Document 1419

Conversation 28: Mother and daughter from Ayrshire and man from USA, part 2/3 - violence, war and society

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): SCOTS Project, Dr Margaret Scott

Audio transcription

M964 Well for me growing up we had a whole lot of terms involving violence, you know, like wh- what a fight would be or whether something like that would be, erm, you know, [inaudible] certain Yiddish words got into it //for that.//
F965 //Mm//
F963 //Mmhm//
M964 Erm, wh- what was the case for you?
F965 What do you mean?
M964 Like for example, would you, if- is there a word that you would have used for giving someone a kick in the shin. Or, for example for us //we had the term of//
F965 //Mm//
F963 //Oh//
M964 hitting someone on the leg very hard is giving them a charley horse. //Right.//
F963 //Charley horse, yeah, I know// //that's come up before.//
F965 //What do that mean?//
M964 I have no idea. I, well, I know what it means, but I don't know where it comes from. But, in any case.
F965 I think we, I don't think we had any, [tut], [exhale] exclusively //local terms.//
F963 //Did you, did you h-? We had Chinese burns.//
F965 Oh yeah, we had Chinese burns too. //But did you have a special name for them?//
F963 //Uh-huh// //Chinese burns.//
M964 //Chinese burn sounds pretty special to me, cause// //[inaudible]//
F965 //Oh you don't know what a Chinese burn is?//
F963 //[laugh]//
M964 //Tell me what//
F965 //Give him a Chinese burn!// //[laugh]//
F963 //No, I'm saying there// was a particular, when y- you know, like when you //took somebody's arm.//
F965 //I know how to do a Chinese// burn. Would you like one?
M964 Would you tell me how it is accomplished?
F965 //You get hold with//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 two hands of the person's wrist, //twist one one way and the other the other way.//
M964 //Er,// //er.//
F965 //And it is very// //sore. Would you like to try it?//
M964 //Yes. No, I'm quite familiar. We call that an Indian sunburn.//
F965 //Indian sunburn?//
F963 //Indian?// //Interesting, yeah.//
F965 //We call that a Chinese// burn.
F963 Uh-huh
F965 But I was thinking when you said about, [exhale] I can't think of any physical tortures or things that we had particular names for.
F963 Half Nelson? //[laugh]//
M964 //[laugh]//
F965 //That's not. I'm mean that's a judo thing, isn't it?//
M964 [inaudible]
F965 //Erm,//
F963 //Wrestling.//
F965 but you you had things like you were gonna get laldie, if you, you know, you're, if you're gonna get smacked when you got //home.//
M964 //Oh right.//
F963 //Mmhm//
F965 Or get into a terrible row. I I always thought laldie involved some physical violence. I don't know. Maybe not, just a a row.
F963 You can give something laldie.
F965 Aye, beatin it. Or doing it really //hard.//
F963 //Doing it// //excessively, yeah, uh-huh.//
F965 //Uh-huh uh-huh.// I don't remember for for various, what sort of thing, what would you call it if somebody pulled your hair or anything. You didn't have a particular. We had a, didn't have a //terribly violent [laugh] culture as I recall.//
F963 //Mm [laugh]//
F965 [inhale] You would spell it out, you know, you would say "He kicked him in the shin".
F963 Mm
M964 //You didn't have a term if I//
F965 //Or he//
M964 for example we might have in the U.S. the term like "a shellacking", or "a hiding", or something like that, //you know.//
F965 //Well lal- gettin ladlie would be getting a terrible, or gettin a//
F963 //[inaudible] Mmhm//
F965 Trying to think; I can't remember. My mother will kill me. //[laugh]//
M964 //Right.//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 I can't remember //anything.//
F963 //But that sounds quite tame.//
M964 //[laugh]//
F965 //It does a bit.// Yeah by these standards. No, I can't remember.
M964 //[cough]//
F963 //How often// was there a public fight when you were in school? //Because we were talking about that last//
M964 //Yeah.//
F965 //Oh// //[tut]//
F963 //night, you know?// //people having a scrap.//
F965 //very.// //Quite often//
M964 //Mm//
F965 and quite erm ritualised.
F963 Mm mmhm, did everybody ki- sort of gather //round while it was going on cause we had that.//
F965 //Yes, yes, and I think there was// some information sometimes passed before you went out on the bell,
F963 Yes.
F965 that there was going to //be a fight.//
F963 //Yes, I remember the// //prior arrangement, yeah.//
F965 //Yeah.// And i- in those days it would be a case of, erm, just outside the school, you know, or or almost in the school grounds. It could be //on the way out, you know?//
M964 //Mmhm//
F963 //Right, uh-huh, yeah.//
F965 Not in the school, //not in the//
F963 //Mm//
F965 playground, but maybe in the field.
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 And it's, maybe it would be going down the road. And it was no business of the teachers.
F963 Right.
F965 You know, nobody was going to say, "Move along, you lot". And it was very [laugh] Marquis of Queensberry. //This, I mean this//
F963 //Oh really. [laugh]//
F965 may just be my school.
F963 Uh-huh
F965 It probably was just my school.
F963 Mm
F965 But it would be a fair fight.
F963 Mmhm
F965 And the the group, you would you would always know there was a fight, because there'd be a big gang of people all standing in //[laugh].//
M964 //Mmhm//
F963 Mm
M964 //Mm//
F965 //The circus was on.// //And erm,//
F963 //Mmhm//
F965 you know, there was, if somebody did a false move like no kicking,
F963 Mm
F965 none o that //stuff. No kicking, it was fisticuffs.//
F963 //No kicking, no. Mm// //Yeah, uh-huh.//
F965 //It was a fist fight.// Like I say, it was it was like boxing.
F963 Mm
F965 There was no poking them in the eyes and //and//
F963 //Mm mmhm//
F965 it really was quite it was quite civilised fighting.
F963 Mmhm
F965 With onlookers,
F963 Yeah.
F965 who would pull you up if you, I remember one of my friends actually weighing in when her brother was fighting.
F963 Right.
F965 You know, she she thought there had been a false move and she was in there //to get the guy off.//
F963 //Mm// Mmhm
F965 Erm, this is going to so-, you're not going to believe this. [laugh] Because it sounds so, it's maybe a false memory too but there was a degree of honour //involved.//
F963 //Mm mmhm// Well I can remember, you know, things being done that were seen as as sort of inappropriate //moves or, you know,//
F965 //Yeah, uh-huh.//
F963 seen as a kind of a, er er punching somebody //at the wrong moment, or taking advantage of something the wrong way.//
