Monday, 28 February 2011

Litany of Lenten lectures: Liturgy of Lament

Litany of Lenten

As you will have noticed, there are many ‘L’ s in today’s blog.  We were reminded on the Radio 4 Sunday programme about materials for Lent with their special Lent services (ugh).  An interesting game which some of us observers of “Radio Worship” play is to turn on the radio 10 minutes after the ‘service’ has started and then guess:

a) the denomination;
b) the location;
c) the augmented choir.

Many producers of these programmes concentrate on the music, not the on the worship.  If you have been to a recording of these programmes, you will have had the schpeel from the producer.  

As usual, on Sunday I tuned into Radio 4 and thought:

a)     not Catholic, not Anglican, not English
b)     Celtic
c)     not tuneful – must be non-Welsh speakers from Wales

And I was right!

Forget all the invocations to Dewi Sant (St David’s tomorrow, 1st March).  This was a URC service to bits of the Scottish Psalter and something from the Iona community.  I could only think of Ronnie Corbett grimacing when he heard ‘by cool siloam’s shady rill’ choon being used for something else.

(Note: Ronnie Corbett asked for this setting sung by the Glasgow Orpheus Choir when he was on Desert Island Discs.)

Nevertheless, this was a gem of a service and I’ve confirmed that I’m going to give up Lent on the radio with all its talk – whenever Lent is!

There are some interesting aspects about Lent.  Anglicans on the Archers (e.g. Shula) get very virtuous about Lent, and I’ve already given up the Archers.  I might dip into it for our multi-cultural vicar of Ambridge for the 40 days and 40 nights (Sundays not included). 

If you really want to annoy Anglicans during Lent, ask them where the red wine is kept during the Lenten lunches.  If a bossy deacon or vicar tells you ‘no wine during Lent’ you can remind them that Sundays are Feast days! 

Another vexed issue is the symbology of the Easter egg. As they appear in the shops shortly after Christmas, they are hardly symbolic of anything other than profit – and Cadbury’s have moved to Poland anyway.  Isn’t the word Easter related to the hormone Oestrogen?  And fertility?  

We have formed a committee to consider items for the Syllabub of Terrors.  An item which has been proposed is a crème egg.  I’m not convinced by this personally, but let’s pretend that I’m the vicar of an Anglican PCC….

If anyone dares to ask you what you’re giving up for Lent, you can always lie.  Lent is after all an obreption and you can quote me on that!   

** start of Serious Bit **

Liturgy of Lament

Many of our viewers will be aware of the problems with the Irish Catholic church.  On Sunday 20th February 2011, a service of liturgy of lament was held in Dublin.  Whether this gives comfort to those concerned (not the hierarchy) is for them to decide.  I’m merely appending some comments from the Irish press which you can read as you see fit.  If you type: Liturgy of lament Dublin’ into a search engine, most of the official stories from the archdiocese will appear.    

Alternatively, you could follow the links below:

The Irish Times, articles by Patsy McGarry

or The Belfast Telegraph

** end of serious bit **

I have been dipping my toes into the blogosphere and some well-respected newspapers.  I doubt if the title ‘obreption’ will make me welcome in some blogs, but you never know.  A check on obreption’s statistics show that someone questioned Google on the nature of Fraser Nelson.  I hope it wasn’t someone on The New Statesman!  Future headlines might include the I-choco klast and Bonfire of the Chocolate Smartie Easter Egg. 

Meanwhile, the Tyranny of Tack continues with Oman, Saudi Arabia and Djibouti joining in.  The BBC pronunciation unit has been truly stretched, and the Platinum Medal goes to Peter Donaldson on BBC Radio 4, who managed a first with the ‘BaHrain MaNAma’ double.  Peter sounds convincing in pronouncing the name of the Yemeni capital.  James Naughtie’s reports from Egypt have been questioned by the British public through the mediation of Feedback (on Radio 4). 

