Cookney concert – Doric Festival

Delighted to be invited to read at the Cookney concert on Sat 1st October, part of the Doric Festival organised by the Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen University…I immediately decided to make Shooer (written after I got caught in a thunderstorm)  my first poem. Geordie Murison, John Valentine, Anne Nicol, Kate Taylor and Peter Lamb are also among those taking the stage that night.

After so many years, it’s wonderful that stories and poems and songs in Doric – the natural language of NE Scotland – are again being valued and celebrated as well as recorded after so long when they were regarded by many as ‘common’, collected and remembered by only a few.

When I was growing up my father, having grown up one of a family of twelve on a farm near Kintore, saw speaking Doric as a handicap to future progress in life and wouldn’t allow his children to speak it at home. The same attitude prevailed at the time in schools; I can even remember some children being punished for speaking their own natural language in school. Many learned to be bi-lingual, Doric and English depending on place and company.

Therefore despite being surrounded by Doric in the playground and in everyday life, and writing stories, poems and plays in Doric as well as English, I’ve never really felt a natural speaker… so to be asked to read some of my Doric poems and stories means an affa lot!

Would be great to see some kent faces there…