Talking Point with Gazette chief reporter Ron Harris

No holding back...Ron hits out at fewer kirks and the loss of lavvies in the Royal BurghNo holding back...Ron hits out at fewer kirks and the loss of lavvies in the Royal Burgh
No holding back...Ron hits out at fewer kirks and the loss of lavvies in the Royal Burgh
Find out why oor Ron now (allegedly) has a far larger bladder than ever before!

THE auld engineering works o’ Lanarkshire used tae be a breeding groond for awfy jokes, tradition demanding that the worse they were, the mair they were telt and re-telt.

Wan mah faither inflicted oan me at an early age was a true masterpiece o’ mingin’ Scottish industrial humour concerning a certain Tonto the Memory Man.

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A guy back in 1947 is walking doon Sauchiehall Street when he sees a big Rid Injun teepee wae a sign ‘Tonto the Memory Man’ ootside it.

Curious, he enters tae see a big Apache chief sitting cross-legged oan the floor.

“How!”, says Tonto in greeting, “Ask me ANY question. Tonto the Memory Man remembers EVERYTHING. Half a dollar if I get answer right.”

Quickly thinking up a real stinker tae throw Tonto, the Glescae guy asks: “Okay; who won the Scottish Junior Cup in 1924?”

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“Saltcoats Victoria,” instantly shoots back Tonto, impressing the Glescae bloke who presses a hauf croon intae Tonto’s haund and leaves.

The Weegie duly emigrates tae Australia and disnae return tae his hame city for forty years; strolling doon Sauchiehall Street for the first time in four decades, he is stunned tae see the teepee is still there.

For auld time’s sake, he pops his heid intae the tent and, sure enough, sees a now aged Tonto still sitting there.

Deciding tae hail his auld acquaintance in the injun venacular, the Weegie says: “How!”

Tonto calmly replies: “They beat St Ants 2 - 1.”


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Onyway, ah dinnae claim tae be up there in the Tonto class for perfect recollection – there’s been far too much whisky gone under the bridge for that ower the years – but ah surprised mahsel’ a week or two ago when ah got a call frae a reader.

She asked me if we still had back copies o’ the Gazzy dating back tae 1963; ah telt her that, if we had, there’d be nae room for me and Oor Sharon at the front desk tae sit in the cosy confines o’ oor Wellgate bureau.

As wae so mony things, the solution lay up at Lanark Library where mah buddies there jealously guard EVERY copy back tae the very first edition in 1906.

Ah casually inquired why she wanted tae delve hauf a century back intae oor annals and she telt me her wean was at wan o’ oor primary schools hereaboots and the class project was tae discover three things that had changed in Lanark since yon historic year o’ 1963, containing as it did the Kennedy Assasination and the musical revolution wrought by The Beatles.

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Ah telt her ah could save her the trip up Hope Street as, aff the tap o’ mah heid, ah could tell her there and then o’ a trio of sich changes, NANE o’ them for the guid.

And this wis even withoot counting the three post offices we had then compared to roughly, er, NANE noo!

Back in ’63 Lanark boasted nae less than FOUR kirks, twice the current tally, St Kentigerns noo being posh flats, sharing the building wae the Clydesdale Hoosing Association heidquarters, while the site o’ the auld St Leonards is where the Lanark Buroo now staunds.

Change Number Two is that we then had two cinemas in the toon – the Regal, noo bravely battling oan as The Vogue Bingo Club, and the Rio, burned doon by neds and currently where Lidl noo stauns.

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The third change was the almost utter decimation o’ the toon public lavvies; back five decades ago ah reckon there were at least six – in Woodstock Road, next tae the Bus Stance, the Castlegate, in Delves Park, in Castlebank Park and at The Loch. A seventh, the undergroond wan – Paddy’s Prison ootside the Tolbooth – had probably gone by then.

It makes ye wunner if the cooncil think there’s been anither big change since 1963 – that Lanarkians noo have far, FAR bigger bladders than they used tae!

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