F965 //Mm mmhm, yeah, yeah.//
F963 But, I could hardly ever see what was going on because there was such a crowd of //people, all pressed round.//
F965 //Mmhm mmhm.// It was over very quickly //as well, and I don't,//
F963 //Yeah, yeah.//
F965 I really have no recollection of how they decided who the victor was or
F963 Mmhm
F965 you know, who who who was goody and who was baddy, or anything like that, it was just it was almost like an old-fashioned honour thing. //Eh, we are going to have a fight.//
M964 //[inaudible]//
F963 //Mm//
F965 And erm, I'm not gonna back down.
F963 Mmhm yeah. //Mmhm//
F965 //And they had their fight and it was ritualised and// end of story, you know, there wasn't a follow up, //usually.//
F963 //It didn't start// with them hitting each other with gloves or anything //as [inaudible] as that. [laugh]//
F965 //Not quite that// //ritualised.//
M964 //But that constitutes a duel, I mean// //it's delayed, yes,//
F965 //It was almost like a duel.//
F963 //Yes.// //Mm//
M964 //it's delayed, you're not fighting right away in which case it's just//
F965 //Yeah.// //You're not creeping up//
M964 //fight.//
F963 //Right.// //Yeah.//
F965 //behind somebody//
M964 //And there is a code of conduct.//
F963 //Mmhm//
F965 Yeah.
F963 Yeah.
F965 Yeah.
M964 So how did the ritual end //[inaudible] rituals?//
F965 //That's what I can't quite// remember. The crowd were dispersed. //Somebody might be lying on the ground.//
F963 //Mm mmhm// Mm //Mm mmhm//
F965 //Or somebody might just say they'd had enough, or or the crowd might say they'd had enough.//
F963 Yeah. When I remember them, they were usually on the school premises,
F965 Yeah.
F963 which meant that they were interrupted fairly quickly //on most occasions.//
F965 //Yeah.// Ours were //usually outside of//
F963 //Somebody would come out and//
F965 jurisdiction. //If they we- we didn't have//
F963 //Mm yeah.//
F965 we didn't have er playground supervision, //so if there was a//
F963 //Yeah, yeah.//
F965 fight during playtime //that was the other.//
F963 //Neither di- neither did we.//
F965 That was the other honour thing.
F963 Mm mmhm.
F965 Er, if there was a fight during playtime, A, the teacher didn't want to know,
F963 Mm
F965 B, nobody wanted to tell them.
F963 Yeah.
F965 So, it was our thing, //it was//
F963 //Mmhm//
F965 part of being your ch- your child thing.
F963 But it would be allowed to sort of play out in //its own way, aye, ah yeah.//
F965 //Oh they they couldn't care less.// And I have to say, and again you might not believe this, but nobody ever got terribly badly injured.
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 There was a there was a cut-off point,
M964 //[cough]//
F963 //Right.// //Yeah.//
F965 //whereas// I've seen children, now don't start my "Grumpy Old Women" //thing but//
M964 //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 I know children now who don't have a borderline,
F963 Mm
F965 you know, who don't have a boundary.
F963 Don't know when to stop.
F965 They don't know when to stop, //and people don't know how to stop them.//
F963 //Yeah.// Mm mmhm
F965 And they would do something in a rage.
F963 Right.
F965 This would not be quite like that; it would be done //in cold blood as as a rule.//
F963 //No a bit more formalised.// //Uh-huh//
M964 //Mm//
F965 //A// //formal fight,//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 for some kind of erm principle.
F963 Mmhm
F965 And erm there was a there was a a boundary.
F963 Mmhm mmhm
F965 There were no weapons.
F963 Yeah.
F965 You wouldn't creep up on them afterwards and say "Mm, I'm gonna get you now".
F963 Mmhm
F965 But this, I'm talking about a middle-class environment,
F963 Mm
F965 where people were were still getting messages from the previous generation about how you did things.
F963 But it was, it was reasonably, I mean it wasn't too homogeneous //I mean you say middle-class [inaudible].//
F965 //I'm talking about childhood too.// //I'm not talking about teenage fights.//
F963 //Yeah. But it it was it was still// //kind of the local catchment as such, wasn't//
F965 //[sniff]// //Oh it was the school.//
F963 //it?// //Yeah. But it wasn't it wasn't a private school,//
F965 //But you knew everybody in the village, you kn-.// //Not at all.//
F963 //that's what I'm saying.//
F965 But you knew everybody in the in the town.
F963 Yeah, uh-huh.
F965 And even later on, in teenage, erm where you might have a larger pool, //Uh-huh//
M964 //I was going to ask [?]how that was[/?].//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 Erm, well you wouldn't have the the //the duel type fight.//
F963 //Mm//
F965 But erm, I think there was still a degree of honour,
F963 Mm //Was it//
F965 //that people were// despised if they used tactics that were considered, you know,
F963 Was it still happening when you went to Ayr Academy? Was there still that sort of
F965 What? Did they have fights outside Ayr Academy?
F963 Yeah, was there still
F965 Not to my //remembrance.//
F963 //Right, yeah.// //Uh-huh [laugh]//
F965 //That's a good word. [laugh]// //Not that I can remember.//
F963 //Mm//
F965 Erm, but then I went to Ac- Ayr Academy in my fourth year.
F963 Mm
F965 And we had nothing to do with the people younger than //that. We were grown out of//
F963 //Right. Yeah. Yeah.//
F965 fighting by that //age, really.//
F963 //Yeah, uh-huh.//
F965 I mean the the population of the school. //I don't think they//
F963 //Mmhm right, yeah.//
F965 settled their arguments with with blows.
F963 Mm
F965 But erm, there were certainly plenty of fights going on [laugh] in the town.
F963 Right, yeah. //Sort of graduated to [laugh] bigger and better things.//
F965 //But, yeah, but what was considered a// dirty fight. There was such a thing then as a dirty fight. Now, it appears to me, you know, it's it's just, you do anything you can in order to get this guy off you.
F963 Mm mmhm Yeah, I was a bit of a stranger to it myself, I must admit. It was just maybe sort of twice a year there would be a big //playground//
F965 //Yeah.//
F963 fight and
F965 Looking back. //Yeah.//
F963 //A lot of threats more than actual violence.//
F965 But looking back, it was not a violent society.
F963 Yeah.
F965 It really wasn't. What was going on behind closed doors we don't know.
F963 Right, uh-huh.
F965 Like that guy said, //[laugh]//
M964 //Hm//
F965 that was what you did, at home, guy would come home on a Friday night and beat up his wife, who knows?
