Wednesday, 28 January 2009


We attended a most interesting lecture this evening at the Royal Phil Society. After a pie and pint at Babbity Bowsters we headed up the hill to hear a lecture on Burns. It was supposed to be by Michael Russell, MSP, but he cancelled at 6:10 pm because he was required to vote in the parliament at Holyrood on a budget question.

Faced with no speaker some members of the committee had the great good fortune to be sitting in the lecture room when Dr Catherine Smith arrived, early from visiting her publishers. Someone had the foresight to take a long shot: "You don't happen to have a lecture in your bag, do you?" "I do!" Holding their breath: "It isn't about Burns, by any chance?" "It is!" Serendipity!

Scotland will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns on Sunday and a new book by this author has been published to coincide with the event.

It is a dense book, exploring how Burns’ mind worked. She has written the alternate view of the poet’s life explained how she believes Burns was as much influenced by myth and magic as he was by the new scientific age of the 18th century.

“There was a lot of superstition around then. Even some senior thinkers believed in astrology. I’ve found out what he was probably told about his horoscope. But he knew horoscopes are a bit like economic forecasts if you resign to them, they destroy you."

And what is this lady's day job? She is an International Banker! There is definitely a topic for another lecture - "Burns and the Credit Crunch"!

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