Rabbie Burns was a hipster, and I can prove it

Burns 2 crop
Rabbie Burns: craft beer devotee?

My first “Reply from the Lassies”

It’s been claimed this week that Burns might have been the original hipster.

The Beard Liberation Front reckon he was secretly one of their own, and that he only ever shaved his face when he was getting his portrait done. The idea was to trick the posh folk in Edinburgh into thinking he was all angelic and respectable, rather than than a rugged hairy man-beast and all-round champion shagger.

Prompted by this bold suggestion I’ve carried out an in-depth study of Burns’s complete works, the full findings of which are due to be published in a number of respected peer-reviewed publications including The Journal of Gentleman Studies, Rodent Fancier, and Organic Farming Monthly.

Burns had a clear preoccupation with hair, particularly in places of worship. He initially enjoyed going to church – for the music – before it became too mainstream. After that he kept going, but in, like, an ironic way, and he spent most of the time perving on women in their lace bonnets. In some of his work he seems to be distancing himself from the male grooming trends of the day, such as when he addressed a louse with:

Swith! in some beggar’s man-bun squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle,

However, when it comes to food and drink Burns lets his mask slip to reveal his true hipster colours. After downing several mason jars of his favourite tipple he could be heard staggering through the streets of Alloway bellowing:

Craft beer comes and craft beer goes;
Craft beer gars me sell my hose,
Sell my hose, and pawn my shoon-
Craft beer keeps my heart aboon!

Burns was ahead of his time in many ways, but no more so in his dedication to a natural diet free from pesticides and preservatives that hadn’t yet been invented. He demonstrated remarkable foresight with his vegetarian grace:

Lord, we thank, and thee adore,
For temporal gifts we little merit;
At present we will ask no more
Except Waitrose Essentials quinoa, grilled halloumi and organic asparagus tips

There’s no evidence that Burns owned either a skateboard or a single-geared bicycle, but he did ride a horse, which earns him ten times as many hipster points. Finally, there was no Instagram in Rabbie’s day, but he managed to work around that by instead using words to describe the perfect smug, outdoorsy, soft-focused tribute to his pure stunner of a burd:

The smiling Spring comes in rejoicing,
And surly Winter grimly flies;
Now crystal clear are the falling waters,
And bonie blue are the sunny skies.
Fresh o’er the mountains breaks forth the morning,
The ev’ning gilds the ocean’s swell;
All creatures joy in the sun’s returning,
And I rejoice in my bonie Bell.

Inspiration (including a glorious bearded Burns) from thenational.scot

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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