All entries for Wednesday 25 January 2006

January 25, 2006

Burns Night

Writing about web page http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/history/burnsnight/index.shtml

For a' that and a' that,
It's coming yet for a'that.
That man to man, the world o're
Shall brithers be for a' that

While I love Burns now and shall be eating haggis this weekend, I hated Burns at school. Every year at primary school we were compelled to participate in a Burns recital competition, whereby we had to learn a poem off by heart (I can still do 'The Twa Corbies') and recite it in something approaching a lowlands accent. It was painful at the time and in retrospect I understand why: we were being drilled to do everything but enjoy the poetry. It was all about remembering the words and pronouncing them right.

Years later, as a student in Glasgow, I saw a brilliant play about Burns written by Joe Corrie, a miner from Fife, and performed by John McGrath's 7:84 Theatre Company. And from then I understood that Burns was the original punk, a flawed, complex, radical romantic about whom there really was nothing too respectable.

The BBC have produced a great little mini site in celebration of Burns Night. It looks like a naff tourist brochure or shortbread tin but the content is excellent.


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