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The Burns Unit

January 19, 2011 Leave a comment

At the weekend I went to Celtic Connections (for the first time, hoorah!) to see the Burns Unit. They are quite new and very wonderful and contain some of my favourite people: Karine Polwart, Kim Edgar, King Creosote…etc. I went to see them once before and they are so exciting to watch. They play so many different styles and the lyrics are wonderful. I never usually want to sit and listen to a whole album by a band in one go but their first one is definitely one I can do that to. It is wonderful.

My favourite song is “Since we’ve fallen out”. It is the first song on their album and they have played it first at both gigs I have been too. It sometimes makes me cry as it is very true and I imagine a lot of people can relate to it and what it says. Also- Karine Polwart and King Creosote voice combination is just beautiful. Enjoy!

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I can think of better things…

April 23, 2010 1 comment

I was going to post a big election related post. I won’t do that at the moment; I shall keep it short. But I have been struggling with choosing who to vote for. I’m taking it very seriously which I think everyone should do and I’m trying to work out what the big issues are. For me, it’s Trident. To me, it is hypocritical and immoral. It makes me sad. Anyway, it’s had a big effect on how I want to vote. Instead of ramble on about it I shall leave the lyrics, and a video if I can find it, of a Karine Polwart song. When I went to see one of her gigs, she sang this and explained that she wrote it about Trident. It seems to sum up a lot of the feelings I have towards it all. And yes…for the moment I shall still be sad about it all. But maybe one day, it shall all change. I shall hope.

Ten thousand years of big ideas
Distilled into a billion fears
A grand design, a shiny rocket
A bullet in a bully’s pocket

So mesmerized by particles
We disregard the articles
The ones we wrote to keep the peace
Sullied now in blood and greed and grease

Is this the best that we can do?
Oh I can think of better things, can’t you?

With the devil’s pitchfork in our hands
We turn the fields of foreign lands
We mine the Gulf, we dig it deeper
We free the serpent from its keeper

Yet these are the hands that fix the bones
The ones that build with sticks and stones
These are the hands that plant the tree
The ones that pull the newborn baby free

Is this the best that we can do?
Oh I can think of better things, can’t you?
Oh I can think of better things
That hands can make and hearts can sing

For now we deal with those for whom
A life is but a carnal tomb
In which the darkness holds no power
Neither does the final hour

We may lament the deadly art
Of tiny atoms torn apart
Visions that we can’t return
And future fires in which we fear we’ll burn

But this is the art of those before
Who found a cure within the core
The noble mind behind the ray
That eased our earthly cares away

Is this the best that we can do?
Oh I can think of better things, can’t you?
Oh I can think of better things
That hands can make and hearts can sing
And hearts can sing

Better Things: Music and Lyrics by Karine Polwart

please don’t go rushing by, stay and make my heart fly…

January 3, 2009 1 comment

Wow, blogging again. I always think when new year comes around that I am not a Hogmanay fan, and I’m still not certain I am but this year it turned out to be really lovely and definitely did not give me cause to be grumpy. I guess sometimes I think that New Year can be over rated and actually it is just another day but after much thought, I think maybe that it is good to look back upon the year that has passed and look forward to the new one and it gives a chance for a fresh start although I guess this can happen at anytime in the year, not just New Year.

2008 has been a funny little year. It’s been full of little events that maybe didn’t seem much at the time but when you look back on them as part of “your year” then they all seem to add up and you are able to see what has changed since 2007, ways you have changed, ways people have changed and ways the world has changed.

2008 had loads of exciting little moments and I think quite a lot of these were down to people. I met so many new people, strengthened friendships, lost people, loved people. I laughed so much with people: face jokes, meatloaf singstar, eating pie on pi day, excessive hand washing, getting ripped because of my accent in tutorial, ear chat, nominating committee banter and sex bombing.(that sounds wrong. that’s probably because it is.) The list is endless. Laughter is good. I also realised how much I loved people and I also experienced being loved even if I couldn’t and still cannot understand why. My heart was, and still is, broken from missing someone; someone that had such a profound impact on my life that things just don’t seem right without them near. There are so many people who have been part of, have made, my year. I let people in more they have changed who I am.

“So much of me
Is made of what I learned from you
You’ll be with me
Like a handprint on my heart
And now whatever way our stories end
I know you have re-written mine
By being my friend.”
(“For Good” from Wicked the musical)

I didn’t think I would write about what I am next going to mention but it seems to be important for some reason. I have been really fortunate this year with being able to be at university and have time to study whilst having a job(or two) that I really, really love. One has given me amazing friends, laughter and space to study and the other has given me the opportunity to be involved in something I really care about even if it means researching Broughty Ferry’s non existent train service. It also allows me to sit and listen to FMQ’s with a cup of tea and a lot of non selling your soul banter. It’s very sad that I will probably have to leave them both at some point this year. It will definitely leave a massive hole when the time comes and I’m not totally sure what will fill it…

A small breakthrough this year has been with university. It has never been a horrific experience but the whole of first year was full of panic that I was studying the wrong subject and that I was in the wrong city. Second year has so far made it clear that I love the subject I am studying. I have no idea what will happen after university and although that may not be helpful it doesn’t take away from the fact that I love being and learning at university. I guess I am just really rubbish at decisions and I am unsure how to fix this but a lot has been clearer after knowing that is actually ok to not be a lawyer, or in fact be one and it’s ok to hate company law. I am scared of what will happen but I am also really excited. I am scared of possibly going away for a year in September and being away from so many people and places for such a long time. But i am equally scared of missing an opportunity like that because of fear. I feel like I need to grab it and go but at the same time I don’t currently want to and that is really confusing but could potentially be amazing.


“I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,
I hope you dance, I hope you dance”
(“I Hope You Dance”- Ronan Keating)

I think as every year passes there is always this horrible fear of getting older. It’s something you cannot control and you cannot rewind time and go back to any time you want. It’s good to look back on good times that have passed but it’s also good to look to the future and be filled with that same happiness. It’s a harder task sometimes but hope makes it easier and there are many people from 2008 who make the future feel exciting be it in the worldwide sense, for writing a song, for providing opportunity or even just for making me laugh.

barack obama
stewart hosie
david lunan and gordon brown
Karine Polwart
michael mcintyre

As I keep writing this, and I am taking many days, I am very aware that there were points of the year where I made mistakes, sometimes small ones, sometimes big ones. Everyone makes them and sometimes it’s really hard to let go of them. There is a lot of “if only…” chat and it’s hard to see why I would cling onto it. I know I don’t have to but it’s still there. The mistakes have made me who I am so it’s the after product I should cling onto but it’s really odd. Forgiving yourself is sometimes harder than forgiving other people.

“Take the tiredness of my days,
take my past regret,
letting your forgiveness touch
all I can’t forget”
(Take This Moment-CH4 (ayeeee) 501)

I think it would be impossible to go through a 2008 blog without mentioning General Assembly and Youth Assembly, however, I am not going to say a lot about them. There is an earlier blog about Youth Assembly so I would possibly just repeat myself but the impact these events have had has been huage. I’ve experienced grace, community, love and learning in huge proportions and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to express how grateful I am for that.

I feel this may be a good time to stop but 2008 has been good, if a little bit funny. I’m really excited about 2009 and hopefully I’ll choose to dance like Ronan Keating.