Star of the show being Sid, the only plastic bucket to gain a double first at Cambridge in philosophy!

Just to whet the appetite, here are some historical pictures of Sid in his younger days enjoying the outdoor life with student chums Bap Lermet (then studying for a doctorate in Swags and Grease at the 'Academie' Battersea) and Larry 'Lips' Smegma (then researching the 'clou' to the age of Louis XIV in an inappropriate place).

Sid offers young Lermet culinary direction in the preparation of the perfect fried swag. Mmmmmmm. Pores are already in a state of perfect clog. Sid imparts the concepts of reality in terms of the pattern of dialectical reasoning. Lermet responds with a terse 'Hegel, Schmegel - not that old thesis, antithesis, synthesis twaddle again' and breaks wind forcefully.

Sid demonstrates (to a clearly non-plussed and bouche bée Lermet) that old ruse of Rousseau to avoid a nasty dusting from the fallout from Smegma's filthy Mammoth Cleanser sandwiches.

A solitary Sid ponders the age old question of 'how long d'you reckon your sandwiches are going to last'.

Dib Dib Dob. The sheep gain from Sid an understanding of Socrates view that 'the unexam-timed life is not worth living'. Lermet erects a tent.

Sid here commences another strand of his life's work - 'thinking about onions again'. An anxious populace awaits his success or otherwise in this great imponderable.

'Send for the A.A!' extols Sid, en souriant

Smegma uses a cheap tactic to find the 'clou' to the age of
Louis XIV. Sid does not share this knowledge willingly.
Smegma merely discovers the way to Billy Socks Circus.

Sid the Bucket, founder and main exponent of the Crinan school of philosophy, proves that the Highlands exist by being there. Whilst contemplating the absence of sheep, he successfully challenges the scepticism of Hume which is inherent in Locke's empiricism. It's a lot of thinking to do all at once, but the prospect of a slice of rich fudge cake soaked in batter then deep fried makes all the cerebral activity worthwhile.

At the Crinan Games, it's always nice to take a break from caber tossing, sword dancing and bobbing for haggis in a tub of porridge oats. Here Sid leads a group of disciples in a communal think-in. Even amongst all the sweating and grunting of a Highland sporting event, there's still room for a synchronised contemplation of Manichaean dualism. Sid sports the tartan with the rest of them, before joining in the race to carry 10 pounds of premium sausages to the summit of Ben Nevis. Och aye!

"Das Ding an sich." Is this a trestle table that I see before me? Sid muses; "How can I be sure that this exists? Is its existence dependent upon my existence? Will it continue to exist when it is no longer perceived by me? Why has somebody removed the table top? Does the label "B & Q" make its existence more certain? If it is devoured by woodworm, will it continue to exist as an idea? Where do we put the tea urn?" Sid is now ready to apply the same empirical principles to a Hostess trolley, an ironing board and a large piece of perspex.

"Woloold ye like a wee dram Dooctor Cameron?" "Och, git yer knickers doon Janet."

Sid spent some of his formative years living with this Bohemian menage à trois in a bothy near Crinan. Behind the façade of tweed and Arran knitwear lurked some of the sharpest intellects west of Drumnadroigich, and Sid found it a fertile milieu for his aperçus on the "Pensées de Hector de Gribelin." However, the sexual indulgence of the household, and its regular bingeing on cullen skink and Arbroath smokies, began to repulse him. The cradle of Western philosophy was calling him, and so he set off with a purpose to Ancient Greece in search of Socrates and his mates.

En route for Ancient Greece, Sid calls in at the Gribston Poggs Jamboree where the chaps are in need of a bit of guided thinking. After an afternoon of tying knots and jumping over streams, there's nothing the boys in khaki like more than to contemplate the early stoicism of Zeno of Citium (not to be confused with Zeno the Eleatic). Sid and the scout leader (Gilbert Abernethie?) demonstrate the fun aspects of stoicism, although the figure on the right looks sceptical and could be hiding some Epicurean tendencies.

The thrills of Socratic dialectic! Sid arrives in Ancient Greece just in time for a death of Socrates. Undaunted by the presence of the father of modern philosophy, Sid takes on the role of thinking cap for some classical worthy. His mentor is wondering whether the wall in front, is, in essence, as antithetically inanimate in relation to the animate configurations contingent upon reality within the spaces which are outside his field of perception - in other words, does Socrates exist beyond the confines of the bucket? It all sounds like bloody nonsense, but at least this little scenario is to be followed by a bit of partying Greek style - meze, a couple of crates of ouzo and a bazouki band. Even serious philosophers need a bit of a knees-up. By the next death of Socrates, Sid will have earned himself a place on the couch with the master.

