Dudes, stop it. Right now. All this arguing is the reason you never got to the launch party…well some of you didn’t.. Well, okay, was it my fault some of my hosts broke ranks? Not looking at anyone Sharon Struth and Aubrey Wynne,
Now, today, we have a very special guest.
He is from my home city. And my home city is a place with the most fabulous history.
To answer the question about Jack the Ripper, Mary Shelley, Ulysses S Grant and Captain Kydd, well—they were all associated with there in some way. SO were William Wallace of freedom fame, , Grahame of Claverhouse of Jacobite fame, Admiral Duncan of The Battle of Camperdown fame, , Captain Scott of Antarctica fame, Mary Slessor of African fame, William Topaz McGonagall of world’s worst poet fame.
Where was the poet Robert Browning’s mother born?
Why, Dundee of course.
…just round the corner from Sugarhouse Wynd where her father worked in the Sugar House. Dundee has given the world jute, jam and journalism in the past… DUNDEE CAKE -thank you wonderful poet and blogger, Mike Steeden for reminding me,
now it is a thriving city which has given the world Grand Theft Auto amongst other things.
So let’s just sound it out today for another enthusiast ….
Dark Dundee…not just an enthusiast but, as you will see a man of many talents……
Dark Dundee, Firstly let me say a huge thank you for inviting me to interview; what a pleasure!
Shey. Why, thank you Tink. But I want to also thank Dark Dundee for giving my latest book a free ad in his forthcoming booklet. Anyway over to you Dark Dundee,
Dark Dundee : I’m Stewart and I run a small web and graphic design business called www.bluelagoondesigns.co.uk right here in our very fair city with my friend and business partner, Helen-Louise.
Shey. Stewart, do ignore them and tell us then where the idea for Dark Dundee came from?
Dark Dundee : The idea for Dark Dundee stemmed from a desire to showcase Dundee’s history in a way it had never been seen before, utilising our skills as Web designers and our previous experience in research.
Dundee’s history is rich and diverse but sadly much of it is being forgotten as the city moves forward with the times and stories and tales become lost or fade over the centuries.
Dundee has seen a lot of bloodshed, carnage and mayhem over the years, and we want to commemorate that in the best way possible! History can be seen as boring…but not on our website!
Shey. So it was nothing to do with your stand out performance mourning the shocking World War One war losses on the Dundee 800 show?
The Law Commemorative monument Dundee. it was said there was not a household without a loss.
Dark Dundee – Ha ha, yes I did have a part to play in the Dundee 800 play when I was just a pup – stole the show, so I’ve been told, but I’ve yet to see the video evidence for myself! With generations of my family coming from Dundee, I’ve grown up with a lot of the main stories such as the burning of Grissell Jaffray,
the Tay Rail Bridge disaster
and the legend of the Nine Maidens,
The dragon statue and the dragon stone, Strathmartine
so local history has always had a place in my life. I’ve always also had a tendency to skirt with the dark side, so delving into Dundee’s blood – soaked and brutal history scratches both of those itches whilst sharing them with anyone who is interested.
Shey. Well, we are interested. We’re also big on time travel here for obvious reasons – but if you had a time machine, which era in Dundee would you like to go back to?
Dark Dundee. – Hmm, what era would I go back to…? Tough one because times have been tough for this city. If I could, I’d probably go back and make sure the Tay Rail bridge had been built right the first time! I think early Victoria era would have been a very exciting time to have been alive (but only if you were a rich person, otherwise it would have been awful). The clothes, the diction…the smell!! It would be cool to see the Howff in use as a real meeting place, however!
Shey ; And how about a favourite famous person from the past you would want to meet? I mean we will stick with the past here…. Not talk about the night George Clooney was spotted in a Broughty Ferry pub–yeah, the Open was on and he was staying here– and all these dames were on the skeck for him the next night.
