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Jul 122013

By Bob Smith.

Lang afore the advent o TV, fowk got tae hear aboot their sportin heroes throwe the radio, papers an in the case o fitba throwe magazines like Charles Buchan’s fitba monthly. Tho’ loons like me war aye interestit in the great sportsmen an sportsweemin o the time, there wisna the same nyaff idol worship like there is noo, altho’ we wid try tae heid the ba like Wullie Bauld o Hearts or mak saves like Jimmy Cowan o Morton, twa weel kent international fitba players in the 50s.

Fin a wis a loon growen up in the 40/50s a wis interested in maist sports, fitba, boxin, athletics, rugby, gowf, tennis, horse racin, aye even cricket, bit aat wis maybe cos ma cousin Zena’s man, Tom McLeod, played fer Forfarshire C.C. fer a gey fyow ‘ears.

A’m gyaan tae confine masel tae screiven aboot BRITISH sportin heroes cos in the1940’s/1950’s at wis the only eens a wis really interested in. A’ll gie a meention tae three fae ilka sport a likit maist.

Fitba:- Ma faavrit player in the Don’s squad wis the cinter haaf Alec Young, a great exponent o the slidin tackle. Jist fin ye thocht een o the opposition wis in on goal Alec wid cum fae naewye, slide in an git the ba awa tae safety. A reckon he wis een o the unsung heroes o the 1954-55 league championship winnin side, nivver missin a league game aa season. If ma memory serves me richt he finished up ainin a grocery shop in Fortrose.

Anither gran player wis Gordon Smith. No, nae thon baheid faa played fer Rangers, bit the een faa played in the great Hibs “famous five” forward line o Smith, Johnstone, Reilly, Turnbull and Ormond. Gordon wis a Scottish internationalist faa wint on tae play fer Hearts an Dundee faar he helpit Dundee win the league championship in the early 60s. 1962 a think.

Een o the great goalies o the time wis Bert Trautmann o Manchester City, a German prisoner o war faa decided tae bide in Britain an ply his trade.

Mony City fans war unhappy aat a former member of the Luftwaffe wis tae join the team an some protests war organised. Trautmann seen won them ower wi his displays an in the 1956 FA Cup Final he wis tae becum a legend. Wi aboot 15 mins tae go an Manchester City leadin Birmingham City 3-1 he wis injured divin at the feet o a Birmingam player.

Peter wis the first Scottish boxer tae win twa Lonsdale belts ootricht

Nae subs war alood in thae days an efter a fylie’s treatment he got back, a bittie groggy kine, tae his feet an defied the Birmingam attackers fer the rest o the match. It wis only fun oot, efter a day or twa, he hid played on wi a broken neck. He feenished his career wi City in 1964 withoot ivver playin fer his kwintra o birth.

Boxin:- Randolph “Randy” Turpin, alias “The Leamington Licker” wis ma aatime faavrit boxer fin a wis a loon. A weel remember ma mither an faither laachin as a steed in front o the wireless throwin punches fin listenin tae thon doyen o commentators Raymond Glendenning alang wi his summariser W. Barrington Dalby describe Randy’s fecht fer the middlewecht warld title in 1951 wi the great American fechter Sugar Ray Robinson.

Turpin won on pints bit sadly lost the title tae Robinson twa months later in New York. Randy continued his career tull 1964. Twa ear later he committed suicide cos o siller troubles.

If ye’re a Scot o a certin age and interested in boxin aat aa yer sure tae myn o the great Peter Keenan. Peter wis the first Scottish boxer tae win twa Lonsdale belts ootricht an in his career as a bantamwecht wis British, Empire an European champion. Een o the mair gutsy fechters o his time he wint on tae hae a braw career as a boxin promoter.

A fyow ears back the legendary Dick McTaggart wis ask’t faa he thocht wis the greatest Scottish boxin pro’ he hid seen. Withoot hesitation McTaggart replied – Peter Keenan.

Een o the maist colourfu characters in boxin wis licht hivvywecht Freddie Mills. It wis thocht he wis the biggest British boxin star o the immediate post war era. Stairtin his fechtin in the fairgrun boxin booths Freddie wint on tae becum warld lichtwecht champion in 1948 beatin the American Gus Lesnevich faa wis the current hudder o the title. He lost the title in 1950 tae anither Yank Joey Maxim an retired seen efter.

He still kept his popularity bi appearin fer a wee fylie as a presenter o BBC’s pop music programme “Six Five Special”. He wis as weel a nicht club ainer an the notorious gangsters the Kray twins war frequent visitors. Freddie cam tae a sticky eyn, bein fun shot in his car in 1965. Suicide wis the official verdict bit at the time he wis hivvily in debt tae a criminal gang an it wis rumoured his suicide wis staged.

