Friday, November 19, 2010

The perfect TV programme

So, imagine you had to construct a TV programme especially for yourself. Just your favourite things or people. What would you have? For me, I might have a programme devoted to a favourite poet, let's say Norman MacCaig, who I've quoted on a number of occasions on this blog. And I might throw in one of my favourite musicians, Aly Bain, the greatest fiddler in the world. And perhaps one of my favourite comedians, Billy Connolly (at least before he became Americanised and decided that being funny consisted of swearing loudly and often). And let's throw in a favourite novelist, Andrew Greig, who wrote the eerie and fascinating Where They Lay Bare, and the wonderful John Buchanesque romp, The Return of John MacNab, and the beautiful WW2 romance, That Summer, and others. And some scenery from back home, up in the mountains of Scotland, up in Assynt. Wouldn't that be a fascinating programme? ConoboyVision.

So imagine my delight last night to watch the story of Andrew Greig, Aly Bain and Billy Connolly climbing up to the loch of the Green Corrie, on a mission to fulfil a request from the late Norman MacCaig that they go there and try to catch a trout for him. He would, he told them, be smiling down 'from a place he didn't believe in'.

There was some wonderful footage of Norman reciting his poems and telling of his philosophy and beliefs. He wasn't religious, he said, he was what you might call a Zen Calvinist. And if ever there was a better description of my mixed-up mind than Zen Calvinist, I'm not sure what it might be. His poetry is beautiful, deceptively simple, nothing flashy but gently probing depths.

Those of you in the UK can watch the programme for the next week here.

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