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. 



  1. At least you've brightoned (!) this site up.

  2. No mention of HRH and shortbread on your tasteless tour of the Royal Mile? Have you stopped listening to the Archers?

    Lots of love

  3. Since you're up in Scotland at the mo, perhaps you can investigate this story? Is this the 2nd Scottish Enlightenment?

    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.

  4. Here’s another gem from the BBC website. I thought homeopathy was the new Catholocism – or should it be Catholocism is the new homeopathy? Anyway, here’s the story …
    A third of NHS trusts still fund homeopathy despite repeated calls for them to stop, an investigation has found. … doctors and the House of Commons' Health Committee called for NHS funding of homeopathy to end.
    However, the government has said it is up to local trusts to decide.

    Homeopathy – an obreption? Discuss.

    Coalition or a government of wimps?