Vive la Republique: Bruce Morton declares independence
Change is sweeping the South Side of Glasgow. A movement, a revolution, call it what you will. There's something new, exciting and, importantly, very funny afoot. Led by a veteran of the frontline of Scottish Comedy, Bruce Morton, the second of a monthly gala night in support of a Greater Shawlands Republic takes up residence in the basement of the Bungo Bar on Nithsdale Road on Sunday the 6th of May. After all, every revolution has to start somewhere.
The National Executive Committee of the Greater Shawlands Republic has seen a great deal of support already for their campaign for an independent Shawlands, and it shows no signs of abating. "The people of the south believe they now have a voice, a siren, a trumpet of possibility, if you like" declares Morton. "Their enthusiasm for (and belief in) the GSR is evident in their attendance, vocal support and financial donations at our public meetings." Indeed the first outing of this gala night resulted in a sell-out show, with people being turned away at the door.
This month can surely expect a similar level of fervour. The headline slot is filled by the razor sharp Fred MacAulay with support from the darkly brilliant Damien Crow. There's also music from Tales of Jake and magic from Stuart Thompson. The proceedings will be overseen by El Presidente Morton and his second in command Andrew Learmonth.
As First Deputy Learmonth states, the GSR has "tried to create a night where comics can tell jokes that are political and feel comfortable to be satirical. It is a safe place to be different. At its heart though is the community. The community is the conceit of the GSR night. They are delegates as much as they're an audience." This viewpoint is shared by Morton who decrees that "the Greater Shawlands Republic is a movement and a state of mind."
And what exactly does this movement wish to accomplish? "Our goal is similar to that of La Roche Rumba (the best club night in the south and beyond), similar to that of Crawford Smith and his "South Side Sessions" live music gigs" states Morton. "We want to provide something local and distinct for the people south of the river."
This goal is fully reflected in the ticket price, rewarding Southside residents and comrades by offering tickets at a bargain £5.99 whilst anyone from the West End will be asked to part with £6. Anyone suspected of being a West Ender may be asked for proof.
So what can we expect of our President when he sweeps to power and frees the good people of Shawlands from their tyrannical and oppressive Glaswegian overlords? Well his first act will be to hand power back to the people; though only when they're ready. "Clearly, though, this can only happen when the conditions are right. Presently, the people are as children in the garden of revolution. They are as potatoes in the field of change. And the time is not yet right to hand power to the potatoes." And after he has gifted the people their freedom? "I will retire to my dacha in Bellahouston Park and write my memoirs. Only then will the true story be told."
When that time comes we may well see Bruce Morton's face, replete with beret, adorning the t-shirts of students walking freely around an independent Shawlands. Until then the rallying cry of the GSR is "Avanti!", and so it is forward we go. With El Presidente Morton at the helm the South is sure to be liberated and entertained in some equal measure.