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 But certainly children, there was there were minor acts of violence,
F963 Yeah.
F965 you know, there was, you know, your brother would hit you.
F963 Mm. What about vandalism? Was there any //vandalism, much in those days?//
F965 //Oh, [laugh] don't get me// //started! [laugh]//
M964 //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
M964 //[cough]//
F965 //I didn't know vi-, such a thing existed//
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 in our society, and //again I'm//
F963 //Was that//
F965 not talking about cities.
F963 Yeah. Do you think that's because there was more employment? And, you know, people weren't sort of hanging about //with nothing to do.//
F965 //I think it was// because people were respectful of authority,
F963 Mm
F965 far more respectful, and afraid
F963 Yeah.
F965 of authority. Also, as I have said to you before, the War had just finished.
F963 Yeah.
F965 There had been so much vandalism,
F963 That's true. //Well, different scale of vandalism.//
F965 //[laugh]// that people didn't want to see things getting knocked down because they'd //been knocked down; they wanted to see them being built again.//
F963 //Mmhm yeah, yeah.//
M964 //Mm//
F965 //There was also// there was a definite erm, fear,
F963 Mm
F965 of destroying things, //you know, there was a//
F963 //Right, yeah.//
F965 you weren't //erm//
F963 //Mm//
F965 you didn't get off with it.
F963 Yeah.
F965 And erm, you would have got into serious bother.
F963 Mm
F965 And as you pointed out one time, you didn't have spray paint. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]// //None of these convenience//
F965 //But the thing is// //people scratched on desks,//
F963 //tools.// Yeah.
F965 you know your, on a on an old wooden desk,
F963 Mm
F965 but that added to its patina. //[laugh]//
M964 //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 That was enhanced it.
F963 Mm
F965 Er, you got writing in public lavatories, but nothing //like what you//
F963 //Right, yeah.//
F965 you know, somebody would write a wee message on
F963 Mmhm
F965 on the door of the //changing room in the in the//
F963 //Yeah.// //Would you get would//
F965 //swimming pool.//
F963 you get a dialogue going, from one person //writing?//
F965 //No.// Well maybe a wee bit, I think I might remember a little bit of that; nothing clever,
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 you know, erm, well I won't say the rude ones but, //you know, "So and so is a", [sniff], and then,//
F963 //mmhm// Mm
F965 "No she isn't!" //[laugh]//
M964 //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 "Aye she is!"
F963 Yeah.
F965 But there was, there was graffiti.
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 But I wouldn't say, there wasn't the kind of graffiti you get now.
F963 Yeah.
F965 And as I have said to you before, there were public lavatories that were open,
F963 Yes. //Mm//
F965 //day and night,// that didn't need an attendant.
F963 Mmhm
F965 There were shelters along the beach
F963 Mm
F965 that were not vandalised. The windows weren't smashed, they weren't //graffitied.//
F963 //Right.//
F965 It was, it was a, I think it was a, probably a reaction to destruction.
F963 Mm mmhm yeah.
F965 And also people didn't let their kids do things like that.
F963 Mm
F965 And it's kids that do it.
F963 Yeah. It- it's funny cause I don't really think of, you know, this place not being bombed as such //I don't really//
F965 //Hm//
F963 a- associate it with that kind of destruction in the War, //but yeah.//
F965 //No, but every Dad in the// place had been somewhere, bombing or been bombed. //Sorry.//
F963 //But you had// tape over the windows I was going to say, //in these old photographs.//
M964 //Mm//
F965 //Yeah.//
F963 So, //there was.//
F965 //Which old photographs?//
F963 Erm, photographs from the War, [laugh]. //Yes.//
F965 //From this area?//
F963 I think so. Unless I'm wrong.
F965 Well we've got photographs of windows being taped up //down in//
F963 //Did you not do that// here?
F965 I wasn't in the War. [laugh]
M964 //We'll blame you anyway.//
F963 //Th-// //there's there's a slight non sequitur. [laugh]//
F965 //We have photographs of taped-up windows.// Well, I don't think, you know, I think in areas that were likely to be //air-raid.//
F963 //Maybe I'm mixed// up. I'm probably thinking of a different place //in the photographs. Right.//
F965 //There's a photograph of my mother,// //sitting in her home down in wherever they were, Chelmsford or somewhere.//
F963 //Uh-huh. Is that?// //Oh I see.//
F965 //Can't remember.// //And they had tapes on the wind-. Well South of England, you know, they were//
F963 //So that's? They were more genuinely worried about bombs? Right. Yeah.//
F965 quite likely to be //bombed.//
F963 //Uh-huh//
F965 But erm
F963 They would have had blackouts though, wouldn't they? I mean that was a //universal sort of thing.//
F965 //Oh yes, oh yes. I mean.// //Everybody was very aware.//
F963 //Uh-huh.// But that's what I mean, that there would have been events in your life that would have brought it home //to you much more//
F965 //There was an// //there was an//
M964 //Mm//
F963 //readily.// //So,//
F965 //aerodrome// //in Prestwick.//
F963 //yes, uh-huh.// //Yeah, yeah.//
F965 //It was a target.// I went to a thing, did I tell you, a talk about Pr- growing up in Prestwick //during the war.//
M964 //Mm//
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 And it was all about, a lot of it was about the aerodrome,
M964 [sniff]
F965 about aircraft, //which was very//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 interesting to the men; it was interesting. But, erm, they showed us, you know, the Germans had aerial maps of the entire //place.//
F963 //Mm// //Right, yeah.//
F965 //The whole country.// Very erm. What am I trying to say? Very erm
F963 Detailed?
F965 detailed,
F963 Mm
F965 maps of the whole place, and he showed us some //of the ones that they got//
F963 //Mm//
F965 later
F963 Right.
F965 of this area. //Because there was an aerodrome here.//
F963 //Oh yeah, yeah.//
M964 //[cough]//
F965 //With American, American// //airforce people here//
F963 //Mm uh-huh, yeah.//
F965 later.
M964 [sniff]
F965 Quite a bit later. //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
M964 [inaudible]
F965 //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 But erm it could easily have been a target.
F963 Yeah, yeah.
F965 And there were erm
F963 Did you not have things along the beach, //as well, uh-huh. Right, yeah.//
