Tam Cowan: Who cares about some trolls when a Nobel laureate wants to blether?

“What is this tubby little man actually on the radio for?”

Must admit, folks, I got a wee bit upset this week when a social media troll made a few jibes about my weight and my speaking voice.

But only until I remembered that, a week earlier, our studio guest Professor David WC MacMillan had said: “When they told me I had a chance to do the show, I was like ‘clear my schedule, I have to do this’… the Nobel Prize was my pathway to Off The Ball.”

Who cares what a faceless, anonymous keyboard warrior thinks when a Nobel laureate insists it was “a dream come true” to join me and Stuart on a Saturday afternoon, eh?

And I felt even better when Professor MacMillan later told the papers: “To be on Off The Ball in the morning and then watch Scotland beating Israel in the afternoon was probably the best day of my life.”

At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, that’s some accolade from a fella who’d just won the Nobel Prize for chemistry!

Now, of course, I’ll probably get hate-mail from another troll – Off The Ball regular Professor Jason Leitch whose nose must be right out of joint.

Sorry, wee man, I’m afraid there’s a new professor in town – and this one’s got a Nobel Prize.

That’s showbiz!

Bellshill-born David MacMillan shared the award with German scientist Benjamin List for their work on asymmetric organocatalysis – a new way of developing molecules.

Hands up all the mums and dads who are DELIGHTED that subject didn’t pop up during home-schooling?!?

Sheena Easton was booed after revealing she had lost her Scottish accent

Considering he moved to America 30 years ago – and given the Bellshill connection – I fully expected the Prof to have a Sheena Easton mid-Atlantic twang.

Remember, Sheena had one after just 30 MINUTES in the States.

However (and this was absolutely joyous), when we kicked-off the interview by asking David what it felt like to win a Nobel Prize, he replied (in a strong Lanarkshire brogue): “Awww, it wiz mental, man…”

It was as if he still pops into The Crown Bar twice a week for a pint.

(Mind you, with the middle initials WC, how could David EVER forget his Bellshill roots?)

The professor tunes into Off The Ball to “connect with home” and we later made a wee connection during the Scotland game with a text chat about all things North Lanarkshire.

Turns out we have quite a lot in common: mutual friends (he graduated with a lifelong pal who grew up in my scheme), old watering holes (hands up the Motherwell/Bellshill readers who remember Scruples and Septembers?) and, oh yeah, I won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2014…

Only kidding. But one of my forefathers DID invent the door-knocker – and that won him the No-Bell Prize.

(Yes, folks, and it’s that sort of patter that encourages one of the world’s top scientists to tune into Off The Ball every single week…)

I finished our trans-Atlantic chat by telling Davie – that’s what he insists I now call him – I had a wee surprise up my sleeve.

He’d told us on the show about trying to get Willie Pettigrew’s autograph back in the 70s and the Motherwell legend – another top name who never misses a programme – got in touch to say: “Tam, get me David’s number and I’ll send a wee text message to congratulate him.”

And I’m delighted to say he did.

Davie’s response? “Tam, thank you. That was unbelievably brilliant!”

When I asked if he could reciprocate by getting his fellow Nobel Prize winner Benjamin List to send ME a text, he said: “I’m working on it! Unfortunately, like most Germans, he doesn’t have a sense of humour… so he’d probably love Off The Ball.”

Couldn’t possibly repeat the one-word reply this Motherwell boy sent to the Bellshill-born boffin, but I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve ever aimed it at a Nobel Prize winner…!!!

Brave idea

Circa 1290, Scottish hero Sir William Wallace (c. 1272 – 1305) whose troops defeated the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

A campaign has been launched to introduce a national holiday to celebrate our very own Braveheart – the one and only Sir William Wallace.

“What a great idea – an earner at last,” said the Ibrox face-painter.

Talking of money, budget supermarket Aldi have launched gift cards – up to the value of £500.

Five hundred quid? At Aldi??

I’d wait until the current crisis is over as you’ll need a lorry to take all your groceries home.

Celtic Fans’ Conundrum

Celtic fans cry vowel

A group of Afghan girls with promising football careers who fled their country will be relocated here. Last I heard, they’ve been offered accommodation – and 10-year contracts – at Aberdeen FC.

Staying with football, I was appalled by the Celtic fans’ Countdown-themed banner protesting at the 3.30pm kick-off.

Come on, Bhoys, The show’s been on since 1982 Surely everyone knows it’s NINE letters in the conundrum.

Keith, Shug and the Queen gie it welly over at Clatty Pat’s

My old pal and former Motherwell captain Keith Lasley visited the V&A museum in Dundee last week (seriously!) and he thought it was terrific.