Professor Dr A.V.O’Gadro (Tony) has suggested we auction off the letter ‘V’ in the periodic table.  I have suggested that we allow competing authorities to debate the issue.  As Tony says, so it will be a toss up between the Vatican and Vedanta.  If my chum, the reincarnation of Radha, is allowed to debate she could win hands down – or up!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Michael Gove frayne strengulates vowels

To set the context, please click on the link below!

Michael Gove opts for a better Frayne of mind in retelling message

James Frayne's appointment as media chief at Department for Education may be a masterstroke if his blog is anything to go by

Everything Michael Gove touches turns to dust

Michael Gove school rebuilding 'gaff': fallout
Michael Gove has been having a torrid time so he is being re-launched. So many advisors, so many spads. (Hallelujah!)  Even The Spectator's Fraser Nelson (of which more anon) refers to him as "the laddie".  ( While we ought to be listening to Highland Laddie, we invite you to listen to a piece of drookit laddie, instead.  ( )

The coalition government is going to have to shell out shed loads of wonga to satisfy the parties about the crappy nature of the inept ministers.

At the beginning Danny Alexander bore the brunt of the Westminster Village jokes. It is open season now, with many of them even reaching Cameron.

Gove is resented by many. He is a product of Scotland and he is telling the English how to run their schools. Harman’s move to pillory Alexander as a "ginger rodent" failed.  The English love their animals and to anthropomorphize the human only brings out the sympathy vote.

Gove is different. He is a Scotch parvenu and suffers from strangulated vowels. Two Scottish politicians who went down this route were Malcolm Rifkind and the late Robin Cook. To them gravitas meant grevitas ( as in sacks/sex ) with the result that they were regarded as second rate and thus despised.

Fraser Nelson should look out. He sounds as if he needs both an oral enema and a cure for irritable vowel syndrome.

Gove has strangulated vowels. This causes clarity dissonance. No Morningside no Kelvinside. If Gove is not careful he will be known Glengormless if he is lucky or as the Pied Piper of Pimplico.

Fine Malts


Strengulated vowels:
Lord MacKay of Clashfern.
Malcolm Rifkind
Robin  Cook
Fraser Nelson 
Grumpy Originals                
Gordon Brown
Andy Murray
Alexander Brothers
Danny Douglas and Wendy retd
Gueroted Scotch
Tommy Sheridan, Jim Devine
Rebranded Scotch
Legova Lin
Tell A Scare

Has Craig Oliver been heard on Radio 4 recently?  Is he doing the stringulation or de-stringulation of Gove? 

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Plagiarism, peculations: ubiquitous or obreption?

Uni Bayreuth entzieht Guttenberg den Doktortitel


Evangelical pastor charged with sex offences

Good evening and welcome to Obreption Mansions.  I am delighted to host this rare event - an interview with Herr Professor Dr Dr Obreption zu Gestalt in the headquarters of Obreption LLC in a tax shelter near you. 

Guru ji, what made you decide to launch Obreption from a foreign tax shelter?

Well, Kirsty, I thought the world would like to have an inkling of how things work and I am pleased to say that many of my theories have been discussed all over the world and at very high levels.  My ‘Tyranny of Tack’™ has been sought after by many policy wonks, ministers, dictators and the seriously unhinged.  

Thank you for that clarification.  Can you tell us the story of the rumour of Gaddafi going to Venezuela really started?

Well, Carolyn, it was a very hard day at our conference of religious specialists and as it was held in Edinburgh there was some idiot playing the bagpipes outside.  We were comparing and contrasting the issue of plagiarism in academic life, books, sermons, encyclicals and holy books.  Many specialists were agog at the new app on the iPhone which for 99₵ will allow you to build a sermon or homily around a text by:

a) setting in context;
b) decontextualising it;
c) adding adjectives and adverbs;
d) a combo box or sandpit with a choice of outcomes;
e) adverts, signposts, after care, press release;
f) a bit of Benny. 

