Sunday, 2 November 2008

When the dips are down...

It is a beautiful, bright day, and the football is on. The streets below are filled with drinking, chanting men who to me look more like howler monkeys than human beings. Judging by the colours of the scarves of the away team fans, Hearts is today playing Celtic.

Normally there are no problems when the games are on, but normally the weather is also cold and wet, which dulls people's desire to brain one another. Today, with the high blue sky and the bold sun, the men seem to want to grow antlers and knock their heads together. Some gather in the park across the street, and occasionally one will leap the fence and run toward the pavement where a heckling opponent taunts him. But the game is about to start so they leave their half-empty bottles scattered in the park (rubbish bin - what's that?) and make their way to the grounds. Soon the streets will be empty but if I open my window I will hear the bulge of sound that is the singing of thousands of men who believe themselves to be filled with pride and strength. Our team. Us. We are better than you. A good number of these men have guts so large they haven't seen their own dicks for at least a decade.

Some men seem to need to war - they need some kind of conflict, even if it is half in jest. Much of the football conflict is leftover from the "Troubles" when the Protestant and Catholics were blowing each other up in Northern Ireland. The teams' supporters lean religiously one way or the other and use this as an excuse for hatred. It is these men who remind me that humans are nothing more than animals, working on instinct: food, sex, sleep, guard territory, fight, food, sex...

I have forgotten to buy milk. I have two options. Wait for another 30 minutes and duck out while the game is on, or chance a trip at least an hour after the game is over. I will likely go for the first option, as after the game many of them will head to the nearby pubs, and depending on the result, there may be fights.

In comparison to hiding out from the hooligans, Friday night was a dream. Of course right after my wonderful time at the
Scottish Storytelling Centre I bolted for home, avoiding the brazenly drunk costumed folk who were clamouring about the streets.

It was on Friday night that I heard story-teller and ballad singer Stanley Robertson. His accent is so strong, but I couldn't describe it as "thick" because that's a Glaswegian accent. The Glasgow accent is blue collar grinding steel, heat and strength. Stanley comes from Aberdeenshire and there is the bulbous gurgle of the North Sea in his language. He says Samhain (pronounced saw-huin) in such as way that the night and all of its mystery is sewn together before you.

I am utterly fascinated by the process of story telling. I love the subtle power of it, the way it feels like the teller is stoking a fire in the minds of the listeners. The storytelling centre sometimes offers workshops and I am determinded to take one, in order to start learning this craft. The other magic thing I desire is to learn to play the harp. But I can hear now that it is my chance to buy milk, so off I go.

1 comment:

C.S. Perry said...

"Grinding Steel, Heat and Strength."
We are animals...driven by sex, sex, sex, sex and sex.