Sunday, 17 January 2021

Talkin' Heids

 There is no question in my mind that if Rabbie had been still alive today he would still be producing poems about the things he experienced or saw in his every day life. And since Burns Night celebrations are about as scarce as an honest politician I am producing a series of Talkin' Heid videos with some of things that Burns might say today.

If you're interested in such subjects as Tae a Virus, Tae a Currry and Tae a Password you'll find them at being published at

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pre Minstrel Tension

One of the things that would certainly surprise Burns, nowadays,  would be what I call Pre Minstrel Tension.

You've probably all seen it on the TV - shows like the X factor, when they announce which minstrel is going to go through to the next round,  have a thirty second delay, usually with music with a pronounced drum beat. You must have seen it.

"And coming back next week...." boom boom tacka tacka boom (music interlude) is "Isa Badsinger." It happens everywhere, Strictly Come Dancing, just about every quiz show you can imagine - even the news has some headlines before the opening music.

It's supposed to build up the tension before the big announcement, but sometimes the tension music is long enough for you to go off and make a cup of tea! I suppose if it's just  a way of filling up time on the show, it works quite well. Can you imaging the planning meeting? It's a 60 minute quiz show, so we'll make sure we have twenty minutes of tension music in each show. That way we'll really build up the ...............tension

And it's not going to stop at this. Can you imagine going to the doctor and waiting for his diagnosis. "I've seen the blood tests and what you have is...." boom boom tacka tacka boom (music interlude) "....high cholesterol." And if you don't have a heart attack waiting for the final diagnosis you're pronounced fit. They'll probably have the same thing at the ATM when you want to see your bank balance. "Your current balance is...."  boom boom tacka tacka boom (music interlude) ...."£2.46"

It's just as well they didn't have it in Burns' day Can you imagine...

"Fair Fa' your honest, sonsie....."boom boom tacka tacka boom (music interlude) ....."face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin'.....boom boom tacka tacka boom (music interlude) ....."race"

Can you imagine it. Burns suppers would go on all through the night!!!

Friday, 26 September 2014

A Job's a Job For A' That

It's Friday morning - and Rabbie, despite his lack of success trying to find employment as a ploughman,  has returned to Reed employment to see if Willie Getwirk can find him any other kind  of  job

Willie - Apart from working on a farm, have you any other employment experience?
Rabbie -Aye I worked as an exciseman in Dumfries - you know - collecting taxes from folk
Willie - Now that's a bit more promising - though collecting taxes is not normally a very popular job.
Rabbie - Wis nae very popular with me - in fact ah wrote a poem aboot it - the deil's awa' wi the Exciseman
Willie - Really Mr Burns! You can't afford to impact your productivity at work by continually, writing poems. A bit of Facebook or Twitter is acceptable,, but writing poems is just not on.
Rabbie - But ah like writin' poetry. I'd like to be a poet
Willie - There's not much money to be made out of poetry nowadays - unless you're the poet laureate.
Rabbie - Aye right
Willie - You're not bad looking - can you sing and dance? Maybe we can get you into a boy band
Rabbie - Ah cannae dance, an' I'm no much of a singer
Willie - Perfect - I can think of a number of bands you could fit into right away
Rabbie - I had some success writin' songs
Willie -  You'd stand a better chance of success  in a boy band if you can't write songs but think you can. There's no end of these bands. On second thoughts it's probably best if we deliberate a bit more. Don't call us - we'll call you.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Rabbie Goes Job Huntin'

Okay. If he were alive today what type of work employment would Rabbie seek - for surely a job seekers allowance would not be enough to support his women, children and drinking!

Can you imagine the conversation if he popped into his local Reed employment agency, to meet up with the advisor there - Willie Getwirk. It might go along these lines.

