One of the bigger black holes in my experience of Scotland is Perth. The ancient capital is a place I have skirted many times on the way to the surrounding countryside, but I have never actually stopped in the city itself to have a look around. Given its place in history and central location in the country this seems an astonishing oversight, so in Perth on business I decided to rectify it. What would Perth have to offer? To my surprise, douce Perth - a place I associate with pursed-lipped, cardie-clad matrons and farmers in flat caps and wellies - offered a big traffic-stopping parade, complete with music, flags and colourful costumes!
A foreign tourist visiting Perth would view this unexpected spectacle with delight, and no doubt the organisers of the parade would encourage this view, arguing that it gives working class Protestants a common cause to bond around, giving their youngsters pride in their community's history, and teaching them music and marching. Anyone who knows their history knows there is a bit more to it than that: this was an Orange parade, the mood triumphalist and exclusive rather than festive, the marchers acommpanied by neddy hangers-on in Rangers shirts carrying Union Flags with the date 1690, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne.
My surprise was to see this spectacle in Perth. I'd always assumed that Orange marches were confined to Glasgow and the surrounding area. I didn't fancy a poke around Perth if there was an Orange march on, and who knows how many other people were put off visiting Perth that day? As I was sitting in traffic waiting to be directed by the police, my mind wandered over to this classic scene from the Blues Brothers:
view from 1:25 in:
A four pointed cross on a two pointed island.
2 hours ago