F965 //There were there were things to prevent invasion.// Erm and in the street, would you be-, I didn't know this.
F963 Mm
F965 He showed us photographs of things that I thought were like drain covers in the street,
F963 Mm
F965 were the remains of things to stop tanks coming through //in the event//
F963 //Oh for goodness' sake.//
F965 of an invasion. //And//
F963 //Blimey.//
F965 every coastal area was vulnerable.
F963 Mmhm yeah. I know there's the remains of that wee sort of watchtower thing, //on the//
F965 //Uh-huh// //on the hill//
F963 //corner of the golf// //course, you know, is it a wee//
F965 //Mmhm mmhm//
F963 sort of erm kind of broken bits of cement //where there would have been a wee//
F965 //Yeah,// //when we were kids,//
F963 //don't know.//
F965 I can't remember this clearly, but we thought it had been an air-raid shelter, but obviously you don't build an air-raid shelter //on top of a, exactly.//
F963 //Not on top of a hill.// //Yeah.//
M964 //[laugh]//
F965 //Looking out to sea, no it'll be an observation point.// But do you remember those big circular things that we found when the tide was //way out?//
F963 //Oh yeah, you still// //see them, uh-huh, they're like//
F965 //Yeah.// //Well they were the, there the s- the sort of//
F963 //bits of old pipe or something.//
F965 stanchions had been //for the blocking//
F963 //Ah right.// //Yeah.//
M964 //Ah//
F965 //things against erm// enemy erm sea-craft.
F963 I'm sure I've seen an old //photograph of that//
M964 //[sniff]//
F965 //Mmhm//
F963 //at some point, you know, with// them actually //built up//
F965 //Mmhm//
F963 so that you could see how they work.
F965 But there wasn't an area, there wasn't a place in this country
F963 Mm
F965 that people were not aware of of impending //invasion.//
F963 //Yeah, yeah.// But that's so alien now, you know, //the thought of something actually flying over you and blowing you up.//
F965 //I know.// Not just flying over you,
F963 Yeah.
F965 I mean they were anticipating an invasion.
F963 Mm //Mm//
F965 //It was going to happen.//
F963 Yeah.
F965 And it could have come by sea, it could have come by air,
F963 Mmhm
F965 it could have come by, you know, people that you didn't know very well moving in [laugh].
F963 Right.
F965 It was erm, it was impending, //and they were warned and they were//
F963 //Yeah, uh-huh.// //Mmhm//
F965 //terrified of it.//
F963 And they had the all the fences, all the the metal sort of garden railings cut down //for the War as well.//
F965 //That's ri-, well that was to use for weapons.// //I don't know if that's//
F963 //So,//
F965 strictly true actually. I don't know if they were all
F963 Used? //Oh//
F965 //employed in that way.//
F963 Well what, they were all cut down //anyway, I mean there's wee stumps all round the//
F965 //Well they were taken away, yeah.// Yeah, a lot //of them were.//
F963 //all round the town,// where the the railings used to be.
F965 Some people, I heard, this may be apocryphal,
F963 Mm
F965 some people had beautiful gates, //you know, iron gates.//
F963 //[tut] Wasn't that the case when// Nanny's house supposed to be that they buried the //gates so they weren't taken away. [laugh]//
F965 //That's what they said; they buried the gates so that nobody would// take them off for //for making weapons from.//
F963 //No war effort here! [laugh]//
F965 I don't know whether that's true or not.
F963 Yeah.
F965 But nobody got away with it, you know everybody was scared of it.
F963 Mm mmhm. Yeah.
F965 And so I think after the War the the kind of mindset was not towards damaging things.
F963 Yeah, yeah. //Sure that [?]had an effect though[/?].//
F965 //Unless you'd been terribly damaged yourself, in which case you might have wanted to//
F963 Mm
F965 to damage things, but I think everybody was exhausted and wanted to to keep things nice.
F963 Yeah. But there was more employment then, as well.
F965 [tut], [exhale] I don't think employment and vandalism are necessarily related in any way.
F963 No?
F965 Not really. //Vandalism has to do with//
F963 //A lot of people hanging about with// no prospects and nothing to do.
F965 The people who vandalise so- some of the time, in my experience, are not even of employment age.
F963 Mm
F965 They could be sitting reading a book, //which is what we were told to do when we were bored.//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 "Why don't you go and read a book?"
F963 Mmhm
F965 Erm, no, I think it's it's a stage of behaviour. It's like little children behaving badly only they're not little children any more.
F963 Yeah.
F965 Or it could be rage.
F963 Mm
F965 The best possible thing you could say about it would be that it's justified rage.
F963 Mm mmhm Then you get weird things like that whole carry on in France where something just sort of escalates to the point where it's,
F965 Ooh there's copycat too.
F963 you know, but it it gets sort of out of control, you know, you lose the point of what the particular protest might have been about //in the first place.//
F965 //And it gets hijacked,// gets hijacked by //people who just want to break things.//
F963 //Yeah, uh-huh.// Yeah.
F965 but erm [?]where is it?[/?] Erm I think that always happens with everything; it gets hijacked,
F963 Mmhm mmhm.
F965 with a good idea and a bad idea.
F963 Yeah.
M964 //[laugh]//
F965 //Well that wasn't [?]lovely[/?]. [laugh]// But erm there were revolutions going on in nineteen sixty-eight in France,
F963 Mmhm
F965 and all over the place. Did it happen in Amer- yeah, on the campuses.
M964 It did, yes.
F965 //Mm//
F963 //Mm// I suppose you had the whole Vietnam thing as well.
F965 Anti-Vietnam //demonstrations and//
M964 //Mm//
F963 //Yeah. Mmhm.//
F965 National Guard shooting folk.
M964 //[inaudible] exactly the iss- the issue of//
F963 //[laugh]//
M964 as much of of of what does erm when is the government protecting you and when is it making you feel scared or threatened.
F963 Mm
F965 You know when Laurie was in we were talking about Singapore.
F963 Right, yeah.
F965 But then she was saying how when they were there it felt wonderfully safe and clean and pleasant, and she has a daughter wh- [inaudible], she has a daughter who's very erm erm up for people's rights and //erm the environment and everything else, ps-//
F963 //Mm, yeah.//
F965 psychological one.
F963 [laugh] //[laugh]//
F965 //And er [laugh]// when Li- when Laurie told her "Oh it's lovely, you know, you felt you could walk anywhere, you felt so safe, //and//
F963 //Mmhm//
