Greatness Revisited

The idea of great artists came to me long after I’d learned to paint.  You could find out who I considered to be great, but that would only tell you something about me.

You could make your own list to the same effect but what good would that do you? You would be as well listing the great flowers of all time, the greatest icebergs in the world, the towns with the greatest air, or the greatest breadsticks that ever were made. Kiel has the greatest canal in Europe. Or myaybe it does not and perhaps the honour is due to Venice or to Manchester.

You’ll find that there are so many great things in the end that you're wasting your time with this policy, and the only thing that stops everything from being great, is yourself.

Try it now. Try and say something nice next time you open your mouth. You might be able to manage it once but you probably can’t keep it up for very long. If you’re like me, you’re a cynic because you’ve been bred a cynic ... and you see so much of the world as a chance for you to shine with your luminous criticism. It's all you and me have, and it's what keeps us from the rarity of greatness ...

Who Was Palinarus?

Palinarus stands for a certain will-to-failure, perhaps a repugnance to success, a desire to give up at the last moment, an urge towards loneliness, isolation and obscurity. Palinarus, in spite of his great ability and his conspicuous public position, deserted his post at the moment of victory, and opted for the unknown share …

The River Ythan and the Crown of Scotland

Buchan — Ythan — Forgue — the Kirkhill of Logie — and the Soorick Burn — the source of the pearl that is found in the Crown of Scotland.

The Ythan — or Ituna as it was known to the Romans — rises in the upper parish of Forgue, from three springs which are collectively known as the Wells of Ythan.  Half a mile from these springs, the Ythan receives its first tributary, the burn of the Sorrel — in Doric known as the Soorick Burn.  This is near the base of the Kirkhill of Logie, at the summit of which are the final remains of three druidical circles.

It is perhaps surprising to some people that in this remote area of North East Scotland, there were both Romans and Druids — but there were.  Both Romans and Druids in their ways were in the business of setting boundaries, and near this spot at the Mill of Knockleith is where the Ythan begins to form that for which it is still known — the boundary of Buchan.

At one time, the Ythan was known for its mussels — called pearl oysters — and in the list of unpublished Acts of Parliament of Charles I, there is one “for repeating the patent for the pearl-fishery in the Ythan, granted to Robert Buchan.”

 

 

There is a tradition in fact that large pearl in the crown of Scotland was procured in the Ythan, the story being that it was found at the junction of the Water of Kelly (spit, spit) and the Ythan, and was presented to James IV in 1620 by Sir Thomas Menzies of Cults.

Skene, in his Succinct View of Aberdeen, says that it was “for beauty and bigness, the best that was at any time found in Scotland.”

On account of these pearls which were found in the Ythan, the river was once called “the rich rig of Scotland” and although pearls are still found there, there is no regular fishery for them.

A Note on the Crown of Scotland

The Crown of Scotland is very old indeed.  The Crown was remade in its current form for King James V of Scotland  in 1540. It is part of the Honours of Scotland which is the oldest set of royal regalia in the United Kingdom. 

In 1540, the bonnet of velvet and ermine was added to the crown, but an earlier form of the crown is shown in the portrait of James IV of Scotland  in the Book of Hours, done for his marriage to Margaret Tudor in 1503. 

This 1503 date is the earliest known reference to the crown and so 1503 is thus the latest date of original manufacture of the crown.

The Crown of Scotland on Wikipedia

The Caged Lady of Buchan

Isabel Macduff, the caged lady of Buchan, and sister of the Earl of Fife, who was also attached to the cause of King Robert the Bruce, was the subject of a well-known Buchan verse.

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The Drinkard's Aberdoniensis

To be published with The Combined Technical Jargon of Bev

 

These are all words and phrases which we have picked up from researches into the Scottish Aberdonian way of speaking and living. We are three American students from New York who are in Scotland because of the unique words which they use here, and the Congy Ben 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!

Read more: The Drinkard's Aberdoniensis

Questions Time

Certainly it will elucidate the drift of the foregoing obscure utterances of this blog if I here insert something of our webhost’s speculations on party politics.  To state an entire opinion on this is beyond my compass however let me observe this that nowhere is a human more mysterious, impalpable, than in his or her fantasy of being the organ of the Godlike. 

Read more: Questions Time

The Last Mince Pie in Aberdeen

Aberdeen Journal, 31st August 2037:

The suburb of Gilcomston, which last week fell to the Gibleteers (one time of Holburn), is to be destroyed this evening at 6PM. The last team of arbiters, which left the area at noon on the 30th, complained bitterly at the state to which the citizens of "unoccupied” Aberdeen have been reduced.

"It stands to reason," said Chief Moderator Frunkie Meldrum, "that when one section of a populace lay claim to such a large proportion of the pies, the rest will begin to bray for blood."

Read more: The Last Mince Pie in Aberdeen

The Forfar Book Prize

The 2016 Forfar International Book Prize Announcement!

 

This year's winner is Keith Imray Imray with his novel


AW THE DUGS CAAED TOPAZ


Congratulations go to Kevin Imray Strathie of Forfar, the winner of the 2016 Forfar International Book Prize (formerly the Forfar Book Prize) for a first original novel set in, about, or by a person from Forfar. Aw The Dugs Caaed Topaz is an exciting debut and we look forward to seeing it on the shelves. Well done Keith!

Read more: The Forfar Book Prize

To Humanise

Another word that has changed its meaning is the verb to humanise.

