Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Scotland Yet - The Trailer

Readers may remember helping crowd fund Jack Foster & Chris Silver's film project Scotland Yet last Autumn. Well, judging by this trailer, and the rather natty website, they haven't sat on their laurels with the £20,320 they raised.


I'm certainly looking forward to seeing the finished product in the Summer. It looks like it'll be a worthy documentary of the biggest grassroots movement Scotland has ever seen.

Monday, 21 April 2014

A Great Light has gone out

It happens very rarely that I am moved to tears by art. Only 3 singers have managed it. I'd never have dreamed that the staff in The Red Fort curry house would one day be fussing around me asking if everything was all right.  Tears streamed down my face and I blurted out as I bawled: "Fine, I'm fine. This is just so ball-acheingly beautiful." I held up my Rougan Josh and tear-stained copy of Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief.

The literati call it a novel and the Canadian writer of the finest Scottish novel of the 20th Century died yesterday, aged 77. I think it sings more like a ballad, a memorable collection of vivid vignettes that moves the reader with an emotional range and intensity of both humour and melancholy I'd never have thought possible through the bare, written word. 

I chose the title of this post because one of the most striking things about the novel is that it is suffused with light of every kind, and no-one could write light like Alistair MacLeod.  Friends who were privileged to know him speak of his kindness, generosity and humility. A truly gentle man.

If you've never read No Great Mischief, do yourself a favour.  The National Post reports that, as well as his family, he is survived by a second novel. I for one can't wait to read it.

Fois do t'anam.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Defence? De man wid de nails am comin' to fix it.

As a relic of Empire kicked out of more than one newly independent country in my youth, and later as one who spent his military career confusing senior officers who asked me "What would be your ideal job in the Air Force?" with the answer "Air Attaché at the Court of St James", I recall a wheen of racist jokes such as a correspondent asking a Prime Minister of a newly independent state:
"What is [Bongo-Bongoland] going to do about defence?"
"De fence? De man wid de nails am comin' to fix it."
Racist, objectionable, puerile, offensive? Indeed. But is it materially any different to this utterly biased, puerile and objectionable 'animation' from BBC Scotland's Sunday Politics today?


Thankfully we retained our own legal system during the Union so we should be spared the BBC equivalent of an interview with the Lord President:

Correspondent: "Why does a ginger-haired, kilted laddie periodically run through the court squeezing women's breasts?"
Lord President: "He is the Court Titter."
Correspondent: "Court Titter?"
Lord President: "Yes, Court Titter. You have them at the Old Bailey in London. I frequently read in the Times Law Reports that a titter ran through the Court, so we thought we'd have them here as well."

The Third Seal

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse 1887 by Victor Vasnetsov
And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. Revelation 6:5
You'd think they'd learn. Lord George Robertson was rounded on by all and sundry this week as being over the top for breaking the second (War) and sixth (Terror) seals, prophesying a cataclysmic end to Western civilisation wrought by the "Forces of Darkness" if Scots grow up and decide to govern themselves on 18 September 2014.  But no, the third seal (Famine) has been broken not only by the International Development Secretary, but also the Minister for Transport.

Vote Yes and the little brown baby gets it.
Scots of my vintage may remember from their toddler years the parental scolding "There are thousands of starving children in Biafra who'd be glad of that ..." when the offspring's nose was turned up at what was on the plate. Maybe she thought she was tuning in to such formative influences, though unaware of the petulant Scots brat's standard response of "Well stick it in an envelope and send it to them then." Anyhoo, feeling a bit left out of the indyref saga, Justine Greening (Who?) has weighed in prophesying third world famine and, for good measure, a bit of pestilence as well if we vote Yes. Apparently the "impact and influence" of the "hugely successful" (!?) UK aid programme will be diminished if we rend it in twain. Influence? Ah, yes. If Scotland chooses to give aid for aid's sake rather than sticking with the UK's long history of tying aid to arms sales to corrupt third world politicians, then the "influence" may well be diminished.

Way back in the dim and distant past, I had wondered where there was for the UK Government to go after the prospect of being nuked by North Korea failed to produce a even skid mark on the underpants of the imperturbable Scots. There was nary a trouser cough when we saw through the empty tripartite threat of no currency union from Osborne, Balls and Alexander and Yes support rose in the aftermath.

Have Project Fear given up trying to get us to keich our breeks on our own account? Do they think that we may be more amenable to being scared on behalf of Western Civilisation or little brown babies? Not quite.

