Sunday, 17 October 2010

SKEEM LIFE BOOK

This latest work by Gary Robertson should appeal to many of you - called "Skeem Life", the book is an account of his own personal experience of being a youngster in Dundee in the 70's, with the emphasis on getting up to mischief...!!
If you want to recall your old school days when you were a wee rascal, or the times you were up to no good around the housing schemes, this book will take you there.
Those of you who are familiar with Gary's writing will know to expect lots of laughs, plenty oary lingo and an abundance of cheery memories.
Available now at your local book emporium.
Do yourself a favour - go nick a copy!!

29 comments:

  1. Can I start the pranks rolling...
    When we were aged 12/13 in 1970/71, we got up to a bit of mischief around Craigie with our version of Chickenelly. You remember the game where you knocked on a strangers door then scarper before they answer it. Well we took it one stage further. We used to tie fishing line around empty milk bottles, sneak into a closie, place the bottles as far up the stairs as the line would reach and tie the other end to a door handle. Then it was, knock on the door, run for it, hear all the bottles smashing when somebody opened the door, and roll around laughing!!

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  2. Not sure if he isn't simply continuing where Dave Philips left off although I personally like The Cundeez music, but as far as celebrating life in the Dundee schemes of the 70s, I would bet if you got a group of fifty somethings from any council estate in the country be it Ballieston, Wester Hailes, Park Mills Sheffield or Hulme in Manchester to name a few, the shared experiences would be pretty much identical. The only thing that sets the Dundee schemes apart is the way that the totally corrupt Labour council of the time built them end to end along the whole of the green belt to the north of the Kingsway stretching from Douglas in the East to Charleston in the West just to maintain a solid Labour voting ghetto while they and their cronies could rake in the money. Not sure there is anything to celebrate there at all!! Certainly NOT the Dundee I have fond memories of growing up in during the 60s and 70s

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  3. Well said that man.It can only be a matter of time before this is turned into a play at the Rep. to join all the rest of the navel staring dross that has been staged there over the years.What is it about us Dundonesians that we can't ever seem to raise our heads and aspirations above bloody jute etc and how bad things were in the past. Wake up and ask yourselves why incomers, like the thousands of students who come here seem to have a higher opinion of the place than the locals.

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  4. The book's about kids at play, not adults at work!!!

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  5. Davie Phillips was a good friend of the family.
    Great guy and was never seen without a poly bag!

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  6. And the negativity continues. What is it with Dundonesians that they can never have a good word to say about anyone from the city trying to be a success? Those who always criticise, let's see your books, singles, EPs, and albums.

    And no, I'm not in the Cundeez.

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  7. But it's hard to be positive about something that is not very good!

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  8. What a state some of you get into in the comments. Hilarious!
    You seem to think business investment in Dundee is going to crash to a halt or something, just because of a wee book on a shelf!
    So now that you've revealed you feel threatened by this nasty piece of work, can we expect a nazi style book burning session soon?
    Or are any of you brave enough to tell Gary your problems to his face because he will be in WH Smith on Thursday. No anoymous screen for you to hide behind mind you!
    You didn't appear to relate to having had fun as kids, the subject of the book, so do we assume that because of your funless, humourless, unadventurous childhood, that you later went on to find work with Health & Safety?!!!
    You should join in more.
    The book is as enjoyable as a visit to Salford to see LS Lowry paintings.

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  9. On a lighter note, I remember going with my cousin from Fintry to play Chickenelly in Whitfield on bikes. Great for whizzing along the landings doing 20 doors at a time. Ahh, happy days!

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  10. Good Luck Gary x

    lesley g

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  11. we used to climb up the poles on the outside of the pleties in Ure street to then slide back down again wearing plastic sandals and shorts and the obligatory sloppy joe shirt, par cours for tinkies

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  12. Middle aged men getting a bathered aboot a website that is meant as a wee trip doon memory lane. Lighten up.

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  13. We used to play a game aroond the backies called "Knifie".
    2 of us would stand with our feet together, facing each other. One would throw a knife into the ground a few inches away from the opponents feet. The opponent would then have to move their nearest foot to where the knife had stuck. Then it was their turn to throw the knife. The longer it went on, the wider apart the feet would become and the loser would be the one who either lost their balance, or couldn't stretch over to where the knife had stuck.
    The times when the knife didn't stick in the ground with a throw, the opponent would win the game.

