Tom Shields was born in Glasgow and has never left, apart from frequent sojourns to Barcelona. He studied at Strathclyde University on and off (more off than on) and after 32 years finally graduated with a hybrid BA degree in engineering, mathematics, Spanish, Latin American studies, Catalan, and wine-tasting. He received an honorary doctorate from Strathclyde, officially for services to Glasgow humor but more likely for his efforts to keep the university's bars and restaurants busy. He fell into journalism at an early age and spent more than 40 years at the Glasgow Herald and Sunday Herald, much of the time writing Diary columns. His five Diary collection books are still popular, mainly in charity shops.