Friday, January 26, 2007

Burns Night

Rituals and other social occasions are defined by different mixtures of particular musics, intoxicants and behaviours. For Burns Night (25 January) the basic recipe is simple enough - whisky, Scottish music , a few Burns poems, maybe some haggis... Still, even with this recipe there's plenty of room for improvisation and last night saw a spontaneous Burns Night at 56a InfoShop - a small radical bookshop tucked behind a food co-op near the Elephant and Castle (South London). The shop has one of the largest stock of anarcho-punk CDs in London, so for music we turned to Oi Polloi's recent album of Scottish Gaelic punk (did play some more traditional Battlefield Band and Corries later). A bottle of Islay Mist was the beverage of choice, shared with anybody passing through provided they were prepared to open the collected poems of Burns at random and read a verse or two. A couple of nice Berliners told us about their place in the former East Berlin, a big ex-squat called Subversive with its own unlicensed bar and dancefloor downstairs. We dreamt of pulling something off like this in South London... maybe one day. Altogether... 'There's threesome reels reels, there's foursome reels, There's hornpipes and strathspeys, man, But the ae best dance ere came to the land Was-the deil's awa wi' the Exciseman'.

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