Cool Scots


On Saturday I’m speaking at the Yes Bar at the Glasgow launch of Greg Moodie’s new book, Cool Scots. For the benefit of all of you who are far from Glasgow, or who have better things to do, or who are just too lazy to come along, here’s the speech I’ll be giving.

I was very pleasantly surprised when Greg asked me to speak at the launch of his book Cool Scots. My first question was “Am I in it?” To which he gave a withering look and said “Of course not. You’re not cool. Your dug is cool. But he’s Spanish.” So now I know how batteries feel. They’re rarely included in things either.

But it is true that I’m not cool. I tried to kid myself on that I was the cool form of uncool even before uncool became a thing. But then I looked at my wardrobe and realised that my favourite pair of trousers are beige and they come up to my nipples, and that having a shaven head is not a fashion choice it’s just that most of the hair on my head grows in my ears and nostrils. That’s when you know when you’ve lost your chance at youthful coolness by the way. It’s when you see an advert for a nasal hair trimmer and you think “Oh. That’s going to come in useful.”

I once asked my daughter whether a t-shirt with a slogan on it was cool and she said it was. And then she added that it would immediately cease to be cool the moment I put it on because all things cease to be cool as soon as a teenager’s dad does them. Her pal once remarked to her – your dad writes for a newspaper, that’s pretty cool, and my daughter replied “Naa, he’s just an idiot.” Then I did some dance moves and she disowned me. So I’m not sure what cool is, but I reckon I must be an expert on uncool. It’s that look you get from your offspring when you are the father of teenage daughters. But I got my own back on my eldest. My daughters and their mothers are English, and live in London. When my eldest introduced her first serious boyfriend to me I growled at him in my best Weegie accent, “I don’t mind going back to jail you know.”

Truth be told, a middle aged baldy man in a tweed suit is pretty much the definition of uncool. I’m so uncool that for years I thought my daughters were fans of Justice Beaver, and believed him to be a crime fighting rodent. However all fashion is circular, and all things that are out of fashion will come back into fashion in a few years time. That means I’m not really uncool, just a trendsetter years ahead of everyone else. Which is my excuse for having socks which are years older than the guy with the ironic beard in the hipster bar along the road. They say that anyone can be cool, but it takes real skill to make uncool things cool again. That’s clearly a skill I’m sadly lacking in.

Hipsters aren’t cool by the way. They try too hard. Cool is effortless and if you’re working on your coolness by definition you’re not cool. Which means that people with ironic beardage, tattoos, and typewriters are kind of like slinkies. Pretty useless but they still give you a laugh when you push them down the stairs.

Anyway, I tried, for the benefit of this book launch, to have a wee think about what cool is. Which is a bit like asking Ruth Davidson to come up with the definition of a compassionate social care policy or answering a question without saying that Scotland doesn’t want another referendum. But Ruth’s not cool. You can’t be cool if you’re hyped up by the press. That just puts you in the same category as scratchcards. They’re going to cost you and you’ll end up disappointed.

But I thought I had the definition of cool worked out when I noticed this guy wearing a leather jacket, and I thought – well that looks pretty cool. Cos I’m not wearing it, obviously. If I was to wear a leather jacket it would just look like a midlife crisis. But on some people it looks very cool indeed. And then I noticed another guy wearing a leather waistcoat, and I thought – well that doesn’t look cool at all. So the essence of cool must lie in the difference between the two, which is leather sleeves.

But really, you can’t define cool. It’s one of those things that can’t be defined, like true love, you just know it when you see it. Cool isn’t something that you get from following fashion. It’s not an ironic beard. It’s not searching out the latest trends before they become mainstream. Cool is the realisation that life is short, so smile while you still have your teeth. Cool is the knowledge we only get one shot at being here, and so whatever you do should be done with passion. Cool is knowing that we all die, but not everyone lives. Cool is being a saint, it’s being an utter bastard, but whatever you are – cool is being good at it. Cool is knowing that the key to immortality is to live a life that’s worth remembering. Cool is the ineffable quality of doing what you love, being true to yourself, and not giving a tuppenny fuck what anyone else thinks. Cool is knowing that if you don’t define yourself, you’ll be defined by other people. Cool is the realisation that self-determination begins with the self. Cool is the awareness that independence begins in the mind.

Scotland is full of people who instinctively understand that. This cold and damp country is full of people who open the curtains, gaze upon a grey and dull day, and who resolve that they’re not going to live a grey and dull life. They’re going to do, and not be done to. They’re going to act, and not be acted upon. They resolve to make themselves the masters and mistresses of their own destiny.

