The Banff and Buchan Collection

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Tape 1993.007 transcription

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[Background noise, so transcription is incomplete.]

[Mains]…. Fegs, but this is a gey ?? job ye hiv here. Right in the ?? is a very serious business, specially till a man o my age. A lot of folk wid hud their chauve.

[Servant] Weel fit is't.

[Mains] Shut at ?? door will ye.

[Servant] Weel, weel

[Mains] Ach ??? dirt like at. See far I left noo. Aye, ….. [can't make out tape].

[Mains] ??

[Servant] Weel, fit is't?

[Mains] Weel tell him tae stop at infernal thing is minute, or I'll come throw and kick him and it tae Jericho.

[Servant] O weel, weel. I say Jock, the maister says if ye dinna stop at infernal din he'll come throw and kick you a tae Jerusalem!

[Mains] ????

[Servant] They say it winna be ?? till't stops

[Mains] Nivver sa the like, a body canna get a mineets peace in their ane hoose, it's jist dreadfa'. Aye, that'll mebbe dae for a heidin, but, noos the business, aye noo's the business. Fit wey are they tigether, let me see. My dear. [Sound of something crashing to the floor]. Mercy be here!

[Servant] But I couldna help it.

[Mains] But fit on earth are ye daein!

[Servant] I jist let fa complacent.

??? [can't make out]

[Mains] Wimmen'll brak me oot o hoose and ?? Ye harmless limmer ye. Fingers is a thoumbs.

[Servant] No they're a butter. [Crying].

[Mains] Ooh. Jist hiv tae tak it oot o yer wages at the turn. Weel, aye, I'll mebbe let ye aff this time. Gan ye dinna brak onything mair. But get ben the hoose wi ye woman! ??? or I'll come throw and behead the hale jing bang o ye! Oh I say, tell Peter tae come ben a meenit, I'm wantin him! Aye, dinna get help, I'll nivver get it letter feenished.

[Peter] Weel min, fit is't.

[Mains] Come awa in by Peter, and stick the door.

[Peter] Weel?

[Mains] I'm at a gey kittle jobbie noo Peter and I would like if ye could gie me a haund wi't.

[Peter] Weel, we'll see ?? ony ees.

[Mains] But min Peter! Mum's the word! Mum's the word, Peter aye.

[Peter] Weel that's aricht, ca on wi yer aipple cairt.

[Mains] Weel ye see Peter, it's like is. I wis jist mebbe thinkin I mebbe micht. In a wey ye ken, at's tae say dinna ?? ??? manage the thing in a quait kinda o wey ye ken.

[Peter] Fit are he haverin aboot min!

[Mains] ?? a man mind their mainners!

[Peter] Weel, fa can understand a lot o stite like yon! Are ye wreetin a letter?

[Mains] Ye can see at!

[Peter] And is't tae the factor aboot onything?

[Mains] Na, it's nae tae the factor is time, it's eh….

[Peter] Nae till a lass?

[Mains] Man, Peter, ye're comin at it bonnie noo. It's jist till a lass.

[Peter] Ye auld feel! [Laughs] I thocht ye wis by wi that kinda thing.

[Mains] Ca canna Peter, ca cannie man! Ye mebbe think that ?? , but nae ither body should hae onything tae dae wi love.

[Peter] Oh me, ?? ye aye be castin that up at a body.

[Mains] Weel, ?? say nae mair aboot that Peter. We'll be freends, and ye'll gie me a haund wi this little jobbie, like a guid chap.

[Peter] Weel fa's the dame ye're wreetin till.

[Mains] Man, Peter--she's a stunner. Jist a picture, between you and me. Mum's the word mind! Mum's the word.

[Peter] I'll fairly be mum if ye kept the secret!

[Mains] Miss Henderson! The vet's dauchter ye ken.

[Peter] Fit! Yon bra lass! Man, ye're fairly gype. Fit wid she ken aboot kye and car and clockin hens and a the ?? thing aboot a fairm toon.

[Mains] Noo Peter I'll have nair mair observations. I didna cry ye ben here tae spier yer opinions aboot that! She has grand qualifications for bein the wife o a muckle fairmer. And Peter, she his a lot o bawbies! [Laughs]

[Peter] Oh weel, at's nae too bad.

[Mains] Man, Peter ye can see throw a thing, bonnie jist. Weel, than, I've made up ma mind tae hae the lass, Miss Henderson that is. And jist the wey up and fire like as ye wid say, I'm writing a kind of a love letter, a billy-doo I think ye ca't.

[Peter] Weel, weel, some folk maun hae their ane wey o ?? their name. And ye're wantin me tae gie ye a haund wi it, makin up yer letter?

