Living with the Truth Stranger than Fiction This Is Not About What You Think Milligan and Murphy Making Sense

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Aggie and Shuggie 21

Goat greyscale

Maggie:

Da, Da, Da, Da...

Shuggie:

Whur’s tha fire, hen?

Maggie:

Da, Da, yoo ave goat t’come an see this. At’s sick.

Shuggie:

Whit? A goat’s bin sick? Whur? Who brought a goat intae tha hoose? Ah hope at’s no hurled all ower yer ma’s clean kitchen flair.

Maggie:

At’s no a goat.

Shuggie:

Whidyamean? Dinnae tell me tha dug’s puked his ring up. Whit’s e bin eatin? Af yoo bin feedin im Turkish Delight agin?

Maggie:

At’s no tha dug.

Shuggie:

Yer ma’s boked then?

Maggie:

Naw.

Shuggie:

Yoo?

Maggie:

Naebuddie’s sick.

Shuggie:

So whittre ye oan aboot? Yoo jist said summat wis sick.

Maggie:

This is sick. Cumman see.

Shuggie:

Ah dinnae wan t’see oaneybuddie’s sick. Cud they no find tha big white tellin’bone an gie Hughie a caw?

Maggie:

Da at’s no tha kinda sick. At’s tha guid kind.

Shuggie:

Whit’s guid aboot being sick, hen? Yer talkin pish.

Maggie:

Ah’m no. ‘Sick’ mean guid nooadays.

Shuggie:

Get awaw wi ye. Tha’s jist confusin.

Maggie:

Nae mair confusin than ‘hoat’ an ‘cool’ meanin guid.

Shuggie:

Hey, don yoo go moakin ma youff, hen. Noo whit ‘guid puke’ d’ye wan me t’see?

Maggie:

A noo refyoo af wan af Unca Jim’s books, tha first wan.

Shuggie:

As tha aw?

Maggie:

Aye, Da, but it’s a ... guid yin, a really guid yin. At’s hoat an cool an sick an slammin an perceptiff.

Shuggie:

Perceptiff, ye say?

Maggie:

Aye, Da, no messin aroon aythur. This gurl really get’s whur Unca Jim’s comin frae.

Shuggie:

Naw!

Maggie:

Aye. She yayses wurds like “psycho-philosophical study”, “Freudian” an “Harold Pinter”.

Shuggie:

She compairs oor Jim t’ Harold Pinter, tha goadfaither af tha dramaytic ... pause? Lassie, yoo are yankin ma chain.

Maggie:

No way, Da. Ah widne lay a finger oan yer chain.

Shuggie:

Okay, okay. Show us. Whit’s the gurl’s name?

Maggie:

Sorlil. Er site’s cawd Poemtry in Progress.

Shuggie:

Sorlil? Whit kinda name’s tha?

Maggie:

Ah dunno, Da. She’s frae Dunoon.

Shuggie:

Ah well, tha explains a loat. Thur’s nuhin t’dae thur but read.

16 comments:

Sorlil said...

Ha ha, love it!!

Kass said...

I loved it too, but I can't claim to totally understand it. I was led to Sorlil's site and her wonderful review of Living With The Truth. She's an excellant writer.

Jim Murdoch said...

I am pleased, Sorlil, and thank you again for, as Maggie says, such a perceptive look at the book. I never set out to be a comic novelist – as you know I never even set out to be a novelist – and I don’t see myself as one but humour is leaven, it is a powerful tool, and I find trying to work without it my writing refuses to rise to the challenge.

And, Kass, Yes, Aggie and Shuggie’s variation on Glaswegian takes a bit of getting used to but broadly-speaking if you read the thing with a Scottish accent in your head you should get by. I try and keep their appearances short because a little goes a long way. The main thing is to be as consistent as possible which is hard because people don’t speak consistently. Let’s take the word ‘not’ – there are two main ways you’ll see it: ‘no’, and ‘nae’ depending on the phrase. So ‘I’m not doing it’ would become ‘Ah’m nae daein it’ and ‘That’s not right’ becomes ‘Tha’s no right’. You’ll see I the last one the ‘that’ loses its ‘t’ at the end. This is commonplace in Glaswegian.

