“Well we hope you enjoyed that medley of songs from The Glasgow Orpheus Choir, which brings the time here on the B.B.C. Scottish Programme to 12 noon and here is the news.”
“Good afternoon this is Iain McTavish reading the news
It is reported from Dounreay, which is very far away indeed, that the new Nuclear Reactor has reached “criticality.” This sounds very important. Built on a former World War II airfield, the space age site is notable for its large dome like structure which was built by the Motherwell Bridge Company. This involved welding two miles of seams by the business which built much of Central Station and was involved in the Mulberry Harbours for the invasion of Europe during the last unpleasantness.
The Prime Minister, Mr Harold Macmillan, in a speech at the Guildhall for the Lord Mayor of London’s Banquet, has said that a world summit will not solve global issues alone. He has alluded to the importance of dancing in world matters, suggesting that the famous quadrille, The Lancers, as demonstrated by Mr Pastry, is an excellent example for approaching world matters step by step.
The Betting and Gaming Bill is expected to receive a smooth passage in the House despite the opposition of members like the melliflouous chapel goer, Mr George Thomas, who has said he worries about gambling given that the B.B.C. now announces the starting prices of horse races. It is estimated that Scotland has 1,100 betting shops with 350 in Glasgow alone. As one owner said it will make honest men of us turf accountants.
Interviewed on her way into one establishment in Glasgow’s Maryhill Road, a Mrs Esme Travers spoke to our reporter, saying It will mark the end of the bookie’s runner, adding furtively “which will aye be a good thing as it is illegal so they say.
A furious row has taken place in Paisley over proposals for a new shopping piazza on the site of the old prison in the town centre. For some odd reason the buddies have always held the old prison in high regard. ‘The Architects Journal’ has criticised the plans and regrets that that the site has fallen into private hands. The Glasgow Herald welcomes the proposal therefore it must be a good thing, said a representative of leading interior decorators ‘Chez Nous’.
Finally there are too many pike in Rosshire, claims a leading scientist. Despite their reputation they can be elusive and difficult to see. One local has suggested they might consider moving to Dounreay, where in the future they might be seen in the dark.”
“That was the news and now a new programme in which well known cultural figures in Scotland talk about what makes them laugh.
We present “It’s a Hoot” with Mandy Mirthe
Music – fade in fade out
“Good afternoon and welcome to ‘It’s a Hoot’ coming live to you from our studios in Queen Margaret Drive and today my guest is Jasper Wylie, international man of tweed and contemporary connoisseur of corduroy. Jasper is a partner in Glasgow’s leading interior decorators ‘Chez Nous’, where he has responsibility for the window displays and the staff Christmas party.
Jasper’s work on the post war survival of French fishermen’s jerseys earned him a justifiable reputation in heritage textiles. His subsequent work with Muriel Lochhead on ‘Cooking on the Côte D’Azur’ made them a household name in post war Britain, where tinned peaches and custard were the height of epicurean delight. The couple are now married and it seems safe to say that the Wylies are the first port of call for those considering a simply marvellous life style.
“Jasper Wylie what brings a smile to your face; what might get your day off to a flying start?”
“Well, Miss Mirthe, a well cooked breakfast obviously with black pudding, flat sausage and a well fired roll, with the wireless on and a humorous record on the Light Programme.”
“Anything in particular?”
“Well The Laughing Policeman never fails to get me going, try as one might it is hard not to join in, especially the bit about arresting a man and laughing till he died.”
“Do you find death an amusing concept Jasper?”
“Well when you get to my age it’s probably for the best and come to think of it I am rather fond of Ain’t it grand to be blooming well dead. Now that’s a funny song. Generally, I suppose Music Hall songs are funny, at least to me. Sometimes the funniest ones are those which oddly have a hint of sadness about them.”
“Well take Leslie Sarony singing Hold out your pudding for jam. It’s funny, but it refers to the poverty many of us experienced growing up in towns like Glasgow.”
“Now I get the feeling that you think there are certain things which are just inherently funny particularly around music. Would you care to share anything else with listeners that tickles your fancy?”
“Well Miss Mirthe you are quite right there are just somethings that are funny for no reason other than they are funny. The ukelele is funny but then so is the euphonium.Might I have a sip of that something?”
“A wee dram as it’s lunchtime?”
“Oh splendid, how thoughtful. Then of course there is the xylophone, that always makes me smile too.”
“Can you play any of these amusing instruments?”
“Not really. It is my dear lady wife who is the musician in our house, her version of Indian Village generally brings the house down, but I do perform a rather mean Oh Can you Wash a Sailor’s Shirt on the aforementioned xylophone.”
“And the marimba?”
