10 December 2009


Had a hell of a busy week, starting off with the Steve Earle gig at Perth Concert Hall. I went with Claudia Massie and her brother (and the Spectator's political blogger) Alex Massie. Steve Earle has just released an album of Townes Van Zandt covers and was great. Very good banter, especially his tale of Townes' horse Amigo and the trips they used to make across mountain ranges. Steve said that the day Townes had to sell Amigo was the day "he started dying". Quite emotional stuff as Townes was Steve's hero and became a mentor, collaborater and friend. Great gig and another winner for Perth which seems to do well for a northern-central small Scottish city.

Then off to Edinburgh to catch a lecture at St Cecilia's Hall on the Cowgate entitled "Scotland's Historians: the Development of Eighteenth Century Historical Studies" with Tom Devine, Chris Smout, A.I MacInnes and C.A Whatley all speaking, chaired by Brian Lenman. All very august and distinguished professors in their field and a fascinating subject, but having been spoilt by the much more dynamic Richard Oram and Michael Penman at Stirling University, these men seemed rather stuffy and spoke awkwardly and frankly, badly. Typically, many academics who look so good on paper are very disappointing when put in front of an eager audience. By the end of the talk (I left before the questions) I counted at least five very suspicious nodding heads - by that, I mean amateur historians driven to deep and untroubled sleep by the woeful presentation on show. However, I encourage you all to read these professors books - they are wonderful.

After this made a rather dismal paella round at Fleur MacIntosh's house, the lady behind Godiva and go-reborn about which I have written reams. Check out the go-reborn shop in the Princes Street Mall and Godiva on the Westport off the Grassmarket. The large quantities of wine used to wash the paella down seemed to do the trick, then I was out and the night of Edinburgh was my oyster.

I prised it open and took a big, voluptuous bite.

Back in the country now and up to my eyes in mud, horses, dogs and fog, all of which I will write more about later.

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