MacPhail: 20 years pass in the blink of an eye

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With the Skipinnish 20th anniversary celebrations over, the past few days have been taken up by much reflection on that score of years and particularly on the people who have guided us through it and elevated us along the road.

There are many, without whose input in different ways, at different stages and for different durations, we would never have lasted the course and Skipinnish would have been nothing more than a college band that started and lasted no longer than a quick few tunes for some student pocket money.

Such was my feeling on Friday night at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and in the days following that if we go no further on this particular road and never play another note, I could draw a satisfied line of gratitude under these 20 years and move happily on to other endeavours.

Most of the audience on Friday night, because of venue lighting and distances I could not see individually, but from my position on the stage, there happened to be a number of very significant people who were right in my sight lines. To my left near the front were a number of different groups of firm allies who themselves have been of great support, but who also were a strong reminder of those who are no longer with us, but whose encouragement and inspiration was powerful.

To my far left was a couple who, through a chance meeting at a small gig, became good friends and, through some very complex and difficult times of manoeuvring and juggling a few years ago, were instrumental in their guidance and assistance.

In front of me were two friends from Tiree who have been enthusiastic fans from the start and their clear enthusiasm on Friday was the same we have seen at countless gigs across the years.

A few rows back was seated our original bank manager who took many a risk on our behalf and who was always encouraging to us. We probably added to a few of the grey hairs I could see shimmering in the light!

These people happened to be the ones I could see but scattered throughout the auditorium were many people who have had a huge direct impact. There are many more, too, who were not there, but whose input has been a vital ingredient.

As messages from them and others arrived throughout the night and afterwards, these deep feelings of gratitude were accentuated and the past few days have been filled with a haze of the positive thoughts they have sown.

Twenty years have passed in the blink of an eye, and so, too, will the next. I hope then I will be writing a similar article and feeling exactly as I am right now.

Life has a habit of dealing both good and bad, happiness and pain, so when we experience the good, we must relish it and embrace the feeling.

We may not see tomorrow but today the earth is ours
Unknown the new horizons in the hands of higher powers
But now we bear the blessings when the golden stars align
Feel the grace and hold the wonder you’re alive
You’re alive, you’re alive and the stars are on your side
Feel the wonder of the world you are alive.