“Oh please don’t start me off.”
“Sorry, freshen your glass?”
“Don’t mind if I do, marvellous.”
“Anything else musical that makes you want to stuff a handkerchief in your mouth, before we move on?
“Well, now have we touched on male sopranos?”
“Bless you; here take my handkerchief before I need to use it. Umm those high voices in church can set me off. And then there is Blow the wind Southerly, that can be rather tricky of an afternoon fundraising event in a country house in south west Scotland.”
“Don’t remember whose house it was in; probably Lady Pentland-Firth’s.
Mind you, she has a deep voice herself.”
“There is of course Scottish Country Dancing, that is too funny for words, especially when it goes wrong. It’s a bit like knitting without wool – one false stitch and the whole thing falls apart and of course it is taken very seriously. People live for it you know. It all, however, pales into insignificance with Morris Dancing. As my dear late Granny Wylie used to say as she threw another tattie scone over her shoulder onto the clean sheet on the bed, Jasper, son, have you ever seen anything so daft?”
“Jasper do you find certain words have an intrinsic humour?”
“Oh yes, there’s cucumber for a start and collywobbles and what about pickle, that’s funny although don’t tell that to Cynthia Savage – her family have been making funny pickles for years. Her gherkins and pickled eggs are hilarious. Combinations of words are funny too like cellar door or blast furnace. I don’t really know why.”
“They say it’s often words with a K in them.”
“They say many things, as Muriel always tells me. Is there a spot more of that fire water? My its warm in here, which reminds me .”
“What does it remind you of Jasper.”
“Sunny days at the seaside – changing under towels into a knitted swimsuit, now there is nothing funnier than a knitted swimsuit. Indeed, the seaside itself is pretty funny. Think of all those donkeys, Miss Whatsit. Now donkeys they are too funny for words especially with the little straw hats on.
And going round and round on a wooden horse on a carousel – hilarious!
“You are known for your love of custard. Is custard funny?”
“What a ridiculous question if I might say so. Custard is a very serious business. However, crème caramel, and blancmange especially, are very funny and so too is jelly.
Jelly is very funny as – they say- it must be jelly because jam don’t shake like that.”
“I take it jam raises a smile?”
“Only gooseberry, now there’s a very amusing fruit, all hairy and prickly like Mrs Travers, our daily woman what does but not a lot.”
“What about ice cream.”
“What about it”
“Does that give rise to the old giggle box?”
“What an impertinent question Miss Mirthy, there’s nothing funny about ice cream; well except Mr Softee Vans, the stupid music they play and a double nougat. Now have you ever tried to eat a double nougat with extra raspberry sauce? Well when Mrs Travers attempts to it looks like a polar bear has been murdered. Ice and blood everywhere.”
“Jasper, I am well aware that you are something of an historian indeed you are Life President of your local historical society. Can I ask, is there any period in the past that you find funnier than others?”
“Is that your drink or mine Miss Murphy?”
“Mine but you go ahead.”
“For me it’s the Georgians in Edinburgh”
“Anything in particular?”
“Yes, sedan chairs; now if they are not funny I do not know what is. Although there is also their clothes, wigs, ways of speaking – all manner of things.”
“What is so funny about sedan chairs?”
“For a start – two brawny, exhausted highlanders carrying a woman around Edinburgh in a box on poles who is wearing a dress that is 3 feet wide in both directions and a wig that requires her to bend her head to her knees to get in and out.”
“Do you think, then, and this is my last question, there is something inherently funny about Edinburgh?”
“Och aye, everything. Where will I start? There is the way they speak for a start with their “wee wifeys and wee mannies and wee duggies. Which reminds me that poor wee doggie, I mean dog, outside Greyfriars waiting for its master. That is not funny, it’s a sin; he’s dead.”
“Well Jasper Wylie we have come full circle, thank you so much. It’s been a hoot. Here you had better take this handkerchief back. Looks as if you might need it. Join me next week at the same time when we will be meeting Penny Tanner from the Numsimatics Collection at the Hunterian Museum to tell us all about the funny world of coins and prove once again that – It’s a Hoot.”
Fade in title music and fade out to continuity
“Thank you studio. Thank you Mr Wylie. It will go down in radio history.”
“Could you order me a taxi please?”
“Coo-ee! I’m home”
“In the drawing room, Jasper.”
“Oh hello Muriel, Cynthia, Mrs Travers, and an unknown gentleman. Did you hear me on the wireless?
“Indeed, we did.”
“Jasper this is Mr Cockburn from the Edinburgh Tourism people.”
“Slumming are we? Anyone for a stiffner?”
Jasper Wylie, Radio Personality – November 1959