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  14. The Cundeez.....Brilliant!!! Love them.

    I think the two boys on the left of the photo went to Jim Frasers Karate at the Friary on Tullidelph Road the same time as me....very familar faces...

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  15. Another wee bit of mischief we got up to around Craigie was when we did the "Grand National". Jumping over everybody's hedges!
    The best place was Aboyne Avenue because the area we selected was flat and had around 10 hedges. So off we'd set, 3 or 4 of us leaping over the first hedge, a quick sprint across the lawn, then onto the next one, then the same all the way to the end. There were a couple of big hedges there which meant we had to dive over them rather than jump! When we reached the last one, it was right next to the garages at the back of the shops, so we would continue running down past the garages onto Huntly Road, to make good our escape! We were too fast for anybody who shouted out of their windows or came running out their doors. We were already in the stable having a good laugh!!

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  16. We used to do a different version of Chickenelly, we would tie 2 opposite door handles together with the rope threaded through the handle of a "metal" bin lid , with just enough slack to lie the bin lid flat in the close so when both folk tried to open their doors there was an almighty tug of war going on with the doors being pulled to and fro and the bin lid making an almighty din as it lifted and dropped in the closie, there was also one with a brown paper bag , a lump of dog sh*t a box of matches and a knock on a door, but we never did that one ;)

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  17. Small pond, small book, small life. Sad kids frowned upon aspiration. In better cultures kids aspire, and yes play without causing misery to others. Swots were derided in Dundee but any decent culture see's their accusers as dumb jackasses. Thicko's. Low life dumbo's. I was one of those as a kid growing up in Dundee, but I've seen it for what it sadly is.

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  18. That's all very well you slagging the scum of the earth, but where were your appraisals when I put the item about Don Paterson up on Retro Dundee, someone higher up the social echelon?

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  19. sorry Retro. Drink got the better of me last night. No offence intended, but having suffered poverty in my youth, its not something I look back on fondly. The play was a light in an otherwise dull bleak existence. I think the toon had more for kids than any skeem as regards to play.

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  20. The old demon drink eh?!
    Glad life in the ghetto as a youngster didn't leave you TOO bitter and twisted!
    It's not the kids fault for being brought up in wherever they find themselves plonked into on the planet. Children have lots of fun in the rancid townships of South Africa and in amongst the bombed out city rubble in Iraq. It's a natural thing, not a class thing.
    From that you can assess that it's the adults who are the problem, not the kids!

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  21. I grew up quite poor up the blackie but a better adventure playground than the dilapidated tenements earmarked for demolition or ganghuts in the air-raid shelters Ive yet to see. fritters for tea was a luxury and was deeply appreciated, it's all swings and roundabouts the less you have the more you enjoy the little you get.

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  22. Arite G, just read some o the hilarious comments left regarding the Skeem Life book, The Cundeez, Dundee culture etc. I love the fact that some subscribers hide behind anonymous handles (keyboard hardmen I think is the modern term!) and pass comment on a book they've not bothered to read. The book is about FUN and FUN alone! I don't see any comments putting the boot into other fantastic Dundee writers who reminisce Mae Stewart, Wullie Robertson, Mick McCluskey etc. I've had a great life and have great pride in my city, its people, its culture and its Oary language and I'll keep promoting it any way I can. Funny thing is, there's a multitude of people enjoying it as well as was shown in the mega popularity of the Berries play, Gangs Of Dundee book street poetry but blowing one's ane trumpet's no fir me! Sadly we do have a wee minority of jealous knockers who love to chuck dockies from afar. The View lads have been victims of this cowardly pish more than any. Critics - really I couldn't give a cat's shite for! Let me read some of YOUR work or some positive stuff you've done for charity and we can hae a wee blether - you can get me at my house in Findowrie St, Fintry Skeem any night. Just knock. Anyway G, keep up the magnificent work wi the site - a real credit to Dundee. Cheerz. Gary Robertson

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  23. As it's been said before, this website is all about reminiscing about the old days. If you're not interested in the subject matter, or don't have anything decent to say other than "pish" etc. then have a wee look else where on Retro, I'm sure you will find something to your taste. Dundee has/had a lot of good and bad points. It's all subjective. Just chill oot and enjoy! By the way, I'm auld and I like The View too!

