Ian MacTamick is a strong young man with strongly-held opinions. Here are some of them.
Ian belongs to the gradualist moderate wing of the Scottish National Party, but he detests politics. He is pleased that the SNP is part of the European Free Alliance with the Greens. Ian thinks that full independence is unrealistic, because an independent Scotland would need a costly military. He is not an anti-royalist. Bancroft is a minor Party official involved in fundraising, but Ian’s only involvement is to vote and attend the Party fundraisers.
Ian is a “loyal Catholic.” He keeps the Sacraments and prays every day, but he ignores the “blather” of priests, just as he ignores politicians, and for the same reasons.
Ian believes that Iain Banks is Scotland’s greatest living writer, the greatest Science Fiction writer of all time and an excellent critic of fine Scotch – despite the fact that Banks unaccountably overlooked MacTamick’s in Raw Spirit. Ian’s favorite Banks novel is the latest, Surface Detail. If he could be any character from The Culture novels, he would be the sentient spaceship Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints.
Ian’s other favorite writers are William Faulkner (descended from Scotsmen), Count Leo Tolstoy and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He has a slight acquaintance with J.K. Rowling. Sadly, he still ships Neville/Luna.
Ian’s favorite poets are Robert Burns, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Walt Whitman and that strange American Southerner, Sidney Lanier. He has memorized dozens of poems by Burns. He can also do Macbeth (“the Scottish play“) from memory.
Ian has never been able to finish The Lord of the Rings, either the books or the movies. “It’s named after the bad guy,” he once pointed out.
Ian doesn’t bother much with the telly any more. His favorite shows are The Prisoner, Monty Python and Inspector Morse. He loved the old Dr. Who (his favorite was Jon Pertwee), but he doesn’t bother with the reboot. His guilty pleasure is Miami Vice.
Ian’s favorite band is Dire Straits, followed by The Beatles (who drank MacTamick’s), The Clash and Pink Floyd. After he found Little Feat mentioned in an Iain Banks novel, he tried them and they became his favorite American band. For the record, he can barely tolerate Led Zepplin. Do not play “Battle of Evermore” if Ian is in the room. Try “Kashmir.” On second thought, don’t. Put on Queen, instead.
Ian plays his pipes in The Holy Cross Pipeband of Edinburgh, a Catholic bagpipe band. He is second in their procession. His favorite songs for the pipes are “Highland Cathedral,” “Amazing Grace” and “Heyken’s Serenade.”
Ian is Player-Captain of the MacTamick’s rugby team, which plays in the All-Britain Brewers and Distillers League, and occasionally against other amateur teams in the Edinburgh area. He was Edinburgh Caber Toss Champion in 2007 and 2008, before retiring from competition. He sails a 24-foot Scots Zulu ketch which he maintains himself, from the sails to the electronics. On a Summer Saturday, he can usually be found on the waters of the Firth. Every Fall he sails from Edinburgh to the MacTamick barley lands near St. Abb’s Head, where he winters the boat in a brick shed.
Ian admires the American invention of the Internet. He once read a website posting that said most of the key engineers involved in founding the Internet were descended from the Scots engineer James Watt. This one of the few things Ian believes that is not true.