A colourfu chiel tae the laist.

kennin the result o the race, a still fun masel wullin him on

Athletics:- Bein a bittie faist masel ower a hunner yairds at skweel a took an interest in fit wis gyaan on in the athletics warld. The greatest achievemint bi ony athlete fin a wis young hid tae be Roger Bannister runnin the mile in unner 4 meenits, the first billie tae dee iss.

We didna hae TV in 1954 bit a myn seein the race on Pathe News at the picters. Tae see Bannister fleein roon the track at a gweed lick wi his rinnin pals Chris Brasher and Christopher Chataway wis sumthin else an tho fin watchin in the picters an kennin the result o the race, a still fun masel wullin him on. Neen o yer funcy race tracks back then. They ran on a shunner track.

A afen winner fit time he wid hae postit if he hid ran on a modern surface.

A canna forget Derek Ibbotson, anither stalwart o the race track aroon aboot the same time as Bannister an his freens. I myn o seein Ibbotson in the flesh fin a wis doon on holiday at ma auntie an uncle’s in North Yorkshire an gyaan up tae a race meetin at Gatesheid or it micht hae bin Darlington an watchin Ibbotson rinnin. A myn on iss as clearly as tho it wis yesterday.

Derek’s greatest achievemint wis winnin a bronze medal in the 5000m at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

A name faa deserves mair recognition  is aat o high jumper Dorothy Tyler faa competed in fower Olympic Games stairtin, fin she wis jist 16, wi  1936 in Berlin, faar she won a silver, an 1948 faar she got anither silver, syne 1952 in Helsinki, an finally at Melbourne in 1956. Noo in her 90’s her latest claim tae fame wis bein ask’t tae fire the stairtin gun at the recent London Marathon.

Weel fowks aat’s jist a smatterin o names  o aa the weel kent sportin stars fae the 40’s/50’s. Aat era wis hotchin wi great sportsmen an sportsweemin afore siller an professionalism took ower.

At a later date a micht git roond tae ither sports stars o the forties an fities like cricketers Len Hutton, Dennis Compton [o Brylcreem fame] an Godfrey Evans alang wi jockeys, Charlie Smirke, Eph Smith and Gordon Richards plus rugby legends Dally Allardyce, Cliff Morgan and Arthur Smith, gowfin stars John Panton, Eric Brown an Fred Daly an finally tennis players Christine Truman, Angela Mortimer an Bobby Wilson.

Image Credit: Steve DanielsCreative Commons Attribution Share-alike license 2.0

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Jun 062013

By Bob Smith.

I like the quote fae Mahatma Gandhi faar he said  “There is sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed” A wunner fit the wee mannie wid say noo fin consumerism is the new religion o the warld.
Or foo aboot Vernon Howard, the American author and philosopher faa wrote ” You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need”

If aat’s the case it wid appear nae muckle fowk hiv succeeded in life.

Economist billies keep tellin us we maun spen oor bawbees so aat the economy stairts tae growe again. Iss tae me is a heap o bliddy crap. Iss is foo sum puir fowk git intae debt – bi spennin dosh on thingies they dinna really need.

A’ve heard consumerism described as bein in the business o pinchin siller oot o fowks’ pooches withoot threatenin them wi hairm. An yet a  lot o us div get hairmed bi the consumer business fit is aided an abettit by the advertisin billies an the merchandisers.

The young in society are the eens maist likely tae faa fer aa the bling. Ye ken fit a mean – they’re aa telt they are oot o touch if they hinna got iss or aat, be it the newest smairt phone or the latest fashion accessory. Lead bi the nose tae the cash tills is foo a wid describe fits happ’nin.

I can hear a lot o fowk mutterin, “they dinna hae tae spen their siller if they dinna wint till“. Aye some fowk micht stairt oot tae nae spen sae muckle bawbees bit the power o advertisin an in the case o the young, peer pressure can force them tae dee itherwise. I wark’t in advertisin fer nigh on quarter o a ceentury an ken richt weel foo persuasive ads can be, baith fae a “must hae” situation tae panderin tae yer fantasies.

Tak the ad on TV faar a young chiel douses himsel wi a weel kent body spray an his a the bonnie lassies fae miles aroon comin in bye. Tak it fae me fowks it disna work. A’ve tried it!!!

