Sounds o the kirk an court: early airt muisic in Scotland

Whither in Italy, Germany, France or England, muisic bi gate o court an kirk wis flourishin aw ower Europe i the Renaissance an Baroque periods. But what o Scotland? Wis it aw juist bagpipes, reels an fowk sangs? I pit on my speirer’s bunnet an haed a bit leuk . . .

Atween c1430 an c1750 — a time that comprehends twa muisical eras scholars caws the Renaissance an Baroque periods — Europe’s kirks an royal courts wis the patrons o ‘airt’ (or ‘clessical’) muisic. Tak, for instance, the liturgical muisic o the Renaissance, like the Masses an motets o Italy’s Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c1525–94). Or, efter in Germany, the fouthie outpit o J. S. Bach (1685–1750), that’s kent as the heidmaist componer o the Baroque period. Siccan dargs couldna hae been wrocht without the siller o the estaiblishment.

For maist o the time period we’re concernt wi Scotland wis yet a free-staundin kintra, an for about hauf o it haed a royal court steidit in Edinburgh. It gart me wunner (as a body that lang syne did a bit study o early European airt muisic) what wis gaun on in Scotland at yon time. The subject o liturgical or court muisic in our airt o the warld haed niver kythed i the year I studied the muisic o the period, an — I maun admít — I’d niver thocht tae leuk intil it afore nou.

Fasherie an raivelment

The naitur o events that mak up Scotland’s history — the mixtur-maxtur o polítical, relígious an social dree — haes meant the extant lave o muisical ongauns frae earlier times isna ower fouthie. The 14t century wis a time whan Scotland wis fechtin for its independence. Than the Protestant Reformation hauf-gates throu the 16t century gied us a dour national kirk that haedna muckle time for sic joys as muisic. An o course in 1603 the union o the crouns gart the Scots court flit south tae Lunnon, takkin wi it cultural daeins an airtin. Aw this did nae favours tae the haudin gaun an development o Scots cultur, muisic includit.

But what daes survive o, an what div we ken in general anent, early Scots airt muisic?

In Scotland the earliest scrievit muisic that survives belangs the 13t century, durin a time muisic scholars caws the Medieval period. The Saunt Andras Muisic Beuk is a muckle cairn o kirk muisic manuscripts copied some time around 1230–50. It haes intil’t a guid feck o muisic frae Nostre Dame in Pairis, an a nummer o warks jaloused tae be bi (unkent) Scots componers. As we’ll see, the wark o French componers wis tae influence the muisic o Scotland outthrou the Renaissance. Atour frae the 13t century, the’re a hymn i the Laitin tae celebrate Princess Margaret’s waddin tae Kíng Eric o Norrowa in 1281. It’s thocht tae hae been written bi a Friar Maurice that steyed in Norrowa an that wis likely a Scot. But nocht mair nor that haes survived.

A page frae the Inchcolm Antiphoner, c1340, ane o the earliest blads o Scots muisic we hae. Ímage credit: Edinburgh University (CC BY 3.0).

Siclike, no muckle is kent about aither court or saucrit muisic i the 14t an 15t centuries. Doutless some liturgical blads wad hae been tint tae war wi England (the Border abbeys, for example, wis connacht an re-biggit i the course o the wars). Ae manuscript we div hae is the Inchcolm Antiphoner frae the 14t century, that comprises muisic o the Celtic kirk. A bittie efter, it’s kent that Jeames I (rang 1406–1437) invitit scholars frae England an Flanders tae gie wysins i the airts til his court. We ken, tae, that muisic played a central pairt in chaipel services i the newly-foundit universities o Saunt Andras, Glesca an Aiberdeen i the 15t century. But binna the antrin scart an a puckle scrieved-on sclates frae Paisley Abbey, the’re naething o the period that survives.

Aw in aw, while no muckle is extant pre-16t century, we can jalouse there maun hae been some kind o national compositional tradítion in Scotland that wad hae providit a found for later componers tae big on.

Muisic Makars?

It wis i the late-15t an intae the 16t centuries that Scotland’s medieval Makars wis tae the fore in Scots cultural life. Poyets sic as Robert Henryson, William Dunbar an Gavin Douglas wrate the maist weel-regairdit verse that — awtho tae modren lugs no sae kenspeckle as the warks o Robert Burns — is still kent an in prent the day. Daes Scotland hae a muisicial outpit that can staund proudly alangside the byordinar quairs o the Makars?