F965 people were so polite and it w- you know it was really nice and", and she said er, "But at the s- at the expense of people's civil //liberties",//
F963 //Mm//
F965 you know, it's it is a repressive regime.
F963 Mmhm
F965 But we were, well I was thinking, you know, there has to be a kind of happy medium,
F963 Mm
F965 where you're protected, but at the same time you can express yourself, a little.
F963 Yeah, it depends on //how it's done.//
F965 //Very little.// //[laugh]//
F963 //See, the the problem when you're// a tourist as well is that //you probably don't//
F965 //[sniff]//
F963 get to see the poverty. //You know, sort of keep you in the nicer bits. Yeah. Uh-huh. Yeah.//
F965 //Well that's why I said that about the the fabulously cheap clothing and the, you know, how they can have it [clicks fingers] done like that. What are they// paying the people that are //doing that?//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 And that was when she s- she mentioned, //you know,//
F963 //Uh-huh.// //Yeah.//
F965 //there is the other side to it.// And when you said that about the vandalism,
F963 Uh-huh
F965 We did have a much more repressive, //do you know, it wasn't a repressive regime,//
F963 //Mm mm// //Uh-huh//
F965 //it was a// repressive erm mindset.
F963 Right, yeah. //Just that you were//
F965 //Families// //imposed it, yeah.//
F963 //culturally predisposed to// //be different from that. Yeah. Uh-huh.//
F965 //It was a cultural repression.// Although, I mean what were they going to do to you? You weren't going to get any worth-, worth-, [tut] worse punishment, that the the village policeman, as he was, that that everybody knew.
F963 Yeah.
F965 You know, you talked to him, you respected him, you didn't shout names at him, //the way they do now.//
F963 //Mm// Mm
F965 You didn't make fun of him, //like they do now.//
F963 //Mmhm//
F965 Erm, [sniff], and he would take his little notebook out, like, [laugh] he caught me on the golf course //one day,//
F963 //Mm//
F965 and you weren't supposed to be; it was private //property.//
F963 //[laugh]// //How old were you?//
F965 //If you weren't on the right of// way. About nine.
F963 [laugh]
F965 [laugh] And and out came the wee book, you know, and the pretend, you know, "What's your name again?" [laugh] //Ooh.//
F963 //Taking down your details.// //[laugh]//
F965 //And the biggest fear you had// was that he would go and tell your parents
F963 Yeah. //Mm//
F965 //that you'd been// doing something wrong.
F963 And your parents would mind that you //had been doing this. [laugh]//
F965 //But that, then again// //you might come from a//
M964 //[cough]//
F965 family where your parents would beat the living daylights out //of you.//
F963 //Mm// //It's true.//
F965 //So there was a// //You know, there was a definite//
F963 //incent-// //[laugh]//
F965 //downside [laugh]// //to the to the conformity.//
F963 //[sniff]// Yes, yeah.
F965 But on the other hand, people were actually, they were, [exhale] a-a- the only word is afraid really; they were afraid to break the law.
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 Normal people; I'm not talking about criminals. They weren't afraid.
M964 //Clearly.//
F963 //Mm//
F965 But there were criminals and there were normal people. Now, it seems to me there are a lot more people who are, who wouldn't call themselves criminals,
F963 You mean criminals like career criminals? //That was their//
F965 //Yeah, well yes.//
F963 way of operating.
F965 Well they were criminals. //That was their life.//
F963 //Uh-huh// Yeah.
F965 But now you have people who are not criminals who are quite prepared to break the law when it suits them. //Or not career criminals,//
F963 //Mm//
F965 shall we say?
M964 //It's just a hobby.//
F963 //Yeah.// Mmhm //[laugh]//
F965 //Yeah, I don't know.// I suppose it was always like this. But I I I could swear on a stack of bibles that vandalism just didn't happen in this town,
F963 Mm
F965 when I was growing up.
F963 Right, yeah.
F965 Now, //it might have happ-. It was a small town and everybody knew everybody.//
F963 //It was a smaller town in those days, too. Uh-huh.// Uh-huh
F965 And everybody knew the village, I keep saying village; it was a town. //but it was a small town.//
F963 //Mm// Mmhm
F965 Everybody knew him. And he came in to the school. And he was liked actually.
F963 Yeah, yeah. //I suppose that in a way there there's//
F965 //Er//
F963 so much sort of setting people up to knock them down, nowadays, as well, you know, that anybody that's famous, anybody in the media, anybody who's got any sort of, you know, role that makes them seem to have some sort of aura about them, means that they are instantly worth chucking things at, at the same time, which I don't like. I don't like that "us and them" culture, you know, like "there's the famous people and there's us", //you know, or "there's the politicians and there's us",//
F965 //Mm//
F963 like, never the twain, you know? And it, [exhale], I just, I get frustrated with that because
F965 Well,
F963 I hate that sort of senseless knocking things about just because //you're frustrated and you feel like it,//
F965 //It was a long time, mm.//
F963 you know, it's so //unproductive.//
F965 //It was a long,// it was a long time before I understood people who had a particular attitude to the police,
F963 Mm //mm//
F965 //because// as I say, I grew up with friendly police,
F963 Yeah, yeah.
F965 and I lived a life that didn't involve me being at the at the wrong //end of their interest.//
F963 //Yes, yeah, uh-huh.//
F965 Erm,
F963 Again, it's like places in the States where //either there's//
F965 //Yeah.//
F963 so many laws, and so many //fiddly wee laws, like, you know.//
F965 //Got to break them. [laugh]//
F963 Well, you know, don't litter here, don't drive over this really low //[laugh]//
F965 //Mm//
F963 speed, by our standards,
M964 Yes.
F963 and it seems like you're you're almost inevitably going to be slightly over the mark once in a while. And so you're always afraid of the police.
M964 Well there there are two sides to that of course, the police are also afraid of you which makes them as armed people //more to be concerned about.//
F963 //Well, then there's the guns// //issue which is, mm.//
M964 //You are, you're very//
F965 //Yes.//
M964 concerned about not making the police feel afraid of you,
F965 //Yeah.//
F963 //Yeah, like if// //you're taking out your driving licence from inside your coat, [laugh]//
M964 //which, yes.//
F965 //Yes, yeah, yeah.// //Everything you have to//
