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Happy Hogmanay & New Year!

It’s amazing to think that during my lifetime, Christmas Day was a normal working one for many in Scotland and New Year was the big holiday. In many households, gifts were exchanged on New Year’s Day rather than Christmas.

Growing up in Scotland in the 60’s and 70’s, Hogmanay and New Year was a kind of magical mystery time. The house was tidied up on Hogmanay, everything dusted and polished.
It was the first time when staying up beyond midnight was officially sanctioned and alcohol was taken – probably a shandy made from dad’s beer, ginger wine or a mild drink like a sip of the snowball your mum was drinking.

There was all the rigmarole of first footing where neighbours would wander from house to house having impromptu parties of varying length,music being played, songs being sung. You needed a bit of coal, a dram and some black bun or shortbread (and a wee minding*) if you were a serious first foot.

New Year, new hope, glad that ones over – maybe next year will be better. ‘Lang may yer lum reek!’ ‘May the best of ’70 be the worst of ’71!’ ‘slainte!’ The White Heather Club, Robin Scott and Jimmy McGregor, Jimmy Shand, Andy Stewart and Jimmy Logan on the telly.

Sneaking another sip of the bevvy when no one was looking.

Steak pie for New Year’s lunch with some attendees the worse for wear.

It really was like that. Or at least it is in my head.

The old traditions may have largely died out but wherever you are from and for whatever your reason for dropping by this outpost of the internet, let me wish you the warmest and happiest of New Year wishes from Scotland for 2011.

*small token or gift

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The Weekend Waits – I Hope I Don’t….

The track which gave the title to Tom’s first album Closing Time 38 years ago.

‘Now it’s closing time, the music’s fading out’

Well I hope that I don’t fall in love with you
‘Cause falling in love just makes me blue,
Well the music plays and you display
Your heart for me to see,
I had a beer and now I hear you
Calling out for me
And I hope that I don’t fall in love with you.

Well the room is crowded, people everywhere
And I wonder, should I offer you a chair?
Well if you sit down with this old clown,
Take that frown and break it,
Before the evening’s gone away,
I think that we could make it,
And I hope that I don’t fall in love with you.

Well the night does funny things inside a man
These old tom-cat feelings you don’t understand,
Well I turn around to look at you,
You light a cigarette,
I wish I had the guts to bum one,
But we’ve never met,
And I hope that I don’t fall in love with you.

I can see that you are lonesome just like me,
And it being late, you’d like some some company,
Well I turn around to look at you,
And you look back at me,
The guy you’re with has up and split,
The chair next to you’s free,
And I hope that you don’t fall in love with me.

Now it’s closing time, the music’s fading out
Last call for drinks, I’ll have another stout.
Well I turn around to look at you,
You’re nowhere to be found,
I search the place for your lost face,
Guess I’ll have another round
And I think that I just fell in love with you.

And Yet More

Regular correspondent Robbo directs me to this site which shows the already designed 51 star USA flag. Puerto Rico is often called the 51st state but as this Independent article from 1999 shows, the 51st state could have been further afield!

More Readers’ Emails

A combination of being busy and not having too much inspiration explains the lack of postings in recent days. Thanks then to occasional correspondent Bill Stevenson who points me in the direction of this old TV interview with Gail Sheridan. Gail postulates that although Tommy is an atheist, there are many similarities between Christianity and socialism. She also opines that Tommy will ‘Go to heaven because he is so good’. There is no time scale or method mentioned by which Tommy will arrive there though. Bill suggests that there may be a few ironic comments of public interest.

Also in touch has been Brian Cairnduff with his latest ‘An elephant cant’ epistle from forargyll.com

AnElephantCant stay warm in winter
He has trouble finding bed-socks his size
He needs a giant hotty
To warm his mammoth botty
And his duvet’s a big top in disguise

To wrap up AnElephant is not easy
He has tusks and big ears and a tail
It takes more than aspirin
To stop him a-gasp-er-ing
But on the bright side he is robust and not frail

AnElephantCant shake a head cold
An earache brings great consternation
So when he comes near
The thing we most fear
Is the prospect of giant sternutation

Yes when he sneezes it is like a tornado
Or an earthquake and this is the truth
His explosive emissions
Guarantee demolition
Of windows and chimneys and roofs

So AnElephant is best kept indoors
When the sleet and the snow start to fall
A wee drop of toddy
Safeguards his old body
And brings safety and comfort to all

A 2010 Christmas gift from AnElephantCant, verse from Brian Cairnduff, image from Phil Burns.

Back Soon

Aye.

Back soon.

We Know What They Meant

Christmas……then what?

I don’t think we have anything planned for Neerday, so it may be a quiet one.

Before then Harmonica Lewinsky are one of four bands appearing at Coopers in Helensburgh on Tuesday night for the Smiles for Life charity which has raised a lot of money for equipment at Yorkhill Kids’ Hospital.

Then after Neerday it’s Burns season. I wrote here about my first trip to a Burns Supper last year, and through that I’ve been invited to a couple more to once again perform a song or twa.

One of them is a proper Burns club which requires a formal dinner suit so thank you to the local St Margaret’s Hospice charity shop which had a brand new one with the labels still on in my size. Another first because I have never been to a black tie do.

I murder hate by flood or field,
Tho’ glory’s name may screen us;
In wars at home I’ll spend my blood-
Life-giving wars of Venus.
The deities that I adore
Are social Peace and Plenty;
I’m better pleas’d to make one more,
Than be the death of twenty.

I would not die like Socrates,
For all the fuss of Plato;
Nor would I with Leonidas,
Nor yet would I with Cato:
The zealots of the Church and State
Shall ne’er my mortal foes be;
But let me have bold Zimri’s fate,
Within the arms of Cozbi!