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Gary Robertson is Dundee’s modern McGonagall – keeping city dialect alive

Gary Robertsons love of the great outdoors is only rivalled by his passion for words.
Gary Robertsons love of the great outdoors is only rivalled by his passion for words.

Gary Robertson is Dundee’s modern McGonagall.

Given that old William Topaz is widely accepted as being the world’s worst poet then I understand how that “accolade” might be misconstrued.

But I expect Gary will just chuckle.

Having watched him perform with his band the Cundeez, seen him light up The Rep stage in his own-self-penned productions The Berries and The middle of Nowhere – A Bothy Haunting, and go into bat for the Scots’ language, Gary doesn’t strike me as a shrinking violet who cannae “hae a laff”.

So I very much doubt he will be upset at being compared with Dundee’s best known man of letters, however questionable those letters might be.

You see, Gary is not a man to be sat idly in his jammies and baffies at the inglenook.

He has outmuscled the SAS, conquered mair Munros than Sir Hugh Munro, scaffed mair bins than Biffa and skirled mair pipes than a Pipe Major.

He’s sung, rapped, written, produced and, for decades now, created.

That boundless enthusiasm for life in all its unvarnished glory has now been rewarded after he walked away (surely daundered aff) from the inaugural Scots Language Awards having been named as the Scots Performer o (sic) the Year.

In true Gary style, he celebrated with a barnstorming version of Mick McCluskey’s Oary Topia.

“Pure ra’n’ undilutit” is how he described it – and if you watch it (and understand what that means), it is impossible to argue.

Gary is a force of nature who holds Dundee so close to his heart it must hurt.

Like McGonagall before him as he wandered the country trying to convince the masses of his talents as a wordsmith, Gary’s mission to ensure the Dundee dialect survives and thrives is a thankless task.

But if anyone is the man for the job, Gary is and I wish him the very best in his newly elevated position.

And I hope a few inspirational words from Messr McGonagall’s ode to our national bard, Rabbie Burns, will keep Gary keeping on.

Your “Scots wha hae wi’ Wallace bled”

Is most beautiful to hear sung or read;

For your genius there does shine as bright,

Like unto the stars of night.

Immortal Bard of Ayr! I must conclude my muse,

To speak in praise of thee does not refuse,

For you were a mighty poet, few could with you compare,

And also an honour to Scotland, for your genius it is rare.

Get in touch with your local office at Dundee or send a letter to The Courier at letter@thecourier.co.uk

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