Saturday Saunter: Scots and screens

Good Saturday to you,

It’s Saturday again. I know, right? It’s also February, which feels like an improvement even if the weather generally has been rank this month so far. I’m writing this on Thursday night catching up with the Roaming Roots Revue concert from Celtic Connections, which I might get to talking about later. As this is posted, going by recent experience, I will probably be having a lie in before watching the football this afternoon. The hopefully resurgent Hibs versus the Sheep, live from Easter Road and seen through the tellybox. Another thing being watched through the wonders of modern technology.

At the moment pretty much all entertainment is coming through a screen of some kind. As discussed a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been watching some of the Celtic Connections concerts plus of course the football can only be seen on the TV. I know I’m not alone in finding watching football on the TV a bit flat and dull. A phone or an iPad is oh so easy to reach for to doomscroll while the game’s on. I found that the latter end of the St. Mirren vs Hibs game the other night definitely kept my attention, mind, as the third best team in Scotland successfully held off the advances of Renfrewshire’s finest to keep the score at 1-2. It really depends on the game and since Hibs haven’t been playing in a particularly swashbuckling way recently, my attention has often wandered. A concert is different. I’m writing this with Lau in the background – and very good they are too – and I don’t need to focus on that so much while I’m writing. I do for the Stanford’s Travel Writing Festival, a series of talks from travel writers produced by the mighty Stanford’s bookshop, and I’ve watched a couple of them in the last few days, Jini Reddy about her book Wanderland and Charlie Connelly about his book about the English Channel.

I tend to discover things behind the rest of the world and so it has proven with Horrible Histories, the TV version, that is, which I’ve been watching on Netflix. ‘Stupid Deaths’ is a work of genius, properly silly without compromising on historical accuracy, while the shouty man adverts also crease me every time.

A picture of the Firth of Forth, because I can. Taken from Anstruther looking towards East Lothian - a seaside scene with rocks in the foreground and a harbour wall curving to the right. On the horizon, though a little faint, are two prominent landmarks, the Bass Rock and North Berwick Law, both curved.
A picture of the Firth of Forth, because I can. Taken from Anstruther looking towards East Lothian – a seaside scene with rocks in the foreground and a harbour wall curving to the right. On the horizon, though a little faint, are two prominent landmarks, the Bass Rock and North Berwick Law, both curved.

Horrible Histories doesn’t do much about Scotland, unfortunately, or in Scots beyond horrifically bad Scottish accents. I discovered an excellent resource recently, produced by the Press and Journal, a map of Scots dialects with a short piece delivered by a native speaker from the area. The Shetland guy went off script and I’m not so sure about the Edinburgh guy. Scots is very different in different parts of the country but also different parts of cities. Edinburgh Scots isn’t the same in Morningside as in Muirhouse, for example.

An issue which has been particularly contentious lately has been whether to remove statues and tributes to people who profited from slavery. I’m trying to read and listen to different perspectives rather than opening my trap. David Olusoga has said that it is a nonsense to keep them while The Guardian has reported that 69 tributes have been removed across the UK last summer. There was also a good point made on A Late Show With Stephen Colbert the other night about the faces on American currency. Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill is one thing but some of the others on currency owned or profited from slaves.

There’s been an excellent version of ‘Machines’ by Biffy Clyro in this concert, sung by Simon Neil of that brilliant band. Took me back.

Anyway, that’s the Saturday Saunter for today, Saturday 6th February 2021. Thanks for reading, commenting and following. In what seems to be a growing trend, I’m not sure what will be here on Wednesday, if anything. Until next time, then. A very good morning to you all.

4 thoughts on “Saturday Saunter: Scots and screens

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