Weel, happily we ken a bittie mair anent the muisic o Scotland i the 16t century nor we dae about earlier times. Maist namely amang componers o this period is Robert Carver (c1484–c1568). The Carver Choirbeuk, that comprehends his extant warks, is a byous pose o muisic that wis less or mair forgotten till fairly recent-like.

A page frae the Carver Choirbeuk
A page frae the Carver Choirbeuk, a fouthie cairn o vocal polyphony bi Robert Carver an ithers.

20t century scholars sic as Kenneth Elliott haes brocht Carver’s Masses an motets out frae the mirk an tae the tent o praisent-day clessical muisic listeners. It’s clear til us nou that Carver’s wark is o the heichmaist calibre, an compares brawly wi the warks o his mair weel-kent contemporars in continental Europe. In his entry anent Renaissance an Reformation muisic i The Oxford Companion to Scottish History, Jamie Reid Baxter raings Carver’s genius alangside that o his Makar contemporars Henryson, Dunbar an Douglas. An in his 1993 beuk Musick Fyne muisicologist D. James Ross threaps that Carver’s Mass Dum sacrum mysterium micht be the aesome maist byous achievement o Scots Renaissance cultur. Strang wirds. Thocht tae hae been compone’t in 1506 whan Carver wis juist 22 year auld, the said ten-vyce wark is unco in its scale an skeeliness. (Ye can hear it in full i the Spotify playlist linkit til at the fit o this post, as weel as on YouTube.)

The openin o Robert Carver’s motet, ‘O bone Jesu’
The openin o Robert Carver’s motet, O bone Jesu. Ímage taen frae Musick Fyne bi D. James Ross

Carver wis i the employ o the court o Jeames IV (rang 1488–1513), himsel a clarsach, keybuird an lute player. The ring o Jeames V (frae 1513 till 1542) wis siclike a sonsie time for Scots court muisic. His royal court mintit tae emulate that o Henry VIII an Leezabeth I in England, an a nummer o professional muisicians an componers wis keepit on haund. Like his faither, Jeames played the lute, an he wis a fine sicht-reader at the singin an aw. He on twa occasions mairit French princesses — the seicont bein Marie de Guise, mither o Mary, Queen o Scots — an at the time French cultur wis weel seen in Scotland. Componers sic as John Fethy wrate sangs that wis inspire’t bi the French chanson an motet styles.

Queen Mary (rang 1542–1567) wis hersel a muisician, bein a player o the lute an virginals, an a bonnie sangster as weel. Mary wis born in Lithgae but spent the stairt o her ring in France, an didna retour tae Scotland till 1561, bringin wi her mair French muisical influence. Mary haed a nummer o muisicians in her employ, includin a group o ‘sangsteris’ an ‘violaris,’ an muisicians frae England an Italy wad frequent the court. A nummer o componers wis actíve durin Mary’s ring, includin Andro Blackhall, John Black, Andro Kemp an the forementiont John Fethy. A nummer o anonymous sangs haes survived, tae, an ye can lug intae them on Spotify.

Mary’s muisical servitor wis Jeames Lauder (c1535–c1592), a componer o guid repute. The only extant wark we can say is his for shuir is the fine My Lord of Marche Paven (1584). He wis a fríend o the poyet Alexander Montgomerie, an wad likely hae been a memmer (alang wi Montomerie) o Jeames VI’s ‘Castalian Band’ o poyets an muisicians. He micht weel hae been the componer o settins o a wheen Montgomerie poyems sic as In throu the windoes of myn ees.

Richt sair opprest

The Reformation cam til a heid in Scotland in 1560, an the reformt Kirk haedna the time for muisic they regairdit as ower fantoush. The style kenspeckle in contemporar Catholic worship is what’s cawed in muisical terms ‘polyphonic’; that is, comprisin twa or mair independent (vyce) pairts (an kent at the time bi the name o ‘musick fyne’). The reformers wis haein nane o it, derogatin the style as “prophaine” an “filthie.” Muisical instruments — maist o aw the kirk organ — wis thocht on as bein associate wi the Deil, an a stap wis pitten tae the prentin o secular muisic. An for tae win at their braider polítical ettles, the reformers set about wrackin Scotland’s muisical cultur an infrastructur, includin the connachin o kirk biggins an the manuscripts an prentit muisic they housed.

