Form from the chaos... (the_changeling) wrote in anonymous_scots,
Form from the chaos...

This is a rant about kilts....

This rant is really about Matt Lucas making the Scots guy in BB look like a dork.  But it's also about Disney Scotland and kilts.

We live in England, and I have been thinking recently, to track down a single colour kilt for my son, who is nearly 3, to help him with potty training at Nursery.  There is a lot of comon sense to be had, for a little boy to wear a nice thick and warm kilt in the winter at Nursery, to help with potty training.  And as, if I had a girl, I'd put her in trousers more often than not, I think it's nice if a boy gets to wear a skirt now and then.   Even if it's just to annoy other adults and their preconceptions.

As we were travelling up to Scotland in December, I asked on my flist if anyone knew where I could get a nice plain single colour kilt, for less than an arm and a leg.    Couple of people asked strange questions about not just buying one in a sale at the EWM.  I replied about not wanting to start wars over wearing the wrong colours.  Was informed there are several 'generic' Scottish tartans now, including the Black Watch.  I asked if the Black Watch objected to this.

Can you tell I've been out of Scotland for over 20 years?

So, anyway, cut to Scotland.  Now, when I was growing up in Lanarkshire, kilts at weddings was a stupid posh thing that strange people did.  After all, no one in my family, who were predominantly Irish immigrants, had ever worn a kilt.  (I've since found I do have a Highland relative in my recent past).  In fact, such things were mocked.

So, I was a bit perplexed, a couple of years ago, to find that a kilt at a wedding was now A Family Tradition.  It was the first time I truly noticed Disney Scotland creeping in _everywhere_....

So, when I casually mention in passing to a relative, that I'm on the look out for a cheap single colour kilt, I get a strange look.   On further probing, I discover that kilts are only for parties, weddings or special events.  My turn to look askance.  Pardon?  Oh yes, kilts are a 'speciality' items of clothing, somewhat akin, I decide, to fancy dress.  I point out kilts are a functional and practical thing to be wearing whilst traipsing across wet, grassy hillsides.

I'm mad, apparently, and anyone thinking of putting a wee boy in a kilt and it not being a wedding, is looking to have little boy beaten up at the bus stop.

Bemused, I relay this to friends, with whom I'm staying.  He's Scottish, she's English, they live in Scotland.  I rant and rave about kilts suddenly being 'fancy dress' and am told they are not fancy dress, but they are 'ceremonial' and 'statement clothing'.  In fact, it is questioned if a kilt has ever, really been worn whilst trampsing across a hillside.  Apparently, kilts as practical and functional items of dress is the Disney Scotland bit.  I reel.  (pun intended)  After all, Dearest Walter invented the kilt wholesale as a romantic invention.

No, dearest Walter didn't invent the kilt in that sense.  Dearest Walter took the Plaid, and rendered it into the posh kilt for dancing princes and fools.  But the Plaid was real - the wool sari was real, and the concept of wearing a thick woolen skirt to the knees, as trousers got too wet and cold in the hills, IS NOT DISNEY SCOTLAND.  IT'S REAL!!!!!!!  Sure, codification of tartans to specific clans is only a couple of hundred years old, but the basic concept of the clothing is genuine.  In fact the first example of an actual kilt, as opposed to a plaid, predates Scott's writings!

It was BANNED for Gawd's sake, along with all tartan!!!!!!!!!!!!

I explain how annoyed I am, about the thought that a fake reality for the kilt, has overtaken the real reality of the kilt to the extent that just to wear one at all has become 'a statement'.

So, I phone my friend, who's spent the past 4 years in rural Scotland, moving around between Youth Hostels.  She confirms to me, that the wearing of a kilt has become so 'statement', that the gillies etc are now not wearing them ever, in case they are seen to be doing the fake bit!    That, in line with the advantages of gore-tex over midges and ticks, has seen it almost disappear on the hills.  

Oh great, so the fake history is actually killing off the real thing....  *bang*  *bang*  *bang*

So... we get to last night's BB.  And John, from Edinburgh, turns up in a nice single colour black kilt with matching shirt and tie.  And I think - how nice, that's managing to be both Scottish, and not disney Scottish, and no doubt he's going to be beat up at the bustop.

But no, he never gets that far.  For Matt Lucas makes him act like a buffoon, and he has to put on a hat, and puts on a tartan tam-o-shanter, and Matt Lucas even makes him do fake 'Irish dancing' in his kilt, in front of everyone.

And he emerges from the diary room, as himself, saying "I'm not a tartan numpty!  I'n not a Scottish numpty, honest!"  But the damage has been done.

I despair.  I know we joked about Maggie Thatcher selling Scotland off to Disney, I just can't work out how it happened...


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