Thursday, January 25, 2007

The scent of young Scotland

January 25 is a date to rival St Andrew's Day on the Scottish calendar. It sees the nation celebrate the birthday of its most famous poet, Robert Burns. A revered cultural icon, he was born on January 25, 1759.

To mark the occasion, countless Scots at home and abroad will attend a traditional Burns Supper, where good food and the Bard's poetry come together as the great man is remembered. The diners will feast on such fine fare as cock-a-leekie soup, followed by haggis, neeps and tatties, and the evening will also feature recitals of some of Burns' best-loved works. Plenty of drink will be taken too. That would please Rabbie. He was fond of a drink.

This post’s piece of graffiti is offered as The Filthy Pen's own modest tribute to Scotland's national poet. Not the message, obviously – that would be rude and disrespectful - but the way in which it’s delivered. The wording has a distinctly Scottish flavour, something Rabbie's own work is renowned for. Note that all-important spelling of the third word. With that final e, it’s very Caledonian.

The picture was sent in late last year by regular TFP correspondent Nicola Rainey, who noticed the slogan written on a wall in Newhaven Road, Edinburgh. And with splendid timing, Nicola has now submitted a second image of it. This one reveals how the original message has been expanded. It seems to have become a collaborative effort. It has turned into a call and response: The use of the local vernacular no instead of not maintains the strong Scottish theme of this piece, so it's fitting that it should make an appearance on this special commemorative day, when the Scots dialect plays such an important part in the celebrations.

In expressing themselves this way, the young authors have picked up the literary baton from Robert Burns, and they’ve run with it. And they’re going to keep on running, all the way to Cash Generator. They plan to sell the baton and use the money to buy Buckfast.

Well, it’s what Rabbie would’ve wanted.

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