|A problem in rural Scotia
The scourge o modern day
Fan fowk faa hiv the money
Buy second hooses faar tae stay
Noo some young eens in the kwintraside
Leave skweel an wint tae bide
An gyaang tae wark near tae hame
Be it Skite or Deveronside
Bonnie hooses in rural villages
Snappit up bi fowk fae toons
Tae spend a wikk eyn or holidays
Oot-buyin local quines an loons
Holiday hames they are ca’ed
Faar ainers dinna bide at aa
Bit rint them oot tae tourists
Is iss nae bliddy eese ava
|The young eens are the future
O the wee villages an toons
They’re haein tae leave the area
Cos o “second hame” bliddy goons
A hoose can be left empty
Fer wikks upon a time
Only bidden in noo an agin
Jist unused steen an lime
Holiday hames help oot tourism
Some fowk they div decree
Bit withoot a local population
The villages wull seen dee
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013
A’ve ayewis spak the Doric
Sin a wis jist a loon
A dialect still weel loo’d
Fae the Spey tae Bervie toon
Fin a wis at the local skweel
In classrooms it wis banned
Ye were threatened wi the scud
Fit wid hae wairmed yer hand
Bit eence oot in the playgrun
It flowed oot o yer moo
An wi yer freens an neipers
Doric wisna thocht taboo
We canna lit iss language dee
It’s pairt an paircel o oor lan
The Doric an the North east
They aye gyang han in han
A’m loathe tak in fit a’m hearin
Young fowk canna say “ch” as in loch
Fit’s the warld cumin tae
If ye canna git yer tongue aroon roch?
Doric wirds are mair expressive
Than onything else ye micht hear
Thunk hivvens fowk still spik it
In kwintra placies like New Deer
The braw wird “dreich” a like
Instead o jist sayin “dull”
Or maybe gyaan “heelster-gowdie”
As ye tummle doon a hull
Robbie Shepherd he still spiks it
An a Doric sang he’ll sing
Sin the days o “The Garlogie Fower”
Iss chiel’s bin the Doric “king”
Lits aa fecht fer the Doric
Hae it taacht in aa the skweels
Instead o aa the lah-de-dahs
Thinkin the Doric is fer feels
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013
On mither earth faar we div bide
Flora an fauna are aa in decline
We build an drill an pull oot trees
Mair an mair hooses biggit near toons
Aathing noo maun be neat an tidy
Yet sna we need ti fill lochs an rivers
We cut doon rainforests so cattle can graze
Mither Earth provides us wi aa wi need
I hiv some hope Mither Earth wull survive
GRASSHOPPERS © Steffen Foerster | Dreamstime.com
PLANET EARTH © Foto_jem | Dreamstime.com
A’ve aywis likit the kwintraside
Doon the wye fae oor hoose
Twa railway sleepers war laid doon
The Ord cam oot the nearbye dam
In warm simmer days a paddled
Sometimes I aet ma denner
Lyin on the grassy banks
Noo an agin there wid be a splash
The Ord it jined the Leuchar Burn
It wis on the banks o the Ord
© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”2011
By Richard Pelling.
In Town Without My Car Day takes place every September in cities across Europe (and beyond) is an event designed to promote awareness of alternatives to the car for accessing city centres and serves to promote sustainable transport that can help reduce pollution in the urban environment. It forms an element of European Mobility Week – but will we see In Town Without My Car Day in Aberdeen this year? NO.
‘What about Getabout’s Belmont Bike Festival ?’, you say – well; few would consider that an ITWMC Day and the sorry tale of how this event came to be held onBelmont Street serves to highlight Aberdeen City Council’s commitment to sustainable transport and the environment.
This was presented at the Aberdeen City Council Enterprise, Planning & Infrastructure (EP&I) Committee Meeting on 24th May 2011, which suggested thatAberdeen host an ITWMC event in 2011 and requested that Union Terrace be the venue :
“Union Terrace remains the optimum location given the nature of the space required, the potential to use Union Terrace Gardens for some elements, the visibility of the event and the significant footfall that will be attracted and the fact that the Council already has special event temporary traffic management measures in place for the regular closing of Union Terrace for the International Street Market, and members of the public and transport operators are familiar with such diversions.”
Sounds great – Union Terrace is, of course, regularly closed for the commercial streetmarket that runs Friday – Sunday, so there should surely be no issues with closing it to hold this important one day environmental event and the proximity of Union Terrace Gardens gives extra space for say, cycling demonstrations, discussions of the visionary proposals for a Denburn Woonerf etc.
