I must be careful, but the Burns Night what I went to, just there, was totally garbage.
The H, Ns, &Ts were fine, but throw in a 30cc measure of Grouse and that was it!
It was like school dinners.
I should have known by the cheap price of the tickets that something was up.
A proper organised Burns Night follows a pattern.
The pattern is always the same.
That’s why it’s called a pattern.
It’s just like weddings, they follow a pattern.
Firstly, there’s a top table just like a wedding.
The singer(s) and MC sit here along with the host, the pub landlord, club committee or whoever.
We sit at one of the other tables, then there’s a toast and a welcome.
The MC, usually a minister or even a priest, but in this instance the Presbyterians do it better, will say a short poem of welcome,
Then The Selkirk Grace.
Then you start on your starter, whatever it is. It’s not usually anything fancy like freshwater crayfish in raspberry sauce.
Then the haggis is piped in,
by a piper,
on a platter,
carried by a cook,
in a chef’s hat,
And the MC does The Address and waves a bread knife about before cutting open the bloody thing, at which point, young waitresses in the traditional long tartan skirts and white waitressy blouses come in an distribute plated up dinners as fast as possible.
There may or may not be a pudding, usually trifle, then oatcakes and cheese then shortbread and whisky.
Aquam igne et aquam haurio.
Then replete, the fun starts.
The singer [s] will sing love songs, and A Man’s A Man For A’ That, and Scots Wahay!
It sounds corny, but if you get a good singer singing unaccompanied, it’s really quite stirring. Sometimes there is piano accompaniment but that’s it.
No fal de rals with Burns.
A Burns Night isn’t the White Heather Club with accordions and Donald where’s yer troosers, in fact there may be the odd kilt, and some tasteful tartan kitsch, but it’s a LOWLAND night on the piss, NOT a Heilan‘ one. Ask Sam if you don’t believe me.
Any way, interspersed with the singin’ and the drinkin’ and the poems, Tam o’ Shanter etc., the MC will tell funny stories about Burns, or what happened on his way to the pub, you know the sort of thing, but it’s about Burns. It’s his night.
A good MC is a bit like a protestant Borscht Belt comedian.
A good one would convert you, so I always carry a rosary in my breast pocket. I’m no’ daft altogether.
Anyway, after all that, there’s the toast to his immortal memory, and Auld Lang Syne etc.
A great night if you ever get the chance.
So what was that, three spheres of food on plate, thank you and goodnight rubbish we got the other night?