This is an extract from the Grey Cardigan’s January column. For the full version, find the subs offer elsewhere on this site.
WHAT is it with the Scotch? Give them an invitation to the Christmas do and at the drop of a Tam O’Shanter they’re in the full kilt ensemble, complete with a dinky little dagger down their sock.
To be fair, it’s not all of them. Mungo, our peripatetic Glaswegian sub who keeps a house brick in his desk drawer ‘just in case”, wouldn’t dream of doing the Full Jock. It’s more often the so-called Shortbread Scots of second or third generation, most of whom have never been further north than Sheffield, who embrace this tartan twattery with zeal.
Which brings us to Gavin, a 23-year-old Evening Beast trainee, whose father is a London lawyer and whose mother comes from a moneyed family of former cattle rustlers. Gavin seems to have got it into his head that he’s Scottish, except when England play rugby or football, when he mysteriously reverts to being the ex-Durham University stoodent that we all know he is.
(I didn’t take him on; he was appointed by my predecessor, Crystal Tits, who had a penchant for well-spoken middle class kids. I’d much rather throw our rare vacancies at the local former grammar school to see what talent we could pick up from there.)
So in a magnificent gesture of goodwill, we were each granted £6 by management towards our Christmas do. In previous years, editorial used to have its own piss-up, but depleted numbers mean that it’s more sensible for us all to pitch in together. So here we are, gathered at a soulless city centre hotel, where we’re served cardboard turkey, yesterday’s warmed-up sprouts, and gravy of a puzzling origin. And then the disco begins.
Did I mention that it was fancy dress? I had argued long and hard against the notion in the management meeting, but was outvoted by the excitable girl who was ad manager for the week and a circulation director who is notorious for dressing up as a woman at any given opportunity. At home, most evenings, by all accounts.
Our dear managing director, the Eminence Grease, was throwing shapes on the dance floor, surrounded by deluded yet adoring classified comfort women. He seemed to have come dressed as Gomez Adams, but it was hard to tell the difference from his everyday demeanour.
And then Gavin, the Shock Jock, performed his party piece, as they all inevitably do once they’ve got a skirt on. He whirled into the musical melee, lifted his kilt at an unimpressed secretary and projectile vomited across the crowd. And that’s when the fight started.
Surprisingly, it was Mungo who sorted it out in the end, mainly by decking dear Gavin before he could do any more damage. As he explained to me afterwards, it was a matter of national pride, and ‘that wee English eejit had it coming”.
The Eminence Grease was last sighted departing in a taxi with two tele-ad girls, both of whom were promoted on their return to work after the Christmas break, and I decanted a comatose Gavin into my own cab and sent him home. Which meant that I had to walk three miles across town to the office to sleep. Dressed as Fred fucking Flintstone. Yabba Dabba Doo.