January 21, 2007

Ivor Cutler

I was first introduced to Ivor Cutler when I was DJ-ing at WRFL--there was a dusty record behind my seat that looked like it needed to be aired. So I did air it (and subsequently took home to copy to tape before bringing it back). Cutler tells stories about his dreadful Scottish upbringing in the driest most hilarious way, stopping at each punctuation for dramatic effect--letting the subtlety of his humor sink in. I reccommend reading this similarly--slowly, imagining an old codger reading it to you in Scotch brogue.

Life in a Scotch Sitting Room volume 2 episode 12.

I decided to leave home. As I closed the door behind me, a sherbet sucker in my hand, it started to pour. I stood in the garden, letting myself soak, hoping to die. The family drifted purposefully to the window to watch. The sherbet burgeoned out the bag. I leant to pick it up, encouraged by good natured shouts from my sister who had left home twice. The sun was setting. It was about half-past three. Mother brought in supper. It was porridge, and an enamel bowl of sorrel for those who liked it. The family reluctantly left the window and hastened to the table, eyes aglow. I was drawn towards the window; the scent of porridge excited me. With great good humor, Grandpa played his favorite trick—pursing his lips he blew sharply through his nose, making the hairs stand rigid. Too proud to return, I hoped they might summon me to the table, but in vain. I tapped faintly on the glass, but the chapping of dominoes on the table engulfed it. Grandma seemed to be winning; her red cheeks were flushed. Father was a poor loser. He hoist the nearest two children and banged their skulls dully together to vent his frustration. At last, Mother, who was quite human as mothers go, turned to the window, sensing my tapping—which a had become violent and irregular, an attempt by my sodden fingers to create a rhythm which would stand out from the well-known thrum of Scotch rain—she pointed to the door. Understanding my child’s pride, she was prepared to step down in my behest, for I think she cared for me. As I waited in the doorway, she opened the door. “LOOK AT YOURSELF!!” she shouted, and slapped me to the coil mat which had “WELCOME” printed in square black capitals. But as she did this every day on my return from school, I sensed her welcome, and entered. She dragged me aurally to the sink and rang me out. Then, picking a piece of porridge off the side of the sink, wiped it on her pinney and pushed it, unaffectedly, into my mouth. I sat by the wall and gobbled it down, then went in to play dominoes with the family, who complained bitterly about the damp smell coming from my kilt, and the clouds of steam obscuring the game, as I dried out. “Home’s home everywhere,” I muttered. There was a dead silence, then everybody stared thoughtfully at their men, and the game continued.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Luxury. When I was coming up, I had it rough I tell you! We woke 30 minutes before we went to sleep, went to work 36 hours every day and when we got home our father killed us and danced on our graves.