Tam's Tall Tales

- Made in Scotland - From Curtains

You Can't Please All the People…
It did not take long for people to let rip with their opinions after the Scotland team uniform was unveiled. The official line on the outfits was varied but supportive. A minister with responsibility for sport defended the ensemble: "Well, it's got people talking," she said. "That's not necessarily a bad thing. It's bold, it's colourful…..the purpose is a parade uniform, something that is going to be very visual and bright when those athletes come out and it certainly ticks those boxes."

The designer, Jilli Blackwood, said "The brief was to come up with a parade uniform that was high on impact and made a real statement, but also had a contemporary feel. There will be no mistaking that this is the Scottish team as they proudly step out at the opening ceremony."

Team Scotland described the male uniform as a "turquoise, fuchsia, navy blue and caramel" tartan kilt with a blue shirt, while the women will wear a "flowing wrap-around dress'', said to be inspired by the Saltire.

OK, that was the case for the defence, but the other side was vocal and hard-hitting.

"Made in Scotland - from curtains" was one comment. And "The blue is a shade which clashes with itself."

I quite liked the tweet of one comedian: "What in the name of British Home Stores is that?"

The caustic commentator from Glasgow's Evening Times dipped his pen in vitriol: "It's a definite throwback to my granny's gingham tablecloth and matching curtains. And I remember she even had a pinny to match." Miaow.

Jilli Blackwood, the designer (on the right in the picture at the top of this article), was the focus of some of the comment such as "looking like a cross between a Victorian beggar and Willie Wonka from the future."

Another critical comment was "Inspired by Brigadoon, Disney and acid..." while another asked "Ever been embarrassed to be Scottish? You have now..."

Clyde, the official logo for the games (pictured here on the left) was unavailable for comment.

But when the Scotland team finally entered the arena at Celtic Park near the end of the opening ceremony on Wednesday night their "turquoise, fuchsia, navy blue and caramel" tartan colours were masked by the multi-colour flashing lights and the Scottish athletes looked exuberant. And anyway, the star of the parade of Commonwealth nations was surely the Scottie dogs (picture here from BBC) that marched at the head of the teams, carrying the name of each of the 71 different nations and territories in the competition. There were actually only 41 dogs but most paraded more than once - though one typically thrawn Scottie decided he wasn't going "walkies" and had to be carried instead.

The Commonwealth Games 2014 opening ceremony could not match the budget or splendour of the opening of the Olympics in London (the Queen arrived by car at Celtic Park rather than appearing to do so by parachute accompanied by James Bond as she did in London) but the overall presentation was greeted with approval which was summed up by the headline on the Daily Express newspaper the next day "Well Plaid!" While some thought it was "camp and kitsch" the designer claimed that it was meant to look like that, with the usual tongue in cheek Scottish humour. It certainly included many Scottish icons from the Loch Ness Monster to Gretna Green and whisky as well as dancing Tunnocks tea cakes.

There was an unplanned moment when cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy stepped forward to help the president of the Commonwealth Games Federation open the baton which had toured all the Commonwealth countries participating in the Games and which contained a message from the Queen.

Please give me whatever feedback comes to mind via tamfromrampant@gmail.com.

Tam O'Ranter
May 2014

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