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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Late Night Company by Laura Guthrie

16th September 2015

Late Night Company
(After Edwin Morgan)

Hiya, luv,
Whare ye daein waiin fur a bus?
Ye ken its no fur a half hour?
Aye bu itll be half an hour, trus me.
Fuckin council.  Exaclyshit...
Ahm no kiddin
Ahm no fuckin kiddin  
Ye check times, an it says five minutes
An hour laer yer still fuckin waiin.
Ah saw ye an thought
She shouldnae be out by hursel.
S no safe, yu ken?
Specially here.
Aye, Ah mean, look at me, Ahve bin aroun  
Ahve been aroun an the folks ye meet
Fuckin mental!
(Dinna worry though, Ahm no one a them.)
But naw, no a good place.
No safe.  No safe.
So wherere ye from?
Shit!  Howd ye end up here then?
Ah hear ye. 
Aye, Ah could tell by how ye speak, ken.
Cus, see you you use words Ah cannae even understand.
See, thats clever, whit ye said jus there.
Ye go a phone?  
Thats good.  Gonnae call a cab?
Aye, go on then, Ahll keep an eye out.
Dye get through?   
Few minutes?
Aye, well.  Ahll wait wi ye.  Jus in case.
Laura Guthries poem intends to record a particular Glasgow voice.  Laura describes the poem as half way poem, half way monologue. She got the idea from studying Edwin Morgans work in From Saturn to Glasgow. Although Edwin Morgans main poems are in English    he was an expert at making English sound like Scots, using the Scots idiom with perfect ease    he also did some work in Scots. He could hardly not do, with the ear he had for speech.
Lauras particular character here uses a glottal stop, and she has expressed this with apostrophes, e.g. waiin,  go.  But of course she does not employ apostrophes for the Scots words such as hursel, wi, aroun etc.  The habit of using apostrophes as though Scots were an inferior form of English went out of fashion largely through MacDiarmids example.
The dialogue here is one sided. It is obvious from the context that the old chap is talking to a young woman who speaks in a more English way, although we dont hear any of her speech. And we get a clear picture of the speakers a kind old Scot who is not anti-English, and a young woman who appreciates him. Its a clever and satisfying use of Glasgow Scots.