Drunk, spurned and locked out of his flat, Mr MacBleaney consoles himself by remembering former gloriesby Alasdair Gray / December 22, 2007 / Leave a comment
A storm of rage brought him to his feet, stamping up and down the lobby. Billy Connolly was better known than Rory MacBleaney for bad bad bad bad bad reasons. Connolly and his what—partner? second wife?—had been pally with Prince Charles and Diana before the royal divorce, what claim to fame was that? Connolly was not a bad comedian—not as good as Jimmy Logan, though still quite good—but he was not an actor! In his biggest film, Mrs Brown, he had played Queen Victoria’s Highland gillie with a Glasgow accent! It was the only accent he could do! The English and Americans didn’t mind because they think every Scottish accent is the same, but every Scot in the world knew Connolly’s voice was wrong in that part. Connolly must have known his voice was wrong! So he had only taken the part for the money and the fame. How could he stoop so low?
“I could have played John Brown!” said Mr Mac-Bleaney aloud. “Yes, my normal accent too is Glaswegian, but I’m enough of an actor to sound like a teuchter from Drumnadrochit when I want to, yess inteet to gootness Donalt, whateffer. Shimerahaa mahay!”
A fit of coughing made him sit on the step again, no longer happy, because directly or indirectly Billy Connolly was responsible for everything that had gone wrong with Scotland—small shops replaced by supermarkets, local schools and hospitals amalgamated into big central ones, and nobody asked to recall the old ways and speak for elderly marginalised folk. Newspapers no longer phoned the third Mr Glasgow for soundbites on politics and showbusiness; no wonder he had started drinking again. Gloria had foreseen that. When they knew she was dying she had not gone out of her mind (as he had) but had calmly discussed their finances with an accountant and lawyer, and made him sign forms so that his home and finances were secure no matter how stupidly he acted. O yes she had loved him. He wept for a while then began to cheer up.
The smoking ban had been wonderful for him! At first he thought it would kill him because smoking had made him drink more slowly. It still did because now he went outside to smoke, standing and puffing on pavements with other nicotine addicts. This had given him a new lease of life. Being now a persecuted minority, smokers…