HAMISH HENDERSON Jimmie Tyrie

IN 1973, IN their jointly written foreward to Homage to John MacLean, T. S. Law and Thurso Berwick concluded: “In the matter of whom do we remember and how do we remember him, the poets always have the last word, something which politicians among others should always remember.” It is a pleasing thought and undoubtedly true. How we apprehend the past – its people and their times – is largely in the hands of the poets. It is as true for Wallace and Bruce in the song of Harry the Minstrel and the epic of John Barbour as for Ilium on the breath of Homer. It is as true for Sidmouth and Castlereagh in Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy as for those ‘transformed utterly’ in Yeats’ great Easter 1916. This is the heart and soul of all history.
Harold MacMillan, Prime Minister in the early 1960s, and his War Minister, John Profumo, and the Premier’s dear friend from across the Atlantic, the mil­lionaire president Jack Kennedy who thought the nuclear “coont doon” he em­barked on was “the best poker game in the world”, and the CIA-sponsored Mor­al Rearmers or Buchmanites (who turned Jesus on his heid and made the upper classes, the “up-and-outs” as Buchanan caad them, the new, mair refined, salt o the earth) – all these should be remembered as Hamish Henderson so stylishly and with such withering acumen depicts them here in this masterpiece of social-political invective. In Jimmy Tyrie the politicians, the plutocrat bankers, the reli­gious conmen, the “bullyboy” yanks, the reptile fuzz and their narks, and the Polaris depot-ship Hunley, that “daith wish (nae mine!)” – all have to come crawling out of the slime in their true colours and be named truly for what they really are. The poet leaves them no room to hide in, the glitter and the masquer­ade are at an end for all of them. This song was sung by those who sat down “close together” at the Holy Loch anti-nuclear protests of the early 1960s and for many years thereafter. It is a mocking extravaganza of great power and it encap­sulates a whole world of political military evil, as well as the brave defiance of marchers and pickets, in just one or two deceptively simple but masterly strokes. Its language is of the people but with no vestige of the snuffling propriety of the place-seeking Leftie. Its politics is implacably of the streets. It is a call for the massed solidarity of working-class people, man and woman, old and young, against the death machine in our midst. It is history living up to poetry.

 

Jimmie Tyrie

I saw Macmillan doon the toon.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s aul’ Blundermac
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw a Tory doon the toon
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a boneheid
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Boneheid, Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw Profumo doon the toon.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Poodlefaker
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Poodlefaker, Boneheid, Blundermac,
Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw a Yankee by the Loch.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Bullyboy
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Bullyboy, Poodlefaker, Boneheid,
Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw a polis by the Loch.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Croakerjack
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie

Croakerjack, Bullyboy, Poodlefaker,
Boneheid, Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw a nark abuin the brae.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Hornygolloch
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Hornygolloch, Croakerjack, Bullyboy,
Poodlefaker, Boneheid, Blundermac,
Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw a blubbin’ Buchmanite.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Bamstick
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Bamstick, Hornygolloch, Croakerjack,
Bullyboy, Poodlefaker, Boneheid,
Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw a banker on his knees.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Buttonpusher
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Buttonpusher, Bamstick, Hornygolloch,
Croakerjack, Bullyboy, Poodlefaker,
Boneheid, Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw Jack a-tellin’ his beads.
Wha’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Coonter-doon
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Coonter-doon, Buttonpusher, Bamstick,
Hornygolloch, Croakerjack, Bullyboy,
Poodlefaker, Boneheid, Blundermac,
Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.

I saw the Hunley on the Loch.
Whit’s that, my dearie?
That’s a Daith Wish
Hey, Jimmy Tyrie
Daith Wish (nae mine!), Coonter-doon,
Buttonpusher, Bamstick, Hornygolloch,
Croakerjack, Bullyboy, Poodlefaker,
Boneheid, Blundermac, Scabbytash
That’s a’, my dearie.
If you sit close tae me, I winna weary.
Croakerjack: bullfrog
Horneygolloch: centipede

 

From:
Workers City “The Real Glasgow Stands Up”
Edited By Farquar McLay Clydeside Press

 

top

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *