Showing posts with label National. Show all posts
Showing posts with label National. Show all posts

Friday, 28 August 2020

Song for Scotland -'Auld Lang Syne'



Scots spread around the world as – explorers, lecturers, innovators, writers – and had close trade to Europe.

Kane writes of the impact songs can have, to bring us all together in community spirit, to build hope. 
From a shattered apartment Beirut – windows blown in, amid her ruin an elderly woman sits at her piano and plays the classic international song by our Bard Robert Burns, his song of unity and friendship -

'Auld Lang Syne.’

Making beauty from ashes.....
This song's emotional power travels the globe and gives people hope. Not about divisions but about bringing people together in what really matters. 

Making beauty from ashes.

Scots and journalist musician Pat Kane concludes for indy (Scotland National August 8th)
All the way from Beirut the perfect national anthem for indy Scotland. 
“hardly for the first time, Scotland is already profoundly woven into the world, as the world waits for our official return. Closing suggestion, isn’t this the obvious, post indy Scottish national anthem in waiting? A song the world already sings – joyfully, harmoniously, in happy celebration? Right under our noises, all this time. “

Here are the pipes and chorus and a perfect rendition of Auld Lang Synehttps://www.youtube.com/auld-lang-syne

Burns heard the old song and added new verses - its a song too for the auld Scotia that was being lost. 
This is a song about bringing people together. Because Scotland's self-determination is not about any nationhood - but rather our right to democracy for all who live here in Scotland - for our fairer, more equal, greener and well being future. 

Kane writes of the impact songs can have, to bring us all together in community spirit, to build hope. Collective singing can ‘induce feelings of happiness, safety and security in a group – calming, energising, organising and inspiring. 
He recommends the book - David Levitin , The World in Six Songs. 

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The Poems of Ossian



Macpherson’s poems of Ossian translations from the Gaelic traditions – had a profound influence on many painters, poets and writers. And his books were read internationally. The poet MacDiarmid lamented for Scotia’s lost music. 

Professor Alan Raich writes in his National articles - Immense, deep ... and surprisingly rich: The legacy of Ossian
By Alan Riach Professor of Scottish Literature at Glasgow University

“The poems of Ossian had a profound influence but the idea that Macpherson perpetrated a “hoax” persists. This is unjust and inadequate. In Fiona Stafford’s words, Macpherson’s Ossian is “pre-eminently a text of the margins – not in the sense that it is peripheral to serious literary study but because it inhabits the margins of contrasting, oppositional cultures.

For Macpherson’s ‘translations’ involved acts of interpretation not only between Gaelic and English, but also between the oral culture of the depressed rural communities of the Scottish Highlands, and the prosperous urban centres of Lowland Britain, where the printed word was increasingly dominant.”

In this context, they are “less the work of an inexpert linguist, or an unscrupulous ‘Scotsman on the make’ than a sophisticated attempt to mediate between two apparently irreconcilable cultures.”

The legacy of Ossian, beyond Macpherson’s actual works, is immense, deep and surprisingly rich. Images of Ossian have perennially been a subject for the visual arts. 
“To remember the great music and to look
At Scotland and the world today is to hear
An Barr Buadh again where there are none to answer
And to feel like Oisin d’ éis na Féine or like Christ.”

And it is not only paintings and drawings. The literary influence is there, too, and was felt early. Wordsworth (1770-1850), in “Glen-Almain; or, the Narrow Glen” (1803), a result of his tour in Scotland, writes:
“In this still place, remote from men,
Sleeps Ossian, in the NARROW GLEN;
In this still place, where murmurs on
But one meek streamlet, only one:”

Ghosts and graves and windy hills and caves are an essential parts of the story - 
as in the short, haunting poem
 Ossian’s Grave” by the Russian writer Mikhail Lermontov (1814-41), here given in my own translation:
“In the Highlands of Scotland I love, 
Storm clouds curve down on the dark fields and strands,
With icy grey mist closing in from above –
Here Ossian’s grave still stands.
In dreams my heart races to be there,
To deeply breathe in its native air –
And from this long-forgotten shrine
Take its second life as mine.



** The Gaelic phrases relate to this. In footnotes, MacDiarmid explains “An Barr Buadh” is “somewhat in a state between existence and non-existence.”
And “d’ éis na Féine” is:  “A withered babbling old man, ‘Oisin after the Fianna’ (ie when his love for Ireland made him return to it from Tir-na-nog) in that immortal phrase which has in it more than Virgilian tears.”

