A former BBC Scotland comedy writer, Gary has lived in Australia for over 10 years, working as a fruit picker, nightclub bouncer, waiter and then, somewhat bizarrely, a probation officer in the town of Nimbin: Australia’s Marijuana Capital. He currently teaches English and Drama at a secondary school in the mountains of Victoria. His hobbies are various outdoor pursuits, playing guitar and observing Scotland from a distance. Gary’s latest “project” is a Clydesdale/Appaloosa foal he’s named Hugh in the hope that the local horse breeding society won’t realise the significance of its second name being Jarse.
You can follow Gary on Twitter @gjp3003
The basis of the joke is that Scots are not the most romantic nation in the world. The punch line, if you can call it that, entails a simple re-arrangement of the words, ‘Agnes’, ‘yourself’ and ‘brace’. Oh, my aching ribs.
Leaving aside the dubious musical qualities of Lionel for a moment, I'd like to paraphrase the lyric: "I don't know much, but I know what gets right up my schneb. And that's all I need to know."
Take the Bauchle of Bathgate herself, wee Susan Boyle. Yes, that’s right, take her away, as far as possible from me. I know she has her fans and is worth 12 million quid or thereabouts, but that doesn't alter the fact that, as far as I'm concerned, Susan is pure mince.
It's called cultural cringe, a condition which can best be described as an acute feeling of embarrassment, reticence and general discomfiture when it comes to the achievements, traditions and in particular, culture of the mother country.
Sound familiar? I mean, let's face it, when it comes to cultural cringe, we Scots wrote the book. Sure, there are lots of things we have to be proud of, but far more that utterly mortify us.
Despite some impressive musical credentials, Colin isn't exactly a household name, though you'll know his best known song, the seminal Australian worldwide smash, Down Under, which he recorded with his 1980s band Men at Work.
And guess what? Despite living in Australia since the late 1960s, Colin is one of us, hailing originally from the seaside paradise of Saltcoats, which must have really spoiled him for the beaches of Oz, where the sand is yellow and the sea turquoise, rather than the other way round.
Of course, that’s not unusual in itself; after all, I live in the Victorian Alpine village of Swifts Creek, but this one really took the McVities Digestive.
Someone asked me if I was American.
To be honest, being taken for a foreigner with a funny accent, outlandish clothes and weird unfathomable habits is hardly a life shattering event, especially not for me – it used to happen every time I went to Paisley.
Despite everything, the Brits were still ultimately in charge in Oz; the official head of state was the British monarch and her representative, the governor-general, reserved the power to sack the elected Government if he felt like it, which actually happened in the 1970s.
The 1999 referendum would give Aussies the chance to bin this (some said) anachronistic and politically illogical situation and I for one was sure Republicanism would be given the go-ahead. Well, it was a no-brainer, wasn't it?
Here in Oz, the boy Murray done good and I'm firmly of the opinion that back home and indeed, all over the globe, Andy-Pandy-monium is set to become the biggest tartan phenomenon since the Bay City Rollers squeezed into their high-waisted sta-pres breeks and promptly set pop music back a good 20 years.
Let's face it, we could do with a hero right now, since Jocks with a worldwide appeal are currently as rare as personal integrity in the Celebrity Big Brother House.
Sunbathing? Forget it, the concept doesn't exist in the Alice and in fact, even in less steamy parts of Australia, it's called sunbaking and is generally only practised by crazed chihuahuas and people of an English persuasion. Balmy it wasn't.
January here in Oz, being right slap bang in the middle of summer, is very much the holiday month.
So, in other words, whilst you’re grinding your way to work, post festive season, in the freezing, miserable half light, skint and depressed with nothing but those half-dozen cans of sweetheart stout that inexplicably turned up in your kitchen the morning after the Hogmanay party to cheer you up, we’re basking in temperatures that rarely dip below 30 degrees Celsius. (That’s 77F in the old money.)
Firstly, as you stumble around, trying to find your bearings, it's only a matter of time before you're accosted by a shabby, shifty looking individual who'll ask whether you're interested in a) drugs, b) his sister, c) a guided tour of the old town or d) all of the above.
Meanwhile, on some pedestrian precinct or market square nearby, you'll hear the familiar sounds of a Peruvian pan pipe ensemble playing a seemingly endless version of El Condo Paso.
The message, not entirely unexpected, but still nonetheless distressing and wholly unwelcome said that my Dad had had a heart attack and, with a less than positive prognosis, was in Glasgow's Southern General Hospital.