Sunday, July 01, 2007

Robert Burns (poet)

Continuing my Artistic tour of Dundee's statues, I now turn to the famous Robert Burns who sits outside the McManus galleries, seemingly thinking up new poems in perpetuity. This is one of four identical statues of Burns sculpted by Sir John Steell: the others are in London, Edinburgh, and Loblolly Bay.

Dundee was selected as one of the lucky places to recieve a statue because of Burns's famous association with the city. During his Poetry Tour of 1789, on the journey between Kirkcaldy and Monkbarns, he stopped off in a venerable Dundee hostelry known as Pudgetie Samuel's (still operating today under the updated name 'Fat Sam's') to use the toilets.

The eponymous proprietor was apparently furious that Burns has used the facilities without first buying a drink and threatened to hack the poet's cheek with a trout scaler unless he agreed to purchase some measure of refreshment at the inn. Having no money, Burns placated the irate landlord by offering to write a poem free of charge. Alas, only the opening stanza has survived:

To Dundee:
On Visiting a Howf in the Town (1789)

Thou donsie, bowfin, oorie city,
I gie your neebors a' ma pity;
Your glaikit bairns are far fae pretty,
An' reek o' pies.
No place in a' the world's mair shitty
Or mair despised.

A plaque featuring the poem can be found above the entrance to Fat Sam's to commemorate Burns's visit to the city.

Below is my drawing of the statue. Whilst all of you will doubtless look at the drawing itself and think, "Horton has triumphed again - good show!", I know that some of you might criticize my latest effort as being too commercial. Lest you judge me too harshly, remember that I am just trying to make money by appealling to the tourist market which laps up any sort of Scottishness. This is why I have drawn the national bard looking wistful with a selection of quotations from his poetry hovering above his head, as though the statue had just thought of them. It will appear to Americans and the like who will think this a fitting tribute to the great man and a suitable summary of his best works. I have entitled the drawing "Rabbie", which makes my rendering appear more affectionate and familiar, so that more tourists might buy a copy.

£5.00 per photocopy.

1 comment:

kennie pome said...

Could you do your best to stick a reference to some of Chuck Palahniuk's work into a future blog entry?
It would really help an argument I'm trying to make in chapter 3 of the thesis.
Also it'd be great if you could work something out with another blog fictionist and do a 'crossover' - Im planning to write about postmodern fascination with the nebulous boundaries of character compossibility, so thta'd give me loads to write about.
Psst, don't tell my supervisor I woz ere - you ain't seen me, roight? ;-)
PS. not much fiction or plot happening lately - get on with a story man! ;-)