Noo fin ye’ve aa recovered fae fa’in aboot laachin aat the thocht o a seeventy plus mannie splashin himsel unner the oxsters wi fine smellin stuffie an sittin in his airm-cheer waitin fer a boorachie o gweed leukin young weemin tae pye him a visit (ach I can aye dream), a’ll git back tae reality.

A read the followin bittie jist the ither day fit sums thingies up perfectly.

“Landfills swell wi cheap throwe awa products fit brak doon easily an canna be repaired. Some products are made psychologically obsolete lang afore they actually weer oot. A generation is growen up withoot kennin fit quality goods are. Freenship, faimily ties an personal autonomy are only promoted as a vehicle fer gift gien an the rationale fer the selection o communication services and personal acquisition. Aathing becums mediated throwe the spennin o siller on goods an services. Human beins faa canna spen becum worthless”


Noo a’ve nithing agin shoppin as a rule bit faar it gits oot o haun is fin sum fowk gyaang oot fer een or twa bitties an cum hame with aboot a dizzen, jist cos  they war a bargain. A bargain is only a bargain if ye really need it at aat precise meenit.

Ma wife leuks at me in despair as fin I ging shoppin a ken fit a wint an efter a’ve bocht it a buggar aff oot o the shop like a reid ersed bee. Ma gweed wife  likes tae dee a bittie browsin afore an efter she’s bocht fit she wints.

Fit’s wrang wi aat a hear ye say? Nithing, so far as ma wife’s concerned, cos she’s resistant tae aa the sales spiel bit ower mony puir craiturs are catcht hook line an sinker. They’ve noo becum disciples o Mammon, the god o excess. Consumerism is the ivveryday face o iss “religion”.

( Above image licensed from  under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.  )

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May 172013

By Bob Smith.

There is a Native American sayin “Treat the Earth weel. We dinna inherit the Earth fae oor ancestors We borra it fae oor children” Aat bein the case oor affspring are nae gyaan tae be verra happy wis us.

We’re makkin a richt bliddy pig’s erse o lookin efter the planet we aa bide on.

Een o the biggest problems wi hiv is foo we use the lan we bide on.

There his bin huge pressure pit on the Earth’s ecosystems since the Industrial Revolution. Afore aat maist fowk workit in the rural areas bit wi the onset o fit poet William Blake described as the “dark satanic mills” fowk moved intae growen toons an pollution fair belched oot o factory lums and the coal fires o the workers hames.

It is alleged carbon dioxide levels hiv increased  by 38% since 1750 an methane levels by 148%.

So aat wis  the stairt o oor planet’s problems bit thingies hiv gotten worse ower the past hunner ‘ear an speecially so in the past fifty.

There hiv bin “land grabs” fae the indeginous fowk o various kwintras tae further the interests o big business throwe mair minin, loggin an cattle ranchin, tae name bit three, resultin in the loss o lan fer agricuture so aat the fowk can nae langer feed thersels.

Forests hiv bin cut doon, fowk displaced,the habitats o animals destroyed, aa in the name o so ca’ed progress. The human race is spreadin its tentacles aawye usin up the Earth’s resources at sic a speed the planet hisna hid time tae recover.

Awa back in time fowk jist used fit they nott an leukit efter the natural world, livin side bi side wi the ither inhabitants o the Earth. Nooadays we hiv becum greedy an it’s a race tae see faa can mak the maist dosh an nivver myn if wi leave ahint a trail o destruction in the rush tae achieve economic growth.

As a chiel faa cums fae a fairmin backgrun it pains me tae hae tae write iss next bittie, bit modern intensive fairmin practices hiv,in ma opeenion, contributed tae the pollution o the lan an destruction o habitat fer a puckle birdies an animals.

As far as a can see verra little crap rotation is deen nooadays

A myn on ma faither, nae lang afore he passed awa, sayin he wis gled he wisna stairtin up in fairmin noo as it wis nae langer leukit upon as a wye o life bit mair a business controlled by faceless bunkers, reid tape, an the agri-chemical business.

Noo ma faither did use fertilisers bit he didna like pesticides.

As far as a can see verra little crap rotation is deen nooadays an as a result the grun becums soor an loses its nutrient value hince the reason mair an mair fertilisers hiv tae be used.

Spreadin gweed coo’s shite in its natural form is nae langer a practice widely used. Mair an mair slurry is gyaan on tae the parks an bein in liquid form can leak fae the lan intae ditches an burns an syne intae rivers.

Fairmers hiv ower the past fifty ‘ear pulled up hedgin an knock’t doon dykes tae mak the parks bigger tae accomodate the muckle big tractors an machinery. The hedges an dykes war refuges fer birds an wee beasties.