Willie - Good afternoon Mr Burns
Rabbie - Call me Rabbie
Willie - All right Rabbie, can we start with your qualifications, GCSEs or A Levels?
Rabbie - Nae qualifications. A wee bit o' Latin and Greek.
Willie - Oh dear that's a pity. Tell me a little about your first job. You were a...
Rabbie - Plou'man
Willie - Plou'man? Ah yes a ploughman - well then, what make of tractors have you worked on
Rabbie - Tractors? Whit's a tractor?
Willie - This might be more difficult than I anticipated. I'm looking at your early references from the farm. The say "Mr Burns works very hard when he's not writing poems about mice and daisies. But these poems tend to have an impact on his productivity as a ploughman." Would that be right Rabbie?
Rabbie - Aye, that's right
Willie - The reference also goes on to say that "after a hard night at the bothy, Mr Burns was often unable to plough in a straight line the next day" Would that be right?
Rabbie - Aye
Willie - I'm afraid this is going to take a bit more effort than I expected. Could you come back tomorrow and we'll see what we can do. And one more thing, Rabbie
Rabbie - Aye
Willie - The next time you fill in an application form - it doesn't all need to be written in verse!

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Robert Burns and Online Dating

It is generally accepted that in his short life, Robert Burns managed to father at least thirteen children, by four separate women.

Can you imaging what he could have done today, with the possibilities of better transport, better communication and more worryingly, online dating? Certainly logging on to a computer would have been ideal for Robert. Even at a very early age, he was writing poems to make the girls fall for him. Just imagine if he were using the same method today. No need to painstakingly write poems by hand - he could even use the same poem and send it to dozens of potential admirers.

And another thing. One of the problems he had with his first crush, Alison Begbie, was her name, which let's face it, wasn't very poetical. Seemingly, he referred to her as Peggy Alison (I can't see how that helped all that much). But nowadays, using online dating, he could then pick girls who had poetic names, like June (to rhyme with June) or Alice (to rhyme with palace)  and of course he would ignore girls with names like Natasha, which is much harder to rhyme. I was going to say that Natasha is not to be sneezed at - but that would be a very bad joke - so please forget I mentioned it.

And another thing - he could use the internet rhyme web sites to speed up the process of writing his poems and love songs, to allow more time to be with the lassies.

Which would invariably led to far more than thirteen children- and unlucky for some!!

Friday, 19 September 2014

More Lines Written on a Banknote

In 1780, Robert Burns wrote a clever, though sad little poem "Lines Written on a Banknote" where he bemoans the fact that for lack of a banknote, he has lost his girlfriend, he can't afford to drink, and he may have to leave Scotland forever.

I hope he, (and you) will forgive me if I imagine what he would write this morning, if he were alive today.....

More Lines Written on a Banknote

Oh banknote, if ye only knew
The battle that's been waged for you
The fights which ha'e on this occasion
Almost tore apart a nation
But mornin's here, oot comes the sun
The fight is o'er, the votin' done
And banknote, tho' sae scarce an' small
You have a lesson for us all
First of all you ye are the token
O' promise, that must ne'er be broken
Sae may each promise made today
Be aye fulfilled, noo, come what may
And banknote ye can surely claim
Tho' both your sides are no the same
Whenever these two sides unite
You've got more strength to face each fight
And for you, one last thing I long
May ye aye be guid and strong!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Scottish Referendum Part 2

Today is the big day! - the day when the votes are cast for Scotland, staying with the United Kingdom, or breaking away for ever - so tomorrow, as I live in England, I may suddenly find that I'm an alien! On the positive side, that would  probably be a source of pleasure for my Grandson, Dylan, who would almost certainly be more impressed, if his grandfather was an alien.

Of course, if Scotland does vote "yes", would it be safe for me to return to the country, of my birth Or am I likely to be seen in Scotland as as a heretic. Would the fact that I've produced poetry(?) like "Tae a Curry", "Tae a Password" and "Tae a Meerkat", be seen as a travesty of the great poet's name, rather than the act of a  Burns fan with a modicum of humour.

Even worse, would the fact that I've dared to create new modern, music for some of Burns' lesser well known songs and poems, be seen as the final nail in the coffin - resulting in a warrant for my arrest as soon as I attempted to cross the border into Scotland. Would I finish up in prison along with the haggis smugglers, caught red handed - by the way, I must admit that my post about merchandising should have at least recognised the fact, that no-one, in the history of Scotland, has ever made such a huge single-minded contribution to the sales of any product, as Robert Burns has to promote the haggis, with "Tae a Haggis"

Just imagine, if he had actually created "Tae a Curry" and that became the dish served up at every Burns Supper - the impact on Scottish butchers could have been immense, not to mention the impact on the Scottish economy.

On such small decisions does the destiny of nations sometimes revolve