Discerningthe ‘arlyomensofanothersummerinthe sweaty-palmed grip of Tourism. a xenophobic Sheena McDonald bemoans the threat of an English invasron.
lliey”rcltere. 'l'lte lit‘st splinters ofatnbcr and poppy glass have made their ritual appearance at the bottom of life .\lound. signifying the arrival of those summer v isilors who have learned lidinburgh's traffle-ctiquetle the hard way. It’s the same every year. 'l'he l’estival. you might say . starts here.
So there's a kind of communal girding of loins going on in this city. 'l'aiyyanese tartan toilet-roll holders are dusted off. Senior citi/ens with bagpipes and authentic bubbly-lock noses position themselves on every corner. Shrines lo(‘olin Baxter spring up every 50H yards.
An entire city is primed and ready. sprung like a vast Venus l-‘Iy' ’l‘rap. every whisker alert to the innocent llnllthltllhc'uthisf
lo what degree this hospitable passion is anything more than commercial opportunism is lor you to ponder in your ow n heart. asyou bttsk. serv c and charm your my n toiling path to a seasonal income. What is universal. I suspect. is the sigh of rclielat tllc end ofit all w hen loins arc ungirded. kills allowed to fall. and the mighty (‘aledonian conspiracy put back in the dressing-up bo\ until next year.
Don’t start looking forward to it yet. But round about the last week in .-\ugusl. allow yourself to anticipate the happy . dreich day s to come. when curtains are drawn. fires are lit. andother drivers tnay be cheerfully cursed because they liv e here and there's no obligation to be nice to lhetn in case they don't come again with their precious hard currency .
'l'he cusp is the inevitable annual article in w hichev er London paper. written by ( )ur \lan .-\t 'l'hc l-‘ringe who's been allow ed to vv a\ lyrical on the mundane delights of living in this quaint backw atcr called Scotland (although how he cart assess those delights from his expenses-cushioned eyl‘ie in the ('alcdonian l lotel always puZ/lesme) 'llovycivilisedacity this is?‘ he exults. "l'he restaurants. the thoroughfares. the amusements. the vistas — how fortunate are they \Vlllt ltlllilltll lltls blessed sctll (ll
ancient privilege and power! One might think of relocating. indeed. if only . . .'
Aaaarfgh? you think. imagining an entire year of being pleasant to aliens —- and then relax. safe in the knowledge that the essential infrastructure of these foreign wealth-creators lies far away. However wistfully they might dream ol‘sharing your good but frugal life. their ways and tneans ensure that their presence will be temporary.
Or will it'.’
You see. the word is out. Poll Tax aside. the inestimable merits of living in Scotland are now so well advertised that the trickle of refugees from the land ofthe collapsing sewer-system has flash-flooded into a veritable thunder of ineomers. Travel the country and see — from glen to glen. from but to ben ~ those who now may call themselves Scots by justified virtue of their computer-coded residence here are as cosmopolitan a band as any camp of displaced Pc‘l‘slllls.
And I. wretched racist that I reveal myself to be. appear to object. I seem to be one of these pious mercenaries who are happy enough to lake the metropolitan shilling every week. but send back north as fast as a cheap-rate ticket will allow. thanking the Lord in our threadbare superiority that we are not as other tnen. who gaze through the squalor-stained windows of Southern Region's commuter calllewagons and believe themselves to be in (iod's own country. And now that they have seen the light in the north. I am resentful and protectionist. raising a slockade around my territory and threatening thuggery to any refugee who outslays his or her welcome.
You‘re shocked'.’ I‘m shocked myself. I make my living mouthing liberal sentiments about the sins of apartheid and the kaleidoscopic virtues of a mulli-racial society.
(‘hagrined by such exposed hypocrisy. l slink away to sacrifice my tail lights on the altar ofa foreign crossroads and subject myselro the scorn of another master-race.
Send you a postcard'.’ I don‘t know — has ('olin Baxter done New York‘.’
DIRECTOR SELLS OUT
Timothy Clifford. director of the National Galleries of Scotland is going into the art market in a big way on 3 July. Hoping to raise at least £300,000 he is putting up for sale his collection of mainly Italian drawings at Sotheby‘s in London.
Alwaysa masterofthe theatrical. he has titled the group the Clifford Collection and hastimedthe sale (accidently orotherwiselto coincide perfectly with the Queen‘svisitto the National Gallery onthe Mound in Edinburgh. She will be making herinspecfion of the new bookshop and foyer space as the Clifford lots go underthe hammer.
2 The List 3o June: li‘ululy lost)