Susan Morrison: For entertainment, nobody does it better

The Royal Military Tattoo. Picture; Ian Georgeson
The Royal Military Tattoo. Picture; Ian Georgeson
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The Tattoo is a superbly Calvinistic approach to showbusiness. Yes, there will music, yes, there will be moonlight and yes, there will be romance, but it will all be delivered by huge blokes in kilts giving it laldy on the pipes and drums.

The Lord Provost invited me along to the Tattoo last Friday, and since I’m a society columnist now, I thought I’d best go to report the gossip. There isn’t any, beyond confirming that the Lord Mayor of London clearly thought I was a cleaner. I know, disappointing given last week’s exclusive.

Train at Falkirk High. Picture; Michael Gillen

Train at Falkirk High. Picture; Michael Gillen

I took my mum along. She deserves a treat.

We demand a lot from our serving soldiers these days. In times gone past, and I am basing this on research carried out from extensive reading of my brothers Commando comics, all we asked of the armed forces was to shimmy up a cliff face, move soundlessly through the jungle and take out the sentries using one of nine different unarmed combat techniques, equipped only with a pencil sharper and a sturdy knitted jumper..

But now we demand all those skills and the ability to play the pipes while marching in formation at the same time, a fact that worried my mum no end, since she has serious reservations about the male capacity to multi-function.

The Americans, typically, are even more demanding. The land of ‘West Side Story,’ and ‘Oklahoma’ expects her serving soldiers to be able to handle a show tune under pressure.

A young woman in full dress uniform blasted out a powerful version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘Think’ which threatened to rip the ramparts to pieces.

It made me wonder why they bother with all that fancy doodah and drone techno-wizardry. Drop the band of the Fighting Singing 51st Airbourne, unleash the mighty lungs of someone called something like First Lieutenant Maisie Macey, stand back and watch the party starting.

Royal bodyguards from Norway, cavalry from Jordan, precision marching from New Zealand, not to mention soldiers from the Himalayas and our own Hielan’ dancers, all braved the very best the Scottish weather could throw at them, ie the sort of rain that comes in sideways from Fife.

But, by the end of the night, the rain had stopped and the clouds had parted.The Lone Piper played his lament and I burst into tears. I always do. It’s genetic.

Then the fireworks lit up the battlements, the massed pipes and drums thundered out and I wiped away the tears and thought, eat your heart out, Disney.

That’s entertainment.

The Metro? It’s called ScotRail

There is an entire city to explore beyond the walls of your venue. We have modern transportation. Use the bus, walk or cycle. Follow the example of a young American who told me of his excitement upon using our Metro system.

When he got off, he said, he felt like he was in a totally different city. It nearly broke my heart to tell him we don’t have a metro. We do have ScotRail. And he really did get off at another city. It’s called Glasgow.

On the matter of the bus, however, exact change really does mean that. It’s not just something that the driver made up for fun.

You can, if you wish, slam that 20 quid note into the ticket machine, but you will not get change, because you need to proffer exact change.

Nobody gets change. Not even we get change, and we live here.