Jardine’s Book of Martyrs is a blog mainly devoted to events in Covenanter History both great and small – many of them little known.
The ‘Meeting of General Dalziel and Captain Paton of Meadowhead’ appears in Lays of the Covenanters (1880), by Reverend James Dodds of Dunbar. It details the 1684 capture of Captain John Paton by General Tam Dalyell of the Binns (the aristocratic ancestor of the Tam Dalyell who died back in January.) In this section, we can see a local reference:
Calm as a dove he sleepeth. And he surrenders patiently To those who come to snare him: When, fast as horses feet can tramp, To Edinburgh town they bear him.
And now they skirt Corstorphine Hill, With August blossoms merry: When by the way Dalziel rides forth, To see what spoils they carry.
The full version can be seen on Dr Mark Jardine’s blog – link below. The rest of the blog comes highly recommended by me, and covers a great deal of the Central Belt.
Murrayfield… home of rugby, ice hockey… tennis… cricket… Also the former home of Chris Hoy, and an area with an unexpected connection to another major sportsman – Don Revie. As readers may, or may not know, I am not much of a “heidbaw” fan. However, Revie is actually one of the more interesting characters in the history of the game, and the subject of a surprisingly good novel and film.
The Damned United
David Peace’s The Damned United (2006) is a fictionalised account of Brian Clough’s time at Leeds FC. It’s a brilliant work of fiction, much better than most of the trash which lines the football shelves in most bookshops. It is written from Clough’s POV, and tends to exonerate him. Revie, on the other hand, comes off as the villain of the piece (Peace?) and Clough’s rival.
This in turn was turned into the 2009 film. Colm Meaney played Revie, and Clough was portrayed by Michael Sheen, an actor who turns in a decent performance in just about everything he’s in. Meaney is a seasoned actor himself, having appeared in two incarnations of Star Trek, the Commitments etc.
While Clough is remembered as the Cheeky Chappie of English football, with soundbites to rival Muhammad Ali, Revie’s memory is more tarnished.
Revie, an ex-England player, managed various English premier league teams in the sixties and seventies. He was Clough’s predecessor at Leeds, and during his time the side was nicknamed “Dirty Leeds”. He also had a penchant for selecting Scottish players (it was a lot harder to bring in overseas players back then) Later he went on to manage England, but his later life was marred by allegations of corruption and a bizarre stint in the Emirates. His wife, Elsie was originally from Fife, and in the mid-eighties they both moved to Kinross to retire. Sadly, he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1987. He was admitted to Murrayfield Hospital in 1989*, and according to Wikipedia (who else?):
“He died [there] … on 26 May 1989, aged 61, and was cremated four days later at Warriston Crematorium in Edinburgh. Though his funeral was well attended by representatives of Leeds United, The Football Association did not send any officials to the funeral.”
Alan Patullo in the Scotsman writes:
‘Just as Brian Clough steals the show in The Damned United, Revie was overshadowed even in death, at the age of just 61, by a collision of big football occasions; he passed away in Edinburgh’s Murrayfield private hospital just hours before Liverpool took on Arsenal in a last-game shoot-out to decide the destiny of the English title in May 1989, weeks after the tragedy of Hillsborough. The following day saw Scotland host England in the Rous Cup for the final time.
‘”I was with Don in the Murrayfield the night before he died,” recalled Dave Duncan, Revie’s brother-in-law, earlier this week. “To cheer him up I said: ‘Tomorrow you will be able to watch the big game between Liverpool and Arsenal on TV’. He shook his head, as if to say ‘no I won’t’.”
‘Two decades on and many have been re-awakened to the former Leeds United manager’s memory, while a new generation has been introduced to Revie. Whether it is the real Revie is debatable. Clough is granted a reprieve in the film version of The Damned United, having been cast as a psychotic drunkard in David Peace’s original book; Revie, depicted as stern and humourless in both, is not.’
* On Corstorphine Road. Murrayfield Hospital is now Spire. It was, I think, a BUPA hospital back then. Private anyway.
The cover picture falls under copyright, but hopefully is considered fair use, as it promotes said item. No infringement is intended, and it will be removed on request.
