Revealed . . . the story behind Cupar statue

AN AIR of bafflement prevailed in Cupar on Tuesday when a mysterious statue was unveiled in the town centre — only to disappear an hour-and-half later as swiftly it had arrived.

A glamorous Latin American celebrity, accompanied by a 'town councillor', wearing an impressive chain of office, swept in unannounced and with a flourish performed the unveiling ceremony as a 'gentleman' from the press — and a group of perplexed lunchtime shoppers — looked on.

But now the Fife Herald can reveal the story behind the visit.

The statue was of Carlos Gardel, tango music's biggest-ever superstar, who is still adored by fans all over South America 74 years after his death in a plane crash in 1935.

It was created to commemorate Gardel's legendary tour of Scotland in 1930, when it was said that he used funds from well-paid appearances in Glasgow and Edinburgh to subsidise small, unannounced concerts in rural venues.

Since he only ever spent 90 minutes in each town, the statue is only left in place for the same length of time.

And it seems that he left his mark in more ways than one.

According to 'Councillor Frank Patterson', in the year following Gardel's one and only visit to Cupar, no fewer than 60 per cent of the baby boys born in the area were named Carlos in his honour.

Carlos Gardel really was a famous exponent of the tango, but as far as the history books show, he had absolutely no connection at all with Cupar — or indeed Scotland, for that matter.

In Crossgate on Tuesday, in front of a steadily growing crowd of intrigued passers-by, Latin American star 'Irana Frump' duly unveiled the statue of Gardel.

Tuesday's events were actually a bit of mischief-making on the part of the Glasgow-based street theatre company Mischief La-Bas, who have been visiting towns all over Scotland, leaving a trail of bewildered residents in their wake.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the show should visit the website at www.carlosgardelinscotland.com