30 Apr 2010

The Plaid Truth

Terry (Gilliam) gave my kid a pearl of wisdom, he warned him to “stay away from men in plaid.” Mindful of Terry’s caveat we (the Afro-Celt contingency of the family and me) set course for the Kingdom of Fife. Cousin Kate was getting hitched and the Kirkaldy clans would be on parade.

 Sure enough, the picture-perfect setting overlooking the Firth of Forth was awash with plaid. Here plaid is ‘tartan,’ skirts are called ‘kilts’ and furry fanny-packs are ‘sporrans’. This brazen contravention of norms doesn’t emasculate or feminise the wearer. Scots aren’t tough, they’re hardened - tempered by the squalls that gnaw beneath the hemline. It is on these occasions that I’m reminded of my Anglo-Saxon roots - to be in the pants-wearing minority still feels curiously alien.
  This was the perfect opportunity for some recreational ‘touch.’ For months I have been focusing on the gated comfort zones of the homeless and the vulnerable. Today could see my hand penetrating personal space and making contact – touching.

Kate and Isobel bride and mother

Brian and Bill groom and father

Julie and Dawn handmaidens

Darren and Ross

Liz and Molly

Margaret and Ruth sisters

Sulaima and Omar siblings

Chantalle and Natasha

Finlay and Skye

The contents of their sporrans.

Now I come to think of it, when Terry gave his advice he was wearing a poncho- a plaid poncho.