Don Roberto [Radio Scotland]

Episodes

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Laird Of Gartmore, Gaucho Of The Pampas - Part 320180306

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham, one of the most influential Scots of the 19th and 20th centuries. In this the second programme from his archive series from 1999, Billy focuses on Don Roberto's sojourns in South America - for as a young man he followed the Spanish side of his heritage to Paraguay and Argentina. In Argentina he is regarded as a national hero and the father of the gaucho - the man who rode on the Pampas then brought the glories of the South American cowboy to the outside world through his short stories. His legendary status is such that many in the Lake of Menteith area swear that gauchos have come to the Isle of Inchmahome to sing melancholic Spanish eulogies at his graveside. Without doubt his greatest South American legacy came from his portrayal of the gaucho. You feel he was never sure he should ever have left their world of "paja y cielo - grass and sky, and sky and grass, and then still more grass and still more sky" even though their world became more and more resticted as progress literally fenced them in towards the end of the 19th century. Graham's wanderings in South America also took him to Colombia and Brazil where he wrote his book A Brazilian Mystic while the desolate Jesuit ruins in Paraguay inspired him to write about Spanish brutality against the Indians in A Vanished Arcadia - which in turn gave rise to the wonderful feature film The Mission.

Laird of Gartmore, Gaucho of the Pampas - Part 320180306

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham

Laird of Gartmore, Gaucho of the Pampas - Part 320180306

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham, one of the most influential Scots of the 19th and 20th centuries. In this the second programme from his archive series from 1999, Billy focuses on Don Roberto's sojourns in South America - for as a young man he followed the Spanish side of his heritage to Paraguay and Argentina. In Argentina he is regarded as a national hero and the father of the gaucho - the man who rode on the Pampas then brought the glories of the South American cowboy to the outside world through his short stories. His legendary status is such that many in the Lake of Menteith area swear that gauchos have come to the Isle of Inchmahome to sing melancholic Spanish eulogies at his graveside. Without doubt his greatest South American legacy came from his portrayal of the gaucho. You feel he was never sure he should ever have left their world of "paja y cielo - grass and sky, and sky and grass, and then still more grass and still more sky" even though their world became more and more resticted as progress literally fenced them in towards the end of the 19th century. Graham's wanderings in South America also took him to Colombia and Brazil where he wrote his book A Brazilian Mystic while the desolate Jesuit ruins in Paraguay inspired him to write about Spanish brutality against the Indians in A Vanished Arcadia - which in turn gave rise to the wonderful feature film The Mission.

Master Of Life, King Among Men - Part 520180320

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.

The final programme in the archive series from 1999 begins with an amazing piece of oral history recorded by Billy of a pioneer of the early SNP Muriel Gibson. She vividly recalls the impression made by Don Roberto when she saw him lead the Bannockburn rally on horseback in the 1930's.

For having originally founded the Scottish Labour Party with Keir Hardie, he increasingly devoted the last sixteen years of his life to the cause of Scottish independence - he was president of the Scottish Home rule Association of the early 1920's, president of the National Party formed in 1928, and honorary president of the Scottish National Party, from its foundation in 1934.

A charismatic man all his life, he also drew in other notable figures to the cause. In the early 1920's he was introduced to Hugh MacDiarmid. Later, the father of the Scottish Literary Rennaissance confessed, "my decision to make the Scottish cause, cultural and political, my life work dates from that moment"

His polemical writing on Scotland is increasingly relevant, as the tension between nationalism and unionism in Scottish politics is still unresolved.
If ever a major Scottish figure deserved re-discovery it is surely the life and legend of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham.

He died in Argentina in 1936, where he was given the equivalent of a state funeral. His body came home to Scotland to rest in his ancestral lands in Stirlingshire. The monument to him in Gartmore is inscribed with words which sum him up well: "He was a Master of Life, a King among Men.".

The Adventure Begins - Part 120180220

Billy Kay introduces us to the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham, one of the most influential Scots of the 19th and 20th centuries. Writer,gaucho and politician, Don Roberto was a Scottish romantic hero whose influence extended across the world, but at home he was also a founding father of both the Scottish Labour Party and the SNP.

The model for characters in George Bernard Shaw's plays "Arms and the Man" and "Captain Brassbound's Conversion". his friends included Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. The latter contrasted his own enclosed life compared to the flamboyant exoticism of Don Roberto - "When I think of him, I feel as though I had lived all my life in a dark hole, without seeing or knowing anything". If ever a major Scottish figure deserves re-discovery it is surely the life and legend of RB Cunninghame Graham.

The Adventure Begins is a new programme made by Billy to complement his ground breaking 4 part archive series made in 1999. Since then, Cunninghame Graham's profile has increased but the vast majority of Scots remain ignorant of his enormous contribution to the politics and culture of contemporary Scotland.

Contributors to the new programme include the weans of Gartmore Primary School and their teacher Miss Falconer; Dr Carla Sassi of the University of Verona; Professor Joe Farrell of the Cunninghame Graham Society; John C McIntyre, editor of The Cunninghame Graham Collection, writer Chris Dolan who presented the television documentary Don Roberto in 2008; Chris Dixon, of Dublin Institute of Technology. Lachlan Munro, editor of An Eagle in a Henhouse - Selected Political Speeches and Writings of RB Cunninghame Graham, former SNP MSP Rob Gibson and Labour Party activist Gerry McGarvey.

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.

