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An ex-pat writes: I'll always defend Scottish talent (even Charlie Miller and Bob Malcolm)

A strange thing happens to you when you become domiciled in another country- you become ridiculously protective of the indigenous culture you merrily left behind.

No better how duff you've always believed that culture to be.

For instance, in recent times, here in Australia I've found myself championing such unlikely (and I'd always thought somewhat indefensibly rotten) elements of Scotland as The Proclaimers (let's face it, they're a novelty act), Mark McManus from Taggart (let's face it, he was a novelty act) and Susan Boyle (let's face it, she's crap).

But no, in various different ways, for some hard-to-fathom inherent reason, I've stoutly defended them - championed them no less, quite fervently, as the night wore on - all for the simple reason that, okay, even though they're garbage, second rate and hard to take seriously, they're all, in their own way, still Jock Tamson's Baims.

The other thing that happens - and I accept there's little or no logic in this - is that you become unrelentingly hard line about the local culture, the one you've actually chosen to live among.

It all started with a discussion about Rolf Harris. Now, straight off, can I just say that the outcome of his present legal predicament wasn't actually up for debate.

The point I was making was simply that I felt Rolf is - and always has been - the living embodiment of what used to be called a Bengal Lancer.

Talent? He couldn't spell it. Rolf's act is, quite simply lame.

Number one: he plays the accordion. The only instrument in the history of music which significantly lessens your chances of getting off with a women.

Number two: he's crap.

And number three: no, that's it. I've quite plainly successfully made my case.

Rolf, however, is beyond criticism in Australia. But it's not just the bearded wobble-boarder that Aussies defend to the hilt. Australian rock music has had its stars but relatively few have made the big step up to international fame. Usually for a reason. They're not very good.

I'll instantly exclude AC/DC from that category. Not altogether my bag, but it's impossible to deny the fact that AccaDacca, as they're known here, are a highly successful kick-ass band.

I always feel pretty happy when I tell my Aussie mates I rate AC/DC, because the roots of the group are undeniably and somehow essentially Scottish.

They like a good drink - Bon Scott, the original vocalist, actually died the classic rock star death...choked on vomit after a big night on the sauce - they play it loud and proud and one of them likes to cut about in shorts and a school cap. Hey, you can't get much more Scottish than that.

But AccaDacca aside, who else is there? There's been a TV miniseries on here recently - and yes it was pants - about INXS, the Australian band from the 1980s who had a few hits and played to some pretty big crowds in Britain and the US.

But were they - as was claimed more than once and in a tone which brooked absolutely no argument - the biggest band in the world?

"Before them, there was the Rolling Stones" (intoned the opening voiceover) "and then came along a bunch of boys from Australia."

The biggest band in the world? I don't remember that. Must have been on holiday that week.

Paradoxically, a recent poll found that rock dinosaurs Midnight Oil had been voted, historically, the best ever band in Australia. Midnight Oil? They wouldn't be, as a pal of mine said, even the best band in Paisley.

This illogical prejudice even extends to other aspects of Aussie society. Take football for instance, or soccer as they say here, a tag I have no problem with whatsoever since it stands for association football which is, after all, the game's official name.

The A League, despite being played in fantastic weather, on great, grassy, level pitches free from the obvious ball playing hazards of mud, glaur, and glabber, manages to be resolutely dull, defensive and riddled with basic errors.

Nothing like our own game back home then?

No, it's worse than that; take it from me, an opinion which has only been strengthened in recent times by some of the Scottish "talent" duly imported.

There was Charlie Miller, who admittedly still had a few tricks up his sleeve but whose physical condition and alleged off-field antics combined to make it look like he'd come over here straight from a not very successful season in the Possil Unemployed League.

Then - and this was one which tested my Caledonian pride to the max - we had, for a mercifully short time, big Bob Malcolm, a man who any Rangers or Motherwell fan will no doubt remember as the biggest dumpling to emerge from Scottish football since the halcyon days of Crawford Baptie.

Bob, frankly, couldn't do a thing right. And all I could do to defend him was point out that as a centre back from the Brisbane Roar, he was clearly being played out of position.

(His correct position, of course, being back in the dressing room slicing up the half-time oranges and sweeping out the toilets.)

I suppose, in the end, it all boils down to that well known condition which seems to affect all ex-pats.

Being so loyal and devoted to Scotland that you'd do anything for the old country (except live there, obviously) and thereby addicted to the absurd proposition that yeah, quite a lot of purveyors of Scottish sport and culture might be second rate, inoculated against talent, and essentially a bit embarrassing.

But hey, they're still ours.

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