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Bob Shields: Stories to be told at the Cat.

Byline: Bob Shields

NEWSPAPER men from across the generations will flock to Glasgow's Copy Cat pub on Saturday to say farewell to the famous press boozer. Stories will be told.

But doubt if one of the visitors will be Viscount Rothermere, millionaire owner of the Daily Mail.

Before succeeding his father, he was the young Jonathan Harmsworth who was sent to the Sunday Mail to learn about the newspaper business.

He enjoyed the odd aperitif in the Copy Cat until one night he was caught short of funds.

Noticing that cheques sometimes changed hands for cash, he asked if he could do the same.

'Aye - but only wi' a kerd,' he was told.

Jonathan was advised that a cheque guarantee card would be required.

The young Harmsworth explained to them that he banked at Coutts - where the Royal family bank. And the famous finance house didn't issue cards. A Coutts chequebook was normally guarantee enough anywhere. But anywhere didn't include the Copy Cat.

As he tried to explain his predicament to manageress Anna, he got short shrift.

'Listen son, nae kerd - nae cash, awright.'

But laughs were never in short supply in 'The Cat'.

During the Portugal v England European Championship game, a chocolate Swiss roll was placed above the TV in the hope it would influence the Swiss referee. Well, we had been drinking.

By the time the ref helped Portugal grab an equaliser and disallowed a last minute 'goal' for England - the Swiss roll had become a holy icon.

Grown men actually prayed to it during the penalty kicks. And it worked. During celebrations, one senior editor, famous for his appetite, grabbed the 'Sacred Swiss Roll' and tried to eat it.

By the time it was wrestled from this deranged man, whose initials are MF, only a handful remained.

It was placed in the pub's freezer where it remains to this day. There are plans for it to be thawed out on Saturday and go back on display.

And maybe deputy editor Murray Foote can finish the job?


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 22, 2005
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