Scotland

As tonight is Burns Night, a celebration of Scotland’s national bard (Robert Burns: the man responsible for, amongst others, ‘Auld Lang Syne’*) and good excuse to eat, drink and be merry, here’s a chance to commemorate a nation of modest size and the myriad life-changing contributions its sparse population has made to the arts and sciences, and all that falls somewhere in-between, through the ages.

Scots can be proud that their land nurtured, for example, the discoverer of penicillin (Alexander Fleming); the inventor of the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell) and the television (John Logie Baird); the writers of ‘Treasure Island’ (Robert Louis Stevenson) and ‘The Wind in the Willows’ (Kenneth Grahame). Not forgetting one of the greatest sportsmen: the King, Kenny Dalglish. (And could he play!)

In music, there’s Annie Lennox, Rod Stewart (you have by now heard ‘In a Broken Dream’ with David on guitar, haven’t you?) and the late John Martyn.

You might care to browse Scotland’s 100 best rock and pop albums, as compiled by The Scotsman in 2003. Thoughts?

The following are my most highly-regarded Scottish inspirations, anyway:

– Rory Bremner (comedian, impressionist and political satirist)
– James Keir Hardie (pacifist founder of the British Labour Party)
– John Muir (environmental activist and conservationist)
– Bill Shankly (irrepressible footballing icon)
– Samuel Smiles (writer and social reformer)

So, anything that is in some way Scottish and makes you feel good today, please; a theme that will continue into the chatroom when it opens on Wednesday for a cyber-supper of the Burnsian variety. Haggis optional.

*One of Robert Burns’ most well-known and -loved poems is ‘To a Mouse’, written in 1785. In it he apologises for the destructive and careless behaviour of mankind, which may resonate with some of you. Here’s a verse or listen to it all here:

I’m truly sorry man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow mortal.

Author: FEd

Features Editor of David Gilmour's official blog, The Blog ('Features' previously being its rather naff title), affectionately - or lazily - shortened to 'FEd'.

56 thoughts on “Scotland”

  1. Charlie Nicholas, scoring in the Littlewoods Cup final against…. damn, I cant remember now! Remind me Fed.

    Anyway I hope all is good with you, ignoring the footie for a wee while. Not a regular so much these days, Fed, sorry.

    1. Ah, Champagne Charlie. Bless him.

      He could have been playing for Liverpool that day instead of Arsenal, of course…

  2. (I’m from Brazil.)

    I’d like to say that you have the best feeling on the planet… you are my idol, one day I’ll be great as you. I follow your steps!! I have a psychedelia-progressive band!! I’d just like to say that OUR music isn’t going to be extinguished in this new generation!

    THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING!

    Shine on.

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  4. ‘Lo All.

    Was really good to see Alex Harvey get a mention, but I was surprised at not seeing any “Jakie Leven” in that list? Forbidden Songs of the Dying West is one of the best albums I have ever heard. I would recommend it to anyone.

    The other thing, funny how John Martyn is referred to as being Scottish. I thought he was born In England? Technically that made him one of ours! Miss him!

    Have fun everyone and, O,c Hi denu.

    1. The other thing, funny how John Martyn is referred to as being Scottish. I thought he was born in England?

      I had to check. He was born in Surrey, but grew up in Glasgow. Real name: Ian McGeachy.

  5. I watched the new series of Rab C Nesbitt the other night and he’s aff the swally… what on earth is going on???

    We’re heading back to Edinburgh at the end of Feb… Rose St here I come!!

    Frankie Miller
    The Big Yin – Billy Connolly
    Rab C Nesbitt – on the swally
    Jack Bruce
    Irn Bru

  6. Hi FEd,

    I’m thinking about two Scots artists that I like. Well, Annie Lennox, is a great singer but, mostly she is a great person who I esteem; and Paolo Nutini, is a Scottish singer (even if he has an Italian name and surname).

    Here you can listen his song “Candy”. It’s my favourite about his latest album “Sunny Side Up”.

    Enjoy. 🙂

    PS: I listened to David’s Concert on BBC Radio 2. Oh, it was a great Saturday night, especially when David and Richard sang together “Wearing the Inside Out”. I love this song. Thanks David for this emotion that you gave me.

    Bye, Hydrea

  7. Just listened to ‘In a Broken Dream’ for the first time. Rod at his best and great guitar of course.

    1. But I did burst into song when I mentioned him.

      All ’round the fields of Anfield Road,
      Where once we watched King Kenny play – and could he play!
      Stevie Heighway on the wing,
      We had dreams and songs to sing,
      Of the glory ’round the fields of Anfield Road.

      I should also have added Gary McAllister for scoring that free kick in stoppage time against Everton in 2001. Oh, that was good.

