Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Fisherman and The Monkey

A really scary monkey...

A playful, then very suddenly dark broadside ballad....

In Greenock town I’ve heard it said
A man there lived who to his trade
A fisher was a rummy blade
His freens they cawed him Dunkey O
Now a sailor brither he had got
Wha’d just come hame frae Hottentot
And frae that savage place he brought
A full grown living monkey O

For four lang years ‘twas telt tome
This sailor chiel had been to sea
When he came hame to hae a spree
He wasna’ very funky O
So wi his monkey in a box
At Dunkey’s door he quickly knocks
And the nicht was spent wi sangs and jokes
But he ne’er said he’d got a monkey O

Now ye maun ken  this sailor lad
A sweetheart up in Glasgow had
So to see her next day he would pad
In spite o’ freens or Dunkey O
Early next morning he did rise
As the sun began to climb the skies
Says he Na doubt he’ll get a surprise
When he waukens and twigs the monkey O

Now the monkey thocht like human kin
Twas time some breakfast was brocht in
It then began to yell and whin
And through the room went dancing O

You’d thocht t’was some ane killing pigs
For it yelled and cut some antic riggsut a’ this din and wild uproar
The monkey made upon the floor
The fisherman he loud did snore
‘Twas hard to waken Dunkey O
At length he thocht ‘twas time to rise
And he looked about him wi surprise
For on a table he espies
A thing in the shape o’ a monkey O

Now Dunkey Jumped up to his feet
Like lightning he ran to the street
And twa-three fishermen he did meet
And O but he felt funky O
He telt his story –wi’ ae consent
To Dunkey’s domicile they went
And they swore they’d make the thing repent
Be it a man or a monkey O

Now the monkey at the men did stare
For they strapped him down upon a chair
Says ane-On his face there’s ower much hair
To shave him I’ll no be funky O
Ane o’ ran and got some soap
And made a lather pipin’ hot
While another held him by the throat
Till the fishermen shaved the monkey O

Now the fishermen they laughed like mad
Such fun before they never had
When a wild young chiel whose name was Rab
Proposed to hang the monkey O
Then round it’s neck a rope they threw
And through a cleek the end they drew
And quickly to the riff it flew
For the fishermen hung the monkey O

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tales of the Oak - Digital Art

That's all the pages scripted for our Tales of the Oak comic, and Andy's working away so we can hit our deadline - we'll be launching the comic in September on Inverclyde's Doors Open Day this year.

There's a broad range of stories in there, from adaptations of some classic tales and ballads, to stories inspired by more recent and urban folklore.

You've already had previews of our Slenderman and Green Oak Trees strips, but there's 64 pages of terrifying action. Meantime, here's some more of what Andy's been up to...

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Katey of Lochgoil

One of the traditional songs that was never recorded for the Downriver CD, there's echoes of the nonsensical lyrics of The Irish Rover there. Ripe for reinterpretation...

Twas in the year  eleventy-nine
And March the fortieth day
T’at ta Katey of Lochgoil my boys
To sea she’ll pore away

Wi ma fal lal  de dall
Fal  lal de dall de day

Noo Katey she’s as fine a ship
As ever yet was rig
And when she’ll cot her mainsail up-
Cot! You’ll took her for a prig


T’ere was Tonal’ Mhor and Tugal’ Mhor
Shon Tamson and Shon Roy
And all oor whole ship’s company
Was two ladies and a poy


As we gaed py ta Toward Light
She’ll plew a won’rous plast
Says  Tugal’ Mhor to Tonal’ Mhor-
“She’ll think she’s pest pelow”


As we steer roon’ ta Ailsa Craig
She’ll plew a won’rous gale;
Says Tugal’ Mhor to Tonal’ Mhor-
“Put ship and turn her tail”


Ta captain being kind to us
Put on ta muckle pot
Wi’ scatyuns for to poil for us-
Put de’il  a ane we’ll cot


T’ere was Tonal’ Mhor and Tugal’ Mhor
Shon Tamson and his mate
Was puttin’ his hizzen’s son ashore
For breaking a scatyun plate


Ta signal t’at oor Katey had
Was Tonal’s ponnet plew;
Ta skipper being oot on shore
It’s he ta signal knew


Noo Katey she is hame again
And safe a Greenock quay
And when she goes to sea again
She can took new hands for me


Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Wee Nasties - The Greenock Catman

Originally, our new book Wee Nasties featured a verse about local legend the Greenock Catman, but in the end, he didn't quite fit. Of course, we are all big fans of the Catman and wouldn't want to be offending him, so we thought we'd print Mhairi's rough draft sketch and our verse on the blog. 

A much friendlier version of the Catman appears in the childrens book I've written The Superpower Project, which is published by Floris Books in February 2016.

Down the track’s a Catman
Who has rats on toast for tea
He never cleans his teeth
Or has a bath like you and me.
He lives in an old tunnel
That runs below the town
And if you’re down there playing
He’ll come up and pull you down.
He’s never very lonely though,
His friends are all lost cats
So if a kitty’s missing
They get share of Catman’s rats.

Over 500 copies of the book have been distributed so far, we've kept a few copies back for another opening of the exhibition over the summer months. There was a smashing wee piece on the launch on your local tv channel Inverclyde TV.

Remember...you can still enter our Wee Nasties competition...

There’s a poor wee frog lurking in some of the pages of Wee Nasties, he ended up trapped in a jar by Auld Dunrod. Happily, though, he escapes. Maybe you can tell us what happened to Dunrod’s Frog when he escaped.

Did he meet even more nasties? End up as frogs legs on toast? Or maybe there’s a much happier ending....

Why not try telling us what happened in less than 200 words, and you can win a prize.

The top 5 entries will be printed on the Magic Torch blog www.talesoftheoak.co.uk, with the overall winner receieving a framed print of one of the Wee Nasties signed by the artist Mhairi M Robertson.

Your entries can be posted to

Auld Dunrod, Magic Torch, 175 Westburn Centre, Greenock, PA15 1JZ, or emailed to aulddunrod@gmail.com

Competition open to all under 12s and the closing date for entries is 26 June 2013.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Keep Corlic Wild

There's a new facebook page, Keep Corlic Wild, raising awareness of the plans for a 70 meter meterological mast which many believe will have a detrimental impact not only on the local landscape, but also local archaeology relating to local Roman sites. The mast will monitor conditions for a proposed wind farm. The page explains some of what has happened in other areas during wind farm construction and also explores the company ultimately behind the proposal.

A planning application has been lodged with Inverclyde Council, you have until this Friday, June 7th, to add your comments to this proposal.

Often, as we've seen before, objections to such plans and schemes are decried as getting in the road of "progress"...more accurately, "profit", still the basis of so much regeneration and sustainability planning, something even Unesco World Heritage Sites like Edinburgh Old City struggle against. Or it could be, that you feel wind farms are a fact of life we all have to accept, in the same way as the railway once was.

Torch are not directly involved with this particular Facebook campaign, but we certainly recognise its concerns.

For more on the archeology and Roman heritage of the area, you can read a survey produced by one of the members of the protest group based around Lurg Moor or read some of our own research.