Monday, March 30, 2015

Labour/ Ukip coalition on the cards?

Many have looked on with a morbid fascination as Labour in recent years has moved further and further to the right. It's been truly horrible though the reality of what's happened has been evident enough. It's as if Jackie Baillie rolled up to your house just to squat on your lawn and lay a huge steaming log. You'd look on, intoxicated by the novelty of the scene but horrified by the spectacle and consequences.

And, what are the consequences of Labour's latest attack on Johnny Foreigner? I hate to think.

Or to put it another way, Labour are unashamedly going for the racist/ Ukip/ Bnp/ EDL/ Britain First vote at a time when the Daily Mail's bogeyman du jour, Alex Salmond, is talking up the benefits of immigration.

For the Middle-England audience, Labour have been falling over themselves to distance the party from the SNP. Yet up here, Murphy is trying to airbrush his many past misdemeanours by embracing any 'Clause 4' ideology from free tuition to free prescriptions.

Labour too should be confronting the Little Englanders head-on instead of stoking their fears. Whether they come from Germany or Nigeria, whether to pick our veg or perform brain surgery - immigration is good. Culturally too, the benefits are evident all around us. The fact there are some dinosaurs in every group of people - be they immigrants or 'natives' - who are scared of 'the other' makes it all the more important to stand up to the bullshit of the anti-immigration rhetoric. Labour have form on this though. From local-campaign leaflets to Gordon Brown lifting NF slogans from the 1970s - British Jobs for British Workers.

Why does this need to spelled out in the year 2015?

And the consequences? The political spectrum of the 'paedo-parliament' in Westminster is pulled further to the right. Roll on the next indy-ref.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Facing the wrath of an audience scorned

If I may digress from the important matters in life such as @jimforscotland, Gaelic profanity or Hearts winning the Championship, I'd like to offer my final comments on Outlander and its obsessed devoted audience and their jihad concerns.

Actually I loved it. Well done folks. Does it still matter that I only sat through the one pilot episode? Is my volte-face negated by my ignorance of Diana Gabaldon's body of work?

Sure, my partner told me that in Germany, many loveless middle-aged women are obsessed with the scintillating blend of sex, adventure, fantasy, Celtic landscape and... romance. She's only read one Gabaldon book though, so what does she know? Plus, you could easily stereotype many niche markets. Football fans, for example, who are similarly navel-gazing and who often take aggressive umbrage to those who question their chosen devotion.

Adventure and history

Anyway, back to the delicious melange of adventure, history, sex and 18th century square-gos that is Outlander. Some may say that were you to remove the 'adventure' scenes, you'd be left with a slushy soft-porn production of the sort Channel 4 were once famous for broadcasting but clearly they are ignorant. Most probably douchenozzles in Gaelic even - srùb tòin (?)

And then there's the glorious history. Highlanders escaping the redcoats were most probably hairy and dirty. Most did speak Gaelic without subtitles (I bet the modern-day Redcoats will hate that!). Some may take issue though with the concept of Invernessians of 1946 partaking in pagan rituals in stone-circles and generally being backward superstitious bumpkins. Some like my very own mother! She, in her ignorance, claims that in her teenage years, almost all Scots were strict followers of Calvinistic Presbyterianism! No stone-circles for her - only dour adherence to a diet of Sabbatarianism and hellfire (a fate that I now believe is too good for Outlander critics). They even worked on Xmas day or so she says. Plainly, she hasn't read every Diana Gabaldon novel.

Certainly, were I a Jacobite sudger escaping murderous Redcoats hellbent on ethnic cleansing, I wouldn't say no to getting a lumber from a beautiful older woman who had just appeared from 200 years distant. She could lay her hands on my biodag anytime...

Some in their heretic lunacy may even suggest other Scottish films that portray Scotland as seen by real-life Scots.

Like Trainspotting maybe. Aye right - the language there is terrible and there's no Gaelic. Plus, who could love a junkie?

Or there's Seachd - lots of Gaelic, one or two nefarious Sasannaich and even mystical folklore. No sexy bare-chested Highlanders though. And we know that's very important given the beseeching of some on Twitter for readers to 'fix' an online competition for the 'best on-screen couple'.

I just know that the British public will love this! It's a shame that it's not on terrestial telly and we've had to leave it to tax-dodging pirates Amazon to show it but... that's life folks.

If any douchenozzle or ignoramus says otherwise then let them write their own blog with their own opinion. How dare they!

Btw: I found Outlander at Online Movies here. It didn't cost me a penny but that was before Amazon's announcement so who knows how long that will continue. Dèan maorach is an tràigh ann....

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dirty Gaelic, the Black House and crap telly

After a winter hiatus indulging in the above while also allowing myself to become bewitched by the ironic Tartan Noir that is Kezia Dugdale's online presence, I've finally found time to praise and to bury.

First up is Outlander. I had read all about this expensively made thriller - a Scottish Game of Thrones apparently - and the notable inclusion of Scottish/ Gaelic in its script. I usually prefer Nordic Noir to mystical American stuff like GoT but the Scottish angle hooked me. It seems that even though it was filmed here and has received a fair amount of attention, it wasn't to be released this side of the Atlantic or the North Sea - both American and German audiences have so far been eagerly lapping it up. A spot of proletarian browsing online came up with the goods though.