We were trying this out with respect to the line in the New Testament which said Jesus wept.  In passing around the iPhones, iPads and Blackberrys, someone – I think it was one of the Polish waitresses -  shouted out:
“Can’t you stop the piper playing the Whores of the Forest?” to which a drunk shouted back, “Do you want me to do ‘Willie’s gaen tae Melville Castle?  This was unfortunately picked up and someone told the FO and Hague announced to the world that Gaddafi’s gone to Venezuela!  These things happen, Felicity, and we must remember obreptions everywhere.  There are many great songs which fit the Tyranny of Tack or obreptions everywhere.

Can you tell us your favourite novelist?

Well, Lorna, as a purveyor of tack - and indeed my forthcoming novel concerning it’s a short step from polyester to polytheism is a good example of tack - a recent beacon of light has been the author William Boyd.  He writes a lot about obreption.  Indeed Restless shows how important obreption has been to the British people. 

Another interesting writer is Ben MacIntyre.

Can I ask if you’re listening to the current Book at Bedtime on Radio 4?

To be honest, Sara, I think Colin Thubron is past his sell by date.  He’s a bit too reflective, too much creative writing and the set piece vignettes have been parodied and pastiched elsewhere.  It just goes to show that truth can be stranger than fiction.  Many people think Dan Brown’s theology is accurate … hmmmm.

If I can ask you, in our quick round questions  - answers yes or no –

Bugger off Kate!

This is Obreption speaking.  I thought we’d try out this tired old radio format to go over the momentous 28 days since we started this blog.  We now have 3 friends, have hit the world press, have caused serious problems at a well known political blog and a well known newspaper’s media staff internal memo, email system and not a bit of discomfort with some religious specialists.
The German defence minister has asked for his doctoral thesis to be de-promoviert in Bayreuth.  This is poor Wagner; you can just imagine Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (a real toff) wooing Hilary Clinton in a scene from Die Miestersinger set in Walmart.  It turns out, however, that Bayreuth isn’t the only place you can get a phony PhD.  BBC Newsnight went into some detail about Saif Gaddafi and his time at the LSE.  His PhD thesis (citations required) was defended as was his oral or was it a viva, by Lord Desai, who is thought to be an economist. 

There is a lot of economics in ‘verite’ and it’s not only phony PhDs that is bothering world leaders, it’s the press intrusion into how the British government appeared to be caught napping on the Libyan crisis.  Cameron returned to the control points of the levers of British obfuscation, though many fingers were being pointed at how useless Clegg was.  In the blogosphere, disgruntled former navy and army staff said there was no money.  The other defence force couldn’t do it, and look what happened when the navy got kidnapped in the Shatt al- arab in the Gulf a few years ago.  There were, however, great words of calming it down, with a balanced interview with Lord West saying that there was quite a lot of dozziness in Whitehall.  Whatever next! 

I have discovered that Thursday night is the night to ignite a cyber-war.  It does get very heated and at times would resemble that scene in a French restaurant showing an altercation between a well-known designer for Dior and a couple of diners, who may or may not have had the euphemistic sun-tan.  In any case, Dior can take comfort from the fact that their couture has put them at the forefront of culture.

The Friday blog tends to be about religious matters of great interest to liturgical pedants and those with very large moral compasses about things mumbled in a language which only a few people understand.  You can tell a Roman Catholic religious specialist who knows some Latin by the frequency of the use of the subjunctive in English.  Their sermons have been much parodied and pastiched as above. 

When I was doing my PhD thesis, you had to get out the scissors and the paste pot and literally cut out the cribbed chunks of plagiarism.  The only check one could do was ensuring citation corresponded with quotes, but no one really checked up.  If you knew the external examiner (and who didn’t), you had to quote some of his groundbreaking work and those of his research lineage.  It’s a sort of apostolic succession in academia.  My direct line of descent can be traced back to pre-Aryan invasion of the Garden of Eden, which is before the Hindu claims of 35,000 BCE. 