  8. Knee deep in haggis here FEd.

    Off subject and sorry about that but been busy getting engaged. Hence not been around – focus on other things.

    Proposed on 29th Dec to my new partner and those that know me as creator of “Glassman” will not be surprised that I made a glass ring with the words “will you marry me” engraved on. OK, celebrations continue with laphroig!

    Hope everyone is OK.

    Ian

    1. Congrats Ian! Did she say Yes? 😉

      On the topic of Scotch! They make a famous alcohol beverage. 8|

    2. Congratulations to the blog’s favorite Scot!

      The glass ring must have been beautiful. What a lovely idea.

      Jan

  9. Just listened to In a Broken Dream, never heard that one. Excellent leads by David.

    Thanks Fed!

  10. Great informative and interesting post, once again. We need a ‘thumb up’ emoticon!

    Anything that is in some way Scottish and makes me feel good today?

    The beautiful Highlands, the Loch Ness, its ‘Nessie’ 😉

    Scotch Whisky – Bagpipes (even if it’s a bit cliché)
    Angus Young
    Sean Connery
    John McAdam (didn’t he invent the macadam method for road building?)
    La Vieille Alliance = The Auld Alliance between Scotland and France, 700 years ago… There is an Auld Alliance Pub in Paris near La Bastille. Very nice.

    And… Lorraine, who is Scottish and always makes me feel good in the chatroom. 🙂

  11. in mentioning bill shankly you have reminded me of manchester united’s first scottish knight , manager sir matt busby . he went through a heck of a lot during his time managing united , especially almost losing his life during the plane crash at munich in 1958 , and came back to win again , especially the european cup in 1968 .

    he also played for liverpool in the 30s and was known to be a very good friend of bob paisley .

  12. I had to look up “haggis.” Kinda wish I hadn’t done so!

    Anyhow, Robert Burns sounds like a really cool guy.

    1. Coincidentally, check out this article. I guess if you only tried it in the states, you were not eating the real thing. But it looks like soon you’ll be able to enjoy it like it should be.

      Still don’t know if I could try it. What does it taste like FEd?

      Thanks.

      Andrew

    2. Ha, ha! It seems Scotch humour to me, having invented haggis. The could have done it better, as they did with whisky, especially the malts. 😀

      Taki

    3. Still don’t know if I could try it. What does it taste like FEd?

      To be perfectly honest with you, I quite liked it, although I had vowed never to try it and had consumed more than a couple of glasses of wine before I did.

      Proud of myself (the haggis, not the wine), I picked up some at an Edinburgh souvenir shop on the way home and found that it tasted exactly the same as what I’d paid considerably more to eat at a fairly ordinary restaurant, which left a taste in the mouth far worse than any minced sheep offal ever could.

    4. Andrew:

      Shortly after writing the above, I heard about what you’re referring to. For the rest of my loyal readers:

      Haggis cannot legally be made in the USA, at least not in the traditional way, because it is illegal to use sheep lungs as a food or to bring it into the country. Fears of spreading mad cow disease.

    5. Joke on the subject of mad cows:-

      Two cows chewing the cud in a field, one says to the other, “Have you heard about that mad cow disease?”

      The other one says, “Doesn’t worry me, I’m a chicken.”

      I know, I know, I hear you groaning.

      ash 😀

  13. One of my favorites would have to be Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who coincidentally wrote a song that was an ode to Robert Burns: “One Brown Mouse”. Probably my second favorite musician of all time (behind Mr. Gilmour of course)!

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  15. I bought the ‘In a Broken Dream’ single the week it came out.

    Never realised that David played guitar. Always thought it was Ronnie Wood.

    Other ‘Scottish’ bands whose records I bought included:

    SAHB
    Nazereth
    Maggie Bell

    1. Never realised that David played guitar. Always thought it was Ronnie Wood.

      The version with David on guitar is a 1992 re-make, also featuring Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones on the organ.

  16. Well, all the things mentioned above.

    I would like to add Mary Queen of Scots, Hogmanay and tartans.

    My family has a Gunn tartan being as Gunn is a nice Scottish name with the motto ‘Aut Pax Aut Bellum’ and the Gunn family originated from the Highlands. From memory, I think the Gunn’s arch enemy was the Keith’s, but what does that matter. I have a nice book on tartans.

    Now when it comes to bagpipes, it makes me go all week at the knees. There is just something about bagpipes.

    And I must make it to the Edinburgh Tattoo sometime.

  17. Off topic.

    I was looking at April’s calendar and noticed that it looked lonely. Can you put in my birthday as being 6th April? 😉 Thank you.

  18. I spent 4 months of my life in Scotland (February till June ’96). I attended the Strathclyde University, engineering as an Erasmus student (one of the early ones). I have vivid memories of Scotland, of the friendly people, of the gentle landlady, of a sweet girl Julie (whose prudeness was a bit out of time and place in Scotland! 🙂 ) and much more.

