Maggie Thatcher, Marag Snatcher

21 04 2010
It is a little known fact that Maggie Thatcher visited Stornoway back in 1979 during her Election Campaign.
Back then, Maggie was best known as the Minister who stopped Primary School children from having a marag every morning with their milk.
The Tory leader was on a whistle-stop tour of the north of Scotland by helicopter when she found herself diverted to Stornoway due to thick fog covering the rest of the mainland.
Undeterred by the enforced stop over, Maggie decided to do a bit of campaigning to pass the time. She caught the Melbost bus from the Airport and headed in town. She made her way to the Tory Election Office (the second phone box on the left at Number One Pier) and asked the local Tory Election Agent (Diggum Da) if there were any suitable events for her to attend.
Diggum Da suggested a day helping out on a peatbank but Maggie replied with her famous words ‘The lady is not for turfing’.
However, there was an election debate scheduled for that very evening in the Town Hall, where the local candidates were due to discuss the Arnish Boot shortage. Maggie managed to get herself invited onto the platform and proceeded to take over the meeting as she started laying into everyone. The evening started to go really downhill when Maggie revealed to the audience that she thought she was addressing an audience in the Falklands.
The election debate finished with a fracas when three local ministers (from three different denominations) started arguing over who should say grace before the tea was served. The candidates all retired to the Criterion Bar as the police arrived to break up the riot.
Maggie was later seen challenging Donnie Stewart, the sitting MP, to fisticuffs in the Crit, as he had supposedly split her pint. The Police were called but Maggie assaulted one of the Policemen by clouting him with her handbag and then vomiting over his uniform. She then existed the Crit and made her way along to the Narrows where she broke a window in Murdo MacLean’s shop. With the police in hot pursuit she sneaked into ‘the Macs’ (now known as the Clachan) where a local band were playing.
Maggie insisted on singing a few songs with the band and many people fondly recall her rendition of Skynyrd’s ‘Free(market)bird’.  Her version of Maggie May was interrupted when she fell over the accordion player and landed face down in a used fish supper.
At this point the Police finally caught up with her. She was manhandled out of the Mac’s and into the Police Van, with her twinset and pearls all twisted and furled.
Maggie was dispatched to the cells but kept the rest of the inmates awake by shouting and singing into the early hours.
In the morning Maggie was taken to the Sheriff Court and given a day of Community Service for Public Disorder. Her Social Worker arranged for the Tory Leader to make some amends to the local Police by doing some domestic chores in the Police Station. This included washing and ironing police shirts she had been sick on the previous night. It is thought that this was the origin of her nickname ‘The Iron Lady’.
Maggie departed from Stornoway the next day and went on to become Prime Minister. Despite the Court appearance, Maggie had fond memories of Stornoway and her night on the town. It is thought that her decision to send the Task Force to the Falklands in 1982 was down to her habit of getting the two island groups mixed up. In later years she said she wouldn’t have bothered if she’d realised that the Falklands were so far away. Maggie said she thought ‘the Argies were after the marags’.

Stornowegian merchandising opportunities in film and telly

13 04 2010

Doctor Who fever has hit the nation once again. As Stornowegian kids once more hide behind the peatstack as the latest nasty alien attacks earth, a great deal of attention has been brought on the Doctor’s attire. His Harris Tweed jacket has caught the imagination of fashionistas everywhere and it is predicted that Haggas will sell a further two jackets on the back of all this publicity.

But the Doctor’s jacket is not the first bit of Hebridean ‘product placement’ to have appeared on our screens over the last few decades.

In the first series of ‘Auf Wiedersehen Pet’ all of the building tools used by the actors were nicked from Seaforth Builders yard on Rigs Road. The series was actually filmed in the Cearns and not in Germany.

In the pilot episode of Dallas, the producers originally wanted JR Ewing to wear a black church hat, as worn by Church Elders everywhere. One was purchased from MacKenzie and MacSweens shop on Cromwell Street and plonked on JR’s head. However, following the first screen-test, the church hat was considered to be a better actor than Larry Hagman and so was unceremoniously dropped after Mr Hagman’s Agent complained. The church hat was replaced by a Stetson. Coincidently, Stetsons’ became the hat of choice for Church Elders for several years after this.

In the pilot episode of Inspector Morse, he used to listen to tapes by The Lochies as he drove around Oxford in his Jaguar. However, The Lochies were replaced by various opera coves, as the Producers felt that The Lochies were too highbrow for the masses.

In Last Tango In Paris, Marlon Brando’s drarsh were supplied by Lewis Crofters.

The famous Alien from the sci-fi films was designed by conceptual artist HR Geiger, who took his inspiration from a dead guga he encountered whilst painting the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse as a young man. Film fans will recall that the Alien’s blood was acid and deadly to humankind, in much the same way as a guga’s blood is.

In ‘Gone With The Wind’, the actual wind was brought over to Hollywood from Tiumpan Head. Scarlet O’Hara was originally going to be called Scarlet Oh Hearna.

The leather bondage gear featured in Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ video was made in the back shop of Smiths Shoe Shop, from leftover ‘Arnish Boots’.