Wednesday, July 12, 2006

If It's Not Scottish . . .

All of my inner thoughts have had a Scottish accent lately. I’ve been surrounded by all things Scottish, so I guess it makes sense that I would be thinking with a wee brogue. Ach, ‘tis joost a wee thing.

I’m listening to MC Beaton’s book Death of a Bore on CD while I knit. I love this series. They are about Hamish Macbeth, the only police in Lochdubh, a small town in the Highlands of Scotland. She also writes the Agatha Raisin series, which are just as entertaining, but this time set in the Cotswolds.

But back to Hamish. Having visited small towns in the Highlands, listening to this story is like being there again. So many wonderful characters, funny but real, in a storybook way. I compare it to Andy Griffith in Mayberry. Guess that’s why I like it—I loved the Andy Griffith show. Plus, Hamish always has his dog with him, which is also why I enjoy these books. And he talks to his best friend frequently, talking out his cases.

This series was also a TV series by the BBC. It was just as entertaining as the books and starred Robert Carlyle. (Did you see the Full Monty? He was the lead, the guy who came up with the interesting way to get some money.)

So, the other Scottish medium was a movie. I watched Trainspotting for the first time. I know the movie came out in 1996, but it’s not the first time I’ve been a little slow on the uptake. I really hadn’t been interested in this movie because it’s about the drug scene of Edinburgh youth. But, I was in a mood to be challenged emotionally, so I watched it. The movie focuses on Renton (Ewan McGregor) and his struggle to get off heroin and have an ordinary life: “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future.” Of course it’s not easy and there are disturbing as well as heartbreaking scenes. It’s a fascinating film; a slice of life I have absolutely no understanding of. And I don’t say that in a snobbish way—it’s not that I’m stiff-backed anti-drugs. I really don’t know about this lifestyle, the way a nice little military wife living an ordinary, normal, and sheltered life wouldn’t.

Directed by Danny Boyle (Shallow Grave also), Trainspotting is so amazingly moving and thought-provoking but it is also a bit quirky. OK, that’s an understatement. If you’ve seen Danny Boyle films or read Irvine Welsh you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, let me see if I can give you an idea.

Renton is at the pub with all his friends and his parents. They are celebrating because he didn’t have to go to jail for shoplifting because he entered a rehab program. Mom is calling him her baby boy and everyone is congratulating him. Then the mother of the other friend, Spud, who was arrested with Rent but did go to jail, walks in, looking for something—support, sympathy, apologies for not helping her son. But the loud-mouth friends send her away, yelling that it was her fault her son was in jail—all her fault if it was anyone’s. Rent knows this isn’t true, walks out the backdoor of the pub, with a voice over narrating that the rehab and methadone they give him wasn’t enough. He needed a hit. He climbs a tall rock wall, stands, then jumps, and lands like a frog back in the sparse heroine den asking, “What’s on the menu tonight?” His own kind of suicide.

I was ready for a change after that, so I watched House Hunters International on HGTV because they were in Edinburgh. It’s just amazing the cost of homes there! And small homes at that. Well, I thought they were small, but the people looking raved about all the room they were going to have. Over $200,000 for a flat!

So, after all the Scottish influence, now I’m craving a cup of tea and shortbread. Either that or a nice dram of a peety scotch.


Newt said...

Another good thing about Scotland:

Kell said...

Yeah, baby! What a great country. Sigh.

saz said...

I'm going to have to try the Hamish books again. I love Agatha Raisin - probably cuz she was around my age when I started reading the series but for some reason the first Hamish book didn't grab me. Maybe I need to listen to the audio cd while I knit - that could be the trick! Between you and Betty I can't keep up with all the good ideas in books and films. So maybe the cyber knitting/coffee group should listen to the Hamish series while we knit, eat popcorn and drink whatever?

Kell said...

Saz--that would work! I like listening to the Hamish stories because of the accents, especially if the narrator is any good. My library has some, so I that's how I get them. I think they are a little slower than the Agatha Raisin series, but then again, it's a slow-paced life up in the Highlands.

F&W said...

Scotch is our drink of choice in this house so we'll be over to join you as soon as it takes to get from Vancouver to Nebraska! ;o)

saz said...

I'm in.