WANT tae ken fit’s the claik wi former First Minister Alec Salmond? Well, ye’ve cam tae the richt place! Keep reading tae find oot fit he’s got tae say aboot life in the North East, brothels, an fields o wheat...

Antonia Uri: Aye aye, fit like i’day?

Alex Salmond: Ah’m affa fine.

AU: Noo tell ma, far aboots div ye bide?

AS: Ah bide in Strichen.

AU: An fit div ye dee for a livin?

AS: Ah’ve tae pause afore Ah answer at question. Ah suppose, Ah used tae be a Member o Parliament, Ah used tae be a First Minister and noo Ah’ll be deein’ ane or twa things, broadcastin, television, things like at.

AU: So, fit wye does yer job benefit the folk o the North East?

AS: Well, let’s spik aboot fan Ah wis the representative for the North East cause Ah did at for thirty year, which is a lang time. As a constituency member o parliament, ye can achieve things, some things that ye’re prood o, and some things that benefit the constituency. But there hiv been some highlights; fan Ah think, for example, o ma time as a Banff an Buchan MP, the raisin o the Sapphire aboot twinty year ago. That wis a fishing boat raised fae the deep, an looking back, folk found it affa difficult tae believe that sic a thing could be deen, but it wis. In addition tae that there are literally thoosans and thoosans o folk Ah’ve been able tae help an at’s affa satisfying. Ah was lucky as First Minister, because it enabled ma tae gee the go aheed tae great projects, for example the Aiberdeen Western Periphial Route, which is taakin shape afore oor eyes.

AU: Noo Ah ken ye’re nae originally fae roon aboot here, and fan ye wis the First Minister ye could hae bade onywye in ess bonny country, so tell ma, fit wye did ye decide tae caa Buchan hame?

AS: Ah was asked tae come and stan in 1987 by a chiel caa’d Alec Sim fa still bides in Peterheed. An Ah hae twa sister’s fa are mairriet tae Buchan loons; my big sister Margaret, she wis mairriet tae a fairmer fae Longside and Gayle wis mairreit tae a boy fae the Broch which gave ma a place tae bide fan Ah was campaigning. Ah was asked tae stan, Ah pit ma name forward, Ah got the nomination an Ah won the seat. So, the rest is history. Ah love ma hametoon in Lithgae but Ah cudna really think o bidin onywye ither than the North East o Scotland.

AU: Fit div ye like tae dee roon aboot tae enjoy yer free time? Far div ye like tae go tae hae a flycup for example?

AS: Strichen Lake, which is somethin Ah wis able tae help wi gettin deen. Aire’s only twa lakes in Scotland, aire’s a lake in Mentieth and aire’s Strichen Lake, the rest are aa lochs or lagoons. Strichen Lake wis a wilderness twinty year ago but the community o Strichen decided tae pitch in and transform it intae a gairden. As their MP, Ah wis able tae help them wi a variety o land grants and lottery grants. They’ve invested the funds affa wisely and it’s aa been a voluntary effort. They’ve created the Gairden o Eden oot o a swamp.

AU: An fits yer funniest experience o life in the North East?

AS: Well ma funniest experience o being a member o parliament wis aboot twinty year ago, in Turra. A wifie cam in tae see ma an she’d heen a problem wi her holiday; a bus trip in the continent. So, she cam in an she said, “things were gan fine til we got tae Stonehaven and the driver forgot his passport. So, we had tae ging back tae Aiberdeen for his passport an at made us late. So we missed oor ferry at Dover, an we were a day late. An then on the wye back”, she said, “it happened!”. “Fit happened?”, Ah asked. She said, “they put us up in a brothel!”, an then she reached in tae her bag, (these were the days afore iPhones) an she presented ma wi a series o picters o cracked basins, reid lichts and ladies lookin like somethin oot o Hello, Hello!

An Ah said, “well nae that Ah would ken personally but at looks like fit ye see in the films”. Ah have made it an absolute laa tae nivver giggle or laugh at ony o my constituents or their problems but Ah hiv tae say that Ah found at a difficulty fan those picters came oot o her bag.

AU: Noo, foo did ye get on wi yer show at the Edinburgh Fringe?

AS: Well, first of aa the show went great! It wis a total selloot, so we put twa extra shows on an they selt oot, an then Brian Cox wis fleein in fae Hollywood and he cudna maak the aifterneen show so we pit on an extra ane at nicht for him. An then we pit anither extra show on which wis the Trump Special. So, we ended up deein 19 shows which aa selt oot an it wis great, great fun. Ah affa enjoyed it.

AU: An are the folk o the North East gan tae hae a chunce tae see yer show… maybe in Aiberdeen?

AS: Yes, is the answer. There’s gan tae be twa performances in Aiberdeen, so there ye go. (Ed: see page 18 for details!)

AU: So, Alec, fit is yer favourite Scots word?

AS: Well Ah’ve got twin favourites: sleekit and scunner. The reason they’re ma favourite words is that in the Hoose o Commons yer nae allowed tae insult somebody directly. So ye canna caa somebody a liar or a thief but ye can caa them a sleekit scunner! Ah took tae the use of the Scots language tae insult my Conservative opponents, and Ah used tae get awa wi this, ye see! Ah love using Scots for at purpose.

AU: Noo, recently Theresa May claimed that the naughtiest thing she’s ever deen is run through a park o wheat. Comin fae a rural community, Ah can understand the severity o that. But Ah want tae ken: fit div ye think is the naughtiest thing she’s ever deen?

AS: Ah couldna believe that she actually said at. Ah kept wytin for the punchline an there wasnae a punchline, that was it. Could Theresa hae been a wild child? Nah, probably nae. But Ah think the naughtiest thing she’s deen is become Prime Minister because Ah think it’s best for abdy if ye’re up tae the job, an Ah jist dinna think she’s up tae the job. But she may hae ither dark secrets that we dinna ken aboot. Ah’d like tae think so. Ah wouldnae like tae think that somebody lived their entire life and the naughtiest thing that they’d ever deen was taak a shortcut through a wheat field. Nah, Ah’m sure there’s some ither turbulent passion underneath the surface there somewye.

AU: Noo jist tae finish, fit would ye caa oor famous North-East delicacy: a roll, a rowie, a buttery, a cookie or somethin else?

AS: Ah’d caa it sticky toffee puddin, which mony folk think is fae the North East o England but it’s nae. Sticky toffee puddin originated in Newburgh, in the Udny Airms Hotel in the 1960s an Ah ken this for a fact because Ah’ve seen the menus. Ah love rowies, but Ah love sticky toffee puddin even mare.

AU: Thanks Alec, turra for noo!

This interview first appeared in The Gaudie, the student-run newspaper of the University of Aberdeen. Antonia Uri is studying French and Hispanic studies.