[Mains] Jist at Peter, ye're growin risible noo and man I'll gie up yer wages a pound at the turn, gaen ye help me tae mak a guid job.

[Peter] Ah weel, we'll see fit we can dae.

[Mains] Weel ye see, I've got a sma' beginnin made. 'My dear'. Sin I'll pit Miss Henderson.

[Peter] Auch min, ye wouldnae put 'Miss' intae a love letter. Fit's the deem's front name?

[Mains] Man, it's Kate. Aye and ?? min, Kate Henderson. My Dear Kate Henderson.

[Peter] A main, withoot the Henderson. And sin, 'Dear's nae jist stoot eneuch.

[Mains] Dearest an!

[Peter] I like darlin best masel.

[Mains] Weel, we'll pit them baith in. My dearest, darlin Kate. Foo wid at dae?

[Peter] Oh, fine.

[Mains] Weel, we'll need a clean sheet o paper! [Laughs] Noo that's a there is tae date.

[Peter] Let's see foo she looks. Michty mains at winna dae! Ye're haun's ower shaky ?? She'll tak ye for an auld cove o sixty-five at least!

[Mains] Dae ye think at Peter! Ma haund's ower shakkie, ye think that! But man, ye mak tak a pen and dae it yersel. Ye'll mak a better job, and she winna ken ony o't!

[Peter] Oh, oh I'm gey dubious aboot daein the wreetin o't.

[Mains] Come on min. Ye min' I'm gaein ye up yer wages. I'll make it up tae er, forty shillings gan ye write the letter for ma.

[Peter] See's hud the pen. I'll make a job better'n at onywey.

[Mains] At's it Peter, I ken ye'll dae a bonnie job him. But here's anither clean sheet [laughs].

[Peter] My dearest, darling Kate.

[Mains] I write unto you at this time. [Laughs].

[Peter] Ye jist sound like the bible it's nae. [Laughs]. It's solemn kind.

[Mains] Aye, but Peter I wint tae thing tae be gey solemn like ye ken. Nane o yer young geegle courtships. Something serious and solemn Peter. Serious and solemn.

[Peter] I write unto you at this time.

[Mains] To let you know the state of my feelings towards you. And you try something yoursel.

[Peter] Eh, eh, I'm… foo would this be? I am awful ill about you, [laughs] in fact I just adore you Kate.

[Mains] Fine min Peter! Ye'll daein A1, at's jist like poetry!

[Peter] Em, fit wey dae ye spell adore?

[Mains] Ah jist, a door. Pit baith wirds the gither and ye'll hae it [laughs]. A d o o r.

[Peter] Once doon, it sounds like adoor. We'll count een o 'o's. A d or. At's better.

[Mains] Aye, at's aboot it noo. Noo tell her a aboot the fairm. Name the boundary. Twa hunner and forty acres by the ??? Three pair, forby a runnin beast and some clips. A great lot o knowt, and swine and hens and so on, and so on, etc, etc.

[Peter] Na, Mains, I wouldnae ging intae particulars yet. Jist gie her a bit hintie that she'll get a guid hame, and she'll unnerstand herself the rest.

[Mains] Weel than, ye can jist say, 'There's a guid hame here wi plenty mait, and a convenience. But we're muckle in need o some wumman body, to look aifter things aboot the toon and sew on buttons. And so on, and so on, etc, etc.

[Peter] I wouldnae say a thing aboot the buttons [Laughs]. She micht nae think it wis genteel eneuch.

[Mains] Weel than, jist leave oot the buttons. Noo for the proposal.

[Peter] Na Mains, nae sae faist! Ca cannie min, gie her time. This letter'll brak grun like, and you can propose in the naist een if things ging onything like richt.

[Mains] Your wey beat Peter, but we maun feenish up wi something bonnie. Eh, get in a bit versie Peter. Div ye min o onything fine and sweet?

[Peter] Em, foo wid is een dae. I sa it eens on the heid o a sweetie tin. [Laughs]. 'Roses red, violets is blue, honey is sweet and so are you'?

[Mains] Capital man, capital! Do at min! Roses red, the violets blue, the honey sweet, and so are you! Man that'll go roon her hairt like a dad o warm flannel! Noo for the superscription. I remain my dearest darling Kate, your devoted admirer and true lover for ever and ever. Hope you are all well. [Laughs]. Write soon. Yours truly. John Saxter.

[Peter] Na, Mains I wouldna sign your name. Em. It better wi a bit mystery aboot it.

[Mains] Weel, I suppose fit could ye pit?

[Peter] MB, Mains o Bumbie ye ken! She'd saen tae ???

