caithness and Aberdeenshire, where poor fishermen’s families survived on fish heads after selling the best cuts.

They would fill the cod heads with oats, onion and liver after boiling the head in salt water for flavour.

The tome, which contains the world’s 1,000 greatest experiences, concedes that crappit heid might sound “less palatable than haggis”, but still lists it alongside taking a gondola ride in Venice and gambling in Las Vegas. Continue reading

Secret documents reveal ministers’ nationalist fears over Scots anthem

By Rory Reynolds

THE SFA’s decision to ditch God Save the Queen in favour of Scotland the Brave at the 1982 World Cup sparked a furious row with government ministers.

Margaret Thatcher’s government feared that allowing the Scottish football team to use the traditional song as their anthem would play into radical nationalists’ hands.

They said letting Scotland’s 1982 side drop the UK national anthem would be “indicative of a national breakaway movement” and aid calls for independence.

But officials said that the issue was a political “minefield”, and allowed the SFA’s decision to use the Scotland the Brave at the World Cup in Spain to go ahead.

Classified documents, released by the National Archives of Scotland, have revealed the details of the debate for the first time. Continue reading

Waterstone’s apologise after sick murder read added to kids’ list

By Rory Reynolds

BRITAIN’S biggest bookseller has recommended a novel containing savage violence, sex and swearing for kids as young as eight.

Waterstone’s placed the violent thriller Sawbones by Scots author Sawboneson their Guide to Kids’ Books.

The store listed the novel in their “Reluctant Readers” category, as one of three titles which are suitable for “reluctant, struggling or dyslexic readers aged 8+”.

The catalogue, available in-store and by mail order, stated: “Kids always enjoy books which feel a bit subversive or naughty.”

The novel features a serial killer touring the United States and along the way killing young women. Continue reading

Minister demands correction over Oxford dictionary ding-dong

By Rory Reynolds

A GOVERNMENT secretary is to demand a change to a new edition of the Oxford English dictionary after it listed Alexander Graham Bell as an American.

Education minister Mike Russell has said he will be writing to the title’s publisher after one of their books stated that the famous Scots figure was an “American scientist and inventor of the telephone”.

Russell said that future editions of the Oxford School Dictionary of Word Origins, which is used in schools across the UK, should be corrected.

He said: “I will be writing to the publishers to ask that they ensure that this error is corrected in future editions.

“As a famous Scottish inventor, young people throughout Scotland will be well aware of Alexander Graham Bell” Continue reading

Labour demand ban on high-caffeine booze drinks

By Paul Thornton

HIGH caffeine levels in drinks like Buckfast should be banned, according to Scottish Labour.

The political party will today ask a think-tank to recommend a legal limit for stimulants in alcoholic drinks.

They have pointed to the example of countries such as Norway, Iceland and Denmark, who limit the level to 150mg of caffeine in every litre of booze.

The strong tonic wine – often linked to crime – has around 375mg per litre and would not be allowed under those rules.

Labour’s move is seen as an alternative to the SNP government’s plan for minimum alcohol pricing. Continue reading

Teachers could face data protection wrap as laws change

By Paul Thornton

NEW data protection laws could see teachers using a £35m website for Scottish schools charged.

Hundreds of thousands of teachers and children use Glow to upload pictures, videos reports and information to the site.

Users are given a username and password to access the sharing network which is used by all 32 local authorities.

However teachers are unhappy about the lack of security training they have been given and concerns have been raised about a shake-up of data protection laws planned for April, according to an education spokeswoman.

From April, teachers who release private information about a pupil into the general domain could face professional discipline by the General Teaching Council. Continue reading

The Simpsons catch curling fever ahead of winter games

By Paul Thornton

WITH the British team tipped for curling gold at the forthcoming Winter Olympics, the sport – loved in Scotland – is set to get the Simpsons treatment.

In a new episode being shown later this week Homer, Marge and Groundskeeper Willie team up to slide the stones all the way to Vancouver 2010.

The episode – being shown in America on Valentine’s Day – is likely to attract even more viewers than the 10m who tuned in to see Ayr’s Rhona Martin and her team clinch gold at the 2002 games.

Rhona sparked curling-fever when she skippered the team to success in Salt Lake City and it is hoped two Scots rinks representing Britain can make a similar impact this year.

In the new episode of the popular cartoon Homer takes Marge out for a romantic evening of ice skating and hand-holding. Continue reading

Trainspotting star reveals how he conned tourists on spooky tours

By Paul Thornton

AS SPORTY, clean cut Tommy in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting Kevin McKidd was far behind his co-stars’ scheming characters in the scamming stakes.

But McKidd, 37, has revealed how before he was an actor he would make money feeding American tourists made-up stories about Edinburgh on tours of the capital.

The Scots star said he earned a living before his rise to fame by running spooky walking tours of the city’s Old Town while a guide with the Witchery Tours.

Started in 1984, the tours have been scaring people from all over the world and have become one of Edinburgh’s must-see attractions for visitors.

Before his break-through role in the Irvine Welsh cult-classic, McKidd turned his hand to construction and bar work before the tours and admitted he did not shy away from some self-produced patter. Continue reading