I reckon I know Aberdeen pretty well. I was born here, I grew up here. I was a taxi driver for 10 years working for my Dad. I knew all streets, places of interest and hotels as part of being a taxi driver. I passed a rigorous test on the subject by Inspector Brown of the Hackney Police. And growing up after leaving school I saught oot the wee bars that had traditional music sessions and I would frequent most of them.
I spent ten years living in Edinburgh from 2001 to 2011. I liked Edinburgh but I never felt I belonged there. I’ve always been an Aberdonian and I had no intention of brushing up my mither tongue to be accepted in posh Edinburgher..eh?
My accent caused me a few problems in Edinburgh. One main thing, the cultural difference between the 2 cities can be highlighted when buying a Fish Supper…
In Edinburgh they don’t add salt and vinegar to fish… it’s salt and sauce. Not red sauce or ketchup. It’s a watery kind of cheap HP sauce that they splay carelessly all over yer chips and fish. Whereas here in Aberdeen we use Salt, vinegar, maybe ketchup or mayo, and in the good places a slice of lemon. As a golden rule, brown sauce does NOT go with fish.
Also here in Aberdeen, we often have different types of fish as we have a little knowledge on the subject being steeped in fishing industry history. I personally love the Haddock. It’s my favourite white fish after Halibut. In Edinburgh, it’s just fish… I know as I had often asked what kind of fish was used in the fish supper was and was told ‘just fish’.
They don’t know the Cod from the Haddie.
On one fatal trip to the local chippie for the family treat I was distraught when I returned home to discover my Haddock supper (I had asked for) had been replaced by a Haggis supper. To an Edinburgh ear Haddock seems to be picked up as Haggis. The deep-fried phallic sausage in brown sauce was not an appetising sight for my eyes… The disappointment came at no extra charge. I complained and was met with a cold and hostile stare. No humour or customer service in that establishment.
Anyway. As much as I thought I knew Aberdeen back then, I realised when I returned after 10 years much had changed. Many of the places I knew were gone. Even streets were added, and buildings destroyed. Some for the better, some for the worse.
As a person ages we begin to realise the folly of our youthful thinking. I thought I was pretty clever and street wise. Thought I knew a lot. Now I’m shocked to think of myself as middle aged. (43) I feel younger but not clever. Some might think me to be, but I know different. I have some strengths and many areas where I thirst for knowledge. I get tired and run out of time to do what I would like to do. I want to improve myself and others around me. I want to make the world a happier place. Who doesn’t?
Every day you can learn something new.
Last November Fred and I were playing in an Aberdeen venue for a small birthday party in a venue I had never heard of. Perhaps it had not been used as an event space for a ceilidh often or before so I think I can be forgiven. In my work I often mix with all levels of society but generally I am not involved with the legal profession (I’m a good guy, honest) on a social basis.
The Society of Advocates Library, off Broad Street at the bottom of Concert Court was a fascinating venue. https://www.socofadvocates.com
The Society has it’s origins in the 16th century and the building itself is a fair age. Not knowing the venue when inside I felt I was in Edinburgh as there are many similarities with the buildings I knew when I lived there. It has an old grandeur to it with a massive staircase and wide corridors. The staircase is quite a feature. A pity we had a sound system to carry up it! The library itself it something very special. It has to be seen to be appreciated.
We were lucky enough to be invited to eat by the family who booked us for their birthday ceilidh bash. The catering was by Perfection Catering ( http://www.perfectioncatering.co.uk/) and the food was top notch. Friendly staff and great food are the 2 main ingredients for a catering company and they had more than that for sure.
One of the staff took a quick video of us on his phone and put it on the Facebook, I have copied it and YouTube’d it for ye.
I’ll add some of my own photos and leave you with an idea for a great small venue for an intimate dining and ceilidh experience in a unique, lesser known, historic Aberdeen Venue that is sure to be on people’s mind for future events. I will warmly look forward to climbing those stairs to play again in this lovely venue.