Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Jock Ferguson, an actor who devotes his life promoting all things Scottish.

He got in touch with me through the site complimenting us on a job well done and pointing me towards certain historical factors I should explore, namely The Picts and William Wallace in more detail.

After several communications with him I decided to ask if I could do a wee feature on him which he happily agreed to do.

As you read this article you will hopefully get an idea of what Jock is trying to instil in all of us. I was inspired by his passion and devotion to his country's history and culture, I think you will be to.

Jock spends most of his time running a production company called HERALD EVENTS They do a lot of Scottish themes, from Jacobite nights to Wars of Independence presentations. They also make films and one of their most successful was William Wallace - The True Story, made for Cromwell Films, which has had several TV screenings.

When he's not busy doing this he's out and about trying to raise the issue about Scotland's heritage, for example,

" Last year, the 700th anniversary of Wallace's murder, The Scottish Exec. wheeled me out to bring it to the attention of the gentlemen of the press, lest it be construed that our great leaders were ignoring it (which they were).

We did a load of photos at the Wallace Monument and circulated every paper in Britain. Result? Not one rag used them.

There were fifteen radio interviews where I could talk-up Scotland, some of which were overseas so that was a good return for the money.

What we propose is that on August 23rd (or near enough) this year and every year the nation at home and abroad celebrates Wallace Day.
If we wait for the authorities to do something, well, it'll be another 701 years.

The Scottish Exec. are currently doing a feasibility study to see if next Tartan Day, we might actually celebrate our culture.
Bollocks to them.
I say we pick up the baton and do things for ourselves with no grinning politicians or official seals of approval.

We have registered a domain name and I'll be looking to pull all my favours with the filth of the press to highlight the notion of a celebration of Scottish culture.

We are suggesting booking the function room of the local hotel and singing some Burns and Corries. A barbecue with a piper.
Show Whisky Galore and Maggie at the community centre. Get kids involved. A song for Wallace. Have a mini-Highland games.

Anything really. But no anti-English crap. Reading proper history books will reveal who's to blame...

Are you up for it?

I really don't want to write the script for this because our culture is rather abundant for harvesting. Next time a few of you are together, maybe throw a few ideas around. I think being all-welcoming is the way forward, pc or no pc.

One thing I really value is my character Fergus the Pict. He tours primary schools talking about life in those times, of blue-painted men, Romans and chasing the deer. Kids love this!
I then do an arts workshop, taking rubbings, printing and freehand painting all of which the bairns can take home.
Angus Council asked me what the most positive aspect of the job was; easy, eight year olds now know more about the Picts than I did at thirty.

Our Scottish nights are great. It's like an exercise in outdoing each other and we're no' young!

Our wedding ceremony, sometimes done as a vow renewal is our nicest thing, set in 1320. There's no religion in it (or me) and we've done it for couples from all over the world. It gets people enthusing over its beauty, followed by a right good bagpipe/ bhodran/ singing/ dancing hoolie.

We even did a non-religious Celtic funeral in Dublin.

"The priest spoke to boys but you spoke to MEN." was the nicest comment.
Then it was hours on end of shenanigans. These people know how to throw a funeral!

 I formed Herald Events to get control over my work. The company motto is Potestas Perfectas, which is the nearest I can get to 'complete control'. The company is named after my Sunday car, the wee Triumph you rarely see nowadays. The company logo is its tail-fin.

The best piece of work I've done is a 30 minute film The Complaynt Of Scotland. It is a satire set in 1555, where a mythical figurehead of the country, Dame Scotia, accuses the nobility, clergy and common man of failing their country in time of an English occupation.

I was living in Dundee then so I approached the council for funding. As usual, I was ignored. Being on the dole at the time, this was not going to be easy so I organised a raffle and got a dozen people to put in a hundred pounds in return for a mention in the credits. I even sold my antique brass bed and oak bedroom suite. Three thousand pounds was dredged up, not much to make a film with, but I got a brilliant student cameraman in one Simon Dennis, who has gone on to great things in movies. Shonagh Price, formerly of High Road played Dame Scotia and Scots actor Kern Falconer (Black Douglas in The Bruce) was the historian/narrator. I pulled on the shirt of the common man and directed. The film premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival and it got a cheer at its end.
The other films on the bill had cost around one hundred grand and were the usual sheight that Scottish Screen puts funds into, incomprehensible rubbish or Glasgow swearathons."

The Complaynt Of Scotland was bought and screened by BBC 2 as one of the best Scottish films of the past fifty years.
A three thousand pound film made by an actor on the dole.

After the film was screened, Dundee Council threatened me with legal action stating I had tried to blackmail them into funding the piece. It was bizarre and a wee bit scary. In return I offered them the entire company funds, fifty pounds, but on the proviso we both spoke to the press. Naturally they ran away. Next thing I was hauled downtown and investigated by the dole. Obviously I was a Hollywood mogul. They tried to do me for benefit fraud and naturally they passed on my details to the tax man. At the end of the process I got fined three and a half grand. BBC Scotland gave us two grand for the film. Not exactly a great business venture then.

Nowadays Herald Films and Herald Events are a busy company, the latter making all sorts of dramas and documentaries, as well as promotional films and web footage.
One current project is a 30 minute documentary on Nael Hanna, a painter who captures the wild nature of the Highlands. It will have a stirring bagpipe soundtrack and as well as showing the man and his work, it will be a great advert for Scotland and its people, the painter being enthusiastic about everything good here. Oh, and he's an Iraqi."

The events side performs Jacobite nights (including a riotous Jacobite murder-mystery night) historical presentations and Jock works as a Sean Connery look-alike.

"I gave in to pressure from my agent. I'd been told it often enough so I thought, ach, it might be fun so I'll give it a go. I've only done a few but next month I've got a juicy one at The Hub in Edinburgh, hosting a film evening.

Daft stuff includes being in Oor Wullie as his film-maker uncle, Jock. Wullie borrows a camera to make a film on Robert the Bruce but gets frightened by a spider!
There was also a disco bagpipe version of The Declaration Of Arbroath with a Connery-style vocal which got a hilarious feature on Reporting Scotland.

The company's audio products include Pictish Soul, a CD of pipe tunes and earthy percussion, set against the Calcagus speech before the Battle of Mons Graupius.
It runs seamlessly with rivers, birds, wind amid the quiet passages, rising to thunderous, inspirational tracks of some well-known and other obscure tunes.

"I give it my all in everything I do. I cannae get arts funding and although it hinders me, they cannae stop me. Not now. I'm almost fifty yet I feel like I'm just starting out. Herald Films is going great guns and we're getting more Scottish themed events for that side of the business. We take on young people and train them to what we think is right. You'll learn more in a month with us than a year at drama school, the important stuff like manners and professionalism along with how to court the press and publicising your event. Having been in Chasing The Deer and The Bruce means I've fought Culloden and Bannockburn so you win some, you lose some. I reckon we win most of them now but we can use all the help there is. If we don't keep pushing, we'll get swamped with burger-culture and I, for one, am having none of that. Are you?

Well I'm away to get under the wolfskin beadspread (liar) As ever, I shall travel with hope in my heart, a song on the cassette and a shitload of promotional items in my sporran.

My thanks to Geordie and everyone out there for listening."


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