Relax and let Gleneagles take over!
Genuine Gleneagles receipt for a Cafe Latte.
Bar at Gleneagles Hotel - AKA the 19th hole.
All going swimmingly! Top Hole Chaps!
One can practice one's clay target shooting at the Gleneagles.
Dr Kissinger protests his innocence!
My impression of Dr K at the Glasgow Premiere of `WMD weapons of mass deception`
Street map of Auchterarder near Gleneagles, Perthshire.
Ordnance survey map of the area.
2004 Meeting of the G8 at Sea Island, Georgia, U.S.A.
Indymedia can sensationally reveal that former US Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger was arrested on Saturday afternoon at the plush Gleneagles Hotel! Ho, Ho, tell me another I hear you say.
Actually I’m in Edinburgh Stop the War and went up to Gleneagles on Friday 11th March to have a look at the meeting place of the world’s rich and powerful in July. Going by train from Glasgow, which took about three quarters of an hour, I arrived at the small, unmanned station at about 8.30pm on Saturday evening. I didn’t see any taxis or buses waiting but someone offered me a lift part of the way to Auchterarder. He took me to a roundabout, which said `Auchterarder one and a half miles`. I walked down to the town and eventually found a quite good b&b for £20.00 in the High Street. That was on Friday and then on the Saturday I went for a walk around the town. The `Lang Toun` as it sometimes called extends for over a mile. I looked at one or two points of interest and then went by bus to the super de luxe Gleneagles Hotel. This five star establishment will be the venue in July for the meeting of the G8 - the World’s richest and most powerful people.
The bus dropped me off at the back entrance as it didn’t go past the front and I made my way in by the rear entrance. A member of staff asked if he could help and let me in with a swipe card. I went to reception and as there was a queue I walked around the shops which abound inside and which are introduced to the visitor by a sign saying `Retail Therapy starts here`. Looking at the £1,000 plus pieces of jewellery and cashmere sweaters was all I could do as the prices were just a little out of my range. I went to reception and asked about prices and was given a brochure. I asked to see a room but they said they were too busy. I went to one of the bars and ordered a café latte, which was all of £3.75. I asked the waiter to take a picture of myself wearing a Henry Kissinger mask. I went to the toilet and found it was surprisingly dirty – in contrast to the spotless Bed and Breakfast the previous evening. The bowl was full of paper and a discarded fag end and wouldn’t flush. I tried several times but the offending waste didn’t want to go round the bend. For posterity I took a picture of it. I thought of using it as a cartoon with perhaps a humorous caption like `Yes! It’s true - Bush goes to toilet! ` Or maybe `Blair shat here! `
I went back to the bar where I had a café latte and paid with my visa card - £3.75 plus I tipped 75p - £4.50 altogether. I had a look through the brochures I got from reception, decided I had seen what I wanted and tried to walk out of the hotel. On my way out I was stopped by Hotel Security. They led me to a large room – I think a ballroom perhaps – to my surprise and disquiet I found two police waiting for me – 1 male, 1 female. They searched me and my bag (a briefcase) and asked what I was doing. They found my G8 alternative leaflets and March 19th demo leaflets in my bag. The Hotel security guy was most displeased and said, “What were you going to do with these sir?” I mumbled something about being interested in peace but they didn’t seem too happy with that reply. He wasn’t pleased with the leaflets I had in my bag or with the Socialist Worker, Socialist Review and `Voice` I also had. He noted I had a copy of the Financial Times in my hand along with two Hotel brochures. He told the police that “He got the Financial Times here.” and I asked if I might keep it. He said I could “keep it with the Hotel’s compliments”. I said he could have the Voice with the compliments of the Scottish Socialist Party but he just glared at me as if to say he didn’t think that was funny. He went on: “ I don’t know what your game is sir, coming in the back way and pretending to be Henry Kissinger but I’m going to ban you from this establishment and ask for an injunction to keep you away from the hotel.” They apparently had me under surveillance for some time and were particularly concerned about my visit to the toilet.
“What were you doing in the toilet Sir?”
