Saturday, 14 June 2014

Dressing up in Aberdeen

Cheerz Bar - apparently a favoured venue
for those in Aberdeen's development industry

You know, I was travelling back home after an important business meeting in Aberdeen last week on the fabulous ScotRail Express to Inverness when an extraordinary series of events took place.

I was with a friend of mine called Cameron and we were chatting away when I overheard three young men further down the carriage discussing the business environment in Aberdeen. My ears pricked up! In particular they were speculating that to be successful, you have to be a member of one of the city's many Freemasonry Lodges. These young men were having a great laugh and mentioned some of my heroes in less than flattering terms, suggesting that they were all part of secret society in which all sorts of locker room activity and dubious public school games are rampant. I rose from my seat to confront them but was pulled back by my friend. I was absolutely furious! How dare they besmirch the reputations of my heroes - in public! It took me quite a few miles, a cup of tea and a Tunnock's caramel wafer to calm down. I have to admit that Cameron is more a man of the world than I am so I listened carefully to what he had to say.

First of all he told me that freemasonry is of course rife in all successful companies and organisations in the city - this is a given. Women are regarded as a sub-species and at a typical black tie event the after-dinner speaker will routinely demean women. It's great fun apparently but would be rather embarrassing for most enlightened people - like me.

Then came the second revelation. Apparently the Hon Dr Donald Trump is a symbol of virility and a gay icon in Aberdeen and the North East! That's why his photograph appears so frequently in the Press and Journal. It also explains why my lovely wee blog gets hundreds of hits every time I write something that features the Great Man. It seems that fishermen and farmers from Fraserburgh to Tomintoul are already tuned into this and have a huge appetite for all sorts of Trump imagery and memorabilia. I can imagine the Great Man as a figurehead on a trawler being very popular - or even on a tractor!
The Dr Donald and Sir Ian Show

Thirdly, Cameron went on to tell me about 'dressing up'. By this time I was in turmoil and completely speechless. When I published my highly popular post entitled 'The Dr Donald and Sir Ian Show' about the Great Donald being awarded an Honorary Degree from Robert Gordon's University which was of course presented to him by Sir Ian Wood, I simply didn't realise that this was another dimension of Aberdeen's LGBT scene venturing out into the public eye - for the ignorant out there that is the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community. The same thing happened when Hon Dr Wee Stewartie Milne got his degree - they all got dressed up and allegedly had a whale of time - off camera as it were. As Cameron said to me, these ceremonies are more to do with coming out, dressing up and having a laugh than a serious academic occasion. Boys will be boys I suppose.

We had only reached Huntly when Cameron suggested that I was a complete simpleton not to have seen this and that my lovely wee blog was rubbish. He used the expression IOTTMCO about the Aberdeen situation - which apparently stands for Intuitively Obvious to the Most Casual Observer. I bristled but inside I felt crushed - could I really have been so blind? What he was implying was that the entire success of Aberdeen as the economic dynamo of the Scottish economy was not based on the entrepreneurial talents of rich and clever people but on their membership of masonic boys clubs in which they dress up for each other, visit gay bars, game the system, fast-track job opportunities and divvy up contract awards on a routine basis. At that point in the conversation, the only trickle-down I felt was a cold bead of sweat running down the inside of my arm.

Now as an expert planner, I'm familiar with many forms of regeneration – the RTPI is always inventing new terms for our work - but I haven't heard of masonic regeneration. Perhaps it will have its moment in the sun and Auchterness will have been the first to have brought you news of a coming trend.

Unfortunately I can't name names in this story - in any case, the list would be too long. However it is absolutely amazing that architects, public sector bodies, quangos, developers, bankers, contractors and business people - all based in Aberdeen - are part of this incredibly successful secret society. Personally I would like to be part of it and I'm sure I have much to offer - especially when it comes to dressing up! Apparently though, I have to be invited first.

Cheery-bye for now and best wishes from Auchterness. I will be back again soon with more insights into the world of the town planner.

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