[Mains] Weel, weel. Noo pit on a couple crosses for kisses.

[Peter] Foo mony?

[Mains] Och, haud them on! [Laughs]. Kisses is chep. I'll ?? the paper, Peter, haud them on!

[Peter] Weel, that's a aboot I hae room for.

[Mains] Fine man, fine. Noo, here's an envelope. Pit in the bit letterie. And addressed Miss Kate Henderson, Braeside.

[Peter] Nae, Mains, at's ower prosaic. We'll jist put 'To Kate'. At's mair lovin kind. And it'll be eneuch o address gan yer tae get it handed in.

[Mains] Weel, weel, Peter ye aye get's yer ane wey.
[Peter] ?? it's the best wey!

[Mains] Noo Peter, go out tae ?? and get a bit o sealin wax, and we'll seal her up fine and sicher.

[Peter] The auld feel. Tae think o him courtin again, and lookin for anither wife. I wouldnae worry if it wis the right kinda women for him. Sin he's a castin up at me aboot the wey Jessie gaed awa wi the gamie. But I'll be upsides doon wi him yet, and I'll ??. I'll dae my best tae spile his little game. And I have a bit idea in my head aready. He'll be wantin me nae doobt, tae take roon this letter tae Miss Henderson. Weel, there's Miss MacDonald the dress maker, her names Kate ana! [Laughs]. And if I could ?? the letter hae wey, we'd hae some fun at ony rate. Ye see, it wouldnae be sae bad if Mains wis tae fa in wi Miss MacDonald, for Kate's a decent, sensible woman, wi some age and experience. And wid be affa handy wi a needle. But here he comes again.

[Mains] Noo, let's see the laitter. Weel en, at's aricht. Noo Peter man, ye'll get yerself rankit and gang ?? this very nicht, tae Braeside and haund in this letter tae Miss Henderson. But min and ging tae Miss Kate hersel, intae her ane hand min. And Peter--Mum's the word mind, Mum's the word.

[Peter] But I'll see tae that Mains.


[RS] Mum's the Word! Mum's the word, Mains again, but I would.. well the theme of this thing has been keeping the tradition alive since the time the that Gavin Greig decided to do that on his own satire. Ye ken is, the mannie done an affa lot in this area to keep that going an' it's nae lost yet. The humour is still the same in the hands of Alfie Cooper [Applause.] When he handed ower that letter jist now, I was reminded, because I saw in the Evening Express just eh the ither wik, when Alistair Robertson was asking for the best Aberdeenshire stories. And when I sa' the stories comin in, I says, oh my god. At's the stories I was brought and born, born and broucht, och I canna even say it masel! Ye ken fit I mean! The stories I've kent for a long time. At's fit I'm tryin tae say. Myra Thow kens me and ony. How are ye Myra, big hand for Myra tonight, out from Aberdeen. Delighted to see you [Applause.] Delighted to see Roy Skinner out wi us as well. Roy Skinner, at fine dancing champion, and JC Milne boy! [Applause.] I don't want to highlight too many people tonight, but jist sa' ye there jist noo, fan I wis lookin. And Myra's got yon kinda laugh at drags ye towards her. Ye've made me forget fit I wis gan tae say Myra! I ken noo. It was fan Alfie handed, nae Alfie, but Mains again handed ower thon letter. I wis reminded on these stories on Alistair Robertson's column about the stories o Aiberdeenshire, aboot how mean the Aberdonian is. And I said, well I'll have to cap that one, it's as aul. But his sealing wax on there at the back, it minded me o the lad who gaed intae the post office, miles awa fae Aiberdeen, something like forty years ago. Because [laughs in audience] they opened the curtains. Aifter they open the curtains, I get the stage tae masel ye see. He gaed intae the post office and there he is, and he's saying 'I've to tae write a telegram tae ma brither, because wir mither is deid. And ma brither's doon there in London. Foo muckle will it cost me if I send a telegram doon tae ma brither doon in London?' 'Well', she said (the lady from the counter of the post office), 'it'll cost you three and sixpence.' So she howled, the story is. 'It'll cost you three and sixpence for 12 words'. 'Ah, but hold on ' he says, 'If I dinna wint tae write 12 words, how much will it cost me?'. She said, 'I'm sorry it'll cost you three and sixpence for 12 words, but each additional word will be two pence. Two pence onto your three and sixpence'. So he gaed intil a huddle there in the corner for aboot 20 minutes and he comes back scratchin his heid and a bit paper and he says 'There's ma telegram quine, for ma mither's death doon there in London'. And the telegram read 'Jarvie come hame mother died peacefully. Aberdeen 3, Rangers 1'. (Laughs)