There are a great many touchstones when it comes to Aggie and Shuggie. Andy Capp probably being the first followed by Stanley Baxter’s Parliamo Glesga but I was recently reminded of the newspaper strip Shuggie and Duggie which, hand on heart, I’d quite forgotten about when I made up this family but no doubt that’s all milling around in my subconscious. The most obvious parallel is the TV programme Rab C Nesbitt. Have a look at one or two clips on YouTube and you’ll get the flavour. It will also help you with the accent.

Rachel Fenton said...

Ha! "hot" does seem to be the yoof slang of choice for owt that's mint as we used t'seh wen wi wer nippers...I love reading these - well done, what a mint review. I'll check out Sorlil's site anon...

Elisabeth said...

After reading through twice, I now think I understand: Jim's writing is 'sick', namely fantastic in a dense psychological/sociological way.

That's about the gist of it for me. Now I have to figure out What Sorlil has to do with it. Did she write a review perhaps?

At least I tried. I'm sorry if I'm right off the mark.

Jim Murdoch said...

I am surprised more people don’t have a crack at writing in accents, Rachel. At the very least it’s a bit of fun but it also preserves the language and I think that’s important.

And, Elisabeth, if you’d just clicked on the links to Sorilil’s site then everything would have become clear. ‘Sick’ is an in-vogue expression meaning ‘great’. As Rachel says above, ‘mint’ is also popular just now in exactly the same way as ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ were in the fifties and sixties.

Jennifer said...

Jim -- I read Sorlil's review and it *was* wonderful. And, of course, it's nice to read Aggie and Shuggie again.

Conda V. Douglas said...

Oh thank you, Jim--I've a couple of months of family crises and have been struggling to get back to the writing life.

Aggie and Shuggie was just what I needed!

Jim Murdoch said...

Jennifer, thanks for that, and I’m glad you enjoyed Sorlil’s review. Now if only someone would write a similar one for the sequel I’d be jumping for joy. Or at least what passes for jumping and joy with me.

And, Conda, so it’s your turn for the crises, eh? Well, I’ve had my share I guess it was time someone else had a go. Glad that Aggie and Shuggie managed to bring a little brightness into your life. It amazes me that I’ve managed to write twenty-one of them and with such ease. I keep fretting that when the next review that appears I’ll go blank but not yet. I’d no sooner finished reading Sorlil’s post and I had half of the Aggie and Shuggie written in my head. I love when that happens. I wish all writing was that easy.

Rachel Fenton said...

One of my characters has an Aberdeenshire accent - I'm having more fun than accuracy I think!

Rachel Fenton said...

Meant to add, if the character were from Yorkshire I'd be alright!

Jim Murdoch said...

That’s the real problem isn’t it, Rachel, when you’re writing about anything you’re not familiar with, some bugger will come along who is familiar and point out your mistakes. I suppose you have to consider your intended market. If you were going to be flogging your book off a barrow in the middle of Princes Street, Aberdeen then, yes, getting that accent spot on would be more of an issue than if you were flogging it off a barrow on . . . now what would the Christchurch equivalent by? Colombo Street? It’s so easy to show your ignorance. I’d probably play safe and go with “on Cathedral Square” but I’m still guessing.

Dick said...

Delighted to hear Aggie and Shuggie at it again. I was interested to read of the influences. Nobody's mentioned the Connolly word so I won't either, but do I hear an echo of Chic Murray in there?

Jim Murdoch said...

Impossible to be Scottish, Dick, and not have Billy Connolly as an influence especially if you're my age. He, in turn, was influenced by Chick Murray. Both are masters – in their own distinct ways – of observational comedy but few do deadpan like Murray; in that respect they’re poles apart. And yet, if you know what you’re looking for, it’s hard to listen to Connolly without hearing a bit of Murray. As he gets older – and calms down a bit – you can see he can do understated humour but that’s not what he’s best at. Even in Scotland Murray is not as well known as he might be. Connolly’s back catalogue is impressive. Last birthday my wife managed to dig up an old cassette tape of Raw Meat for the Balcony, which, and I have no idea why, has never made its way onto CD.

Dave King said...

Jim
That was great - the download is a brilliant in novation. Is it a one off or a steer for the future?

Jim Murdoch said...

I take it you mean the 'listen now' feature, Dave. No, it's been there for a while. I've only listened to one 'Aggie and Shuggie' with it to see how awful it sounded but it wasn't too bad, not really why I adopted it though. For a free reader I was just so impressed by the quality of the reproduction. I have a couple of readers on my office PC but they're not nearly as good. The only thing they do have is that you can change the voice. I prefer to listen to women reading my stuff.

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