P&J Column for 8.9.14

Some useful tips on how tae bluff yer wye in the boring world o’ current affairs

Tanya Soutar, lifestyle guru

I dinna ken about yous, but I find it affa hard tae ken fit tae say fan folk spik aboot current affairs. The internet has made ab’dy an expert on the news, so instead of chatting aboot fit’s happening in Corrie or the weather it’s aa ‘Ukraine’ this an’ ‘referendum’ that. So, I’ve pit thegither some useful tips for the easiest wye tae get bye. Aye, apart fae actually bothering tae read i news, that is. ‘At wid be bo-ring!

First of aa, faniver sombdy spiks aboot some terrible situation in a far-flung part of the world that ye’ve niver heard of, try to nae ask questions fit expose yer ignorance, like “Eh? Far’s ‘at?” Jist pit on a solemn expression, shak yer heid slowly and say “Mak’s ye appreciate far we bide, does it?” At’ll get ye oot of trouble. “Isn’t the current crisis in the Middle East frightening?” “What do you think about the Ebola crisis in Liberia?” “Did you see John Barrowman is in Panto at the Glasgow SECC?”. All taken care of with one simple response: “Mak’s ye appreciate far we bide, does it?”

Folk in Aiberdeen often bang on aboot something cried ‘the economy’. It turns oot an ‘economy’ is something tae dae with money, an nae just the size of the biggest packet of chicken nggets in Iceland. But fan it comes up in conversation, it is a bit of a heid spinner, and unless yer willin tae plow through the Financial Times ye winna hae a clue. Your stock response should be tae shrug yer shoulders, raise yer eyebrows an say “Oil capital of Europe!” Foolproof. There is no finance related discussion in the North-East fit canna be enhanced with an “Oil capital of Europe!”. “Have you seen the size of that business park out at Kingswells?” “I can’t believe the cost of a one-bed flat in Rosemount.” “You just can’t get parked at Matalan.” “Oil capital of Europe!”

Of course, if ye keep repeating the same phrases folk’ll begin tae wonder if there’s something wrong with ye. If ye find yer beginning tae sound like a broken record then ye need tae pull oot the big guns. Changing the subject tae something controversial will mak ye seem like ye’ve got yer finger on the pulse. My favourite is “Fit aboot the Westren Peripheral Route?” Eleven years I’ve been using that een. And I think I’ll be safe using it for a filie yet.

View From The Midden – Rural Affairs With MTV (Meikle Wartle Television) Presenter, Jock Alexander

Weel, it’s been a tearful wik in the village, with the news that ‘The Singing Kettle’ are bringing their 30 year career tae a sudden and unexpected end. Nae doot the aftershocks of the anooncement wis felt aa ower the country, but, I’d hazard a guess, naewye mair keenly than here in the village. Michty, there was quite the ootpouring of grief, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the toon square fan the news reached us, via a three day old P&J left by a passing motorist in a bin on the A920. Aye, fae aa the parents, fa suddenly realised how much Mair difficult their lives wid be withoot the top-class efforts of this group in distracting, pacifying and mair importantly, tiring oot their young kiddies.

It’s a little kent fact, but Meikle Wartle his mair than it’s fair share of mums and dads. Weel, there really is very little tae dae here in the winter months. And of course, for us that means August tae June. So, fit’s tae be daen? Weel, I did mention that leaving a bottle of my nettle and turnip hame-brew on a low shelf might have a similar effect on the wee darlings, but Dr. Ferguson advised against it. Though nae afore he’d ‘tested’ a hale bottlie himsel.

But there’s nae cause for panic, as Meikle Wartle’s top children’s party entertainer, Feel Moira, has decided that she is the perfect candidate tae fill the gap in the market with her ain version, which has a distinctive rural flavour. Along with Sandy Emslie, the village’s bothy ballad champ on accordion, and Skittery Wullie on the moothie, she has devised a fun-filled musical roadshow provisionally entitled ‘The Skirling Silage-Spreader’. Even noo they are roaming fae hoose tae hoose, vigorously belting oot their opus in the traditional style, fit is tae say, through their noses. The show features a host of top kiddies’ sing-along classics such as ‘The Wheels on the Tractor go round an round (at a top speed of 20 mile an oor)’, ‘Oh ye canna shove the Defra Inspector aff a bus’, and the slaughterhoose favourite, ‘Neck, Shooder, Scrag and Loin.’ They’ll be appearing at a venue near you, whether ye wint them tae or no, and I tell ye, it’s nae just fun and games. This is a show fit teaches affa worthwhile life lessons tae the under 5s. The main een being ‘dinna stand too close fan someb’dy cried ‘Skittery Wullie’ is playing the moothie’. Cheerio!