The Angry Corrie 7: May-June 1992

Jock McLean

Your Urban Voltaire was holding court in his small Southside Club. From the shining Brogans to the tip of the fedora he was the usual paradigm of style. The knife edge crease of the ducks cut through the smoky air of the pub much as his razor sharp wit cleaved the conversation. Archie Hind, The Von and Big Cairnduff were the audience. "...and so it was your Urban V who invented the Teachers' New Year so it was. I may never have been to Yooni but I can keep myself in booze and the odd cashmere scarf with these very words which fall like pearls from the elegantly moustachioed lips". I paused to meditate on my weekly grind. These days it means working on the old coupon, plying it with goldies and writing the odd column for the blatt about schoolgirls, education and minority sports. And it's glad I am to have escaped from the education of the brats. And it's a bit of a good natured ribbing I take from my chums in the pub for having to write about bowls and shinty instead of the People's Game and the fights with Mr Souness like James Traynor. Not that the latest homilies from Liam Brady are what the Urban V considers to be interesting pub conversation. And anyway the minority sports have their compensations. The shinty and the goldie are damn near inseparable and the lassies who play the lacrosse and the netball make this ancient heart tick like the taxi meter on my way home on a Saturday night.

But on with my column. It's the hillwalkers I am studying this week. Big meaty types with none of the nicotine-stunted appearance of your man here. Instead of my preference for cashmere and silk they cover themselves in strange stuff called goretex and polarlite. God help us. Even if my cardiovascular system had not had to pay the price for my journalistic researches, the thought of the benign visage at the top of this drivel wearing a balaclava would drive me back to the drink. Now your Urban V is a man for the scenery make no mistake about that. Viewed through the window of Archie Hind's car on the way to a Fort William hostelry my heart leaps like a salmon at the merest sight of a wee lochan and I'm damn near greeting at the way the mist plays on Loch Leven like the very smoke in Heraghty's bar. But these hillwalker types insist on actually getting in amongst the scenery and heaving their slow thighs right to the tops of the bloody mountains come hail or shine. And mostly hail if I am not mistaken. A good thing for the weans it probably is. In my days at the chalkface (when I invented the Teachers' New Year) I would rather have had a hill walk up my sleeve as punishment for the monsters than the tause. Of course not all the Bushmills in Ireland would persuade your Urban V to take part in this rush to the hills. There's a nice wee picture of the hills on a bottle of Royal Lochnagar and that's where I'll keep them. One thing we have in common, though, me and the hillwalkers - the rosy coupon. Theirs aglow through years spent in the rainswept hills and mine with years spent dilating the old blood vessels in the company of John Barleycorn.

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