Glasgow Letter – 13.1.22

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Well, we made it through our isolation although, as you can see, it was a close run thing for my old man.

After 10 days locked in with my mum and me, he started tunnelling. I’m not sure whether this particular tunnel was Tom, Dick, or Harry but thankfully we discovered it before he made it to the tree line of Leanachan Forest.

Having emerged from my second 10-day isolation period in a month and a half, I would actually recommend isolating at the moment because, let’s face it, there’s very little else on! Many Celtic Connections gigs have sadly fallen by the wayside with the festival confirming last week what many people expected: that “a number of shows and elements within the Celtic Connections 2022 programme are no longer able to go ahead”. It is another blow for the music industry in Scotland at a time it could ill afford another hiatus.

Our Tide Lines tour to Denmark (due to start next week) is one of a multitude of other musical events to have been cancelled due to the Omicron variant. Celtic Connections itself was always a welcome boost for musicians at this time of year – financially, artistically, but (perhaps most of all) socially! I dare say the festival will do whatever they can to stage some kind of event this year. Their statement on the cancellations contained an element of optimism when it stated they are ‘committed to presenting a form of the festival which brings the connection and joy of Celtic Connections to audiences, while being both feasible and safe for all involved. The general uncertainty at the moment must make this incredibly difficult for all involved, and I imagine they have plan B all the way through to plan Z, but it’s very heartening to know that we won’t be losing out on the festival altogether. Even if it won’t be the usual all guns blazing, musicians stumbling out the festival club, playing tunes in the street in the small hours of the morning sort of vibe!

As I said about other cancellations in previous weeks, at least we have some great new recorded music to keep our minds off the lack of live performances. The latest track that is well worth a listen is Megan Henderson’s fantastic new single, The Dawn Chorus, which is the pre-cursor to her forthcoming debut solo album, Pilgrim Souls, out on January 21.

New releases such as this will preserve the sanity of many music lovers through the remainder of a winter where musical gatherings have been few and far between.

As someone who has spent the majority of the last month in isolation, my biggest social event of the year so far was going to get my booster jab in the Nevis Centre! The process itself was extremely quick and efficient but I was in the centre for another half hour blethering to people. It was great to be out of isolation – without the use of a tunnel!