Talking Point with Ron Harris

In the thick of things...Ron almost always gets caught up in a stushie at competitions!
In the thick of things...Ron almost always gets caught up in a stushie at competitions!

Find out what competition means to the Gazette’s chief reporter

BEING a magnet for rammies, ah actually wance saw a full-blown riot break oot during a sang frae Jesus Christ Superstar.

Pin back yir lugs and ah’ll reveal how this came tae pass...

Now, those o’ you who ah met at yon Lanarkshire camera club hooley up at the new Lanark Market might have noticed ah was even mair shifty and sleekit-looking than usual.

Weel, there’s a good explanation for this nervousness in that ah just dinnae like competitions as they always seem tae end in a stushie, especially when ah’m personally present.

Fortunately, for wance, yon Lanark do went like a dream wae nae rancour although ah couldnae help but notice a wee bit o’ friction between the wans who cried themselves ‘real’ photographers and those who used computer-aided ‘photoshop’ technology.

It fair took me back tae the auld Thursday live music nights at the Clydesdale Hotel when, still a relatively young rocker, ah joined in the boorish barracking o’ the new synthesizer bands then coming intae vogue.

“Call yon playing music?” we heckled, “Why don’t youse awa’ and jine Rolf Harris playing his wee Stylophone, ye tubes ye!” (Wee topical reference slipped in there, folks.)

Onyway, anither musical nightmare ah became embroiled in was when the then still naive Radio Clyde called upon mah services tae be a judge in wan o’ their Lanarkshire heats o’ a Talent Spot competition they were running, a sorta doon market X-Factor, if such a thing is possible.

As ah recall, there were 12 finalists and ah swear 11 o’ them were 16-year-auld lassies called Bernadette frae Mossend who ALL sang the SAME song frae the above-mentioned musical, ie, I Don’t Know How To Love Him. It was as purely hellish an experience as it sounds and whit this glakit country boy frae sleepy Lanark hadnae realised was that such contests in Darkest Central Lanarkshire involved highly partisan mobs o’ relatives o’ each contestant coming alang tae cheer their lassie oan and generally gie her opponents a hard time.

Ah think it was during the heart-rending performance o’ Bernadette No.8 that things kicked aff.

She’d reached yon line “He’s a man; just a man. And I’ve had so many men before...” when some wit in Bernadette No. 7’s camp shouted oot “Aye; and ain’t THAT the truth, ye wee tart ye...”

Weel, seconds later ah had tae take cover under the Judges Table as the chairs and fists started fleein’ and Strathclyde Polis rushed tae the scene tae restore order.

A less violent but just as disastrous incident occured during wan o’ yon awfy Lanarkshire beauty competitions o’ the past, wan o’ the few welcomed casualties o’ political correctness.

This particular cattle market was organised by the newspaper ah worked for at the time and the editor had intimidated wan o’ mah female reporting colleagues – a real ‘looker’ he had ungallant ambitions towards – tae say a few introductory words at the start o’ the evening.

At first she steadfastly refused but was cajoled/threatened intae co-operating, being re-assured that ALL she had tae dae was cue the professional host, the sports telly star Dougie Donnelly.

The weeks leading up tae the do was a nightmare for her – and ME – having tae endure her constant rehearsal o’ the six words she had tae utter : “Ladies and Gentlemen; Mr Dougie Donnelly.”

Oan the Big Night, having mastered yon six words through million-fold repetitions, she duly bounced confidently onstage in front o’ hunners o’ the Coonty’s Finest, tae boldly announce: “Ladies and Gentlemen; Mr Doogelly DonnadSelly!”

She then used an unscripted, seventh word but ah didnae quite catch it.