Billy Sangster

Stuff out of my brain

We Are Northern Lights

A few years ago my then girlfriend and I attempted a move from Scotland to the US. I say attempted, because three months later I decided to return to Scotland. Homesickness had hit me like a ton of bricks. Yes, I’d missed family and friends, that was to be expected, but what I didn’t expect was the problem of the language barrier. It wasn’t that I couldn’t understand, or be understood by, the American people I came across, but it suddenly struck me that I had somehow lost my sense of humour while there. Strangely enough, the things I found funny were all still in my head, but I realised that I’d lost the ability to communicate it.

In Scotland, so much of our culture, personality, in fact our very sense of “Scottishness” is wrapped up in our dialects and accents. I say these in plural because there is so much variation in our collective tongue, from coast to coast, region to region and even town to town. It’s an inevitability that a lot of this variation and diversity is disappearing over time, through globalisation and linguistic evolution, so every now and again I think it’s important we create for ourselves a snapshot of life as we currently know it.

I decided to try and show how much of our humour is wrapped in language by taking the most banal thing I could think of (stones) and proving that even this most boring and uninteresting theme could be injected with our own North East of Scotland Doric dialect to a somewhat comedic effect. So I filmed myself talking about that very subject.

A couple of friends saw the clip I’d uploaded to Vimeo and suggested I submit it to the We Are Northern Lights project. I visited the website, read and agreed wholeheartedly with the director’s idea for the film and passed on a link to my video. To my surprise, the clip was chosen and ended up in the final cut.

I’m very proud to be a part of this wee collage showing the diversity of livelihoods, lifestyles and beautiful scenery in this wonderful country of ours.

I’m looking forward to seeing the finished artefact in it’s entirety on the big screen and I hope everyone else who does so enjoys the work of all participants involved in the project. Each contributor has, I like to think, in his or her own, small way, helped to frame a wee bit of Scottish history.

Billy.