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Nov 122012

By Bob Smith.

Lit’s nae foget the sacrifice
O oor brave loons an quines
Fa perished in war’s carnage
An a puckle lost their myns
Lit’s nae forget the sacrifice
At the Somme or Passchendaele
Lit’s nae forget the bravery
O the chiels fae toon or vale
Lit’s nae forget the sacrifice
O the billies fae learn’t tae flee
In Spitfires an in bombers
A hullock o them wid dee
Lit’s nae forget the sacrifice
O D-Day an El Alamein
Or at Cassino ower in Italy
Oot o bodies life wid drain
Lit’s nae forget the sacrifice
In Burma or Singapore
An biggin railways in the jungle
Fit’s gin doon in war folklore
Lits nae forget the sacrifice
By some sailors on the ocean waves
Fin convoys they ran the gauntlet
An U-boats sint them tae their graves
Lits nae forget the sacrifice
In Kenya, Malaya an Korea
Or in the island o Cyprus
Aroon the toon o Nicosia
Lits nae forget the sacrifice
In Aden Arabs made their pitch
Far squaddies tried tae keep the peace
Some led by yon “Mad Mitch”
Lits nae forget the sacrifice
On Falkland’s lan an sea
An ower in Northern Ireland
Fowk fae conflict warna free
Lits nae forget the sacrifice
In Iraq an in Afghanistan
Far loons and quines hiv perished
In attacks fae the Taliban
Lits nae forget the sacrifice
O firefighters an ambulance crews
An the nurses in the front line
Durin wars like World War 2
So remember aa these gallant fowk
Fa deet so we’d bide free
Fa pyed the ultimate sacrifice
As their lives they did gie

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012

May 032012

By Bob Smith.

“The Donald” wis doon at Holyrood
Agin winfairms he did rail
Stop biggin aa thae turbines
Or yer tourism it’ll fail

Ye’ll spile the bonnie coastline
An wi me ye noo wull clash
Nae wird o connachin shiftin dunes
Fin an SSSI the chiel did trash

Trump says the warld’s aa laachin
At fit he sees as Scaatland’s folly
Fowk winna cum ti ma gowf course
An a’ve spint aa iss bliddy lolly

Royal Aiberdeen spoots oor Donald
Wull lose oot on gowf events
A win’ turbine it’ll spile the view
Fae the course an sponsors’ tents

The pledge a wis gien’s bin bruiken
“Nae winfairms wid be near Menie”
A’m dumfoonert an fair scunnered
An winna spen anither penny

Oor Eck cries “stuff an nonsense”
The mannie’s spikkin crap
His “The Donald’s” bluff an bluster
Geen a bittie ower the tap?

Wi aa the rigmarole at Holyrood
Donald playin his “Trump” cardie
It’s mair akin to yon Hollywood
Wi Donald an Eck as Laurel an Hardy
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012

Image credit:© Mark Rasmussen | …. 3 windmills

Apr 192012

By Bob Smith.

Lit’s hear it fer the fowk fa waak
Aroon the streets in ivvery toon
Fa’s only wish is ti be free
Fae motor cars aa fleein aroon

Streets faar ye can walk in peace

Nae noise fae larry or car
A toon cinter free o fumes an steer
Faar the motor vehicle’s nae the Tsar

A placie faar the high street shops

Can dee their trade in tranquility
An cafes hiv tables an chairs ootside
Wi fowk  enjoyin a coffee or tea

Streets faar kids can waak ti skweel

Nae aye driven in faimily cars
Fowk’ll  think there’s mair chunce
O seein aliens fae the planet Mars
Fowk war born wi things caed legs
Bit they’re nae noo used sae muckle
Instead o haen a fyow car free streets
Lit toons aim ti hae a fair puckle

Git fowk back livin in toon cinters

So some widna hae ti drive ti wark
An maybe they cwid enjoy some peace
Like the car free island o Sark

Ye think am livin in a fantasy warld?

Maybe so bit we maun surely try
Ti mak toon streets fowk freenly
Reclaim oor streets shud be the cry
©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012

Picture Credit: Richard Slessor

Apr 062012

By Bob Smith.

