Showing posts with label new year. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new year. Show all posts

Sunday 31 December 2023

2023 Year of Challenges


Its been a strange old year! Of scandals, inquiries, conflicts, of unexpected turbulence, global wars, right wing populism. Bob Dylan wrote once – “I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong.”We must speak up. Every voice matters – if one voice becomes a thousand ripples, like the little pebbles thrown into the murky waters. 


Its been a tough year physically for me, while I continue with my many projects. Then the day after news of an operation I’d require, I had my Facebook profile hacked and I’ve been unable to contact Facebook. Its been tough trying to reset up a new FB page – my previous online page had around 800 followers and 12 years of around 50 photo albums. Ah well… here’s to new beginnings! For 2024


“Those who see wrong, and know it is wrong, but say nothing…”

“I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. “ DYLAN,  I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many wars… You people over 21 should know better. The first way to answer these questions in the song is by asking them. But lots of people have to first find the wind.


*MUSIC 2023

Lana Del Rey – 

Christine and the Queens – 

Duncan Chisholm – Black Cullins

Bach Goldberg variations piano Vikingur


*YEAR in Scottish politics 

Has been very strange with many conflicting forces: I’m not sure how much I believe of the nonsense put out by the media and press coming out of London. London sucks in so much – in London they spend £75 per person on the arts, in the rest of the UK merely £10 per person:


And Gaza?

If a terrorist group from Ireland took UK citizens hostages – I would expect the British army to do something to retrieve the hostages ……… BUT I would not expect them to bomb children indiscriminately! Over 16,000 Palestinians have been murdered, half of these “people’ are children. 

I’d be wondering too why this group felt so angry they felt the need to behave in such a barbaric way. 


Nicola Sturgeon?  She was by miles the most popular politician in the UK. 

Humza Yousaf - The First Muslin leader in the western world. 

*I agree  with Gerry Hassan’s critical article on Labour’s failures to address any sort of vision for the British state.  What I don’t understand about these British/ English political parties is - what is there vision, or what country are they trying to emulate – America?  In Scotland with our aging population we desperately need young workers to come and live here.  How can they wend people back to France, when France and Germany are taking in far more refugees that the UK does. 

(Timothy Calumet will play the young Bob Dylan in a new film)

Saturday 31 December 2022

Our Year of Chaos 2022


Talisk Celtic Connections

And Politics!! Its become impossible to keep up or understand the chaos at the heart of the UK system! With the cost of living crisis, public sector strikes, the Kwertang budget – we have to wonder the UK government is prepared to spend billions on strange projects, wars etc but not on the workers. We are hit with strikes after our 10 years of Tory austerity – workers have had enough! – of paying the price for financial services failures and the UK as masters of war.

It has been great to see concerts return after the long months of the pandemic – the Edinburgh festivals were back in August with, while reduced programs, at least the return of the buzz of in person events.  

CELTIC CONNECTIONS music festival Glasgow 2023 will return this January with a full and in person program, celebrating its 30th year! Celtic Connections 2022: A highlight was a top concert with the Skye band Niteworks backed by the RSNO, who performed original material with their fusion of Gaelic and Scottish traditions. Another highlight as always was the Transatlantic Sessions led by Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain and featuring American singer 



Edinburgh International book fetsival 2022 returned with in person events. Outlander author Diana Gabaldon gave an inspiring talk – as did Irish Times journalist Fintan O’Toole; Yi Lea from Albania spoke of freedoms; along with Oliver Bullough on his book Butler to the World -


PLUS in October I enjoyed seeing another artistic stalwart, Bob Dylan in Glasgow, who has written one of his best albums at 80 and still going strong -


Bob Dylan Clyde Auditorium Glasgow

Rab Noakes
*Music Loses  
We lost several top artists this year, including well kent folk music legend Rab Noakes, I will miss his concerts  Its now the passing of the baton to a new generation. Rab believed in the organic way to learn your craft, through the live performance. I am glad I attended his last concert here Milngavie folk club, last June. My Chats & Tribute to Rab Noakes here -

PLUS the songbird Christine McVie – Rumours is one of my top ten albums of all time.