F963 //do it carefully.//
F965 think it through, //every move you//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 make, every word you speak.
F963 Mm
F965 But having grown up with that pleasant, and having been taught that the police were my friends,
F963 Mmhm
F965 because then they were my friends //because//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 I belonged to the law-abiding middle class I suppose,
F963 Mm
F965 who didn't break the law. But, you know, I learned from people who had had bad experiences, you //know, like, some-//
F963 //Yeah, mmhm.//
F965 somebody whose son, because he was young, driving his dad's car, got pulled up
F963 Mmhm
F965 and, you know, the sort of questions that they asked him, sort of. //Yes.//
F963 //Unnecessary hard time,// //yeah.//
F965 //Or,// you know, later on black people who had had bad //experiences,//
F963 //Yeah.// //Yeah, uh-huh yeah, mmhm.//
F965 //just because they were driving a car or something like that.// Erm and that was, you know, it all depends on the experience that you have personally, //and I'm talking//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 about what my perception was,
F963 Right, uh-huh.
F965 that this was a very safe and law-abiding sort of //area; it seem-//
F963 //Mm mm//
F965 looking back //it certainly seems//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 very safe to me.
F963 Well even in my teens I f- I still felt that the police were people I could approach, //I wasn't, I wasn't//
F965 //Uh-huh//
F963 afraid of them. //But,//
F965 //Mm//
F963 I knew a lot of people who had, you know, maybe had something in their car that they shouldn't have had when they were stopped or //you know how [inaudible].//
F965 //Well wait a wee minute though.// //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 They were maybe breaking the law.
F963 Well, yes, but my point wasn't that, my point was that I knew people who were more afraid of the police not so much because they broke the law themselves but because they had been with somebody which had made //them suspicious or.//
F965 //[laugh] That was breaking the law. [laugh]//
F963 No, I don't I don't mean that. //I mean like you know//
F965 //No.//
F963 they were young and they were out and they were doing //something and so they were treated//
F965 //Yes, yeah.//
F963 with suspicion //for, you know?//
F965 //Yeah.// //Yeah.//
M964 //Do you// do you think
F965 [cough]
M964 //do you think that//
F963 //Mm//
M964 the community here is as homogeneous //now?//
F965 //No, no.//
M964 So, do you think that that diversity has created a challenge //to this?//
F965 //Absolutely. Absolutely.//
F963 //Mm//
F965 And there are advantages and disadvantages like everything else, you know, it's like being in a really cosmopolitan place //has huge advantages,//
F963 //Mmhm// Yeah.
F965 but it also has disadvantages //in that//
F963 //Uh-huh//
F965 you don't all have the same expectations, you don't all have the same standards,
F963 Yeah.
F965 you don't all have the same attitudes. And, I don't like the idea of, you know, we were talking earlier about a a elderly people's bit, you know, like a an elderly people's community,
F963 Mm mmhm
F965 which sounds quite nice for a minute or two if you're elderly, you know, almost like a gated community where you're
F963 Yeah.
F965 everybody's keeping their garden nice and everybody's erm
F963 Mmhm
F965 law-abiding and they don't play loud music and all that. And then really that isn't, that's not what it's all about, is it? That's not what life is. //And erm//
F963 //Mm//
F965 it's one of those things, that when you're being assailed you think "wouldn't it be nice if everyone here was like me". //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]// //[sniff]//
F965 //But when, you know, when you want a bit of// life,
F963 A bit of diversity. //Yeah.//
F965 //Yes, or y- or// I think th- that that's where the danger is for erm tolerance.
F963 Mm mmhm.
F965 you know, we were talking about kids earlier,
F963 Yeah.
F965 how difficult it is if you if you really don't particularly want to be around children.
F963 Mm mmhm.
F965 But children are actually extremely important [laugh]
F963 Mm //[laugh]//
F965 //er members of the community.// And if you, you know, if you exclude them entirely from your life, and you, you're not, your life is less rich
F963 Mm
F965 than it is if you include them, and it's the same with different races, and different nationalities, //etcetera.//
F963 //Yeah.// Erm, I think the diversity thing can have funny knock-on effects, like you were saying about, you know, a small community where //everybody knows each other.//
F965 //[tut] Mmhm//
F963 that the businesses all know who you are, //so//
F965 //That's right.//
F963 if you were getting your messages or //something like that//
F965 //Absolutely.//
F963 there was no question of where you came from or why do you want this //or//
F965 //That's right.//
F963 why am I doing //this, and//
F965 //No child// or nobody under age
F963 Mm
F965 could go in the off-licence and buy drink //because everybody knew who you were.//
F963 //Right. They would, they would know who you were, yes.// //Uh-huh, yeah.//
F965 //They knew what age you were.// They knew your father.
F963 Uh-huh. So that that, I mean that's one area where just the size of the place, not who the people are or where //they come from but//
F965 //Mm//
F963 the size of the place can make a difference. I mean I remember, this is kind of a stupid example but erm when I lived here, when I lived at home,
F965 Mmhm
F963 [tut] erm there was a whole lot of er times where, you know, I was contributing to phone bills and things like that, //and I sort of//
F965 //Mmhm//
F963 took it for granted that that was how it worked. And I remember, when I moved out, //erm//
F965 //An unusual teenager.// //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh] Well,// I used quite a lot of the phone time, but when I when I moved out, when I was first moved into a separate flat, where I was dealing with my own //bills for the first time,//
F965 //Mmhm//
F963 I can remember sort of phoning up BT and saying "Oh, you know, I'd like to set this up, and blah blah blah", and they were sort of like, well, "We'll give you a limit of a hundred pounds, and you're not allowed to go over this", and, you know, there were all these restrictions because to them I was a faceless //new customer,//
F965 //Mmhm mmhm//