The first season o the ‘ear
Heralds the fresh breath o Spring
April shooers weet the grun
Birdies ti nests they cling

Syne the time o Simmer
Wi the sun heich in the sky
Fin thunner micht be rummlin
An yer skin can stairt ti fry

Simmer’s deen an it’s Autumn
Wi the leaves nae langer green
Fairmers they still wark the lan
Bi the licht o a gweed hairst meen

Fae Autumn inti the Winter
Wi it’s dark an broodin skies
The sna lyin’ deep an crisp
Ye’re maist affa sweir ti rise

The vagaries o oor climate
Am sure some wull agree
Are better fin yer hearin
“The Fower Seasons” by Vivaldi

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2012
Image Credit: Elaine Andrews

Apr 072011

By Bob Smith.

Faar’s the likes o Tammy Mitchell
A provost wi nae falderals
Nae cavortin wi Acsef types
Or big lood moo’d Yankee pals

Provost Mitchell he spak the lingo
O the local North East lan
Ye aye kent fit wis
Fin Tammy shook yer haun

Nae mair chiels like Bob Boothby
Or mannies like yon Robert Hughes
Ye micht nae agreed wi their politicks
Be ye kent they’d peyed life’s dues

Jist mealie-mou’d gabbin gadgies
In the political scene the noo
Maist o oor Scottish MSPs
Shud bi on the bliddy Broo

Nae worthies in oor local council
Like Dick Gallagher or Alex Collie
Jist a bunch o maistly fearty fowk
An we greet at aa their folly

Nae muckle fish landed at Aiberdeen
Since the discovery o aa the ile
Nae mony fish market porters
Hiv ye seen noo fer a fyle

Nae chatter o riveters haimmers
Or the soond o tackety boots
Jist the noise o fower bi fowers
Driven bi billies in Armani suits

The young in oor wee villages
Canna afford ti buy a hoose
The reason is ower plain ti see
Incomers hiv bin lit loose

Fowk faa wark miles awa
In the toon o Aiberdeen
Hiv snaffled aa the village hooses
Or as holiday hames they’re teen

Nae mony local shops o ony note
Cos they’ve aa gin ti the wa
Nae langer a leevel playin field
Supermarkets hiv pinched the ba

We eesed ti hae a gweed paper
The P&J wis
aye breezy an bright
It’s nae langer kent as impartial
The pages are noo fu o shite

Nae chunce o mince an skirlie
At some funcy restaurant placies
The chef wid look doon his nose
An pull affa funny facies

The reason he wid gie ye
As he whisks up his blancmange
Is ye canna serve up skirlie
Wi a dish o Duck a l’orange

At Pittodrie I watched gweed fitba
Faar players talents war set free
Noo it’s aa blackboard tactics
Wi systems
4-5-1 an 4-3-3

N.E. culture some say is wanein
Bit the Doric it still huds fast
An as lang as we aye spik it
It’ll nae bi in the past

I’m sure ye’ll bi noo hae gethered
I’m haein a wee rant an rail
An if a happen ti lan in jile
Wull somebody please pey ma bail

Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011


Mar 252011

By Bob Smith.

It’s noo weel nigh on fifty ear
Seen I left ma faither’s fairm
Ti gyang an bide in the toon
An there ti chunce ma airm

Bit noo I’m growein auler
Ma myn gings back a fyle
Fin I wis classed a kwintra teuchter
Brocht up in a different style

There’s nae muckle wrang I maun confess
Wi a body faa wis born in the toon
Bit on fowk faa spikkit the Doric
Some ower their noses wid look doon

Noo the jobbie I wis fee’t fer
Hid me spikkin aat bit mair posh
The thingies yer asked ti dee
Fin ye need ti earn some dosh

Bit losh ye nivver forget yer roots
An I still spik in the  Doric tongue
An on the odd antrin nicht
A cornkister I hiv sung

So I’m prood ti be a teuchter
Prood ti be an aul kwintra loon
An I’ll stick twa fingers up
Ti them faa wid ding us doon

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2010


Cock-Ups An Muddles Are Aa On The Go

 Aberdeen City, Articles, Creative Writing, Opinion, Satire and Humour  Comments Off on Cock-Ups An Muddles Are Aa On The Go
Mar 112011

Cock-Ups An Muddles Are Aa On The Go – by Bob Smith.