I would now like to bring a smile to the Roman Catholics who feel I have been unfair in shining light on their peculations.  It would appear that allegedly Channel 4 has been discovering alleged peculations in the Pentecostals and Evangelicals.  No less an authority than Channel 4 has apparently made this claim in a programme (  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee have no comment to make and will not be making a statement about resident religious specialists going on administrative leave.  This goes to show that there is good business to be had in that revival from Sleazy Street in California.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Prophets and predictions: profit warning

Keen readers (and viewers) of this blog have appreciated the alliterative nature of religious specialists, practitioners, observers, commentators and sociologists.  If we look back to the conference in Exeter you will see that things haven’t changed much.
A run through the participants of this market will reveal a western approach to global issues.  In 2000, relatively few of the self-selective group really knew what was going on beyond their field of research projects, funding and book plugging and signing.  Nevertheless, there are some characters who have, over the years, made an impact on commentators outside the genre.  Some of them have even been heard on the BBC on various discussions on secularisation, rational choice and other concocted terms.   One of the lucky winners following the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was Linda Woodhead, who launched ‘relational religions’.  The no-nonsense approach of Professor Steve Bruce from Aberdeen is much in demand, though he has his critics in some communities.   The topics for the conference in Exeter were interesting and you can check up on all the speakers.  You may also wish to come to a conclusion on the need to schlep it all the way to Exeter for a conference when these days you can do it all on the internet. 

At a recent gathering of religious specialists in Edinburgh, we had no significant press release, no formal announcements, a lot of networking and a delightful variation on pass-the-parcel.  This involved a huge circle of participants with an iPhone or an iPad logged in and then passed in a clockwise direction.  Unfortunately, we had forgotten that when the music stopped, the reincarnation of Krishna’s girlfriend was forehanded and she was thus able to double blog, simultaneously, a string of rubbish to various newspapers which have remained in cyber-space and will likely remain there according to Hindu mystics until Shiva comes to bring the universe to its end.  These predictions are a great source of joy to us religious specialists.  Remember, theology is as relevant to the gods as ornithology is to birds (to borrow a metaphor from the late Richard Feynman).  The links on both Steve Bruce and Linda Woodhead have been chosen without any particular sorting other than a lazy search on Google with a name and their university. 

Happy funding!

Steve Bruce:                  


Linda Woodhead:  

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Are processed foods and alcohol safe: obreption.

Thousands are 'at risk of alcohol death' say doctors

McDonald's and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy

Wife of Health Secretary Andrew Lansley gave lobbying advice
The wife of Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, is running a public affairs business which boasts about advising drug and food companies, it emerged last night.

This coalition government is lacking clarity and probably needs a good dose of either an oral enema or a suppository.  Whatever’s wrong with it, we’re getting mixed signals.  The forest sale in England was conveniently dumped or put out to grass – very long.  Gove is being ridiculed by all.  Fox is having a tough time with defence, and the economy may not be as bright as we were told regarding the danger zone.  One person who deserves the pile of vitriol from patients, doctors, clinicians, nurses and relatives is, I’m afraid to say, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary for England.  Suitcases are being kept across the border near the Welsh Marches and Hadrian’s Wall.  There was an interesting interview with Lansley on the Food Programme on Radio 4.  Sheila Dillon can only be taken in small doses, but she is quite smart at grilling government ministers, especially over health and food issues.  She caught Lansley out a few times suggesting he was too much persuaded by the processed foods industry.  In the usual BBC way of balance, they had an American expert say: if you want an orange, eat an orange; if you want an orange coloured liquid, drink a Fanta.  It sounds better and is well worth a listen.  ( ) Sheila Dillon’s parting shot to Lansley, who is never off Radio 4, was: we look forward to meeting you in a year’s time, if you’re still at Health.  I don’t know how many off-takes there are in the BBC, but I bet they thought ‘if you’re still alive’, ‘still in good health’, ‘not moved’, ‘undead’ ….