Greg’s book is full of examples of Scots, born Scots and adopted Scots, who’ve learned the lessons of cool. It’s funny. It’s informative. It even has some lines in it I wish I’d thought of myself. And being the product of one of Scotland’s leading cartoonists it is of course copiously illustrated, which means that even people like Labour cooncillors who need books with pictures in them will find it accessible. Although I should point out to those cooncillors that the pictures have already been coloured in. Buy it. Read it. Have a laugh. Be inspired. It’s the coolest book of the year.

You can get a copy of Greg’s book on his website here :

Or on Amazon, here  :

The book can be yours for just £12.99, which is more than Amazon pay in tax.

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31 comments on “Cool Scots

  1. fillofficer says:

    now, that was funny
    & cool (ish)

  2. […] Wee Ginger Dug Cool Scots On Saturday I’m speaking at the Yes Bar at the Glasgow launch of Greg Moodie’s new […]

  3. John Cairney in ‘This Man Craig was ‘cool’.
    Roddy McMillan in ‘The View From Daniel Pike’ was cool.
    Steve McQueen in ‘Bullett’ was cool.
    Paul Newman in ‘The Hustler’ was cool.
    Francoise Hardy when she simpered ‘Tous les garcons et les filles de mon age’ was super cool.
    Clooney is cool.

    Yet, what does it mean to be described as ‘cool’?
    Who knows?

  4. Weechid says:

    I think you are definitely cool Paul – Moodie has no taste:-)

  5. Graham says:

    Gay Scottish independence advocate has English daughters by English mothers who live in England?
    The yoons will be in a right froth when they find that out.
    So there you go, another example of your effortless ability to make the yoons froth just by being you.
    Cool doesn’t come much cooler than that.

  6. Paul, if you’d really like to know, the art of being cool is to wear as little as you possibly can without being arrested for indecency.

    Like I do. And it means I’m pretty cool most of the time. (Except for that time in the Kibble Palace, but that’s another story best not retold).

    Enjoy the day! And say “Hi” to the Moodster from me.

    PS – My daughter thinks you ARE cool(ish).

  7. JSM says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female and commented:
    Hahaha! “I’m so uncool that for years I thought my daughters were fans of Justice Beaver, and believed him to be a crime fighting rodent.”

  8. susan says:

    After years of lurking online I finally took the plunge and obtained an email address in the hope I could post witty and incisive comments. Easier said than done! Anyway, I think you’re cool Paul.

  9. mogabee says:

    Todays cool is yesterdays chip paper…or something!

    I think you’re cool and ma dug would too if he had any interest in politics! 😀

  10. Jane Russell says:

    This article was so inspirationally cool that I immediately went and ordered the book!

  11. Del says:

    “nasal hair”. You’re missing a trick here Paul. You just pull them out one at a time. Gruesome but it’ll do wonders for your sinuses. OK, so that’s definitely uncool.

  12. doreenmilne says:

    That was a pretty cool piece, Paul. Made me smile (even though the teeth thing is an on going issue, ATM).

  13. Macart says:

    Olympic level dad dancing. Now that’s 😎

    Also? I sneer at baldophobes. My dome doubles as a world class ice rink for fleas and a solar panel for a gaming machine. (flexes thumbs). (cough) I also have a rare talent for back combing from my secondary fringe. Somewhere around my lower spine (and that’s the polite description).

  14. Catherine Kerr says:

    Always enjoy your ramblings and straight from the hip stuff, actually anything you write. I have never been cool, always missed the step to get me there. I believe now, that to be cool is to know that Scotland will be free, TO KNOW. Whether you are Scottish by birth or Scottish by association you must know that Scotland will be cool.

    • This winter, Catherine, 100’s thousands of pensioners in Ruth Mum 2b Davidson’s Northern Colony will be sooo cool, they’ll be freezing.
      Charity shop winter special. Buy a second hand coat that can double up as a quilt.
      Meanwhile receipt of Universal credit is a ‘passport to Free School Meals, but children stave during the school holidays.
      There is nothing Cool about Britannia any more.
      It’s Monday morning.
      Its drizzly and the skies are leaden.
      And Marcus Linklater, son of Eric, the Man of Mystery, Eton/Cambridge sausage factory fodder, and bastion of the privileged Anglo Scot Filthy Rich Morningside Set, blames the SNP for Brexit.
      I’d imagine that the Tartan Toffs in their walled granite mansions are shittin’ themselves right now.
      We, the people of Scotland are about to ‘take back control”
      Scotland, no place for old Brit Nats.
      How uncool.

