My kids have been learning some Scots poems at school for Burns Night over the past week—Burns’s “To a Mouse” for my older son, and “Twa-Leggit Mice” by the late Edinburgh poet J. K. Annand for my younger daughter. Cue a week of her asking for a snack by exclaiming, “Jings! I get fair hungert.”
I amused them both by reading out the Annand poem in my broadest Aussie accent. (It’s more honest than trying it in faux-Ewan McGregor.) Which reminds me that Burns Night on 25 January aligns with the morning of Australia Day on 26 January back in Oz, thanks to the time difference. Jings, I could go a snag.
To mark both occasions, here’s a recording of “Twa-Leggit Mice” in my finest Ocker. And in celebration of the great chieftain o’ the pudding-race, here’s a verse from the classic Australian children’s book The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, which turns 100 this year. I’ve enjoyed reading that to my kids too over recent years, and would record the whole thing if I had a proper studio instead of the in-built mic on an iMac.
Twa-Leggit Mice [mp3]
The trouble with this harmless coincidence is that one of the dates isn’t so harmless. Australia Day, which used to be a bit of a non-event, has ramped up in jingoism in recent years, drawing attention to what it commemorates: the dispossession of Aboriginal Australians by the First Fleet in Sydney Cove. It would be better to have our national day, if we have to have one, at some other time, and leave late January to the haggises.
Added by Rory on 26 January 2018.