Well, we build a tradition one way or another. I sincerely hope that the folks who follow me and folks that's followed that great play and the extra will hae better stories than that. But there's one lad who's certainly followed up the tradition. And I'm delighted to see, not only this next artist, but everyone else who are in their teens, in their early twenties, following on the tradition laid down I would suggest by the Buchan Heritage Society, but of course inherited by these one or two that wanted to do it their own way earlier on. Such is the artist coming on now. He's nae gan tae sing a song aboot this area at a'. I think he's kinda sookin intae me, cause he's awa tae Alford somewey. It's a roon aboot Alford far they hiv a fairm ca'd 'The Gey's o Teuch'. Hiv ye iver bin ere? (Aye). I ken the place fine. Sae dis our next artist, for all he's done for our scene and I know he will do in future! Robert Lovie! [Applause.]

[RL] Right, here we go. The Guise o Teuch. It's good goin a bothy ballad's ye'll get, so join in, it's got a fine chorus.

Noo I gaed up tae Alford for tae get a fee,
And I fell in wi Jamie Broon and wi him I did agree,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Noo I engaged wi Jamie Broon in year o '91,
Tae ging hame and ca' his second pair and be his orra man,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Fan I gaed tae the Guise o Teuch it wis an evenin clear,
An oot aboot some orra hoose the gaffer did appear,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Noo I'm the maister o the place, and that's the mistress there,
Well ye'll fairly get some breed cheese and plenty mair tae spare,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Then I gaed tae the stable, my pairie for to view,
Aye and fegs, they were a dandy pair, a chestnut and a blue,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Sin on the followin mornin, well I gaed tae the ploo,
But lang, lang ere lowsin time ma pairie gart me rue,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Ma ploo she wisnae workin weel, she widnae throw the furr,
O the gaffer says, there's a better een at the smiddy, take it for,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Fan I got hame the new ploo, she pleased me unco weel,
But I thocht she wid get better gan she hid a cuttin wheel,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Noo we hiv a little baillie, and Wallace is his name,
And he can fair raid up the kye fan he takes doon the came,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Noo we hiv anither baillie, and Jamieson is his name,
And he's gan doon tae Alford and raised an affa fame,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Well he's gan doon tae Charlie Watt's for tae get a dram,
But lang, lang ere I went doon, the laddie cuidnae staund,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Noo we hiv a gallant kitchie lass, Simpson is her name,
But for tae tell her pedigree, I really would tik shame,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Well she dresses up on Sunday, wi her heid abeen the level,
Wi twa roses a ivory that wid scare the very devil,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day.

Well ma sang is nearly ended, and I'll nae sing ony mair,
And if ony o ye's offended, ye can walk ootside the door,
Tae ma hi hum doo, a hi dum day, hi dum a diddle, cum a hi dum day,
A hi dum a diddle, dum a hi dum day,


[RL] Well, baith the songs that I'm gan tae dae the night were recorded by Gavin Greig in his collection of folksongs. And fan ye open up the book, there's hundreds of songs, and fan ye've only got five minutes in a nicht like the nicht, it's difficult jist kennin fit tae dae. But I wis turnin ower, and I kent a lot o the songs in the book, and this song that I'm gan tae dae now is one of my favourites. There's a lot o folk in the hall requested me to sing is song the night. I'm gan tae dae it unaccompanied. And it's a North East love ballad, it's for a' the ladies in the hall. And eh, it's ca'd Glenlogie. It's also written in the book as 'Jean o Bethernie'.

There wis fower and twenty nobles raid through Banchory fair,
And bonny Glenlogie wis the floo'er that wis there,
There wis nine and nine nobles, sit at the King's dine,
But bonny Glenlogie wis the floo'er o twice nine.

Doon come Jeannie Gordon, she come trippin doon stairs,
And she's chosen Glenlogie ower a that wis there,
Noo she called for his foot boy, wha ran by his side,
Saying, wha is the young man and far dis he bide?

Well his name is Glenlogie when he is at hame,
But he's ower the noble Gordons and his name its Lord John,
O Glenlogie, Glenlogie, o gin you prove kind,
My love is laid on ye, noo I've told ye my mind.

Well the Gordon turned lichtly, as Gordons dis a',
Well I thank ye Jeannie Gordon, but I'm promised awa,
Then she called for her maidens, tae mak her a bed,
Wi ribbons and napkins tae tie up her head.

Oh lay me doon gently, wi ma face tae the wa,
Tak the rings fae ma fingers, my jewels and a',
Noo her faither's ain chaplin, bein a man o great skill,
He penned a bra letter and he penned it richt weel.

