Monday, April 20, 2015

The Hand of Meekings

If Carlsberg made conspiracies...

The ridiculous Celtic FC has taken their culture of grievance to new extremes. The biggest and arguably most 'establishment' club in Scotland - two of their current squad are racists, another professed support for Israel's bombing of Palestine and their former chairman is a war-criminal who commanded the British Army in Iraq - have made an official complaint regarding a penalty kick they should have been given against the mighty Inverness Caley Thistle.

Here's hoping that the crusaders of the moral highground also mention their forward John Guidetti's dive to get a penalty- see above - against Hearts earlier in the season. Perhaps their goalie Craig Gordan getting sent off and conceding a penalty for a kamikaze challenge in the box may also have lead to Celtic's downfall? Perhaps, ICT themselves should've had a penalty when their forward was flattened by Celtic's second goalie late on in the game?

An honest gurn to the SFA would mention all of this.

Or maybe not. Swings and roundabouts, eh?

This wasn't a mistake though. It was, according to tens of thousands of their mainly Scottish and godless Protestant support, a conspiracy to stop Celtic FC winning the treble.

No doubt the arch-unionists and Brits who make up Celtic FC's ruling class will be quick to point out that the SNP have not ruled out allowing ICT fans to bring down Celtic players in the box... 

I knew this season would be one to remember.


This video is for real folks! that's a typical deluded Tim for ya!
Posted by The Revival on Sunday, 19 April 2015

Monday, March 30, 2015

Labour/ Ukip coalition on the cards?

Many have looked on with a morbid fascination as Labour in recent years has moved further and further to the right. It's been truly horrible though the reality of what's happened has been evident enough. It's as if Jackie Baillie rolled up to your house just to squat on your lawn and lay a huge steaming log. You'd look on, intoxicated by the novelty of the scene but horrified by the spectacle and consequences.

And, what are the consequences of Labour's latest attack on Johnny Foreigner? I hate to think.

Or to put it another way, Labour are unashamedly going for the racist/ Ukip/ Bnp/ EDL/ Britain First vote at a time when the Daily Mail's bogeyman du jour, Alex Salmond, is talking up the benefits of immigration.

For the Middle-England audience, Labour have been falling over themselves to distance the party from the SNP. Yet up here, Murphy is trying to airbrush his many past misdemeanours by embracing any 'Clause 4' ideology from free tuition to free prescriptions.

Labour too should be confronting the Little Englanders head-on instead of stoking their fears. Whether they come from Germany or Nigeria, whether to pick our veg or perform brain surgery - immigration is good. Culturally too, the benefits are evident all around us. The fact there are some dinosaurs in every group of people - be they immigrants or 'natives' - who are scared of 'the other' makes it all the more important to stand up to the bullshit of the anti-immigration rhetoric. Labour have form on this though. From local-campaign leaflets to Gordon Brown lifting NF slogans from the 1970s - British Jobs for British Workers.

Why does this need to spelled out in the year 2015?

And the consequences? The political spectrum of the 'paedo-parliament' in Westminster is pulled further to the right. Roll on the next indy-ref.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Facing the wrath of an audience scorned

If I may digress from the important matters in life such as @jimforscotland, Gaelic profanity or Hearts winning the Championship, I'd like to offer my final comments on Outlander and its obsessed devoted audience and their jihad concerns.

Actually I loved it. Well done folks. Does it still matter that I only sat through the one pilot episode? Is my volte-face negated by my ignorance of Diana Gabaldon's body of work?

Sure, my partner told me that in Germany, many loveless middle-aged women are obsessed with the scintillating blend of sex, adventure, fantasy, Celtic landscape and... romance. She's only read one Gabaldon book though, so what does she know? Plus, you could easily stereotype many niche markets. Football fans, for example, who are similarly navel-gazing and who often take aggressive umbrage to those who question their chosen devotion.

Adventure and history

Anyway, back to the delicious melange of adventure, history, sex and 18th century square-gos that is Outlander. Some may say that were you to remove the 'adventure' scenes, you'd be left with a slushy soft-porn production of the sort Channel 4 were once famous for broadcasting but clearly they are ignorant. Most probably douchenozzles in Gaelic even - srùb tòin (?)

