May be --- but …
I may have complained about the media’s lazy use of the “may be … but” formulation, but it has done no good at all. BBC and STV may pay their presenters good salaries but they are incapable of thinking up another way to introduce items. This lazy formulation is now as embedded as sports journalists’ clichés, and almost rivals the television cliché of all time, “You’d better come in …”, which is what everybody who opens a door to another says in TV drama and soaps. In the Western movies of my youth, it used to be “You’ve got it all figured out, haven’t you?”
The sun may rise in the morning but it gets dark at night. Alex Salmond may be First Minister of Scotland, but … Oh, for God’s sake stop it! The sun does rise in the morning and Alex Salmond is First Minister of Scotland.
Elizabeth is the Queen but Charles may be king - but then again he may not … Now, that formulation is correct – OK? Trust the but – it’s all you need to do the job.
HOGMANAY/NEW YEAR’S MORNING MUSIC
Choosing the TV channel to usher in 2012 was a problem as usual for me. I tend to default to BBC1 but much as I admire Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham’s musicianship, I do live in hope that some other talented Scottish musicians may be found. I regret that once again I was disappointed in this expectation of the other groups that were on. I have a low tolerance for young musicians with capo and left fist firmly locked in one, or at the most two places on the fretboard, while they deliver ‘songs’ with negligible harmonic movement and a melodic line that is less complex than a pre-school child’s nursery rhyme.
The young traditional groups are a little better, but not much. Of course, BBC2 offers some more sophisticated music, but it comes with Jools Holland, someone I cannot stand, as either musician or presenter.
I had a bright idea – BBC Alba – and initially found it more acceptable, simply for the manifest genuineness of the musicians and the audience, who behaved as if the cameras weren’t there, and simply enjoyed themselves. But alas, the intonation of the singers left a great deal to be desired, and there is a certain monotony in the music which means that a little goes a long way with me.
I eventually gave in, and surrendered to BBC2 and Jules. To my shame, I found myself longing for the days of Jimmy Shand and the White Heather Club. Eventually, I put on an old Billy Connolly audio CD to cleanse my mind of such base thoughts, and as those inimitable tones demolished the Wild Rover, four-guys-in-cardigans, - and all civil servants - styles of the time, and the wee Glesca wifie stridently demanding Ten Guitars, I felt better.
Billy Connolly – a comic genius. What a pity he doesn’t view his country’s independence differently …
Ho! Hima – Ha- hnobies chi-hald – Hima, ha-nobodies cha-hild ah!” A Samurai invocation …
Alex Harvey said to a 16-year old Sydney Devine – the Tartan Rocker, as he was then – “Don’t worry aboot yer career, Sydney – jist learn twenty auld Scots songs an’ twenty country and Western wans as well, an’ ye’ll still huv a career fifty years from noo.”
As he said these words in the old Austin funeral car that was the band bus for The Kansa City Counts Alex’s first band, in the autumn/winter of 1957, I recognised the truth of them. So did Sydney, and he never looked back. I wonder if he remembers?