Talking Point with Ron Harris

Find out what the Gazette chief reporter’s sparking about this week

TAE paraphrase yon classic o’ Scottish telly comedy The Vital Spark, there are several men being considered for the next Lord Cornet o’ Lanark – and wan o’ them is not me.

As regular readers will know, every year yon secret Star Chamber which chooses the toon’s Number Wan Citizen successfully seeks oot some – indeed, ony – Harris alternative and ah think ah’ve finally hit oan the reason why.

Ah’ve just too mony pals frae Carluke.

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Take Oor Tam frae Dooglis Street for example, a freend so close that ah’ve even forgiven him for being Best Man at mah first wedding.

Recently, the Carluke Tam and oor fellow Grammar survivor Nemphlar Tam have been having occasional wee reunions in the Lanark pubs we used tae haunt in oor youth, a sorta Last of the Summer Wine withoout the flat caps and the patter like watter.

Onyway, this sudden return after three decades tae the Royal Burgh’s booze boutiques has only had the demoralising effect o’ bringing hame tae us just how much times have changed. And the prices too.

We three dyspeptic dinosaurs have discovered that the cost o’ wan single roond o’ drinks noo’ is the equivalent tae the amount o’ dosh it used tae take tae keep us oan the very verge o’ liver failure for a whole weekend and being wheeched aff tae the stomach pump department doon the auld Law Hospital.

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This explains the second major change since yon hazy, crazy days o’ the Seventies.

Y’see, when ganging oot oan a Saturday night back then, it wisnae just your shabbiest pair o’ patched flared jeans and Jimi Hendrix t-shirt you donned but also American Fitba’ shooder guards, a gumshield and a motorcycle crash helmet.

Yon items were essential for your survival in the Black Hole o’ Calcutta crush at the bar o’ every hostelry oan a Saturday night, perhaps explaining why Scotland bred such great rugby scrumming sides back then.

It’s a wunner tae me that there was onywan back hame tae watch Dixon o’ Dock Green oan the telly as it seemed tae me that the whole nation was in the pub, baying for bevvy frae a bar-staff working harder than an Aberdeen Samaritan oan Flag Day.

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By contrast, last Saturday the Lanark pubs were aboot as busy as a rosary stall at Ibrox Park and Tam, Tam and me had so much open space aboot us ah was starting tae get a wee touch o’ agraphobia.

And it’s no’ as if we had the same choice o’ alternative premises tae stagger aff tae to see if they were ony livelier; The Black Bull, The Coronation, The Bruce, The Silver Bell, The Royal Oak, The Gordon Bar...the roll o’ honour o’ deid pubs in Lanark seems endless.

Perhaps, for a change, ah’ll suggest we gang tae Bonny Carluke for oor next mini-pubcrawl.

At least ah’ll be able tae finally personally attend a meeting o’ a Carluke institution ah understand frae a hilarious letter ah received this week ah’ve been granted honorary membership o’, namely the CDBC.

This, for the sake o’ a family readership, stands for the Carluke and District, er, `Big-fibbers’ Club.

Sounds like mair fun than being Lord Cornet onyway.