The loss o roch grassland, loss o mixed fairms, conversion tae arable craps only, an a switch fae spring tae autumn sowin a mak life difficult fer fairmland birds like the teuchat an the laverock.

The bee population is thocht tae be suffrin throwe the use o certin pesticides an yet the fairmers need the bees tae pollenate some o their craps so fit wye div they keep on sprayin? Ae answer is – bigger yields are leukit on as mair important than the birds an the bees.

Noo there is a smatterin o fairmers faa hiv decided tae gyang back tae een or twa o the auld wyes o producin food.There are a helluva lot mair faa need convincin.

A noo cum tae a bit fit wull nae mak me ower popular wi some fowk.

the human population is risin an we need hooses tae accomodate aabody

Reports hiv bin sayin fer ‘ears we are nae able tae feed oorsels in iss kwintra. Nae bliddy wunner, we hap productive lan wi concrete in the form o hoosin and industrial developments an hiv great ribbons o tar criss crossin aawye.

We are telt the human population is risin an we need hooses tae accomodate aabody an fowk need their cars tae get fae A tae B.

Maybe it’s time we aa stairted waakin mair afen an foo aboot bannin bonkin fer a ear or twa? Aat wid fair reduce the need fer sae muckle cars an wid gyang sum wye tae halt a population explosion.

Myn ye, ma suggestion o bannin bonkin micht increase the amunt o wankers gaen aboot.

Tae git back tae bein a bittie mair serious. John Muir, the great Scottish born American naturalist, eence said

The gross heathenism of civilisation has generally destroyed nature and poetry and all that is spiritual”

We maun aa therefor hae a leuk at fit’s gyaan on in the warld an try tae influence the eens in power aat continued economic growth micht pit in jeopardy the future fer oor affspring.

As lang as the warld an his mither ging aboot consumin ower muckle, the Earth suffers.

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Apr 182013

By Bob Smith.

A wis brocht up tae believe gweed menners wis a necessary social skill.

Onybody faa displayed ony kine o bad menners wis leukit on as a social pariah. Ye war learn’t bi yer mither an faither an teachers aboot sic things so a ayewis thocht fowk faa war lackin in the skills o gweed menners hidna bin brocht up richt. Nooadays a think it still is a bittie doon tae parents bit it’s  maybe a society thingie as weel.

There are still a lot o weel mennered fowk gyaan aboot bit the increase in ill-mennered cyaards is een o society’s curses

Noo yer hardly likely tae mak a gweed impression if yer rude an abrasive,an ye see plenty o iss type o cairry on in TV programmes. Fer instance TV an radio interviewers askin somebody a question an then interruptin afore the bodie bein askit the question feenishes answerin. TV soaps faar scraichin, bawlin an insultin fowk wid appear tae be the norm.

Nae wunner fowk are becumin mair ill-mennered. We hear aboot fit they ca “road rage”. Iss is jist anither name fer bad menners fin ahint the wheel o a motor vehicle.  Stickin the finger up an yellin obscenities jist cos some craitur micht be huddin fowk up is mair an mair noticeable. Cairryin o a blether or haein their mobile switched on at the picters or the theatre is anither example o modern day ill-mennered tykes.

A’ll tak ye back aroon 50/60 ear ago tae a time fan gweed menners wis jist expectit o fowk.

Fin ye wis oot on a date wi a quine ye aye waakit on the street side o the pavement. Iss gings back ti the days fin gentlemen protectit their weemin fae the perils o the road an the gutter. A still git a richt glower fae the wife if a forget tae dee iss.

Ye aye held the doors open fer fowk faa war ahint ye tae waak throwe an ye aye got a thunk ye fer deein so. An ye sure as hell lessened the chunce o anither date if ye didna staun up an hud yer quine’s coat fer her tae pit oan if yer war oot fer a cup o coffee in a cafe or a restaurant (ye only took quines oot fer a meal if ye war “gyaan steady” cos wi wages bein fit they war back then, ye cwidna affoord tae dee iss verra afen).

Fin ye took a quine tae the picters ye aye pyed fer baith seats. A chiel wid hae bin black affrontit if the quine hid offered tae “gyang dutch”, an ye nivver refused a ladies’ choice at the duncin even if the quine wisna tae yer taste. It wid hae bin leukit on as bein the hicht o bad menners.

Iss applied tae baith sexes bit a quine cwid refuse tae dunce wi a chiel if he wis the warse fer weer wi booze.

