Monday, January 24, 2005

Another reason to avoid going out.

Apparently, Burns Night is upon us. Tomorrow, Scots all around the world, but very few in Scotland, will be re-enacting one of those meaningless and outdated rituals that are typical amongst those who feel they ought to celebrate the fact that their great-great-grandmothers were born in a certain geographical location.
Scotland is a wonderful place. I am among the few surviving visitors who have been there on a day that it did not rain. As a preamble, please be aware that the following attack on all things Scottish is only in jest. Racism in any form will not be welcome in this journal. Nationalism is, in my view, an unpleasant manifestation of racism that I have no time for. Having said that, I would not want my principles to stand in the way of good laugh.

It is a characteristic of the Scots that they enjoy inflicting misery on others. Living in a country where it rains for 322 days of the year, and on each of the remainder midges attack every living organism, gives rise to an outlook on existence that falls short of joyful. The Scots therefore take it upon themselves to make everyone else as miserable as they are.
It is a well established fact that no one in Scotland enjoys bagpipes, porridge or the poetry of Burns, but they will all seize every available opportunity to inflict these trials on the rest of us in the name of “culture”.
What other possible explanation can there be for the custom of "first footing", whereby on New Year's Day, you visit all of your neighbours and trample coal dust into their carpets.
Burns was either a truly appalling poet, or a con artist of the highest order. His poetry is punctuated by “an all tha’” – the 18th Century equivalent of “y’know”, as a sign that he could not scan and had limited imagination. He is responsible for the atrocious verses of “Auld lang syne”, which has somehow become traditional to sing at the change of the year. Seeing human beings involved in this activity is the nearest I ever get to embarrassment, and I make it a point to be in bed by 10:30 on 31st December.
How did we allow the Scots to take over the new year? When I was a lad, television stations broadcast until after midnight, and thought that Andy Bloody Stewart was suitable entertainment, and a fitting part of celebration. For a truly talented Scots poet, please visit the website of James McNulty.


Simon Holledge said...

Hi and greetings from Scotland where it is presently raining!

Actually I have been thinking of visiting England, maybe in the dry season . . . whenever that is! My great-great grandmother was English . . . Anyway I'd be grateful for some travel information.

Which of your motorways are open at this time of year? How can I find out if the trains are running? Is it safe to enter to enter a town with a premiership football club? Do I need an ID card with biometric info if I go south of Burnley? How can I find restaurants that serve fresh, rather than microwaved, food? I am interested in politics: how can I visit the English Parliament? (I can't find it listed. You do have a democracy, don't you?) Is it possible to refuse an English breakfast without giving offence? Do I need crampons in the Hampshire Alps at this time of year?

Any help you can give me so that I can make a safe trip will be much appreciated.

Simon in Callander, Perthshire

Vicus Scurra said...

Thank you Simon, I enjoyed reading that. It was not my intention to open up this journal to a round of “Let’s make fun of each other’s race by picking up the common stereotype”, but I suppose, had I been more perspicacious, then I would have seen the inevitability of that. Unfortunately, had you intended to provoke me by countering my mildly anti-hibernian post by lambasting the English, then I have to confess that I am entirely on your side.
But let me address some of your points.
English motorways are always open. In the sense that you can always drive on to them – getting off is a different matter. No one has yet come up with an effective way of warning motorists not to do this, and there are, I believe, a number of families who have been trapped in motorway traffic jams for several generations.
Accurate train timetables are readily available. They are tattooed on the stomach of the sub-species “flying pig”.
Please do not enter a town with a premiership football club. Leave your premiership football club at home.
Why would anyone want to go south of Burnley? Did your parents not warn you about Cheltenham, Colchester and Chichester?
English cuisine is almost as bad as that of your mother country. Bombarding it with radiation is only one of many ways of trying to disguise the horror.
Of course we are not a democracy. I suggest you visit the website of my old pal, Boris Johnson, who is scratching around for ideas at the moment.
I haven’t eaten an ‘English Breakfast’ for over 30 years, which is when I adopted the practice of vegetarianism. I suspect you meant to say “is it possible to digest an English breakfast?”
As a keen amateur athlete, I am proud to claim that I have scaled the highest point in Hampshire (the county in which I am currently domiciled – for the benefit of my American readers, that means the place where I live), the furniture department of Allders in Portsmouth. I did not cheat, I used the stairs.
If you chose to visit Hampshire, I will be happy to act as a guide. We have Jane Austen’s house (although the bitch is never at home), the hanging roundabouts of Basingstoke, and HMS Mercury, which is 15 miles inland. Just for a start.

Simon Holledge said...

Thank you Ken (?) or should I say Vicus,

That was worthwhile.

Perhaps we could collaborate on a guidebook for the British Isles and Ireland, but we need to find a suitable Welshman and an Irishman to complete the team.

My own blog has no jokes, perhaps I can read Kaliyuga Kronicles from time to time to get some tips? By the way, are you a hindu? And what exactly does Vicus scurra mean? Court jester, country bumpkin or something?

Oh, and I am a commentator. Melissa signed me up.