People and Places
Kids rush aboot crazy and excited aboot athin. The middle agers dae thir ane thing, fitivir that happens tae be, wi great seriousness and solemnity. The al fouk sit back kinda detached fae it a' 'n jist watch athin rerunnin itsel. A' they rhythms weave thegithir tae form the tapestry thit's life in this wee village on fit wiz eence the Seafield estate.
The man's the man fitivir - bit thir's still them that strut 'n stare for a' that. Some are better at it than ithirs and some are jist fouk daein a job. This tune began meanin tae be aff takkin 'n coorse bit ended up bein sympathetic. It's ca'd 'The Queen's Gait' and a subtitle micht be 'Lizzie's funny shoogle'.
The al' meal mill in Portsoy is tae become a set o flats. I walked bye aye day and saw it lang afore it hid existit wi a water wheel turning cogs tae flatten the oats tae mak the porridge. The first twa bits o the tune are fae the shrill voiced bemoaners o time's passing 'n then the third bittie comes fae the deep voiced philosopher thit kens that the clock cannae run backwards.
Al John Donald the Baker deed jist a couple o weeks afore I wrote this tune. He'd been a baker in Portsoy a' 'is days. Fin e' startit oot the oven wiz fired by wid and deliveries wiz bi horse 'n kairt. Fin yi pass the shop in the early mornin these days yi git a glimpse o antiquity in the smell o 'Donald's Buttries'.
The phone rang aye day 'n it wiz Robert Lubajo on the line. This wiz a lad I'd kent fin I wiz workin in the Sudan aboot ten ears previous. Wi hidna bin in touch since then so there wiz a lot o cleck tae catch up on. He hid jist arrived in Aiberdeen far he wiz deein a Masters in Forestry Management - we hid been workin on a tree plantin project a they years ago.
Ane o the al gang that I hid bin newsin aboot wi Robert wiz Elizabeth Ditchburn. She hid taen o'er the School Gardens and Nutrition Unit in the Ministry of Education in the South Sudan. Thir wiz a gang o's eest tae hae sessions in Juba far it wiz hot and the quines hid lang hair tied up in buns - so we ca'd oor group the 'Sweaty Bunnies'. Elizabeth played tooteroo and we ca'd her 'the Ditch'. She's merrate noo wi a kid and working in Ecuador.
Ah hid jist feenist writin this tune fin ma faither cam in tae ask fin I'd next be gettin coal. I caint then fit the tune wiz aboot cause the first bar speaks the boy's name - "George Brand the Coalman". Yid think that bein a coalman wiz a fool, wearisome job but George is aye sae spic and span 'n chirpy that the coaldust seems feart tae settle on im.
The first fower bars o this tune are a that I can mine o a wee number I pit thegithir wi Allie Bremner fae Banff. It wiz tae mark the occasion o a visit by Dr W Douglas Simpson, the famous al antiquarian, tae the archaeological dig aside Pennan. He wiz a wise al manny bit he's lang deed noo. We wrote the original tune in the simmer o 1963.
The tune was inspired by the wye Canis, the family moggie, hiz o struttin her thing doon the gairdin. Thir's fouk that wauk in the same, full-o-imsel, kin o wye.
I wiz a nurse at the Ladysbridge Mental Hospital for a while. It wiz a simmer job fin I wiz a student 'n it changed ma life - 'normality' wiz nivir gaun tae be the same again. There wiz some o the patients there thit wiz a lot mair 'wize' than the staff! A lot o the peer cratirs were obsessive though - they wid hae a limited range o behaviours and they wid jist repeat them o'er 'n o'er - and this wiz supposed tae be abnormal?
The American's are the worst for being 'health conscious' bit we've bin got at in this country as weel. I mine fin the rule wiz that yi hid a bath 'n a change o simit 'n pants eence a wik whither yi needed it or no. Nooadays we waste water and soap like we wiz gaun to run oot ote the mourn. Bit even so thir's some cases that tak the biscuit - it wid be coorse tae name names but yi can run intae her if yi dinna time yer visits tae the Coopy richt.