Mannies an loons ayewis got up tae gie somebody o mair mature ‘ ears or the opposite sex a seat on the bus if it wis staanin room only. Sweirin in front o weemin wis a thing  ye verra rarely heard. Nooadays it’s maistly the weemin faa dee the sweirin.

As a said at the beginnin o aa iss there are still some fowk faa display gweed menners bit they’re gettin a bittie thinner on the grun.  A div like the followin quote “Treat fowk as ye wid like tae be treated. Karma’s only a bitch if you are”  TV an radio interviewers please tak note.

O aye, an espeecially you as weel Mr Trump.

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Mar 212013

By Bob Smith.

Neist time yer doon in the cinter o Aiberdeen jist hae a wee keek at the filthy state o the pavements. Fit ye’ll see wull fair scunner ye.
Chuddy, fag eyns, bitties o polystyrene, pyocks an at the wikk-eyns lots o spue. Noo fin fowk are in their ane hames am bliddy sure they widna chukk ony o iss stuff doon on the kitchen fleer or in the livin room.

They’d maist likely git a richt owergaan fae their mithers, better-haafs or pairtners an telt ti pit it in the waste or kitchie bins, so fit wye div a nummer o orra tykes fling aathing doon on the grun fin there’s waste bins about ivvery 50-75 yairds or so on the pavements o the main streets.

If fowk wint tae hae their daily “fix” o the nicotine drug aats their business, aa jist wid ask them nae tae leave ahint their discardit bitties o “needles”. A maan say a fin it keerious fin fowk huddle aroon the doorwyes o their placies o wark even if it’s cumin doon hailwatter an puff awa like choochin billies, syne throw their tabbies doon near the doorwye fin they cwid stub it oot an tak it back inside an pit it in a  waste backet.

Lazy buggers the lot o them!!

A sometimes think  the hail o Aiberdeen’s chuddy chawers maan walk up and doon Union Street, either aat, or a gang o pinters wi  dreepin tins o emulsion. The amoont o fite splatches on the planesteens is myn bogglin.

Eence mair a pit iss doon tae sheer laziness cos they canna be ersed leukin fer the nearest waste bin or they’re ower bliddy thick tae ken ony better.

As ma mither wid hae said, “They’re showin their upbrochtness”.

Fin it cums tae the bitties o polystyrene an pyocks, iss is aften doon tae skweelkids faa aet on the hoof. Noo some o them hiv gweed intinshuns an bung the mait containers an pyocks in the airt o the waste bin, bit mair than afen miss. The win dis the rest.

Some fowk blame the faist grub placies, sweetie shoppies, an fag sellers fer aa iss mess bit it’s nae them faa fling fit they sell ye doon on the pavement!!

Fit ye fin on the planesteens  an in shop doorwyes efter a wikk-eyn o binge drinkin bi the young an the nae sae young wid hae an auld spinster fintin on the spot.

Lots o spue, used dick hats, signs o piss, even the odd pair o knickers. Noo I hinna  bin brave aneuch ti stroll doon Union Street or aroon the ceety cinter on a Friday or Setterday nicht fer ‘ears an ‘ears bit a hiv aa iss on gweed authority fae  a younger freen faa noo an again his a dander aroon at the wikk eyns.

We keep hearin Aiberdeen maan move intae the 21st century. If we canna tidy up oor act maybe it’s time we turn’t the clock BACK. 

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Feb 142013

By Bob Smith.

It’s bin ma opeenion fer some time aat there’s nae aneuch eccentric fowk gyaan aboot in iss kwintra o oors nooadays.

Ye ken fit a meen, nae aneuch characters, nae aneuch worthies. 

Bertrand Russell eence said “Dinna fear tae be eccentric in opeenion, fer  ivvery opeenion noo accepted wis eence eccentric”.

Noo am nae spikkin aboot thae  pop star prats or sae ca’ed celebrities faa ging fer a nicht oot dressed as tho they war gyaan tae a funcy dress pairty an spik a load o borin crap tae the media. Maist o them dinna hae aneuch gumption tae be classed as eccentric or a worthie.

Some fowk nooadays are sae bland an predictable ye’d think they’d bin cloned. They hiv tae be seen tae be, as THE KINKS  sang said, Dedicated Followers o Fashion  or maan  hae the latest gadgetry in the warld o iphones, laptops, tablets, notepads etc. an if the telly viewin figures are ti be believed, only like ti watch soaps, reality TV shows an talent contests like X Factor.

