Episode 19 comes rinnin oot the blocks an doesnae let up
Scots Radio celebrates aahin tae dae wi the Scots Language. Usually this means we’re richt at the cultural cutting edge, speirin at whits new an modren. Whiles, we also leuk back on whit’s gane afore, an see hou the legacy o that is wi us the day.
In that spirit we got thegither wi a literary expert tae tackle thon clarty wee neuk o Scots literature that aabdy kens aboot but it isnae polite taedisucss: the Kailyaird.
Oor expert is J. Derrick McClure. Derrick wis heid o English fir a lang time at the Varsity o Aiberdeen, an is an expert on the history – an praisent – o the Scots leid. He haes furthset real beezers o beuks sic as A Kist o Skinklan Things, an owreview o the maist skeely Scots makars an their wark in the Scots Renaissance o the early 1900s. He haes also scrievit numerous academic airtcles on various pairts o Scots literary development an producit his ain owresettins o wark.
Whit dae we mean whan we spik aboot the ‘Kailyaird’ scuil o writing? Derrick explains that it’s literature that’s ‘introspective, inward-leukin, nostalgic, romantic, sentimental, aa aboot wir ain wee kailyaird, wir ain cabbage-patch as if that’s aa that Scots could be aboot.”
It gied fowk the impression that “spikkin in Scots, writing in Scots, ye just haed tae dae it aboot yer ain wee gairden. There wis nae reference tae industry, tae technology, tae the real-warld.”
The eichteen hunners wis whan the Kailyaird wis at its maist owregrown. Kirriemuir’s J.M. Barrie o ‘Peter Pan’ fame screivit a beuk cried ‘a window in Thrums’. Thrums wis a fictionalised Kirriemuir, whaur aabdy spiks a guid braid Scots, but naebody spiks aboot onythin wirth the sayin. “They spik as if there’s nae warld outside the wee village o Thrums”
There wis the risk that Scots wad birl doon intae a circle o navel-gazin an cease tae be a leid fir the outside warld. But happily, the kailyaird withert awa an wis replacit bi a mair international scuil.
The scene wis first alterert whan anither o the Scots leid’s significant Rabbies cam alang. This time it wis Rabbie Louis Stevenson, wha gied new life tae the language in his stories.
The Kailyaird then provoked a backlash fae fowk sic as Macdiarmid an his acolytes, an gied the leid the smeddum tae develop an tak tent o the warld aince mair in the 20th century.
Tae cleanse oorsels o the reek o the kailyaird, oor occasional co-host Steven Byrne brocht us an auld Irish LP that features Macdiarmid himself daein a readin fae his A Drunk Man Looks at a Thistle. We played a bitty o that.
O course, we dinnae hing aboot in the past owre lang, an stairt efter Macdiarmid we went back tae scuil wi the bairns o Keig Primary School. Alang wi North-East musician Sharan Hassan an ithers, oor ain Frieda Morrison introducit the new generation o bairns tae classic sangs fae the area. But it wisnae left there! On tap o haein ‘Katy Bairdie haed a coo’, an gien it laldy on a recordit version, the bairns also scrievit a new version cried…‘Katy Bairdie haed a coo, but she’d rather hae an iPad!’. We got a guid blether in wi ae-time heidie o Alford Primary Scuils Jackie Ross.
There wis also news fae Creative Scotland on the first Scots Scriever Hamish Macdonald.
There wis a guid skelp o sangsters ootthrough the hail programme. Jim Malcolm gied us ‘The Bonnie Briar Bush’, Aiberdeen band Clype, wi Simon Gall, Jenny Sturgeon an Jonny Hardie, did a braw version o ‘The Nights Drawin In’ an o course the bairns o Keith Academy sang ‘Katy Bairdie had a coo’.
Anither smashin programme. Lug in!