Union Terrace is also ideal as it is itself part of National Cycle Route 1 which in addition to being a popular commuter route in town, runs all the way from Dover to John o’ Groats (then on to Orkney and Shetland via the ferry). Sounds like it should be a done deal, but, EPI/11/140 goes on to say :
“Should the Committee feel that the impact on the road network and the travelling public will be such that they cannot support such an event on Union Terrace, officers will instead initiate proceedings to hold a smaller-scale event on Belmont Street on Saturday 17th September (although September 24th is the preferred date for the event, Belmont Street is hosting the Aberdeen Country Fair that day).”
So if the “optimum location” at Union Terrace – which can be shut on a weekday and all weekend for the street market – can’t be used the event will be held on Belmont Street … but not on the ideal date as that street is already closed for a regular street market then.
In fact, not only is Belmont Street already pedestrian-dominated (so it’s hardly a major concession to close it for a day), the council’s website notes that Belmont Street will be “closed at regular intervals throughout 2011” – indeed 24th September, 29th October, 26th November, 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th December are already listed (no mention of 17th September yet though ??).
This point is noted in the original report which states :
“Although this would not strictly qualify as an In Town Without My Car Day event, as it would take place on a predominantly pedestrianised street, and would be of a significantly lesser scale, the space available should be such that some of the proposed attractions could still take place and the event should still be visible enough to attract a large number of visitors.”
Yes indeed, having the event on Belmont Streetwould not constitute a true ITWMC event.
In fact, looking at Section 4 of EPI/11/140 we see just how little commitment to the event there is. In Section 4.1 we read
“the closure of Union Terrace will involve the temporary rerouting of motor vehicles”
Well yes, isn’t that the whole point of closing off a street FOR ONE DAY a year?
“Public transport operators have been consulted on this proposal and they have significant concerns, stating the location is inopportune because of the disruption this will cause to bus services”
Disruption? That’s rich coming from First Aberdeen – look how they just closed the Bridge of Don Park & Ride site from 5th – 10th September. On another note, do you think bus operators want people to get into the habit of cycling into town?
(4.2) “The closure of Belmont Street would have minimal impact on traffic movements as vehicular access to Belmont Street is restricted and no public transport services use the street”.
(5.6) “… Closing the road on a weekend day should also limit any inconvenience to commuters and businesses.”
The minutes of the EP & I Meeting of 24th May 2011,record that the committee resolved:
“to support Aberdeen City’s participation in the European Mobility Week and In Town Without My Car Day 2011” – though evidently just as long as it didn’t inconvenience them too much! They also resolved to “instruct officers to initiate proceedings to close Belmont Street for a smaller scale event on Saturday, 17 September, and that the Head of Planning and Sustainable Development clarify whether this would still meet the requirements for participation in the European Mobility Week and In Town Without My Car Day 2011“.
So we end up with the Belmont Bike festival.
I hope the event is a great success but think it could have been so much more. Keeping cars off what is an effectively pedestrianised street for a few hours on a Saturday really sums up Aberdeen City Councils level of commitment to the whole notion of cycling as a form of urban transport.
Peely-wally men – myself included – wouldn’t say boo to a Graylag goose unless through a megaphone from an adjacent county.
We compensate for our cowardice by fantasizing that we graduated from the Academy of Hard Knocks with a degree in machismo, alongside Charles Bronson and ‘Machete’ Mick Fobister (D-wing, Peterhead prison).
Nowhere does the peely-wally gene (PW-36) more readily find expression than through the language of challenge. In his efforts to make sure he will never have to carry out the threats he makes your off the shelf coordy-custard is capable of bending the English language like Uri Geller bends soup ladles.
Just how do the fearty-panted use their mither tongue to talk the talk without ever having to walk the walk?
A really good example is the classic exchange between Ronnie Sangster and Bob Stoat. An event which overnight catapulted Ronnie into the Animal Liberation Front’s Hall of Fame alongside such greats as Cattle-Poop Perkins, the inventor of free range mince.
I can vouch for the authenticity of this story because I was there the night it happened. I was feeding the East Neuk’s one armed bandit with the last of the pound coins from my grandson’s university-fund bankie (Well, now that the fees have gone through the rafters, he’ll just have to get a job in the ASDA bakery until he can pay for his own education).
At a table near the gents Ronnie Sangster hung over his Zimmer frame like a wet duffel coat. I would have judged him dead if it wasn’t for the snoring.
He had been having it large in the Brown Ale stakes for at least the three hours it took me to squander little Tommy’s inheritance trying to get three melons to fall in a straight line. As the wee lad’s last shekel rattled into the bandit’s coin box Bob Stoat staggered backwards into the bar dragging Murdo, an ancient three-legged whippet with a coat as manky as a soup kitchen doormat.
Now this was a threat, wasn’t it? It certainly sounded like it
It seemed to me that Stoatie’s best friend should long since have boarded the Marrowbone Express to Doggie Heaven. Judging by what happened next, Ronnie Sangster violently agreed.