( Ti bi sung ti the tune o Molly Malone )

In Aiberdeen’s fair toonie
Faar cooncillors are thocht looney
Bides a cooncil convener
Named Aileen Malone
An she wheels oot her spiel
Aboot the Tullos Hill deal
Cryin show us yer money
Or the beasties are gone

Aa on the go
Aa on the go
Cock-ups an Muddles are aa on the go

She got aroon  fifty queries
Fits the fate o the deeries?
“Aboot” een fae the city an een fae the shire?
Sayin the rest are nae local
Aboot iss she’s maist vocal
Cryin ti fin oot addresses
I hiv nae desire

Aa on the go
Aa on the go
Cock-ups an Muddles are aa on the go

Noo there’s something I’m sure
She hisna a clue—er
Maybe they cam fae the toon efter aa
Fae Torry or Ellon?
The wifie’s nae tellin
Cryin I’m jist a puir cooncillor
Faa’s back’s ti the wa

Aa on the go
Aa on the go
Cock-ups an Muddles are aa on the go

Oh the wumman’s fair sweatin
At the pelters she’s gettin
Maybe at coontin she’s nae verra gweed
Cooncillor Malone dinna dither
Jist git ti hell thither
Ti buy a new abacus
It’s jist fit ye need

Aa on the go
Aa on the go
Cock-ups an Muddles are aa on the go

© Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2010


Jul 022015

Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.

DictionaryTally ho! Aberdeen Voice is now five years old. There might not be any cutest baby competitions, advertisements selling everything from trouser presses to holidays to Gdansk, but I dare say there have been a few interesting pieces over the years. We’ve lost comrades along the way.

The poetry mannie Bob Smith passed away, as did one of our editors, Mairi. But here’s to all of its contributors and founder and editor Fred Wilkinson who really is the glue.

He might not have a former beauty queen wife working for Donald Trump, but he makes up for this failing in other ways.

But mostly here’s to all the contributors, the readers, and the donors.

People have tried to tell us what we can and can’t publish. People have threatened us with lawsuits (and even with being reported to the Scottish Football Association – which was really terrifying). But we are still here.

Over the years a few mysteries have warranted investigation, be it by the police or governments local and national. This column will be a round-up of some of these, and the stellar detective work that’s been employed. Or not. Before that though, the career changes of a few high flyers demand some attention.

It’s congratulations to Doctor Maggie Bochel, planning supremo at Aberdeen City Council.

We owe much to her for all the brilliant planning decisions (too numerous to mention) that have made our city centre what it is today. It brings a tear to the eye to think what else she could have accomplished had we been able to persuade her to stay. Alas! She is joining the private sector.

As well as insisting that people use her doctoral title, Doctor Maggie was also Head of Sustainable Development. Sustainability must have something to do with building on any green space you can get your hands on.

I suppose that since her close friend former Councillor Scott Cassie left the council for a career change as a guest of Her Majesty’s Prisons Services, there was little to keep Doctor Maggie at ACC. (Cassie had found what must have looked like a sustainable source of income by borrowing bits here and there from the taxpayer; but the police managed to find fault with his methods. The money was just resting in his account, I am told).

At any rate, Dr Maggie is, by coincidence, joining the private sector in planning, where she will happily have lots of former council pals as contacts. I wonder whether she made any private sector contacts and pals when she was dealing with planners in her role at ACC? It all sounds very cosy, convenient and friendly.

I will always remember Doctor B for her role in helping to turn Loirston Loch and surrounds from protected greenbelt area to a development opportunity. Let’s never forget this huge favour she did us, and let’s hope she is suitably rewarded one day. Looks like that day may have arrived.

