WEEK FORTY-NINE – Scotland The What?/ Chewin’ The Fat

>> Scotland The What?

Chewin’ The Fat<<

scotland-the-what-cast-1987      chewin-the-fat

A pair of comedy ensembles to start us off in 2017, separated in time but both reflecting a particular image of Scotland. The trio of Aberdonians who formed Scotland The What? – Buff Hardie, Stephen Robertson and George Donald – met at Aberdeen University in the 1950s and became a Scottish comedic institution throughout the 1970s based on regular appearances on Grampian TV, the trio finally retiring in 1995. Their gentle digs at the Scottish way of life were tinged with Doric and often set in the fictional rural backwater of Auchterturra. More caustic and urban, Chewin’ The Fat was originally a BBC Radio Scotland show but later transferred to Television and ran for four series from 1999-2002. The Glasgow-based sketch show was fronted by Greg Hemphill, Ford Kiernan and Karen Dunbar assisted by a gang of other actors taking smaller roles. Their comic creations included failed actor Ronald Villiers, the Lighthouse Keepers, Betty the libidinous geriatric and, most notably, Jack & Victor who were spun out to the even more successful series Still Game. The two ensembles represent the high road and the low road of Scottish comedy, with each crystallising a particular version of Scotland and poking fun at the stereotypes and behaviours that any Scot would find instantly recognisable.

A Day Like Today
by Jackie Kay

If ever there wiz a day
A doon aboot the mooth day,
A gey dreich and drookit day
When all ye want is tae be
Beddit under the duvet

It wis the day

If ever there wiz a day
When the hale wurld seemed crazy
An affy day, when ye lost the will a wee bitty,
A day when aabudy is thon way
Affa shivery, a- Doom’s-day day

It wis the day

If ever there wiz a day
When the wurld goes frae
Bad tae wurse;
Allagrugous! Lips pursed.
Cursed! (In need o’ a nurse!)

It wis the day

If ever a day, a day, a day
When ye didnae think you’d crack
A smile ne’er mind laugh till ye wur greeting, eh? (Split
Sides. Laughter’s a rebellion – so it is tae.)
Scotland the What: the order o’ the day.

It wis the day

Chewin’ The Fat
by Nalini Paul

This poet thing is a problem
for the DSS.
You call yourself a poet –
it’s hardly Burns, is it?

Translating for the NEDS, Rab McGlinchy:
breenge up
breenge oot o’ the van
half a mill –

Ah, the gallus Glasga banter.
Feast on beans ‘n chips ‘n
flavoured condoms for pensioners –
barley sugar
Scotch broth –
you ought to have seen the fandan.

Postie, shut the door behind you,
you’re letting all the smoke out.

Your bottle crashes
when the doorbell goes
and your Highland heart longs
for Cracknathuddan Point
(ya coupla)

Murder polis! The auld boys
are stealing tins of salmon for a thrill,
‘up against ma clackerbag’
and past the checkout.

‘Check the crust on that pie,
‘Oh yes, faither, we knew him well.
A very nice service…
such a tragedy.’

Gonnae no dae that
    to the fish
    the wasps
    the ponies.

Betty’s World War Two memories,
unsuitable for daytime listeners,
are perfect for TV.

DVD-daft toothsome salesmen,
greasy as they come,
push the X-five-thousand with a wipe-
clean screen.
‘Are ye into internet dating, John o’Groats?’

In the palace of the gallus,
we chew on language.
Ya big, fat, daft Klingon dauber.

Cheese baguette
modus operandi –
words that do not quite belong,
the opposite of ‘good guy’.

‘Class, a big clap for the nice, tall policeman.
That’s eenuf of thaat, Tracy Sneddon.’

Planet Scotland moves beyond
the stratosphere,
Taysiders in Space rejected Ronald Villiers;
too fat for West Side Story.
But in Taggart, dead brilliant as a corpse.

You’ve taken that too far.

Clock that nice bit of pornography,
son, with biscuits for afterwards.
Or an individual fruit trifle;
milk, lemonade, chocolate.

Aye, not much happens,
stuck in here,
day after day after day…

All your life wrapped in a parcel.
Get a job, you work-shy –

Nice try, but it’s mince.


jackie-kay-credit-mary-mccartney-cleared-for-free-uk-useJackie Kay was born and brought up in Scotland. She has published five collections of poetry for adults – The Adoption Papers won the Forward Prize, a Saltire Award and a Scottish Arts Council Book Award – and several for children. She was awarded an MBE in 2006. In March 2016, she was appointed the Makar or National Poet of Scotland for a five year term.




nalini-paul-picNalini Paul is a poet currently based in Glasgow, though she has lived in Edinburgh, South Lanarkshire and Orkney. Her first pamphlet, Skirlags, was shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Award. After a successful Rehearsal Room for Stellar Quines theatre, she is developing Beyond the Mud Walls towards production. For more information, see www.nalinipaul.com.




Images courtesy of;
Jackie Kay photo courtesy of Mary McArtney

One thought on “WEEK FORTY-NINE – Scotland The What?/ Chewin’ The Fat

  1. Lovely poetry, Jackie & Nalini! The first is so full of Scotstalk I feel like I’m sitting listening to you live. The second taught me that I’ve watched so much Chewin the Fat that I knew every reference. Wow… Mad talent, youse both. BBC is the only thing worth watching here in the states.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s