Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Turnpike Troubadours are back

The world of Americana music has been very excited by the apparent reformation of the Oklahoma cult band the Turnpike Troubadours. They've been on hiatus for all sorts of rumoured reasons. The unrivalled quality of their music, which has been featured on the TV series Yellowstone, is why there's such excitement –

Monday, April 11, 2022

St Patrick - 'born in Scotland' - National Geographic, November 1935

The Ulster-Scots Agency published a booklet back on St Patrick's Day which I authored, the culmination of many years of assembling scraps and references to the once-familiar orthodox story of Patrick's Scottish origins. Here is another reference that I found over the weekend. So much of the past generation of Ulster-Scots growth has been about recovering almost-lost knowledge and traditions. For two generations the community had neglected its own heritage, abandoned much of it, saw little value in it – but also, Northern Ireland's 'officialdom' had decided to marginalise and deride it.  Hopefully the forthcoming generation will put it all to good use.

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Progress at Glasgow School of Art

When visiting our oldest son in Glasgow last weekend, I took off on a walking tour while he was doing some work, and made my way along Sauchiehall Street and up to Glasgow School of Art to see how the refurb and rebuild is going, following its two devastating fires of 2014 and 2018. My recent post from back in February tells some of the story of how I was offered a place there back in 1991, and even though I didn't take up the offer, those magical weeks when it nearly happened will always have a special place in my heart and memories. Some pics below.

As with Belfast, Glasgow is frequently pigeonholed as a place of heavy industry and working class blue collar attitudes. These are true, but the ease of that stereotype disguises the diversity, creativity, artistic and craft traditions of both cities.