Travel Guide for Londoners
By Boris Johnson, The Mare of London
The festive season is almost upon us once again and for those of you who through no fault of your own must travel north and interact with the natives of Scotlandshire we have devised an occasional series to help you in the difficult task of communicating with the indigenous population.
The first hurdle to negotiate is the actual invite to go for a drink. While many of the phrases those of us in the green and pleasant land would use have also been adopted in the stark lands of the North there are many phrases you will not have heard before.
For instance any invite along the lines of “MacLauchlan’s?" is likely to be an invite to imbibe alcohol in some dark working class hostelry. Almost all pubs in Scotlandshire have ‘Mc’ as part of their name. However it should be noted an invite to McDonald’s may well be an invite to a slap up meal, Scotch style. Do not however be confused if you end up at someone’s abode as everyone in Scotlandshire also has a surname beginning with’ Mac’ or ‘Mc’. In mythical times, pre 1707, the ‘Mc’ denoted ‘spawn of’ much like the quaint Irish ‘O’ as used in O’Reilly denotes illegitimacy.
“Fancy a swally?” No, not an invite to an exotic meal of truffle stuffed swallow, this is swallow as in gulp, the only way a jock can drink ( the sip reflex being a recent addition to the evolutionary ladder). These kinds of invitations can be treacherous territory and you must keep your wits about you at all times.
On entering any bar keep your eyes down and do not look at the natives as this may encourage conversation, act as you would in any English pub. Never be first to the bar as this is considered a sign of weakness and may well lead to derisive comments and embarrassment for your hosts.
When approaching the bar start any request with the word ‘Geeza’ followed by the first drink you wish to order. Allow the bar person to return with the first drink before adding another drink to your list, your list should never be given in total as the average IQ of the Scotch is so low they are unable to take much information in at one time.
Do not under any circumstances take your wallet out until all drinks have been placed before you on the bar. Ensure you have the full attention of the bar person whilst you count out the exact money. Again unfortunately the numeracy of this race is lacking, so exact change, regardless of the time it takes to count, is a must.
At this point you should request a tray, it is unlikely one will be available, however this will underline your superior breeding and manners ensuring their undivided attention for future trips to the bar. What you may interpret as a menacing scowl is the normal friendly response to a customer being helpful.
British money (English) is accepted in all parts of Scotlandshire because it is much prettier than the Scotch poond and worth a great deal more. Remember when you leave Scotlandshire you must change all your ’poonds’ for real money or your local shops will realise you may have tainted blood.
Unusual customs in Scotlandshire include the fact that both men and women drink pints. Men drink whiskey (though they mis-spell it), rum, anything. Men do not put anything but water, lemonade or Coke in their drinks.
This is due to an aversion to any kind of fruit or vegetable in any form including liquid. Women are however permitted to request mixers, but swizzle sticks, straws, umbrellas or any type of fresh fruit slice are unheard-of. Do not under any circumstances use the word slice in any pub in Scotlandshire as this may lead to a request to examine your Knife often referred to as a chib or blade. Beer mats are for writing on, throwing and covering your pint when you go out for a smoke not to rest glasses on.
If you are a smoker you must be doubly on your guard. It is almost impossible to avoid engaging in conversation with the native smokers. Like excited children they will question you as to your origins, they will want to shake your hand and in extreme cases want to cuddle you. Avoid contact at all costs you have no idea where they have been. Do not loan expensive lighters to the locals as you will not get them back. You may wonder why the cigarettes the inhabitants of Scotlandshire smoke are so small and thin, these are known as roll ups, and everyone in Scotlandshire who smokes, smokes roll ups.
This quaint habit has caught on due to the fact that 90% of the population have spent time in jail where normal British cigarettes are not available. If you’re questioned as to why you are smoking a ‘tailor made’ (British cigarette) the best answer is “my granny gave me them as a Christmas present”. At this point you will have made the fatal error of communication, time to return to the bar where you should be safer amongst your friends.
However safe in Scotlandshire is a relative term; you are never safe in the North of North Britain. There are good indicators of how unsafe the venue you are in truly is. Should you find yourself surrounded by scum in various modes of sports clothing (Trainers and track suits) you should attempt to leave at once, you will not be able to, but console yourself, as you are kicked around the sodden floor tiles, with the thought that the patrons will be too exhausted to mug you on the way home.
A pub where the dress code is smart but casual may make you feel more comfortable. Unfortunately casual is the important adjective here. In Scotlandshire all football supporters are known as ‘casuals’ and while they may hate each other, they hate you more. The correct response to any verbal jousting amongst this crowd is to fall immediately to the floor assume the foetal position and whimper. As with many aboriginal races madness is feared or even respected and as no self respecting ‘casual’ would act in such spineless way they will presume you are on disability benefits due to some mental condition and possibly just pour drink on you.
As a handy rule of thumb if there are jocks in the bar there will be a fight.
Words and phrases that may indicate confrontation.
Hae you Jimmy.
Whit you lookin’ at.
That’s my (seat, pint, bird, space, coat, country, idea, oxygen).
That’s (shite, pish, crap)
It wisnae a goal.
Pick yer windae. Yer leavin’
(The last phrase is unlikely to be accurate, I doubt it has been said in anger in any pub in Scotlandshire, it’s easier to stick a glass in your face than to throw you out a window. The Scotch are too idle to expend more than the minimum of required energy).
It is now the end of the night, if you are not in an ambulance already, get a taxi. Ok, you will not be able to get a taxi. Taxi drivers in Scotlandshire all go home just before the pubs and clubs shut.
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