These letters appear in the Monday 14th October edition of the Independent

Edinburgh: This tragic no man's land


Comedy: Situation vacant


Street Life Samotechny Lane: Nudist beach stripped of its decency

MOSCOW NOW is as hot as Hell, and Man and Beast are longing for one thing - water.

Words: pastify, v.

THERE ARE two ways of getting a newly minted word into circulation. One is to slip it into talk or writing, and see what its merits and serendipity bring about; the other is to nudge it along with quotation-marks, but that looks like touting one's wares, as in the Cambridge don Stefan Collini's recent English Pasts: "The explosion of popular interest in recent decades is what can only be called `pastifying'. Few areas of British life seem untouched by this mania for revival, restoration, conservation, and imitation."

Travel: Along the great divide

Scotland decides this week on a new identity. Simon Calder explores the rift through the nation

Parliament & Politics: The Sketch - Earl delivers double whammy on hereditaries' demise

AS HISTORICAL tableaux go the Secretary of State for Scotland's last appearance at the despatch box before the Scottish elections lacked a certain oomph - not very surprising really given that one of the more important dramatis personae, Alex Salmond, was nowhere to be seen. "Whairs yoor leaderrrr?" shouted Labour backbenchers at the lonely John Swinney, the sole member of the Scots Nats who could be spared from shoring up the party's collapsing election hopes. But Mr Dewar himself took a kindly line on his isolation: "In case anyone says something nasty about that from my side," he said, "I think we should have some consideration for those who might lose their seats." Mr Swinney grinned bravely - sympathy is one of the vilest substances you can have poured on you by an opponent higher in the opinion polls, and he had just taken a tubful.

Rugby Union: Gala show is strictly small beer

Gala 8 Kelso 3

Food: Oat couture

Porridge is back in fashion, but don't be seduced by the fast- food versions: a home-made bowl of unctuously creamy gruel is always best

Oold Jock exits a dying world of aristocratic largesse


Ten command performances- Racing: Slogger who battled to summit

Ten command performances that lit up 1998

Prisoners to be called by first names

PRISON OFFICERS are being urged to address inmates by their first names or to use their surnames with the prefix "Mr" in a measure designed to reduce tension in prisons.

Arts: Still likely after all these years

Clement and La Frenais have done their Porridge. Now they're taking on the rock band.

Words: Relevant

Television viewers want their news programmes to be "more relevant, engaging and accessible", according to someone high up in the BBC. I suppose we know what the BBC means by these three adjectives. The second one could, at first sight, suggest that the news ought to engage the viewer's interest, but in fact it's the commoner definition of engaging that the Corporation has in mind: the idea is that the news should charm the viewer. And accessible does not, it turns out, mean that it should be easy to find the right channel, only that the chosen programme should be easy to understand.

Haggis conquers the world

MENTION haggis to an Englishman and he may mutter something about a small, hairy creature sighted on Scottish moors during the shooting season, writes Nicola Barry.
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