And then there's the glorious history. Highlanders escaping the redcoats were most probably hairy and dirty. Most did speak Gaelic without subtitles (I bet the modern-day Redcoats will hate that!). Some may take issue though with the concept of Invernessians of 1946 partaking in pagan rituals in stone-circles and generally being backward superstitious bumpkins. Some like my very own mother! She, in her ignorance, claims that in her teenage years, almost all Scots were strict followers of Calvinistic Presbyterianism! No stone-circles for her - only dour adherence to a diet of Sabbatarianism and hellfire (a fate that I now believe is too good for Outlander critics). They even worked on Xmas day or so she says. Plainly, she hasn't read every Diana Gabaldon novel.

Certainly, were I a Jacobite sudger escaping murderous Redcoats hellbent on ethnic cleansing, I wouldn't say no to getting a lumber from a beautiful older woman who had just appeared from 200 years distant. She could lay her hands on my biodag anytime...

Some in their heretic lunacy may even suggest other Scottish films that portray Scotland as seen by real-life Scots.

Like Trainspotting maybe. Aye right - the language there is terrible and there's no Gaelic. Plus, who could love a junkie?

Or there's Seachd - lots of Gaelic, one or two nefarious Sasannaich and even mystical folklore. No sexy bare-chested Highlanders though. And we know that's very important given the beseeching of some on Twitter for readers to 'fix' an online competition for the 'best on-screen couple'.

I just know that the British public will love this! It's a shame that it's not on terrestial telly and we've had to leave it to tax-dodging pirates Amazon to show it but... that's life folks.

If any douchenozzle or ignoramus says otherwise then let them write their own blog with their own opinion. How dare they!

Btw: I found Outlander at Online Movies here. It didn't cost me a penny but that was before Amazon's announcement so who knows how long that will continue. Dèan maorach is an tràigh ann....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dirty Gaelic, the Black House and crap telly

After a winter hiatus indulging in the above while also allowing myself to become bewitched by the ironic Tartan Noir that is Kezia Dugdale's online presence, I've finally found time to praise and to bury.

First up is Outlander. I had read all about this expensively made thriller - a Scottish Game of Thrones apparently - and the notable inclusion of Scottish/ Gaelic in its script. I usually prefer Nordic Noir to mystical American stuff like GoT but the Scottish angle hooked me. It seems that even though it was filmed here and has received a fair amount of attention, it wasn't to be released this side of the Atlantic or the North Sea - both American and German audiences have so far been eagerly lapping it up. A spot of proletarian browsing online came up with the goods though.

What a disappointment. As the credits rolled, I spotted the name of the writer - Diana Gabaldon and various doomladen bells rang in my heid. Having run it past die Frau, I learn that her translated novels of horny Scottish clansmen and willing ladies are hugely fucking popular. It's basically Mills and Boon in the heather with groins moving to a port-a-beul. Minus the midges in the pubes and ticks on your scrote.

Outlander - rach air muin?

It's pretty shit to be honest but the gist of it is this - a posh English lady and her typically effete and stiff lipped husband find themselves in a post-war Inverness where pagan rituals are still commonplace. The lass goes to stone circle and the tursachan quickly spirit her away to the same spot but 200 years distant and in the midst of a skirmish between hairy Highlanders and Redcoat villains. The Gaelic Jacobites are portrayed as they probably were - hairy, smelly and plaid-wearing. All except one who is inexplicably clean-shaven - even his 18th century torso is hairless - and handsome. Nuff said.

Though tax-dodging pirates Amazon have announced it's release online, I am not inclined to watch the remaining episodes - one dose of romantic slush is enough though Outlander is not without its attributes. The excellent Bill Paterson is in the cast somewhere down the line and... there is some attempt at authenticity by having the Highlanders speak Gaelic, at least some of the time. To be fair, the Gaelic spoken is not bad though it is a tad wooden and forced coming from the mouths of non-Gaelic speaking actors. Some bits threw me - trobhad (come here) was pronounced as 'trew-ad' and not trow-ad for example but that's a minor gurn. Especially when everything else was so, so bad...

Unlike the Black House by Peter May. I always thought the Western Isles would make the perfect place for some Tartan/ Nordic Noir. So did Peter May, who has now produced a trilogy. This is the clachan a' choin. It's got gore, sex, authenticity (May knows the Isle of Lewis and her culture very well indeed), the Gaelic, the culture - warts and all, dour Presbyterianism and intrigue.

This is what BBC Scotland/ BBC Alba should be producing and exporting to the world...