It helps to spend some time courting your new employers, and Maggie seems to understand this. Back in 2014 she is quoted on the Burness Paull website in a lovely piece called ‘Guess Who’s Coming to Work for us – sorry – Coming to Dinner’:

“Aberdeen city centre has come under increasing pressure as the economy has boomed – and has failed to keep pace. That was the honest appraisal from Maggie Bochel, Aberdeen City Council Head of Planning and Sustainable Development at Burness Paull’s event on city regeneration – but she insisted the council was doing everything possible to be more “bold, ambitious and aggressive” to make improvements. [Aggressive indeed – Old Susannah]

“One delegate… suggested the relationship between the public and private sectors in Aberdeen was broken. Not so, said Bochel, stressing that the council would work with as many “unlikely partners” as it could to secure a positive future for the city. She laid down a challenge based on the title of the event, Look Who’s Coming To Dinner – all those who wanted a place at the decision-making table had to step up to the plate.

Malcolm Fraser stepped up to the plate with relish and laid down a smorgasbord of ideas for the future of Aberdeen. Suggestions from the chairman of the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Review included giant umbrellas to enliven Castlegate and colony-style housing for Aberdeen harbour, which he described as “one of the great urban dramas”.

Stephen Phillips of Burness Paull agreed, saying all the elements were there to make real progress – a booming economy, a civic master plan and a council willing to build new partnerships for the good of the city.

Jonathan Heaney, banking partner at Burness Paull, said finding significant sums of money to fund public projects was increasingly difficult and conceded the existing financial models to raise money were complex and challenging.

Maggie Bochel stressed that Aberdeen was a poorly-funded council and said the way forward had to be through creativity and innovative partnership working. Throwing down the gauntlet, she effectively said this (to paraphrase a President): “Ask not what Aberdeen can do for you – but what you can do for Aberdeen.””

We wish Maggie – sorry Doctor Bochel much luck in her new job, and hope she makes friends there quickly. The evidence says this may be easy.

Another jobseeker is our American neighbour, Donald Trump.

He’s seeking the job as United States President. In a bid to win hearts and minds, he’s pointed out some of America’s top problems. These are Mexican rapists and Mexican drug dealers. Trump’s not an unreasonable man as we’ve seen time and time again, so he does say that some Mexican people are acceptable. However, in order to protect America, he wants to build a great big wall between Mexico and America.

Well, he does like his walls. Over at the Menie Estate he built a lovely wall of earth between Leyton Cottage and the views over the land to the sea.

His environmental people did a report, and said this was beneficial to the people living in the cottage. I guess in some quarters having dirt blow into your house, garden and car engines is a bonus, and not having to be bothered by sunlight is another plus. The environmentalists didn’t bother to get an opinion from the residents.

I guess this was a combination of just being thoughtful and not wanting to bother them, and having the expertise to know the bund of earth topped with dying trees is just what any home owner would want.

Alas! I do hope Trump gets this presidential job, particularly now that he’s sadly and cruelly lost his NBC television programme The Apprentice and his Miss Universe won’t air on the network either. Macy’s department stores have somehow decided to break their arrangements with The Donald as well. I understand NBC’s statement read in part:

“Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBC Universal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump” 

I hope that some form of justice will be forthcoming: NBC have violated Trump’s right to free speech. No doubt he will still be welcome to do business here in the UK; it’s not as if we have any laws against hate speech or have ever barred people from entering the UK who have stirred up prejudicial hatred.

But at this rate there won’t be time for all the mysteries that I’d like to cover, so moving swiftly along, here are some cases.

Case of the missing Jewels:

One morning when leaving for an early flight, my bus pass and a bag of jewellery fell out of my handbag in front of my house. When I realised they were gone and what must have happened, I immediately emailed the police to report my bus pass (with name and photo) was lost on such and such date and time, and sent precise details of the jewellery. The email I got in reply said no such property had been handed in. Expecting as much, I let the matter drop.

Meanwhile, a wonderful neighbourhood man had found the items. Rather than keeping them, he had immediately handed them into… the police.

