This reviewer’s previous incarnation as the Stravaigin Reporter for the organisation Scots Tung, has allowed me to be on the mailing list of the Scots Language Centre, the Perth based organisation that distributes information about the Scots language. Their latest email was an invitation tae a pairty! Jings, how could I resist?
The party was held on Sunday 29th August as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival and was jointly hosted by Luath Press, the Edinburgh based independent book published with an eclectic list of over 300 books in print.
Held in the Party Pavilion in Charlotte Square Gardens, the event took the form of an array of Luath Press authors reading from their work. This was mainly done in Scots, with voices ranging from Shetland through Dundee and Perth to The Capital via West Lothian and Glasgow.
I was sorry to have missed the Ayrshire voice of Rab Wilson and the Dundonian, Mark Thomson, with his eponymous book, Bard fae the Buildin Site but the other Scots voices were enough of a treat to tip the balance of disappointment.
The Shetland voice was heard from two very different poets fae these airts, Christine de Luca with her latest collection, North end of Eden, and Robert Alan Jamieson who read from his fine book, Nort Atlantik Drift.
Liz Niven delivered her poems in her usual unassuming manner, showing her assured command of lowland Scots and Stuart McHardy from Edinburgh had us in a tongue twisting frenzy trying to master a wee rhyme of his about Ben and Ken that he uses to teach weans about the use of Scots.
A name new to me was Alistair Findlay, described by the Morning Star as “...one of Scotland’s most original and radical poets”. He engagingly read the title poem from his book that I’m enjoying reading, Dancing with Big Eunice, which is based on his experience in Social Work.
Lynne McGeachie charmed the crowd with her reading of The Tale o Peter Kinnin, her Scots translation of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. A member of The Beatrix Society, she has recently had her latest book, Beatrix Potter's Scotland: Her Perthshire Inspiration published by Luath.
The event was rounded off by John Cairney who happily and easily reverted to his native Glaswegian to deliver his comic poem about a wee Glesga sparra.
It was gratifying to look round the tent at the braw gathering of folk supporting, appreciating and applauding the use of the Scots language in its many forms, without which the door to our culture, history and literature is closed. Lang may its lum reek.
Now the Fringe is all but over, I’d like to thank the staff of the Living Room for being so welcoming when I arrived for my pre and post show coffees. Many thanks and here’s to the next time.