...instead of cac like Bannan. Like Outlander, the PR lie-machine was busy grinding out comparisons to whet the appetite. This one was 'Gaelic's answer to the Killing'. It's like comparing Thomas the Tank Engine to  Steven Seagal's Under Siege 2 simply because of the locomotive angle. Except Bannan doesn't have any killing in it - only a jealous boyfriend lamping his love-rival. The only other crime to speak of is an underage quad bike rider escaping from the cops over the machair. Seriously.

No Nordic Noir here...
Nordic Noir - not the Skye Bridge

The Killing was dark - in all senses. Loads of night scenes, always raining, the vile excesses of human nature on display and no simple solutions to complex, multi-faceted issues. Bannan on the other hand was just a tourist advert - stunning scenery, no rain (in Skye??!!) and a transparent plot with too many lightweight characters. At best, this was a mid-evening soap opera filmed in a wild location. Strangely, it was given a slot after the 9pm watershed - perhaps it was thought that the one illicit kiss between the main character and her ex-boyfriend would cause a spike in teenage pregnancies amongst young Gaels?

Sadly, Bannan has been given a second series. Could BBC Alba's budget not go on something a bit more gritty?

To be frank, lift your dogshit.
If you want 'salty' language in the tongue of the Gael then one could do worse than purchase 'The Naughty Little Book of Gaelic'. Unfortunately, it is a slim volume but I hope it's one that will be added to in future editions. Indeed, an online 'Urban Dictionary' of everyday filthy Gaelic would be excellent.

Some delicious dirt I encountered included:
 Buinneach o'n teine ort - May you suffer diarrhea from the fire
Tòn air eigh dhut - may your arse hit the ice

Some good ones from the nether regions:
Pit air iteig! - Flying vagina!
Bod ort! - A penis on you!

The language also covers terminology for decadent or frowned-upon habits such as drinking and smoking. Responsible drinking is very much a new-fangled idea... from 'The Four Drams of the Morning' we have -
sgailc-nid - a nest-dram (sgailc = a slap or thump)
friochd-uillin - a nip of the elbow, taken while beginning to arise...

There is a healthy section on genitalia in which such gems are to be found:
bodach beag a' bhàta - little old man of the ship, i.e. the clitoris, stupid!
cirean-coillich - the rooster's comb, vagina
dos - the bagpipe drone, penis

For a French kiss, go to Sgalpaigh, Harris - pòg Sgalpach

The brevity of the volume may be down to the sources, most of whom seem to be of the academic nature. Perhaps, someone should fund an indepth study that travels the Highlands and Islands to interview fishermen, crofters, bar-workers, labourers, hotel workers and the like?

While not claiming to be an authority on the matter, I would, off the top of my head, add my tuppenceworth...
cuir corrag nad thòin is leig fead - put a finger in your arse and whistle
goc(an) - (little) tap, penis
rachamama - motherfucker
ith bod - blowjob

Someone pass a volume to the producers of Bannan please.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy Winterval from Scottish Labour

If the real life Tony Blair Xmas card wasn't bad enough - they seem to be impersonating some of the cast of Hellraiser - Scottish (or was it London?) Labour have decided the way to tackle the SNP in Scotland and to win back the working class pro-independence vote is to move to the right. Labour's answer to Johann Lamont's leadership-suicide note accusing the London Labour machine of dictating to Scotland is to... parachute in a right-wing Blairite who doesn't yet have a seat in Holyrood.

The fact that he was the only candidate for the job who form cohesive sentences doesn't say much for the wealth of talent in Scottish Labour. The 'left wing' choice Neil Findlay is relatively more traditional Labour but in a shambling interview on BBC Scotland radio, he didn't seem to know his arse from his elbow.

Murphy though has had his fingers in many dirty pies over the years and more than likely has a cupboard full of skeletons waiting to appear. He's rumoured to be a millionaire which leads one to ask, how can someone spend nine years at university - at our expense - before leaving without graduating to 'forge' a career in the Labour Party machine and come out 20 years later as a millionaire? I wonder if his expenses claims have helped a little?

Did Murphy know?

More importantly though, as a Blair loyalist and supporter of the illegal Iraq war, just what did holy-willie Jim Murphy know about the CIA torture of prisoners? Where did he stand on the rendition flights that used Prestwick as a stepping stone?

We look forward to those bones being revealed.

These are interesting though...

Jim Murphy, Torture Apologist

Jim Murphy – the wrong answer to the wrong question

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Grandmaster Flash knew.

