Welcome to Aberdeen Tramps and Ither Weel Kent Fowk! Make yourself comfy on that park bench, grab your bottle of Buckfast and find out who's hot and who's not in the ever-changing world of the vomit encrusted streets of Aberdeen!

Street Entertainers will be recognised at last!
Religious Fanatics outside Markies will know someone is listening!
And our colourful tramps will no longer be forgotten!

Join me in my fond remeniscence of The Granite City's most colourful characters and street entertainers - for I'm sure you'll all agree a good political rant or a singing tramp is as worthy of a cheering crowd as the best buskers...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Weel Kent Aberdeen Shop #1 - McKays


Top camping and menswear shop on Queens Street round the side of Marischal College.

What can we say about McKays?

Indeed. What the hell CAN we say about McKays!?

Step through the door and step into a world full (and we mean FULL) of wondrous items! Looking for a new sleeping bag? McKays. Looking for a pair of combats? McKays. Looking for Doc Martens? McKays. Looking for an original Aberdeen football strip from 1982? McKays. Inexplicably looking for a 1940's gas mask? Mckays.

I think basically they must have started off with an empty bit of space and then just never removed any stock. Wonderous items lie around the place (some on hangers, most just displayed on top of old stock) with STRATA. I'm talking 1970's safari suits and Marc Bolan originals at the bottom... Drainpipes and safety-pinned items on top of that. Then a shocking layer of 80's bri-nylon with a thin line of 1988 cerise and acid-wear on top. Next follow the 90's flares and hoodies revival with a bit of grunge above that. On top will be McKays latest wares recently imported from God knows where - I imagine that camels arrive in the night laden down with quality goods because the sheer range of items available is staggering!

McKays very much comes from the old "How may I help you sir?" school of shops because almost as soon as you go in (stepping onto cardboard and into a blast of toasty warm air if it's snowing inside), Mr McKay himself (Is he Mr McKay? or just the Man That Owns It?) comes up to you in his Safari Suit asking if you need any help. And by God can he help. He knows where EVERYTHING is! Magnalite? "Magnalite? Upstairs. Ask my companion." (The guy upstairs MUST be a relation, surely) Legwarmers? "Ah yes. We have some JUST IN!" Courdroy slacks? "I believe we have some just... Ah yes. Here! Creased or non creased?"

And upstairs! Upstairs is a veritable Aladdin's Cave of wonders! Really. If you want welly boots, Swiss army knifes, wooly socks, aforementioned gas mask or basically any other bizarre shit... McKays is THE place to go.

It Rocks.

Honestly, I swear that when I were a youth (we're talking about 1985 - 2000 minimum) they had a handwritten sign proclaiming "FLARES NOW IN STOCK!!" Really? Now in stock? You don't say. They've been available in McKays for the past 40 years! Probably the same ones too...

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posted by Aberdeen Tramps | Sunday, February 08, 2009


Blogger Unknown said...

Yasss - most excellent idea, Neighbour, you can talk about shops to me all day! Here are some other candidates - The Rubber Shop; Maxwells Wool Shop; Union St Woolies; Union St Boots; the original Toy Bazzar on Correction Wynd; Radars; (these you may need to ask your parents about!!) Equitable; Isaac Benzies; Falconers; Strathdee the Baker.

I got a fisherman's cap there as a secret Santa present once - the Mannie telt me it was called a Breton Cap. He is a mine of information right enough.

February 08, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McKays is like a time warp. I thought the guy that practically leaps on you as you go through the door is a bit scary though!

Ps. Register aberdeen tramps at aberdeen blogs!

February 09, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah McKays! I bet some of the stuff underneath the piles of clothes is worth a small fortune! I always did wonder if the gentleman 'greeter' was the owner?

February 24, 2009  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This made me laugh so much - would have to add - 'The Greeter' has an unnerving knack of suddenly materialising - in a way that somehow transports me back to childhood memories of the cartoon Mr Benn??????

April 16, 2009  
Blogger Neighbour of Teh Hoors! said...

Bloody hell yeah - that's exactly who he is! The shopkeeper from Mr Benn! I used to think he looked like one of Benny Hill's straight-men. This one in fact - http://www.derbydeadpool.co.uk/images/celebs/m/mcgeeh.jpg (seen here about to try to sell Benny Hill a 70's safari suit with matching tent and gas mask from upstairs)

I LOVE Mackays!

May 15, 2009  
Blogger Neighbour of Teh Hoors! said...

Oh aye, I think he is the owner. A total legend... I will attempt to register Aberdeen Tramps on Aberdeen Blogs. It was registered before, but Mr Tramps didn't have access enough to update the page, so it was taken off.

May 15, 2009  
Anonymous Which one wrote this? said...

I work in McKays And there are many things that folk dont no, like if the greeter is old man McKay himself, or if the guy upstairs is his relation, or if i am his grandson!!?? all these things lie to be found out. The man at the door is wisdomous in information about shopkeeping and knowing, along with us,where EVERYTHING is. There are many storys about the shops history and the McKay empire that used to be. Traditional shop assistantce is still taught in there with the well known "Can i help you" right at the tip of the toung as a coustomers "clip, clap, clipping" of there feet on the stairs near, and the question pops just as they slightly apper as the arrive at the top of what feels like a mountain, that i can climb in 3 sec's. this can be reply'd by a "no, just browsing" a word they had just been encouraged to use downstairs as the guy who greets says, "have a browsie round" or a out of breath yes followed by us hurring away to get the wanted product. and then a quick rattle of the tips jar to "encourage" before leaving them to pay or go back down the stairs, with a qiuck fired "have a nice day!" as they slip away.

Holy S**T i just dramatised everything! i could be come a famouse writer, but best not ;)

*GIVE TIPS "save the children... of McKays"*

October 26, 2009  
Blogger Neighbour of Teh Hoors! said...

OMG that's ace "Which one" ! :D
So is he old man McKay? Is he related? Are you his grandson!? We need to know!

I totally believe that anyone in that shop knows exactly where everything is and that yes, they probably do have it in stock! Totally LOVE wandering round the place.

Does the place have a stockroom? or is the whole shop the stockroom?

Also, get that tips jar in a more prominent place... I'm due for a new sleeping bag and will wink knowingly next time I'm in ;)

November 09, 2009  
Blogger Bobbthefrog said...

Wow I love your blog! Your writing's so funny! I used to read these articles by a guy called Hugh, I think, he wrote for the Gaudie and did a column called OPINION where he just spouted hysterical nonsense. Is this you too? You mentioned you went to AU? Anyway I digress. I worked with an Indian guy who also worked at McKays - he has some stories, I believe the guy on the ground floor IS the owner as when my friend was leaving one night, it happened to be raining and he just pulled a coat off a hanger and gave it to him. Well nice guy!

I live in Japan now but I lived on Castlegate and it's so nice to read about this stuff - I read it to my American friend over here and she was in stitches! Please, please get a photo of "Kilt!" up on the site.

I have a Blog about japan too if your interested in all things Japanese? Live Vegetable flavoured KitKat...?

December 16, 2009  

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