This wis the selsame time that Palestrina in Italy wis componin byous warks that is unco weel-regairdit the day (sic as his maist weel-kent Mass Missa Papae Marcelli, thocht tae hae been written in 1562). Ane o the affcomes o aw the Reformation stour in Scotland is that the day we hae comparatively little i the wey o interestin muisic frae the time: juist a curn sangs, a wheen dances an a haundfu o instrumental warks. Awmaist the hale o the byordinar muisic líbrar o the Chaipel Royal (a important choral group steidit in Stirlin) is tint til us. The líbrar held fower antiphoners an mony ither cairns o manuscripts an prentit muisic. It’s a ferlie the Carver beuk haes survived.

Bi aw accounts the Reformation wis a disaster for Scots cultur. Houiver, it’s no like there wisna ony saucrit muisic efter John Knox an his reformers haed born the gree: the Kirk did mak uiss o Lutheran chorale melodies an psalm tuins frae France an England, an ye haed a nummer o componers — sic as Andro Kemp, David Peebles an John Angus — that teuk on the darg o settin thir melodies, alang wi new anes, in a semple, chordal wey, conform tae the contemporar European prattick. The ettle wis tae mak them easy for the kirk-fowk tae unnerstaund an sing alang til. The douce an mim arrangements, houiver, wis a warld awa frae the quirkie an airtfu polyphony o the pre-Reformation Kirk.

A page frae the Art of Music
A page frae The Art of Music, Collecit Out of all Ancient Doctours of Music (1580). The treatise wis ettelt at teachin students the airt o componin. Ímage taen frae Musick Fyne bi D. James Ross.

It follaes that i the dreich post-1560 environs there wisna the demand for skeely sangsters an polyphonic componers ony mair. Mony o the bigger Scots kirks haed lang haen ‘Sang Schules’ that learnt laddies skeels sic as organ-playin, pairt-singin an componin, an efter the Reformation the scuils suffert. The dwynin o muisic makkin i thir post-Reformation years wisna a state o affairs that could be thole’t for lang, tho, an Jeames VI (rang 1567–1625) declare’t in 1579: “[T]he art of musik and singing … is almaist decayit and sall schortly decay without tymous remeid be providit.” This royal decree ettelt at rebiggin the disjaskit sang scuils, an follaein its passin in Pairlament, the scuils, nou unner the owerance o the burghs, gaed on tae win back a guid bit tint grund. Ae wark we hae frae the time is The Art of Music, Collecit Out of all Ancient Doctours of Music (1580). It’s a treatise that is mintit at teachin students the airt o componin. Ither warks that haes survived frae Jeames VI’s time include the outpit o William Kinloch. Aw his extant warks is for the keybuird, an ye can check them out on Spotify.

Kíng Jeames VI (richt) an his mither Mary
Kíng Jeames VI (richt) an his mither, Mary. Jeames’ royal decree o 1579 — anent the awfu state o muisic makkin in Scotland — declare’t: “[T]he art of musik and singing … is almaist decayit and sall schortly decay without tymous remeid be providit.”
In maugre o Jeames VI’s ettles, houiver, the fundamentalist naitur o the Scots reformers yet límitit the scowth o componers. They warna able tae flourish as did their contemporars Thomas Tallis an William Byrd in England, aft-times findin themsels fouterin wi psalm tuins insteid o winnin forrit wi their airt. Ower a hunder psalms, hermonised bi a sweirt David Peebles, is collectit i the Wode Pairtbeuks, that we’re chancy eneuch tae hae in our possession the day. The pairtbeuks — pitten thegither bi Tammas Wode, vicar o Saunt Andras — haes intil them warks bi a nummer o componers, an includes motets an ither saucrit warks i the Hie Renaissance style.

Psalm 150 frae the Wode Pairtbeuk
The tenor pairt o Psalm 150 frae the Wode Pairtbeuks. The pairtbeuks comprises 16t century muisic frae Scotland, England an continental Europe, includin 106 psalm settins an ither warks bi David Peebles. Ímage credit: Edinburgh University.

Union o the crouns

Jeames VI becam Jeames I o England in 1603 an the royal court flittit frae Edinburgh tae Lunnon, lea’in muisicians in Scotland in a swither as tae the wey forrit. While the loss o sic a important patron wis a stamagaster, the muisical tradítion, as weel as a puckle sang scuils, did haud gaun for a while. At the Glesca sang scuil, for example, componer Duncan Burnett scrieved a nummer o warks for keybuird that’s extant the day. Aw in aw, tho, efter the loss o the court, hamelt composition in Scotland dwyne’t for the time bein.

