I am the anti-Lorraine Kelly.
While I may appear to be misanthropic and curmudgeonly that is largely because, as a male, I find overt displays of emotion, particularly joy, awkward at the best of times, even if inside I am a burbling box of fluffy birds.
Getting married, having kids – I approached each life-changing and joyful event with the same hang-dog air I’ve perfected over my four decades on planet Earth.
But while I am not as grumpy as I seem, a groundbreaking tax tribunal this week ruled that adopted Dundonian Lorraine Kelly’s bubbly and chatty persona is just that – an act she has perfected for television.
Fighting a £1.2 million tax bill, Ms Kelly successfully argued that she merely presents a “friendly, chatty and fun personality” when presenting her morning television programme.
Heavens to Betsy, who’d have thought such a thing was possible?
It’s almost as if television presenters and other people in the public eye put on a show when they go to work as, in fact, most of us do to some degree.
The ruling does not mean that Ms Kelly is, in fact, a monster off camera, just that as an entertainer she is required to put on a show, and a certain type of one, when in front of the camera.
Certainly, no one from this part of the world would ever expect a Dundee United fan to be as happy as Ms Kelly appears on TV but it’s hard to believe there’s anyone who doesn’t already understand people behave differently on camera and off.
The court case, though, was a bizarre one.
HMRC argues that presenters like Ms Kelly are effectively employees and should therefore be subject to income tax and National Insurance contributions.
Ms Kelly, and others in a similar position, argue they are contracted through companies like the one she runs with her husband, Albatel Limited, rather than actual employees.
Had HMRC won its case, Ms Kelly would have had to pay £899,912 in taxes and £312,615 in National Insurance contributions.
These are astronomical sums and there will be many who feel that well-paid presenters like Ms Kelly should be paying more in tax, given how well remunerated she is for turning up with a smile each morning.
For £1 million a year, I might even be willing to crack a smile.
Ms Kelly, who moved to London permanently last year, argued that as a contractor, she receives none of the perks, or job security, enjoyed by full-time employees of ITV such as a pension or sick pay.
Remarkably, of the five such cases HMRC has pursued since 2018, it has lost four, which hardly suggests a prudent use of the public purse.
But having saved herself a not inconsiderable sum, we can be certain for the next few weeks, all the smiles belonging to The Artist Currently Known as Lorraine Kelly will be genuine.
The Name Game
Parents are choosing ever more esoteric names for their children.
The National Records of Scotland released details of the first names given to newborns last year and there are, it must be said, some doozies.
Names like Karen and Jane are out while Zuzu, Thor and Odin are most definitely in as parents seek to ensure their sprogs stand out from the crowd.
One wee boy was also given the name Messiah, which is almost as much to live up to as the name Zico.
Of course, where there’s a yin there’s a yang and that meant one baby boy was given the name Lucifer.
Presumably the young lad’s parents are massive fans of either Paradise Lost or the hit TV show where a bored Devil absconds from hell to solve murders in Los Angeles. Truly, we are living in a golden age of television.
Remarkably, he’s not the first Lucifer to be born in Scotland.
There was one in 2013 which, coincidentally, was also the last year we had a Scottish Jesus.
However, baby Lucifer attracted plenty of attention and even made his way on to tabloid front pages. Let’s just hope his parents haven’t set him up for a fall.
When the music’s over
To lose one music festival may be considered a misfortune, to lose two is simply careless, as Oscar Wilde might say.
After T In The Park disappeared from the music calendars after its less-than-successful switch to Strathallan, it emerged this week that Perth and Kinross’ Southern Fried festival is to take a one-year hiatus due to budget pressures.
The Americana festival has brought dozens of top names to the Fair City over the years such as Los Lobos, Lucinda Williams, Loudon Wainwright III and other acts whose names do not begin with the letter L.
Hopefully the festival will, as is promised, come back stronger than ever in 2020.
Live music in Scotland is still largely restricted to Glasgow and, to a lesser degree, Edinburgh meaning music fans from outwith those cities have to endure long journeys to see their favourite acts.
It would be a tragedy if the festival goes for good.