      • Catherine Kerr says:

        Are you suggesting I am a Brit Nat. I come from one of the most socially deprived areas of Scotland, thanks to successive tory and labour governments, and this area has been in this state for as long as I can remember. So please get off your high horse about pensioners of which I am one, because I can remember my Mum and my Dad being one of those pensioners. Unless Scotland gets independence this will continue for generations of pensioners to come. Britannia may not be cool, Scotland will always be cold but it can and will be cool

      • weegingerdug says:

        What are you on about Jack? She’s said nothing at all about British nationalism being cool.

        • Sorry,guys, I was not getting at Catherine; I was expanding on her notion that it is the assertion that to know that will be free and independent is ‘cool’, and reminding myself that some of our fellow pensioners will be so cool this winter they will be freezing, some to death, because of Rule from Far Off Westminster.
          A rotten attempt at a play on words.
          Catherine, my sincerest apologies. I am too much of a smartass for my own good sometimes.

          ‘There is nothing Cool about Britannia’ any more.’

          Indeed some of us argued at the time that the only thing that was ‘cool’ about Blair Brown and Mandelson were their cold lifeless hearts.
          I’ll shut up now and disappear into the Dunce corner for a few weeks.

          Sorry again, mes braves.

        • Catherine Kerr says:

          Thank you!
          How’s the wedding coming along?

          • Catherine Kerr says:

            That was to weegingerdug not Jack, and apology accepted Jack

            • Catherine, the week is hours old and they are at it already.
              Scotland the Sh1te.

              It’s Bad SNP NHS Scotland day on BBC Distorting Scotland.

              This from The Aberdeen Evening Express:-

              “NHS Grampian is to temporarily close Loirston ward and Lochhead Day Hospital at Royal Cornhill Hospital (RCH).

              A total of 38 dementia patients will be affected by the move but hospital bosses have said it is too unsafe to continue running the services due to staffing problems.

              The hospital has more than 55 registered trained nursing vacancies – amounting to 22% of its workforce.

              On Saturday Jane Fletcher, head of hosted mental health and learning disability services, said: “It is simply unsafe for us to try to run our services, in their current format, with that number of unfilled posts.
              In recent months my team have been exploring different ways of working or using different mixes of staff groups to find a long term solution.
              Politicians have called for the Scottish Government to do more to support NHS Grampian.”

              Ah, so it’s that nasty SNP’s fault yet again. At least that’s the BBC slant, yet again.

              From their own Grampian NHS Board site, Below is the doubtless very expensive long list of Movers and Shapers of board members who run the service up in the North East.

              (I say ‘very expensive’ following Distorting Scotland’s second wee SNP Bad NHS Shite piece of the day featuring Jenny Marra as hero, defender of the Public Purse, slayer of indecent Public Service pay packages, except her own, complaining that the sacked CEO of failing Tayside NHS has received ,well, Jenny thinks, maybe has received, a £300K Golden Cheerio, but she doesn’t seem to be sure, ahem.)

              The Non-Executive Members of the NHS Grampian Board are:

              Professor Stephen Logan, Chair
              Mrs Amy Anderson
              Mrs Rhona Atkinson
              Dame Anne Begg
              Councillor Frank Brown, Moray Council
              Councillor Isobel Davidson, Aberdeenshire Council
              Mrs Sharon Duncan, Employee Director
              Ms Luan Grugeon
              Professor Steven Heys, University Representative
              Mrs Christine Lester
              Councillor Douglas Lumsden, Aberdeen City Council
              Dr Lynda Lynch
              Dr Helen Moffat, Chair, Area Clinical Forum
              Mr Jonathan Passmore
              Mr Eric Sinclair

              The Executive Members of the Board are:
              •Mr Malcolm Wright, Chief Executive
              •Professor Amanda Croft, Acting Chief Executive
              •Professor Nick Fluck, Medical Director
              •Mr Alan Gray, Director of Finance
              •Mrs Susan Webb, Director of Public Health
              The Board Secretary is:
              •Mrs Laura Gray, Director of Corporate Communications
              Other Attendees:
              •Mr Paul Allen, Director of Facilities and Estates
              •Dr Adam Coldwells, Chief Officer – Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership
              •Mrs Susan Coull, Operational Director of Workforce
              •Ms Pam Gowans, Chief Officer – Moray Health and Social Care Partnership
              •Mrs Caroline Hiscox, Acting Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions
              •Dr Annie Ingram, Director of Workforce
              •Miss Rachael Little, Employee Director Elect
              •Mr Gary Mortimer, Director of Acute Services
              •Mrs Sally Shaw, Interim Chief Officer – Aberdeen City Health and Social Care Partnership
              •Mr Graeme Smith, Director of Modernisation/Deputy Chief Executive

              That’s 31 soul;s running Grampian NHS.