Given the rave reviews I kept hearing of Trainspotting 2, I went in with low expectations. I’m like that. I’m not one for hype. T2 has quite a few connections to this bit of Edinburgh, like its predecessor, whether it’s the scenes at the airport, or on the tram. We also get to see Diane Coulston (Kelly MacDonald) again, who is still far posher than the original character in the book who lived in Forrester Park and went to school over the road…
The action is supposed to take some twenty years after the original, but includes numerous clips and references to the original film, so that in no way is it a stand-alone piece. (Choose what?) We get to see quite a few actors from the original film too – whether we need to or not – and some of them seem to have a couple of lines (Shirley Henderson’s Gail Houston?) and/or play little part in plot development.
There are quite a few plotholes, loose threads and badly resolved scenarios in T2. They are a little hard to explain without giving too much away. But there are some good points as well. Spud (Ewen Bremner) is the true hero of the story, and is curiously likable.
Trams and Brexit
Heroin addiction and theft may be some of the last things most people could think of as “cool”, but T2 manages to top the stigma of the original by managing to deal with two of the Cinderella causes of the last few years – trams and the EU!
T2 has probably been the single best thing to happen to the beleaguered Edinburgh Trams Project. They have been controversial to say the least, and the city must have leaped at the chance to bask in the reflected glory of a new Trainspotting film. There is a great scene where Renton rides from the airport into town on the tram (which is pretty expensive in real life – ouch!), and you get to see speeded up footage of the journey from a roof cam. South Gyle has never looked so good.
T2 contains some very transparent Europhile propaganda. A bit of a case of too little, too late, you might think, with Brexit and all…significantly, one of the major characters of Porno, Nikki, is turned into Veronica, a “new European” from Bulgaria, and Renton talks with a Slovenian woman near the beginning who welcomes him to Edinburgh. There are two very short scenes which are filmed in Amsterdam and somewhere in Bulgaria (so short I’m not sure what the point in sending a film crew over to either of these places was),but this does seem to tie in with the pointless cameos of certain characters from the original. In another part, the characters apply for an EU development grant and make a sentimental appeal by showing footage of old Leith. (Much the same happened in Filth also an Irvine Welsh adaptation – a few short scenes in Hamburg, that almost seemed tokenistic.) In the original Trainspotting, there is a scene in London and a cameo from an American – maybe this demonstrates shifting loyalties, although the director Boyle is himself English of course.
And there are other things in it. The Scottish Parliament. Harvey Nicks. I’m not much a fan of the latter, but devolution is at least still popular. There are the usual tedious football references (Is Hibs the only team people locally support or have heard of?) and the city’s so called saunas get a look in.
Trainspotting in Time
Twenty years is a significant chunk of anyone’s life – nearly as long as I’ve lived where I have – but in some terms, it is interesting to see what has and hasn’t changed in all those years. The airport has become notably stranger – as you can see in the film – and more threatening (ugly security measures everywhere). The actors all look amazingly similar to their old selves – apart from Robert Carlyle – and the film has messages about the danger of revisiting the past.
Although there is twenty years between the two films, the relationship between the books and films are a bit more complicated. Time for a bit of Trainspotting in Time:
Trainspotting – Book 1993, Film 1996 (three years between book and film)
Porno (Trainspotting 2) – Book 2002, Film 2017 (fifteen years between book and film, a whopping twenty five years after Trainspotting the novel, more if we go back to when some of it was written)
In other words, Trainspotting was a product of the late eighties and early nineties, filmed a few years later. T2 deals with four different time periods –
The Seventies? – We see footage of the characters’ childhoods.
The early Nineties (and Eighties) – all the references to the original film and novel.
The late Nineties and early Noughties – when Porno itself was written.
The Modern Day – where most of T2 is actually set.
This mashup can be seen in the soundtrack. Trainspotting mixed up nineties and seventies music, Trainspotting 2 includes music from the seventies, eighties, nineties (1690s?) and the present day. This is probably one of the reasons it is less iconic, along with the constant references to the original.
This may all seem like nerdy number-crunching – it is – but if you’re interested in where and when certain things are based, it leads to some interesting questions. I even suspect I know what the real life counterparts are to certain people and places in the book… but I’m saying nothing.