Shaking up political correctness

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Tuesday night was a good night for me and, I hope, for a good few others. In these overly-political correct days, it was good to be out and about on Tuesday night.

The PC Brigade appears, at times, to have taken over, if not our world, certainly a major part of lives.

You can’t call a Welshman a Taffy, a fat person a fatty, we don’t have chairmen or chairwomen, we just have the chair. A poliswoman isn’t a WPC anymore.

There used to be a time – and this isn’t racist – when the world was black and white. Right and left. Male and female. Taffies, Jocks and Paddies.

Now, of course, there were terms of less endearment that we are glad to see the back of. I have no time for racism or religious bigotry – in fact, bigotry of any kind.

But it can all be taken too far. Remember the golliwogs row at the Peebles Beltane celebrations a few years ago? What the Stooriefit teacher who created the stushie had failed to realise was the children’s parade at Peebles was a representation of the countries and peoples of the world.

But I digress slightly. As I said, Tuesday was a good night.

Political correctness was kicked into touch. In fact it was booted out at this particular function a few years ago.

Our band – Selkirk’s skiffling sensation that is the ever-popular Bogie’s Close Stompers – were back out entertaining, as we do each year, at the fish-and-chips tea of the Borders branch of the Parkinson’s Association.

They are a wonderful bunch – those sadly afflicted by Parkinson’s, and their families and friends – who turn up each year at the Blue Coo lounge of the Buccleuch Hotel in St Boswells.

A great guy by the name of Gary Hattie from Selkirk is one of those who throws everything into anything he takes on and is a great servant to this organisation. And it is he who has invited us over several years to be the entertainers.

And so on Tuesday, Robin (guitar and vocals), Jim (mandolin), George (guitar), Davie (banjo), Digger (tea chest base) and myself (washboard and cow bell) performed to the best of ability.

Those who have had the great pleasure of hearing us perform will be aware that midway through the second half we encourage audience participation.

It is a part of the programme that is always very well received – mainly because it drowns us out.

It falls upon myself to organise and orchestrate this section of the entertainment. It comes as second nature now.

And so, five or six years ago at this Parkinson’s function, I gave it no thought as I ventured among the group and handed out their instruments.

And then, too late, I wondered if it was politically correct to be handing out maracas, tambourines and a variety of other shakers to, well, people who shake. I need not have worried. It went down a treat, and with real humour.

And on Tuesday that humour continued.

At the end of the evening, Gary presented us with a framed certificate, for having the guts to give out shakers to people with Parkinson’s. I have to say it was pretty humbling.

Thank you, Gary et all.