Robert in lockdown – August 12, 2021

Highland Folk'n Rock band Tide Lines are part of a stunning line up for this year's MOK Music Festival.

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After 72 articles, I think it is finally time to bring the curtain down on Robert in Lockdown.

Next week, I will revert this column to The Glasgow Letter – an article that has existed in this paper for generations and was not even suspended during the war.

The resumption of the Glasgow Letter was always the intention and, when I started the lockdown column in spring 2020, I had no idea I would still be writing it a year and a half later.

Strangely, having pined for the return of normality for 18 months, it is now with an unexpected sadness that I bring this column to a close. I have enjoyed having a blank canvas to tell readers whatever nonsense is in my head each passing week. I’ve loved keeping you up to date with how my golf is going; reporting on my Dad’s swimming attempts in the River Lochy; summarising the reopening (twice!) of the pubs in Glasgow; and even having a bash at sports journalism by following Scotland’s Euro campaign.

After all that, if I’ve got any readers left, I can only thank you for your patience!

I want to leave you, however, with one more funny story which happened last week at our Tide Lines gig at Wickham Festival down in the south of England. Shortly before we went on stage, I was rushing across the muddy backstage area of the festival to grab something from the dressing room. There was a man in a hi-vis jacket waving out a reversing Ford Focus. I had enough time to nip in between the man and the car so I sprinted across safely – the disapproving howls from the man ringing in my ears.

On my return journey to the stage (still running) the man stopped me in my tracks and said aggressively: ‘Oi! Do you not know who that was reversing?’ I pleaded my ignorance and explained I was onstage shortly so really had to rush. Taking no notice, he continued: ‘that was the Mayor of Winchester, that was! You almost got run over by the Mayor of Winchester! What ‘avoc you would have caused in the locality if you’d got run over by the Mayor of Winchester!’

I responded by telling him it would have been a lovely honour to have been run over by the mayor but that I really didn’t have time for this discussion.

When I reached the stage, there was the Mayor herself – bedecked down to her ankles in a long red coat with gold buttons and tassels all over and a big black hat. At her left hand side, she clutched a trumpet. It turned out, she was introducing us.
She marched onto the stage, blasted a few notes, then shouted: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Tide Lines!’

It was among the most bizarre pre-gig experiences I’ve had, but thankfully I lived to tell the tale. And, God willing, many more tales will follow – starting next week with the resumption (finally!) of the Glasgow Letter.

Robert in Lockdown, over and out!