Mine’s a Double – The Blind Poet and Captains Bar

Today in Edinburgh we have the UK’s newly non elected Prime Minister on a visit to see if there is a way to keep Scotland in the Union. Interesting times.

This week two pubs for the price of one.

The reason for two will be plain to see

as both can be linked by poetry.

After that wonderfully rhyming couplet it is appropriate to start at the Captains Bar above which for the last few years of his life lived William McGonagall, Scotland’s best worst poet. If you are at all aware of his work you will know that it was indescribably bad. Such that you would think that he was under the influence every time he put pen to paper. However in contradiction to that idea he wrote several articles supporting temperance. One of his  contributions being ” The Demon Drink ”

“If drink was abolished how many peaceful homes would there be, Just for instance in the beautiful town of Dundee, then this world would be heaven, whereas it’s a hell, And the people would have more peace in it to dwell”

Formerly a tailor’s shop supplying uniforms to ship captains of Leith, at one time the pub was linked to what was the Empire theatre by a staircase. Handy for those stage fright jitters!

Today owned by the huge brewing business Heineken don’t expect to find any particularly interesting beer choices but it’s a cozy pub with set and impromptu folk music, nothing fancy but a good ” local ”

McGonagall has probably actually encouraged some people to publish poetry for the first time with the thought that their efforts couldn’t be any worse than his. Here’s mine.

Ye may think it kinda queer, How frae Dundee I got to be here, I’ve heard it said there’s nowt as queer as folk, And if you now expect to hear a funny story, You’d better buy me a pint first.

 

South College St.
Captains Bar

 

A diversion.  ( omg! Ed )

One of the main arguments put forward in favour of exiting the EU  was that it is run by faceless non elected bureaucrats. Anyone with power in EU is either directly elected or appointed by someone who was. Looks pretty much like the structure in the UK to me.

Plenty other events to get us down this week.

As families enjoy a Bastille Day national holiday, in the name of a vengeful God carnage is once more unleashed.

“Hate is everything you think it is” Neil Young.

Looks like many areas of Africa are going to suffer from famine. This when the “West” wastes, depending on your source, between 30-50% of what it produces.

Did you see the programme Exodus tracking migrants from the Middle East, Afghastan and many areas of Africa who were part of the million or so who have tried to reach Europe since 2015. Most of them fleeing terror and torture. Some of them trying to get to Europe to work and send back money to support their wider family. Middle class people in their own communities who could afford to sell stuff to pay the smugglers. The poor?  No chance. That’s the way it is.

We weren’t ready for it. Understandably. And we haven’t come out of it  well, then or now. A harrowing documentary. However there were some uplifting moments when folks showed some real compassion that translated into practical help with a happy outcome.

The migrant situation is to me analogous to all the beggars which we see on our city streets. The scale is incomparable but the problem is very similar. How can we help and support those who genuinely need it and weed out the chancers who don’t?

Our new PM has selected her new cabinet and picked the universally loathed BoJo as Foreign Secretary. Go figure.

In US the Republicans are set to endorse The Trumpet who has apparently got the Evangelicals on his side. God forbid!     ( That doesn’t work, Ed. )

Ok, The Blind Poet.     Do you get the poetry link now?

I moved into the city in the early 70s and I’m in this local pub for the first time. A lot to choose from around here!

Lots of dark wood,  12 fonts mostly of the owner Caledonian Breweries beers. This is a long established music venue and adjoins The Pear Tree pub. They are amalgamating next year. I try a mid-day pint of Ossian and am the first and only customer in a venue which has been open for an hour. Edinburgh weather is fair and most of the other alcoholics must be imbibing al fresco.

Dr Thomas Blacklock was the blind poet’s name and he lived in two upper floors of the building in the 1770s. His friend Robert Burns had become disenchanted with life in Scotland and Blacklock wrote to him and dissuaded him from emigrating to the West Indies. Burns acknowledged that the letter had roused his poetic ambitions.

But get this! The ship on which Burns had hoped to embark sank on the voyage – – –

If you ever attend a Burns supper you may like to raise your glass in appreciation of “The Blind Poet”

Last Brexiters thingies for today. The biggest donation to the leave budget was £3.2 million. The stock broker donor’s rational? It will make us feel more insecure and we perform better under that stress! His stash has lost £400 million since the result so as a 69 y.o. I hope he feels suitably challenged. Never mind Peter, if things continue to get worse (ha!) there’s always the food banks.

David Cameron’s special advisors are out of a job. Contracted to receive 4 and a half months of their salary in compensation the bold Dave says it is not enough and ups it to 6 months or £70,000. Expect those same ” loyal” workers to be on departed Dave’s Honours List nominations. Yet another example of warped values.

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”.  George Bernard Shaw