What a disappointment. As the credits rolled, I spotted the name of the writer - Diana Gabaldon and various doomladen bells rang in my heid. Having run it past die Frau, I learn that her translated novels of horny Scottish clansmen and willing ladies are hugely fucking popular. It's basically Mills and Boon in the heather with groins moving to a port-a-beul. Minus the midges in the pubes and ticks on your scrote.

Outlander - rach air muin?

It's pretty shit to be honest but the gist of it is this - a posh English lady and her typically effete and stiff lipped husband find themselves in a post-war Inverness where pagan rituals are still commonplace. The lass goes to stone circle and the tursachan quickly spirit her away to the same spot but 200 years distant and in the midst of a skirmish between hairy Highlanders and Redcoat villains. The Gaelic Jacobites are portrayed as they probably were - hairy, smelly and plaid-wearing. All except one who is inexplicably clean-shaven - even his 18th century torso is hairless - and handsome. Nuff said.

Though tax-dodging pirates Amazon have announced it's release online, I am not inclined to watch the remaining episodes - one dose of romantic slush is enough though Outlander is not without its attributes. The excellent Bill Paterson is in the cast somewhere down the line and... there is some attempt at authenticity by having the Highlanders speak Gaelic, at least some of the time. To be fair, the Gaelic spoken is not bad though it is a tad wooden and forced coming from the mouths of non-Gaelic speaking actors. Some bits threw me - trobhad (come here) was pronounced as 'trew-ad' and not trow-ad for example but that's a minor gurn. Especially when everything else was so, so bad...

Unlike the Black House by Peter May. I always thought the Western Isles would make the perfect place for some Tartan/ Nordic Noir. So did Peter May, who has now produced a trilogy. This is the clachan a' choin. It's got gore, sex, authenticity (May knows the Isle of Lewis and her culture very well indeed), the Gaelic, the culture - warts and all, dour Presbyterianism and intrigue.

This is what BBC Scotland/ BBC Alba should be producing and exporting to the world...

...instead of cac like Bannan. Like Outlander, the PR lie-machine was busy grinding out comparisons to whet the appetite. This one was 'Gaelic's answer to the Killing'. It's like comparing Thomas the Tank Engine to  Steven Seagal's Under Siege 2 simply because of the locomotive angle. Except Bannan doesn't have any killing in it - only a jealous boyfriend lamping his love-rival. The only other crime to speak of is an underage quad bike rider escaping from the cops over the machair. Seriously.

No Nordic Noir here...
Nordic Noir - not the Skye Bridge

The Killing was dark - in all senses. Loads of night scenes, always raining, the vile excesses of human nature on display and no simple solutions to complex, multi-faceted issues. Bannan on the other hand was just a tourist advert - stunning scenery, no rain (in Skye??!!) and a transparent plot with too many lightweight characters. At best, this was a mid-evening soap opera filmed in a wild location. Strangely, it was given a slot after the 9pm watershed - perhaps it was thought that the one illicit kiss between the main character and her ex-boyfriend would cause a spike in teenage pregnancies amongst young Gaels?

Sadly, Bannan has been given a second series. Could BBC Alba's budget not go on something a bit more gritty?

To be frank, lift your dogshit.
If you want 'salty' language in the tongue of the Gael then one could do worse than purchase 'The Naughty Little Book of Gaelic'. Unfortunately, it is a slim volume but I hope it's one that will be added to in future editions. Indeed, an online 'Urban Dictionary' of everyday filthy Gaelic would be excellent.

Some delicious dirt I encountered included:
 Buinneach o'n teine ort - May you suffer diarrhea from the fire
Tòn air eigh dhut - may your arse hit the ice

Some good ones from the nether regions:
Pit air iteig! - Flying vagina!
Bod ort! - A penis on you!

The language also covers terminology for decadent or frowned-upon habits such as drinking and smoking. Responsible drinking is very much a new-fangled idea... from 'The Four Drams of the Morning' we have -
sgailc-nid - a nest-dram (sgailc = a slap or thump)
friochd-uillin - a nip of the elbow, taken while beginning to arise...

There is a healthy section on genitalia in which such gems are to be found:
bodach beag a' bhàta - little old man of the ship, i.e. the clitoris, stupid!
cirean-coillich - the rooster's comb, vagina
dos - the bagpipe drone, penis

For a French kiss, go to Sgalpaigh, Harris - pòg Sgalpach

The brevity of the volume may be down to the sources, most of whom seem to be of the academic nature. Perhaps, someone should fund an indepth study that travels the Highlands and Islands to interview fishermen, crofters, bar-workers, labourers, hotel workers and the like?

While not claiming to be an authority on the matter, I would, off the top of my head, add my tuppenceworth...
cuir corrag nad thòin is leig fead - put a finger in your arse and whistle
goc(an) - (little) tap, penis
rachamama - motherfucker
ith bod - blowjob

Someone pass a volume to the producers of Bannan please.