Robert in Lockdown – 15.10.20

Graham Maclennan from the Isle of Lewis playing the box at the opening virtual concert.

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As people across the country debate the likelihood of public compliance with the latest Covid measures, one suggestion is that anyone breaking the latest rules should be forced to watch last week’s Scotland v Israel game from start to finish as punishment.

It really was a tedious affair and, in an unprecedented turn of events which felt strangely typical of Scotland, just as the excitement of a successful penalty shoot out began, revellers were thrown out of pubs all over the country because it was 10pm!

The streets of Glasgow were filled with folk walking home glued to their phone screens trying desperately to find out whether Scotland had made it through to the next round, which gives us our first chance at a major tournament since 1998.

It is bizarre circumstances like this that we will remember in years to come when this pandemic (all going well) is a distant memory. Another unusual situation came about this week for a pal of mine who usually travels the world with his job but, again due to restrictions, has been confined to barracks and Zoom meetings for the majority of 2020.

He was recently on a Zoom call to an office in Hong Kong and deemed it appropriate to initiate some small talk at the start of the meeting. He mentioned that the weather in Glasgow was terribly depressing that day – grey, overcast, and with that horrible, Scottish drizzling rain. He had hoped perhaps to be met with some sympathy from the team in the Far East but was instead told promptly that they were currently bracing themselves for a massive typhoon and that their offices were all shut for safety reasons. On reflection, my pal noted that the weather in Glasgow was perhaps not too bad after all!

The closure of all pubs and restaurants in the central belt has its positives, though. One is that it has given people more time to stay in and enjoy the virtual National Mòd, which I write about in another column in today’s paper (see page 24).

An aspect of the Mòd I didn’t mention in that column is the social media side of things which is a sort of virtual Mòd fringe. The opening night saw a cracking concert introduced by Kirsteen MacDonald and featuring Mary Ann Kennedy, Alasdair Whyte, and Graham MacLennan.

Both An Comunn Gàidhealach and BBC Alba have also been sharing some cracking old footage to give Mòd goers a real trip down memory lane, and have also set up an Instagram filter which randomly generates a Gaelic song above your head and challenges you to sing it in a video for your profile. This has been providing some absolutely hilarious entertainment and I particularly enjoyed Ruairidh Cormack’s attempt last week which saw him take on about half a dozen different songs in one go.

There is always so much more to the Mòd than the competitions and it is great to see the Virtual Mòd is continuing that tradition.