Friday 31 December 2021

Times of Change 2021

COP 26 march

Covid is here to stay in its many different forms. 

It is now about how we learn to live with Covid. We may not be able to return to those large scale events we used to love .... as much as before. Then again I’ve really enjoyed many small intimate gigs, but will my local folk club return any time soon? 

We’ll have to learn to live and shop on a more local level – and not enjoy unnecessary flights. Do we really need 6 trips  a year, causing needless pollution and emissions.

The COP 26 Glasgow happened, but it seemed the real action was happening on the streets. 


Some Anglo-British Tories claim they believe in “liberty” but liberty for whom – for Scots with 7 mandates for independence? 


We’re all trying to learn to live with Covid, which at times has been okay getting back to a concert in August – Chrissie Hynde at the Queens hall Edinburgh -  and even the cinema to see the amazing Sci-fi film Dune. Will Celtic Connections actually happen, will life return to a normality?


But the hospitals are under great strain with a lack of staff, so all this is not so great. Many people are now moving closer to their families. One thing recent times have taught us, is  the need for resiliecet in the face of seismic change and the importance of family!


 Happy New Year and hoping for the best for 2022!


Scottish Music 2021



The BBC's St Andrews day Program, featured many of Scotland's best loved artists from the 80s – Proclaimers, Texas, Simple Minds, Del Amitri, Deacon Blue, Travis, Wet Wet Wet, with these bands still touring today. 

Scotland certainly punched above its size for bands from the 80s and 90s! 


However many pf the Scots artists of today were not included – what about Chvrches, Lewis Capaldi, KT Tunstall, Mogwai, Biffy Clyro, although Calvin Harris and Emeli Sande were included.


There is a uniqueness to Scottish music, which mixes traditional folk melody and the heart of ballads, with contemporary influences, instruments and beats and rhythms – often in unexpected and unusual combinations.

Del Amitri
KT Tunstall
Blue Rose Code
Julie Fowlis

Also a big mention for all the incredible folk artists who perform, at Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow each January - with Ceilidh bands, Gaelic singers, orchestral musicians, bluegrass and soul, traditional folk, pipers, Celtic ballads, Irish influences, unusual instruments – which all provides a wonderful melting pot to bring different influences together for the 18 days of the festival.


Another major platform for music in Scotland is the Edinburgh International festival each August, which also brings diverse cultures and innovation together – from classical music to cutting edge rock. Scotland has much to be proud of! Here are some of my images from my years attending some of the many diverse and wonderful gigs here in Scotland


Emeli Sande


Siobhan Wilson
Karine Polwart
Nicola Benedetti

Blue Rose Code

Atlas for Scotland by Andrew Barr

Andrew Barr puts Scotland on the map 

-        first Atlas of Scotland in more than a century


 What Scotland is and what Scotland could be


Artist and writer Andrew Redmond Barr has launched an ambitious new project to create the first major Scottish atlas for over 100 years.

Combining text with illustrated maps, the Atlas of Scotland will shed new light on Scotland’s size and resources, its cultural and political history, as well as its long standing as one of the ancient kingdoms of Europe and the richness of its international connections.

Andrew explains the inspiration behind the project: “When I graduated from university in the summer of 2014, there was a lot of anticipation and excitement building around the independence referendum.

“Since then, the question of what Scotland is and what it could be in the future seems to have stuck in people’s minds.

“Creating an atlas feels like a way of taking stock, of looking in detail at what Scotland actually is, what it’s made of and where it stands, as well as telling the story of Scotland’s rich past.


He is the author of two published books, Summer of Independence (Word Power Books 2016), looking at the 2014 independence referendum from a cultural perspective, and The Illustrated Declaration of Arbroath (Saltire Society 2019), which was designed to celebrate the 700th anniversary of one of Scotland’s most important artefacts earlier this year.


“While the atlas will cover some of what is already widely known about Scotland and its history, it will also deliberately seek out the unusual, the forgotten or the overlooked.

“Those are the parts I think will be most enjoyable for readers,” he smiles.


“I’m always open to new ideas to make my work accessible to different audiences.”


I believe in Scotland


Because I believe Scotland is held back by the UK union, by a London centric Anglo-British-ness that does not understand or have much interest in Scotland’s future or present.