Noo when Logie read the letter, a light laugh laughed he,
But when he read the letter, the tears blind his ee,
Will you saddle me the black horse, gey saddle me the grey,
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie'll be deid ere I win.

Noo pale and wan was she when Logie come in
But reed and rosie grew she when she kent it wis him
Turn roon Jeannie Gordon, turn tae richt side
For I'll be yer bridegroom if ye'll be ma bride

Noo Jeannie's got mairried and her tochers doon told,
Bonnie Jean o Bethelnie scarce saxteen years auld,
O Bethelnie, Bethelnie, ye shine whaur ye staun,
And may the heather bells roon ye shine ower five years lang.


[RS] Well there's names now, and I was looking at one yesterday, Violet Davidson out singing songs like that. Well I think it's great. In years to come, well Robert Lovie was here with us. Once again Robert, well done sir. Thank you. [Applause. End of Side A.]

It's up to date, it's great stuff! Isn't it? Mains's Wooin, Mains Again. De ye agree? I think it dis, I really think it dis. Hasn't lost anything in it's telling. Well having said that, Aly Bain accused me when I introduced him, ye've pinched athing I was gan tae say, ye little bugger [Laughs.] You don't know the things I get, that's what he said to me when I walked off there! I hope our next artist will not say the same thing, but again bringing up to date Gavin Greig's poems and plays, Dr Ian Olson.


[IO] I thought I wasn't wrong earlier. [Laughs.] I've worked out how to get back to Aberdeen today. When I'm finished I'm going to the phone box to tell the police there's an acid house party on here [Laughs.] One of the pleasures about working on Gavin Greig and James Duncan, and in fact the folksong of the North East is how many people there are who are still with us who remember Gavin Greig, perhaps only just, but they are still around. And what's even better, although can't be much better than that, is the material that is still in existence in Greig's own hand which comes in all the time. Especially from members, or descendants of Gavin Greig himself. And particularly, I would particularly like to thank Mr and Mrs Argo, who we'll hear John later on, and Mrs Betty Watt of Old Deer for the material that they themselves have put in, without which practically nothing I say tonight would have been possible. Greig, as I said before, arrived in New Deer at the age of 23. And for the next 25 years he occupied himself in a number of ways which were not to do with folksong. As I say it's 25 years later before he picked up the folksong side. What he would have done if he'd picked it up 25 years earlier I don't know. But what did he do in the 25 years. What was it that made him almost Mr Buchan himself? Well, Gavin Greig funnily enough because of the way he died in very poor health, was first of all known as an amateur athlete of some considerable ability and Flora Garry's father, Archie Campbell, has a very fine account of Gavin Greig as an amateur athlete in his youth with exact details--and this is the sort of thing you get in the North East, people are so pernickity, exact details of how far he putted the shot, how fast he could run, down to yards, inches and seconds. It's the sort of thing that makes it a pleasure to work in this sort of field. So he's known first of all as an amateur athlete. Then, when he came to New Deer, I think it would be fair to say that he really put all his energies into his school. He was determined, absolutely determined to make it one of the best of a very bunch of schools indeed. And he did that really I think for the next ten years or so. In between time writing a lot of poetry. Em, some of it was published in volumes, there was a big series of Scottish poetry being published at the time in ten volumes. Greig appears in that. There was a series called 'The Whistle Binkies'. You can still purchase them. He appears in that as well. He wrote for the local newspapers. He has a particularly beautiful and moving poem about his father's death in 1881. And I think he continued to write poetry for the rest of his life. Some of it for special occasions, for Buchan Field Club picnics and this sort of thing, and he clearly could always turn out a verse for an occasion. But soon, he began to move into music and he began to publish a number of things. He began to publish arrangements for hymns and then he began to move onto more ambitious things. Now at this time, life in the villages and towns of the North East was in some respects a lot more hectic and a lot more interesting than probably it is now. Where everyone probably just sits in front of the television when they're not at the Buchan Heritage Society evenings. And in those days, it was possible to muster people for all sorts of activities, from brass bands to choral societies. And indeed, when you look at some of the performances that Greig put on, I don't know who was in the audience because as far as I can see the entire village for about ten miles around was on stage. Em. So, after about ten years or so, starting about 1892, when Greig was about 36, he started putting on a series of very ambitious productions. And I should say first of all what was going on at the time in the rest of the world were these very big performances that the Victorians loved and one of the most popular was a thing called 'Rob Roy'. It performed all over the place, in Aberdeen, and south as well. And Greig I think took a look at this and decided that he would do something better and produced an opera called 'Prince Chairlie' on the Jacobite cause. And decided to make it something really spectacular. There were special trains. It was put on first of all in April in 1892 in Peterhead. Special trains were laid on for the occasion and the costumes were all hired from London. It was a really spectacular piece and caused a lot of interest. One thing that interests me, is the end of the first act, the last songs were all in Gaelic. Then, having done that, having made his name. And this got him into the musical Who's Who of Scotland. There was a book called 'Musical Scotland' published in Edinburgh by David Babtie, with all the big composers in Scotland. And Gavin Greig's name appears there as well. And the thing they mention in that book is the next play he was working on, which was something entirely different and that was 'Mains's Wooing'. And this in some ways was new and special. The Prince Chairlie was merely, well not merely, was a brilliant attempt at what was going on already. There were plenty of such operas around in Victorian times. But Greig decided to put on an operetta, a small play, Mains's Wooing, about the North East. Using North East language, using North East people, using North East themes, using North East songs. It seems obvious to us now especially as it's never been out of production, out of performance. But it was a revolutionary idea then because everybody in this end was going for the fancier things, rather like in Prince Charlie. The thought of putting on a local play, using local language I think must have been a considerable gamble at the time. Well as we know it's paid off, because it's never been out of print and never been out of production. And that really in some respect, made Greig's name. He then went on to another sort of smash hit musical, called 'Robbie Burns', and then in 1896 at the age of 40 he was persuaded to publish Mains again, which we've just seen part of tonight. To my mind in some ways a lot better than Mains's Wooing, a lot more of the local language and local themes in it. And again a play that's never gone out of production. Well this idea of local plays using local themes and local language, as I say, was quite revolutionary and it started a style of plays which has continued ever since. What you might call the rural drama was started by Gavin Greig. The grand stuff, and we don't see it any more, though it would be easy to put on Prince Charlie because we've got all the scores. We don't see that any more. It would be interesting to see it once more again. So up to about the age of forty he starts putting on, as I say, a mixture of smash hit musicals and rural dramas. There are three missing dramas by the way. There's one called 'The Bruce', there's one called 'Queen Mary and Rizzio', and there's one called 'The Season, The Hours', and if anyone knows where they are, we'd all be glad to see them. Then at the age of forty he moves onto a different theme altogether.