              They’re short of 55 nurses but no vacancies on the Board apparently. Aye, right.

              ‘North-east politicians’ have expressed their concern over the closure of two Aberdeen dementia units for a year due to a staffing crisis.
              Step forward the usual SNP BAD suspects.

              Mike Rumbles blames the lack of funding from the SNP.

              This, from the swivel eyed Uber No Deal Brexiteer Ross Thomson:-

              “This is an alarming development. With one fifth of the workforce missing, NHS Grampian clearly feels there is no choice but to close these units. This will obviously be a very worrying time for patients and their families, who will be concerned at the impact this could have.”

              A meaningless procession of words from a man who knows that Brexit is killing our NHS as EU Nationals will not risk his Brit Nat/Furriners Out Party’s ‘hostile environment’ and remain in employment here or come over to the UK to work in the future.

              North-east Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald said: “This is a cause for concern.
              These closures will mean some people won’t receive the care they need. We must now see the Scottish Government and neighbouring health boards lend NHS Grampian the necessary support.”
              Yet more meaningless drivel with an SNP Bad twist in the shrivelled tail.

              Now when I went out to earn a coin, there was such a thing as accountability, the buck stopping here in my every endeavour.
              Who of the above is responsible for this year long failure to recruit enough nurses?
              Who at Grampian is in charge of Succession Planning?
              Who recruits and trains nurses?

              Brexit is killing us already.

              No reason is given for the long term failure to recruit other than that Nasty Nicola Sturgeon not giving them enough money.

              Balderdash from the Brit Nat Bench fillers of course, and SNP BAD grimy dog poo news in which BBC Scotland now specialises.

              Apparently sheep are being worried by dogs and it is costing farmers dear, or should that be ‘deer’?

              From the outside looking in I see a lot of overpaid professionals not doing their jobs, and the Mumbles. Thomsons and MacDonalds of this nasty wee Brit Nat world are letting them away with it, and blaming our government for systemic failures of the NHS Executive in Grampian and Tayside.
              Back in the Dunce’s corner for me.

              • This from NHS Tayside:
                “There have been reports in today’s mediaBBC REporting Scotland Jenny Marra allowed to spout unsubstantiated nonsense on BBC Labour TV) claiming that former NHS Tayside Chief Executive Lesley McLay received a payment.
                This is untrue and we have issued this statement.
                Vicious lies are allowed to be broadcast as fact.
                Hitler’s Germany from the anti-semite Red Tories.

  15. Catherine Kerr says:

    My father and all of his family apart from my Granda (4 brothers, 2 sisters and my Granny) had Alzheimer’s which finally killed them all through related diseases. These fatherless people will get the comeuppance, perhaps not today………but one day. Of course this does not help these poor people and their relatives. We need the NHS in Scotland to speak up, we need Scotland to speak up, and we need to know where Brexit is going so that the Scottish Government can speak up

    • Catherine, my mother and one of her sisters suffered from dementia, in her case for five years.
      It is a terrible wasting condition.
      We pay Health Boards to be accountable for the health and welfare of all.
      I am fed up with Nicola Sturgeon getting blamed for everything from five year olds allegedly being made to cry during assessment tests, to pensioners parked in a hospital corridor in a gurney because there are reportedly no beds.
      I expect our professionals, especially the Management Boards to manage, and be accountable when they fail.
      Our Brit Nat politicians have abdicated all responsibility to hold our Public Institutions to account, and blame the SNP for every imagined and invented shortcoming in Health, Educatio, Policing, etc.
      Meanwhile Scots citizens starve, freeze, go without medical care, while CEO’s trouser Footballers’ wages for being mere figureheads.
      Ruth Davidson rants and raves at the Despatch Box knowing full well that we are basically ‘ruled over’ by her London Masters who are hell bent in destroying civic society, who are determined to destroy communities and reduce the Many to wage slave submissives.
      I am sick fed up to the back teeth of Brit Nat wasters like Thomson, Rennie, and Leonard lying to and threatening their fellow Scots citizens.
      They are abject failures in it for the money and the index linked pension.
      They are beneath contempt. They no more believe in the ‘UK’ as a country as they believe that they are there to serve rather than manipulate and lie to their fellow Scots for money.

      The rich are getting richer by Government edict, the rest of us are being dragged into the vortex by mad men and women.
      It has to stop now.

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