Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Tartan Kilts 2

Today is the 40th birthday of my brother Stuart, proud father of Joe and Fraser, loving husband to Dawn and creative website genius available for all types of freelance work. He’s spending the week in a lovely cottage in The Cotswolds (a mysterious nether region of the English countryside full of little villages with improbable sounding names like Flipping Norflap, Piddle on the Wrye and Ooh Vicar What Lovely Crumpets) surrounded by the glowing warmth of his loving family bosom… or some such similar phrase.

His birthday gift is a box filled with 40 presents, big and small, assembled by Dawn over the past year or so. One of the presents is an album of photographs containing a picture from every year of Stuart’s life. During the research for this project, some long-lost archive photos and audio tapes were discovered in the basement of the family home where we spent many a happy night locked in the darkness without food and water in punishment for using not too good grammar.

Here’s a photograph of Stuart and I attending the high society wedding of our Uncle Calum and Auntie Dee in 1967 proving that we’re not Johnny-come-latelys to the kilt game. And reproduced below for the first time ever is a transcript of the revealing conversation we had at the time.

Neil: “Stuart, look this way. I think Dad’s gonna take our photo.”

Stuart: “I think there’s an ice cream van over there.”

Neil: “Forget the ice cream. You’re only two and you need to learn the importance of superficial style and appearance when there’re cameras around.”

Stuart: “But my nappy makes my bum look big under this dress.”

Neil: “It’s a KILT and keep your voice down or the girls’ll get disillusioned. Just stand to attention and press your arms tight to your side like I do. And suck your cheeks in.”

Stuart: “And that’ll make me look slimmer?”

Neil: “Sure, it’s all smoke and mirrors. I’ve got my eye on that cute, wee three-year old chick over there.”

Stuart: “No chance. I saw Big Davie giving her sweeties in the church. You know, the five-year old guy with the Chopper bike and the shiny stabilisers.”

Neil: “Bloody typical!”

Stuart: “It’s endemic of this 60s, capitalist society that so much emphasis is placed on material things and looks.”

Neil: “Huh?”

Stuart: Too few people in the media have too much power over what’s going on and what we ultimately see. One day I’m going to work in a medium where global communication and information is accessible to everyone.”

Neil: “Don’t talk shite. Next you’ll be telling me that The Beatles are gonna split and I’ll end up working in a bank for twenty years.”

Stuart: “I’m telling you, by the time I’m 40, we’ll all be talking to each other on little hand-held, TV telephones, old Cliff Richard’ll still be churning out hits and I’ll be available for all types of freelance work in the new communications medium.

Neil: “Aye right, and I’ll be captain of the Starship Enterprise. Now look over here and say ‘cheese’.”

So, a very happy birthday to you today Stuart. Thanks for all the website support, the cool record collection I’d listen to when you were out and the help with the accounting homework. You were right about the future although my fingers are still crossed about the Star Trek gig.


At 22/3/05 12:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Neil. Very funny. Did big Davie get the chick? I never got the ice cream and it took me a further 25+ years to learn the smoke and mirrors pulling power of the kilt. Now that I'm forty I reckon I'll need it more than ever.
Great post!


At 22/3/05 3:29 pm, Blogger ropedncr said...

ooo vicar what lovely crumpets? and i doubt that conversation ever took place (but it was hilarious). happy birthday to stuart

At 22/3/05 5:58 pm, Blogger DC said...

Soapy & Stuart,

I'll tell you you're either born with it or you aint - and as your illuminating and slightly disturbing photo proves - by the time you were 2/3 you were truely in a class of your own.

Did you not both appear as "The Sensational Singing Sutherland Sisters" in 1968 on the Andy Stewart Show singing "Bonnie Wee Jeannie McColl"

In later years did Stuart really feature in a picture romance story in "My Guy "?If so did he wear a kilt?


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