I’m not really sure how to answer a question like that. I was tempted to reply by singing the 1980’s `Spitting Image` song:
♫ “Everyone goes to the toilet, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGhee, Everyone goes to the toilet, everyone – except me” ♫
Perhaps wisely I decided against auditioning for the Eurovision Song Contest!
“What were you doing in the toilet Sir?”
What do people normally do in toilets? Play football? Keepy up? Shooty in? Maybe golf? Practice the old back swing, what? They insinuated I had blocked the toilet - presumably with someone sinister. The male cop took my recorder and played some of it and on listening suggested that I had been taping our conversation. I hadn’t. What was on the tape was actually from a protest in Glasgow on February 15th.
They `asked` me to come to Auchterarder police station; thankfully I did not have to suffer the indignation of being handcuffed. A short drive later and I was a guest of the Tayside police. They searched me again – just outer clothing and a frisk. No problem. They asked about my `Voice` and if I was a member of the SSP. I explained I was in the platform - the male cop said I would have to enlighten him – so I explained the SWP/SSP alliance that exists in Scotland. I said the SSP was not a proscribed organisation.
They asked me if I would like a cup of tea and in a few minutes I had a mug of char with milk and two sugars. Totally free, unlike the Gleneagles! They continued with the search of my various leaflets and brochures, which included a DVD copy of Danny Schechter’s film `WMD weapons of mass deception`. They said a lot of my stuff would have to go to Dundee for forensic examination. They looked at my diary and my notebook and read some of the leaflets. They examined my address book and asked about an Arab name written on the back of an envelope - `Hassan`. They looked at the leaflet `This War is wrong` with messages from military families, including Reg Keys and Rose Gentle. They phoned their headquarters in Dundee who said I had to hand in the camera with smart card and some of the leaflets. The female cop did seem sympathetic when I told her of my feelings at the awful suffering of the Iraqi people especially when I described the Al Ameriyah air raid shelter with its scorched shadows of the victims including those of a mother and her baby.
I got a second cup of tea and they said I could keep the DVD film – very fortunate, as I was due to show it in Edinburgh on Sunday. I was allowed to keep the pocket recorder and then they drove me to nearby Dunblane so I could catch a train home. I caught the 1727 train and was back in Edinburgh at 6.32pm – very relieved! I haven’t any photos of my experiences. But what a day!
I wonder if Bush, Blair and Berlusconi will have to suffer such indignities in July!
If you are planning on visiting the Gleneagles Hotel here are the prices you can expect to pay:
Café Latte £3.75
Glass of Sherry £8.00
3 course meal £70.00
Single room £265.00 (off season)
Single Room £330.00 (peak season)
Estate Room (with a view) £365.00 (off season)
Estate Room £465.00 (peak season)
Whisky suite £740.00 (off season)
Whisky suite £945.00 (peak season)
The Royal Lochnagar Suite £1,450 (off season)
The Royal Lochnagar Suite £1,560.00 (peak season like at the G8 meeting)
The Royal Lochnagar suite is lovingly described by the official brochure in the following radiant terms: “Royalty, heads of state and celebrities have experienced the sheer luxury of The Royal Lochnagar Suite with its welcoming hallway leading to a fabulously comfortable bedroom, bathroom and sitting room. The suite has hand-woven carpets, gold plate and crystal chandeliers. Jewel colours, silks and fine wool, polished wood and leather glow softly, while from its many windows there are stunning views across the Gleneagles estate to the rolling skyline of the Ochil Hills.”
Fancy a little break from Easterhouse in Glasgow, Muirhouse in Edinburgh or Broadwater Farm in London? Then what’s stopping you? Book the Royal Lochnagar Suite now and mix with the best! It’s only £1,450 up till the end of April. Be careful when using the toilets though as the two I came across were full of shit – rather like the leaders of the G8 themselves!!!
10 labelled photos are attached (9 from the hotel literature and other sources). My impression of Dr K is from the Glasgow Première of Danny Schechter’s new film. Danny likes my impersonation of the man he calls "the odious Dr K" – the head of security at the Gleneagles doesn’t!
PS See you in July!
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