Re-animated by forces beyond our ken, Ronnie clambered to his feet in installments. Eventually, blue with rage and emphysema in equal measure he stood gripping the bars of his Zimmer frame, glowering at Stoatie like a Hellfire preacher beholding a sodomite.
Once he’d squeezed enough oxygen back into his lungs to do so he spake forth:
“Consider yersel lucky you’re nae chinned,” he said.
This sounded like a threat but was in fact an assurance to the victim that not a finger would be laid upon him. Some threat. But Ronnie had not yet finished.
“But If you ivver come in here wi a dog like that again, you’re deid,’” he said.
Now this was a threat, wasn’t it? It certainly sounded like it. It had a condition – Bob’s return – and a consequence – Bob’s funeral. But closer scrutiny revealed that an unaddressed envelope bearing no postage stamp, mis-filed in the basement of an abandoned Royal Mail depot had more chance of being delivered than Ronnie’s threat.
The promised ‘chinning’ would require Bob Stoat to return to the East Neuk, not with Murdo, but with a dog like Murdo. There was more chance of Ronnie Sangster buying a round of drinks.
All that hot air. And not a single black eye to show for it.
Let us finish with a more commonplace example of how we big ourselves up whilst speaking with forked tongue. You’ll recognise this. A brass necked flatmate points out over breakfast that your oxters are yodelling and insists that you buy an industrial strength roll-on deodorant.
Later, you tell this tale to a friend, who says:
“If he’d said that to me I would have cleaved him in twain with a claymore before he got the top off his boiled egg.”
This type of hindsight-powered swagger is usually delivered from a high horse in a sneering tone, implying that the story teller is as limp wristed as an effeminate volleyball player.
There is a subtle distinction between both examples.
In Sangster/Stoat there is an itsy bitsy teeny weeny mathematical chance that Bob Stoat might rescue another three legged whippet from the cat and dog home and be stupid enough to return to Ronnie Sangster’s local. In the boiled egg example however, the swaggerer can be absolutely certain that he will never be required to swing a claymore in earnest since this would necessitate travelling back in time to a place he had never been, to cleave in twain someone he’d never met.
The moral of this tale is simple: stay away from geese, three legged whippets, one armed bandits, and above all, Ronnie Sangster.
Image credit: © Fred Goldstein | Dreamstime.com
George Anderson continues his masterclass series in Doric, offering an appreciation not only of the spoken language, but also the wealth of meaning between the economically delivered lines – and a breath of fresh air.
When Aberdeen Voice’s editorial team asked me to conduct a series of Doric Master Classes I jumped at the chance. The language lab above my garage in Auchnaclatt can be stifling in summer. Besides, I was fed up teaching American tourists how to order breakfast (Kin I hae a bug o rowies and a slack handfae o yer floory baps please?) But first things first I told them. Students of Doric must learn to breathe correctly. So that’s where we’ll begin.
… is vital for survival. Stop doing it long enough and your tatties will soon be ower the side.
The ancient Tai Chi masters knew this (about the breathing that is; not the tatties). They were taught from the temple crèche to breathe in through their ears and out through the soles of their feet. Though this practice was discontinued in the seventeenth century after complaints from monks about condensation in their gym shoes.
Good breathing is no less essential when learning to speak Doric properly.
This exercise has been designed to allow students to experience for themselves the correct way to breathe during conversation. Throughout the exercise do bear in mind the two fundamentals of Doric breathing: when listening, only breathe in; when speaking, only breathe out.
Students should work in pairs and have a paramedic on standby.
One person plays the speaker. The other takes the role of listener.
Start reciting the words to the ‘The Mucking of Geordie’s Byre.’ These must be spoken in Doric, at about twice the speed of an hysterical auctioneer on his third line of coke.
Just as the speaker begins, draw a gaspette of air in through the mouth while saying the word, ‘Aye’. Repeat this for as long as the speaker is speaking. Take care not to breathe out.
If you feel light-headed or confused, if you experience vertigo or the feeling that your lungs might at any moment explode, call your GP immediately – and tell him you have just mastered the art of Doric inhalation.
It has been clinically proven (67% of 285 breathers agreed) that your lungs will now contain levels of carbon dioxide similar to those recorded at the bottom of a colliery lift shaft.
Aim to reach this point at the precise moment when the speaker stops talking. Some feel nauseous at this point. If you are one of them, it helps to ground yourself by holding on to something — a telegraph pole, tree or a Ford Mondeo usually hit the spot.
Whatever you do, don’t faint; it will shortly be your turn to speak.