(Pipeline) pure as the driven snow
(Connected to my mind) and now I'm havin' fun, baby!
(High fry) it's getting kinda low
(Cause it makes you feel so nice) I need some one-on-one, baby!
(Don't let it blow your mind away) Baby!
(And go into your little hideaway 'cause white lines blow away)

Let's face it, if most of us turned up at work in this state, we get our asses handed to us. George Osborne is different though. Remember too that 55% of Scots voted to retain this guy as our overlord. His shaking hands are 'managing' our economy.

I like it how some have euphemistically referred to Osborne's 'hangover'. A hangover from what? Anally-ingested horse tranquiliser with a whisky chaser? Or has he been down Leith chasing some legal highs? A night with 'Higella' Lawson perhaps - daughter of a former chancellor herself and aficionado of controlled substances?

I'm sure Dode Osborne is old to remember the fine Grandmaster Flash of Sugar Hill. Though maybe the Sugar Hill sounds were banned from Eton. Who knows.

Here's a trip - ho-ho! - down memory lane. Listen and learn George.

A billion magic crystals, painted pure and white
A multi-million dollars almost overnight
Twice as sweet as sugar, twice as pretty as salt
And if you get hooked, baby, it's nobody else's fault, so don't do it!

A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time
He got out three years from now just to commit more crime
A businessman is caught with 24 kilos
He's out on bail and out of jail
And that's the way it goes

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Back in the DDR

The former East Germany is a Cool Place. It's so cool that even the 'Wessies' are discovering the attributes of the their former Eastern Bloc countryfolk. In the 25 years since the 'wall' came down in Berlin, it's amazing that it's taken so long for those in the rest of Germany to realise that the DDR wasn't just state surveillance and repression of those who disagreed.

In recent years, 'capitalist' Germany has come to accept ideas such as a right to free childcare as normal when only a few years ago they were ridiculed as 'communist'.

In the east, the people have their 'freedom' - i.e. they can travel wherever they want. The right to work and a decent wage though is another thing. In some towns of the east, a take home wage can be as little as 500 Euros a month. Mind the right to free at access healthcare? That's communist too.

Little wonder that more people seem to be turning to Die Linke - the Left - for a political solution not to mention reviving formerly discredited 'communist' ideas that had quickly been dumped after reunification. Die Linke apparently includes many members of the former East German Socialists much to the horror of some on the centre-right.

I like this example from the Guardian's take on things regarding education:

 ...when poor results in OECD school rankings led to call for reforms of Germany’s education system at the turn of the millennium, a delegation was sent to Helsinki to study Finland’s top-ranking system. The Finns told them that they, in turn, had taken their inspiration from East Germany.
Frau Tocasaid's mother testifies to this. When East Germany was annexed re-united with the West - and the EU - everything that the DDR regime had built was swept aside to make way for the 'superior' ideas, methods and institutions of the West. Little by little over the past 25 years people have come to realise the error of that thinking.

Die Famillie Tocasaid was fortunate to set off to the eastern state of Saxony to re-unite the bairns with their German grandparents a few weeks back. The nearest airport is Pratha.

Having made this journey many times over the years, I still take a morbid interest in the flat and grey environment that seems to make up much of the Czech Republic. Greater Prague itself is horrible - like Glasgow's infamous 'grim hinterlands' times ten.

Sexy cabaret
The Czechs too have grasped their 'freedom'. It seems to manifest itself in out-of-control and garish roadside advertising. Fuck, it's everywhere.

Another manifestation of Czech freedom seems to be the market for 'erotic dancing' and establishments that offer that kind of adult entertainment. Their names amuse me on the long drive north: 'Sexy Club', 'Extasy Cabaret' and 'Darling Cabaret' which always amuses me as it reminds me of our very ane and sexless Alastair. The clubs and enthusiastic attempt at English obviously aimed at those Yankee and Brit pioneers of freiheit who come to live and play in Prague but who can't or won't learn the Slavic tongue. The Czech language indeed, seems to be held in even less esteem than our own Scottish. At least Scottish Gaelic, as it is presented in our cultural output and television - see the dire Bannan - is deemed worthy to present to those Engerlish speakers who stumble by and wish to look in.

