Saturday, 6 February 2016

Far-off Things and Demos Long Ago

Om Sweet Om
or, Coulport-where-were-ye?

            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was OM...

            (On Sunday September 25th an omming raid was carried out by members of Scottish Y.C.N.D. at Glen Douglas. A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said later that a move was afoot to fit anti-om devices at all military installations. A spokesman for the demonstrators, when asked to comment, said "OM".)

            And so it came to pass in the days of the prophet ERB that he led his disciples into an high mountain. And when they were come unto the place, there were certain of the disciples, filled with wrathful ire against the powers of darkness, who commenced to chant and shout with a loud voice. Polaris Out, they said, and Yanks Go Home; and the American guards and British policemen and Special Branch men and dogs and sheep wondered greatly. But the prophet was displeased with those who chanted, and concerned lest the polis and SB and guards and dogs and sheep might be affrighted by the fearsome sound. So he spake unto them saying, Nay, brethren, cease from your shouting, and let us instead intone the mantra OM, to soothe the savage breast and impress all who hear us with its profound significance.

            So they all intoned "OM" and "O MANE PAD ME OM", and it was all so profound and significant that they themselves did not comprehend the profundity and significance of it all. But the prophet TIM was greatly cheered up, and led his band of pilgrims down out of the mountain.

            A policeman was heard to remark, "Scram, SCRAM". And all the guards and security-men and dogs and sheep were not affrighted, but shook their heads at the strange events, and laughed with much hilarity saying, "What a bunch of idiots; we must be on the right side, verily." And the prophet and his followers returned to the Aberdeen bus, and went home, pleased with their new weapon.

SMOTH

Megaton, the magazine of Aberdeen YCND, vol.1, no.4, December 1966; p.10

Notes: 
  • The demonstration was advertised as "Coulport Come All Ye!"
  • SCRAM = Scottish Campaign for Resistance Against Militarism (a nebulous, possibly non-existent organisation). There may be some continuity with the later Scottish Campaign to Resist the Atomic Menace.
  • Incipient "flower power", hippiedom and dabblings in eastern mysticism were (temporarily) in the ascendant among the youth around this time.
  • The text has been tweaked slightly in the interests (mostly) of clarification.
  • Initials ascribed to the "prophet" have been changed in the interests of obfuscation. No allusion to anyone called Herbert is intended.
  • Images of several issues of "Megaton" can be found elsewhere on line.
The “Smoth” name came in this instance from a newspaper misprint, “The woman, Smoth…”, which was happily adopted. [Extra note for fans of radio comedy (you know who you are): This considerably predates The Burkiss Way.]





Demonstrations, many no doubt more effective, continued to be organised at the site.  
 "Coulport is a Royal Naval Armament Depot and is situated seven miles from Faslane Naval Base, which is home to the UK's Trident nuclear weapons system.

Both bases have been subject to regular anti-nuclear protests." - BBC, July 2006

Aberdeen YCND "Happening"
at King Edward's Statue, Union St.  

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