Ae muisician durin the Baroque period wi guid potential wis John Clerk o Penicuik (1676–1755). He spent time as a student o the weel-kent Italian violin player an componer Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713), an produced a wheen warks early on in his career. The scriever o Clerk’s entry i the Grove pits forrit the cantata Odo di mesto intorno as Clerk’s best. The first performance o it wis led bi nane ither than Corelli himsel in 1698. At the hinder end, tho, Clerk’s potential as a componer wis tae be left unfulfilt, as he gaed intae politics in his mid-20s.

The end o an auld sang

Scotland tint its pairlament an its independence in 1707 wi the passin o the Union wi England Act. The Union brocht wi it social an economic stabílity that helpit forder muisical daeins in society, includin composition: muisicians sic as William McGibbon, Jeames Oswald an Chairles McLean produced sonatas, symphonies an ither warks i the contemporar international style. But it wis a sair fecht tae haud gaun what wi the want o siller an Scotland nae langer haein the international identity it haed i the 15t an 16t centuries. Fowk muisic — raither nor airt muisic — wad prevail, aiblins in pairt born out o the antisyzygetic identity in post-Union Scotland, whaur fowk muisic wis thocht on as bein ‘mair Scots.’

An sae the day we hae a state o affairs whaur the airt muisic o Renaissance an Baroque Scotland haes been forgotten. I the een o the warld, Scots cultur haes come tae be thocht on as couthie, happit in tartan, the bellum o massed bagpipes drounin out maist aw else. Juist as we maunna forget the warks o Makars like Dunbar an Douglas, sae we should tak braider tent o Scotland’s muisical history. As I’v learnt i the course o my speirins, the muisic produced here i the Renaissance an Baroque periods is gey aften gallus, furthie, an firmly steidit i the cosmopolitan European context. An frae it we can learn muckle about Scotland’s bygane, baith airtistic an polítical. Ay, it’s sad no a hale lot o it survived the Reformation, but what we div hae is weel wirth luggin intil.

Jamie SmithJamie Smith is a componer, pianae player, occasional scriever, an the founder an editor o the praisent blog. He’s a wab developer tae tred. Find out mair at an follae him on Twitter @jamieonkeys.


I’v pitten thegither a Spotify playlist o muisic bi the Scots Renaissance an Baroque componers mentiont abuin. Listen here (Spotify account require’t).

An here’s a interactive timeline that pits events, componers an ithers in historical context, that I uised tae help keep me richt while speirin an scrievin. (Dates is whiles approximate.)

Scots-til-English glossar

ae one; aesome single; affcomes outcomes; aiblins perhaps; airt part; airtin direction; anent about, concerning; atour additionally; at the hinder end ultimately; bellum din; binna except, apart from; blads manuscripts, papers; born the gree truimphed; brawly finely; bygane past; byordinar extraordinary; byous exceptional, wonderful; cairn collection; chancy lucky; componer composer; comprehend include; connacht destroyed; couthie inoffensive; curn small number; daeins activity; darg the product of a given endeavour, or a piece of work, a job; derogatin decrying, disparaging; disjaskit dilapidated; douce sedate; dour severe, dull; dree trouble, struggle; dreich dreary, dull; dwynin waning; een eyes; ettle aim; fantoush flashy, fancy; fasherie trouble; ferlie wonder; flit move location; found (‘foon(d)’) foundation; fouterin wasting time on; fouthie abundant; furthie hospitable to outside influences; gallus bold; gart made, compelled; gey very; guid feck o good number of; richt sair opprest grievously oppressed; happit wrapped, covered; haudin gaun continuation; in maugre o in spite of; jaloused surmised, thought; kenspeckle well known, recognisable; kirk-fowk congregation; kythe come up, appear; lave what is left over, the remainder; lug in listen; maun must; maunna must not; mim restrained; mintit aimed; mirk darkness; muckle much; nocht nothing; nor than; ongauns goings-on; outthrou throughout; owerance control, oversight; pose cache, valuable collection; puckle few; quairs written works; quirkie complex; raings rates; raivelment disorder, confusion; re-biggit rebuilt; ring reign; a sair fecht tae haud gaun a struggle to keep going; sangster singer; saucrit sacred; scart scrap; sclates slates; scowth scope, freedom to express oneself; scrievit written; siccan such; siclike similarly; siller money; skeely skilled; skeeliness skillfulness, accomplishment; speirer researcher; speirins research; stamagaster great disappointment, unpleasant surprise; steidit based; stour strife, conflict; sweirt reluctant; swither fluster, state of uncertainty; tent notice; thole’t put up with, endured; threaps contends; tint lost; unco remarkable; wheen few; wrocht made, worked; wysins guidance