Somewhere in a police office, an officer or two must have spent hours pouring over the jewellery and the bus pass. ‘If there were only some way to find out who owned these items’ they must have thought. If only there were some kind of lead, or maybe someone was looking for the items. How to narrow down which Suzanne Kelly in the United Kingdom had this numbered First Bus pass and looked like the person in the photo, who lived on Victoria Road. Alas, the items went to the lost and found office at Queen Street.

I ran into this Good Samaritan, and he asked me if I’d got my things back. After a brief discussion, I decided to visit the police. Explaining how I could demonstrate a link between this Suzanne Kelly, the Suzanne Kelly whose face looked up from the bus pass and the Suzanne Kelly who had emailed them with details of the lost goods.

For the police, things were starting to fall into place. Could there be a connection? Was this just coincidence? I assume they must have put their brightest and best on the job, because fairly quickly I was reunited with my goods. Perhaps it was a crack team of people in the Inspector Morse mode, or a modern day Poirot, but Police Scotland eventually solved this one (Thank you police, and thank you Good Samaritan).

Mystery of The Carden House Caper:

Back in the bad old days, the City very generously sold property to developers for slightly less than it was worth. Audit Scotland made a big fuss out of this paltry £5,000,000 loss to the taxpayer, and did an investigation.

“Following preliminary enquiries by external auditors into the sale of Carden House, senior officers at Aberdeen City Council requested internal audit to carry out a wider review of property transactions instigated between 2001 and early 2006.

“2. The investigation identified: evidence of procedural and administrative deficiencies and poor record keeping; cases where accurate and relevant information was not reported to elected members; a lack of evidence to support the valuation at which properties were sold; and cases where the Council may have achieved a better price. Overall, it appears that there is a potential loss of capital receipts which may be more than £5 million.

“3. The Council responded quickly when these concerns emerged [sure they did – Old Susannah] …The Council is also taking action through its disciplinary procedures and I understand that Grampian Police are making enquiries.” – Audit report 22 April 2008

This investigation concluded that it was hard to tell if these sales went ahead just as a slight error in judgment, or if something more sinister was afoot. Heaven forfend! Audit Scotland recommended a Grampian Police Investigation. At the time our Chief Executive swore he wouldn’t resign over this. I guess he resigned over something else, for he scarpered shortly afterwards.

The paperwork for this £5,000,000 case was sent to Grampian Police to investigate.

The investigation must have had every senior detective on the case. Time went by, and yet the papers carried no report of a conclusion being reached.

Old Susannah wrote to the police for copies of the documents. You might think that documents pertaining to crimes of this level would be carefully stored, documented and filed. In fact, there is a police document schedule from the time indicating that potential evidence of crimes over a certain amount of money should be retained.

A freedom of information request failed to turn up any documents, but did turn up this summary of the affair (in this case the redacted/blacked out text is my own doing)

“On 22 April 2008, DI XXXXX and T/DI XXXXX met with Area PF XXXXXXX, to discuss the findings of the various audits and our enquiries to date. As a result of the meeting, she undertook to submit a report to Crown Office for guidance.

“No further update.

“The next document for the meeting on 22/09/09 has no mention of the enquiry.

“I’ve spoken to XXXXXXXX who was the fraud DI at the time and he had this enquiry. No Police report or CF was ever raised however there were some subject reports to and from the PF’s office. Unfortunately we can’t find any trace of them.”

And there you have it; there is no trace of this paperwork, or what was done about it. At the same time the city was selling off property for a pittance, including land at Westhills to one Mr S Milne, builder, it was saving money by axing benefits. I guess you have to balance the books somehow.

Data retention is of course important to the police. Fingerprint records taken from school children will likely be on file forever. DNA from renegade journalists Richard Phinney and Anthony Baxter is retained and might hopefully help solve future investigative journalism (the pair was famously arrested on the Menie Estate when working on a story).

The police and the information commissioner concluded that it was all too long ago for anyone to have kept papers relating to a potential criminal £5,000,000 loss to the taxpayer. Fair enough. If only – if only there were someone involved in Aberdeen’s planning department who was there at the time.

