Posts tagged ‘Scotland’

Introducing Mistress MacKenzie

Good morning, Stalkers!

I know it’s 20.49 on a Sunday evening. But it’s Saturday morning in Strathbungle – a region which lies between the upper-lowland-mid-Highlands and the inner estuary of my head.

Mistress MacKenzie's Cottage

Mistress MacKenzie lives there in The Midgie View Guest Hoose – in the village of Glenclootie (Valley of The Devil) – where she runs a small croft and broadcasts school lessons for the children of the isolated communities from her garden shed studio. On no account should you ever let your children listen to these lessons unless you approve of Hoodoo.

She is very lonely so is looking for new stalkers. And a new husband. On no account should you snog her as she has Gingivitis.

Drop her a wee tweep (Scots for Tweet) @MistressMacKenzie using the hash tag #AskMistress and she will knit you a cardigan in your favourite colours. On no account should you wear it as she uses a mix of freshly slaughtered lambs’ wool and 1960s recycled asbestos.

Here’s a picture of her with her flying squirrel, Archie. You can also ask Archie anything you like about life as a flying squirrel using the hash tag #AskArchie. No animals were harmed in the making of this fictional Squirrel.

Mistress MacKenzie and Archie

She also has an advice column in The Strathbungle Chronicle so you can send her a wee letter to Mistress MacKenzie, The Gairden Shed Studio, Glenclootie Fairm, Glenclootie Village, Strathbungle, Scotland, The Worild and she will respond in kind and help you get the best out of your Bannock and give you some #HandyHints as to where you can #HideYourHusbandsBody.

You can also listen to a flavour of her real proper wireless radio show here: Mistress MacKenzie on The Shark’s Mouth

Colin McCredie in the Art Gallery

Colin McCredie

And for the more adventurous, come and see her LIVE at The Tron Theatre, 63 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5HB, on the 3rd December 2015 at 8.30pm.

This will be a LIVE READING of the BBC Radio Scotland show, Mistress MacKenzie and Friends, which was produced by Gus Beattie for The Comedy Unit.

Mistress Mac will be joined by very special guest star, Colin McCredie, from off of that there Taggart, River City, Shallow Grave and is also Tig’s Daddy, in CBeebies Wooly and Tig – AND all the male voices in the BBC Radio Scotland’s broadcast of Mistress MacKenzie and Friends.
Tickets will be available from The Tron Theatre Tickets For Live Reading

Thanking you!

Mistress Mac's Shed Outiside View

The Gairden Shed Studio

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Robert Burns Was A Feminist

Robert Burns was a philanderer, fornicator and father of bastart weans, yes.

But he was also a feminist.

Robert Burns loved women.  In fact, without us, he would not have written a single word.  He said, “I never had the least thought nor inclination of turning poet until I got heartily in love then rhyme and song became the spontaneous language of my heart.”

highland mary
Burns also thought of women as the superior of species.  He said, “Mither nature…her prentice hand she tried on man and then she made the lasses, O’” –

That is how important we lasses were to Robert Burns.

He loved the company of the fairer sex and, in fact, preferred it to that of men.  He said, “The finest hours that e’er I spent were spent amang the lasses, O’.”

Quite apart from his lovers, two key women who informed his view on women, fuelled the young Robert’s imagination and fired up his passion for words and stories were his Mother, Agnes Broun Burnes (the ‘e’ was later dropped) and one of her old friends – or ‘Maids’ – Betty Davidson.

Agnes Burnes was a small, vibrant woman with wild red hair who could not write but could read beautifully.  She read traditional Scottish stories to Burns and sang old folk songs which she had picked up from the strong oral tradition that prevailed around that time – laying the foundations for her son’s passion for rhyme and song.


Betty Davidson delighted in telling the boy ghost stories involving the devil, warlocks and fairies.

Robert Burns wrote Tam O’Shanter in one short evening, but it is clear that that poem had been bubbling away inside him since he was that small, terrified young boy listening to Betty’s tall tales of superstition, apparition and dragons by the dim light of the crackling fire.

Robert Burns also advocated for women’s rights at a time when Emeline Pankhurst was still a twinkle in Mither Nature’s e’e.

The poem, The Rights of Women, may seem patronising to us today but in 1792 it was groundbreaking, shocking and even laughable – particularly amongst the men Burns fraternized with in his supper clubs and Masonic halls.

