Remarkable social history,
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This review is from: Erchie: My Droll Friend (Paperback)
Knowing Munro only through the more popular Para Handy Tales, Erchie Macpherson appeared to be less comic, more mundane, got on with his day-to-day life with his faithful wife 'Jinnet', who fills the role of the 'wee wifie' to perfection. As the stories advance in time, from the start of the 20th century and spread over the next 20-odd years, what emerges becomes a documented social history of the city of Glasgow, and indeed the whole of Scotland, seen through the eyes of Munro's hero. His position as a professional waiter, working at corporate dinners, often in the City Chambers, allows Erchie to catch snippets of gossip, scandal and less interesting political comment, which he can then relate to his wife, and to his pal, Duffy, the coalman, adding his own personal comment. And it's all in a broad 'Gleska' accent, that requires regular use of the notes at the back of the book, even for a Glaswegian.
So Erchie sees the changes in his world, the advent of gas lighting, the change from horse-drawn transport to electric tramcars, the political scene leading up to, and through the Great War. The effect on the common man of Daylight Saving, changes to the Licensing Laws, everything elicits an opinion, often in a gentle, comic manner from our hero.
This is a great compilation of tales that has kept a smile on my face from beginning to end!