But you can think only of filling your burning lungs with oxygen in vast, life sustaining quantities. To do this you will first have to expel all of the noxious gases your lungs contain. And here we have a dilemma. Your conversational partner may believe that you are having a hairy fit. Worse; they may believe that you are feigning a hairy fit because you can’t bring yourself to share their concern for the cleansing of George’s cowshed. What to do?
Well, the answer is to use the blast of carbon dioxide your body will at any moment force from your chest (with or without your permission) as the carrier for your reply.
Stop speaking. It is your turn to say ‘Aye’ while only breathing in. Get to it.
(now adopting the speaking role): Recite the chorus to the Barnyards o Delgatie (reproduced below), out loud and real
fast (if you can distinguish one word from the next you are not speaking fast enough). Aim for 0.8 seconds from start to finish.
Luntin addie, turin addie,
Luntin addie turin ae
Luntin lowrin’ lowrin’ lowrin’,
The barnyards o’Delgaty!
Now that we have covered the mechanics of breathing the subject of our next masterclass will be ‘Doric and the beatnik culture’.
Image credit: © Max Blain | Dreamstime.com
George Anderson presents a masterclass in Doric offering an appreciation not only of the spoken language, but also the wealth of meaning between the economically delivered lines.
There is something about the North-east’s doom laden outlook on life that makes Victor Meldrew look like he’s been at the laughing gas.
Victorian artists painted skulls in the corner of their canvases to remind anyone who had drifted off the page, that the bloke with the scythe was never more than a step behind them.
Up my way we need no such reminding; we see the end of our days in the faces of anyone we know over fifty.
It is customary in the north-east of Scotland to point out to any third parties who will listen, that so-and-so is ‘looking aul’’. The phrase is equivalent to saying ‘His tatties are gey near through the bree’. In other words that the fellow should get measured for the widden bilersuit on a sooner rather than later basis.
Students should study the masterclass notes below before practicing the following piece of dialogue from ‘Duet for Arthur Duguid’ by Udny playwright Harold Painter, known in the north-east of course as Harold Pinter. Emphasise emboldened words.
Line 1: I seen Arthur Duguid at the Gala bingo last widdnesdae
Line 2: Did ye?
Line 3: Aye. He’s nae half lookin aul’
Line 4: Is he?
Line 5: Oh, he’s lookin aul’ a right.
Students Notes on pronunciation:
Line 1: This line should be delivered as you might read out loud the names of all those who died building the Burma railroad.
Line 2: Try to get as much astonishment into these two words as you can muster. Imagining that you have just been told that despite flailing at the beast with his pension book, Arthur Duguid had been skewered through the tripe like a kebab during this year’s Pamplona bull run.
Line 3: Advanced students may want to try the accompanying actions to this phrase. Hold a trembling hand an inch or two from your face and draw it down the visage as the phrase is uttered, to emphasise the fact that Arthur’s signs of ageing are now beyond the reach even of industrial strength Norwegian Formula Neutragena.
Line 4: As for line 2
Line 5: Place double emphasis on the second instance of the word ‘aul’’
Both should end the piece with hands in pockets, performing the ‘shakkin o the heid’.
Picture © Paul Moore | Dreamstime.com
Music lovers thinking ‘bout moseyin’ on down to The Moorings this Saturday may want to keep one eye on the exit, the other out for trouble, their heads down, and their hands close to their holsters as liquor-swillin’, sharp-shootin’, crazed country cowboys The Malpaso Gang come a-calling.
Aberdeen’s newest country band, The Malpaso Gang, proud heirs to the long tradition of outstanding country music rooted in the fertile forelands of the Grampian Highlands have claimed the title of… “Best Indie Band” in the Aberdeen Fudge Music Awards.
They credit their success to a profound love for professional wrestling set to a soundtrack of Buck Owens, and their legions of adoring fans.
The band’s spokesperson, Nina Eggens, after downing her 8th shot of whiskey and shooting out all the bottles behind the bar, aiming from the hip, told Aberdeen Voice:
“We’re so proud. It’s all down to Hank Williams song, ‘Rambling Man’.”
It was the train whistle that apparently set off the fusillade, claiming the lives of the cheap liquor behind the bar leaving no survivors.
Bail for the Gang’s sharp-shooting lead singer has to date been unforthcoming, and it has been reported that the band’s decision to prioritise the raising of money to pay off their bar bill may be the cause of the delay.
The bar tab resulted from drinking which followed the brawl that erupted when, while claiming an unrelated award for stranded steel guitarist Son Henry, Matt Duncan made an insightful comment about a neighbouring city in an unfortunate moment of candour and honesty.
Bassist Dave Haxton, off to fetch another pint, could not be reached for comment.
All of which is appropriate, because as we all know, country music is all about true stories. And all this, they swear, is true.
Sat 26th March @ The Moorings.