As fer politeeshuns, be they Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, or SNP, there’s nae muckle difference atween ony o them fin it biles doon tae’t. Thank hivvens we’ve still got een or twa faa kick ower the traces, the likes o Dennis Skinner, an Margo MacDonald faa dinna folla ony pairty line an hiv the guts tae spik their myn.

Noo I dinna aye agree wi fit they spoot bit a fair agree wi them ha’en the richt tae spik oot. Ower mony politeeshuns are, in ma opeenion, in the hip pooches o the pairty wheeps or big business.

There wis a lot mair worthies  gyaan aboot fin a wis a loon. A can myn o a primary teacher at the skweel a wint tae, faa bikit tae her wark in aa withers, in the winter time weerin an auld belted trench coat, a leather helmet or a balaclava on her heid, a thick muffler an waldies. A bittie eccentric?

Aye an neen the war o’t, an aabody roon aboot, includin the heidmaister an ither teachers, thocht her affa gweed at her job an the bairns fair likit her as weel.

The eddicashun heid yins nooadays widna lit her throwe the skweel gates, mair’s the peety. There wis as weel an auld Sikh mannie faa  raikit aroon the kwintraside on his bike wi twa or  maybe three muckle leather cases strappit on the back fit held aa sorts o thingies – wifies’ stockins, combs, soap, dishtools, scrubbin brushes, widden claes pegs an black lead for the fireplace etc.

He only cam aroon aboot twice a ‘ear an maist fowk bocht somethin. He wis thocht o as a richt character.

the amunt o eccentricity in a society his generally bin proportional tae the amunt o genius

Aiberdeen fowk o a certin age wull a’m sure myn o Snuffy Ivy, a prostitute fae Torry faa wis kent as the teethless hooer wi a hairt an a hare lip an, as legend his it, wid perform een o her services fer a fish supper. Noo a maan add, a’m nae spikkin fae personal experience as a wis only a  sma geet in Snuffy  Ivy’s time. Eccentric? – maybe.  Worthie? – maist definitely.

A gweed fyow auler ceetizens wull myn o Cocky Hunter. Na, na, noo fowkies am nae spikkin aboot Snuffy Ivy  iss time! Iss weel kent chiel deel’t in second haun goods an war surplus an it wis said ye cwid buy onything fae a moosetrap tae a fower poster bed. Anither Aiberdeen worthie bi aa accoonts. There are mony mair a cwid meention bit there’s nae aneuch space.

Awa back in the 19th century, utilitarian thinker John Stuart Mill wrote that the amunt o eccentricity in a society his generally bin proportional tae the amunt o genius, mental vigour, and moral courage fit it contained.

Michty me it’s nae wunner today’s society is leukit on bi some as bein in a bittie o a doonward spiral.

Wull there be ony fowk jist noo faa wid be classed as eccentrics or worthies? Neen aat I can think o.

Een or twa micht be myn’t on– bit fer aa the wrang reasons. A gowf coorse at Menie, winfairms an Union Terrace Gairdens shud gie ye a clue.

Och bit wait a meenit, a’m forgettin Sam the Seagull, the feathered worthie fae the Castlegate faa,daily,  wid relieve a shoppie in the area o a packet o Cheese Doritos tae share wi his seagull pals. Myn ye it says somethin fin a seagull is the only eccentric or character in the toon, ower the last fyow ‘ear, worth meenshunin.

Jan 112013

There’s a 1940’s sang made famous by aat gran jazz trumpeter an singer, the late Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong ca’d “When Your Smiling” faar ae line suggests “the hail warld smiles wi you”. Bob Smith writes for ‘Voice.

Noo ye maybe canna aye ging aboot wi a smile on yer face aa the time, cos mannies in fite coats drivin a yalla vannie micht come by an cairt ye awa tae the nearest mental hospital, bit gyaan bi a nummer o soor faces a see in ma traivels ye’d think een or twa puir craiturs hid lost the winnin lottery ticket.

There are days masel fin a’ve bin doon in the moo bit there’s aye somethin gyaan on fit pits a smile back on ma fizzog.

Openin the curtins in the mornin an seein the sun shinin an hearin the birdies singin are jist twa examples.

A nummer o fowk spik aboot their busy lives pittin them unner pressure an they fun it difficult tae smile. Slowin thingies doon a bittie fowks micht help. As ma grunnie used tae say,

Smile, cos yer a lang time deid”

Some billies get fair vexed fin the growth rate o the Gross National Product o wir kwintra draps doon. Iss gyangs richt ower ma heid as a’m nae an economist, an a’m sure tryin tae wark it oot wid hae ye losin the will tae smile.

