Last night I performed at a rather fun gig at Whitechapel Art Gallery, presided over by bitingly satirical Scottish poet friend Elvis McGonagall, (now a regular on Radio 4's Saturday Live).
The theme was Kilts, Caravans & Cookery and we all had to wear something tartan. Some very strange approximations abounded and a good-natured Clash of the Tartans ensued!
Which reminded me of the strange phenomenon that happens whenever one goes to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and which inspired me to pen the following poetic monologue (print version beneath podcast for those without speakers).
Pretending to be Scottish
It starts innocuously enough, usually on day three of the Edinburgh Fringe
You're traipsing down the rain-reflective cobbles of the Royal Mile
For a traditional Scottish lunch of
vegetarian haggis, neeps and tatties at World's End
And you pass a knitwear shop
Selling jumpers five sheep thick
And suddenly you want one
No matter that the weather in England
Is never quite that polar and it's £200 quid
Then you see bolts of clan tartan for sale
And it looks quite nice
A piper on a corner pumps up a mournful dirge
And rather than flee the bag of cats being strangled
You are assailed by a wave of emotion, strangely nostalgic
For your adopted homeland
All normal thoughts of violence translated into a donation of 50p.
Day four. An unexpected obsession with Rabbie Burns
Prompts a lingering visit to your idol's museum
And a rash investment in his entire works, never opened.
You nearly buy a ticket for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, but wait until the feeling passes, usually 10 minutes along the mile long queue.
By day five, the cod Edinburgh accent has manifested
The locals are staring, the drunks no longer tapping you up and shirtless performers cease thrusting endless flyers in your hand.
Or could it be that you're carrying that caber in your sporran the wrong way round?
Och aye the noo, it's time to go home.
© LS King 2009