Moniaive or Bust

Moniaive or Bust, Michael Dempster.

Hit’s the nicht afore A’m giein ma brent new lecture Scots Language in Comics (142AD tae 2017) at the Moniaive Comic Festival an hit’s jist dawnt on me, A hivnae mindit tae pick up Susan Rennie’s Scots language Tintin buik: The Derk Isle. Hit’s got ae panel A’m needin fir tae mak ma pynt aboot Scots uiss shiftin fae dialect tae language, an A wullnae dae athoot hit.

A’m awriddy bealin fae the day afore when the prenter’s telt iz they made a bauchle o the file tae dae me a run o ma ain manga translation, Gie ma Regairds tae Jock Dhu. There nu’hin A kin dae aboot that noo, bit A wull hae ma Tintin panel! Sae A gets ma walkin stick, sprachles intae the motor, an then up the toon. A hirples intae Watterstanes, five meenits afore hit shuts.

Ma sair fit’s lowpin an ma hert’s racin as A get intae the lift. No fae fear o no getting ma comic, naw, bit wi the auld thrill o giein a new lecture. See, hit’s aye a buzz staunin up fir tae pit yer ain wirk oot there, an mair sae when hit’s new, bit this is Moniaive! Ye see, fir yous thit’s no au fait yit, Sue Grant, thit’s pitten on the festival fae 2005, kens the best o the best comic creators fae aw owerthe planet an she gets them alang.

Noo, A ken thit A ken ma stuff, an A’m no ane tae be dauntont at aw, bit A’d jist taen a keek at the guest list an twiggit thit there wis a fair chance A’d be daein ma talk tae thaim thit creatit a guid wheen o whit A’ll be luikin at in ma talk. Jings!

Hit’s no jist the comic festival Sue’s got her haun in wi; tho sic a rerr event’d be achievement eneuch. Unner the Moniaive Festival Village, winners o the Creative Place Awards, alang wi ithers sic as Peter Roberts they pit on hunners o airts, leeterature, music an cultural events throuootthe year. (No forgettin their new picture hoose! Wi Emily Tryon.) Alang wi the Comic Festival spreid throu the year there the Moniaive Folk Festival, an Anja an Paul Lyttle’s Moniaive Michaelmass Bluegrass Festival. An ayont the Festival Village there a wheen ither events in an aroon the place. Needless tae say A’m no a stranger an A’m aye gled o a chance o a wee day or twa’s veesit.

In fact, A wis wirkin there the year afore daein ma Scots Language Creative Lairnin Director wi Feral Arts’ production o Ishbel McFarlane’s ‘O’ is for Hoolet. The saicont last stap in wir World Tourie o Scotland 2016! Sae, as A wis stotin oot thon lift at Watterstanes A wis fair taen aback tae bump in tae Ishbel’s mither, Irene.

She wis throu in Glesga fae Kinross fir tae see a performance o ‘O’ is for Hoolet in the Gorbals. (Hit’s on at the Solas an the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festivals if ye’ve no see hit yet.) Och, hit wis rerr tae hiv a blether an a wee catch up.

A’m no ane fir superstition, bit A’ll tak a chance meetin wi a freenly face as a handsel fir a new lecture onie day o the week! Sae, A bocht ma Tintin comic an wis aff.

Sae, aw set. A drave doon the M77 on a dreich day. A met wi a magic sicht o the ribands an flags up alang the roads an on aw the hooses in Auchinleck an in New Cumnock efter Glenafton Athleticbaet Auchinleck Talbot in the Scottish Junior Cup. Thon must’a been some parities!

Hit wis doon tae a wee smirr bi the time A hut Thornhill and the cloods shed jist afore A got in tae Moniaive. A pairkit the motor an daunnert in tae The Craigdarroch Arms Hotel an A wis gled tae see Tim ahin the baur, a Trojan that man, tellin ye.

A sits doon ootsides the theatre tae check ma presentation on the computer, jist the hunner an eichty essential pictures cut doon fae near twa thoosan, an the animations urnae wirkin. No that big a cairry on, bit eneuch fir tae pit a wee trimmle in ma hauns. A sort it wi aboot hauf an oor afore A’m on. A’m affae gled tae catch the talk afore me. It helps me mind thit weel afore A’m there fir giein alecture, A’m there acause A’m jist a big fan o comics.

Finally, noo hit’s ma turn fir tae get up there an gie forrit ma thochts an ideas thit A’v been pittin doon fir years – probably fae A wis first gien a luik at The Broons aff ma big cousin Gael, me bein nae aulder than the Bairn nae doot. Naebody kens whit’s comin. Dinnae gie them a heids up, or the gemm’s a bogie. A luiks oot. A sea o phissogs, monie thit A ken.

Amang them’s Alan Grant, Sue’s husband an nae sma shot himsel, writer o Judge Dredd, Strontium Dog (above), Batman. He’s the creator o the braw Anarky, an The Ventriloquist, an no tae mention a fair whack o whit A’m jist aboot tae talk abbot.

There’s John McShane, publisher o The Bogie Man, a buik A’m jist aboot tae say’s wan o the maist important in Scottish comics’ history, an a fulla A ken kens mair’n A dae aboot some o whit A’m gaun’ae say.

An there…is that…? Steve MacManus. Aye, hit’s Tharg the Michty hissel!

An as A’m jist aboot tae go, A luik tae the front row an A get a wee nod o the heid.

It’s the wummenfae the village, aw braid Gallowegian Scots talkers, thit’d been tweetin me tellin iz they wis luikin forrit tae ma talk fir ages. Sae A taen ae deep breith. A sickers ma feet. An A stert.



Dr Michael Dempster is a furst leid Scots speaker. He’s interestit in neurolinguistcs, psycholinguists an awthin tae dae wi Scots leid. Brocht-up in the folk scene he’s noo pittin classicalsang intae Scots yaisin his ain weel wrocht method. An aften invitit public talker he gied his talk We’re needin tae talk aboot wir language at the furst TEDxInverness event. That kin be fun on his wabsteid: an he tweets as @DrMDempsterAw, an in case ye’r wunnerin, thon lecture went jist brawly; A duin hit again the neist day bi populardemand!

This airticle is available for the blin and visually impared in subtitlit audio here.

Comments closed.