And so it inevitably shifts to the bevvied core of our wee nation. Scotia Extremis is hiiting the drink. As ever, it is the far ends of things, this time from Islay to Buckie .
Uisga Beatha by Fran Baillie is a sumptuous honouring of Laphroaig, the sharp and joyous malt from Islay. She totally gets it: I think she might enjoy a wee dram herself, you know. ‘Pass owre a tummlerfuhl o the cauld, wild west, / mahltit barley, slow-distilt, pure poetrie;’. Pure poetry right enough.
In some kind of contrast (and I say this as a boy whose youthful drug of choice was the sweet cherry wine of the Monks), Buckfast is given its place in the Scotia Extremis project by Claudia Daventry with her funny and punchy Commotion Lotion. From disco to fist fights, Caludia rocks this one. This is not a relationship going well; her, the burd and the Buckie. ‘Ma skank’s a steamin jakey, / she doons a few then skelps me’. Luvvy jubbly.
Scotia Extremis has been on the go for several months now. Andy Jackson and Brian Johnstone have galvanised a load of writers around our nation’s essential nature, its soul. The starting point was McDiarmid’s assertion that “I’ll ha’e nae hauf-way hoose, but aye be whaur / Extremes meet …” Great stuff already and more to come, bevvied or not.