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  24. just read skeem life and having followed almost the same path as gary fae the whitfield multis ower ti gods country albeit in the 80's i thot it was superb, a wee bit confused tho concernin yer namein o the multis wiz murrayfield court no the big white block across fae massies? pert fae that yer books a belter mate top notch!! corries nephew by the way, shams rool!!!

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  25. Trouble with the 'fun' you describe Gary is that you ignore the fact that there are many victims who suffer from the fun you describe. The old, the weak.

    I remember the so called fun, like the boy who stuck firework 'bangers' up a cats arse, or settin light to a paper wrapped shit and puttin through an old boys door. Real hard that was but it seems a few words of criticism has pricked a raw nerve. Better to be a keyboard hardman and provide reasoned argument than the cowardly bully of the thug who are individually small, inadequate and have to hang in gangs for self reassurance.

    Retro, I love your site with many great items and memories to share. On this post there may be disagreement, but don't let that cloud opinion about all the good stuff we share in common. All for Dundee, its just that from all quarters, looking at 'the law' it might seem a different view, but its still the same law. God bless, good night!

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  26. "I've told you a MILLION times - stop exaggerating!"...an amusing wee quote from Rick of The Young Ones, which seems to be quite apt.
    Retro is "warts 'n' all". What happened in the 60's, 70's & 80's happened, you can't change it. Moaning about it now does seem rather futile, so looking back at it with humour may be your best approach.
    These extreme "cruel" examples of kids mischief you use, has to be said, were on a very small scale in relation to the many years of general fun & play we had.
    Also included in what we considered to be fun was, doing shopping for our elderly neighbours, helping out with the gardening, car washing, collecting jumble for jumble sales, we even helped the scaffies with the bins! To use another "extreme" example like you did, only positive, my mate once saved a wee boy from drowning in the Ferry.
    So you know, I think many of you are taking things way out of proportion to help bolster your argument.
    It's just bairns & young teenagers trying to suss things out. Mucking about, discovering the limits, maybe trying your luck, knowing when to stop, learning from the mistakes, improving your skills, etc. Then hopefully we find ourselves better human beings when we reach adult life. Not always the case though is it - war, politics, relgion, authority etc etc, again using extreme examples.
    I reckon it is better/safer to be a bit streetwise if you happen to be brought up in a council housing scheme, than to be a namby pamby mummy's boy.
    If someone ever does a Retro Dundee covering the 1990 to 2010 period in 50 years time, the schools, shops, pubs, fashion, music etc will have changed, but the content and comments will be exactly the same!
    As Goethe put it - "Ignorant men raise questions that wise men answered a thousand years ago".

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  27. Blackpool Charlie30 October 2010 at 19:11

    my mates dad "ran we the shams" and he swears Gary Robertson didnae! not trying to coz bather but quite interesting if true, hmmmm

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  28. Spot on Blackpool Charlie, yir mate's dad's 100% correct. I never stood at the front o the Shams gang or had a jumper or cardie. As mentioned it in the Gangs o Dundee book. I did what a load o kids did during those times and hid behind the safety of numbers - they were dodgy times. I couldn't fight sleep, hated fighting then and hate it now. I was however very interested in the history of how the youth gangs were born just as they were all over Britain. As for ANON, nae nerves hit friend. Just don't see the need to hide behind no name. The sticking of bangers up cat's arses or throo letterboxes, or firey shite - I never took any part in and I wouldn't write about stuff like that saying it was hilarious! Some crazy people did those things which any sane person knew was bad. Read the book, borrow it from someone (save yih a tenner) then put pen to paper and comment! I know I'll never please everyone (itz no human) but if a load o people hae a laugh then job done. When anybody bears their soul creatively in life whether itz through writing, performing, painting - they're always gonna be judged - fair do's! Some fowk tho will stick the boot in no matter what - again, fair do's! I'm just glad I learned to look at life positively! That's the last I'll comment on here as I'm not one for Forums, chatrooms etc. Much prefer face-to-faces blethers! Keep up the great work G - plenty mair o this Dundee keech comin cause meh bren's on overtime - Street Poet signin oot!

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  29. I grew up in Whitfield in the 70's. I've lived in the funniest places over africa, asia and europe.I do this with little or no money.I'm still doing it with honesty and integrity. thanks a lot to Whitfield and the people there.I wouldn't have wished to grow up anywhere else.

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