Friday, December 02, 2005

Horny Gollochs, Mary Marquis and Oor Wullie's Moose: Several Reasons Why Scotland Is, After All, Heaven On Earth

I suppose I did ask for it. Last night, during the first dress rehearsal for the Peebles Showboaters' Christmas production of Peer Gynt on Ice, the Superser heater exploded, leaving several of the company in full blackface, and the rest of us very cold. We adjourned for a while, first to the Accident and Emergency unit, and thence to the Woolly Pheasant Bar, Thai Grill and Poodle Parlour, where - despite the smell of dog shampoo - the "spirit of the blitz" prevailed. Some of the company entertained the local worthies with a display of minstrelsy, while the others took me to task for a perceived lack of patriotism, after my suggestion that there was little to celebrate in Scottish culture.
We played a version of the old game "I went to Paris and bought..." But, instead of going to Paris we journeyed inward, to the dark corners of the Scottish psyche. The challenge was to find the best of Scotland, and repeat the litany as new things were added. By the end of the night, with the saloon bar singing Mammy, and the rest of us in the snug reciting the finest things about our funny wee country, it was a peculiar scene.
Here, for what it's worth, is the list. Please feel free to add more. When the list is complete I will apply to the Scottish Arts Council for a grant and retire on the proceeds, emerging only to collect honorary degrees and wheelbarrows full of public money.
(NB, I share some of these preferences, but the appeal - and even the meaning - of others is obscure to me. The comment about Wee Jimmy Krankie is especially crass, but as a democrat I feel it must be included).

A thing I love about Scotland is ...
Jeely pieces, Oor Wullie's moose, Hen and all the Broons. Hillman Imps, Chrysler Alpines, the Scottish Daily News. The panstick of Mary Marquis, so thick you could skate on it for a day and never see the same mountain range twice. The click in the thatched roof of Peter Sloss's mouth as he forecast weather, and more weather, all of it bad. Sydney Devine's Tiny Bubbles, Archie Macpherson's "woof!", George Galloway's exploding cigar. Ivor Cutler saying "gruts for tea", John Laurie prophesying doom, the battle between the beanstalk and Wee Jimmy Krankie. The East Coast mainline from Berwick to Dunbar, the A198 from North Berwick to Cockenzie. Barra airport. Billy Connolly's Big Banana boots. Denis Law's porcupine hair. PC Murdoch's waterproof cape. The Dingle Dell, Brechin. Butteries, rowies, softies, baps, or whatever names they are using now for rolls in old Aberdeen. Horny gollochs, forkytails and earywigs. Whale jawbones on hills. Luca's ices. Putting greens. The Forth Bridge. Red puddings, white puddings, black puddings, mealie puddings and all kinds of pudding, with the exception, perhaps, of Tam Cowan. McCowan's chews, pan drops and grannie sookers. Jammie dodgers, Aero leathers. Dr Finlay's Casebook. Billy Mackenzie's whippets. Heckly biscuits. The Northern Lights, seen from Fife. Fraser Elder, wearing a jacket made of old hotel carpet, reading a football report like a loon dictating a thesaurus to a hippo with a typewriter. Tutti Frutti: Eddie Clockerty saying "Miss Toner". Tutti Frutti: the Majestics watching Postman Pat in Gaelic. Thingummyjig. Gregory's Girl. John O'Groats. Skara Brae. Tar macadam, tablet, Orkney fudge. The Cameo cinema. The smell of hops in Fountainbridge. Weddings where a drunken auntie sings Patsy Cline. James Cameron. Gnasher. Black bun. Pola Cola. The post office in Drem. Bannocks. Deborah Kerr. Oh, yes, Deborah Kerr.

10 comments:

Devil's Kitchen said...

The Cameo cinema. The smell of hops in Fountainbridge.

Both, as Fraser wouled, doooooomed...

DK

Jackson D'Catur said...

What was Orr Wullie's moose called? Wasn't it Jeemy, after Slim Jim Baxter? Also, I just found out to my horror that his tiny friend (Wullie's, not Jeemy's: Jeemy appeared friendless in the rodent world) was not as I thought, called "Wee Eek" but "Wee Eck". Jings.

berenike said...

Tunnock's caramel wafers. You don't get that metallic tang with any other biscuit.

Anonymous said...

Surely wee Jeemy pre-dated Slim Jim.

Boeciana said...

Stovies. Empire biscuits. Sliders (vanilla ice-cream between wafers - the name at any rate is the Scottish one, isn't it?).

Boeciana said...

Incidentally, Houston's bakery in Wick makes (or at least used to make) the best butteries anywhere. And Henrietta St fish and chip shop in Wick was outstandingly good. Sigh.

Sir Cedric Hardwicke said...

Arran Victory potatoes! Invented by Donald Mackelvie on Arran, and named in honour of the end of the Great War. Delicious roasted!

Hendo! said...

Pakoras! You try getting pakoras after closing time in Holland!

Arthur said...

The high street - (buying meths in the chemist in Bonar Bridge - for my Mamod steam engine)

Scotty said...

What happened to that girl who did BBC Scotland news with the giant, giant, giant breasts? She used to be on the podcast version. Now I don't watch the news anymore. Blogs are more interesting. Like this:

http://www.vancouvernewsblog.com/2010/06/skytrain-can-injures-elderly.html

They'll feel that. FULL STOP.