• Alba\Andy

Lang May Yer Bum Reek!

Happy New Year!

2020&21 reminds me of those old Whyte & MacKay adverts with Kenny Logan and Ally McCoist. This is appropriate as 2020-21 was also the time that the rest of the sporting world, outside Scotland, woke up to the fact that McCoist is a National Treasure.

Partially scripted, the two pals try teaching each other their respective sports via typically self-deprecating humour. It was, in fact, a homage to/taking the pish out of the popular Jonny Wilkinson & David Beckham adverts of the time - only Scottish, and funny. The best line of all, however, isn't scripted, it's McCoist being McCoist, describing the goalkeeper's attempts during recording using my favourite Scottish word, and it's here below.

When I was struggling during 2020-21, and I really was at times, in my better moments, my wife and I would absorb/deflect the heaviness with that uniquely Scottish weapon; humour. We'd stay up late watching Billy Connolly clips, and despite knowing them word for word, they still reminded me of me and my brother in tears in our old living room, and they still made my stomach ache from laughing. After blasting out some tunes in the rehearsal studio, I went out a curry with my old band pals, back when we were allowed, and similarly cried laughing at daft memories from gigging and the Leeds festival, circa early 00's.

In the words of Coisty, these moments were brilliant, absolutely brilliant. They were made all the more brilliant by the fact that 2020-21 was, indeed, 'having a shiter'.

One of the things that made me cry laughing was remembering that 'Shiters' was also the nickname of a guy we used to play football with at the local park. See, whilst Coisty was banging in goals for Rangers and Scotland, my brother and I had massive games of football 'doon the Sportsy' with anywhere from 4-40 pals. With no mobiles, you either rang your mate's house ('is Hammy in, Mr. Hamilton?' - I half expected him to turn up himself one day in full-kit) and/or everyone just turned up and played. It was 'absolutely brilliant', but then, one day was the last day, and none of us knew, not even Shiters. All of a sudden, it was gone.

That's the thing about life that gets me more and more as I get older - it's transient. Time is fleeting. All these wee moments we don't think of at the time as that important, are, genuinely, the things that get us through the crap 20 years later.

Remembering that a perfectly amiable guy I used to know willingly responded to 'Shiters', makes me chuckle. But then, it's not that strange. I became an adult and one of my best mates invited some of his childhood pals along to our Monday night game. I was sure they were calling him 'Jobby' all night, without blinking, so I asked him and he nodded with a wee smile. No malice intended, absolutely hilarious. His second name is Broon, after all.

Whilst we're on the subject, another time, I remember playing boys' club football, u12-13 or thereabouts, and I had had a really sore stomach that wasn't for clearing. The customary pre-match jobby was not for coming, and so I ran onto the red ash taking my place on the left-wing (inverted before it was cool - think John Robertson, without the searing pace ;-) ) feeling rather 'heavy'. I was actually alright at football, or at least my teammates thought I was, so they'd pass me the ball in the hope I'd beat a man and pull it back. I got the ball and the dads shouted at me to run at this boy. I got past the right midfielder who then ran behind me, and as I approached the right-back, I started farting. I say farting, because if you've ever tried walking/running and discretely letting yer air gang free, it's impossible. There's no pronouncing said fart as an unbroken parp, or toot. It isn't a proud chap. This was more of your wee wet, chubby sounding lad that sounds like he's dying as he falls, crumpled, into the atmosphere, exiting at a pace Metallica would be proud of with a smell that would kill a cat. I'm laughing remembering this because the boy behind me pulled up and went 'aw fur f&*$ sake, he's shat himself, man!'. The right-back started laughing. I started laughing. The other players started laughing. The parents started laughing. I just patted my stomach and said I felt much better. You need to own these moments.

I should've had a chimney.

Coming to think of it, maybe I should've been called Shiters? Or at least Farters...

That said, one thing that wasn't anywhere near a toilet over the last year or so was Scotland MNT. I have to tell ye, I've never experienced delirium in Hampden quite like that McTominay goal, and just like Super, I had absolutely no idea who had scored it. Bedlam.

I've got a week of holiday now, so might write about an idea I've got on that next week, but for now, I hope 2022 is a belter for you, wherever you are. To be clear, life is sometimes awful. To make sure you know I understand, within these last two years, I've had three operations, three MRIs, had to quit playing football and running, had to quit the job I'd worked over a decade to get 'to the top' of, and we still aren't quite sure what's going on, had to rehome our dog, and have all had COVID.

In other words, we hud a shiter. But you know what? Life is good and worth living. It wasn't all bad, and some of it was great. This seems to be life's pattern, and like being a Scotland fan, maybe you just need to learn to laugh in the bad times and wait a while, because the good far outweighs the bad, and I'll always have that moment with my best mates, brother, and family, post-Israel and Denmark.

I don't know about you, but whether it's recalling the awesome times, or reliving daft childhood memories, or both, it's worth remembering that life is absurd, there's probably a Still Game quote for everything, and laughing at it this is the best medicine I know of.

Lang may yer lum reek, and all the best for 2022!


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