If only such a person had a fairly high position, and would have had responsibility for making sure things were all above board, and that the taxpayer got value for money. If only such a person existed, they may be able to answer some tough questions on what was going on. But who could be such a person and may the remember anything at all about this?

Maggie May. Or should that be Dr Maggie May.

Alas! This is not the only instance of the police not being able to find documentation, evidence or retain crucial video footage.

Next week: The George Copland Affair: how the police lost bail papers, destroyed (accidentally of course) custody CCTV footage, and were unable to locate the person Copland wanted contacted on his recent arrest. That was one Fred Wilkinson of Aberdeen. If anyone out there knows how to find out who Fred Wilkinson is, where he might be found, or how to start looking for someone named Fred Wilkinson, please contact Old Susannah.

PS – not confidential to Hugh Thomson of Inverurie, driving drunk while banned

Hi there Hugh. I hear lots of people tried to stop you from driving home from the pub, but you were adamant – you were going to drive. The police stopped you, and found you were well over the limit. Your lawyer says you’ve a terminal illness. I am genuinely sorry for you about your health. I sympathise; life’s full of unfair things.

I thought it was pretty unfair when my teenage boyfriend was hit and run by some drunk, and left on the side of the road with a broken arm. It was also unfair when the same thing happened to my sister, only it was her head that was injured.

When I was a little girl, something else unfair happened to me. My grandmother and her sister were hit and killed in a residential street by a drunk driver. They meant the whole world to me, and let’s just say my life wound up differently because of their absence. One died straight away; the other after a few hours’ suffering and shock.

It also seemed unfair to me that the man I was planning on spending a lot of my future with got killed in an accident days before we were supposed to be getting together. I spent a fair amount of time after that thinking about what was fair and unfair.

So on the whole, life is not always fair, you and I can agree on that. But here’s the thing. There are some unfair things that are avoidable; some aren’t. Your terminal illness is not something you could have avoided. You could have avoided driving – in fact the law said you had to. Maybe you didn’think that was fair. You could have taken a taxi, or got a friend to drive you home. You could have stayed home if you want to drink. Driving that car was avoidable.

I’m sorry you’re ill. I’m sorry life’s not fair. I’m sorry about a whole hell of a lot of things. But as unfair as it may seem to you, please just stop drinking and driving. Thanks.

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Mar 272015

Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.

DictionaryApologies for the late running of this service. Old Susannah was on holiday, and catching up with current events is taking time. Hard to know where to start, or what day of the week it is. It’s all so overwhelming – I feel nearly as confused as Aberdeen’s ex-Chief exec Valerie Watts trying to manage her appointments diary.

As you may have seen, Ms Watts was supposed to attend a Standards Commission hearing at the Town House on 11 February. I’m sure you think of her as a woman of her word, and a very competent organiser every bit as much as I do.

Alas! She said she’d be on a video link from her exciting new job in Belfast at the DSS (perhaps a fitting end for the mastermind of our city of culture bid), but at the very last minute, she announced that the Permanent Secretary needed her in a meeting on the very same day.

That’s some coincidence. After a little digging it turns out no such meeting seems to have been requested or recorded.

She’d also seen him two days earlier and was going to see him in a week or two. I’m sure she told the PS about having already accepted going to a hearing, and the PS insisted Valerie spend the entire day in this meeting instead.

The hearing would have decided whether or not 7 councillors in the doc over an allegedly pro-union letter sent to Aberdeen residents was acceptable or not. This is now conveniently – or inconveniently depending on your perspective – kicked into the long grass until after the May elections. Apparently in Northern Ireland, government mandarins make meeting arrangements by telephone.

Call me a simple country girl, but when I schedule business meetings, I use this thing called a computer. A computer can send messages magically to lots of other people; this is called email. Even more amazing, a computer often has an electronic calendar, from which I can send out meeting requests.

Believe it or not, the electronic calendar will save meeting invitations so that I know not to accept meetings if I already have something in the diary!

I think we may chip in and buy Ms Watts such a computer. She also seems to have indicated she takes care of her diary appointments on her own with no help. We also have these people called secretaries and PAs here, but I guess she doesn’t have one. Looks like she’s doing as good and open a job with her diary as she did when she was in office here (her Aberdeen salary was £148,000 per annum).