“There’s a nightclub exhibition on at the moment,” he told me, “and I’ve always been into my house music, so I found it really interesting.”

Just one question: to gain entry to a nightclub exhibition, do you need a COVID passport?

Earlier this week, my dear friend Hugh Keevins tweeted: “I now have a COVID passport. I can now get into a nightclub!”

A great line from a great man who, after the Queen knocked it back, was apparently a contender for Oldie of the Year.

I’m not saying that Shug’s ancient, but he’s seen Halley’s Comet three times – and his very first caller on Radio Clyde’s Super Scoreboard was Alexander Graham Bell…

PS. Delegates and VIPs at COP26 don’t have to be fully vaccinated, so anyone arriving in Glasgow wishing to visit a club or music venue will have to show COVID certification.

Something to bear in mind, Your Majesty, if you fancy a wee Friday night at Clatty Pat’s..

The golden oldies of rock who just keep rollin’ along

I’ve never been a big fan of modern, popular music.

A number of years ago, when my old BBC producer excitedly announced he’d booked Fran Healy as a guest, I replied: “Who’s she?”

So I was chuffed to see a lot of the golden oldies in the news recently.

For example, 80-year-old Sir Cliff Richard is back on tour after lockdown and there was a great photo of his lifelong fans in the audience wearing masks.

Oxygen masks.

Meanwhile, Sir Rod Stewart has joined TikTok at 76.

As my 88-year-old dad commented: “At that age, all I started thinking about was tick-tock..”

And what about Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters? The veteran rocker has just married for the FIFTH time – and here’s a wee fun quiz for my readers..

Did the legendary music star who’s worth £275 million get hitched to a woman 35 years older than him or 35 years younger than him?

Tough one, eh?

● MEDICS say a diet rich in nuts can cut the risk of dying early.

If that includes KP dry roasters – washed down with copious amounts of red wine – I’m looking good for a telegram from the Queen.

He’s Stott the lot

Great seeing my big pal Grant Stott making his debut on River City this week.

If you’re interested, folks, I make my debut on C4’s Naked Attraction next Tuesday.

Unlike Grant, though, I’ve only got a small part.

Seriously, though, if I can share a wee bit of personal news with you, I’ll be returning to TV with a

series on UK Gold. It starts 15 years ago…

My fave funny photos of the week

When it’s parents’ night at school and they make you sit on a kid’s chair.

Monkeying around

This husband was waiting on his wife to get ready.

Green green grass of home

When you’ve got University Challenge at 8.30pm and The Last Supper at 10pm.

Phone a friend? Or your dad?

The doctor told me to cut out drinking.

First it was walk in a straight line…

Ever wondered what happens when a dog finds a box of Sugar Puffs?

Sugar Woofs

Isn’t it great that F1 has started using subtitles?

Zoom, you chased the day away

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Text Jokes of the Week

Newcastle Utd are now at a level where they wouldn’t even consider Sunderland a derby game. Their main rivals are the likes of Liverpool, Man City, PSG, Real Madrid and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

My uncle has just left me a stately home in his will. I’ve no idea where Sod Hall is, but I’m thrilled.

I met this woman at a salad bar who said she knew me, but I’d never met herbivore.

My wife insists that sex is better on holiday. Not the best postcard I’ve ever received.

I took Brian Cant on a positive thinking course and now he’s Brian May.

Someone just threw a bottle of Omega 3 pills at me. Fortunately my injuries were only super fish oil…

The inventor of the throat lozenge has died. There will be no coffin at his funeral.

My pal is absolutely terrified of elevators. He takes steps to avoid them.

How low can I sink?

What about the yobs caught on camera riding a stolen steamroller through an Ayrshire housing estate?

I understand the police are working flat out to catch them. And if you thought that was

honking… did you see the giant sinkhole that appeared on a busy road in Glasgow?

Police are looking into it…

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Ketchup on the news

Ketchup has been crowned the king of condiments, but how do you eat yours?

According to a survey, 8/10 of us put a dollop on the side of the plate, while 2/10 prefer to smother their food.

Me? As my wife will testify, I put most of it down the front of my shirt.

Top news stories today

Ah ken the Fife Riviera

The nation’s kids believe a staycation is just as much fun as a trip abroad as it won’t be too hot and there’s no language barrier.

After spending last week in Fife, my 10-year-old daughter thinks that’s half right.

It definitely wasn’t too hot… ken?

Gerry Marsden sings on pitch before Celtic vs. Liverpool in March 2003
(Image: Daily Record)

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And finally

ACCORDING to the Co-op, Gerry and the Pacemakers’ hit You’ll Never Walk Alone is now the most popular song at funerals. Not in Larkhall it’s not.

Daily Record – Motherwell