Blow me, he pops up again on the World Tonight with Ritula Shah, who is usually fairly well mannered, but even she couldn’t understand his apparently cosiness with the drinks industry in not pushing for a 50p per unit minimum alcohol charge.  ( )A senior medic has advised that liver disease and consequent death will increase sharply over the next decade or two unless control is taken with alcohol pricing.  Lansley did his usual “I know best” routine (pathologists don’t get complaints from their patients) and in any case, it’s up to the Chancellor.  What he didn’t mention was the amount of pirate booze that’s around and that the government has totally lost the plot with any type of substance abuse.  Lansley’s chances of surviving are in doubt.

It’s not even a year and Cameron’s doing his ‘first in Egypt, then in Kuwait’ routine.  This sounds like shades of desperation, headline grabbing, lots of hand wringing.

The only people to gain from all of this are accountants, lawyers and new age religions.  Bring it on!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Humanists overtake Catholics in Wedding Events

More Scots wedding couples turn to humanist marriages
There were more humanist weddings than Roman Catholic weddings in Scotland last year, according to new figures.

Welcome this Sunday morning to Edinburgh, where we’re going to discuss the M in our series on BMD, or life events.  For many people marriage is a sacrament, an insurance policy or to quote Hattie Jacques “a bleeding ceremony.”  It can involve a lot of money and it can be very expensive to undo.  In fact at our conference of religious specialists in Edinburgh, we have decided to offer the alternative sacraments, i.e. De-baptism, D-I-V-O-R-C-E (in association with Sister Tammy and liberal Rabbi Midler both of Winnetka, Illinois), and the Ceremony of the Un-dead.  For this, we have a voodoo specialist in addition to the usual orthodox Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu specialists.  The concept of a ceremony for the un-dead will not be familiar to some Christians and Muslims. 
As you can see, this blog has been attracting many followers since we have put in some colour and a few pictures.  This one is of Mons Meg, one of our Belgian pieces of material culture.  It is very useful in what used to be known as ‘shot gun weddings.  These of course were in the bad old days (they were quite lucrative in Gretna Green) and now Mons Meg is much in desire for high status wedding rentals.  We hope you found the link to a kilt rental shop useful in a previous post.  They probably can’t arrange for Meg here to welcome your guests, shout at your congregation (in a good Presbyterian way).  Mons Meg is much older than Radio Vatican – and a lot clearer.  Mons Meg has been around a lot longer and though it wasn’t very healthy James II (he was killed when it backfired!) it can certainly not be accused of causing cancer as that abomination in Rome is alleged to.  For the purpose of monetising marriage, we have to include the difficult subject of civil
partnerships, gay weddings, polygamy, polyandres, mixed weddings and we believe that with the advancement of science as reported from AAAS conference, transgenic and trans-species contract (Cardinal Keith is busy preparing a press release to condemn this). 

Our local expert at the conference in George St, Edinburgh is the well known mujtahid Ayatollah Husain Pallaver.  Ayatollah Husain has much experience in Leith sanctifying many marriages and he is quite sure that his 24 hour concubinage ceremonies meet with the approval of the authorities in Leith.  You can see the women in their gowns at Easter Road for home games.   The ladies are kept in purdah when a blue team or a green team from that city 44 miles to the west visits.  Over to you Sheikh Husain.

Thank you for my welcome.  It has been a pleasure to get on the bus from Leith.  You will doubtless detect that many religious specialists are worried that humanist weddings have overtaken the Catholic church wedding in Scotland.  I believe that we religious specialists should always go after what was known as altarage (honorarium stipend or stole the collection).  They may be missing a trick and I would advise some of our Catholic religious specialists to take up the monetisation thought process of the Sussex Old Roman Catholics.  (
I am well aware that Obreption has told you of the fissile nature of Presbyterianism.  There is also some schism within the Roman Catholic and Anglo-Catholic communities in Edinburgh.  Sadly, within our local Shi’ite community we have many fragmentary groupings, though not as many as can be found in Beirut.  To be honest, on a bad day Leith can resemble Beirut, and many Lebanese feel at home under the protection of Mons Meg and for a £100 extra I will delegate one of my followers to utter suitable verses, though a guest appearance  of the calibre of Reshma ( is very expensive.  For an example of liturgy, we would refer you to Carry on Up the Khyber and Carry on up the Jungle.  These two examples of film give us a window onto the world which would otherwise be obscured by obscurantism and ontological deficiencies.  And now we must gather round and ask that you do not listen to our discussions on monetisation of Apps for the downloading of liturgy under cannon law. 
Done Edinburgh Castle, 35,000 BCE.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Boron: two be renamed Billy Bragg

