>> Chic Murray
Frankie Boyle <<
Two comic talents take centre stage in this week’s posting, but, as is usual with Scotia Extremis, two contrasting figures from different eras. Chic Murray was the Greenock-born surreal comic who rose to popularity in the 1950s and worked extensively through to the 1970s. His whimsical humour was a triumph of twisted language and inoffensive wordplay; take this example:
“I knocked and the woman opened the door in her night dress. I thought to myself at the time ‘what a strange place to have a door’… ”
Chic appeared in several movie cameos, Casino Royals and Gregory’s Girl to name but two, and died in 1985. Billy Connolly cites him as a major influence and in 2005, a poll of comedians voted him ‘The Comedian’s Comedian’. Frankie Boyle is a contemporary comedian and scriptwriter whose controversial style and confrontational material is often called into question by the media for regularly challenging notions of taste. His approach is calculated to shock and even offend the audience, and he has regularly been castigated by newspapers and the general public, though he is undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most popular stand-ups. Both comedians have a distinct style and a strong following, but the laughs they generate come from very different parts of our collective national sense of humour.
by Donald S Murray
‘What was it like? Meeting Chic
these mornings when the platform teemed
at Hillhead underground?’
Hard now to remember. Hearing deafened by the click
and rattle of old carriages,
I could barely make out sound
or sense of any word the comic said,
(‘You a wee Free that keeps the Sabbath
and anything else he gets hands on?’ )
while I pondered on the motives that led
to this approach – how we both hovered over six foot?
Or if he sensed I did not belong
among these urbanites? Clan clairvoyance being exchanged?
(‘I met my wife in a tunnel of love.
Each night she keeps on digging down and down.’)
Strange jests among the whispers, passing draught of subway trains
transporting souls through darkness
(like his a few months later) going deeper underground.
Work! Consume! Die!
by Colin McGuire
To be frank, I am a prick
your mother rode to stave off
the death of your Father’s libido.
Rattling the herd morality live,
wielding taboos open blade, plunging
into flat screen realities;
to the quietness of family life,
applying an abrasive to the stable
veneer of a smooth finish.
Misogynists shag their wives
when they are asleep after a few glasses
of Rohypnol, so they won’t spoil the fun?
Westminster is a cauldron run
by reptilian psychopath pedophile overlords
with all the humanity of stage five brain cancer.
Scottish folk are so mangled
after a life dedicated to substance
abuse, casual violence and sectarianism
they choose to commit suicide
to save themselves
waiting for death.
I’m pulling a truth stare, point blank
in your direction, toying
with all you’ve never had the gall to say.
These jokes need a paramedic
to apply the Glasgow coma scale
to consciousness, after the punchline.
My message is trigger, trigger, trigger;
subtle as a sledgehammer through a megaphone,
to mock a broken world with blunt force trauma.
Donald S Murray is from Ness in the Isle of Lewis. A former teacher now living in Shetland, his books include The Guga Hunters, And On This Rock, SY Story (Birlinn), Weaving Songs (Acair) as well as The Guga Stone (Luath Press) and the Gaelic play, Sequamur. His latest book, Herring Tales (Bloomsbury) has been widely reviewed and was chosen as one of the Guardian’s Nature Books of the Year. A number of his poems have been selected among the Scottish Poetry Library’s ‘Poems of the Year’.
Colin McGuire is a poet and performer from Glasgow, who lives in Edinburgh. He is the author of three collections, Riddled With Errors (Clydesidepress, 2003), Everybody sit down and no one gets hurt (Red Squirrel Press, 2013), and his first full collection, As I sit quietly, I begin to smell burning (Red Squirrel Press, 2014). He has performed in several poetry cabarets and slam performances, winning the Shore Poets Quiet Slam in 2014, and the Luminate Slam 2015.