25 January 2010

Don't forget the Neeps; don't forget the Tatties; and bloody well don't forget the Whiskey

Happy Burns' Night

Address to a Haggis

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hudies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut ye up wi' ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reeking, rich!

Then horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
'Bethankit!' hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect scunner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As fecl;ess as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Tho' bluidy flood or field to dash,
O how unfit.

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll make it whistle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware,
That jaups in luggies;
But if ye wish her gratfu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

20 January 2010

Another beautiful voice silenced

Kate McGarrigle dead at 59. I first heard her, and her sister, at the Philly Folk Festival in '70 or '71. Enjoy her here with her incredibly talented children. The video is poor but the music extraordinary.

18 January 2010

An object lesson?

Last Wednesday, the 13th, was the 168th anniversary of an event that should, but probably will not, serve as a not so gentle reminder to both the US and the UK that Afghanistan is a place where empires go to die.

On the 6th of January 1842 roughly 4500 British soldiers and around 12,000 of their camp followers left Kabul with the intent of retreating to Hindustan. On 13 January, seven days later, one man, an Irish Doctor by the name of William Brydon arrived in Jalahalabad. No other survivors were ever recorded.

Perhaps we shall learn but I suspect we will not.

10 January 2010

Happy birthday to me

My New Year's resolution is to bring this blog back to life with two or three posts a week. We'll see how we do.

PS - today is my birthday and as I'm off on the piss today won't be the start.