Thinking on the May elections, it will be very hard to decide which one of the candidates for Prime Minister is the most honest, beneficial, public-serving, intelligent, choice. If you are intending to vote, you may be interested to know that many people think they are on the electoral register but aren’t.

Lots of room for office blocks and Stewart Milne housing

Some fifty people who wanted to sign the petition about Tullos Hill asking for the city to save remaining deer and come clean on the cost of the dead tree for every citizen project had their signatures thrown off the petition for not being registered Aberdeen City voters.

Make sure you register to vote here – and please think about signing the petition here – you have until 3 April. (or contact Suzanne Kelly via Aberdeen Voice if you have problems registering / signing).

During my vacation I was in Taunton, London and Brighton. Taunton has these big rolling green fields with domestic animals and wildlife.  Lots of room for office blocks and Stewart Milne housing. London has these buses which cost about half the price of our own First Buses, come ten times more frequently – and even run frequently after 6pm!

Brighton was very nice – but it could use some bunting. and there aren’t enough multinational shops, so they have to have these little, individualistic shops instead.

Part of the purpose of my visit was to report on something called ‘Whalefest’. I’d hoped this would be a nice yummy Japanese, Faroese or Icelandic buffet kind of thing, but it turns out all these people want to save whales and dolphins, not eat them. For some reason, there are lots of people who want to stand in the way of Japanese scientific  missions to learn about whales.

What better way to learn about a sentient animal than by terrifying, chasing, harpooning, torturing and cutting them up alive? Protesting against Japanese science is some outfit called Sea Shepherd. Don’t worry; they won’t get very far; they even let women captain some of their ships! I’m sure that’s just some kind of token gesture thing though. More about these people and this Whalefest here.

In Brighton I stayed at the same hotel as stars from ‘The X Factor’. I found myself in a lift with a guy who looked about 14 years old. He said, with a world-weary voice ‘You just won’t believe how fast it goes. One minute you’re starting out, and the next thing you know it’s all over’.

It sounded kind of strange coming from someone with their future before them I thought, and today I remembered this encounter, as I found out that Aberdeen Voice’s inimitable, irreplaceable, irreverent poetry mannie Mr Bob Smith had passed away.

He used his wonderful poems to attack the powerful, the vain, the greedy. Somehow here in Aberdeen he never ran out of material to write about. Farewell Mr Smith; all the best wishes to his family and friends. And with that, some definitions.

non omnis moriar: (Latin ) I will never wholly die

The classical poet Horace believed that as long as people read his works, he would never really be completely gone from this world.  Shakespeare echoed this idea in his famous Sonnet 18 (you will know the words ‘shall I compare thee to a summer’s day…). Shakespeare closes the sonnet with the lines:

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”
– William Shakespeare

This is how I feel about those who have passed away, but left art, music, poetry, beautiful architecture or works, or who did great deeds.  This is how I feel about the passing of Aberdeen Voice’s poetry mannie, Mr Bob Smith.

His Doric poems  challenge the authorities, the bullies, the materialistic and greedy, and the Trumps of this world. Bob will be very much missed, but we’ve still got his poems, his books and our memories. You can look through his Aberdeen Voice poems here.

Seagull Survival Guide: (modern English compound noun) An Aberdeenshire booklet created to help with seagull problems.

Did you know that coastal towns such as Aberdeen, Peterhead and Stonehaven might be attractive to birds that live on coastal areas?

Apparently this is true, and the Shire has come up with a great way to help you deal with this astounding fact; they created a seagull guide. Astonishingly, there is no charge for the book – all the collective wisdom of the shire’s best minds is going for free. Result!

It might be a good idea for those who don’t like seagulls and sea birds to consider living somewhere that doesn’t have them.  Failing that, apparently if people don’t discard food and garbage on the pavements and streets, gulls won’t swoop down to eat discarded food and garbage.  I hope this revelation gets national press attention.

