Falkirk songster Dougie is a Burns Night hit in Java
Falkirk Robert Burns fanatic Dougie Smith could be forgiven for thinking he just dreamed the adventure that took him to Java to act as MC for a prestigious Burns Night.
Back on home soil he is still busily engaged with the local Burns celebration events that are his stock in trade, and his passion.
But while it’s a couple of weeks since official Burns Night he confesses he’s just starting to come down to earth from the “gig” that proved the trip of a lifetime - and delighted that he’s been asked to go back and do it all over again next year.
Late last year Dougie, a regular on the traditional Scottish music scene, was thrilled to get an out of the blue request for him to fly to Indonesian capital Jakarta to be the main man at the most important night of the year for the Java St Andrew Society.
Until that moment, he concedes, he would have had trouble finding Jakarta on a map, but he said “yes” to that gold-plated request without the slightest hestitation.
After a 19 hour journey across numerous time zones Dougie landed in the exotic metropolis on Thursday, January 23, and a couple of days later was performing the most unusual and Burns Night celebration of his already hectic career.
He had been given a suite at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for the duration of his stay, and was simply “astounded” by the level of service he experienced there.
But he had a job of work to do, and before he knew it show-time had arrived.
One of the event’s key organisers said later: “He was absolutely fantastic - a good mix of traditional and modern music and songs followed by a rousing Toast to the Haggis, and Holy Willie’s Prayer - and his recitation of Tam
o’ Shanter couldn’t have been better!
“The evening closed with us all singing Auld Lang’s Syne and a few extra songs from Dougie so the ladies could dance”.
The night was perfect, she said, adding: “Much of our success was down to Dougie!”
This week Dougie said: “It was a fantastic adventure, and one of the nicest surprises ever to be invited to such an event - everything about it was out of this world ... and needless to say I am really looking forward to going back again next year”.