Richt o sel-law as fundamental richt for democracy: The case o hauf-free decísions anent Catalonie

A feck o democratic Catalan politícians haes polítical captions agin thaim. The Spainish government is forfendin yet again the process o the Catalan pairlament. In October, it wis acause o the wanthirldom referendum. An nou it’s the jylin o politícians for polítical causes. Thay are socht for ‘rebellion’ an ‘embezzlement’. The definítion o ‘rebeliòn’ in the Spainish constitution actually haes specífically adae wi bangstrie, something that Puidgemont, Ponsati or ither Catalan independentists haes niver promuived. An the referendum wis for the public guid, sae it cannae be embezzlement.

A ‘mids’ postur o mair autonomy for Catalonie, as propone’t by Claus Hecking in Der Spiegel, juist isnae tenable ony mair: the Catalan population haes awready votit on the question o mair autonomy an it wis approbate by thareabout aichty per cent o the population, but than pairtly annult by the Spainish Heich Court.

Gif the Spainish government wants tae be raisonable an trulins be a democratic state, it anerly haes ae option: exeem the polítical prísoners an pit in place a wanthirldom referendum.

Jakob Augstein, in the Spiegel itsel, is richt whan he says Germany sudnae haund Puidgement ower tae the Spainish government. He’s forby richt whan he says that Puidgemont’s bein liftit is a shame for Spainie, Europe an Germany. For kintras that pride thairsels on bein democratic, thay cannae pit fowk in jyle juist for organisin a vote that wis pairt o the polítical programme that buir the gree.

This is hou it is richt tae raise the question o whit we expect o a state. Dae we expect that a state wad oppone democracy? Och naw! We sud expect an demand o governments that thay are free, an become free-er. Thay say thay are democracies. We can assume that, but thay sud pruive that thay are, by applýin democratic principles. An thare is room for chynge in the Spainish estaiblishment.

Acause freedom isnae juist gien an than it’s thare for aye acause it wis gien tae ye. Freedoms an richts is like muscles: thay mouter awa gif ye dinnae uise thaim.

The fact that fowk stoups Ponsati wis shawn in the wey she pit thegither mair nor twa hunner thousand pund in legal upkeep in juist a few days.

Kevin McKenna is richt an aw tae say that we sud say that the Spainish state haes commit authoritarian actions, raither than bein authoritarian. Acause pairt o that expectation is the expectation that fowk can chynge, that things can impruive. Obviously, it isnae inevitable. But we sud certainly evite the cynical attitude o “things is keech” acause the anerly wey for things tae git ony better is for fowk tae imaigine the forrit an ayont an mak steps taewart that futur.

It’s the same wi individuals: gif we want fowk tae impruive, we can juist say “ye’re a dunnerheid” an lea’ it at that. Aw ye daen thare is create unfríendship. It’s a fair feck better tae say “this thing is wrang; here’s hou it can be better.”

A richt free state is ane whaur ye can say whit ye want ’ithout ony bather fae the government. A free state is ane whaur ye can chuise yer leaders, an thay implement the programme ye votit for. Or in even free-er societies, ye dinnae need the middle man; ye juist vote or decide on the policies straucht-like.

An a richt free state is ane that uphauds the richt tae sel-determination; ane whaur a fowk can decide its ain futur. It’s the fowk that needs tae be in the heft. An that includes fowks that disnae yet hae thair ain kintra.1 2 An that includes the richt tae lea’ the kintra thay are awready in acause ense it’s like ye’re jyle’t ’ithin the state, a Hotel California version o democracy. Ye can gie somebody aw the polítical richts ye want (an ye sud) as pairt o anither unit. Ye can dae the same for cívil richts an aw. But ’ithout the richt sel-determination, thay’re still boxt in.