The drive north towards Germany takes you past the hulking grey behemoth that is Cerny Most. This is not the socialist past at its best. A sprawling grey expanse of municipal housing erected in honour of Edinburgh's St James Centre and Leith's Banana Flats. The CM scheme is also home to a large retail park which includes the Republik's branch of IKEA. The Czech or Prague government obviously sees retail as a shining path to a better future and has rewarded the Czech slum dwellers with a rainbow coloured neon sign that welcomes drivers to CM and diverts the eye from the glum surroundings.

Not far from the German border is the city of Liberec - or Reichenberg as it was to the Germans before 1945. Close to Liberec is the Jested mountain on the top of which stands a huge pointed tower. This part of the socialist past seems welcomed by Czechs after a hard-day's skiing even though the monument is obviously the world's biggest middle-finger to Western civilisation.

The visit to the former-DDR is as pleasant as ever but is enhanced by the visit of Dutch punks Bambix to the Emil autonomous centre in Zittau. We head to the Emil and take in the punk rock, ludicrously cheap but excellent beer and salad-leaden vegan burgers. First up in Inner Conflict from Koln. Tuneful hardcore with female vocals - entertaining with good riffs and quality tunes. The guitarist requests than some folk in the crowd stop smoking as the singer is pregnant - it seems as if the anti-smoking laws in Germany have some wiggle room.

Emil, Zittau

Next up is Johnnie Rook from Berlin, who I have heard of courtesy of a split EP with Bambix. They kick more ass than Inner Conflict do. Not only that but the singer is pregnant with twins. This lot are great - bags of energy and a charismatic singer who owns the stage. Like a high-octane AC/DC playing hardcore punk.

Bambix do not disappoint. A Dutch band, speaking German and singing in English. The singer is a tunesmith and the first non-pregnant female-singer of the night. I resolve to see this lot back in Scotland if the chance comes along.

Back in town the next day, local municipal buildings are presenting exhibitions on the 25th anniversary of re-unification. As much of the east has died in the past quarter century, here's hoping that a move to the left can see the old towns and cities rejuvenated. There's a lot of the socialist past that's worth reclaiming.

Peace. Likes.

Can't we remember without the hypocrisy of glorifying our martial present?

Here's a wee tune by a working-class guy from Peebles called Eric Bogle.

And I can't help but wonder oh Willy McBride
Do all those who lie here know why they died
Did you really believe them when they told you the cause
Did you really believe that this war would end wars
Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing and dying it was all done in vain
Oh Willy McBride it all happened again
And again, and again, and again, and again

Friday, October 24, 2014

Banned from the Mòd

Well, not banned. But Na Seudan Ura were given a stern dressing down for daring to put a dreaded 'modern' slant on their Gaelic folk music. Apparently one of the 'judges' for the 'Royal' National Mod managed to remove his or her head from their nether region just long enough to look down their nose at the group of teenagers and chastise them for their 'lounge jazz'.

It does nothing to dispel views of Scottish/ Gaelic speakers as old-fashioned and dour Presbyterians of the 'no sex as it might lead to dancing' mould.

It also does little to present Gaelic as a living modern tongue.

An Comann Gaidhealach, who have organised the National Mod for more than a century, have presided over the death of the language over much of the Scottish mainland. In 1892 when the first Mod was held, Gaelic was still spoken by local families and communities in places such as Caithness, East Sutherland, Easter Ross, Inverness-shire, Strathspey, Perthshire, Stirlingshire, Arran, the Angus glens and on Lomondside. Despite the pomp and pageantry and despite the Royal patronage, An Comann Gaidhealach did little or nothing to make a stand for Gaelic and to protect it in those communities. Comparisons with similar societies in other small nations are like chalk and cheese.

Cultural and political can be merged but not if you're too feart to offend the Royals and the lairds. Not if you're still doffing your cap and mustering a few words of gratitude to those, and their kind, who happily saw our glens emptied of people with the remaining men used as cannonfodder and any remnant 'native-speaking' children punished for that crime.

Sadly, in Scottish Gaelic culture, the world-views and words of long-dead poets and a vanished society hold more value than a vibrant and forward looking future.

Meanwhile, in the Basque Country, the local punks have a new CD out. The good news for An Comann Gaidhealach is that it isn't lounge-jazz. The bad news is....

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Let's do it. Vote Yes.

Watch and share. We know what a no-vote looks like, we're living it already. Some are doing fine but tens of thousands are mired in poverty. Can't we use our wealth more wisely?

Nach dèan sinn nas fheàrr na th'againn ceartair? Bi misneachail agus thoir sùil air adhart. Saor Alba. Thoir air ais an cumhachd.