In other words, the evocation of Ossian “after the Fianna” –
after his father and family and companions of high youth, health and vigour, have all gone into the past, leaving him old, blind and alone – delivers a permanent image of tragic and irrecoverable loss, encompassing and predating other ancient religions and civilisations.
And there is no fraud or hoax involved in that. Its permanence is also Ossian’s legacy.



Who Would I Honour with a statue?



Who would I honour with  a statue?  This is a list of writer and others that I particularly admire.: The names that come to mind are – Robert Burns,  Thomas Paine, Orpah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Rembrant, Michelangelo, Mozart, Bob Dylan, Bach, Mary Somerville, Thomas Muir, Elsie Inglis, Constable.
Recently people threw the statue of slave trader Edward Calston, into the river. 

I’m glad to see a statue to James Clerk Maxwell, the great physicist in Edinburgh’s George St. 
I attend Edinburgh book festival each year and one of the great aspects of this festival is that merit it accorded to those who achieve rather than to any empty celebrity. 

Recently I watched a tv program about the mega rich and their massive yachts. I wondered about the French revolution – when they over threw a greedy aristocracy – but they simply escaped and instead of stately mansions set up massive yachts. 

Kevin Pringle argues we should have dynamic, on going debate on whether any statue in a civic space, continues to be relevant to todays world. That society is not static or unchanging. Also that the Edward Colston statue removed Bristol was no longer relevant. He suggested in 2003, that the Duke of Wellingtons statues in Edinburgh’s Princes St, should make way for one of Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns.

In a recent survey Burns was voted as Scotland’s no 1 hero. I was surprised to realise his Edina statue is down the bottom of Leith walk, removed from the city centre. There are more statues to Burns in America than of any other writer and he is honoured and respected world wide from Russia to Canada. (Mind you maybe Burns would rather stare up from the coast!)

In Belgium, statues of the tyrant Leopold II are being removed. Pringle writes of the diplomat Roger Casement “who was knighted for exposing atrocities 1904 in the Congo and was later hanged by Britain for championing Irish insurrection. People are complicated, and no statues can ever capture that.”

                                  **Who Would I Honour with a statue?

Thomas Paine -  English-born American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. He authored the two most influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution and inspired the patriots in 1776. 
  
Robert Burns  – Scotland National Bard
Yes he was a flawed man – but he also put his creativity and egalitarian views, and collecting Scotland’s tradition of song and ballads, as his main creative genius.  

Thomas Muir - Great reformer of the Friends of the People.,
Scots lawyer Muir defended many others until he found himself a wanted man. He was arrested on landing at Portparick. and taken in chains through Gatehouse of Fleet to Dumfries and on to Edinburgh, where he was tried for sedition. He was found guilty and sent to Botany Bay. Later he escaped and made it over to Vancouver island and Monterrey bay – then on to Mexico and got caught up with a naval fight in Cadiz harbour, where he ahd half his face blown off. He died near Paris, aged only 

Women of colours and women of today I most admire - 
Oprah Winfrey
Toni Morrison
Maya Angelou
Mary Somerville

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Story of Jacobites



Great series of very readable articles, entitled ‘Back in the Day’ of the Jacobites by Hamish MacPherson in the National newspaper. He asked, what if Prince Charlie had stayed in Edinburgh? 
 - https://www.thenational.scot/news/17187286.what-if-prince-charles-had-stayed-in-edinburgh-in-1745/ 
Interestingly if the Jacobites had won a very different Europe and America would have resulted. 

Hamish might have also focused more on the terrific religious wars of the time raging across Europe – The Thirty Years War. Also James VI’s daughter, Elizabeth Stuart, created a very important dynasty. 
It all became very messy, with the bloody suppression of Highland culture. That’s why Robert Burns could never wear a kilt!  


This was not Scots against English, as French, Irish, German soldiers took part.  

The belief in feudalism and elites still effects us today – with illegal landownership. 

Monday, 30 July 2018

The Nature of Nationalism


Excellent article by Isobel Lindsay National July 2018 on the nature of nationalism. 
Lindsay writes that, “nationhood  is morally neutral – like say parenting. It ranges from commitment to place, self-government, national identity and to enthusiastic internationalism in which nations co-operate within agreed structures. 
At the football World Cup we saw a display of nationalism that was good natured – both internationalism with competition and co-operation among the nations, promoting their national interest within a set of agreed rules an shared objectives." 