As a’m nae fashed aboot the GNP or the FTSE a can affoord tae smile a bittie mair afen, alang wi the gweed fowk o Bhutan faa’s heid yins cam up wi the idea o GNH ( Gross National Happiness ), fit meesured fowk’s quality o life, foo muckle leesure time they hiv, fit’s happenin in their community an foo weel integrated they are wi their culture an the environmint.

Much mair ceevilised wyes o deein thingies in iss wee remote Himalayan kingdom than here a’m thinkin. Cwid iss idea wark in oor kwintra?

We shud bi happy nivvertheless tae bide in sic a placie steepit in history an tradishun

Weel we’d hae tae radically chynge oor ideas aboot meesurin happiness throwe foo muckle spendulicks wi hiv in the bunk or foo wir shares are deein an git awa fae the materialism culture faar spendin siller on lots o thingies wi dinna really need is supposed tae gie us a gweed buzz. GNH is worth a fling if it helps fowk intae a mair smiley mood.

If ye git the idea a think aabody in Aiberdeen are meesrable sods, iss is nae the case. The fowk faa hope the City Gairdens Project is deid in the watter are smilin richt noo fae chik tae chik, and there are a lot o mannies an wifies faa are nae jist smilin, bit are splittin their sides laachin aboot the mair an mair daft haverins cumin fae a certain Donald J Trump aboot the winfairms an Michael Forbes winnin “ Tap Scot” award.

Trumpie is a chiel faa winna be smilin jist noo. Tae use his ain words “Faa Cares?”.

In spite o wir main street in the toon lookin run doon cos o aa the empty shoppies, there are a nummer o gran biggins in Union Street an aa aroon Aiberdeen fit shud hae us smilin wi pride.

We maan cry oot fer the fowk faa ain the biggins tae spruce them up a bittie tho. A’m aa fer a bit o naitur bit young saplins, girss an weeds sprootin oot o gutters an lums is nae eese ava.

We shud bi happy nivvertheless tae bide in sic a placie steepit in history an tradishun in spite o a nummer o silly buggers ower the ‘ears tryin their best tae connach the history, tradishun an culture o oor toon, aa in the name o sae ca’d progress. So next time ye tak a toddle aroon Aiberdeen dinna ging aboot wi yer face lookin doon at the grun. Lift up yer een an see the gran architecture in oor city.

If aat disna mak ye smile an gie ye an uplift then a suggest a whiffie o laachin gas or maybe, in the case o quines, buyin a firmer bra micht dee the trick .

See? A kent ye cwid smile!

Dec 122012

8644307_sBy Bob Smith.

Weel ma freens, ivvery month or so yer gyaan tae hae pit up wi me pittin forrit ma opeenion aboot things gweed or nae sae gweed in oor society an in oor toon o Aiberdeen.

As weel as ma poetry a’ll be haen a go at writin a bittie o prose, hopefully tae mak ye laach or maybe mak ye greet.

Iss wikk a’m takkin tae task aa thae fowk fa hurl vile chunts an insults at fitba matches, be it at the ither team, their supporters, the refs, an fit really gets up ma nib, hurlin abuse at their ain team’s players an managers.

At times a’m mair than sure that aa the local eejits hae a meetin at the same time an place, ivvery second Setterday. Fit wye his it tae be held at Pittodrie a ask masel?

Noo am sure wiv aa hid a go, at sometime or anither, dootin the ref’s parentage. Iss is nae fit am oan aboot. It’s the vile scunnerin chunts aboot fowks perceived sexual preferences, their nationality, an ony misfortune fit his happened tae players etc in their private lives.

Fit kine o bodie sinks sae low as tae utter sic things?

Noo a’ve stairted tae tak notice o the age group o thae fowk in seats nae far awa fae faar a’m sittin fa indulge in sic chants. Nearly 99% are aged aroon 40 or unner. So maybe it’s a generation thingie or  mair likely a problem fit affects society as a hail.

A can gie an instance o the wye things are gyaan. A fyow wikks ago a chiel in the Richard Donald Stand wis pissed oot o his myn (fit begs the question fit wye wis he alood in in the first place?).

He wis gyaan ower the score wi his ranting an fin the stewards tried tae sort things oot they war met wi a torrent o abuse fae some fowk roon aboot faar he wis staanin an fin the stewards ca’ed in the bobbies the abuse got worse.

Paddy Buckley, yon great centre forward in the 1950’s,  missed the goal completely  fae aboot twa yairds oot

The mannie wis clearly oot o order an the bobbies war richt tae escort him oot o the stand. Some fowk roon aboot me jist shook their heids in despair at the abuse the stewards an the bobbies hid tae pit up wi.

