Monday, 29 August 2011

Help Ma Fantasy Boab

The Sunday Post's comic strip character Oor Wullie is the most popular figure in all of Scottish literature, according to painstaking research by a group of painstaking researchers.  Researchers painstakingly spent three years exploring the reading habits of Scots and found that almost all their interviewees said Oor Wullie and The Broons was a key part of their reading experience. Oor Wullie's weekly adventures have knocked the spots off Scotland's world famous literary output showing such as Long John Silver, Harry Potter and Dr Jekyll their place. Commentators are still trembling from learning of the world shattering result the researchers found that no interviewee mentioned having read Fantasy Bob's blog.  FB can therefore proudly claim that  as far as the literary icon stakes go he is at least on a par with Sir Walter Scott.

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.

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