The Upside Down Game
I have no solutions to Brexit and regarding predictions my crystal ball is the size of a pea. But this much I know as fact, the social fall out in homes and workplaces could well bring about unhappiness across this dear land of ours for many a year to come.
So bring back Jamie Fleeman, the eighteenth century castle fool based at Udny, which is near Ellon. Actually there’s no need to bring him back. He’s already here. And it’s me.
Let me explain. For over twenty years I have been writing a ridiculous column in a free Arts Magazine, Artwork, which used to be printed in an old shed almost at the bottom of the garden at Udny Castle. The same castle where Jamie Fleeman lived.
This is no small photocopied nonsense of a magazine. We usually print off something around 20,000 copies which are distributed by hand across the nation. We have never taken a penny of subsidy and have even on occasion made money. We’ve run 207 editions.
My brief for my column has always been to act the goat and write some inflammatory nonsense that will hopefully inspire people to pick up a copy, even if its only to curse me as a fool. A couple of weeks ago the ghastly truth dawned. I am obviously a re-incarnation of Jamie Fleeman, the Fool of Udny, come back to haunt you.
But you know I am rather proud of it. And of what he did. Or rather what I did in my previous incarnation. Just as I am proud of Artwork.
When I finally realised who I was I immediately experimented with my re-invented identity on Facebook, running eight satirical pieces about contemporary issues, not from a table thumping position but a completely idiotic one. The response was interesting. Of course the Internet being what it is the initial comments were derisory. Call yourself a fool? We’ve always known that Maxwell, no better a man for the job. But then, perhaps through compassion as the articles began to run on a daily basis the comments became gradually sweeter , the ” Likes ” more common, I started to feel infantilised, like a harmless baby in a pram that everyone felt an obligation to describe as beautiful.
The last of my essays was particularly absurd. I had heard that there is a childrens game called the upside down game in which kids are encouraged to spend a day reversing everything. They start by breakfasting on Ice cream stew and then soup, and finally finish by suppering on bacon and eggs and porridge. During the day they speak and walk backwards as much as they can, and take converse positions in arguments from what they really believe. Evidently it’s great inspirer of both imagination and reconciliation.
Maybe, I suggested, we should have an entire national day in which everything is reversed. The Telegraph would be obligated to run articles supporting the necessity of remaining in Europe, that Scottish Nationalism was obviously the way forward, that Trident should be banned and that spending eight months breeding a pheasant so that some ejit could get his jollies from blowing it’s head off was a blasphemy to all that was good and decent.
Meanwhile the editor of The National would be obligated to run a leader on how he had come to the conclusion that maybe building a physical and economic wall with England wasn’t really the quickest way to reduce the number of food banks and that perhaps it might be a good idea to give the community owned island of Eigg back to Keith Schellenberg to prevent it being such a burden on the tax payer.
I suppose one of the reasons I chose Eigg for my idiocy in the Facebook article was that back in the days of the buy out I ran a few articles for the Independent in support of the community and when my land owning friends, of which I have many, cursed me for it I would invariably ask them to join me on my next visit, saying that if they weren’t impressed I would pay all their expenses. And not one of them took me up on the offer.
Over the next few years, no matter what way the current political impasse resolves, countless people are almost certainly going to become more and more annoyed at whatever decisions and directions emerge in the next few weeks, particularly if there is a radical downturn in the economy. What will make this particularly fractious is that in recent months both the Labour party and indeed the Tories have effectively destroyed themselves as cohesive entities. Suddenly everything is on the hazard and may God save us from the radicals.
Of course there is always hope. Hope that more satire will emerge, more bridges on which people can meet, laughing as they hug, and daring to try and understand the other persons point of view.
Two hundred odd years ago when I was last Jamie Fleeman I had a catch phrase which I now unfurl once more.
I’m The Laird of Udny’s Fool. Whose Fool are you?