Welcome to Edinburgh - now that Obreption has managed to escape the terrors of Glasgow.  It was so nice to travel by train to what is called the Athens of the North.  The local marooned coloured team (same shade as dried blood) has apparently beaten a team from Dundee.  It was a close run thing as Billy Bragg was addressing a student protest - in Glasgow of all places!  Why doesn’t Billy Bragg Bugger off to Bahrain and join the riots there? 

Dr A.V. O’ Gadro had suggested that we ought to consider a new name for boron. When I escaped from Glasgow I realised that the crowds were not a threat to me, as I was offered a refreshing glass of Bucky by some drunk at Queen St.  Anyway, Billy Bragg is to be honoured with helping boron, the most boring element in the periodic table, to be even more boring - with the new name Bragg.  One syllable is enough for this.  A bit like lead, which as you know has the symbol Pb.

The train drew in to Waverley station and I was greeted by a veritable line of beggars playing the bag pipes.  Luckily, I managed to find someone giving me a Masonic gesture and after a funny handshake, we trooped off to what used to be called the North British hotel.  At least it was when I was last here.  I was told some very blue stories about Sunday’s Old Firm match in Glasgow between the blues and the greens.  There were some very tall tales; these should be picked up by the lazy Scottish press. 

In Scotland they’ve taken the Big Society to their hearts and the Island of Scalpay is to be offered to the residents.

Meanwhile, in this city of les belles lettres one is forced to acknowledge many wonderful writers who wrote here and continued to either live here or write about the city.  There is a lot of Jekyll and Hyde in this place.  In fact, it’s a model of obreption. 

The Tyranny of Tack knows no bounds, and walking from the castle to the palace there are a lot of souvenir shops, beggars, buskers, tourists and tartan shops.   I’m afraid to admit, I couldn’t resist an app for my iPhone, which I have added to my collection of virtual material culture.  Needless to say, many tartan pedants will dismiss this in the same way as zealots dismissed the confessional gimmick last week.   Walking down the Royal Mile, one is pestered by so-called guides offering ghastly ghost story tours of the Old Town.  It’s a Close Encounter of Another Sort.  It really is too awful to walk down this street and it gets rather boring just about the High Court, where there is a convenient hostelry named after Miss Brodie’s ancestor.  It’s a very nice tavern and is often used as a setting for novelists when writing about Edinburgh.  Luckily I’m meeting a crowd of religious specialists and we are going to remember that occasion some 20 years ago when I was evicted from the Free Church of Scotland for introducing a Jewish call to prayer.  It was a case of Eddie Kantor and not Precentor.  There is a long story to this and as it involves a very boring conversation from an academic at SOAS, remind me or beg me to tell it to you.  So, rather than offer the Margaret Thatcher Sermon on the Mound, I offer you my Sermon above the Mound. 


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Presenting Presbyterian: a new name for plutonium

Giant Andy Scott statue felled in roundabout crash


Free Church minister resigns over music in services

'Virtual minister' leads worship at two churches

Welcome everybody!  I am at Pacific Quay in Glasgow and I’ve been having a very nice chat with some of our academic friends, courtesy of the BBC in Glasgow.  I’ve been able to run into Fred, Laura, Lorna, Michael, Morag, Fiona, Alison, Shareen, Glen, Colin.  Some of these names may be familiar to you from listening to the TV and radio, but they’re very busy people and before I introduce the next speaker on the subject of bigotry in football, I would like to introduce Dr Manjit Singh, who is a member of the Sikh community here in Glasgow.  We’re not doing photographs on this blog – yet – unless we can download it as a Youtube piece.  Manjit has got a rather flashy turban and a bright kilt on complete with a suitable Sikh dirk or kirpan as it is known in Punjabi.  Manjit is going to tell us a bit about Glasgow, its culture and its religious history.  I should remind you that when we refer to green, we mean Celtic; and when we say blue, we mean Rangers.  Other colours should not imply any particular adherence whatsoever.  Over to you, Manjit.

