P&J Column 4.8.16


If music be the food of love, here’s a mock chop.

J Fergus Lamont, arts critic and author of “Only Dougie Donnelly can judge me: The Shammy Dab story”

Just as flowers spring up in the desert after a sudden fall of rain, the ‘Play Me, I’m Yours’ project has seen a profusion of pianos popping up all over Aberdeen’s public spaces. And what art this gracious bounty has bestowed upon us! There is no cultural experience more uplifting for the soul than the arrival in the ear of music which is both unexpected, and yet familiar. And I include in that Funbox’s groundbreaking ‘Fancy Dress Fun’.

Only the other day in the great functionalist, post-modern shrine to Mammon we call ‘The Trinity Centre’, I chanced upon an artistic happening which took my breath away. A young child; apparently an ingénue, and wholly untutored in the The Arts, approached one such piano, (itself, resembling an otherworldly intruder into this palace of iPhone covers and eyebrow threading). The child’s crusty nostrils flared with excitement, he placed his hands on the side of its mahogany case as one might caress the flanks of a magnificent horse. He paused, and time itself seemed to slow as he surveyed the splendour of the instrument. And then, he sat at the piano stool, drew himself up to his full height, and heedless of his mother’s cries and entreaties, brought his forehead down on the keyboard with great force.

What a moment to be alive! As the crashing chord grabbed the attention of everyone present, I felt the hand of Mozart upon my shoulder. As the notes stretched, distorted and echoed off the glass and concrete walls of the cavernous space, it was as if a young Stockhausen had come among us. And as the boy did it again, and again, and again, I felt the pure, primal surge of ‘punk’ course through my veins. Meanwhile his mother stood, gazing into the window of Argos, ineffectually shouting “Tyler; come awa fae at organ!”

I wept.

Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit who’s goes in feet first.

Footballers and metal are sometimes always mentioned in the same sentences. David Beckham was famed for his Golden Balls and world-famous crisp salesman Gary Lineker is cried the Silver Fox by some of his female fans. Hibs boss Neil Lennon can now join them, on account of his Brass Neck. Lennon got sent to the stands in the first leg of Hibs’ European game against Brondby the other week for demonstrating with the ref. over the heads of a disallowed goal. The beaks at UEFA have now decided to hand him a 5 game European ban as punishment, and Hibs have announced that they plan to appeal the decision. Now, that is what old Kenny would call flogging a dead hose. By the time Hibs play another 5 games in Europe, Lennon will be collecting his pension.

But he has a history of questioning authority and it’s no surprise to see him unwilling to put his hands up and take his medicine on the chin. Lennon should turn over a new leaf out of my book and throw in the trowel. Back when I was in the skylight of my career, I gave up fighting the powers-that-be over bans and suspensions. In fact, if I ever decide to unhang up my boots, I am subject to a 12 game Highland league ban, a 9 month amateur football ban and, after I chinned so many of them, an order restraining me from coming within 100 feet of anyone acting as a referee.

I can’t wait for Friday, for the start of the Olympics in Reno. Watching some of the globe’s finest athletes compete in the carnivore capital of the world is going to be quite the pair of spectacles. But it’s a shame that not all the big names will be there. Due to the ongoing doping sandal most of the Russian team won’t be coming, like the lovely tennis player Maria Champagne-Supernova. And heaps of golfers have pulled out because of fears over the Zico virus. I’m not surprised – my old mate Willie Miller lined up against Zico at the 1982 World Cup and it still gives him nightmares! But I don’t think Golf should be in the Olympics anyway. The games don’t need an event where a bunch of millionaires play for medals they don’t really care about. Not when they’ve already got the football.