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Issue 38 - Millipede raises question of age

Whisky Magazine Issue 38
April 2004


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Millipede raises question of age

Dave Broomon why all that' s old isn't necessarily good

A trifling 420 million years ago a millipede crawled out of the North Sea onto Stonehaven beach. No doubt its poor wee teeth were chattering. Have you ever had a dip in the North Sea?

As far as I can work out, the discovery of its fossilised remains – the oldest remains of any air breathing animal – means that life as we know it started in Scotland, joining that illustrious list of great Scottish inventions such as the decimal point, the overdraft, the bicycle (and pneumatic
tyres), the three-stage rocket, geology, morphine, suspenders, the traffic cone and elephant autopsies.

Pardon the smug tone, but that's some record.

It also makes Matt McGinn's song, The Wee Kirkudbright Centipede a work of some prescience. What else would you expect from a man whose works are revered by that famous Springbank drinker Bob Dylan?

If only Matt were still with us. The Wee Stonehaven Millipede would have been perfect for his genius.

420 million years? That's one of those scary numbers which is impossible to imagine. It's as long as Friends has been on television (another Scottish invention, by the way. Television .. not Friends.) It does however make me feel relatively youthful, especially at this time of the year when my mind is beset by thoughts of mortality.

No sooner is the Hogmanay hangover out of the way then it's my birthday and even the fact that I share it with Elvis doesn't alleviate the fact that I‘m another year older.

This issue is all-pervading this month. Not onl...

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