Friday, May 27, 2016

I used to be a backwards hillbilly but now I'm okay.

This article in the Financial Times - The Boy who Escaped Trump Country - is almost a tick-box exercise in ‘liberal’ prejudice. I have that in inverted commas because those who claim that title today are amongst the most illiberal and most authoritarian types you can meet. Starting with Ulster and Scotland it centres on Buchanan County in western Virginia, where 70% of people recently voted for the despised Donald Trump. I don’t like Trump, but underlying his success is a deep malaise in American society, which he has given vent to. The aloof tone in the article is typical. But no other people group in the world would be allowed to be repeatedly treated and written about in this way. 

Monday, May 02, 2016

'A Call from the Trenches to Shirkers' - a message from Ballywalter, 20th November 1911

I am very pleased that my good friend Mark Anderson has given me permission to post this poem here. It was recently uncovered during the research phase of a project I was very pleased to work with Mark, and others, on. More about the project in a future post, once it is all public.

If this is how Ballywalter folk spoke at the time, it's also how Ballywalter men in the trenches spoke at the time. And not just Ballywalter - a very great proportion of the Ulstermen who fought would have been from Ulster-Scots communities and so would have spoken like this. I can hardly imagine that they made efforts to use schoolroom English in the trenches of death.

I am aware that there are other Ulster-Scots poems from the Great War. And a number of Ulster-Scots writers have connections with the War.

'Though You Slay Me' - Shane & Shane (with John Piper)