Thir wiz a boy in school wi's that wiz affa 'sensitive' - a bit of an 'al sweetie wife'. Bit he wiz a gran lad tae get on wi cause he wiz aye noticing things 'n mackin bitchy comments. He wakkit diffrent fae the ither loons - mair stoppin and startin and kinda skittery. This tune tries tae mimic his dartin aboot. I've ca'ad it 'Jessie-Anne's Mince' so that them o a mair gentle persuasion kin aye mak oot that it's aboot Setterday's denner.
Yir gaun hame fae the pub 'n yir nae athegither compost mental. This tune's a waltz bit it hiz a strange wye o seemin tae stagger tae itself noo and again.
Doon the Coopy again 'n nae wantin tae name names. This is an alish kinda wifey - rale thin 'n bathered wi her nerves. The 'fit wid fouk think' syndrome hiz got sik a hud o her that she wid be labelled 'psychotic' if een o the mind police ivir bathered tae turn his attention on her. The Buddha reckoned that all life is suffering and this wid be a case in point.
I've a sister thit bides doon aside London 'n I heard aye day that she'd broken her toe so it wiz basically a bit coorse o me tae write this wee toe tapper o a tune.
This tune hiz an al fashioned feel tae it and I wiz picturin Portsoy herbir as the film set o a doric version o seven brides for seven breethers wi the fisher loons and quines dancin along the herbir wa saying hello tae ane anithir. The jerky bits in the second half are far the victorian value systems were huddin them up fae bein hang loose hippie types.
This wid be anither tune fae the doric musical, "Seevin Quines fir Seevin Loons". In this case the loons hiz jist sailt awa in the clipper 'n the quinies ir pinin on the herbir wa. Yi kin imagine a full orchestral version o the tune dripping wi strings and wi the clipper under full sail 'n slicin through the waves.
Some o they classical lads his tae compose tunes tae order. N the orders usually cam fae some o the big wigs so as tae add pose value tae thir struttin and starin. The big wig types tend tae rush aboot like they hid ants in their pants these ideas wiz in ma heed fin this tunie cam on the scene.
If yi wiz a puelly fleein oer Seafield Street yi wid see a kin o fouk wakkin aboot n yi micht think they wiz a much o a much bit if yi could see fit wiz gaun on in thir heeds yi widnae think that at a. Thirs nae mony fouk these days as can get thir heeds tae sit still for mare than jist a meentie or twa sik a shame.
Fin I wiz in Jamaica in the mid 70s I bed in a plaicie cad Highgate n the Rasta lads, fin they past yi on the street, wid say Ites raither than Hiya. Rumour hid it that they guys wisnae ayewiz in thir ain heeds thir brains wiz racin awa in a diffrint warl fae the likes o hiz. Since then Ive bin mair aware of that fact that ithir fouks heeds kin be in a diffrint place fae mine even fin theyre sober, lat alane fin theyre foo.
The lads bin oot hewin neeps a day n he comes hame shit deen in his mirey beets. So his heeds in aye place; bit the wifes days bin diffrint, n the kids heeds are in a diffrint place fae either o them. Bit thats jist the wye things is, n its amazin hoo a the diffrint bitties manage tae hud thegithir.
I first met Cathy fin she jined the Belize Choral Society. She wiz a music teacher ti trade n wiz cheery, chirpy and a bit scatty. Aiftir Belize she went tae Hawaii n fin I got an invite tae hir widdin in the States I pit this tunie thegithir bi wye o catchin a flavour o baith the scatty energy o Cathy n the pomp n soor facedness o the offeeshal ceremonials.
64 Geriatric Salad
I hid a niece fae doon sooth up on her holidays. She decided tae hae a barbeque in the gairdin n tae invite ma al ma n ma al auntie. N there wiz anithir niece wi her wee bairnie. So thir wiz fower generations of wifies sittin oot on the greenie aside the swellin epples. Noo I got the job of makkin the salad tae go wi the barbeque n I choppit the bits rale same tae mak it easier for the geriatric teetch tae cope. So this tunes aboot a hot day on the back green wi al fouk pittin salad in thir moos and chewing rale slow.
69 Rizla Hippie
I wiz in the paper shop in Banff n the wifie in front o me in the queue wiz an earthmother hippie wi a kid. She wiz buyin a quarter of Old Holburn n a couple o packs o fag papers. Funny faggies n Banff jist dinna seem tae go thegithir in ma heed I hid tae grin.