Trade-barking mad

WHAT'S in a name? Well, if you're Dave Shand, owner of Aboyne-based Hilltrek Outdoor Clothing, the answer is a potential lawsuit.

Reaching for his morning post on the doormat recently he was gobsmacked – it's the only word for it – to find a lawyer's letter from the National Trust for Scotland telling him to stop selling his rather natty Glencoe jacket, a high-end item of rainwear such as you often see on the backs of tourists at this time of year. The reason? Turns out the NTS holds the copyright for all things Glencoean – or, in legalese, is the “registered proprietor” of the “UK trademark registration”.

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And that's not all. Such was the brouhaha when Mr Shand brought the matter to the attention of the masses on social media that the NTS was discovered to also be the blah blah whatsit of the names Bannockburn and Culloden. It's not clear whether they've also trademarked other historical battles such as Wembley 1977, but now that they've seen the notion in print I'm sure their legal representatives are on to it.

Wait, there's even more. The NTS has also had its inky little trademark paws on Glenfinnan and St Kilda, though the second is actually a half-share with Western Isles Council.

Other geographically-named items in Mr Shand's clothing line which could prove potentially tricky are his Liathach Natural Smock (ideal for “intensive cold weather activities” apparently, though it mentions nothing about fending off lawsuits) and his Assynt, Rannoch and Cuillin jackets. And should the descendants of ancient Pictish kings Talorc the First, Second or Third decide to sue, his Talorc Hybrid Ventile anorak is going to land him in trouble too. Let's hope not, though.

On NTS's part, the scorn poured down on its head has forced it to see the lighter side and the organisation has issued a mea culpa. Sort of, anyway. “In retrospect, although the letter sent to Hilltrek was a standard one, it may have been, in the circumstances of this particular company, too harsh in tone,” said an NTS spokesperson.

A tricky ditty

RANDY Newman, an American singer-songwriter who was big in the 1970s and then got even bigger doing the music for Pixar movies, has told Vice News about a song he wrote but decided not to include on his most recent album, Dark Matter, released earlier this month. “I wrote a Trump song,” he said, “but it was so vulgar that I didn't choose to do it.”

Want further details? Of course you do, and lucky a little more information has slipped out. In conversation with a journalist from arts website The Vulture, Newman expanded – and even ran through some of the lyrics. Here they are: “My d***’s bigger than your d***/It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true/My d***’s bigger than your d***/I can prove it too/There it is! There’s my d***/Isn’t that a wonderful sight?/Run to the village, to town, to the countryside/Tell the people what you’ve seen here tonight.” And the chorus? It went: “What a d***! What a d***!”

What might have been, eh?

Surely sum mistake?

CLEVER outfit, Amazon. Not only has the online retail behemoth managed to increase turnover and sales, it has done so while also managing to halve what it pays in corporation tax (down from £15.8 million to £7.4 million) and – get this – wringing a series of deductions out of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs which means the company actually gets a tax credit of £1.3 million. Do try this at home next time you have a tax return due.

Even cleverer than that – and far less injurious to Amazon's reputation as a company which, in the words of Oxfam's head of inequality Ana Arendar, exploits global tax laws and tax havens “to avoid paying their fair share” – is a tricky little algorithm which allows them to see who's buying what in our major cities. And so we learn that among the most popular items for people living in Glasgow are Australian Gold Dark Tanning Accelerator Lotion (no, I don't know what that is either), exfoliating socks (ditto), Best Rechargeable Nose Hair Trimmer, Stargazer Glitter Fix Gel and The Little Book Of Hygge: The Danish Way To Live Well. Frankly, I think you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Things are no less risible to points north and east, you'll be glad to hear. Among the favourite purchases of those dwelling in the capital are 24-can packs of Irn Bru, beard trimmers (ah, those Leith hipsters!), T2: Trainspotting DVDs (ah, those Leith hipsters!), electric blankets and something called The GCHQ Puzzle Book. Oh, and inflatable trophies – did Hibs win something recently?

As for Aberdonians, they bought an awful lot of Harry Styles CDs and something called Eylure Body Tape, which is (according to Amazon) “the ideal way to avert a fashion disaster”, a feat it manages by preventing “embarrassing gaping”. Don't know about you, but I'm still none the wiser.

Duck and cover!

ONE'S the ranting, raging and frankly bonkers-looking leader of a nuclear power, the other one rules North Korea – didn't see that coming, did you? – and together they've been cooking up a plan for nuclear Armageddon over the last few days. So as Donald Trump – what a d***! – and Kim Jong-un square up on the world stage, perhaps it's time for some light relief.

The trouble is, there isn't much light relief to be had in these sorts of situations, so I'll leave you instead with some advice as you sit in front of your computer browsing the beard trimmers, inflatable trophies, tanning accelerator lotions and fashion disaster-averting body tape you might otherwise be buying on Amazon today: order yourself a bomb shelter instead.

No, really. You can get a paperback edition of The Bomb Shelter Builders Book for a very reasonable £7.92 or there's even a free Family Fallout Shelter app you can download. If you want an off-the-peg version, the Ballistic Storm Shelter houses up to 26 adults, has its own air filtration, purification and ventilation system, and promises protection against explosives (though it doesn't mention nuclear bombs specifically). The eight-sided version is yours for $49,190. Plus $3.01 shipping. And I think that at the rate we're going, it's probably worth paying for next-day delivery.