We had come to terms with the fact that if we vote Yes, we'll be denied the Better Together Jam Tomorrow of Devo Max, or Devo Nano as it has turned out to be, if they can ever agree on what it means. In a cruel twist, the UK Department of Transport is now to deny us even Pie in the Sky.  Yes, if we vote Yes, the £40Bn HS2 project which was never going to come to Scotland will, erm, not come to Scotland.  If you are keiching your breeks now, please remember not to pull the chain while the train is in the station.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Pulp Fiction: The Shadow Goes for the Messages

Even though the April haar was giving way to a smirr of rain, making the paving slabs shimmer with a Damask-like sheen, I knew my usual fedora, red scarf and upturned collar would not be enough to protect me. In this city riven by division, I would need my hoodie for an anonymous dander to the Cameron Toll commercial cathedral to buy some sustaining mince, tatties, breid and milk.

I needed to pick my time. Heading out in the gloaming may help hide me from the feral gangs of vile, vicious Cybernats roaming Auld Reekie with their deadly stickers.

I swallowed as I locked the front door. Earlier in the week, a Vile Cybernat ®™ had stuck a sticker on my office window. The experience had been terrifying. I can take personal abuse but it’s getting out of control. My office manager has not been able to sleep all week ­because of the threats and abuse he has been receiving, and I fear another member of my staff will quit because it is upsetting her so much. My own broad, whom I get the public to pay, was even a bit jittery. My whole operation was on the cusp of breakdown. It's not for nothing that I have the second highest office expenses in the British parliament. 

These were no shrinking violets. I'd deliberately left the last lot of OE gang graffiti on the door for 3 years to remind them that it was the mean, ghetto streets of The Grange they were occupying.  Having the office look like an eyesore helped it blend in.  I needed these people to be on top form, and they wouldn't be on top form as long as the Vile Cybernat ®™ Sticker Terror persisted. How could they be expected to concentrate on opening the mail and forwarding 98% of it for action to the appropriate MSP with nuclear Yes stickers irradiating them from the window?

But the first step was to get some breid, milk, mince and tatties. The Union Army marches on it stomach and hunger would only amplify their fear.

Any resemblance to "Anonymous" MP Ian Murray is entirely intentional.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Da Vinci Code Expert called to Edinburgh to collar Yes Vandals

By no means the most shocking news to come out of Edinburgh today was this shocking tweet from Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray:

Enquiries among friends who pass his constituency office on Edinburgh's Minto Street drew a blank, no-one had seen the offending vandalism. I was about to phone old colleagues in the University microbiology lab to see if anyone could get round and take a photomicrograph of the offending damage when weel-kent Yes film-makerJack Foster came up trumps with a still of the offending vandalism:

A spokesman for Police Scotland, Detective Inspector Alf O'Pilor told me exclusively that they had called in world-renowned symbologist Dr Robert Langdon of The Da Vinci Code fame because:
"Sure, I've been in the Polis vandalism unit for 22 years and I know all the tags an all. But I'm fecked if I can see how this pile o' pish is anything to do with Yes Scotland. The MP guy is convinced. I can't see it meself but if anyone can connect this to Yes Scotland, Dr Robert Langdon can."
Dr Langdon was unavailable for comment but it is understood that after inspecting the door, Mr Murray will be locking Dr Langdon in Edinburgh University's School of Scottish Studies until he has found the connection.

Meanwhile, a senior scholar at the School of Scottish Studies has sent his 6 year old daughter into hiding in Uist, as her efforts on the spare bedroom wall look suspiciously like the cryptic Separatist graffiti, lest she be caught up in the Cryptologist's dragnet.

Mr Murray was too busy putting himself first and stabbing his poorer constituents in Gilmerton in the back by voting for Tory benefit caps to comment.

Edit: See also Wings over Scotland The Smear Wars.

Update: Agents Mulder & Scully called in.

X Files agents Mulder and Scully have been called in by Google Streetview to examine one of their cars after alert Wings reader Morag noticed that the Streetview image taken in August 2012 miraculously pre-figures the damage allegedly done "last night" according to Ian Murray MP.

As can be seen from the weeds surrounding the office, Murray hasn't really caught the vibe of his douce Grange surroundings.  Could it be that Ian 'Jakey' Murray MP's bodge job of a repair of the previous grafitti has just started to wear off? Surely it couldn't be that he was just lying though his teeth about the whole affair? Mind you, he is part of Better Together.