An democracy is about the laws in place representin the will o the demos, the fowk. Gif ye dinnae hae a demos, ye cannae hae a democracy. An, gif the identity o the people concernt by the polítical entity disnae correspond wi the polítical entity in question, the polítical entity is lackin in its democratic capacity tae represent a demos. Sae, for tae hae a fou democracy, whit recks is creatin a polítical entity that by lattin the fowk that isnae pairt o the demos form thair ain state, gif that is whit thay want.

This richt sud be applíed equal-aqual an richt-like tae aw fowks in the warld. But, for the maument, the anerly kintras that is sonsie in thair quest for freedom is kintras that haes support fae muckle pouers. Nou, consíderin the feck o the muckle pouers is democracies, thay sud be uphaudin aw ettles at wanthirldom.3

The richt tae sel-determination is estaiblisht as a principle o law applicable tae aw fowks at the Unitit Nations. The oríginal definítion o fowk is that fowks is ony group occupýin a sindry aurie.

This richt is contrastit wi the concep o ‘territorial integrity’. This concep applíes anerly in case o democracies that grant richts tae aw thair cítizens.4

We can argie that, in the ensaumple o Catalonie, the Spainish government haes gien unequal representation tae the different autonomist communities acause it haes lat Andalucía guide policy auries that it wadnae allou tae Catalonie.

An, by ma wey o it, the richt wey tae balance the twa richts wad be tae uphaud anerly agin threits fae outwi’ the state mairches. That wey, it wad gie fou richts tae sel-law ‘ithout lattin the feckfu kintras mismaggle the affairs o the ither kintras.

In Statehood and the Law of Self-Determination, it is statit that the criteria for the formation o a state, an the criteria for the onhaudin o a state isnae the same: the onhaudin o a state is assumed, whaur the formation is needin tae fulfil specífic criteria.5 This creates inertia whaurby the sítuation steys lang the same whan it could chynge for tae create a jonicker sítuation, mair representative o the wills o the fowks o the warld. It can forby create víolent sítuations o war that wad hinderly be wannecessar gif states wad juist recognise the wills o the fowks tae stert wi.

Sae we can see that Catalonia is unner a government that committit actions that wisnae richt in fauvours o freedom. A say this acause the Spainish government hisnae yet lea’d the Catalans git the government thay votit on an thay hinnae lea’d the Catalans vote thairsels out o Spainie an intae a new Catalonia.

An that this isnae whit we sud expect tae see, consíderin Spainie is a democracy, even gif it isnae a republic. This is a fundamental pairt o a wirkin democracy: tae lea’ fowk the richt tae sae we’ll dae wir ain thing wirsels.

An this richt sud applý tae aw fowks the warld ower, even in kintras that is itherwise free. An thare is mony ensaumples o kintras; we hivnae even leukit at the case o Kurdistan, the Iraq-rung pairt o whilk votit for its ain wanthirldom wi a clear majority an a muckle participation rate. Acause the ultimate richt is tae sae “we’ll decide things by wirsels.”

An like for ony ither richt, we sud haud thaim tae account. Whither it’s protestin, votin, petítions, be clear on whit kin o society ye want tae be lívin in, an fecht for it.

James McDonaldJames McDonald is a Scots polyglot steyin in Réunion. He is keen on different leids, inspecially local leids, an thair forderin, whether it’s Scots, Gaelic, Réunion Creole or ither leids. He wirks in schuils, helpin bairns wi thair hamewirk an giein chess lessons. Ye can contact him on jmcd89 [AT] googlemail [DOT] com.

Social media ímage: Català: La manifestació Diada del Sí es va celebrar l’11 de setembre de 2017 a Barcelona by medel. License: CC BY-SA 4.0


For tips on readin Scots, alang wi a glossar o common wirds, see our cutty guide (written in English).

Scots English
adae wi to do with
Andalucía autonomous community in southern Spain
approbate approved
auries areas
bangstrie violence to a person or property
buirt the gree won first place (in the election)
captions arrest warrants
daen done
dunnerheid idiot, simpleton
ense else, otherwise
equal-aqual in equal shares, equally
ettles ambitions, desires
evite avoid, shun
exeem free
feckfu powerful
forfendin preventing, forbidding
forrit an ayont the way ahead
fowks peoples
hinderly eventually
jonicker honest, fair, just
keech shit, awful
liftit arrested
mairches borders
mismaggle interfere with
mouter decay slowly
onhaudin continuation
oppone oppose
promuive support, foster, promote
propone’t proposed
sel-law self-government
sindry distinct
sonsie successful
stoups supports
tae be in the heft to have complete control (of a situation), to have the whip hand
trulins truly, indeed
uphaudin supporting
wannecessar unnecessary
wanthirldom independence
whit recks? what does it matter?

