I submitted the title for my thesis to the department, offering them a work-proposed as, "Marcion Was Right". When I was called to the Dean's office, he told me that there would have be some major changes.
"It's not so much the sentiment," he said, "rather the brevity of the title is the complicating factor. Such a straightforwardly theological perspective, would really have to be out into more words than just those three."
As it happened, there was no appetite for my work, and a severe lack of funding. I returned to church but they had heard what I had done and stared me out for my boldness.
It has been raining for five days - The Aberdeen Eveing Express claims worst February in the recorded meteorological history of the city - and everyone in the town is depressed about the true picture of things terrestrial. The rain stopped but Newmachar was cut off and the road to Milltimber flooded, Dyce flooded &c... so Donald and I stepped out to relieve our spirits. We rose this morning, in beautiful sunshine, and it seemed to us spring was here, and so we smoked a pipe and a reefer and exited the flat for to view the architecture of Aberdeen in the radiant glory of the sun, before grubbing around stoned in the second hand bookshops. It is later in the day, and Donald has gone and I have calmed down. These are my spring days, repeated annually now...
The Northern declivity of the hill of Parkhouse is called Aikey Brae or Yackie Brae. In the 1980s there was a play by The Invisible Bouncers, the theatre group of Alastair McDonald, called Pinky Brae, and it was an exceptional hit, at least in the North East. I'm trying to track down some stuff about the play at the present.
The name Aikey Brae is supposed to have derived from the aiks (oaks) of the area, which once clad the hill. Another idea is that the hill claims its name from Achaicus (or Yochock) a Pictish King.
Until the 20th century, the Aiky Fair was still held in the area, and marked with the removal of the relics of Achaicus’ brother, St Drostan, from Aberdour to Deer, on the third Wednesday in July.
On Aikey Brae, it is said one of the Earls of Buchan fell from his horse at hunting, and was killed. The facts of the case state that this happened because the earl had called Thomas the Rhymer, the great prognosticator, Thomas the Lyer.
Though Thomas the Lyar thou call’st me,
A sooth tale I shall tell to thee
By Aiky-side thy horse shall ride,
He shall stumble and thou shalt fa’;
Thy neck-bane shall break in twa,
And maugre all thy kin and thee,
Thy own belt thy bier shall be.
From The Golden Bough:
"In some parts of Amboyna, when the state of the clove plantations indicate that the crop is likely to be scanty, the men go naked to the plantations by night, and there seek to fertilise the trees precisely as they would impregnate women, while at the same time they call out for "More Cloves!" This is supposed to make the trees bear more fruit."
Which explains no doubt the desperate, guttural cries of "More Lambs!" heard throughout the Spring in Scotland.
More at Gimcrack Hospital
In the public-house to die
Is my resolution;
Let wine to my lips be nigh
At life's dissolution:
That will make the angels cry,
With glad elocution,
"Grant this toper, God on high,
Grace and absolution!"
The DRINKARD's Aberdoniensus
The Combined Technical Jargon of Bev
These are all words and phrase which we have picked up from researches into the Scottish-Aberdonian way of speaking. We are three American students from New York who are in Scotland because of the unique words which they use here, and the Peter Burnett Website has let us publish what we have collected so far.
We hope that you enjoy the words and that you send us more if you hear any while you are in Aberdeen!
The physical properties of the city of Edinburgh alone are enough to inspire awe in even the most determinedly impressionable, unobservant, English ape. But are best seen, rather than described. The populace, however, is ripe for ridicule. The population can be split in two roughly equal parts : Ancient and Modern. The former consists of 250,000 surreptitious wall-eyed hybrid Irish pub-dwellers, admirably possessed of a profound, seemingly infinite capacity for quiet reserve and decorous, delicate incuriosity, until drink-fuelled, they burst into extremes of hospitality and disinterested generosity. I can't help but envy their complacent, effortless confidence in drinking every day.
JOHN DILLON'S IN; WE WON
BATTY AND HIS TRANSFORMER'S OUT; WE WON AGAIN
PUT THE BOOT IN
SUPPORT THE ANGRY SIDE SPREAD THE WORD
POWER TO THE PEOPLE
The Angry Brigade
This is my favourite photograph of Marcel Duchamp. It sometimes goes under the title of 'Marchel Duchamp's Departure for America'. An artist like Duchamp is unique in everything, and sometimes that comes down to the pure ephemera such as this photograph represents.
