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Lines written in praise of Donald W McRobbie

on the occasion of his 40th birthday, after the manner of Sir William Topaz McGonagall, Poet and Tragedian

On the last day of July in the year of Nineteen Hundred and Fifty Eight
As I am about to relate
In the famous granite city of Aberdeen
(To which I would imagine few of you have ever been
And which is less than a hundred miles from the shores of the Silvery Tay
Where once a tragic incident concerning the railway bridge took place which I will tell you about another day)
A happy event there was in this highland region of Grampian
Which we all today say was champion.
For there was born that day the great Donald W McRobbie
A man for whom playing the guitar has always been more than just a hobby.
And whose fortieth birthday we now celebrate
On the first day of August, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Eight
Which it will be noted is actually a day late.
When he was still at the university
Where it is reported he studied with great dedication and maturity
He met his future wife who was named Fiona
and whose Fide he very soon decided was Bona
And so they were wed and I have to relate
It was to be a highly productive state
For as the nights in Scotland are well known for being dark and long
It was soon that Laura and Andrew did come along.
But he to London to make his way
As fame and fortune beckons young Scots to this very day
And came to an unsuspecting church, St Johns in Mattock Lane, Ealing
Where the music had been sung discreetly, though with feeling
He brought to St Johns Church his Fender Strat
And many people would simply have left it at that
But he also introduced the wah-wah pedal and foldback
And other features which the church's public address system did lack
And the musicians did react with some consternation
When he turned up with a direct-input Ovation
For until then their view of an upmarket acoustic guitar
Was an Eko Ranger 12-string or at best an FG140 Yamaha.
And those elders of the congregation did tut-tut and say this is devilish conformity to the spirit of the age
Whereas in fact he only wanted to play like Jimmy Page
And he is surely one of the finest writers of contemporary worship music of our day
Or so the Revered Mark Bratton did say
Though in certain parts of the congregation
It is said without fear or hesitation
That his music would undoubtedly be much more widely sung
If the lines of his lyrics were not so lung.
He is also a man whose professional interests are medical
As a lecturer in technical matters he is not heretical
And attending conferences consumes a great deal of his time
So I hope his images scan better than this rhyme.
Yet even such a man may have a last youthful fling 
And sometime around the age of 35 he even began to sing.
And in St Johns no-one would say except a fool
That Donald McRobbie is not still the epitome of cool.
And yet he extends his musical gifts with great charity
For he will condescend to play alongside an old folkie like me
Who still likes the Eagles and plays everything in G
Although it is true he will perhaps appear nervous 
Unless I include at least two of his songs in every order of service.
And so this great man let us name
Who on his fortieth birthday deserves the Highest Acclaim
And I give you the toast of Donald W McRobbie,
A man for whom playing the guitar was always more than just a hobby.


Performed at Don's birthday party, August 1 1998.