Tag Archives: #Robert Burns

…Robert Burns and Sir Winston Churchill… iconic maverick role models…

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….hadn’t noticed the date proximity before… Robert Burns was born on January 25th, 1759… 206 years later, all but a day, Sir Winston Churchill died on January 24th, 1965… by any measure, two monumental figures on the stages of their respective WURLDSBurns, a poor poet farmer who is revered, particularly in Scotland, but also remembered annually at Burns Supper dinners all around the planet has left an ageless literary legacy… this ol’ Jurassic was privileged last night to deliver the keynote Immortal Memory Toast on Burns at a supper in Bahrain… and this afternoon, I watched on television the memorial service taking place in London of the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of Churchill… arguably the greatest statesman ever, making many of us of a certain age hanker for more of his ilk and status to replace the slates of political charlatans posing in so many national governments today… I have been a lifelong idoliser of Sir Winston Churchill, as many of yeez Lads and Lassies who follow my blog may recall, and wanted to meet the great man (I’ll defer that get-together for as long as I can now, Mabel)… and lest it be forgotten, in 1953, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his remarkable four-volume, A History of the English Speaking PeoplesNobel Prizes were first presented in 1895, but I’ve no doubt that if they had been around in the days of Burns, he too, would have been a worthy and deserving recipient… further links between these men are easy to identify… Burns has great allure for his fundamental premise that all men are created equal, and his hope that one day, ‘man to man the world o’er, will brithers be for ‘a that’Churchill’s more recent crusade in the last century to ensure the freedom of all peoples are well documented… these men are conjoined in essence in their railing against the separate tyrannies they saw in their lifetimes—Burns against the poverty of the common man, Churchill for the right of all men to be free… it occurs to me that p’raps I’m not alone in having as hero figures those who tend not to follow the absolute norms… both these greats had their detractors, and sometimes with good reason, for their personal lives’ activities and principles (Burns fathered more than a dozen children by five different women… Churchill erred massively in his treatment of the Irish and in his First World War decision at Gallipoli)… regardless, two more pronounced examples are hard to find… Robert Burns and Sir Winston Churchill… iconic maverick role models… would that we had more of their kind around today… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…juxtaposition of the old and the even older… Burns Supper, Abu Dhabi, bridging the centuries… #TBSU…

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…I want yeez to look closely at the image above… on stage, yeez’ll see the image of a man born about 250 years ago… the other lad in the picture is Robert Burns… I’m particularly impressed with the attentiveness with which he’s watching and listening to my delivery of The Immortal Memory Address to himself… out front of the podium, the squad of scores of security people managed with great skill to hold back the tens of thousands of others who sought to gatecrash the Burns Supper event in the Gardens of The British Embassy last night, just to hear my pitch(???)… oh, the sheer bluudy fame of it all… y’know, Mabel, there’s times when I astonish myself with how well I handle all this celebrity-ism… there’s sum’thing kinda special about a gathering of kilt be-dressed Scotsmen, obviously avid members of the Scottish Poetry Appreciation Society, so long as the supply of electric soup is uninterrupted… assembled in the Caledonian throng, were the Creme de la Creme of Abu Dhabi foreign business and social echelons (…‘Creme de la Creme’ definition… ‘…rich, but thick…’ …) …if yeez have never been to a proper Burns Night, yeez have never lived… bagpipes and drums skirled amongst the buzz… no majorettes required, none of that stuff’s tolerated in Scotland y’know… The Haggis… organic, free-range, imported from the hills of Ross and Cromarty sat neatly amid the vegetables from Tesco’s… not a single Fried Mars Bar to be seen, by the way… we’re NUTHIN if not all-embracing in our cuisine-ry internationalism, we Scots… there were other speechifyings, poetry recitation from the Bard’s WURK, and a most delightful musical interlude on the fiddle (violin) of jigs, strathspeys and reels (feet-tapping Scottish dance tunes, for the uninitiated …) it almost felt as if we were back in deepest Scotia, all the way to the midnight hour when all and sundry trooped out to the carriages, cars and camels for the journeys home… well done, the chieftain, Iain Hill and his helpers, and the Abu Dhabi St. Andrew’s Society for a terrific evening… SLAINTE MHATH!!!LUV YEEZ!

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…the ultimate Dead Poet Society… beware of Multiple Burns… #TBSU…

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…the British Parliament’s House of Commons has one… most hi-fidelity sound systems have at least one, p’raps more… a certain corner in Hyde Park has one… and now Abu Dhabi has one… a Speaker, that is… fanned by the usual delusions of adequacy, my author bio now carries an extra line, claiming, falsely or otherwise, that this ol’ Jurassic can be labelled among other dubious callings, ‘Speaker’… couple that with the advent of the Birthday Anniversary of Scotland’s finest bard, Robert Burns, and the avalanche of the ultimate Dead Poet Society gatherings known as Burns Suppers… the call for ‘Speakers’ goes out… the St. Andrew’s Society in the United Arab Emirates’ capital city (no, Mabel, not Dubai…Abu Dhabi…) has scrounged around for sumb’dy to deliver the Address known as the Immortal Memory this Friday evening… most of the other likely candidates have taken early vacation to enjoy the floods in Europe or the blizzards in North America… in short, the usual suspects are not available… the Last-Semi-Coherent-Speaker-Standing is yours truly… the call from the Society’s Chieftain was brief and unequivocal …do it, or we go to Interpol, and tell them what really happened during that misunderstanding with the sausages in Tesco’s…  a hard bargain, indeed… but there’s more… once having accepted the mission (read ‘caved in to coercion’), I was immediately hammered with a second ‘request’ to do it all over again on the following Friday evening… this time at a gathering of imported ‘nobility’ with the promise of at least a Knighthood if I ‘don’t ruck it up’… at least I think that’s what they said… so, if yeez overhear me gibbering away in strange tongues this coming week more than my usual self-mutterings, please don’t call Matron with that bluudy syringe… it’s just me with an attack of Multiple Burns… see yeez later…

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