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Showing posts with label Billy Connolly. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Billy Connolly. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Bank holiday trivia

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.


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?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Billy Connolly and Jimmy Reid

Billy Connolly spoke at some length at Jimmy Reid’s funeral service today. He clearly had a strong regard for Jimmy Reid, and was moved by his death. His speech was very funny and conveyed the core of Glasgow working class humour in the way that only Connolly can deliver.

But it contained little of the real essence of Jimmy Reid, his burning political convictions and his love of Scotland.

Perhaps we could not expect a recognition of those convictions, especially Jimmy Reid’s most recent views, from the man who coined the phrase “wee, pretendy Parliament”, a phrase that has been quoted again and again by every commentator hostile to Scotland’s devolved Parliament and to the aspirations of its people to run their own affairs.

One recent quote from the man who embodied the values and pride of the Scottish working class and indeed of all Scots will suffice -

31st March 2007, just before the Scottish National Party’s historic win in the May 2007 Holyrood election.

“New Labour has ceased to be Labour. It has betrayed all the principles, all the reasons why the Labour Party was founded, and it has become, quite frankly, a kind of Conservative Party. It’s a Thatcherite Labour Party, which is a contradiction in terms. So I couldn’t stay in the Labour Party – so always having been a political activist, I’ve got to ask myself – what do I do? What’s the next step – as a Scot?

“I was always a nationalist – that wing of the Labour movement that was for Home Rule, going away back to Maclean - John Maclean …

“People forget this – that was part of the fundamental principles of Scottish Labour. Quite frankly, I find it impossible to contemplate voting for Labour – because if I vote for Labour, I’m voting for the Iraq War – I’m voting for the PFI – I’m voting for economic policies that still retains elements of the working class in Glasgow among the poorest people in Europe.

“There’s no reason to vote Labour – and here we’ve got the SNP. I believe in the Scottish Government, sir, and what really chokes me is that Scots say, that somehow or other the Swedes, the Norwegians, the Irish – they can all govern themselves, but we’re so deficient in politics and in governing capacities that we can’t do it. What an insult that is! We can do it --- and I hope it comes reasonably soon, because I want to see it.”

Jimmy Reid

YouTube clip