Saturday, June 2, 2018

A Treasured Glasgow Gift to Me In Mykonos


I bet that title caught the eye of a certain blond-hair lass who shares this masthead.  And for those of you perplexed by the Frederick Remington-style sculpture atop this post, that’s not the gift I’m talking about.  In fact, that fine beauty of a gift is standing tall and proud in Glasgow.

What say ye, Caro, am I correct?  More on that later.

So, here’s the gift I am referring to.  Each summer, for twenty-five years or so, I’ve shared breakfasts on Mykonos with a born and bred Glaswegian, Richard McFadzean, and his glorious wife Barbara (albeit from the Midlands).  Yes, all Barbaras are simply wonderful [paid political advertisement].

Scotty in foreground, Barbara photobombing, as is Barbara-kind's wont.
I’ve learned a lot from Scotty—as he’s lovingly called by the locals—all delivered in a burr/brogue/accent far deeper and mysterious than the buried haunts of Nessie’s Inverness Loch home.  He’s regaled me with grand tales, and the wisdom of the ages, all delivered in a vernacular that would make Sheriff Lobey Dosser (and his cartoonist creator, Bud Neill) proud. 

Lobey Dosser and Rank Bajin astride Elfie, the only two-legged horse in the West (photo Dave Souza)
I hadn’t realized until a few days ago…about a week after departing CrimeFest in Bristol for Mykonos…how great a gift he’d passed on to me.  I’d never understood why many English-speaking friends (both UK natives and not) attending mystery conferences said they had such a difficult time keeping up with the Glaswegian accent.   As tone deaf as I am to languages, I’ve never had any trouble understanding my Glaswegian mystery mates. 

That’s not to say I understood the meaning of all the words, let alone the idioms or puns, but I clearly heard the words.  For example, “pissed” in the UK means something different in the UK than in the US (drunk (UK) versus angry (US)) and when one party to a conversation asks another if they’re interested in a certain style of carpeting, I’ve learned the subject has nothing at all to do with decorating.

For those of you who think I’m exhibiting bad taste in what some might take as poking fun at accents, trust me, coming from Pittsburgh as I do, yinz prolly member I’m comin’ at this from a very fragile glass haus.

Still, it’s been an invigorating epiphany to learn that my many Mykonos breakfasts have yielded such a serendipitous reward. 

Hmm, perhaps I should hang out with more Texans so to better understand my grandchildren who are being raised down in that neck of the woods.  On second thought, that’s likely a more generational than accent thing. 

And speaking of Texas, time to come back to that cowboy statue.  I’m lifting the following from a story appearing on the Discover Glasgow Org website, titled “Buffalo Bill.”  

The bronze statue of Colonel William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody riding a bucking bronco is in the Dennistoun area of Glasgow, in a small public garden on the corner of Whitehall Street and Findlay Drive, two blocks north of Duke Street, and was erected in 2006 through a commission by the owners of a new housing development in the area.

It’s on the former site of the East End Exhibition Centre, where Cody ran his world famous Wild West show, “The Drama of Civilization,” from 16 November 1891 until 27 February 1892, wowing tens of thousands.  While Buffalo Bill was the headliner star, he featured sharpshooter Annie Oakley, and members of the Lakota Sioux tribe.

If you’re interested in learning more about Buffalo Bill’s carryings on in Glasgow and elsewhere in Scotland, take a look at this article from The Scotsman. 

And if you’re looking for a better grasp of the magic of the Glaswegian accent, I’ll be more than happy to introduce you to my buddy, Mr. McFadzean. 

Lobey and Rank

 Which reminds, me.  It’s time to run off to breakfast for another lesson.

Away an’ boil yur heed, ma freind.



  1. I would have left you a more intelligent comment to this post, Jeff, but I'm afraid I've just done as instructed, and boiled ma heed. I think I may now have water on the brain...

  2. Actually, I prefer Evian, even if it does spell naive backwards...

  3. Lobey Dosser = one who has no money so kips in a doorway… The horse El Fideldo is ‘ faithful’ obviously. Rank Bajin means a thoroughly bad person – literal translated as the Rank Bad One. I do believe Rank, being the baddie, was the only character that spoke with an English accent. I’ll just leave that statement there. Big Chief Toffy Teeth (Posh teeth?), he was, like me, a Govanite. Rid Skwerr ( red square), Fairy Nuff (fair enough!) Chief Rubber Lugs, (rubber ears!)
    I hope that clears it up. Now, where is Pittsburgh?
    Do we need to know?