Sid has a bit of a set-to with Zeus. Or is it merely the idea of Zeus? The existence of god has always been a tricky issue. And if you take on Zeus, you've got to go for the whole pantheon. There's a whole bagful of deities out there vying for existence. Sid grapples with the matter in style, exploring the concept from different angles, whether it be idea, metaphysical figment or simply something made out of perspex. Epistemologically speaking, Zeus is as real to us, as a coal scuttle is to the ancient Persians. To deny Zeus is to deny the existence of the coal scuttle. QED.

A rare archive photo of Sid at the 83rd Thinking Olympiad, held at Kingston Bagpuize. Sid has the honour of presenting the cup for the 24 hour Thinkathon won by Algernon Flake-Jelloid (left). It may well be high performance cerebral activity, but there's always a gentlemanly handshake at the end of the contest, as we can see here. Dudley Capstan (right) acknowledges defeat with a smile. Capstan had mentally worked on a unifying theory to accommodate the space/time continuum within the quantum mechanics of Schrodinger with the aim of underpinning Stephen Hawking's mathematical principles of the expanding universe. He had to retire from the contest when his brain over-heated and he started to foam at the mouth. Flake-Jelloid thought about onions, and managed to maintain a brain temperature of a constant 40 degrees centigrade. He was the clear winner. Sid paid tribute to their efforts, noting, philosophically, that the intense thinking had caused the trousers of both contestants to shrink by nearly 8 inches.

Time for a bit of anthropomorphism. Sid locks horns with a goat, of which there are plenty in Greece. This one is called Eric, and exhibits all the usual characteristics of a goat; constant chewing and a tendency to try and eat your T-shirt. That being the a priori concept of goat, Sid takes the matter further and sets about investigating the existence, and, if proven, the nature of the soul. Do animals have souls? Has Eric got a soul? Does Sid, the acme of anthropomorphism, being both subjective/objective reflective entity and bucket simultaneously, have a soul? Obviously, our thoughts turn to the Greek notion of Pan, half man, half goat. Were the Greeks, by visualising this mythical figure, conceptualising the soul residing in both human and animal form? And Sid, half bucket and half sausage container, can he likewise visualise a soul inherent in two pounds of moulded red plastic? Or in two pounds of prime mashed pork squashed and shaped into pig gut? Sid approaches the issue by trying to teach Eric the basic premise of Descartes. Eric only manages to follow half of it. Ergo, Eric is only half-aware of his own existence, and can only have half a soul, at most. When a passing Aristotelian tries to join in the controversy, the affair ends in chaos. Sid loses his train of thought and Eric ends up munching holes in the Aristotelian's toga.

Sid returns home from Greece via Germany. Lots of nice meaty thinking goes on here. Leibnitz, Kant, Marx. And when it comes to meatiness, there's no denying that this is the home of the sausage. All good philosophers enjoy a game of Sausage Cricket, and Sid is invited to umpire a game between the Bad Cannstadt Eleven and a visiting Polish team from Gdansk. Although the Poles have a strong sausage tradition, they are obviously not up to the task when it comes to deploying them for cricket purposes. The Poles have no response to the German bowling technique, and team captain Iwona Brznzrnjka becomes embroiled in a barrage of prime Schwabian Jägerwurst. Sid has no hesitation in declaring the Poles all out for zero. Brznzrnjka takes it badly. However, she is later mollified at the post-match fry-up in the pavilion, when Sid offers both teams a bucket full of assorted swags nicely sizzled in gallons of well matured lard.

For Sid, no visit to Germany would be complete without calling in on his old mate Goethe. "Wie geht's, the noo?" says Sid. "Dichtung und Wahrheit," replies Johann Wolfgang, "or 'poetry and truth' to you Sid, me old mucker. You've caught me a bit on the hop. I'm doing this publicity shoot for Ach So magazine. It's pretty tough being a Universalmensch, what with having to pose for paintings all the time." Sure enough, there's old Tischbein, taking snaps with his full kit of state of the art brushes and oils. Goethe, being a bit of a wag, and sick of having to wear the silly headgear, gets Sid into the picture. Sid and JW think it's a right laugh. However, Tischbein (known as "Tableleg" to his friends,) is none too pleased at the silly antics. Above we see the picture that appeared in Ach So, in which Tischbein airbrushed Sid out. Below we see the original in its full glory.

