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Burns Night

I was all set to ignore Burns Night today, as I suspect I've always done before on here. But I'm subtitling "An Audience With Burns", which has reminded me that it can be kind of cool, really.

I grew up about ten miles from Robert Burns's birthplace, and there's a visitor centre and so on, so I got dragged there fairly often as a kid both on school outings and by my parents, usually when we had someone visiting from overseas. So I'm so much less interested than I would be if it was somewhere I was visiting that had a whole tourist centre devoted to a poet - normally, I would think that was amazing!

The whole Burns Supper phenomenon is pretty weird, I guess. I get sarcastic about it in the same way I do about Brussels sprouts at Christmas - I tend to think if you really liked haggis, you'd eat it more than once a year. But I do quite like the ceremony, and the toasts, and the poetry.

Burns is great because he's adored by the literati for, you know, Auld Lang Syne and To A Mouse and Tam O'Shanter, but basically he was a rock god. Most of his poetry - and his life - was about shagging the local girls and taking the piss out of religious people and tax collectors. And drinking.

An Audience With Burns (BBC2 Scotland tonight, downloads and exclusive performances will be available here - one or two things there just now) has got famous-ish Scots mucking around at a Burns supper, mostly. Gordon Kennedy, who seems to be trying to make a comeback, is the host. (I nearly put ringmaster there.) I've just seen Des Clarke do a Toast to the Lasses, which was pretty much one meandering tale leading to the punchline "Is it a bard? Is it a plane?" Which, hee. And then Gary Lewis reading O, Leave Novels, which is basically Burns saying you shouldn't read novels because you'll start believing all sorts of romantic crap, and then he'll be able to come round and seduce you, and you shouldn't let him because he's a wanker.

Edit: I'd advise watching stuff on the website rather than watching the programme - looks like I just hit a good bit. Now I've got Elaine C Smith being *very annoying*, and going on about that "men use 7,000 words a day, women use 20,000" myth that language log has been debunking for ages. And I'm reliably informed that Karen Dunbar is also involved. Run away.

So, yeah, let's celebrate Burns Night. Go read Tam O'Shanter, the dreadful tale of what happens if you stay too late at the pub getting pissed, and have to cross the old bridge at midnight. Caution: it involves witches, of course.

But I still plan to have a tuna sandwich for dinner. I don't like haggis.


( 15 comments — Comment )
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:19 pm (UTC)
I had a vegetarian haggis once.

Just once.

Never again...
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:50 pm (UTC)
Oooh, ick. Yes. That sounds bad.
Jan. 25th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
What is it? All the bits of vegetables you'd usually throw away stuffed inside a pumpkin skin?
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC)
I grew up about ten miles from Robert Burns's birthplace

Really? I was about a mile or so from it. I even went in once, when I was about eight.
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:51 pm (UTC)
I'm from Troon. I have a feeling I went in once, but I can't remember anything about it...
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:53 pm (UTC)
..into the cottage once, I mean. I've been to the visitor centre a bunch of times.
Jan. 25th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
Ahh . . . easy walking distance.

I don't remember much about it. Two rooms, one of them for the livestock, I think. I should go back sometime.

Of course, now I live within easy walking distance of the grave of our other national poet.
Jan. 25th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
Hee. I've got a huge tome of McGonnagall's poetry that I picked up at a book fair somewhere, I must read more of it.
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
That's really creepy. I was brought up (or rather, spent from age 9 to age 13) almost exactly 10 miles away -- in Barassie. We too went. I remember it as 'rather boring'. Ditto memorising Tae a Moose etc. For all that it later came in handy for Plokta.
Jan. 25th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, really?! I don't think I realised that - I'm from Troon. All the Ayrshire people are coming out the woodwork today!

We memorised John Anderson my Jo, I remember, but I can't think what else...
Jan. 25th, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
My parents have a flat in Troon; my mother would very much like to move there permanently I think (though to a house rather than the rather small flat).

I was there (at Barassie Primary School and Marr College) between 1974 and 1978. I remember Barassie as being only slightly impoverished; it was a shock to return last year and realise that it's actually incredibly poor. The school looks as if it has had exactly no money spent on it since I left in 1977.

Oddly, one of the things I remember most vividly was that when I was in Primary 6 the art teacher roped many of us into repainting one entire wall of the hall with a Burns related mural, in which many of his poems were depicted in one way or another.
Jan. 25th, 2007 05:38 pm (UTC)
I always think of Barassie as having good bits and bad bits...there's all the nice houses down near the beach, which certainly aren't poor, but there's the Wimpey bit and the really quite dodgy council bit too.

I haven't seen the primary school in years, but Marr College is pretty much falling down as well - I think they're still arguing about whether they should restore or replace it.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 25th, 2007 05:43 pm (UTC)
Ooh, wow. I don't think I've ever been to Galston, though I must have been through it, cos I've been to Darvel and Newmilns.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 25th, 2007 04:18 pm (UTC)
I had a similar experience at my works training...

I was confused for a few seconds as to what "eye bums" were...

They really should have picked a better font for their presentation...
Jan. 25th, 2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
I'm still confused cos I don't know what an eye burn is. Oh well.

(Generally, I just think Burns Night sounds kind of painful.)
( 15 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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