Dark Dundee :A favourite? Mary Slessor would probably top the list because of the stories she would have and the things she would have seen in her lifetime.
Mary Slessor, Dundee mill girl who became a protector of children and a champion of women’s rights in Nigeria
Early 20th Century lantern slide showing the life of missionary Mary Slessor, Picture:
Centre for the Study of World Christianity
Bloody Clavers would also be up there – I bet he was a right laugh and a great drinker to boot!
Shey. Oh, bloody Clavers. Fascinating man. let me share a little picture here, of
yours truly playing his wife……
Now, how about you share a favourite gory historical tale of this fair city?
Dark Dundee –Jeez, I don’t have a favourite one – have you seen all the awesome tales on my website? I do like a good old fashioned murder and the murder of Ellen Bury has a lot of drama, mystery and unanswered questions.
William Henry Bury….. was he Jack the Ripper? Yours truly wis certainly NOT playing his wife.
I love the tales of the white ladies too – ghost stories are always good for putting the wind up folk! If you care to take a walk through the lunatic asylum, you’re sure to find a tale or two in there, too!
Shey; What about tragedies, let’s face it, the city’s past has been bloody. You probably didn’t have to look too far for the name Dark Dundee that way
Dark Dundee ; In my opinion, the worst tragedy in terms of loss of lives was the storming of the city in 1651 by General Monck. After they gained entry to the walled town, they spent 3 days ransacking and murdering wherever they went. The streets were said to have ran red with blood, the air thick with burning smoke. The siege culminated in a brutal stand off which ended in the barbaric slaying of the governor of Dundee Robert Lumsden. There have been many tragedies in the town, both on a small scale and large, but each one is just as poignant in its own right.
The last stand at St Mary’s Tower.
Shey: That is such a story and hard to believe when you walk around the City Churches or climb the old steeple, how they holed up in there and fought until they couldn’t fight any more. Hope you don’t mind me sharing this…. I tell you Dundee’s cheek was legendary even then.
There’s also some building out in some of the yards Seagate area– it’s like the Morgan Tower in Perth Road–anyway, the top has been removed. It’s said it was by the Dundee defenders so they could get a clearer shot at Monck’s army. Oh and let’s not forget that the reason Monck managed to make these breaches is apparently cos the defenders were known to be steaming by noon…..(A bit like these ladies on the skeck for George.)
Now, let’s move to how Dundee got its name. There’s a few theories, which do you favour?
Dark Dundee : I favour the dun daigh story, about it being named as an 11th century fort with daigh referencing fire. Our folk have always been a fiery bunch and there has been many a skirmish in these parts over the centuries…and the law is alleged to be an extinct volcano!
Shey It is indeed. Now, tell us about your online game?
Dark Dundee. Without telling you too much, it’s a decision based game, where the choices you make affect the outcome. There are a few puzzles along the way to keep your mind ticking over as you read through the scenarios and make your decisions. It took ages to put together all the images for it, but the end result was worth it…and you can play it for free, so what are you waiting for? Are you one destined to save the city from impending darkness? (There’s even a free ebook with a bit more of the story in it and a step by step players guide to the game.)
Shey: So gonna start this tomorrow! Now I mentioned booklet earlier and the fact is this is to accompany a very special new venture for you. Correct? Something to suit your dramatic abilities too!
Dark Dundee. Oh, we can’t wait to get the walking tours off the ground, but we’ve got a bit of red tape to get through yet before we can officially announce any tour dates. We want to take people on a short walk through part of our city, where we will regale them with tales from Dundee’s dark and sinister past. The walk is intended to take about an hour and a half and follows a very easy and accessible path so we can cater for all age groups and abilities. We’ve got our booklets ready to go to print as soon as we get the green light, and then you’ll be among one of the first to know!
Shey. I hope to be amongst your first walkers too! I can’t wait actually and I wish you all the best.
Dark Dundee Thanks again for inviting me to interview, it’s been wonderful.