F963 and to me, I sort of thought "Well, hang on, I'm used to a different set of //conventions,//
F965 //Mmhm// //[sniff]//
F963 //to do with// sort of, you know, like you, having built up lots of //years of//
F965 //That's right.// //Mmhm [sniff]//
F963 //service with them.// And I found that really strange that, //you know,//
F965 //Yeah.//
F963 suddenly it was all sort of alien and //inconvenient and//
F965 //Yes.//
F963 you know, and it's just a business, you know, it's not really a big //deal but it it makes you//
M964 //Mm//
F965 //Mm//
F963 //feel that wee bit// more alienated from the stuff around //you.//
F965 //But that's why// people are so offended when they've been working for somebody for hundreds of //years and they're suddenly//
F963 //Mm//
F965 made redundant as if they had never, //you know, had no importance,//
F963 //Well, yeah.// //[inaudible]//
F965 //because it is a big// faceless or- they they've given their loyalty //to them you know? And they've thought//
F963 //Yes, yeah, mmhm.//
F965 they mattered and they were just a tiny little //number or//
F963 //Mm.// But if you do know people then there's there's almost a sort of, //you know, natural sense of community that comes.//
F965 //It has its [sniff] ups and its downs, yes.// And it- there's nothing nicer I think for hum- most human beings than to feel that [laugh] everybody knows your name, //you know, that you're erm,//
F963 //[laugh]// //You've got a role and a place, yeah.//
F965 //you're in a commun-, people will notice if you're not there.//
F963 Yeah.
F965 But then it's got the downside of if you don't want to be there that one time, you don't want people coming and asking you why you're not //there. [laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 So it's er it's er //swings and roundabouts.//
F963 //Mm// Yeah, the blue rinse twitching behind the //curtains and all that sort of thing. [inhale]//
F965 //Oh yes, and people, you know, noticing what you're buying in the grocer's// //shop, you know, and.//
F963 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
F965 //Erm// or having to, like, we used to phone up an order of of stuff, //an,//
F963 //Mm mm.//
F965 you know, if you're buying six bottles of vodka, they //might say//
F963 //[laugh]// //"Having a party,//
F965 //"Oh, very strange".// //[laugh] "Yes, a packet of Twiglets as well" [laugh]//
F963 //this weekend, Madam?" [laugh] [laugh]//
F965 to cover. Er, but, you know, there, there maybe isn't a happy medium.
F963 Mmhm
F965 Maybe there's no such thing as a happy medium.
F963 Mm
M964 When we lived in an English village, if you'd //gone to the butcher,//
F965 //Mm//
M964 and then he would see us getting a takeaway he would ask us why. //[laugh]//
F965 //Yes, precisely, precisely.//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 "I thought you bought six pork chops". //[?]this morning?[/?]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 "Why do you need a takeaway? Are you having guests?" //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh mm//
F965 //Yeah, there's, you lose your anonymity but, you know, you pay you pay the price.// //I think as I get older I kind of like losing my anonymity.//
M964 //[sniff]//
F963 Mm //Mmhm//
F965 //I think when you're young and vibrant or you've got something to hide,// //[laugh] it's lovely//
M964 //[laugh] [inaudible]//
F963 //[laugh]//
F965 i- it's lovely to live. Well, I can tell you when I started teaching I did not like living near my school,
M964 //Mm//
F963 //Mm//
F965 because we did have parties. //We had//
F963 //Right.//
F965 people round till four o'clock in the //morning.//
F963 //Mm//
F965 And sometimes we played loud music.
F963 Mm
F965 And I didn't want to live where parents would say "Oh that was that //woman that//
F963 //Right, sort//
F965 has the loud parties and the
F963 Mm
F965 the loose people coming to her house on Saturday nights".
F963 Yeah.
F965 We were only having fun.
F963 Mmhm
F965 Mmhm. But, you ha- at that time you had to be seen //to be a respectable member of society.//
F963 //Mm mm Yeah. uh-huh.//
F965 Now, //I wouldn't//
M964 //[cough]//
F965 care if my children were living next door to me,
F963 Mm
F965 because my life is so //boring! [laugh]//
M964 //[laugh]//
F963 //[laugh]// //Uh-huh mm//
M964 //[cough]//
F965 //Because we don't have that lifestyle any more. [laugh]//
F963 But it's it's more litigious now as well, you know, that if they did think you were doing //something they would probably make a fuss about it.//
F965 //Oh oh they might lose you your job.// //Yeah.//
F963 //Like like you and that// mouth mouth spray thing, you know, the breath freshener. //[laugh] Yeah.//
F965 //Oh the child that said that I was drinking out of a bo- a vodka bottle.//
F963 Cause you had that wee er //skooshy thing.//
M964 //[cough]//
F965 //Did you hear that?// And it was a a breath spray cause I had been smoking.
F963 That's quite scary though, that, you know, somebody can witness something and then suddenly it's a big deal and
F965 And the child's word is always taken before yours.
F963 Right. Yes, yeah. Ah Mind you the time //[inaudible] [laugh]. When I think about it though//
F965 //That was in the classroom. [laugh]//
F963 the times that I've thought, you know, oh I recognise that person from somewhere //else,//
F965 //Mmhm//
F963 or I think, you know, that they're they're carrying something when they're not carrying that at all, you know, I think my own judgement //is quite duff for these things. [laugh]//
F965 //Oh, I wou- I'd be rotten like this.// I would be the worst witness and, you know, //things like//
F963 //Mm//
F965 cars. What kind of //car they were driving,//
F963 //Mmhm mmhm.//
F965 Woo! Maybe it was a white one. [laugh] I think.
F963 And it's so easy when you've got a mental image of something, it's so easy to be convinced //that there's no alternative to that.//
F965 //Mm//
F963 And you think, no //that's what was there, that's what I saw, that's what I remember.//
F965 //Yeah.// Some people are far better witnesses than others,
F963 Mm mmhm yeah.
F965 because they're more observant, but //because my//
F963 //Yeah.//
F965 observance - is that the right word? -
F963 Mm
F965 my observation! - //[laugh]//
F963 //Mm [laugh]//
F965 is so poor, I assume everybody else's is just as poor, //you know, they're just as likely to have made a mistake as I have.//
F963 //Right. Yeah. Uh-huh.//
F965 As I am.
F963 Mm
F965 But er oh I wouldn't trust me as a witness for anything.
F963 I wouldn't trust myself, no I don't think so.

