PART TWO: The Nine of Diamonds remains the Curse of Scotland. The origin of this name is not certain but many explanations, some of which follow, are suggested. Lord Justice-Clerk Ormiston was called the Curse of Scotland and so the Nine of Diamonds (also commonly called the Curse of Scotland) was known to them as The Justice Clerk.
What Could KRS Mean, Son? For you, KRS is the King Rap Star and Killer of Racist Statement, the Koran Reading Songwriter and Kicking Ragga Sensation, he is a Key Renegade Scholar, the Kaiser Slamming Recorder, the Kettledrum of Revolutionary Sound, the Keeper of Reason and Sense, and he comes correct as only the Kathode Ray Silencer can …. he remains tha Kaftan Robed Satirist, Kleenex Ripping Showman, Kosher Rhythmical Saviour, and Kismet Ripping Schoolmaster …. he is a Keynsian Rejecting Socialist, presenting the Kitemark for Rap Standards with Kilometres of Rhyming Stanza in a Kinda Rennaisance Style … and he is KRS : A Kedgerie of Remedial Song, Keen, Ruthless, Specific, Karoake Removing Soothsayer, Key-player, Re-payer, Standard-bearer, Kamikaze Riding Stuntman and Klan Removing Slayer, one single Karma Related Sabre-cut, making him a Knowledge Revising Saboteur and Kabob Ravishing Sovereign.
Lager Shanty: In that order. Another evening of wein, weib und gesang in Sordid Glasgow. And after "Gies a Tune" with DJ Malky Brogan on Radio Clype, and the flicking back and forth of the television in a yawning half-contemptuous manner, what could we do other than run up the starry path to meet Oblivion coming down? Later on, this typical Glasgow scene comes complete with the two shandied lovers slipping each others' tight leashes to go separately in the night, each to an off-sales of their choosing, for more of the Same.
The ownership of a bank account excites a sage contempt for social morality. Customers too, I’d be the doormat of the decade if only they had a vote. And yet people had me down as this weakling, just because my anarchism never scared anybody. They were all slavering dogs, they liked to frighten people, or at least they didn’t mind. Me though, I just can’t get tough. I don’t feel the rage so much any more. I just get the anger. I’m no good at it though, really no good. Can I still be an anarchist, I wonder? You’d think then that this was the moment, but it wasn’t. How many pages have I written? I still haven’t attacked the state. How did I become such a coward?
The ruins of Inverugie Castle lie on the north bank of the Ugie, about two miles from Peterhead. Inverugie stands on a slight eminence, with the river winding round it on three sides, the banks being finely wooded.
A legend says that Inverugie's name is properly ‘Pot Sunk Ann’, as it’s said that one of the Earls of Keith married Ann, a daughter of Crawford, Laird of Fedderat and that after a year of marriage, she was warned in a dream to leave the house.
Anne was said to have left the castle in the midst of a fearsome storm, and guided by the same treacherous spirit that visited her dreams, she was drowned in an attempt to cross the swollen river.
In the words of the ballad Old Inverugie:
She screamed for help, but none was near,
No succour to implore;
She floated to the eddie neuk,
Then sunk to rise no more.
And to this day that fatal spot
Is known to many man,
And rustic neighbours point the spot,
And tell you ‘There Sunk Ann’.
This snippet concerns the origins of the Aikey Fair, or Aikey Brae Fair.
But on the event of the first Aikey fair, which must have been in the early 1800s, the tinker lady who brought her wares dropped them while crossing the Ugie, and laid them out on the grass to dry, thus offering the locals a chance to browse them. This led to the development of the fair as a venue for people to purchase trinkets, baskets, pegs and tinwares.
As a subscribed "Friend of Unst" you are entitled to a regular digest of all the Local Doings on the island as well as a quarterly "fry" of chops (or saucermeat) and all for $59.99 a year.
Since your last visit to Unst we have seen the forced departure of Malcolm and Cassandra Pepys from the 'Bide Awa' in Baltasound, due to a disagreement over boundaries with the North Sea. The eviction of Mr and Mrs Pepys saw scenes of unprecedented English lunacy from Malcolm as he tried, unavailingly, to reform the tidal nature of the oceans with an ornamental arch of Huddersfield Brick. It is believed that the Pepys' have emigrated to Bangladesh "to see how they fu**ing like it". We hope his butchery experience serves him well.
This left a sad hole in the tourism infrastructure and of course in the wife-fighting team of the island, so we were glad that the 'Bide Awa' quickly attracted New Owners (and who wouldn't want to own this gorgeous guest outlet?) Johnnie and Babs Dalrymple, originally of Callander in Mozambique, have brought a great deal of unwonted energy and colour to the island, and indeed the whole place is buzzing with expectation at the thought of having such rhythmic people in our midst.
