Glasgow Letter 24.09.2020

Online Gaelic festival Tional attracted 20,000 views

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 Tional fest attracts 20,000-plus online

Hands Up For Trad’s virtual Gaelic festival, Tional was a resounding success last weekend.

Its first day attracted more than 11,000 views – with well above 20,000 views over the course of the weekend.

It was conducted almost entirely in Gaelic with the stated aim of the festival being ‘to encourage speakers and learners to use and celebrate Gaelic language and culture’.

I think it’s fair to say everyone involved achieved that aim!

Devil’s Interval manifests in golf club car park

In an unlikely turn of events, this column is now about to take a much darker, macabre turn.

If you are of a nervous disposition, afraid of the occult, or are reading after nightfall, I suggest you look away now.

Have you ever heard of a musical phenomenon known as the devil’s interval?

Neither had I until last week when I had an other-worldly experience.

The producer of the BBC Alba series I have been working on may not seem like your typical source of satanic information; but it was he who brought the devil’s interval to my attention in casual conversation.

It is a tritone (three adjacent whole tones) that is common in Blues music and was banned from Hymn music by the Catholic Church in generations gone by because it was believed to summon the devil.

Cue the rise of Heavy Metal which, as you would expect, played massively on the paranormal mystery surrounding the three notes.

As you can probably tell, I’m not particularly well versed on Heavy Metal; but I was told to listen in particular to the opening track of a Black Sabbath album which begins with the notes played on the electric guitar accompanied only by sound effects of lightening, wind, and rain.

Apprehensive that I might be involving myself in forces I would rather avoid, I decided not to play this track whilst alone in the flat at night and waited, instead, until I was out on a nice day.

The ideal moment came when I was sitting in my car waiting for a pal of mine to arrive in the car park of Milngavie golf club for a round. What could be less devilish than that?!

I played the track through my car’s speakers and, true enough, the devil’s interval rang out – sending a chill down my spine.

At this point, without a word of a lie, I felt a strange bump against the back of my car and the whole car started to shake! Looking in my mirrors, half expecting to see Old Nick himself, I saw nothing; yet the car was continuing to move violently.

Next thing I knew there was a ‘bang!’ on my passenger window. I literally screamed in fright as I turned to find a lovely, playful golden Labrador, with both paws up against my window.

From the wee path that begins the West Highland Way, a very apologetic lady came running up behind the dog and took it away – oblivious to the possibility that she was out stretching her legs with Satan incarnated as a golden Lab!