Talking Point with Gazette chief reporter Ron Harris

Oor Ron...is no' wearing twa hats and twa faces!
Oor Ron...is no' wearing twa hats and twa faces!
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Oor Ron disnae wear twa hats...or faces!

IF ah had been yon way inclined, ah could have kissed the auld fella right there in the middle o’ a busy Lanark howf.

Now, afore ah explain why, perhaps ah should, in yon politically correct times, clearly state that ah dinnae have ony moral objections at a’ tae homosexuality.

Mah attitude is best summed up by mah auld pal and colleague Allan Thomson o’ The Glessert who, when aggressively asked oan a Glescae bus late wan nicht if he was a homosexual, casually replied: “Naw. Ah just help them oot when they’re busy.”

His other great line oan the subject was: “Ah was thinking o’ trying it wance but ah was feart ah might like it.”

Sadly, baith he and I are terminally addicted tae the lassies and I have oft had cause tae ponder that, if ah were o’ ‘another persuasion’ sexually, ah wid today be 16 years o’ alimony payments and a hoose tae the guid.

Onyway, back tae yon Lanark boozer and mah aged companion who so deeply endeared himsel’ tae me.

Y’see this conversation happened that day efter yon Fifties icon Phil Everly had gone tae the Big Rock n’ Roll Gig in the Sky, mah companion’s words which gladdened mah heart being: “Of course, you’ll be too young tae remember The Everly Brothers.” Ah WISH!

Onyway, efter he stumbled oot the pub, dootless following mah advice tae consult an optician urgently, ah reflected oan the sheer hypocrisy o’ mah response tae his comment; ah fibbed massively and telt him that, no’ only did ah remember The Everly Brothers, but ah was a big, big fan; whit an awfy shock and personal blow the news o’ Phil’s passing was tae me, etc, etc.

All mince.

Y’see, ah HATED the music o’ The Everly Brothers and just aboot all pre-Beatles pop and, tae be brutally honest, far frae Phil’s demise coming as a surprise, ah was under the vague impression that he’d already passed awa’ years ago, putting him in the same category as yon ither celebrity casualty ower the festive season, sports commentator David Coleman.

Noo, here was anither prime example o’ mass post-mortem rose-tinted spec wearing, wae every Beeb veteran trotted oot tae say nice things aboot Mr Coleman, some o’ them the very folk who, in his lifetime, never tired o’ slagging him aff behind his back for being a crabbit, egotistical general pain-in-the-bahookie.

There was just scant mention that he HATED yon satirical magazine Private Eye for running a fortnightly column wae his name tagged tae it, dedicated tae all the numpty things sports commentators are wont tae say, some o’ the best bloopers being Mr Coleman’s.

Aye; it all comes under the general category o’ “Everywan loves you when you’re deid” and, as a local hack, mony is the time ah’ve done the professional thing and written a glowing obituary for somewan ah personally detested, indeed, a eulogy that wid bring a tear tae a glass ee’.

Ah huvnae done it for mony years but the guilt remains.

The very opposite was true when ah came tae pen the news o’ the passing o’ Father Joseph Brannigan last week.

Y’see, nae matter whit patch in Lanarkshire mah career has taken me tae, for some reason ah never quite ‘clicked’ before wae the local parish priest, probably due tae age and culture gap between me and somewan who was usually a reserved, devout Irishman o’ advanced years.

The difference wae Father Joe and me was that, after just a few meenutes o’ the interview ah did wae him oan his arrival in Lanark, we hit it aff Big Time, being roughly o’ the same generation and wae all the sometimes liberal baggage being a post-war Baby Boomer brings wae it.

As a hopeless silver-lining seeker, let me state that the fact that the passing o’ Joe Brannigan provoked raw, genuine grief in Lanark manses and mony ither Proddy hooseholds did this toon – and him – enormous credit.