2013 – “Nineteen Eighty-Four”

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Bard’s Oration 2013 

Nineteen Eighty-Four  

 

Some of you are here to see Bill Hill, 

Give his Oration, laced with much mirth 

And what have you got, instead of the Bard 

But me ! for all that I’m worth 

 

Jimmie Dunbar’s to blame….. late 1983, 

We were having a pint up in Brows, 

Why don’t you come, to Let it Blaw, 

he suggested, while ordering a round 

 

You’ll have to,   give us a Song says Jim, 

Or some of Rabbie’s verse, 

Nobody will care that you’re useless at that, 

So long as you get off your erse.

 

So along I went, to the Kestrel Hotel 

To the wee room, mind, through the back, 

A hundred folk were all crammed in 

For an evening with Burns and the crack

 

Eddie McCue,    sat in the Chair, 

A fine, dramatic referee 

He called the Toasts,    he called the Songs, 

With occasional stops for a pee.

 

Kerr Cowan’s pipes were blawn up 

As he marched in the haggis sae braw, 

Gavin Scott wi’ knife,  saw tae the Address, 

Bashed Neeps an’ tatties an’ a’ 

 

And then….. oh whit a glorious sight, 

The Meenister, Reverend David Ogston, 

He gave us the Grace, poured a dram, rolled a fag, 

Then sat down to write next morning’s sermon 

 

A “Man’s a Man” started it off 

Dunbar’s voice,   was in fine fettle 

And everyone joined him in singing the song 

He fairly showed his metal

 

But the song,     it wasnae nearly enough 

to satisfy Chairman Eddie, 

For Jimmie was called,   to speak again right away, 

To propose the Immortal Memory

  

Jimmie, I have to apologise 

I can’t remember a damn thing about it, 

But Jimmy Johnstone was called, ……. and he said it was great

And the Company a’ clapped in agreement.

 

 Dave Tanner stood up and Toasted the Girls 

In a fine and gentlemanly fashion, 

Loppy Ramsay, excited at the thought of a Lass 

Downed a dram to control his frustration.

  

The Toast ‘Let it Blaw’, as I found out, 

is proposed with sentiment and feeling, 

Jim Tait told stories a’ our cronies long gone 

And some that were wi’ us that evening

  

Ken McDonald was next, ‘New Members’ to greet 

And he did so without hesitation, 

He welcomed them into the Club’s friendly fold, 

Willie Shanks then gave chase for subscriptions

  

Jack McCaig sang a song, I’d ne’er heard the like 

He was called up to sing by the Croupier 

“The Balerno Song” was what it was called 

It was sung at our very first Supper

 

The awful moment came, Eddie shouted my name, 

It was time for my first recitation 

Tam Sampson it was, that I struggled to quote 

But I got there,   and got an ovation.

 Are they clapping for me? I thought while I crashed 

back down in my seat with exhaustion, 

They’re not as bad as I thought, these affable folk, 

I’ll come back for next year’s Celebration.

 

Now the next bit,   is for you folk out there, 

who’ve never got up off of your erses, 

It’s no’ as bad as you think, as you pour out a drink, 

To get through a few of Burns’ verses

 

Loppy, now calm, got in to his goon 

Holy Willie,   wasn’t looking too sober, 

Was a while since he’d managed a lawless leg up, 

Never mind get it all the way over

 

Not one accordion but two, …. to give us some tunes, 

Angus Swan and our cronie Bill Grieve 

Angus’ fingers flew over the notes 

While Bill gave his box a big squeeze

 

 John Mathers produced, an old whisky box,

 Its contents were, very gently emptied,

‘To a Mouse’ ran aboot on the page of his book,

And shit on his hand when recited

 

Twa Dogs, they were there but, it wisnae me, 

Wi’ Jimmy to play the part Luath 

Willie Wardrop it was, that barked with my pal,

 Willie wasn’t as good as he could’ve

  

Jack McCaig never one, to be outdone by the rest 

Set off with a braw Tam O Shanter 

He rode a cheap chair which collapsed on the flair 

And sparked mair hilarious banter.

  

Willie Shanks, once again, was invited to give 

The Club’s traditional, “Bard’s Oration” 

Twenty years had long gone, since he took up the pen 

And delivered his first Presentation.

  

But the Toasts weren’t done, ‘Guests and Artistes’ remained, 

Malcolm Smith, was given the Honour, 

Loppy replied, was pissed by this time, 

So he slavered kind words to his Gaffer.

  

So that was how, it all started for me, 

The next Year I proposed my first Toast, 

And thirty years on, as I stand here as Bard 

Well…..is this the job I’ve really liked most ?

 

When I think of those cronies from 1984, 

Who’re no longer here, dear departed, 

Let’s all take this chance, to remember their names, 

For a moment we’re all reunited

  

Eddie McCue, Willie Shanks, David Ogston, Jim Tait,

 Dave Tanner, Bill Ramsay, Bill Grieve

 They’re gone ! ….. but not forgotten

albeit they’ve taken their leave

 

 So Gentlemen, please charge your glasses, 

Be upstanding and join me in Toast, 

To our Cronies now dearly departed 

And their friendship we all valued close.

 

[ Toast : “Absent Friends” ]

 

Alex J Hood

January 2013