Hello, there.  Thank you Obreption and welcome back to Glasgow.  If I remember correctly, you visited us in 1990 during our fabulous year and I well remember your seminal lecture on St Mungo or St Kentigern.  Was this a case of the Arian heresy and the significance of this with the current problems affecting the dark blues?  The Free Church of Scotland or the Wee Frees have taken a decision to allow music into their services, and this again  proves the groundbreaking work which Dr A.V.O’Gadro has researched concerning nuclear fission.  (Please note, A.V. does not stand for alternative vote, or indeed for apostolic visitation.)  Dr Tony proposed that the most fissile element is Presbyterian.  It’s always breaking up. 

Here in our wonderful city of Glasgow, it’s not so much the 3-in-1 oil that opens window into the world; it’s either WD40 or a drink called Bucky which some Benedictine greens – or they may have been Jesuits, but you never know with these monks as they move around.  They’re known in Glasgow as friars and can often be seen giving out the deep-fried Mars bar at some of their services. 

Sikhism in Scotland is quite well represented.  I myself am descended from a line of peddler Sikhs who travelled around Scotland selling nick knacks at the doors in small towns over the last 100 years.  We are a very much neglected part of Sikh culture and those that came from South Africa when you Britishers put them to work on the railways of East Africa think they are better than us.  From the 1960s there were further waves of Sikh migration from the Punjab.  These are mainly known as Jhuts and they are looked down on by everyone.  I admit this to you from a sociological and class awareness point of view.  In every society, there is Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft and though we Sikhs are not supposed to drink alcohol and smoke, you will find that in many of our shops you will find such items.  Some Sikhs choose to become even more holy and this is called ‘becoming a khalsa Sikh’.  Khalsa Sikhs tend to be more active on the running of gurdwaras, though they often waste a lot of time in aspects of Sikh pedantry and in that respect Sikhs are not different from others. 

One aspect of Sikh culture is our great use of binary examples.  From our gurus we take both spiritual and practical guidance.  Thus you will often find Punjabi terms such as ‘degh’’ and ‘tegh’ coupled together.  While they may sound trite, in Punjabi is basically a coupling of the sword with the cooking pot.  So at every Sikh event whether it’s a community of those worshipping, singing the rags, and cooking lunch or food for anyone and I mean everyone, we get many Glaswegians arriving for what they know as a ‘great wee injin restaurant - though it is a pity they don’t serve Scotch pies'.  You’re welcome at all times to our community halls and kitchens and we ask nothing of you except that you respect our community and behave.  In Scotland we do not proselytise and to some extent our families are closed.  Many weddings are arranged and the concept of izzat is a strong one.  The boys have an easier time because they can marry out and their wives can usually tell their new mother in law to ‘yoofa coffee’.  This is a polite Glaswegian expression ‘would you like a cup of coffee’ though like many of our binaries, these Scots girls have picked up the patter.  I believe you have been introduced to Parliamo Glasgow.  Khalsa Sikhs do not cut their hair, their head hair is combed and tied with a comb.  A bangle is worn and special kind of boxer shorts are worn underneath the kilt.  I’m not going to lift my kilt which is naturally the Singh or Lyon tartan.  This tartan was based on the late Queen Mother’s family without any particular approval, as most of the tartans around here are made up.  In addition to writing the ‘A to Z of Sikhism’, Obreption has asked me to put a discussion paper forward regarding the ‘Trigonometry of Tartan Tack’.  This involves a lot of checks, Czech and bouncing cheques or Maxwell’s , as they are known up here.    Robert Maxwell did not come from Dumfries and Galloway, was not a well known physicist (James Clerk Maxwell) and he literally fell off a boat. 