Fift declaration o a Catalan republic

On the 27t October 2017, the Catalonie government o Carlos Puidgemont declared wanthirldom as a republic. This is the fift time that the Catalonie government haes declared the existence o a Catalan republic. In this airticle, we can leuk at the weys the muivement haes been born, an reborn, an developit ower the hunneryears.

The first declaration o Catalan wanthirldom wis in 1641 by Pau Claris, a priest that wis preses o the Disputacio (the Catalan legal an polítical institution). The wanthirldom wis keepit juist for a week durin the Fraunco-Spainish war, a war that happent acqueish 1635 an 1659. The impetus for this declaration wis the ‘Union o Airms’. The Union o Airms wis a plan that the Spainish government pit intae place for tae obteen mair sodgers an tax fae Aragon (that Catalonie wis pairt o), an Portingal. The Catalonie government refused, justifýin thair opposítion by sayin that thay were sendin ower mony sodgers, an that anerly the Catalan Courts should can send Catalan sodgers outwith Catalonie. Haud on readin . . . “Fift declaration o a Catalan republic”

Argie-bargie in politics

Whan fowk is discussin issues, the conversation whiles dwynes intae a wee stramash: ae side gies thair thochtie on the thing, the ither says “naw, A think this ither thing,” an thay juist rane thair stances. An this is the mair-be-taiken whan it’s polítical issues. Whiles ye’re chancey tae even see fowk argollin for thair posítion. An, whan this happens, fowk afttimes come awa fae it thinkin the same things thay did aforehaund. Whiles, it’s mair the waur: whiles, fowk juist caw ilk anither names, like “yese are juist dunderheids”. An thay end up thinkin thair ain posítion thay awready haed even mair. An that’s a waesome state o affairs.

Sae whit dae we actually want tae be daein? Dae we want tae redd up tuilyies? Or evitin bein naur thaim whan thay kythe? Or dae we juist want thaim no tae kythe?

Haud on readin . . . “Argie-bargie in politics”

The First Mínister’s Readin Challenge

Wha kent whit, an whan did they ken it? E’er syne they catcht auld Dick Nixon wi his lug tae the Watergate waw, our politícians hae makkit a guid haundlin out o the doctrine o plausible deniability, itherwise kent as the virtue o unexpectit ignorance. Knawledge, tae our current crop o baby-kissers, is a volatile thing, ayeweys apt tae blaw up in yer face; an in fact is juist like Schrödinger’s box — naebody kens for shuir whit’s in there, but it’s fifty-fifty ye’ll be left wi a deid cat tae explain. Onygates, it leukt as if the Donald haed takken yon trend tae its logical conclusion whan he wis electit high heid ane o the free warld on the basis o kennin absolutely naething about absolutely onything — weel, until this week, that is, whan his auld sparrin pairtner, Mister Salmond o Lithgae, admítit in a student paper that, afore 2015, he haed niver actually rade a beuk.

Haud on readin . . . “The First Mínister’s Readin Challenge”

Trains approachin?

Puir infrastructure is a belt aboot Scotland’s thrapple. Oor roads are pithailed anachronisms. Boats tae the isles are auld an dear. Fleein tae ony airt ither than London gars ye traivel tae the ane o the central belt aeroports, doublin the cost an time o ilka journey. Scotrail is a mixter-maxter o the sorry an the sublime. On ae haund there’s a braw new electric service breengin atween Embra an Glesca. On the ither haund ye hae twa-cairiage vintage trains rattlin aroon an aboot the hielands, gangin nae place fast. No anely is infrastructure puir, but infrastructure inequality is severe an growin worse ilka year. Gin ye want tae gang onywhaur in Scotland north o the Forth, by car, sea or rail, it’ll be slaw an it’ll be dear.

The effects o this are extreme. Hale sections o Scotland are economically uninhabitable.

Ane o the worst effectit airts is the Buchan. The Broch. Peterheid. Buckie. MacDuff. Big touns thrang wi cultur, business an potential, cut aff fae mercats an ceeties by an infrastructure that’s oot o date by decades.

Haud on readin . . . “Trains approachin?”