The way things are going though, we soon won’t be plagued by any gulls, eider ducks, swans or other ‘vermin’ – as Aberdeen City’s Peter Leonard is fond of calling wildlife. Pretty soon there won’t be a patch of grass, meadow or scrub land anywhere.  The Harbour Board is helping to see to that.

Torry residents are thrilled to find their sandy bay and harbour area will forever be turned into private, no-go areas. Cove residents for some reason feel there is too much building going on goodness knows why, and have started a facebook page. Let’s be grateful that Torry folk haven’t followed suit and organised against the Harbour Board’s land seizure plans. Or have they….

If you think this seagull survival guide is for the birds, perhaps it is the seagulls which need a survival guide. After all, it is not that long ago that seagull hating, shotgun-toting top oil executive Mervyn New showed up for work with an air gun, and blasted a nest of baby gulls to smithereens.

This resulted in no penalty, no police interest, and no sanction from New’s company, Marine Subsea UK. To be fair, those tiny gulls, not yet old enough to fly, and their parents should have checked with New first before moving in. No oil executive in a coastal area should have to put up with listening to seabirds.

the police know how to treat important businessmen

Helpfully, the shire’s new guide tells you that doing as Mervyn did is totally, wholly illegal. I guess if you’re head of a top oil company you can’t be expected to figure out the minor points of law and gun ownership, can you?

There was no record I could find of New being banged up in a cell, or held for questioning overnight.

You’ve got to treat important people carefully, you see.

As for someone like George Copland, whose empty house was stormed by police who were told someone inside had a gun (there is no way anyone would have had a reason to go down the little cul de sac Copland lives on and looked through his window in the first place, and from the mail road no windows are visible – but let’s not split hairs).

Copland, like New, had an air rifle. Nothing illegal was found.

Therefore, days later, the police stormed into Copland’s girlfriend’s home in a dawn raid, and dragged him off for a few days – even though he had broken no law – other than not going to meet the police when they first called him (he was not told he could bring a friend as people who have emotional or mental health issues are entitled to by law, nor was he told he could bring a lawyer. He watched the siege of his house from television, and was rightfully terrified).

So there you have it: the police know how to treat important businessmen, and how to treat punk rock singers. One had discharged a gun killing and wounding animals – against the law. The other one had committed no crime. Guess which one was treated like a criminal.

Old Susannah would like to be able to tell you the latest on Copland, and hopefully there will be an opportunity to tell you more soon.

It was injustices like this that Bob Smith could not abide. He was no fan of Trump, either. Smith, Anthony Baxter and I all met for the first time in the lobby of the Belmont when You’ve Been Trumped was shown for the first time ever. Bob was livid after the film, as were so many of us. Thanks for the memories Bob, the support, and those wonderful poems. Tally ho.

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Dec 052014

unionsttallpicBy Bob Smith.

I’m aul aneuch ti myn the time
Fin in a clean toon we did bide
Aboot  pavements an shop fronts
Local fowk they took great pride

Shopkeepers wi bucket an mop
They kept the place richt bonnie
Sad ti say o sic carin fowk
Ye dinna noo see aat mony

Washin doon their winda gless
So’s fowk cwid see their wares
Be it floorie baps an funcy pieces
Or polished aipples an sweet pears

There’s nae shops o aat kine
In oor main street ony mair
Jist phone shops an coffee shops
Union Street his lost its flair

Greedy landlords hikin up the rent
Hiv seen local shops in demise
Multi nationals and finance shops
They are  fair noo on the rise

Aboot 80% o their takins
Gyangs awa oot o iss city
Shareholders aa ower the country
Are smilin mairs the pity

Shoppers noo jist  hae a thocht
Fin next ye spend yer cash
It’s nae aa bidin in the toon
Wi local shops we’re nae awash

Union Street is fair sufferin
O aat there is nae doot
Supermarkets and shoppin malls
They’re takin aa the loot

The fate o oor local economy
Is in the  hauns o us aa
Support the local shoppies
Afore they gyang ti the wa

Ti mak oor toon spik an span
Wi hiv ti chynge the trends
O spittin oot oor chuddy
Or chukkin doon fag ends

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2011

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