Burns wrote this poem for Ms Louisa Fontenelle, a London actress who performed it at a benefit night:

“While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,
The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings;
While quacks of State must each produce his plan,
And even children lisp the Rights of Man;
Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,
The Rights of Woman merit some attention.

First, in the Sexes’ intermix’d connection,
One sacred Right of Woman is, protection.
– The tender flower that lifts its head, elate,
Helpless, must fall before the blasts of Fate,
Sunk on the earth, defac’d its lovely form,
Unless your shelter ward th’ impending storm.

Our second Right-but needless here is caution,
To keep that right inviolate’s the fashion;
Each man of sense has it so full before him,
He’d die before he’d wrong it-’tis decorum.

– There was, indeed, in far less polish’d days,
A time, when rough rude man had naughty ways,
Would swagger, swear, get drunk, kick up a riot,
Nay even thus invade a Lady’s quiet.

Now, thank our stars! those Gothic times are fled;
Now, well-bred men-and you are all well-bred-
Most justly think (and we are much the gainers)
Such conduct neither spirit, wit, nor manners.

For Right the third, our last, our best, our dearest,
That right to fluttering female hearts the nearest;
Which even the Rights of Kings, in low prostration,
Most humbly own-’tis dear, dear admiration!

In that blest sphere alone we live and move;
There taste that life of life-immortal love.
Smiles, glances, sighs, tears, fits, flirtations, airs;
‘Gainst such an host what flinty savage dares,
When awful Beauty joins with all her charms-
Who is so rash as rise in rebel arms?

But truce with kings, and truce with constitutions,
With bloody armaments and revolutions;
Let Majesty your first attention summon,
Ah! ca ira! The Majesty Of Woman!

In this poem, Robert Burns is calling to the social order, particularly the ruling classes, to pay attention to the attributes of women in society – and womankind in general – and to value their intrinsic worth – particularly as pacifiers in a time of war (it was the time of The French Revolution – a cause, it is widely thought, Burns supported.)

Robert Burns was a ‘ladies’ man’ in every sense of the word.  Women made him, women inspired him and women educated him.

Yes, Burns was a reckless romantic who fell in love – and into bed – too easily with women.  But this does not mean that he disrespected them or treated them badly or thought them inferior to himself.

He loved women:  He loved his mother, his aunts, his sisters, his wife, his daughters and, yes, his lovers.

He loved women!

But women also loved Robert Burns.  The lasses – along with Robert Burns – worked long hard hours in the fields and barley.  They were very close to nature.  Particularly Mother Nature.

Burns valued and appreciated women for their beauty and intellect, along with their political views, their humour and their passions for words and language.

And he stuck up for them and advocated for them at a time when women had no rights at all.

Robert Burns held women socially and intellectually his equals and did not understand why the men around him did not.

In this poem he is asking – nee, pleading – with the ruling classes to appreciate and respect women and to give them the rights of decorum, protection and admiration.

These ‘rights’ may seem condescending to us today but they were enlightened for – if limited by – the time.

Robert Burns Painting
So, if you are speaking at a Burns Supper this week, try to not be so cliché’d in your anecdotes about Burns’ many lovers.  And he did not have as many as you may think.

He had many affairs, yes, that is true.  But he also fantasized about many more.  And it is all these affairs, real and imagined, which informed his work. He was a poet.  A warrior poet at times.  So, please remember also the wide range of other attributes which can be attached to Burns name other than ‘philanderer’ and ‘fornicator’. He was also a feminist.

Burns with Scottish Flag
Keara is a Burns Speaker, Comedian and actress. She also recites, by heart, The Address to the Haggis, To A Mouse, To A Mountain Daisy and does a mean Response on Behalf of The Lasses.

She has also delivered The Immortal Memory on many occasions – and may sing Ae Fond Kiss if you get her very drunk.

Keara has presented four documentaries for BBC Radio Scotland, two of which were featured on BBC Radio 4 ‘Pick of the Week’.

Keara adapted her radio show, The Secret Sex Life of Robert Burns, for stage which debuted at The Scottish Storytelling Centre in January 2016 to a sell-our crowd.

