‘A History of Drinking: The Scottish Pub Since 1700’ by Anthony Cooke

As the 2016 Scottish Court of Session deliberates over the current MUP (Minimum Unit Pricing) alcohol controversy, it is serendipitous and timely to take stock of Anthony Cooke’s 2015 omnibus study of just how and why Scotland’s government is once again at odds with the Drink Trade. Advocates for MUP, such as SHAAP (Scottish Health […]

Fairies, Faith, and Fatherland in James Hogg’s ‘The Brownie of Bodsbeck’

As we hurtle further into the darker days bookended by Samhain guising on the one end and Hogmanay rituals on the other, it seems an appropriate season to revisit James Hogg’s curious and enduring tale of a Scottish fairy beguiling Christian folk, his roots in the Autumn Celtic festival of Samhain overlaid with the Christian […]

Whisky: The Spirit of Scottish National Identity

‘Whisky, no doubt, is a devil; but why has this devil so many worshippers?’ — Lord Henry Cockburn, 6 April 18451 Beyond the kitsch culture of kilts lies Scotland’s last, enduring, and somewhat problematic fetish: Scotch whisky. This morning I would like to argue that through a turbulent history of illegal distillation, royal rehabilitation, and […]

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