Sunday Bloody Sunday

So how do you spend Sunday 26 September? This is how it went for me. A preface – the weather is glorious – brilliant blue sky, sun but never too hot, a crispness.

I set off to the Golden Gate Park because I know that the Park Brass Band are playing a medley of Irish tunes. Reposing, sit under the trees and listen to the Londonderry Air. Yes, but later because as soon as I enter the park I come across another free rock concert. By the way, if you click these photos you get a bigger version.

The Now and Zen Fest

So this is the “Now and Zen Fest”  – no idea that it was on. A whole line-up of bands playing throughout the afternoon. An English women called Natasha Bedingfield was playing as I passed through. Never heard of her but she was really good. Bedingfield ? _ what kind of name is that for a rock chanteuse?

English woman in San Francisco

I wander down the park on Big Red. On Sundays no cars are allowed in  so bikers have an unobstructed field of action.

There is a magnificent Edwardian? – did it survive the 1906 earthquake? – bandstand situated between the De Jongh and the Academy of Sciences.

The Spreckels Temple of Music

They are playing ‘Carrickfergus’ as I arrive.

“But I’ll sing no more now till I get a drink
For I’m drunk today and I’m seldom sober
The handsome rover from town to town
Ah but I am sick now my days are numbered
Come all me young men and lay me down.”

This is wonderful black protestant misery – see post on Burns – just 5 minutes from where I live. I sit entranced as they go through ‘ Danny Boy,’ ‘The Minstrel Boy,’ ‘Endearing Young Charms,’

“Believe me, if all those endearing young charms

Which I gaze on so fondly today

Were to change by tomorrow and fleet in my arms

Like fairy gifts fading away.

Thou wouldst still be adored as this moment thou art

Let thy loveliness fade as it will

And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart

Would entwine itself verdantly still.”

Oft in the Stilly Night

Everything is as it should be. Big doses of misery and pain  partially overcome through realism and acceptance. The Scottish way.

Things are about to change in a big way.

Big Red to Downtown to The Folsom Street Fair.

Guilt is very big in the Scottish world view. Nudity provokes especially intense guilt. We have no tradition of nudity. The climate does not allow it. Add to this fact that nudity is related to sexuality, another guilt amplifier, then you will understand how the Folsom Street Fair is an uncomfortable experience for a Caledonian.

Notice tartan umbrella

This Street Fair celebrates the gay life and generally the do what you want it’s cool life. What I found very difficult to absorb was not only the seeming absence of guilt but also the ubiquitous Scottish metaphor – tartan and kilts are everywhere. Look at these photos

Tartan Kilt

Tartan Dress

Tartan Corset and nice tats

Nice kilt but do not recognize the clan

Kilt and tartan dress!

So, there were several stalls selling kilts. These are working man’s kilts – normally black with several pockets made from bullet proof synthetic tweed. One kilt brand is ” Easy Access.”  A sad day we left the croft.

Tartan skirt - Mac smells like teen spirit- I think

A Coll girl

The Chinese guy went to school in Auchtermuchty

Mini kilt in the background

So, you are probably catching my drift. In the midst of this scene of denial of guilt and celebration of enjoyment, the dominant imagery is that of protestant Scotland. There has been a reversal – all things Scottish have become a symbol of liberation. Here is the final proof.

A far cry from Loch Awe

So, this couple has reached the ultimate stage of guilt dismissal. He dresses up as a Scottish laird and she as a chamber maid. They give out free drams of Balvenie speaking in fake Scots accents. Wow, totally radical!

'Easy Access' kilt

Thus bold, independent, unconquer'd, and free, Her bright course of glory for ever shall run: For brave Caledonia immortal must be; I'll prove it from Euclid as clear as the sun: Rectangle-triangle, the figure we'll chuse: The upright is Chance, and old Time is the base; But brave Caledonia's the hypothenuse; Then, ergo, she'll match them, and match them always.

Tartan shirt

So,  rather than a sign of traditional guilt, misery and pain all things Scottish are now  the ultimate icons of like, er, you know, er, chill.

Interesting day.

Big Red in front of the toilets


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