A police radio in my jacket lapel and a fake wallet in my trouser pocket. These were my secret weapons for all those times I would find myself in Glasgow City Centre in the early hours of the morning, walking back to my office or a hotel room near Pacific Quay. It was a half hour stroll (a twenty-minute dash if you had the frighteners) through that twilight zone west of Central Station and under the Kingston Bridge. Comedian and radio star, Des Clarke, also lived out that way and seemed most impressed with my fake wallet idea.
“It has to have some money in it,” I told him, “at least a fiver. And some defunct credit cards or saving coupons for long-gone supermarket chains like Fine Fare or Safeway. You hand this to the mugger instead of your real wallet and he lets you go with a smile.” Des, it has to be said, had a better idea.
“Or just jump in a taxi and don’t walk in dodgy places after dark.”
Meanwhile, my friend Nicola Creen (confidence guru and former model) was more intrigued with the fake police radio in my lapel.
“So, when the muggers approach,“ I told her, “You thumb the lapel towards your mouth and shout ‘Tango Five Niner. Move In! Move In!’, like you’re part of an undercover sting operation.”
Nicola also suggested the taxi alternative.
In any event, I never did have to deploy either of these tactics, but as revealed by Bev in today’s Evening Times, I did have to think on my feet when I was approached by a ‘lady of the night’ after emerging from that late-night KFC place on Argyle Street. Convinced that her proposition was the precursor to me being beaten to a pulp in a nearby alley, I rejected her offer with my usual politeness.
“Any other night,” I told her, apologetically, “but I’ve just bought this chicken and I have ten mates waiting for it. They’re in a van around the corner.”
What made this story believable (in my mind anyway) was that I had bought enough chicken for ten people. Less credible was the idea of me having ten mates.
But at least I didn’t have to part with my fake wallet or call in fictional reinforcements.