Keara also presented her one-woman show, Mice and Women, at The Brig O’Doon Hotel, Alloway, at The Alloway Festival on 25th January 2015, Burns Day.

In 2018 Keara presented her new storytelling show, The Bard and I, covering some of the content and the making of her documentary series with the BBC which was awarded four stars in The Student Review.

Remembering The Bawbag

A year on from Hurricane Bawbag, Keara looks back with fond memories of the day Scotland was overtaken by a mid-latitude storm and reacted by pissing itself laughing…

Firstly a bit of background: Hurricane Bawbag is the colloquial name given to an intense mid-latitude storm, officially named Friedhelm, which brought hurricane-force winds to Scotland at the beginning of December 2011.  On 8 December, winds reached up to 165 mph (265 km/h) at elevated areas, with sustained wind speeds of up to 80 mph (135 km/h) reported across populous areas. The winds uprooted trees and resulted in the closure of many roads, bridges, schools and businesses. Overall, the storm was the worst to affect Scotland in 10 years.

The official title of the cyclone is Friedhelm, as named by the Free University of Berlin, which is responsible for the naming of low-pressure systems affecting Europe. In Scotland, the storm was dubbed Hurricane Bawbag, the term “Bawbag” being a Scots word for “Scrotum”.

The name sparked a trending topic on Twitter, which became one of the top trending hashtags worldwide.

Rob Gibson, the Convener of the Scottish Parliamentary Environment Committee, was the first politician to use the term on national television. 

And it was absolutely hilarious!

HurricaneBawbag caused untold damage:

  • Donald lost his troosers
  • Many were woken well before their giro arrived
  • Several priceless collections of mementos from the Balearics and Spanish costas were damaged.
  • Three areas of historic and scientifically significant litter were disturbed.
  • The cone fell off the head of the statue outside Glasgow’s Modern Art Gallery.
  • Thousands were confused and bewildered, trying to come to terms with the fact that something interesting had happened in Scotland
  • One resident, Pocahontis McGlinchy, a 17 year old mother-of-three said “Ah wiz like ‘Whit’s that? Ah canny hear ma choonz innat man Wee Beyonce came running into my bedroom pure howlin so she wiz. My youngest two, Brooklyn an Blackpool slept through it. I was still pure rattlin when I was watching Jeremy Kyle the next morning.”
  • Apparently though, looting did carry on as normal
  • The British Red Cross have so far managed to ship 4000 crates of Buckfast to the area to help the stricken masses.
  • Rescue workers are still searching through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings including benefit books and jewellery from Elizabeth Duke at Argos
  • Edinburgh spent all day rolling the wheely bins back to Glasgow
  • #BawBags trended No1 Worldwide on twitter – ranked two above the lamer #ScotStorm
  • Scots prayed for more hurricanes so they could create more comedy material
  • Scots – for the first time in history – were happy
  • Hurricane Bawbag was eventually downgraded to a Category4Nutsack.

Glasgow Comedy Festival 2013

My new show, Keara Murphy: Mice & Men, will debut at Glasgow Comedy Festival 2013 on 14th March… Tickets Here: http://glasgowcomedyfestival.com/shows/#!/shows/425

Keara Murphy: Mice & Men
Whilst preparing her annual Burns Supper speech, a wee mousie popped its head out from under Keara’s couch to ask, politely, if he could share her rice.  After a courteous conversation involving a hammer, Keara pondered the line in Robert Burns’, To A Mouse: “A daimen icker in a thrave’s a sma’ request”.  Should Keara grant the mousie’s request or lay down fifty shades of warfarin for the wee blighter?  If we continue to treat mice ‘humanely’ will they eventually take over the telly?  – It’s already happened in Leith!

And, what of men?  Are they not just gigantic mice?  After extensive on-the-job research, Keara thinks this may be so.  Therefore, like Rabbie Burns before her, Keara muses the parallels between the species and laments. 

“She’s Eddie Izzard with less make-up and more Glasgow” List”
“Exudes Glaswegian charm.” Scotsman
“Intelligent Burns banter” Friday Fix
“Passionate, enthusiastic and deeply knowledgeable about Robert Burns” SLTA

It’s gonna be good, it’s gonna be truthful, it’s gonna be funny, it’s gonna be beautiful, it’s gonna lose me friends and alienate people, it’s gonna be fun!

Come!

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