I said before about this time, there was a huge explosion of newspaper publication in this part of the world. In fact throughout Britain. But Scotland in particular and the North East were particularly well of for newspapers. And these newspapers were desperate for any sort of stuff to fill them. The better quality the better of course. But one that they offered was a platform for serial novels. Cliffhangers, a bit like Neighbours except in print. And Gavin Greig, like a number of other authors--he wasn't the only one to publish in serial form. People like Charles Dickens had done it a number of years before--Gavin Greig subscribed stories, novels really. Quite big ones. Thirty, forty chapters long. To the Peterhead Sentinel and the Buchan Observer. And we know of three, perhaps four of these. He started off at the age forty in 1896, it ran for over a year with a thing called 'Morrison Grey', which is really an autobiographical novel. Then he went on to the one perhaps he's best known for, because it's been republished recently 'Logie of Buchan'. A Jacobite novel. And if you wonder why Greig was so keen on the Jacobite theme, like in Prince Charlie, you'll remember of course that this part of the world was fiercely Jacobite, especially because of it's Episcopal and Catholic connections. And then the last one he did, the last main novel he did in 1898 again ran for a year, was called 'The Hermit of Gight', and was a very, very fancy thing was all sorts of sides to it--freemasonry, and magic and this sort of thing. And apart from that he then stopped about the age of forty, he stopped writing. He stopped writing novels. He followed in 1903 with a wee piece, of three chapters long called 'Ugieside'. It was designed to raise money for a bazaar for putting an organ into one of the local churches and to my horror I've forgotten which one it was, and it contains one of the funniest stories I've ever seen. There is missing, again, a novel called 'The Twa Loons' which he was supposedly working on before he was dying. If anybody knows it, we'd be glad to see of it.

Why did he write novels? I think, and why did he write his plays, that in some ways you have to understand what was happening at the time. As I said before, just about the turn of the century everything was changing. It had changed before in 1830, it was changing again, and the world that Gavin Greig knew was vanishing completely. And what he was determined to do in poetry an in song and in novels and in drama, and if you look at them all they've all got a similar theme. He was determined to put the North East, the Buchan countryside on the map. Everywhere he looked was entirely new, it had all changed in a generation--his father wouldn't have recognised it--everything was different. But Greig worked away for those 25 years, before he started up folksong, determined that nothing should be lost and that something should be gained. And what he wanted to gain for the North East and for the Buchan people especially was an idea that their part of the world wasn't just on the edge of nowhere, but was in fact an area of great importance, of an important history and past and with an important future as well. Fortunately he went on to discovery the folksong as well, but even if he hadn't he'd a still of put the North East and Buchan quite firmly on the map of Scotland and of Britain and the world as well.

