2007 - 2021

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.

The fools.

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?

Comments (5)

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  1. w.b. robertson says:

    brilliant. just the stuff in our modern topsy turvy world.

  2. Mike Lean says:

    Great stuff! I thought it was Castle Fraser where Jimmy Fleeman bade. That’s where the famous list is.
    It sounds like you are punting for Social Justice, Maxwell. That places you firmly in the ethos espoused by the Greens and also the Scottish party which unfortunately (and confusingly for you) has the word National in its title. Not the hated Nationalists, who live in the Tory and Labour parties.

    1. maxwell macleod says:

      Yes Mike, many thanks. Speaking as Jamie Fleeman you will be relieved to hear that I have finally, entirely for my own interest, decided to quit being a Unionist and writing outrageous Unitrol stuff. Suddenly it all makes sense, the wall, the different currency, our own separate army navy and air force. How silly of me not to see it all before. Actually my turn around has been brought about as I now realise that due, and I am being serious here, that due to the chaos in Westminster independence does now seem inevitable and that all your hard work and PR brilliance has paid off. Congratulations.
      So I promise to be a supporter of the Nationalists from now on , and to leave you all alone.
      On one simple condition. Should Ms May’s wish for an extension till June come through I wish to be nominated as one of your SNP candidates at the EU MEP parliamentary elections in May. I have a very short concentration span and one month will be quite enough. Plus I could do with the severance pay out and the pension.

      Forgive my idiocy. I am Jamie Fleeman, the Laird of Udny’s fool. Whose fool are you?

      1. Professor Michael Lean says:

        Dear Maxwell,
        Precisely what has recently given you the notion of reincarnation? And how strong man Fleeman? Is this a temporary affectation or has our visit to the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala genuinely loosened up some of the kapok that previously filled your skull?

        Do get one thing straight about 21st century British politics ( and I wrote as a member of no political party). The supporters of the SNP and Green parties are not Nationalists. The only Nationalists around nowadays are the Unionists and anti-Europe people, who mostly cling to the Tory and Labour parties. Do recall how Robert Cunningham Graham, after establishing the Labour party with Keir Hardty., went on to set up what became the SNP. He did that after realising that social justice would never come to Scotland while we were still ruled from Westminster.

        You are right to reject the Unionist position, and it is time or you to speak those wise words, no longer in jest, in the halls and corridors of your beloved New Club.

        Speak up for the futures of our children! Please.

        1. maxwell macleod says:

          Ha Michael
          I think I had better stop this nonsense before they send the men in the white coats round! But I also think my core case, that we need a forum with a bit of humour and satire to help cope with the many issues of confrontation over what is happening in Westminster is a valid one.
          Be well,MM

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