TV Review

18 02 2010

Over the last few weeks we’ve been watching a programme entitled “Off Kilter”. The programme was a “sideways” look at the nation of Scotland made by the esteemed cultural commentator Johnathan Meades. It was up to the usual standard; pithy observations and interesting asides.

The last episode of the trio looked at southern Scotland through the lens of its Irn Bru League clubs. To anyone with an interest in the poetry of language the club names offer an array of images and this was an obvious attraction for Mr. Meades. Just think of Queen of the South, Albion Rovers, Raith Rovers, East Fife, East Stirlingshire and they all evoke something more romantic than Scottish League football, Albion bespeaks a mythical land…… During the programmes Mr Meades was particularly drawn by Cowdenbeath, (thanks to their ironic nickname; “The Blue Brazil” and the fact that their home ground doubles as a stock car racing venue), Irn Bru and the unfortunate spectre of industrial decline. It was interesting to say the least.

As you may have noticed none of the teams named above use the name of the settlement in which they are based in their name, Queen of the South (Dumfries), Albion Rovers (Coatbridge),  East Fife (Methil), East Stirlingshire (Falkirk then Stenhousmuir), Raith Rovers (Kirkcaldy -“Raith” is Gaelic for fort incidentally). This seems to be common in Scotland; Clyde play in Cumbernauld (after time in Glasgow and Rutherglen) , Morton play in Greenock (since renamed Greenock Morton). Third Lanark, Celtic and Rangers all hail from Glasgow, Hearts and Hibs come from Edinburgh etc. Their names conjur up images and a bit of romance too (leaving Rangers to one side of course). What do we get nowadays? MK Dons and Ebbsfleet, names based around commercial impulses. Who says imagination is dead?

Anyway here’s the first part of the programme;

The other parts are at the end of this sentence if you fancy watching them, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 & Part 6. You may not agree with everything in it but this kind of thing has got to be better than ITV1.

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