Talking Point with Gazette chief reporter Ron Harris

Oor Ron shares his mortal Immortal Memories of the Bard's celebrations!
Oor Ron shares his mortal Immortal Memories of the Bard's celebrations!

Find out what Ron remembers about his Immortal (mortal) Memories!

AH dinnae like tae speak ill o’ the deid, but have the Liberal Democrats no’ got themsels intae an awfy guddle again?

At the heart o’ their latest troubles is lassies or, rather, wan o’ their senior member’s allegedly oafish attempts tae chat them up.

This, of course, follows hard oan the heels o’ their Secretary o’ State for Scotland, Mr Carmichael, being ripped tae shreds oan live telly by the Deputy First Meenister, President Eck’s henchwumman displaying exactly why she’s widely kent aroond Holtood as ‘The Nippy Sweetie’..

Ah felt for the poor fella, talked up in the pro-Unionist press as “a street fighter”; from whaur ah was sitting watching, he looked mair like a street fitba’, wae wee Nicola daein’ all the kicking.

Onyway, in this the week when we celebrate the Immortal Memory o’ oor National Bard, it’s timely, given the events above, tae reflect that, had it no’ been for a lassie Robert Burns wid probably no’ be remembered at a’ and, if he was, it wid be mair as a villain rather than a hero o’ Scotia’s.

During mah rare sober moments listening tae Immortal Memories being proposed at Burns Suppers ower the years, ah’ve picked up wan legend o’ Rabbie which, if true, proves that the lassies were baith his curse and his inspiration.

The yarn goes that Rabbie, the bahookie oot his breeks and several Ayrshire publicans seeking tick bills settled in hot pursuit, decided tae ‘dae a runner’ and resolved tae emigrate tae the Caribbean tae take up work at a plantation there.

This wid almost certainly have entailed him being wan o’ the white guys, stoatin aboot the fields wae a whip, urging oan the black workforce tae greater efforts, using barbaric 18th century middle-management methods that have only recently come back into favour here in Britain.

Onyway, or so the story goes, Oor Rabbie got as far as the docks and was aboot tae board ship for his new life across the Atlantic when the glad tidings reached him that the latest lassie he’d become infatuated wae but who had, until then, knocked his advances back, had indicated a change o’ heart.

This unexpected offer o’ hoochmagandy frae the hitherto unavailable object o’ his desire led Rabbie tae ditch the slave-driving career plans and jump oan his horse, the bahookie o’ which was but a blur, cairrying its maister at high speed back towards an open bedroom door somewhere in Ayrshire.

Now, the rest, as they say, is history.

Rabbie went oan tae produce the female-inspired works celebrated aroond the world tae this day.

Indeed, some o’ the best love songs and poems ever composed came frae this man’s fascination wae the lassies.

Far, far better that than being remembered as wan o’ the ‘baddies’ in Twelve Years a Slave, eh?

Onyway, wan o’ the mony reasons ah love mah hameland so much is its talent for producing extremes.

While arguably, Burns was the world’s greatest poet, Scotland also bred probably its very worst, wan William Topaz McGonagall.

Now, the BIG difference between the twa poets isnae just Burns being a genius while McGonagall was mince.

It was the almost total and utter lack o’ ony female inspiration in any o’ McGonagall’s works that condemed him tae turgid Victorian topical verse, mah ‘favourite’ being the 1888 classic The Funeral of the German Emperor which contains the lines:

“The authorities of Berlin in honour of the Emperor considered it no sin

To decorate with crepe the beautiful city of Berlin;

Therefore Berlin I declare was a city of crepe,

Because few buildings crepe decoration did escape.”

That verse certainly needs a bit o’ a ‘woman’s touch’, doesn’t it?