Elsie Johnson at the Cooked Meats and Frost Fish dealership said that this should give us the edge on Yell in all the sprint finals in this years' Shetland Sports, and we were surprised indeed to find that the Dalrymples are Full Christians and have very few 'extra' dietary needs, though the Special Constabulary are still on Red Alert, just in case.
The jury system is something exceptional in the representitive democracies of present day capitalism, the only time when institutionally ordinary people have real power.
All that happened with the Angry Brigade was that it cheered up the relatively powerless for a while.
both from John Barker in a review of 'Anarchy in the UK: The Angry Brigade' by Tom Vague, AK Press
This is still no on print. I know I’m trying to do it on here. That thing’s is still no on. Just remind me are you in the morrow? I don’t know if you need to sign this or not because that toss has fucked my computer. See now you ask me I’ve forgotten. Mine’s isnae working either. This is nae dialling out. Is yours a Samsung N four hundreds? Will that get to Debbie by the morrow? I never thought on a coffee til you said it. Garry’s just came into next door’s. It was strange it was two cheques came cause it was through the Enterprise. Is that client away working anyway? When I leave here the morrow lunchtime I’m in the town all afternoon. He’s a fucking monkey – that offer’s up five hundred pound. Why is nothing going to the printer? I know those solicitors have got those offer papers so that means those clients are holding this up. They’ve done other stuff after their mortgage. I spoke to him a few times so that’s how I thought maybe I knew his number. Ah bugger right up my nail — I’m going to go on holiday with a sore finger. I’m just away to phone the furniture place so how long do you want to wait for this chair?
Did George Fox have any secrets? No, precisely the same problem faced by many a similar prophet, the same curse that governs so much of today’s celebrity. The affair of George Fox's Journal drags on with its author’s unswerving eye on glory; despite the trouble, the tumults, the outrage, happily displaying a talent for repetition. That’s the final curse on those who have no secrets, a gradually reducing list of things to say. Such repetition points to a moderation in his opinion, he is no religious maven, merely a NUT. Never know where you are going and glory only in the accolades which you award yourself. Faith inaction? Solomon Eccles renounced music teaching and sold his virginals and viols, but feeling guilty, purchased them back and burned them. As McCauley said — The Puritans hated bear-baiting not because it gave pain to the bears but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
The brief spell David Balfour spends on Erraid is one of the most evocative in all of Stevenson, I think so. The chapter titled ‘The Islet’ is a Treasure Island in miniature; it is the ghastly pain of Jekyll and Hyde; it’s even its own travelogue. David Balfour, soaking, and becoming more wet and exhausted by the minute, living off mussels, some of which go down well, some of which make him vomit - he never knows which, and the isolation - all are stunning drama.
‘The Islet’ begins with these words: ‘With my stepping ashore I began the most unhappy part of my adventures’; and ends with these words, some of the best in the book: ‘I have seen wicked men and fools, a great many of both; and I believe they both get paid in the end; but the fools first.’
Only the first BBC version of Kidnapped makes an attempt to portray the Erraid set piece on film. The 1960 film replaces it with a mean Scots persona created by Duncan Macrae. In RLS’ Kidnapped, this character which appears in the chapter ‘Through the Isle of Mull’ is the impudent Gaelic cheat that attempts to guide Davie.
I have always been drawn to this description of the Black Plague in Scotland from Andrew of Wyntoun. Wyntoun was a Scottish poet, a canon and prior of Loch Leven on St Serf's Inch and later, a canon of St. Andrews.
Andrew Wyntoun is most famous for his Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland, which contains an early mention of Robin Hood. A striking feature in this description of the plague is the reiteration of the fact that every historian and chronicler repeats about the Black Death, that when it raged, a third of the population died from it. Actually, chroniclers in other countries have stated that anywhere between fifty and ninety percent of the population died.
Though the plague definitely hit Scotland in 1349, it seems to have been less damaging here than elsewhere, perhaps due to the harshness of the winter. Although this changed in 1350, the plague does also seem to have had an effect on English and Scottish relations.
I think I am most drawn in this to the cute word 'barnys' - 'bairns' to you and me. The Book of Pluscarden (Liber Pluscardensis) also talks of a third of the population being wiped out, so the figure must be fair.
In Scotland, the fyrst Pestilens
Begouth, off sa gret wyolens,
That it was sayd, off lywandf men
The thyrd part it destroyid then
Efftyr that in till Scotland
A yhere or more it was wedand
Before that tyme was never sene
A pestilens in our land sda kene:
Bathe men and barnys and women
It sparred noucht for to kille them.