Thursday, 8 September 2011
Cash for honours in medieval Dundee
Gosh, it seems that even yours truly could become a 'burgess' in Dundee. For a mere £50 those associated with the city could adopt the title Burgess of Dundee, a civic order dating from medieval times, and which has been resurrected by a council-associated charity.
Naturally there is a catch. Potential burgesses have to be "committed to promoting community spirit and civic pride within the city". Ah.
I wonder where the jakie downstairs in our small tenement block fits into all of this? A few weeks ago he nearly burned the block down, with perhaps only a passer by noticing smoke in the early hours and calling the fire brigade averting disaster. But at least it's been a while since he's hollered abuse at me.
Or his junkie pal across the landing, who has twice (at least!) over the past few months had people attempting to cave his door in. Wonder what that's all about?
Then there was the attempted murder charge across the road a few weeks ago, not to mention several other incidents in the vicinity over the summer requiring the attendance of up to half a dozen police vehicles, including a drugs raid (false alarm!) and a mob of rampaging drunken teenagers.
Then there's the likes of the 'communal' area to the back of the tenement block next door, where the photo above was taken the other day. There's a couple of syringes in there if you look close enough. But perhaps that's what the 'City of Dundee Burgess Charity' means when they say it's "an exciting time to be a Dundonian".
Of course, the above wouldn't necessarily preclude me from "promoting community spirit and civic pride" surely, because I have nothing to do with all that?
On the other hand, I suspect the city's establishment would be more likely to accuse me of "doing Dundee down" by virtue of merely mentioning such matters, as opposed to the goal of promoting civic virtues.
I could always cite the fact that if you make the kind of mess pictured above at some of Scotland's major 'cultural' events, then the powers that be will praise your "behaviour and attitude" (which sounds as close as damn it to "civic pride") - as long as that's all you do. But no, I doubt if that would work either.
But perhaps instead of a 'Burgess of Dundee' title they could have a 'Gadgie of Dundee' for those residing in areas that wouldn't readily qualify for the former title. I'm sure the latter would suit me down to the ground!