The commitment to a specific place and people is an essential part of the human condition. The group is essential to our survival and the development of culture. Below the surface we are all nationalist. Nationhood is about shared values, distinctive identity, civic culture, shared experience and mutual understandings. What is the alternative to nationalism and the nation state?  

Uniquely, and unlike populist far right national groups in Europe. Scotland's nationalist movement, going back to the 19th century, was led by people whose values were egalitarian, liberal and internationalist - Roland Muirhead, Cunningham Graham, Compton Mackenzie, Neil Gunn, John Maclean. In other words a fight for civil and social rights. 


Lindsay writes, “It has been one of the failings of the left in England to ignore national identity issues and it gives the opportunity to the right to impose their interpretation on nationalism.”’ 
Therefore “England has allowed the right to define Britishness and Englishness in their own image - of monarchy, military and of a mythical rural idyll.” 
Isobel Lindsay on the nature of nationalism, The Nation July 2018

Friday, 15 December 2017

SAVE SCOTLAND BRAND: Does Identity Politics matter?


Do identity politics matter, of course they do! These Brexiteers are so into their “British” or English identity; the French are into their identity; the Japanese are into their identity – so what’s the problem?  The problem is that the separate nations of the UK are a threat to the ever more centralizing Westminster.  Scottish identity or Irish identity are viewed as threats. Some say Identity politics is bad compared to class divides. I believe the opposite: identity matters greatly for Israelis, Jews and Palestinians.  I’m also internationalist too – I enjoy Italian art, Dylan songs - we must be both truly authentic and also outward looking.

Do flags matter?
The British /English Union Jack is not my flag and for me it is a symbol of repression of culture and of repression of the whistles and drums in Ireland. For me Union Jacks are signs of great division and oppression in Northern Ireland. I am ashamed to tick British as my identity and it is not my identity. It’s a bad state of affairs: I have no pride in being British and I don’t consider myself British. The “Brexit” yes/no vote meant a ton of Union Jack waving – well mainly in England. I view ‘Brutishness’ much as a Norwegian may view ‘Scandinavian’, except that Europeans do not deprive me of my Irish or Scottish roots. Union Jacks represent English imperialism,

**“SAVE Scotland brand”
Why is Marks and Spencer’s selling shortbread, a Scottish product, in a tin with scenes of London on it in Scotland? The National newspaper are running a campaign, Save our Scotland Brand,
to try to stop the imposition of a “BRITAIN’ brand on SCOTTISH products, which has become worse since Brexit and promotions of ‘Britishness’
Marks and Spencer’s are one of the worst culprits. There has been many cases of false labelling – “British Haggis”, “British Whisky”, “British Shortbread”, “British beef” stuck on Union Jack labels on Scottish produce. People have found in Scottish stores that there is Welsh, Cornish, Yorkshire, English cheese but no Scottish cheese. In M& S they label “as from the county of Scotland!’ when Scotland is one of the oldest country’s in the world! 

Is Scotland to become like Cornwall or Yorkshire, a mere county? Meanwhile Sainsbury say they use the Union Jack label because people identify it as English! Scotland has set higher standards than England for its food produce by banning GM crops and other pollutants. How can Scotland market its exports if they become part of a ”Britain” brand?

This dogs Brexit is about imposing a ‘British brand’ on Scotland. Scottish Food and drink is a major business and has increased by 34% since 2007. Scotland has a ‘Tartan Week’ over in New York to market Scottish products:  including arts, music, fashion, film, food products. 

There is a strange conflict going on presently it seems between globalization and the media elites and the nation states and of peoples’ local democratic will' to decide for themselves how best to run their own affairs. America has a strong influence over Britai its 51st State. There is also a good side to globalization – better communications, trade, peace, and more. There are also negatives – who wants to visit Paris to find it’s the same as New York? And who really wants a homogeneous world?

I’ve voted SNP for forty years now so no new belief, because de-centralising from Westminster can only be a good thing, and giving the Scottish people back the confidence in themselves that they have lost and “taking back our control” to local level from the south east property elites. The Greek economist and author Yanis Varoufakis stated, “The UK is the most imbalanced geographically lop-sided country of any major county in the world and it harms the economy. Chronic underperformance of the UK business model."  

