Monday, January 31, 2011

MacDuff: Death and Resurrection

Psychic investigators and experts from the Vatican are flocking to Dalbeattie to investigate the claims that an ex-marine who died of alcoholic poisoning last week has mysteriously come back to life. 42 year old Keith MacDuff, an unemployed autocrat, was reported by reliable witnesses to have passed away last Friday. “He was stone cold deid” said John Maxwell, landscape gardener and the first on the scene. “When I forced the door of his flat I knew the smell could only mean one thing:”.

“It was a complete shock to me” said Theosyphillis Neill, itinerant thistlemilk salesman and long term friend of the deceased’s, “though I thought that MacDuff’s diet of 3 bottles of Highland Leader a day and a piece of toast was bound to get him in some kind of trouble. I was so upset that I had to borrow 20 quid from a bloke in a wheelchair.”

MacDuff, speaking this morning said, “Being dead is completely overrated. Look at me, I’m fine. I would recommend death to anyone who wants a bit of a rest. Dalbeattie’s a quiet place anyway”

The Government of Clatteringshaws has meanwhile declared a “day of rejoicing” to celebrate MacDuff’s resurrection.

Clatteringshaws celebrates the news

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Up- coming Events

Tuesday 8 February to Saturday 12 March
Roncadora Press: Words and Images
Gracefield Cafe Gallery Exhibition
Free admission

There will be three evening readings by poets published by Roncadora.

Wednesday 9 February Hugh McMillan / Graham Fulton
Wednesday 16 February Andrew Forster / Jean Atkin
Wednesday 2 March Rab Wilson / John Burns

These FREE events have been organised in partnership with dgArts. Readings will take place at 7pm in the Gracefield Café Gallery and in most cases will also mark the launch of a new pamphlet by the poet.

Hugh Bryden will also run workshops Saturday 19th February, Wednesday 9th March, Saturday 12th March. Details Gracefield 01387 262084.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Cocktail Months

Reality bites round about this time with the return to work and fiscal challenges ahead but for those who prefer to view the situation occasionally as if through pleasant layers of gauze, might I suggest that January and February are the best cocktail months of the year? I myself have recently been experimenting and am glad to share with you my three greatest hits thus far. For these recipes I must acknowledge Kinsley Amis, a fine mentor to have in literature and drink.

1. The Polish Bison

1 generous teaspoon of bovril
a tot of Vodka- at least twice pub measure
Hot Water
a Squeeze of Lemon Juice

This is a good hangover drink. Amis recommends it be drunk in the open air while reading Book X11 of Paradise Lost from lines 606 to the end, paying special attention to lines 624-626, "Where all life dies, death lives, and Naturebreeds,/Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,/Abominable,unutterable and worse", though this may not always be possible.

2. The Lucky Jim

3 parts Vodka
a dash of dry vermouth
1 part cucumber juice
Cucumber Slice to garnish
Ice Cubes

I found it hard to make the cucumber juice but a lemon squeezer can be used effectively. The colour of this drink, a dreamy and cloudy green, is extraordinary.

3. Milk Punch

1 part Brandy
1 part Bourbon Whiskey
4 parts milk
Dusting of Nutmeg
Frozen Milk Cubes

The difficulty here is the frozen milk cubes which have to be prepared the night before. Scotch whisky should not be used. This is a really nice drink, though I have yet to have one at the proper time: Amis recommends drinking Milk Punch immediately on rising, in lieu of breakfast, before an air trip, an interview, or the wedding of a relative.

More recommendations later after experimentation.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

New Year's Night

Grennan Hill,
New Year’s Night

From here, I can see a long way:
Night has flowered in clusters
of light so that I trace
along the dark neck of land villages
lost in grey daytime, in the seams
of mountains, the pinch of rivers,
and all the pinpricks in between,
a human constellation as queer
and sad as the sky with its
long extinguished stars.
What’s not seen is still stated,
in the shadows and gaps,
loss, and love far away.
The moon is bright and fierce
and below it there is dancing,
dead music on the breeze.