(Camera pans away revealing a rather rocky highland landscape.
As camera pans across country we hear inspiring Scottish music.)
Voice Over: From these glens and scars, the sound of the
coot and the moorhen is seldom absent. Nature sits in stern mastery
over these rocks and crags. The rush of the mountain stream, the
bleat of the sheep, and the broad, clear Highland skies, reflected
in turn and 1och ... (at this moment we pick up a highland
gentleman in kilt and tam o'shanter clutching a knobkerry in one
hand and a letter in the other)... form a breathtaking backdrop
against which Ewan McTeagle writes such poems as 'Lend us a quid
till the end of the week'.
(Cut to crofter's cottage. McTeagle sits at the window
writing. We zoom in very slowly on him us he writes.)
Voice Over: But it was with more simple, homespun verses
that McTeagle's unique style first flowered.
McTeagle: (voice over) If you could see your way to
lending me sixpence. I could at least buy a newspaper. That's not
much to ask anyone.
Voice Over: One woman who remembers McTeagle as a young
friend - Lassie O'Shen.
(Cut to Lassie O'Shen - a young sweet innocent Scots girl -
she is valiantly trying to fend off the sexual advances of the sound
man. Two other members of the crew pull him out of shot.)
Lassie: Mr. McTeagle wrote me two poems, between the
months of January and April 1969...
Interviewer: Could you read us one?
Lassie: Och, I dinna like to... they were kinda
personal... but I will.
(she has immediately a piece of paper in her hand from which
she reads) 'To Ma Own beloved Lassie. A poem on her I7th
Birthday. Lend us a couple of bob fill Thursday. I'm absolutely
skint. But I'm expecting a postal order and I can pay you back as
soon as it comes. Love Ewan.'
(There is a pause. She looks up.)
Sound Man: (voice over) Beautiful.
(Another pause. The soundman leaps on her and pulls her to the
ground. Cut to abstract trendy arts poetry program set. Intense
critic sits on enormous inflatable see-through pouffe. Caption on
screen: 'ST JOHN LIMBO -- POETRY EXPERT')
Limbo: (intensely) Since then, McTeagle has
developed and widened his literary scope. Three years ago he
concerned himself with quite small sums - quick bits of ready cash:
sixpences, shillings, but more recently he has turned his
extraordinary literary perception to much larger sums - fifteen
shillings, £4. I2.6d ... even nine guineas ... But there is still
nothing to match the huge sweep ... the majestic power of what is
surely his greatest work: 'Can I have fifty pounds to mend the
(Pan across studio to a stark poetry-reading set. A single
light falls on an Ian McKellan figure in black leotard standing
gazing dramatically into space. Camera crabs across studio until it
is right underneath him. He speaks the lines with great intensity.)
Ian: Can I have £50 to mend the shed? I'm fight on my
uppers. I can pay you back When this postal order comes from
Australia. Honestly. Hope the bladder trouble's getting better.
(Cut to remote Scottish landscape, craggy and windtorn and
desolate. In stark chiaroscuro against the sky we see McTeagle
standing beside a 1onely pillar box, writing postcards. The sun
setting behind him.)
Limbo: (voice over) There seems to be no end to
McTeagle's poetic invention. 'My new check book hasn't arrived' was
followed up by the brilliantly allegorical 'What's twenty quid to
the bloody Midland Bank?' and more recently his prizewinning poem to
the Arts Council: 'Can you lend me one thousand quid?'
(Cut to David Mercer figure in his study at a desk. Caption on
screen: 'A VERY GOOD PLAYWRIGHT')
David: I think what McTcagle's pottery... er... poetry is
doing is rejecting all the traditional clichés of modern
pottery. No longer do we have to be content with Keats's 'Seasons of
mists and mellow fruitfulness', Wordsworth's 'I wandered lonely as a
cloud' and Milton's 'Can you lend us two bob till Tuesday'...
(Cut to long shot of McTeagle walking through countryside.)
McTeagle: (voice over) Oh gie to me a shillin' for
some fags and I'll pay yet back on Thursday, but if you wait till
Saturday I'm expecting a divvy from the Harpenden Building
Society... (continues muttering indistinctly)
(He walks out of shot past a glen containing several stuffed
animals, one of which explodes. A highland spokesman stands up into
shot. Superimposed caption on screen: 'A HIGHLAND SPOKESMAN')
Highlander: As a Highlander I would like to complain about
some inaccuracies in the preceding film about the poet Ewan McTeagle.
Although his name was quite clearly given as McTeagle, he was
throughout wearing the Cameron tartan. Also I would like to point
out that the BALPA spokesman who complained about aeronautical
inaccuracies was himself wearing a captain's hat, whereas he only
had lieutenant's stripes on the sleeves of his jacket. Also, in the
Inverness pantomime last Christmas, the part of Puss in Boots was
played by a native of New Guinea with a plate in her hp, so that
every time Dick Whittington gave her a French kiss, he got the back
of his throat scraped.
(A doctor's head appears out from under the kilt.)
Doctor: Look, would you mind going away, I'm trying to
examine this man. (he goes back under the kilt; a slight pause;
he re-emerges) It's - er - it's all right - I am a doctor.
Actually, I'm a gynecologist... but this is my lunchhour.