    If any Scot is reading this, I had a good time in your country (despite the freezin’ weather, for an Italian).

    To the list of famous people, as an electrical Engineer, I would add the inventor James Watt whose name now is used to indicate the unit of measurement of electric power. His statue was sitting in Glasgow’s George Square and I remember the impression in learning that He was Scottish.

    And why not to add Walter Scott, the creator of the so called “historic novel”? Many many Scots did great things indeed.

    On the musical side I would mention Ian Anderson. ’nuff said.

    P.S. If you can learn English on the street of Scotland, then you’ll be able to understand anybody talking English… 🙂

    Ciao.

  19. Wasn’t the game of golf also born in Scotland? Or is it that just the oldest golf course is in St. Andrew’s? (Wonderful name for a location, no??)

    Thanks.

    Andrew (but I’m no Saint…)

  20. Don’t forget Fish! The former lead singer from Marillion is also from Scotland.

    I like his music and his lyrics very much.

  21. … Angus was mentioned already, but not Malcolm (greatest rhythm guitar player IMHO) and Bon Scott.

    Ian McNaughton, Monty Python’s director, is also on my list of famous Scots…

    Best regards,

    Taki

  22. I was looking for Scottish scientists, (because I’m supposed to be working on a chemistry assignment and procrastinating but told myself I could get away with being here instead because I was looking for a scientist…), I’ve got one but look at who else I found…

    Alexander Selkirk (a Scot) who was really shipwrecked On an Island and was the inspiration for Robinson Crusoe, I had to mention him. 😛

    A scientist, the so called father of modern geology, James Hutton, he also suggested the theory of evolution and natural selection, his work influenced another Scottish scientist, Charles Lyell who in turn influenced his friend Charles Darwin.

    Fed, To a Mouse is probably my all time favourite Burns’ poem. Thanks for that. 🙂

    ash X

  23. How about Mike Scott from the WaterBoys, for I believe he is from Scotland. Plus the Great Sean Connery – what a great actor.

    Thomas

  24. Don’t forget Mark Knopfler!

    I’ve heard that David Gilmour is a possibility for this year’s Hard Rock Calling Festival in Hyde Park. Do you know if there’s something of truth in these rumours?

    I’ve noticed that David has a new website. Does it mean something new on the way? Bands only launch new websites when there is something to promote.

  25. I’m late in reading this topic, so Ian Anderson, Fish and Jack Bruce have already been mentioned.

    Apart from them, I would add to the list Donovan and Mark Knopfler, who was born in Glasgow, even though his mother was English and his father, if I’m not wrong, Hungarian.

    A couple of days ago I saw a movie I liked very much, “The Men Who Stare at Goats”. That makes me think of Ewan McGregor, who’s a very good Scottish actor, in my opinion.

    And then, the shortbread butter cookies. They’re just great, especially when drowned in melted chocolate. :v

  26. Hello,

    Happy Birthday to Nick Mason!!!!

    With best wishes from Berlin
    Ina

    PS: In the morning we had -20 degrees, it was very cold!

  27. I’m sure I saw something on QI around Christmas, that Robert Burns didn’t write Auld Lang Syne.

    Or was I intoxicated?

    Happy days,
    Simon J

  28. FE’d:

    Some of my favorite Scots are:

    James Robertson Justice
    Sean Connery
    Andrew Carnegie
    Lord MacBeth (been reading a book about him by Dorothy Dunnett, who is incidentally married to a Scot)
    Sheena Easton (saw her in Vegas and she was as nice as she is beautiful)
    Jackie Stewart
    William Wallace

    John Muir (as a nut about national parks and trees, got to love the man who is responsible for founding our national park system and the Muir Woods)

    Last, but not least, a very dear friend who is from Bo’Ness, West Lothian. She taught me what a wicked sense of humor they have and about the Tattoo, which I hope to see someday.

    Jan

  29. ”What do you want from me?”

    Yes I understand, but we love reliving the experience of your music.

    I am sure you are pretty busy but I thought an album tributed to The Late Grate Rick Right would be an idea as a jazz rendition or compilation from some of his favs. playing selections from PF. Of course it would be not complete with out yourself Nick and Roger.

    A guy always has hope doesn’t he! LOL

    Hoping for a tour of some sort.
    JM

  30. “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”

    I agree with some of your other fans, a tour of some sort would be awesome!

    I know it must take a lot out of a person, giving of themselves to so many people everyday, missing the family, it’s huge. When you are in a good place, hope to see you here in CANADA!!!

    A girl can always hope!

    TP

  31. I grew up with David G.’s music and I have vinyl, CDs, and DVDs of some of his album. Are there some latest releases or re-releases this year? It’s only music that has broken every borders of every nation.

    Keep the music coming please.

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