P&J Column 16.2.17

Perfect training for playing against Motherwell’s defence.

Ron Cluny, Official Council Spokesman

“Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman,” Tammy Wynette famously informed us.  Well Tammy, try being a public servant.  This week, social media has been alive with discussion about a decision taken by a North East local authority.  Of course, people being as they are, the discussion is not praise for Aberdeen City Council’s brave and insightful decision to commission the magnificent SPECTRA festival (I personally thought it was dangerous to spend public money on an event which celebrated the shadowy baddies from James Bond, but it seems to have paid off wonderfully).  Oh no – the internet is abuzz with complaints about Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to plant trees on a football pitch.  As is so often the case, the moaners miss the point.  Dribbling round cones is a well-established training-ground drill – dribbling around conifers is the greener alternative.  And avoiding a whack in the chops from a low branch will give our youngsters sharper reflexes and peripheral vision, all the better to avoid the flying elbows which characterise Sunday league football, and the Scottish premiership.  But of course, the council’s antagonists will never see this.  Their prejudices, like the trees, are too deep-rooted.

J Fergus Lamont – Arts correspondent.

I was delighted to read about the Committee who are to reporting on today on a strategic plan to promote the Doric language in schools across the North-East. At last our City fathers are taking their cultural responsibility seriously, and ensuring that the “wye we spik” is going to be comprehensively taught, or, as we say in these parts,, “learnt proper”. Growing up as I did in the city’s Carden Place, I of course am a native ‘spikker’ of the demotic common tongue. Indeed, as a child I delighted in conversing in the argot with Mrs. Duncan , the lady who did for Mother. ‘Aye aye, Mrs Duncan!’ I would greet her ’ Foos yer doos?’. “Bugger aff ye saft gype” she would rejoinder. Happy days. This stood me in good stead when authoring my own series of Doric translations of Proust’s ‘A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu’ (Currently charting at 9879 on Amazon. One reviewer noting that coming, as it does, in 7 volumes its principle strength was that it ‘allowed me to access other books on a higher shelf ‘ (a pleasing metaphor for achieving an elevated state of consciousness due to its profundity).

However, as an enthusiastic promoter of our noble North East patois, I could not fail to do my own “bittie” in assisting this scheme. I wasted no time in ”gan roon” to the nearest primary school to my home in the city’s fashionable Kincorth Circle. There, I performed an impromptu Doric reading of Jame’s Joyce’s Ulysees for a lucky class of Primary 3s. Their teacher was completely stunned. I think it was one of the larger boys that did it – handy as I probably wouldn’t have been allowed in otherwise. The children themselves were so appreciative of my recitation that I was barely two sentences in before they started applauding slowly whilst shaking their heads from side to side. However, one young fellow intimated somewhat forcefully that he had not enjoyed it, and was critical in a way which I can only describe as Tynanesque. It seems that while the teaching of the Doric language in our schools may be required, the same cannot be said of Anglo-Saxon.

I wept.

Cava Kenny cordiner, the football pundit who knows which side his bread is buttered.

Things just keep going from bad to worser down at The Rangers. Last weekend they announced that gaffer Mark Warburton had hung up his puffa jacket, only then he turned round and says he never said what The Rangers said he says. Sad. Whatever the over and outs, Warburton is toast. Melody told me to put that last bit, but I don’t know why.

Now that he’s gone, there is wild speculum as to who will take the job. If you ask me, it’s a bit of a poisoned chalet. Aberdeen gaffer Derek McInnes is an oblivious target since he used to play for the club that The Rangers used to be. Thankfully he says he is not interested in sitting in the Ibrox hot tub. If he does get offered the job he’ll have a decision to make. Does he want to be manager of the second biggest club in Scotland challenging for honours with bitter rivals Celtic, or does he want to go to The Rangers?