Ifthere was an easy way out of this I would take it. But this is no time for ﬂannel: the simple truth is that Andy Crabb is dead. To most readers of The List he will be known as a name on the roster ofcontributors as one ofthe editors of‘Nightlife’. Clubbers may recall his acid. pithy. witty comments on the dives and discos that to me exist solely to perforate eardrums. Andy knew his way around them blindfold and would make periodic tours of inspection as if he was an environmental health officer. I would bump into him at two or three on bitterly cold winter mornings on the Waverley Bridge. both ofus tired and emotional.
It has long been a feature of walking the streets of Glasgow that one is, lrom time to time, accosted by people begging for money. The mendicant's usual means of persuading you to part with some cash is to extend his or her mitt, and intone the words ‘Gaun geez ten pee.’ It was, therelore, with a leeling ol ennui and mild irritation that, the other day, the Diary lound itsell being approached by a scrutllly dressed individual outside Buchanan Street Underground station. ‘Not again,‘ the Diary thought to itsell as the ligure stretched out its hand in a gesture of supplication, but the encounter became much less tiresome when the words accompanying this
mingling with Edinburgh‘s nocturnal ﬂotsam. the badger set. As usual I would have built the moat ofa book round me. a signal to the slurry wrecks that my privacy was not to be invaded. Andy respected it too. and would only talk if I spotted him.
It was hard not to. The first time I met him was in the staffroom of the library where he was marking time before deciding what to do next. At various times he thought about becoming a librarian or a careers‘ officer or a journalist. In that douce surrounding (more remote from an acid house gig would be difficult to contemplate) Andy stuck out like a paperback in a row of ﬂaking leather-bound tomes. Built like a chimney-sweep's brush. invariably
gesture turned out to be ‘Gaun geez one pound torty-live.’ The Dlary beamed brightly at the man, pressed 37p into his hand and, pausing only to congratulate him on his wit and originality, continued on his way much more merrlly than would otherwise have been the case.
Peter McLaren, the painter who is based in Edinburgh and Fife. was visited recently by the Duke and Duchess of York, who were buying paintings for their new house. A story began to circulate in Edinburgh art circles that Fergie. who has been the subject ofa great many comments in the media about her size. (including a story in the News of the World about her buying outsized clothes from trendy designers which was headlined ‘From Catwalk To Fatwalk‘). had looked through the paintings in his studio but had decided. true to form. that she needed something in a larger size. McLaren denies this: the couple were, he says. perfectly straightforward and genuine. and had simply been looking for a picture to fill a specific place on their walls. McLaren. who has also been commissioned to paint a picture of
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garbed in black. he had an electric shock ofwhite hair that another Andy — Warhol — would have envied. On Monday mornings we would swop the detritus of the weekend. I can see him laughing his easy laugh as he shovels in the crisps that were the mainstay of his vegetarian diet. Despite his otherness I challenge anyone to name someone who was more liked. He had his faults. of course. He was fanatical about Rangers and followed them everywhere; I wish I had had a chance to rib him about Mo Johnston. He read books with deranged covers that will go down well when Waterstone‘s open a branch on Mars. But most ofall. he had guts. He was ill and we knew he
Holly Johnson astride a bicycle for the cover of his new album. was only too happy to oblige. and has since ' struck up a cordial relationship with the pair who didn‘t bat an eyelid at his ‘swearing like Billy Connolly". and have even invited him up to Balmoral to go cycling.
Summer in Edinburgh sees the advent of the lealleting season. Old campaigners neither reluse to accept the proffered pieces of paper (which would be churlish), nor do they actually read them (which would be too time-consuming), choosing instead to take them and throw them away, unread, attheir earliest convenience. A member at The List's overworked and underpaid stall was walking down Princes Street, and attempted to adopt this strategy vis a vis a young woman who was Ieatleting by the Scott Monument. Instead, however, of releasing the document when our reporter grasped it, she held onto it firmly, and then withdrew it from his reach completely. ‘This leallet,’ she explained, ‘tells you that there is too much greed in the world, and that people spend too much time lusting after money’ and, with a gesture, invited him to take it once more. The
was ill. but we didn't know how ill. The last time I saw him he looked wickedly thin and transparently pale. He was tired. he said. and had had to give up his work for The List. He was upset that he was letting us down. Bloody typical.
Now he‘s dead. I have moved to the top of my pile the last book he recommended. It‘s called The Lone/v Hearts ('luh. According to the blurb it‘s about a night porter in a sleazy Barcelona hotel. who only has going for him his resemblance to Frank Sinatra. Knowing of my allegiance to the lost cause at 'l'ynecastle perhaps he was playing offthe pun in the title. ‘You should read'. he said. lwill. Andy. Promise. (Alan 'I‘aylor)
same process was repeated; he grasps, she holds firm and then snatches it away. ‘lt's 50p,’ she said.
The Diary. in order to give hope to foreign hearts and heads perplexed at Scottish idioms. feels obliged to relate this story of misunderstanding that occured between two ofour natives (for those overseas visitors who are reading this. remember don‘t pay more than £2.50 for an ice-cream during the festival). Whilst imbibing a late nighteap up in ()rkney recently. a friend ofthe Diary. realising that ‘twas nigh on the Sabbath and n'er a shop would be open in the morning. asked at the bar if he could possibly purchase ‘A pint of milk’. The Rubenesque custodian of the bar gave him a puzzled look and shuffled off. Several minutes later she returned clutching a large wet bundle of paper. ‘Ah'm no sure it‘s a pound but it'll be near enough’. lipon examination. the bundle turned out to be a pound of mullet rather than the pint of milk our friend had requested. ‘I can't put this in ma tea.’ he protested.
‘What the hell do ye want tae put it in yer tea for'.’ You‘ll ruin its flavour.
You must be off yer heid'. bid .QR was \f-
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4The List 28July- 10 August 1989