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Our Donald – Private Fraser On Lionsgate Holiday…

Date: 23rd March 2024

In this week’s second blog from our resident writer Donald Stewart:

Private Fraser On Lionsgate Holiday…  

A ghostly figure emerged from the undergrowth… 

Everyone in West Lothian whispered the name of this ethereal presence with fear and loathing in their very being… 

But everyone, and I mean everyone, knew and heard it whisper in the bushes, roar on the bleachers and speak loudly in the pub of the one holiday spot in their local area where people went to relax and spend time each and every weekend… 

The Lionsgate Lair. 

Launched in Livingston, moved from Meadowbank, known as the new and now gnarled experiment headed by Mr. Martindale, as a holiday camp where dreams come to live… This is where the whispers have targeted. 

Unfortunately for Mr. Martindale, this ghastly presence appears to have taken up residence in the local morgue… Which looks like his holiday camp.  

Increased “sightings” and reports of hearing him have skyrocketed over the last fortnight.  

The appearance of the ghostly presence of this Old Home Guard private seems to have sealed his fate… 

Fraser is his name, and doom mongering his game… 

Picture the scene… 

Mr. Martindale sits as a lonely figure in his office. 

Once seen amongst the landscape of the whole of the country as a mythical figure himself, he was the toast of West Lothian. And many people who came to challenge him were indeed toasted by his approaches and his presence.  

But now the fun is out of the funfair. The public are no longer flocking to his pub. And his stock is plummeting amongst the elite holiday homes.  

Drastic measures are needed… 

He knows that his time has become limited…  

A few short days ago, after another underwhelming weekend, he first heard in the little village shop that the bogeyman had arrived. He had never heard of a bogeyman in Livington before , but he always knew he was an incomer. He was not a native, a knower of the wily ways, of the ways of the people who had taken him to their bosoms but had always kept him at arm’s length. 

He was accepted, but differently from the ones born and bred to the place.  

He was loved, but like a distant uncle unseen until the big family wedding once a decade when he returns to tell a tale of being away for so long in mystical places… 

 He was a temporary fixture.  

Of that he knew. Of that he was aware. Of that he was keenly feeling the presence of a new phenomenon. 

Apparently long ago, when the area had coalmines, there were Spanish incomers who settled, and these settlers brought their own mythology. When a pit was getting close to a disaster or shutting, they would speak of a bad man who would come to haunt their presence. He would inhabit their minds and help them make… 

Mistakes… 

Now Mr. Martindale knew that errors were all over the place, from right at the back, through the middle fields and into the thrust and attack of any of his marketing campaigns, silly little things had happened. He had always done what he had always done – back his beleaguered and loyal staff. He had never wavered from believing that the mistakes were nothing short of just being wee errors that needed to be sorted rather than huge problems that required drastic action. 

But now… 

Local legend had it that the Spanish miners had left this legacy of a doom mongering presence which had been taken up by locals who remembered a man, an incomer during the Second World War who had such a negative view of life that whilst he was long gone, his presence, that feeling he brought and the voice of his doom mongering lingered. 

He used to announce, “we are all doomed, doomed!” 

In a low slung pantheon to the Gods above, this would happen just before something would fall apart. Like a MacBeth or something it included when wee Sam got his teeth knocked out by the milk float to when that Beast from the East arrived and caused havoc.  

More worryingly for Mr. Martindale, every time someone was getting the sack, people started to “Private Fraser it.” 

It began a few weeks ago. People spoke in hushed tones. Murmurs were, however beginning to build into open revolt. People were speaking openly of a post Mr. Martindale era.  

Mr. Martindale drained the last of his Chai latte, took the last of his pain au chocolat from the plate and gubbed it.  

Time was running out and action was needed. This weekend was a quiet one and he needed everyone in for a talk. A pep talk, but time to lance the boil of this ghostly presence. 

Meanwhile somewhere in the Lionsgate Lair, there was a malevolent presence lurking. Furtively luring in the undergrowth. There was someone, tall, lanky some say, and unkindly a streak of something in the Lion’s Lair… As he peppered a dart board with the picture of his nemesis, of the confused Mancunian Edinburghering Mr. Stewart, The Big Levein contemplated life. Having moved from Brechin to Perth recently, things were looking up for him, but… he was never satisfied. Many believed until he was back in Gorgie, fulfilling his destiny he would always be a nomad. His reason for being here? Secret and without anyone knowing he was plotting… like he always did. Just then the door opened and the man who he thought should run the Lionsgate Lair entered. The traps had been set and pushing the play button, tiny little recorders all over the Lionsgate Lair were set to whisper when they noticed motion their Alexa like mantra of sack Mr. Martindale as we are all dooooooomed ready to play when people walked past. 

Time to see if their devilish plan was going to work.  

 

Whilst the author asserts his right to this as an original piece of work there is no evidence that David Martindale drinks Chai Latte or that Craig Levein plots the demise of any manager or that he and Michael Stewart do not get on, unless you know differently, so, this is clearly a piece of fiction. (OK so we do know that Craig Levein and Michael Stewart do not swap Christmas cards…) 

The fact is that Livingston are clearly struggling and 10 points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table. As Edinburgh City have fallen to League Two, Clyde are fighting for their very lives and the Championship is hotting up for a climax, the Premiership looks all but finished for Livingston who are quite clearly close enough as the BBC headline recently asked to being, doomed… But Mr. Martindale is bullish as he said to the BBC, “I’m not going into my work to get relegated. “I’m not getting out my bed in the morning to be relegated. I’m going in to win the next game of football for Livingston and see where it takes me. I’m not trying to put false positivity across, but that’s all I can focus on. People have had us down for the last six years. If we go down, we’ll go down fighting and we’ll try and come back up. This shouldn’t be a shock to everyone, a club of Livingston’s size, we’re favourites for relegation every year but that doesn’t mean we’re going to accept it.” 


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