At Random with Martin Laing

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Nautical but nice

I confess to being intrigued by the upcoming Oban International Sea Shanty Festival.

It takes place next weekend, Friday to Sunday, June 24 to 26, with gigs and workshops across the town. No doubt these lively musical treats will spill happily into the pubs and other places.

I’m no musician, can’t hold a note when singing and am anything but nautical, but I am looking forward to it. I also know little about sea shanties other than the obvious, but I suspect I’ll embarrass myself nonetheless by joining in any singalongs in my vicinity.

On the same note, this festival is further confirmation Oban is bouncing back from the strictures of Covid lockdowns – and big time.

Last week’s Oban Times was replete with wonderful reports and photographs from big ticket town events including Charities Day, Oban Mod, the high school’s dance show and the always excellent Oban Rotary Club Am-Am golf competition at Glencruitten, in which I’ve taken part with predictably little success.

Oban’s resilience is remarkable and the result of much hard work by many people, including BID4Oban. The addition of the sea shanty festival is brilliant.

Money well spent?

I was interested to see plans to lavish £260,000 on tarting up Gibraltar Street are still on the table.

This is the wee pedestrian bit linking the town centre to Tesco car park. It’s only a few yards in length and is home to a couple of businesses.

The council has appointed landscape architects to design the improvements.

Really? In my humble opinion, this is far too much cash to throw at Gibraltar Street. Yes, it could do with tidying up and some new seating but more than a quarter of a million pounds? I suspect a large percentage of the money will go in professional fees.

I repeat: it is far too much.

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