Only Robinson Crusoe Had Everything Done By Friday……….Something For The Weekend 6th July 2012

……….The last time I posted about a selection of things for the weekend was just before I headed off to the Isle Of Wight festival and so pretty much all of it was about music. This weekend, with Andy Murray in the final of the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon, I’m going for all things Scottish!

Something To Watch………..

Andy MurrayEasy choice to start with. It’s got to be the Mens Final.

At last we have a Brit in the final – and more importantly he’s Scottish. Murray has performed well at Wimbledon several times but until now he’s always fallen at one of the late hurdles – and a couple of times the last hurdle! But not this time. He’s been terrific in the last two games against Tsonga and Ferrer and now he’s in the Final to play against Federer. It’s a terrific achievement when you consider the last time a Biritish player made the final was 1938! However if he doesn’t win, he’ll still get slaughtered by the idiotic sections of the British media and it would seem a considerable number of his fellow countrymen here in the UK. It seems madness to me – the guy’s a wonderful tennis player so you’d think the whole country would be behind him. But sadly it isn’t – though I have a feeling the proportions behind him will be pretty high in Scotland itself – and why shouldn’t it be! I’ve also got the feeling that he himself will be devastated if he doesn’t win – I’d reckon he didn’t employ Lendl as his coach to get him to Grand Slam finals – he employed him to help him win them so I think they’d see anything less than a win as failure. I’ll just be glued to it, fervently hoping Murray will win. If he does, I’ll be the proudest of Scotsmen (and that’s pretty proud, for I’m a proud Scotsmen most of the time anyway!)

Go On Murray My Son!!!!!!!!!!!

Something To Listen To………

About 6 weeks ago, Paul Buchanan released a new album, his first solo album since the eventual demise of The Blue Nile. You may of course have heard of neither. The Blue Nile were first a cult band in Scotland in the mid-80’s before going on to be much-loved favourites of many people across the world – but with an output of 4 albums in 22 years they were never aiming for world domination. I first heard The Blue Nile one Sunday night on Annie Nightingale on Radio 1. At the time I lived in a flat with two other blokes and had just started my teaching career in Scotland. A song called “Heatwave” came on – I’d never heard anything like it. Next day I bought their debut album, A Walk Across The Roofstops and have been an avid fan ever since. The music is beautiful, haunting and gentle, sometimes heartbreaking and sometimes hopeful. Paul Buchanan is now in his mid-50’s – he feels like somebody I’ve grown up with!

His first solo album, Mid-Air, was released in May. Around that time he appeared on Jools Holland’s ‘Later’ – it was stunningly beautiful. This is the title track from the album as it sounded that night with Jools Holland himself playing piano. Have a listen, it’ll take your breath away!

Something For Sky Plus……….

Nicola BenedettiNicola Benedetti, the Scottish violinist with the movie star looks is on South Bank Show on Sky Arts 1 this weekend. Although from an Italian family, she was born in Ayrshire and still has a lovely Scottish accent!! She’s got a reputation for being glamorous of course, but equally she has a reputation for being very down to earth and very, very talented.

The programme follows her working as a violinist on the road, with children in schools and her preparations to return to Scotland to play with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The programme is also partly about the instrument she plays – in her case a 300 year old Stradivarius worth apparently £3 million! Ordinarily I’m more of an Indie music fan than a classical music fan, but I saw Nicola Benedetti on another programme on BBC 3 and she came across really well – so I’ll watch this and I reckon I’ll enjoy!

Something To Read……….

A Scots Quair by Lewis Grassic GibbonInspired by another blog, HeavenAli, I’ve chosen a few books to re-read over the summer. One of those is one of my favourite books set in Scotland, Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s “A Scots Quair”. I first read it when at Uni in the early 1980’s – it was bought for me as a gift by a friend at the time and I read it almost non-stop to find out about the lives of first Chris Guthrie and her brother Will, and then of her son Ewan, in the desolate, bleak but beautiful North East of Scotland. A ‘quair’ is the old Scots word for a book – and this is a Trilogy made up of ‘Sunset Song’, about Chris’ adolescence and hard life growing up on the farms of Kinraddie, ‘Cloud Howe’ following Chris’ life through her two marriages, the second one to a Church Of Scotland minister, and the third book ‘Grey Granite’ with Chris moving to the city of Duncairn and with her son by her first marriage, Ewan Tavendale, coming into the books as a main character.

Vivien Heilbron in Sunset Song

There’s something poignant and lonely in the books, and the harsh realities of life of the time are laid bare on the pages, but it’s a beautifully written book. In the 70’s and then again in the 80’s there were television programmes made on each of the three books, with Vivien Heilbron in the role of Chris Guthrie – I loved the series as much as I’d loved the books. It’s perhaps the re-read I’m most looking forward to over the summer!

Something To Learn Off By Heart……..

The Little White Rose by Hugh MacDiarmid

I’m cheating a bit here as this piece of poetry is one of my absolute favourites – so I already know it off by heart and in my sleep – but as I’m thinking of things Scottish it couldn’t be more apt. This is Hugh MacDiarmid’s “The Little White Rose”. The only part of it I want to change – for this weekend at least – is the heartbreak! This weekend, for Andy Murrray and for all of Scotland, I hope we have joy and something wonderful to celebrate come Sunday evening!

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