Noo a’m auld aneuch ti myn o gyaan tae fitba matches awa back an unless ma myn deceives me, a canna myn o abuse like iss bein hurled at anither human bein.

There wis a lot o gweed naitered banter wint on an fowk enjoyed their efterneen oot at the fitba. Fans warna segregated up tull the 1960’s an I’ve stood on the terraces alangside fans o the opposing teams, hid gweed crack wi them an nivver felt threatened.

Ye wid hear the odd difference o opeenion noo an agane bit verra rarely did it ging ayont aat.

Fans an players interacted wi een anither back then.

I can myn fin Paddy Buckley, yon great centre forward in the 1950’s,  missed the goal completely  fae aboot twa yairds oot. Paddy turned tae the crowd at the Merkland Road eyn wi a huge grin on his face an shruggit his shooders.

There wis a ripple o laachter wint aroon the grun cos they kent Paddy widna miss the next time.

Can ye imagine the fans response if Scott Vernon did the same thing nooadays? There wid be a pitch invasion. The entertainment an fun his gin oot o fitba an we as fans maan tak some o the responsibility fer iss.

Mak a lot o noise bi aa means bit channel yer fervour intae supportin yer team withoot aa the vile chunts.

Apr 142022

Mike Shepherd reviews “The Poetry Mannie: The Doric Poetry of Bob Smith, Edited by Duncan Harley.”

The Doric dialect is getting a lot of welcome publicity at the moment, not the least because of the efforts of the Doric Board who have supported the publication of this wonderful book of poems (which is yours for £6.45).

There is something particular to the Doric dialect that lends itself to poetry, even if the roll call for Doric poets is not that long.

Yes, I believe I know what that something could be. Having once been told that English is dismally short of words to express the subtleties of human feeling, and that other languages cope much better by comparison, I reckon this is why we Scots have filled in the gaps with highly-expressive dialect words.

Try, for example, translating the word ‘couthy’ into conventional English using a single sentence. That’s not easy.

And because poetry can be considered a vehicle for expressing the nuances of shared experience, Bob Smith’s Doric poetry certainly does that. To live in North East Scotland is to fully connect with the experience described in the following excerpts:

Saturday Afternoons at Pittodrie watching the League Cup.

A hunner and twenty meenits we did get
Yet naebody cwid fin the bliddy net
A penalty shoot oot wi did hae
Nae goals were scored fae open play

Saturday Nights.

Binge drinking quines – there’s nithing worse
They faa aboot an sweir an curse
Wi hurdies keekin oot their draars
They stumble oot o clubs and bars…

And that peculiar Aberdeen obsession with long-gone shops.

Did ye myn o’ Aberdeen Motors
Faar ye bocht an Austin “Devon”
Div ye myn o’ Isaac Benzie
Faar yer mither wis in heaven…

Or litter.

We hiv a problem in Aiberdeen
Keepin the bliddy pavements clean
Litter strewn fae pillar tae post
Plastic cups an half aeten toast…

To read Bob’s poetry is to laugh out loud, although his more serious poems do tackle subjects such as the bizarre doings of politicians and their chums in this part of the world, or the sublime aspects of nature, place, and landscape as per classical poetry.

Now you will enjoy this book so do buy it. And thanks to Duncan Harley, author of The Little History of Aberdeenshire and other books, for compiling Bob Smith’s engaging poetry.


Sep 062013

By Bob Smith.

We hid a wee bit dander
T’wis jist the ither day
Gied in by Castle Fraser
The sun wis oot tae play
Doon past the adventure playgrun
Wi its tepee an ither things
Intae the bonnie wa’d gairden
Tae see fit naitur brings
Big daisies an ither flooers
Brocht colour there’s nae doot
An we myn’t tae close the gates
Tae keep the rubbities oot
A fylie sin a’ve seen sae muckle
Bees an butterflees in ae sector
Flittin aroon fae flooer tae flooer
An githerin up aa the nectar
Syne throwe the widdlan waak
Tree taps sweyin in the breeze
We cam upon the bonnie pond
Hame tae dyeuks an dragonflees
A gweed fyle there we sat
Surroondit bi naitur’s glory
The reeds an bonnie grasses
War pairt o oor day’s story
We climm’t up the windin path
An cam upon some coos
Faa lookit ower the fencie
Did they wint tae hae a newse?
The magic o iss bonnie waak
Wi a beauty hard tae beat
A sweir doon throwe the trees
A heard the patter o Hobbits’ feet

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie” 2013