October 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
This is Eleanor Nicolson, she is 14 years of age and attends the local secondary school, The Nicolson Institute, here on the island.
She also sings songs and plays guitar rather damn nicely.
Here she is playing an original song of hers live.
Maybe they’ll rename the school when she’s rich and famous…
October 13, 2012 § 7 Comments
Last year I organised Glasgow’s first Tweed Ride and such was the demand for another one in 2012 it would have been rude not to oblige.
Being so far from the city meant that this time around I took a back seat / saddle and placed the event in the hands of two Glasgow chaps I knew would make a sterling job of it.
And that they did…
October 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
A new video from the new album of music by Lewis singer-song writer Iain Morrison.
Homeward is the first release from the forthcoming album ‘To the Horizon, Sir’.
It is available as a free download HERE
Weirdly, I’d penned a very short story a couple of years ago that after watching the video seems to tie up a little…
He rose from his old armchair, in his family croft, sat on the shores of an expanse of sand, perched at the edge of the Atlantic.
Draining his glass, he slipped off his unknotted boots and thick woolen socks and pulled his navy geansaidh over his head. The jumper’s neck rasping at his own, tugging at his ears as it did when he was a young boy.
Stood barefoot outside his door he let his toes curl in the grass and faced the wan yellow sun which was slipping beyond the western horizon. Lazy evening clegs buzzing fore and aft, like four stroke engines far over the hill. As he walked away from his red door, ewes and lambs scattered over the rock strewn headland. He felt the dry heather now roughly caressing his soles and the mosses soaked like bathroom sponges, washed his steps.
Nestled between ridges, hunkered against the prevailings, the empty blackhouses stood. Walking through the mantle-less doorway, nettle beds held their sting as he reached down to pick up a great block of stone that once made up a wall. The roof and beams were long gone leaving him ringed in lichen rock, ragged tattoos of silvers and bronze.
Walking, stooped, across maram grass, whipping lightly in the evening breeze their in-curled leaves bowed at him, sphagnum gave way to machair. Clovers and dogweed kissed his path as his heavy steps led him to the beach where, like stars in the universe, below him they flowed countlessly.
The sands were hidden from everyone but the sea and in the rocks at its edge flotsam and jetsam stored up from voyages unknown lay. A long faded plastic box, marked STO NO AY COOPE ATI E, held a blue rope, plastic and faded and frayed.
Setting the stone down he sat once again and set about coiling the rope into embracing knots. His small fingers spun hitches and cloves from straight lines, unforgotten intricacies bound the block and kneeling now, the gniess tight in its sea-beaten grip, he looped the remaining rope around his neck, crossing it over his chest and tied tight at his back.
Taking the strain he rose to his feet and walked to the waves breaking on the secret shore. Razor clams rose beyond the waterline and the limpets and mussels clung to the nearby rocks opened wide while his footprints led to darker sands and seafoam.
Cold brine raced around his ankles hugging them as he walked on, knee deep now, up to his waist, the sea carried his weight, held him upwards, refused to chill his bones.
The waves of Uig broke across his breast and he strode firmly now, forward into deeper water.
His grey eyes lifted towards Hiort as the sky erupted into golds and burnt ambers. Water face-slaps him one last time, stinging his thoughts away one last time
Dropping his burden, rock that preserved generations, he was pulled down. Remembering, he released everything to the roar of tides and time. Arms raised, feet still grounded in sands, he breathed in.
October 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Catrin Evans is a 15 year old singer songwriter who lives on Grimsay a small tidal island in the Uists.
Apart from that I don’t know much else except that at 15 she shows a lot of potential, showing shades of Laura Marling, and should be another one to watch from this remote part of the world.
October 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Wee Studio is a recording studio/booking agent/record label based in Stornoway here in the Isle of Lewis.
They have a neat YouTube channel that houses all their goings on including live sessions from local musicians.
Check them out.
October 9, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Have really been neglecting island musical talent on here recently, something I intend to rectify toot sweet.
Let’s start with Lewis singer songwriter Mr Colin Macleod aka The Boy Who Trapped The Sun who has some new music in the pipeline…
October 6, 2012 § 5 Comments
Apart from weaving, I do a bunch of other work to earn a wage, mostly to do with writing words for people. Which is pretty much a perfect paying pastime for me.
Broadband here is surprisingly good, I get 8mb speeds easily which is a huge relief as my previous abode in another part of the island was a super-slow 1.5mb which is barely enough to surf but impossible to download large files, stream film or music or do anything that most of UK takes for granted.
Some villages on the island struggle even to get those speeds, having to rely on a sort of wireless broadband which costs a lot and generally has a bad reputation. The importance of getting good broadband here should be the number one priority for any and all campaigns. Never mind wind farm and Sunday sailing debates, connecting to the rest of the world at decent speeds is vital if the islands are to have any chance of thriving in the future.
With good broadband you can do good work, young, creative folk can return home and set up shop, design, make music, do everything they can do in a city but from a far nicer place to live.
I digress. All this is for another post on another day…
The rest of the afternoon was spent at the desk, a huge plinth of beautiful wood on trestles in the window of the front room, a view overlooking fertile croft land and three big Highland Coos grazing dolefully. A nice shiny iMac sits there among fairly neat piles of random paperwork and a wall of books.
I write a couple of blogposts for the Harris Tweed Authority website and line them up to go live at set times. Some time is spent, as usual, exploring what waves Harris Tweed is making on various blogs and websites, Twitter and Google searches being plundered for anything of note. And anything that looks good is posted to the Harris Tweed folks’ social media, part of my monthly remit to keep their online presence active and interesting.
A few emails are batted back and forth with colleagues in Glasgow helping to organise this year’s Harris Tweed Ride event, enquiries from this blog are responded to, visits from documentary makers and a brand collaboration’s director booked into the diary for later on in the week. Since setting up here ne’er a week goes by without someone planning a visit to observe life in the back of beyond. I’m happy to share even though it does cut into weaving time, it’s great to have visitors and their enthusiasm always leaves me happy when they arrive and lingers after they leave.
I log time spent on various things in a notebook to keep track of hours to be billed to clients at the end of the month, usually erring on the conservative side, none of this feels like work but I have to top up the bank account despite enjoying the graft.
And then that’s it…working day done…
It’s around tea-time I think, I don’t have a watch these days and the only clock in the house is on the computer. Mac the Collie, my parents old dog who I’m looking after while they swan off sunbathing in warmer climes sits looking at me in his “I’m a good boy” pose, head cocked to one side, eyes implying he wants either walked or fed, preferably both and in that particular order.
The sun is much lower in the sky now, starting to crack the clouds which don’t look like releasing their rain so we head for Traigh Shanndaigh a long, wild, windswept beach just a five minute drive from here and probably my favourite place in world.
August 26, 2012 § Leave a Comment
Washington Irving are indie-folk-pop group from the city of Glasgow in Scotland. Their music is a blend of Celtic and Eastern European folk but at same time gloriously indie-pop. Featuring six members, including a flautist and mandolin player, they are slowly building up recognition around Scotland.