Thank you.


[RS] Thank you sir, thank you very much. Thank you Dr Ian Olson, and as I said in the first half and again the second half, just, it's part of this thread of working our way through the life and times of Gavin Greig and I think eh, Ian summed it up there, that eh, ye ken we're still the same yet. There's nothing gone. The Buchan area, the Buchan, athing aboot Buchan is exactly what it was, apart fae an affa lot o new machines, but the folk'll still be the same and the land'll still be the same, it's not for me to say. Can I just now introduce two of our artists who took part in the first half to sing one song each. It may well have to do with Buchan, in fact it may well not. From Mintlaw first of all! Liz Stewart, Elizabeth Stewart from Mintlaw. And from Kirriemuir Joe Aitken [Applause.] In fact I'm letting Elizabeth start, and it's nithing tae dae wi Buchan ava, cause it's a rich fertile land where I belong to, Drumoak, is it? Drum, the Laird o Drum? Is that the Drumoak I ken? Drum? And I says to Elizabeth, now it's got to be a short song, she says aye, the Laird o Drum. I says weel mak it an affa short Lairdie noo. It's a short--hiv ye cut the feet fae him? Ye hinna. Elizabeth Stewart.


[ES] A well, the ballad the Laird o Drum tells the courtship between em, Alexander Irvine and Margaret Coutts. He was quite an old man, and eh this was his second marriage. He'd fell in love with this young sixteen year old, determined to make her his second wife, and he did. Despite all his kith and kin going against, his friends and everything. The last time I did this I started in the wrang key!

Oh the Laird o' Drum's a-walkin gane,
He wis walkin ae mornin early,
And wha did he see but a weel-faured lass,
She wis shearin her faither's barley.

Oh wid ye nae be a gentleman's wife,
And wid ye nae be his lady,
And wid ye nae be o some higher degree,
And leave yer shearing lane-o.

Oh I wid be a gentleman's wife,
And I wid be his lady,
And I wid be o some higher degree,
But I'm nae a match for thee-o.

For my faither is a puir shepherd man,
He herds them on the hill-o,
And onything that he bids me dae ,
I'm always at his command-o.

Oh the lassie can neither read nor write,
She wis nivver at a school-o,
But ony ither thing aye weel can she dae,
For I learned the lassie masel-o.

She canna wash yer china cups,
Nor her mask a cup o tea-o,
But weel can she milk oor yowe,
And a coggie on her knee-o.

Wha will mak yer bridal breid,
And wha will brew yer ale-o,
And wha will staun at the gates o the Drum,
And welcome your bonnie lassie in-o.

O the baker'll bake my bridal breid,
And the brewer will brew my ale-o
And I will staun at the gates o the Drum,
And welcome my bonnie lassie hame-o.

Up spakes his brither John,
A man o high degree-o,
Ye're mairryin a lass aye this fine nicht,
But she's nae a match for thee-o.

For the last lady we had in this place,
She wis far above my degree-o,
Ilk time I enter into her room,
Till our hearts were below our knees-o.

If you was dead and I was dead,
And baith wid in wir grave-o,
Neither John nor lifted up again,
As tae ken yer dust fae min-o,
Aye, fa's tae ken yer dust fae min-o.


[JA] Well, this song, I've been asked tae sing is een. Eh, I dinna think it's ivver been in ony o the Gavin Greig or the Greig Duncan books, but eh, I'm gan tae sing it onywey. It's ca'd 'The Twa Gadgies'. [Applause.]

Oh well I met twa gadgies doon the road, quarrelin like tae kill,
Gan it wis sax or seevin miles tae yon toon oot ower the hill,
Well I hae my supper in my pyok and a my time is free,
And be it sax or seevin miles tae some toon, well what's the odds tae me?

Well I tramps the country up and doon at mony's an orra job I'm hired,
But I see nae sense in raxin masel, na I'll nae work when I'm tired.
For I just need a neuk tae keep masel and my doss costs me nae fee,
And be it sax or seevin miles tae some toon, well whit's the odds tae me.

Noo I've nivver taen tae the wimmen fowk, nae doot they've nivver taen tae me,
So the road I maun tak is a lonely road, wi for was noo I coulndae far tae,
And the bed I maun mak is a lonely bed, hin some dyke or below some tree,
And be it sax or seevin miles tae some toon, well what's the odds tae me.

