Nobody is happier than us that the upsurge of interest in all things Burns is holding ground, despite a certain amount of apathy in the younger generation (it’s not cool an aa’ that).
However, the increasing number of ceilidhs and Burns Nights with entertainment around at this time of year (Burns’ birthday 25th January) proves there is still life in the bard and, therefore, reason to celebrate.
Exactly what people are celebrating seems, sometimes, at odds with the reality.
As we know, Burns packed a lot of living into his thirty-seven years. So, who’s to say what’s right and what’s wrong in the convention we now recognise as standard format for having a grand night at the end of a long, bleak month. Would we be so keen to celebrate if he had, instead, been born in July, the month he died? Moot point.
But, it’s that standard format of bagpipes and fiddle, solo (folk)singers and country dances that make for a succesful Burns Night that means we get a well-earned rest in the month of January. Nobody has got round to wanting a Burns Night Disco – well, not yet anyway. But, why not? Wasn’t the man up for anything? We don’t think he’d mind in the least.
That’s not to say we don’t like having a break after all the Christmas and New Year parties.
It also gives us time to take stock and see to things that time does not permit during the festive season.
We got to talking to a fellow guest at a party earlier this month. She told us she was in the middle of spring cleaning – just the sort of things you discuss at parties! Our and, no doubt your, first thought was ‘spring cleaning – in January!’. But we got to thinking that a spring clean at this time of the year isn’t such a bad idea.
We do a spring clean of sorts at this time anyway.
We review what works at some venues, and what needs sorting out, depending on things like access and whether or not stairs are involved – a big concern for lifting heavy equipment.
To this end, we’ve just purchased a brand new, state-of-the-art sound system which, in addition to giving a great audio quality, is much lighter to heft around.
Since we offer a complete service to clients, we would never expect assistance with unloading etc. However, we would like to thank the regulars of a particular Dundee venue for their much-appreciated help on Hogmany. This allowed Andy to make a sharp exit not long after the bells, so that he could attend a family party. You know who you are, so “thanks guys!”
Apart from the constant up-dating of material, we’ve got our annual P.A.T. inspection in hand (see A Bit of Background for the explanation of why this is crucial for anyone offering disco/karaoke services) and we’re shopping around for ways to improve our set-up for ourselves and for our clients. Set-up times are very important and any way of shortening these benefit everyone.
We’ve been asked, recently, if we can provide instructions for some of the Scottish dances we provide, mainly for ceilidhs. We most certainly can! As well as being someone you’d definitely want on your team for the popular music (if not the literature) section of a pub quiz, Andy’s knowledge of the correct way to negotiate your way through the intracacies of an Orcadian Strip the Willow is second to none! He might struggle a bit with a Duke o Perth or a Cumberland Square Eight, but who wouldn’t?
Why not try him out – book a ceilidh, or make a ceilidh part of your next celebration.
One of the best televised specials we ever saw was some years ago when the noted American author, Maya Angelou, was invited to join a Burns Night party. Her emotional reaction to everything she saw and experienced had a lot to do with her admiration for the man’s works. But it also conveyed an image of how he is viewed as an international entity. It was like watching a child’s first Christmas – to see such joy on an adult’s face was awe-inspiring.
Tae see oorsels as ithers see us indeed.
We’d like to have a recording or see a re-run of that particular Burns Night celebration.
Another snapshot memory is of Dundee’s own Michael Marra performing Green Grow the Rushes O, accompanying himself on piano. His gravelly voice lends a unique, man-of-the-soil quality to a beautiful song.
What we’re saying here is that, whatever you think of Burns as a man, his works continue to be interpreted in new and innovative ways by individuals far and wide. What a wonderful testament that such diversity lies so beautifully on the bones of an image.
Happy Burns Night to all. May you celebrate it in whatever way you choose.