The great man got a mention in this week’s Scotland on Sunday as they covered Auchentochan’s alternative Burns Night plans. For background, they interviewed your humble webmaster and tragedian – so there’s a few of my words of wisdom in there as well!
Scots whisky distillers Auchentoshan are suggesting their customers hold “a Burns Night with a difference” later this month, by staging a series of events at bars and restaurants across the UK entitled “Auchentoshan Presents… A William McGonagall Burns Supper”.
Promising an evening of “Poetry, Whisky, Haggis and general Mayhem”, they’ve published a do-it-yourself kit which includes menus, place settings, invites and suggested readings should you want to stage a Burns/McGonagall supper in your own home.
I must say that some of their accompanying notes really put the “tosh” in Auchentoshan:
William McGonagall and Robert Burns were both poets that lived and worked in Scotland in the early 1800s. The pair were famously arch enemies as Burns was a traditionalist yet McGonagall was a renegade. Auchentoshan’s McGonagall Burns Supper is to celebrate McGonagall’s flair for challenging perceptions of poetry.
More than a few factual errors in there! They actually worked at different ends of the 19th century, and McGonagall was a great admirer of Burns’ work. Still, it’s good to see anything which raises the profile of the Poet & Tragedian – even if it’s a pretty thinly disguised attempt to sell more of the demon drink!
McGonagall fans in the Birmingham area might be interested in this: the Kitchen Garden Café are combining a Burns Night supper with a performance of William McGonagall and the Mystery of Loch Ness by the rather splendid Don’t Go Into the Cellar theatre company.
This not-entirely-historically-accurate piece is described thus on their website:
Exiled from Dundee for bringing the city into disrepute, Sir William Topaz McGonagall (Knight of the White Elephant, Burmah) travels to Inverness. There, he stumbles upon mysteries manifold involving an imperilled maiden, sinister monks, and the Monster of the Loch itself!
Sounds brilliant! Tickets cost £24.50 and include a three-course meal.