To humanise now means to turn into a machine, but this definition has become a matter of balance. Life on Earth is the fact of a brick wall neatly stacked, all the same colour and interlocked so that it does not fall down. When an object is humanised then it is fitted into the technosphere, rather than brought into the human mode.

Does it have a commercial application?

Yes, it is a bumble bee, and therefore we  may enslave it for Honey Breakfast Flakes. Can it be used as a lubricant? Yes it is an essential oil can be sold to violinists to help their grip. Can we re-manufacture it on a mass scale? Yes we can, no matter what it is, even if it isa plastic or a chicken. The word humanise applies to every fowl we have so far come across, they can be bred as often as taste requires, andironic as it may sound, humanised in farms.

The Beggar's Benison

Notes Copied from the Records of The Beggar's Benison

For which see Male Sex Clubs of the Enlightenment in Scotland

The Minutes of The Beggar’s Benison

1734 Candlemas: 13 Knights present.  Chamber tyled at 3 o'clock, and opened in due manner.  One Feminine Gender, 17, was hired for One Sovereign, fat and well-developed.   She stripped in the Closet, nude; and was allowed to come in with face half-covered.   None was permitted to speak to or touch her.   She spread wide upon a Seat, first before and then behind:  every Knight passed in turn and surveyed the Secrets of Nature.  Afterwards the Sovereign closed the Chambers, after Repast in the accustomed form.  Secresy enjoined upon faith.

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Kelman Acceptance Speech 2012

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.

Mutation / Aspects

MUTATION:  Charm: With this power, you can exude a pheromone that makes all humans in the area trusting, happy, and generous. Honest, too. You're not completely immune to your own power, however!

SOCIETY:  Death Leopard: The Death Leopards do whatever they can to have fun.  That's what it's all about, right? And what's more fun than explosions, gunfire, and wreckin' shit?!

Your mission today is to set fire to at least five things and/or three people. You've got a pocket full of IgnaLight Stickers just for that purpose.  Just stick one to something, scratch it, and... Well, at that point try to get a few feet away.

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St Barry Vilitatis c501 -553 AD

DETAILS OF THE SAINTED LIFE OF BARRY

 

Companion of St Benedict's at Monte Cassino, Saint Barry Vilitatis was the first to write the famous rule at the Great Benedict's dictation. After St Benedict's death, St Barry continued his much imitated and lively correspondence with St Donna of Hamarstadt and her Miraculous Goat, in which the descriptions of monastic flagellation are so vivid that they inspired something of a vogue in Dark Age Europe.

Piqued, it is said by the Chronicler Wittloss the Goth, by his failure to be appointed Magister Flagellorum, St Barry left the community of Monte Cassino and fled to the Abruzzi mountains with one companion only, the same young Wayne of Perth who was later to become a "wife" to the Prophet Mohammad.

Finding refuge in a cave on a hillside, St Barry settled down to a life dedicated to intense prayer, flagellation and study of Male Generative Fluid. Alas, barely two and a half years into his retreat, he was murdered by a group of local Pagans for whom the sights, sounds, and smells of mutual flagellation proved to strong a stimulus to their destructive wrath.

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Young Bevvy Merchants

 bevvy

 

It is Tuesday today, I have done a little writing, but not as much as I should as I am recovering from a four day binge .... exhuasted.  I have been to the baker's shop and secured two scones a caramel slice and a French cake, and I'll eat them all with tea at about 5 o’clock .... it's the last turd on the hangover, things'll turn up after a feed like that.

When not with each other, my pal Donald and I pace through the town looking for interesting editions of Penguins, and today I found a most unusual copy of DEMIAN by Herman Hesse, which I had to stuff up my jumper because I'd spent all my money on cakes. I ran off.

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Animals Have Mercy!

Animals Have Mercy for now and forever, it's the evil that men and women do that makes them come together. They winter frosted and froze you my friends but you got up again and stapled your twisted genome back on your head. Where animals snack and smack the bark, we inject the jewels to our pockets and they and meat meet mark

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More Lambs!

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

Brian Baxter's Party

Are you going to Brian Baxter's party said Terry and I said EH Brian Baxter's pairty like? and he says AYE it's this weekend and I says EH and Terry says AYE MIN Brian Baxter says that it's his party LIKE this weekend and I just says well it's NAE LIKE I WANT TO GO OR ANYTHING and Terry says NIH and I didn't think you would LIKE and then I said well what the fucker you telling me for LIKE? and Terry says well I just said I would like to Brian Baxter’s like and I said EH WELL THEN and goes down to the offie like thinking that if it was Brian Baxter's pairty LIKE I'd better get to the offie fast before Brian Baxter's guests get there and fucking buy all the booze and I was laughing thinking that's MENTAL imagine if all the booze had been bought from the offie like and I was LAUGHING and thinking aye the FAGS AND ALL.

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Editorial Piles in IRL

It may be worth my while to note that the book reviewers of the last two decades ought to be included in my list of Biblioclasts and as the enemies of IRL books. Many books that lie in stacks in newspaper offices, due to the large amount delivered there, have had a few leaves removed, and in many others whole sections torn out. 

I suppose it served the journalists’ purpose thus to use the wisdom of writers but books are delivered to newspapers unbidden and yet in good faith as perfect, and when they lie unreviewed in their hundreds,  the editors are quick to cause damage if found defective or low in quality in their eyes, while the publisher has no redress.  This way, books are destroyed in the thousands, each year.

Read more: Editorial Piles in IRL