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

Conversation 28: Mother and daughter from Ayrshire and man from USA, part 2/3 - violence, war and society. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 23 May 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Conversation 28: Mother and daughter from Ayrshire and man from USA, part 2/3 - violence, war and society." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 23 May 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Conversation 28: Mother and daughter from Ayrshire and man from USA, part 2/3 - violence, war and society," accessed 23 May 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1419

Conversation 28: Mother and daughter from Ayrshire and man from USA, part 2/3 - violence, war and society


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Mixed
Audience size 3-5

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2005
Recording person id 726
Size (min) 35
Size (mb) 136

Audio setting

Recording venue Private house
Geographic location of speech Prestwick

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Family members or other close relationship
Speakers knew each other Yes

Audio speaker relationships

Family members or other close relationship

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2006
Year material recorded 2005
Word count 7119

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 963
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1970
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Editor
Place of birth Reading
Region of birth Berkshire
Country of birth England
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Research Chemist
Father's place of birth Ayr
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Teacher
Mother's place of birth Fyvie
Mother's region of birth Aberdeen
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes All
French No Yes No Yes
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes


Participant details

Participant id 964
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1960
Educational attainment University
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Secular Jew
Occupation Researcher, barman
Place of birth Norwalk
Region of birth Connecticut
Country of birth USA
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Personnel Administrator
Father's place of birth New York
Father's region of birth New York
Father's country of birth USA
Mother's occupation none
Mother's place of birth New York
Mother's region of birth New York
Mother's country of birth USA


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
Italian No Yes No Yes
Scots No Yes No Yes
Yiddish No Yes No Yes


Participant details

Participant id 965
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment College
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Teacher
Place of birth Fyvie
Region of birth Aberdeen
Birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Prestwick
Region of residence S Ayr
Residence CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Doctor
Father's place of birth Lewis
Father's region of birth Western Isles
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Nurse
Mother's region of birth Argyll
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Arg
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scots Yes No No Yes