Contains Jane Seymour’s Bond-age, Kanye’s cry babies, Minions, and how to communicate dynamic sexbaggage when internet dating

Scottish Daily Mail June 30 2015

This week I was unexpectedly plunged into the world of internet dating — or at least my credit card was. This was rather exciting since my plastic usually applies itself to servicing sandwich shops and petrol stations around the central belt: which is why my bank immediately spotted the improbability of me subscribing to an online dating service in Nevada, and froze my hacked account.
Is it weird that, despite trying to hijack my finances, and the consequent inconvenience of having to pay for ham and mustard sandwiches in cash for the next few days, I feel a twinge of sympathy for my felon? All those hours spent stalking online banking websites, waiting for the security walls to crumble, and yet Mr Hacker’s own coding was imprinted with “God, I need a girlfriend, for laughter and nights out; GSOH”
One in five relationships in the UK are now said to start online, and in America, almost half of the public know someone who uses online dating. No wonder The Match Group — which includes, OKCupid and Tinder — is to be floated on the stock market. Money can’t buy you love, but there’s a steady income to be made from the lovelorn.
Online dating has grown arms and legs — as well as apps, which allow people to be even more specific about what they are looking for, from height to hobbies. Happn finds dateables within driving distance. The League only lets people join if they come from elite enough backgrounds, which is good news for those of us wishing to filter out crashing snobs, while app Lulu allows women to review men they know, using hashtags such as #AlwaysPays, #RespectWomen and #willneverleavehismother.
I have reservations: this weeding process sounds a bit clinical and overzealous. Deploy these apps and thousands of possibilities whittle down to a handful of possible online options, all of whom share the same innocuous data information of being fond of a nice glass of red wine, cosy nights with the TV, reading Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl, and embracing the phrase “live, laugh, love”.
Where’s the surprise, where’s the spontaneity, where’s the serendipity? Where’s the reckless snogging opportunity outside a pub by the bins? The will they/won’t they approach of traditional dating may be haphazard, but internet dating resembles a job application, especially after one friend posted my email address in his dating profile, “as a reference”.
This was surprising because I didn’t know Alex very well. I certainly never dated him, so when emails started to arrive from women seeking reassurance that Alex was “all right”, I could only truthfully testify to his reliability as a supplier of mugfuls of coffee and a consumer of dvds, while aware that the actual information being solicited was a cast-iron guarantee that Alex was a dynamic sex bag.

On the other hand, after three months of working her way through online swains, another friend complained to me that three matches had lied about their age, job and marital status,while a fourth was “shifty” with the dress sense of a burgled laundrette. When her last hope turned up for their date, very drunk and with a mysterious headwound, she cancelled her membership. Which is a pity, because having railed against the artifice of online romance, I find it reassuring to hear of one site that apparently goes that extra mile to recreate normal male/female encounters so exactly.


Last weekend, as part of the Edinburgh Film Festival, I nervously hosted an afternoon with Jane Seymour. As a very young Synnot, she was the reason I used to drench myself in Max Factor’s Le Jardin perfume. “Some people say romance is back in style,” proclaimed Jane back then, from the middle of a soft –focus rose garden. “I say it never went out!”
The real Jane Seymour turned out to be much more earthy, and a lot of fun. In front of a full house at the Traverse, she talked about everything from being a Bond bombshell, to coaxing a shy Owen Wilson into touching her topless body in The Wedding Crashers.
Smart and self-deprecating, she also revealed a nifty gift for impersonation, mimicking Christopher Walken, Richard Attenborough and Dame Maggie Smith, and was full of great stories about her friendship with Somewhere In Time co-star Christopher Reeves, and country legends including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Glenn Campbell.
Jane has the makings of a country and western song herself — she’s been broke, broken hearted, and three times in her life she has almost died — but she’s survived everything that has been thrown at her. She was also pretty game about doing her own stunts in Live and Let Die, while Roger Moore relaxed in his trailer (“I said, this looks quite dangerous — have you done this before? And the stuntmen went ‘no, but we sure hope it works — action!’”)
She also looks great and, after some prodding from the audience, we got the fashion tip that while most people think black looks slimming, white reflects the light and makes you look younger. She’d also love to make a movie in Scotland. Maybe we can coax her back to film here next time it snows.

Someone had a wicked sense of humour at the opening of a new multiplex in Silverburn this week. To launch Scotland’s first supersized screen, Glasgow’s newst cinema screened Minions, a film about a hoard of nearly identical creatures who talk nonsense and live solely to serve the most evil master they can find. Amongst the guests: former Scottish labour leader, Johann Lamont

We’re looking for a borrow of Jim Murphy’s crate


More than 20,000 people have flocked to visit “New Reekie”, after a corpse flower blossomed in Edinburgh Botanics for the first time. And yet everyone turns up their noses at T in The Park on a hot Sunday afternoon.


Actually a thing

Congratulations if you managed to hear Kanye West headline Glastonbury on Saturday night, above the sound of more than 100,000 crybabies who signed an online petition to stop him playing the festival.
I’m not a massive fan of self-important, self-styled rock stars like Kanye, but
a) it was only 45 minutes of your life
b) there were alternatives on offer both on TV and at the festival, and
c) did you buy a music festival recently? If not, shut up
Rock music is about choice, not just middle-aged white dads and granddads with guitars. Yet every year Glastonbury attracts whines from grown adults about bands playing music that isn't U2, Coldplay or Elbow
OK, Kanye’s version of Bohemian Rhapsody, where he slipped in and out of key rapping to Queen’s recording, was dangerously close to that bit on I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue where panellists have to within a gnat’s crotchet of singing along to a well-known tune. On the other hand, festivals are built on such eccentric oddities, and at this stage I’d rather hear The Who try Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass than yet another hoarse, riskless chorus of My Generation.
So you’re welcome to dislike the music of Kanye, or Beyonce, or Metallica, or Jay Z or any of the other acts that have provoked gripes over the years — but sign a petition to stop an act at any festival, and I'm coming to your house to throw away any records I don’t like


On the whole, I’m in favour of pets. Without them, our lives would not be rich in affection, and indelible scratch-marks on your table legs. Pets also have the advantage of giving you the same kind of attention and love as close family members, except you can lock them in the laundry room when they start to misbehave or make too much noise. I’m still talking about pets here, by the way.
However up till now I’ve been happy to limit my exposure to animal husbandry to pet godmother; they can visit, maybe stay the night, but by Monday morning they must be returned to their rightful owners. That was before I discovered pygmy donkeys, complete with small panniers for shopping trips. I feel a sanctuary coming on


Millions tuned in to watch last Top Gear, with its unsubtle nod to the elephant in the room. Odd that they opted for silent final credits, which appeared to conflate the soberness of someone dying with someone getting sacked for punching an employee when they failed to rustle up a congenial dinner.


Good luck to Andy Murray, who has revealed that he’s turned to a psychiatrist to help him win Wimbledon this year. So now he’s been couched, instead of coached

11. Buy lightbulbs and sausages
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