Why do we have to sacrifice Peace and Prosperity to satisfy right wing Tory nutters? To be honest all this shows that those in England simply don’t care about Scotland and we are merely an ‘after thought’ despite all the Love bombs to us during the independence vote of 2014.
**Here is a letter Burns wrote of his wish to write about Scotland -
 ‘The appellation of a Scottish bard is by far my highest pride; to continue to deserve it  my most exalted ambition; Scottish scenes and Scottish stories are the theme I could wish to sing; I have no dearer aim than to have it in my power, unplagued with the routine of business , for which heaven knows I am unfit enough for; to make leisurely pilgrimage through Caledonia; to sit in the fields of her battles; to wander on the romantic banks of her rivers; or to muse by the stately towers or venerable ruins, once the honoured abodes of her heroes. ‘   R.B.  Letter March 1787 to Ms Dunlop

PS
Michael Portillo on This Week, ‘UK politicians don’t posture – European do posture! We are completely different!’  Who’s not into identity politics then? 

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

A New Scottish National Photography Gallery

 470 clergymen who founded the Free Church of Scotland
The Scottish National galleries are showing an exhibition of the work of Scottish photography pioneers,
Robert Adamson and David Hill – ‘Scottish Photography pioneers, A Perfect Chemistry. Fisherfolk of Newhaven,’
27th May to 1st October 2017, TE SCOTTISH PORTRAIT GALLERIES, Queen St, Edinburgh.

It has taken others overseas to recognise the work of these Scottish pioneers in photography. These two world renowned pioneers are mostly unknown in Scotland and are yet more reminders of the neglect of Scotland’s heritage.  

The Museum of Modern Art New York put on an exhibition Photography1930 – at the beginning of the show Hill and Adamson had pride of place as Photography pioneers. In 1989 The Huntarian Glasgow staged another exhibition of Hill and Adamson’s work, which came over from Saskatoon Canada, where it had been acclaimed.


The Scottish galleries hold the biggest collection of their work in the world, yet only exhibit their work every 15 years. In the 1840s Hill and Adamson were partners in the new science of Photography. Adamson portraits of clergymen documented the disruption in the Kirk with the Free church of Scotland. They worked in Rock house, Calton hill, producing portraits and also images of the Forth estuary and coast.

In the 1990s the Royal High school was considered for a new Scottish National Photography gallery  to include Annans, Gillanders, Calum Colvin and others.


**Scottish Artist David Hill 1802 – 1870), landscape painter
He formed Hill & Adamson studio with the photographer Robert Adamson
(1843 - 1847) pioneer photographer. He learned lithography at the school of Design Edinburgh. His landscape paintings exhibited Institution for the Promotion of the Fine Arts in Scotland and he established Scottish Academy1829 with Henry Cockburn.

Pioneer Photographer Robert Adamson (1821–1848) pioneer photographer at Hill & Adamson. Best known for his work with artist David Hill at his photographic studio Rock House Calton hill. Hill and Adamson were commissioned in 1843 to make a group portrait of the 470 clergymen who founded the Free Church of Scotland. Hill had desired to make photographic portraits of the founders as reference material.

Adamson’s collaboration with Hill, who provided skill in composition and lighting, and Adamson’s dexterity with the camera, proved extremely successful. They used the calotype process, and produced a wide range of portraits depicting well-known Scots.

They photographed Fife landscapes, urban scenes, the Scott Monument under construction; 
the fishermen of Newhaven and the fishwives who carried the fish in creels the 3 miles (5 km) uphill to the city of Edinburgh to sell them round the doors, with their cry of “Caller Herrin”
They produced groundbreaking "action" photographs of soldiers and two priests walking side by side.


They produced some 3000 calotypes of mostly portraits within 5 years, 1843 – 1847.
Adamson died unmarried on 14 January 1848, at the age of 26.

In 1851, the works of Hill & Adamson's appeared at The Great Exhibition.
It wasn't until 1872 that their work was rediscovered. In 1905, 1912, and 1914, some of their works appeared in Camera Work. There were also several New York City exhibits at Alfred Stiegiltz’s 291 art gallery and at the National arts club.


Calotype or talbotype is an early Photographic process introduced in 1841 by William Henry Fox Talbot using paper
coated with silver iodide. The term calotype comes from the Greek καλός (kalos), "beautiful", and τύπος (tupos), "impression".

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Scottish A Cappella National Championships

Tone Up
The Killers Quinns

enjoyed a fun night at the Scottish A Cappella National Championships St Andrews University on Friday 4th March - with The Accidentals, The Belles, Aberpella, the Killer Quines, The Other Guys, The Hummingbirds, Tone Up, Edinburgh University A Cappella Society
The Belles
The Accidentals
Aberpella