Let us look at it in detail.
We do not go to church and are not religious in what we refer to as "the conventional sense." We do believe in a "higher power" and in a transcendent morality and we love to see the sun shining through stained glass windows. We love beautiful old rhyme but prefer to spend Sunday morning in bed, or with our eyes upon the newspaper.
We approve of the Elizabethan concept of immutability, but it does not run in the blood. Life is not nasty, brutish and short. We are intrepid in opinions we have heard and which can be backed up by at least two separate arguments. We often argue that religion is dangerous or bad, so we rely on journalists to bring order to the lack of cause or consequence in the world.
We are of the sprint and not the marathon. Tremendous excitement is what we mean by joy and when we sit down to our dinner, or to watch our television, we fully expect to be there 25 years later. When forced to choose we panic and settle on the immediate material, and although God is off the radar, we still secretly require something to lend authority to our morals.
In the traditional account of the Buddha, when he realised the extreme pointlessness of asceticism, he accepted a reasonable meal and sat down to look for another path. In effect, the Buddha accepted a still relatively disciplined asceticism, but one which supplied him with the correct balance of minerals, nutrients and vitamins to reach the required nirvanic heights.
The Buddha was soon to designate this more measured asceticism "The Middle Path", for it was a route which avoided the heights of sensual indulgence and the self-mortification he had realised as harmful, and one which also provided him with a balanced mental pleasure. All of this, the Buddha found under a tree, and within a bowl of soup - and although the tree is long dead, the soup is just the same today as it was 2500 years ago.
Campbell's Cream of Buddha™ is a richly meditative soup which can help you resolve the contradictions of daily life. While providing the healthy and balanced nutrition that your body needs, Cream of Buddha also tastes as delicious as undelimited space.
Try a bowl of Campbell's and you'll feel ready to extinguish your soul. "Thirst and craving," said the Buddha Gotama, "is that which drives the whole mass of suffering forward," - so drive yourself home tonight, and drown away the tanhã by seeking the Noble Path to Campbell's Cream of Buddha.™
Slept all morning. Children's party all afternoon, Sighthill, Edinburgh. Sweet and polite group of kids. Basket scampi at the softplay. Watched MAKE ME AN OFFER (1955) starring Peter Finch, then all episodes of Nathan Barley. The most ideal weather. Last night, good company, Tadg, Andrew, Kenny. XLV: A type of gramophone record classified by its revolution speed of 45 cycles per minute. Refers also to the Jacobite rising in Scotland. One half of a football game! My boys were so pleased to see me at lunchtime. They wrestled on top of me for twenty minutes, trying to get best position for tickles. The weather is ideal, giving the day an endless quality. Turning to think of the future. Focus on completing a new book this month. 0 + 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 = 45. Counting in triangles.
I wish I'd heard James Kelman's Saltire acceptance speech. I read about it ... it raised an eyebrow. I searched the net but nobody had published it, though I did find this quote:
Our culture is as rich as any culture and it’s shocking to me that our children, and the likes of myself at the age of 66, have to struggle to fucking express it.
It was enough! I don't know if James Kelman said that or not, but that is what I heard.
There isn't much competition for quality writing, I mean among people that are alive. James Kelman has pretty much being holding the lot of it down, singlehanded for Scotland since the 1980s, with nobody that I've seen or heard writing anything as good.
What I mean by good I'll have to express later. I'd never thought of Kelman as struggling to express his Scottishness, and I don't know what he means about our children.
Here is the Jesus Christmas Blessing:
Ö Bless us all, as the season leaves us every one behind, there is a fat chance that cold and lonely we will succumb to Christmas confusion, and in that famous glow, get light and merry to return to glum in January.
And Ö Bless us all, as the season leaves us every one a cold turkey, there is a fat chance that peace presents a memorial quandary as lonely we will succumb to Christmas longing; bang on the day, and in that famous glow, get light and lighter until our sections are unique.
May you all go glumbo to your dinners; where sacred and alone, hold by those others of the self-same birth raft, you supply your company. AMEN