**Do Scots have equal rights in our unequal union?

Balfour Report: It appears that British dominions are considered “equal” – what exactly does that mean?! The Balfour Reports of 1926 was an important development in Canada’s evolution become a fully self governing nation .the report declared tat Britain and its Dominions were constitutionally equal. The findings of the report were made law by the British Parliament in the 1931 statue of Westminster.


**ARTS funding

Many of the arts continue to struggle due to reduced audiences and increased energy costs. The Edinburgh film house has closed along with a major Edinburgh art gallery. I can understand focus on sports, but for the aspirations and long term to me the ARTS are very much not a side issues but the essence of who we are. 


In Switzerland they speak High German in lectures at university and the local German dialect is spoken in the common rooms – but one is not considered of higher value than the other. 


The skill of being able to see the Big Picture amongst the chaos.

No time for standing still. Some have no time for taking notice and they miss so much. 

Arts and culture I believe, are crucial in our lives – they express who we are, our stories, aspirations…Perhaps new crossroads lie ahead. 

#Scotland and #EUROPE. Many across the UK are now turning against Brexit, while the Tories continue to battle to keep the extreme right wing at bay. One of the main reasons for Scotland’s enlightened thought - Reformation 1560 to the 1700s – was our close collaboration, integration and trade with Europe. Our scholars studied in Paris and beyond, and also taught there.

 When the UKs Brexit happened it was such a profound and distressing wrench for Scotland, it was extremely hard to write about. Many of us thought the EU project had brought us peace, stability, security, and prosperity. Most Scots feel European of heart and mind and culturally.


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!


Sunday 31 December 2017

2017, Year of the Looking Glass

Many in Scotland are angry and frustrated with the incompetence of a Tory elite who believe in out-dated privilege, In today’s modern world, why do we meekly have to accept an enforcement of major changes such as an ill-advise Brexit? 
….and we in Scotia long for self-determination

The Press and Media has become manipulated and controlled by algorithms.

“Thirty years of liberal twiddling with the lies of communication have made it almost impossible to broadcast anything but received propaganda.”  American critic Guy Davenport.
The purpose of journalism is to inform and disseminate, and if it isn’t, it isn’t doing its job.

Brexit is being run by incompetents with no idea of their end goal.

We had the horror of the Grenfell tower fire tragedy – Channel Four news and award winning journalist Jon Snow, exposed that the tower was run by a large incompetent and criminally out-of-touch management company. It is clear that there needs to be urgent changes made so that people can have a say in how their homes are managed.

In 2017 women roared and spoke out against the bullish bully Harvey Weinstein. A similar bully, Trump, sits on the seat of power in the American Whitehouse. This misuse of power towards women, with women as second class citizens defined the year. 
The major serious issue is that women are the main care givers of the old and of children, and nothing in our world is more important than the care of children.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! and that wiser heads may rule in 2018!

Tuesday 31 December 2013


Quote TS Eliot 
"Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,
And next year’s words await another voice."
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring/ Will be to arrive where we started/ And to know the place for the first time." 

We play out our lives in real time, one day, one place, one heart, hoping to reach others.

Life is not linear
And Art is about mystery.  P. Keightley

Thomas Eliot (1888 – 1965) was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic and "one of the twentieth century's major poets." Born in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States, he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927.  He attracted widespread attention for his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915), which is seen as a masterpiece of the Modernist movement. It was followed by some of the best-known poems in the English language, including The Waste Land (1922), The Hollow Men (1925), Ash Wednesday (1930) and Four Quartets (1945).[2] He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

Saturday 31 December 2011

2011 A Year of Resolutions and Turbulence.

A Year of Resolutions and turbulence.
A year of change, destruction and extremes, of questioning and uprising.
The Arab Spring and bloody times. Murder of ignorant dictators.
Did we ever see the like..? 
The Sun and Rupert Murdoch were told to answer for their Code of No Ethics.
The collapse of the Euro.
Japanese Tsunami.
Royal wedding, Global Warming.
Floods. Earthquakes. Hurricanes.
The Internet brought us close, yet kept us apart.

My wishes for 2012 . 
That education is not about 'mediocrity', what is average and multiple choice questions - but about individuality, creativity, questioning and higher standards. That the new religion is harmony, morality and freedom of thought.
More peaceful times.... 

Best on Jools Holland – Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three! and Aloe Blacc
BBC Scotland - Rab Noakes singing Gerry Rafferty’s ‘Get it Right Next Time.’