Thursday, May 24, 2007
Mr Alex Salmond's "New Scotland" Is Oddly Familiar, But The Forward March Of History Has Reached The Teacake Factories Of Uddingston
Try as I have, I cannot get the hang of Mr Alasdair Gray's nationalist motivational workout, in which one wakes each morning as if in the first days of a new nation. It is not the waking that is the problem. I awake each morning at around 12.28, just after falling asleep, as the teenage drunks make their way home, stoned on lighter fuel, pheromones and fortified wine, pausing only to fight with lamp-posts, dance like Nijinsky (the racehorse) across the bonnets of parked cars, before challenging each other to games of touch rugby using, as the ball, the grease-soaked wrappers which blow like post-apocalyptic tumbleweed down Northgate from Big Eb's chippie. With luck, Radio 4's Shipping Forecast will put me under again, though not without adding a meteorological backdrop to my dreams, which are stormy enough, thank you, on account of the cheese. And as the night progresses, my rest will be punctured by the barking of the urban foxes, and the pre-dawn squawking of the robins. Sometimes, in these insomniac moments, I am reminded of Mr Spike Milligan, who used to complain of the din of silence which surrounded his home in Rye, East Sussex: the snoring of the sheep, he used to say, was keeping him awake.
My morning rituals also get in the way of imagining that the country has been re-born. If Good Morning Scotland does not send me into a blue funk, I am statistically unlikely to survive unscathed the challenges of MacAulay and Co, which I now listen to in the bath whilst poking knives into the guts of the toaster in order to deaden the pain. Oddly, though the toaster is plugged in, I have yet to receive an electric shock, perhaps because of my sandshoes.
But, like Ronnie Corbett, challenged by a ladybird to a bout of Tae-Kwon-Do, I digress. My point is politics, and how oddly similar to yesterday tomorrow now seems. It is true, one gets a sense of the temporal nature of existence merely by looking at the countenance of Mr Jack McConnell - his hair thinning and grey, like his cheeks and his suits - but I am not yet convinced that the new Senior Retainer, the racing tipster Mr Salmond, has what the cowboys used to call "the proper mustard". If he is to achieve the statesmanship his rhetoric craves, he will have to learn how to appear on television without looking as if he is about to consume the camera.
But perhaps I am being unduly pessimistic. On visiting the Store for my ration of Billy Beef, I noticed that the sainted Mr Tunnock of Uddingston is now selling his teacakes with a plain chocolate coating. As a service to my readers, I have consumed a six-pack of these confections, and can advise that one is not enough, but two is too many.