Alex Massie

The Deil’s Awa Wi’ the Exciseman (and several others)

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Can this really be true? And if so, is it hilarious or horrifying? Or, perhaps, both...

David Gest and, of all people, Michael Jackson are recording an album of Robert Burns' poetry:

Gest's spokesman said the album is a modern musical take on some of Burns' classic poems, and had been a long cherished project.

He explained that he and Jackson were originally planning to do a musical about Burns's life, but decided instead to turn his poetry into show tunes. Poems featured on the album include Ae Fond Kiss and Tam O'Shanter, the story of a man from Ayr who stays too long in a pub and witnesses a satanic vision on his trip home. Gest is now keen to tackle Red Red Rose, he said.

"We haven't changed the lyrics but the music is now modern and brought up to date," Gest said. "Michael and I had fun. It's something we have always wanted to do…because he is our favourite poet."

Well, thank god they shelved the idea for a musical. Still, I suppose it's another firework to chuck onto the bonfires celebrating the poet's 250th anniversary next year...

[Hat-tip: Tyler Cowen]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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