Noo I pity fowk o gentle birth, tied up wi paras and pedigrees,
Gan they could throw their shackles aff, then like me they'd be truly free,
For I wis born in a dry stane dyke, hin a dry stane dyke I'll dee,
And be it sax or seevin miles tae some toon, well what's the odds tae me.


[RS] Thank you, thank you very much. Liz Stewart and Joe Aitken, but as Joe said in his introduction maybe Gavin Greig didn't collect, but if had been on the go in his time, he certainly would , cause what a lovely dykeside story it is--lovely, [Laughs.] You've got to understand dykeside, you could understand the North East. That's why I'm delighted. I said, at the start of the programme tonight when I was introducing some of our youngsters from Banchory, I knew and I introduced one as winning a competition at the Mod. But there was a few more competition winners in there. And I didnae want to make this a sort of individual night where we hiv sort of stars appearin, what we wanted to try and do is tae jist try and get the feel of everyone here together, because I know there's an affa lot of Gavin Greig devotees sittin doon there that I have not been able to highlight, and will not. I hope you don't go away home and sayin, ye nivver mentioned me, I know. The great contribution you're makin, or continuin I would say to the Gavin Greig strand all the way through and none more so than my next artist coming on stage. I'm reminded now, having spoken to this gentleman over a number of years, and havin told him what my favourite of all times, and we don't have Flora Garry tonight, but Flora's done an affa lot for us in the North East, but ye ken that poem of Flora Garry's 'Bennygoak' get's richt through tae me there. Cause I hid an auntie, and auntie ?? ay gae nicht wis jist exactly is that. And the last four lines, I winna remember them, I'll fluff them now, but I should remember these four lines:

Ma mither's getting auld and daen and likes her ain fireside
But brak her hairt tae leave the hill, it's brakkin mine tae bide.

I think it's beautiful, absolutely beautiful and to me, if ye got ony hairt in ye for the North East you'll appreciate that one. If ye hinna ony hairt in the North East, ye winna ken fit the hell I'm spikkin aboot! [Laughs.] And that's why I'm delighted to say, that's why I'm delighted to say throughout the last, well throughout his writing life but specially now that he's awa from us, he's still with us. He may be writing--he's written a couple of books, he writes rightly for the Glasgow Herald, he may be writing sooth, he may be writing internationally, but that hairt for I maun bide, is still there in his writing and I am delighted to welcome the great-grandson of Gavin Greig, Jack Webster [Applause.]

[JW] Well, Robbie, ladies and gentlemen, it's a great pleasure to be here tonight to hear the life and work of Gavin Greig, my great-grandfather, brought to life so fully in words and music. And where better to come than right here in the heart of the parish of New Deer where he spent all his working life. Just three miles away here, at the schoolhouse of Whitehill he lived, and wrote and composed. And across the road here in the Kirk at New Deer he played the organ, quite brilliantly. Where better to come than here in the village hall at New Deer, where they held the premiere o Mains's Wooin in 1894 and so much else of his work was given its first performances. He's buried up the road of course at Culsh, but I'm sure he's here with us in spirit tonight. He was known to the world of course as Gavin Greig, but to us in the family he was just Grandpa Greig. That's what my mother called, because of course he was her grandpa. And my mother's mother was the eldest of his nine children. She was the first of the nine to be born and she was the last of the nine to die. It was a time of the survival of the hardiest and she outlived them all, lived into her 90's. She was born of course in 1878, the year in fact that her father came to Whitehill as headmaster. I think he was only twenty-two if I may correct Ian Olson a wee bit, he wasn't even twenty-three. So, she lived right through from the days of before the motorcar, just the bicycle and the horse and cart right through until she watched on television the landing of the first man on the moon, which happened just weeks before she died, exactly twenty years ago. And that must be about the biggest span of progress that any generation will ever see, I think. Well it was largely from her that I heard all about Gavin Greig, the man we honour tonight. I did get to know at a fairly early age that we had somebody special in the family, because as a child I used to be pulled around the halls of Buchan like this, and we were usually introduced as the descendants of Gavin Greig. I was going there before I even knew what a descendant of Gavin Greig was, [laughs], but it dawn on me eventually, but it took much longer before I was able to understand and appreciate the talent and strength of the man. My grandmother, of course remember her early days in the schoolhouse at Whitehill, but the story just came back. There was a night that a storm blew up over Buchan and blew right down over Scotland and in the morning the world began to hear about the Tay Bridge disaster, when the wooden bridge over the Tay collapsed, a train plunged in and seventy-seven people on board were all killed, drowned. At Whitehill that night they spoke about the fact that on that same night, my granny took her father's tile hat [tape ends].

[GE] [Plays.]


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