WOMAN OF THE WORLD (Pt. 2) | the one that got away

St Enoch with Child, by Smug

It took my breath away when I saw it first, this beautiful, tender image of a mother breastfeeding her child, painted on the gable side at the corner of the High Street and George…

WOMEN OF THE WORLD (Pt. 1) | we’ll make it even better yet

WOMEN OF THE WORLD (Pt. 1)| we’ll make it even better yet
Song: Women of the World
Artist & Writer: Ivor Cutler
First release: 1983
Artwork by Jen Frankwell

For International Women’s Day 2019, I’m releasing a version of Ivor…

THE MOTHER WE SHARE | just in time

Song: The Mother We Share
Artist: Chvrches
Writers: Iain Cook, Martin Doherty, Lauren Mayberry
First release: 2013

Back in 2006, Roddy Woomble of Idlewild approached me about writing for a project called Ballads of the Book which he was curating…

DIGNITY (Pt. 4) | dreaming and dignity

I’m thinking about home

I’m thinking about faith

I’m thinking about work

The city is different at this hour. The office clerks and counter staff are still in their beds. The bairns are just beginning the long holidays. And the…

DIGNITY (Pt. 3) | betty bags a booker

Dundee grandmother, Elizabeth McDade, is the surprise winner of the 2030 Booker Prize for her debut novel The Bagging Area. A tragicomic tale of robotics, redundancy and redemption, the story mines McDade’s thirty-five year experience as a cleaner at…

DIGNITY (Pt. 2) | people, power and paper boats

Allow me to introduce you to visual artist Jen Frankwell. Jen is based in Forres, where she crafts deft multi-layered images from pencil drawings and postcards, vintage paper and pin badges, statistical data and textile remnants, and whatever else…

DIGNITY (Pt. 1) | the places other songs can’t reach

Song: Dignity | Artist: Deacon Blue
Writer: Ricky Ross | First release: 1987
Artwork by Jen Frankwell

A song about a Cleansing Depot worker who dreams of buying a wee boat, and heading into the Atlantic, Deacon…

HOW THE ROBIN GOT HIS RED BREAST

“Mum”, whispered Amina, “I’m so cold I can’t feel my toes any more”.   Her mum sighed, and then stopped. She peered into the trees all around them, and listened. It was quiet. “Ok, love. We’ll sleep here in this clearing…

BURNING

Fala Moor is speckled just now with the gorgeous white lambswool-like tufts of bog cotton. I’ve been gathering in stuff from up there along with “Wind Resistance” director, Wils Wilson. The drying pulley in my kitchen is hung with sedges…

the risk in being good

Oh my goodness. Robert Frost’s Exposed Nest. What a poem.

What is it to do good? What harm can come from intervention? How swiftly do we turn “to other things” and often have no measure of the consequence of…

a palm for a blackbird’s nest

With thanks to Heather who pointed me to the legend of St Kevin And The Blackbird. Here’s the mighty Seamus Heaney reading his poem about the same … “a prayer his body makes entirely …”

There’s much in this that…