Susan Morrison: Second Scottish history festival devilishly good

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WELL, here we are again. We’ve launched what could be described as our “difficult” second festival. Yes, previously Scotland’s history festival is once again unbound. You can learn about your family, take part in a debate, listen to a talk, explore our nation’s history and have a ball.

There’s a common belief that enthusiasm is a good thing. It is not. Ask a poor chap called Ian Harrower. He was just getting on with his life when he got sucked into the History Festival by a Tasmanian devil masquerading as a comedian who talked at him for nearly three hours before he gave in and said, right, OK, let’s do it. I’ve even sucker punched his poor wife Lorna in.

Marie Storrar and her man were perfectly happy in IT land and making cupcakes for fun until I sideswiped them into working for free to build a lovely website. Bet they’re glad they met me.

Even big boys who should know better have been blindsided. Professor Tom Devine is The Big Beast of Scottish history. Ha! Snared him in and he even wrote up a lovely piece in Another Newspaper, where he did get his own back by describing me as indefatigable, which makes me sound like a small wide beamed dreadnought.

Of course, some people are impervious to this good will and enthusiasm. They tend to live in the Old Post Office – it’s called Waverley Gate now, and it’s where Creative Scotland skulks. Oh, they said, history’s not creative enough.

I’ll tell you what’s creative, Scotland. Me with my jacket off outside a shiny big office building performing an improvised interactive one-woman agit-prop theatre piece entitled Creative Scotland – You, Me, Outside, Now.

People in Edinburgh – ordinary folks – have actually reached into their own pockets to help us.

A chap called Ian who didn’t even want a public thank you for his generous donation.

I promised not to embarrass Mr Anderson and his lovely partner by bigging them up. However, you must remember that, to me, not embarrassing you means not turning up outside your house reeking of whisky with tears of gratitude running down my face, screaming: “Ah pure love you” at the top of my lungs until the constabulary arrives.

So, check out a programme, and come along.

George’s big words lost in translation

Once, a very long time ago, I watched George Galloway on the telly sitting on a sofa chit-chatting away with Saddam Hussein. Since neither gentleman spoke the other’s language – and, to be honest, there are times when I think Mr Galloway is out on his own linguistically – they had a visibly nervous chap translating for them.

Hussein, said George, was being saluted for his courage, his strength, and his indefatigability. I have never forgotten the look on the translator’s face when that iceberg of a word loomed out of the gelatinous miasma of Gorgeous George’s lugubrious verbal upchuck, and wondered if there was an accurate translation.

The future is very bright orange

Barr’s merging with Britvic? How many violently coloured drinks does one country need?

Limeade, I recall, was a brilliant green. My father, who was given to making up things when it suited him, told me that cats’ eyes on motorways were filled with Barr’s Limeade. I believed him. Orangeade, a shade unmatched until Tommy Sheridan made his first appearance. American Cream Soda, had it ever seen America? And was it possible to drink it without a dollop of vanilla ice cream floating serenely on top? What was creamy about it? And let’s not forget Red Kola. Actually, if thrown up by a child given to guzzling it during the day, you wouldn’t forget it, since it could stain the seats of a Morris Minor for years.

See you, Jimmy

We’ve got a fabulous event on at The Stand Comedy Club on November 22.

We Need To Talk About James – a stonking way to take a sneaky peek at a royal family that makes the Tudors look a like vaguely annoying bunch of trailer trash arrivistes who’ve just won the lottery.

There’s a balloon, it’s going down, and some guys named Jim who have all been Scottish kings are stuck in the gondola. Some of them will have to be thrown out. They – or rather their spin doctors – will have to put up a defence to keep their boy in the balloon. The best man named Jim wins to become the supreme Stewart.

Some of Scotland’s finest historians are going into bat for the Jimmies, including William Hepburn, Fiona Watson and Jenny Wormauld, who will be speaking up for James the I and VI. Apparently, the competitive streak has hit Jenny hard, and she’s been in intensive training for the event.

The hot betting money is on Jenny to pound the other James’s to a pulp. I’m a bit worried. It’s supposed to be a verbal joust, but it shows signs of going physical...