David Parkin on words of wisdom and a plumptious honour by Jove!

WADE through the umpteen gongs for Britain’s Rio Olympians and Paralympians and the honours given out to civil servants for simply doing their jobs and there were some interesting and worthy recipients of New Year Honours.

I’m not saying our sporting stars didn’t deserve recognition, but the volume dished out did tend to obscure the many other honours that were awarded by the Queen.

Two were of particular interest to me.

Firstly an OBE for veteran Leeds accountant Colin Glass, a man known for supporting small and start-up businesses and who I approached for help when we were looking to launch TheBusinessDesk.com.

And secondly the knighthood for Liverpudlian comedy legend Ken Dodd, still performing at the age of 89.

What a recognisable figure: toothy, wearing an old suit and careful with money – Colin’s been a familiar figure on the Yorkshire business scene for years.

Somebody once referred to him as “the Yoda of Yorkshire business” because he’d been around for so long.

And what a tattyfilarious honour for Sir Kenneth Dodd of Knotty Ash.

Whip out your tickling sticks and form a guard of honour and serve up jam butties all round

All together now: Nick, nacky, nick nock, nicky nacky noo.

How tickled he must be missus.


ONE of the best Christmas presents I received was Alan Bennett’s latest volume of diaries: Keeping On Keeping On.

I’m sure the Leeds-born writer, who sprang to prominence with Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller in Beyond The Fringe back in 1960, must have turned down many offers of honours over the years.

In my opinion he’s Britain’s greatest living writer and his diaries don’t disappoint.

He manages to combine references to high art and base humour and everyone of the almost 600 pages contains nuggets that make you think, smile or wonder.

The diaries cover the decade between 2005 and 2015, a period during which I was very fortunate to meet Alan Bennett when he was guest of honour at the 30th anniversary of now defunct Leeds restaurant La Grillade.

Bennett gave a reading and then answered questions from fellow diners sitting in each of the dining rooms in the grotto-style cellar restaurant.

I compered the event and it remains one of my career highlights, not because of anything I said or did, just having the opportunity to listen and talk to Alan Bennett.

Fortunately perhaps, he doesn’t mention the evening in his diaries, as I’m sure his waspish wit might have highlighted some verbal faux pas on my part.

In the diaries themselves he refers to remarks by the radio critic of the Independent newspaper who says he can have too much of Alan Bennett.

“I wonder how he thinks I feel?” says Bennett.


I DON’T tend to watch a lot of stuff on Channel 5 and the endless daily serving up of syrupy made for TV Christmas movies, which started as far back as November, made me feel as queasy as eating a double pack of Mr Kipling Mince Pies.

But the station’s Ken Dodd…In His Own Words was as entertaining as it was prescient.

With plenty of interviews with the man who is Britain’s hardest working comedian, it also called on friends and fans of Doddy including Ricky Tomlinson, Tim Vine, Lord Grade, Miriam Gargoyles, Roy Hudd, John Birt and long-serving theatre critic of The Guardian, Michael Billington, who said the comedian who started on the post-war variety circuit, should be knighted.

On the very day the programme was broadcast, it was announced that he is to receive a knighthood from Her Majesty.

Now I call that brilliant anticipation by the makers of the show, or they were just bloody lucky.

Whatever it was, it made for great television amid a sea of the usual festive dross.


AT the other end of the scale I watched presenter Jim White talking to former footballer Clinton Morrison on Sky Sports News about the Liverpool v Stoke match on December 27th.

The conversation made Chris Kamara sound like Melvyn Bragg.

Have a great weekend and a very healthy, happy and successful year.

Tatty bye!

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