Monday, 29 August 2011
Help Ma Fantasy Boab
The 2 comic strips Oor Wullie and the Broons have featured weekly in the Sunday Post newspaper since the later Middle Ages first appearing in 1936. The original creation of master cartoonist Dudley D Watkins they have continued in the hands of a number of successor artists. There have been slight remodellings as the modern world caught up with them and some concessions to political correctness have been made, for example Oor Willie no longer is seen getting a good skelping on the behind after some of his pranks. But their essential character remains. Above all, these cartoons are wholly responsible for creating a key part of Scottish vocabulary in originating phrases such as Jings, Crivvens and Help Ma Boab. Other painstaking researchers have been unable to find anyone in the whole of Scotland who has ever used these phrases before they appeared from the mouth of Oor Wullie.
In the later Stone Age when FB was growing up, the Sunday Post had a circulation of over 1 million and it was reckoned to have the nearest any newspaper ever got to saturation coverage of a population. Its couthy, narrow-minded parochial approach defined a typically Scottish mentality that can still be felt from time to time today. In common with most other newspapers its circulation has plummetted to just over 300,000.
But FB remembers that amidst all is homespun folkiness the Post recognised cricket's existence - which is more than some organs of the modern media. In particular FB recalls a feature which reported outstanding schoolboy achievements on the cricket field and awarded a bat for the best performance of the week. This is evidence that at one point in history cricket was played in Scottish schools other than the independent sector. Sadly FB never won one of the coveted bats, all too reflective of his continuing career. Or is this feature just a sad figment of FB's increasingly addled imagination? Crivvens - he hopes not.