From Germany to France. It's that old chestnut again. Can we say that Versailles is the clou to the age of Louis XIV? It's something that's been on Sid's mind for years. So there's only one thing for it. Take a look at Versailles and see for oneself. The Hall of Mirrors is something of a revelation. Sid contemplates the concepts of 'self and reality' whilst seeing himself duplicated in the abundant reflections. What is 'Self'? What is 'Reality'? What is a clou? What is a Versailles? What is a XIV? His line of reasoning is too long to explain here, but his final conclusion, looking into the mirrors, is that Sids the Buckets, are the clou to the age of Louis the XIV which is 83.

To celebrate his latest piece of high level thinking, Sid betakes himself to the gardens and cavorts joyously on one of the fountains.

And so it's back to bonnie Scotland. Another archive photo shows Sid surrounded by the acme of mass pensiveness. These people who have gathered for the Crinan Highland Philosophy Games are thinking their wee hats off. Young and old have gathered to tackle the issues raised in George Campbell's The Philosophy of Rhetoric. Sid leads them as they consider his roughly Aristotelian position on the relation between logic and rhetoric. Everyone joins in the sing-song as Sid leads them in that rousing chorus: "Should auld Campbell's central insight be forgot / And the best way for the orator to persuade is to produce perspicuous arguments / For the sake of Auld Lang Syne." The fun is not without its casualties. The wee bairn on the left finds Campbell's proposition that there can be no such thing as universal grammar far too much and fills her nappy. Also, the fire service has to be called when fifteen tam-o'-shanters overheat and spontaneously combust.

Sid works the crowd into such a state of excitement that the accompanying piper suffers a puncture. There's no stopping Sid though. Sid is determined to move the spectators on to a consideration of Campbell's essay on the nature and immutability of truth. Now, you can't do that without a bit of a blast on the peeps. Sid, true to his reputation as Scotland's premier living philosopher, stands in as the bag on a fine set of peeps.

From wind in the pipes, to wind in the kilt. It is common knowledge that intensive philosophizing can lead to a build-up of flatulence. No Philosophy Highland Games would be complete without a display of synchronized levitation. This line of bonnie lasses has prepared for the event for three hours by thinking about haggis. They're now ready to project themselves into the air by forcing twenty pounds of concentrated bodily gasses out through their kilts. Sid, never one to miss a chance of jet propulsion, joins in the spectacular event. Not only is it fun to watch, but it is guaranteed to keep the area free of midges for at least three hours.

It's not all cerebral activity at the Highland Philosophy Games. Sid sportingly judges the sausage throwing event and is thrilled to see Euaian MacFriskie hurl a five pound string of pork and porridge flavoured bangers across Loch Lomond.

The spectators are bouche bée with admiration.

Evening falls and after an interval of roaming in the gloaming, the event moves into the marquee for the Philosophical Comedy part of the games. Sid takes to stage as well and acts as a perfect foil to a series of top stand-up Scottish philoso-comedians.

Funny-man Rabbie "Gi' me shreppence" MacGongargly raises hoots of laughter with his hilarious philosophy gags.

The comedians keep on coming. Side-splitting Hamish MacHamish has the audience rolling in the aisles with his collection of philoso-comic classics.

Hamish: "Knock, knock."
Sid: "Who's there?"
Hamish: "Adorno."
Sid: "Adorno who?"
Hamish: "Ah daw noo who neither, but we'd better open the door in case it's someone come about the negative dialectics."

Even the youngest members of the audience are drawn into the waves of hysterical laughter.

What better way to conclude the wonderful spectacular than to strip off the kilts, take to the streets and stand on each other's heads. Sid joins in the final parade with just one of the collections of lovely ladies.

What a day! Cerebral fun; local sports with meat products; comedy; and standing on heads. Anyone with half a snorkel would think that more than enough. But no! At the Crinan Philosophy Games they go the whole hog. The finale is a jolly good feed. Various groups set to with gusto. These fine ladies from the Arbroath Existentialist Townswomen's Guild have spent the day re-enacting scenes from the life of Jean-Paul Sartre. Are they exhausted? Not a bit of it. They know the participants are peckish and have summoned up their energies to produce a mouth-watering dinner that would make the dourest sporran jump for joy. The ingredients are locally sourced from the floor of the Lochgilphead abattoir. What a choice! For those who like their offal well shaped, the ingredients have been boiled in a sheep's bladder. Alternatively there's a heap of meaty slurry that any bearded Scotsman or woman would love to get their face into. Sid himself has contributed to the effort by acting as a receptacle for the abattoir's offerings.


©2005 The Reader's Doglist Association of Great Britain