Archive for the ‘Border Reivers’ Category

Yes, the BBC can produce some real rubbish.

I can’t really say that Bluestone 42 was a disappointment since I was prepared for the worst when I heard that the people who wrote Miranda also came up with this show.  And, like Miranda, Bluestone 42 really wants you to like it.  Unlike Miranda, it’s not really likeable.  In fact, it probably has the worst clichés of British Television and maybe even military service.

Let’s start with a woman soldier named “Bird”.  I think that sums up the humour of the show.  The show got old–FAST.  I couldn’t make it through the entire second episode and skipped through it on iPlayer.

I’m not sure how long this will last since Being Human managed to make it to five series.  I fear the worst.

So, British TV can come up with some really good material, but it can also make some serious crap.

Sort of changing the topic, I found a book called A Concise History of British Television 1930–2000 by Tony Currie (Kelly Publications, ISBN 1-903053-17-X). I can’t imagine it being very thick given the Beeb’s archival policies. Yes, I am upset that shows such as  The Borderers were trashed by the old archival policies amongst other things (lots of repeats of nothing I really want to see).

The Lockerbie Lick

The Lockerbie Lick can be either a two handed swordstroke that removed the head or severe face wounds caused by a sword.  Specifically, the slashing others with downward (or “downward backhanded cut”) sword strokes causing gruesome facial woundsknown as “Lockerbie licks.”   The term is said to have come from the Battle of Dryfe Sands (1593):

Some of the escaping Nithsdale men were drowned trying to cross Annan at Gotterbie, while others seem to have been killed while trying to escape through Lockerbie. Some who escaped are said to have had “Lockerbie licks” on their faces, caused by being slashed by the swords of pursuing horsemen.

See:

Little Jock Elliot

This is the Borders ballad Little Jock Elliot:

Wha daur meddle wi’ me?
Wha daur meddle wi’ me?
My name is little Jock Elliot,
And wha daur meddle wi’ me?

I ride on my fleet-footed grey,
My sword hangind doun by my knee,
My name is little Jock Elliot,
And wha daur meddle wi’ me?

In raids I ride always the foremost,
My straik is the first in melee,
My name is little Jock Elliot,
And wha daur meddle wi’ me?

I ne’er was afraid of a foe,
Or yield I liefer wad die;
My name is little Jock Elliot,
And wha daur meddle wi’ me?

I’ve vanquished the Queen’s Lieutenant,
And garr’d her troopers flee;
My name is little Jock Elliot,
And wha daur meddle wi’ me?

Wha daur meddle wi’ me?
Wha daur meddle wi’ me?
My name is little Jock Elliot,
And wha daur meddle wi’ me?

The Sources of US history

The United States, and the Western Hemisphere for that matter, did not spring up tabula rasa, but have roots in European History. In the Case of the United States and Canada, that history is closely tied to English, Scottish, and to some extent French History. The two strongest roots being English and Scottish in the US (Canada and Louisiana have closer ties to the French history). The problem is that Scottish history is pretty much neglected in the US, which is a shame.

Not that I wasn’t somewhat aware of Scottish contributions to North American History. My friend, Neil Oliver, forced this into my attention with his excellent works on Scottish history. What is really hammering the point home though is that I am reading Arthur Herman’s How the Scots Invented the Modern World. Herman’s book is an enjoyable read and a very edifying work on Scottish history from the Reformation forward. What I particularly like about it is how he links Scottish and World history, with an emphasis on North American.

Of course, there is a comment about John Witherspoon moving to New Jersey to take the job at Princeton that I found quite amusing:

Reading the handwriting on the wall, Witherspoon accepted an offer from the American Colonies he had declined befor: to become president of the College of New Jersey in Princeton. In that guise, he will reappear in the next chapter…But in 1768, his departure marked the final triumph of the Moderates and their vision for an enlightened Church of Scotland.

Of course, the Next chapter would be the American War for Independence and John Witherspoon was a fundamentalist of the extreme right wing variety who was highly influential in the Independence movement. Naturally, I thought that Scotland did not have much of a loss when it sent Witherspoon to the Colonies. That move was far more detrimental to North American politics in many different ways. Of course, Witherspoon, as were others in the North American Independence movement were far more influenced by Scottish than English history. One commentor has mentioned that the rebellious nature of US politics comes from the Scots, Scots/Irish, Irish, and Border Country than English politics. This would be because of the unsettled nature of those people during this period. After all, the last actual battles on British soil took place during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.

Whether I am totally in agreement with that last comment needs to be seen.

But, it stands for certain that many of the concepts that are present in US history have roots in the history of Britain, whether English or Scottish. In my opinion, Scottish history is far too neglected in the North American curriculum. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in this topic read the books below.

See:
Neil Oliver, A History of Scotland
Arthur Herman, How the Scots Invented the Modern World