Camilla, who appeared on the Archers last night, had told us that Prince Andrew had a very interesting joke about Robert Maxwell.  I don’t think the BBC would broadcast it, though, but it was a good one.  You can see that I have mentioned the colour blue on the Wee Frees.  Regarding the greens, we have had in Scotland, many shades of green,.  Many of them came in waves from Ireland during times of famine, depression and the need to find work.  Further to the Irish waves of immigration, in Glasgow (my family has been in Glasgow for 110 years) there have been waves of immigration from Italy, from Poland – twice – and now from Romania, Africa and Latin America.  We are multicultural in many aspects, though as you can see some of the greens don’t talk to each other and many of the blues frequently fall out, sometimes when you’re tired of football, but it’s difficult to avoid.  Radio Scotland - and I have to be careful how I say this - is usually Radio Glasgow football and you seldom hear other expressions of the delightful Glaswegian tongue.  In the case of BBC Scotland, the move was made from Queen Margaret Drive
in Kelvinside to Pacific Quay on the River Clyde.  This is now known affectionately as Calvin Clyde, though if you move a 100 yards away it’s ‘mair liker Primark Clyde’. 

Thank you.

Obreption says:  This was an excellent exposition of this sociological mix in Glasgow, and that multiculturalism with the Asian communities has been much more successful than among the shades of blue and shades of green.  Perhaps you can blog Mr Cameron, Mr Salmond, Tommy Sheridan, and the Scottish establishment in a city 44 miles away to the east, which will remain forever unnamed - but which I shall visit just to check out theories of predestination, the Westminster Confession of Faith and the legal status of the Church of Scotland within the State. 

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Bigotry in Glasgow: a tale of two tribes

This article was cobbled together after hearing lots of strange accents from Yorkshire, Glasgow and Carstairs.  Many people remember with great fondness that scene shot in the Schnitzel Strasse in Vienna.  This, of course, comes from Carry on Spying.  This really illustrates the teachings of Paul and Timothy, with an input from Robbie.  We will try to provide some links to these and it seems to me, under the circumstances, that from the scatological angle Glasgow is a pile of kak (ver kakt auf Deutsch) or as they say in to those who have the garlic or gay-lick tongue (less of your lip laddie) cach gu leoir! (this spell check doesn’t work!)  You can imagine the scene updated from the Vienna and Algiers of the black and white period.  We could have chosen to set this in Alex (andria) or even Derry/Londonderry, but we chose the Capital of Kultur (1990 legacy), which elevated a delightful cosmopolitan city of gray into a city of very low life expectancy, high mortality and with a huge tribal divide.

His Holiness and Mr Belusconi were exchanged for someone who went back to his own country in North Africa, now that the famine is over.  You can see that I am being quite observational in this contextualisation of the story.  Basically, you have to imagine Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Charles Hawtrey and Bernard Cribbins arriving in Glasgow at the airport, at Glasgow Central and up the Clyde.  They are there to meet Carstairs, who is in fact one of my students and now appears regularly on panel games and is regarded as a wit.  To think he studied divinity …   

Can you remember the signs on the buses in London and in the papers with the blazen:  JGlasgow smiles better.J  I, of course, was in disguise and wearing my Celtic scarf went to a pub near Parkhead and started singing something about King Billy.  I got a very queer look. 

I then went into a bar near Ibrox with my Rangers scarf on and said “Has Josie Ratzinger been in today?”  And again  I got a queer look.

It turned out that these bars were inhabited by people called The Jags and another bunch called Raith Rovers.

I was quite confused, but luckily Shareen and Mona at Pacific Key gave me some numbers, with the warning “For God’s sake, Obreption, don’t bring out your Islamic worry beads in a pub!”  This saga is going to be set to music by that well-known Scottish composer Iain Mac Uindearr.

Nos da to our Welsh reader in Patagonia