The Aristocratic Socialist - Part 420180313

In the penultimate programme from his archive series on Don Roberto from 1999, Billy explores fascinating strands in Don Roberto's life. One is his relationship with his wife whom he introduced to society as a Chilean poet called Gabriela de la Belmondière but who in real life was an English actress from Yorkshire called Caroline Horsfall! They travelled extensively together and are buried together at Inchmahome Priory in the Lake of Menteith in the author's ancestral lands.

His life as a cattle drover him all over South America and up into Texas. Everywhere he went, he had sympathy for traditional ways of life under threat, and used his writing to highlight the plight of marginalised cultures. This aspect of his legacy was in the news in the late 1990's when the body of an Ogala Sioux Indian chief was re-patriated from London to the Dakotas. The English woman who organised the event, had read of Long Wolf through the account of his life and death in the writing of Cunninghame Graham.

Back in Scotland, he became involved with the turbulent politics of the late 19th and early 20th century, and despite his background, always identified with the masses: "the damned aristo who embraced the cause of the people" as Hugh McDiarmid described him. He was Liberal MP for North Lanarkshire from 1886 till 1892, radically espousing the miners demands for shorter working hours and going to Pentonville Jail for six weeks following his participation in a banned demonstration against unemployment which resulted in a riot popularly know at the time as Bloody Sunday. A close friend of James Keir Hardie, he became the first president of the Scottish Labour party when it was formed in 1888.

The Aristocratic Socialist - Part 420180313

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham

The Aristocratic Socialist - Part 420180313

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham

In the penultimate programme from his archive series on Don Roberto from 1999, Billy explores fascinating strands in Don Roberto's life. One is his relationship with his wife whom he introduced to society as a Chilean poet called Gabriela de la Belmondière but who in real life was an English actress from Yorkshire called Caroline Horsfall! They travelled extensively together and are buried together at Inchmahome Priory in the Lake of Menteith in the author's ancestral lands.

His life as a cattle drover him all over South America and up into Texas. Everywhere he went, he had sympathy for traditional ways of life under threat, and used his writing to highlight the plight of marginalised cultures. This aspect of his legacy was in the news in the late 1990's when the body of an Ogala Sioux Indian chief was re-patriated from London to the Dakotas. The English woman who organised the event, had read of Long Wolf through the account of his life and death in the writing of Cunninghame Graham.

Back in Scotland, he became involved with the turbulent politics of the late 19th and early 20th century, and despite his background, always identified with the masses: "the damned aristo who embraced the cause of the people" as Hugh McDiarmid described him. He was Liberal MP for North Lanarkshire from 1886 till 1892, radically espousing the miners demands for shorter working hours and going to Pentonville Jail for six weeks following his participation in a banned demonstration against unemployment which resulted in a riot popularly know at the time as Bloody Sunday. A close friend of James Keir Hardie, he became the first president of the Scottish Labour party when it was formed in 1888.

The Uncrowned King Of Scots - Part 220180227

A portrait of R B Cunninghame Graham, (1852 - 1936) one of the most influential men in Scottish literary and political life in the 20th century - by far the most glamorous and romantic. With Scottish and Spanish aristocratic blood in his veins - he was often called the uncrowned King of Scots due to his family's claim to the throne through their ancestor Robert II. His life spanned several continents and cultures, all of which he touched and in all of which he is revered.

In the opening programme in the archive series from 1999, Billy Kay introduces us to the major themes in the writer's life and highlights the range of great men of his day that he influenced. Here he tells the story of the writers privileged background and his early years on his estates at Gartmore and Ardoch, followed by his education at Harrow. We also hear the fantastic story of how as a teenage boy, he went off to Argentina, got swept up in a revolutionary army and had a "gap year" project which lasted seven years as a Gaucho, or cowboy out on the frontier of the Pampas!

Contributors to the original series included Rennie McOwan, his great niece Lady Polwarth, her son, the writer Jamie Jauncey, Gustavo San Roman of St Andrews University, the poet George Bruce, his biographers Cedric Watts of Sussex University and Laurence Davies of Dartmouth College, USA, film maker Murray Grigor and Muriel Gibson who recalled seeing him on horseback leading the Bannockburn rallies of the Scottish National Party in the 1930's.

A portrait of R B Cunninghame Graham, (1852 - 1936) one of the most influential men in Scottish literary and political life in the 20th century - by far the most glamorous and romantic. With Scottish and Spanish aristocratic blood in his veins - he was often called the uncrowned King of Scots due to his family's claim to the throne through their ancestor Robert II. His life spanned several continents and cultures, all of which he touched and in all of which he is revered.

In the opening programme in the archive series from 1999, Billy Kay introduces us to the major themes in the writer's life and highlights the range of great men of his day that he influenced. Here he tells the story of the writers privileged background and his early years on his estates at Gartmore and Ardoch, followed by his education at Harrow. We also hear the fantastic story of how as a teenage boy, he went off to Argentina, got swept up in a revolutionary army and had a "gap year" project which lasted seven years as a Gaucho, or cowboy out on the frontier of the Pampas!

Contributors to the original series included Rennie McOwan, his great niece Lady Polwarth, her son, the writer Jamie Jauncey, Gustavo San Roman of St Andrews University, the poet George Bruce, his biographers Cedric Watts of Sussex University and Laurence Davies of Dartmouth College, USA, film maker Murray Grigor and Muriel Gibson who recalled seeing him on horseback leading the Bannockburn rallies of the Scottish National Party in the 1930's.

Billy Kay celebrates the fabulous life of RB Cunninghame Graham.