Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 241 - Tartini


This morning we return to classical music - from the Baroque period – with Giuseppe Tartini.  You’re in for a real treat.   Sit back and enjoy.

Concerto for violin, strings, basso continuo in A major D. 96 Movs 2 + 3

I enjoyed that …. and I’ve listened to this about fifteen times!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Trafigura: Claude Dauphin to be Prosecuted????


Greenpeace has reported that Claude Dauphin, one of the founders of and largest shareholder in Trafigura, can be prosecuted for his part in the Probo Koala incident.  Dauphin has 2 weeks to appeal.

In July 2010, I reported that:

‘Claude Dauphin – Trafigura’s chief executive -  escaped  prosecution on the basis that he found out about the Probo Koala’s waste only in mid-August 2006, days before the waste’s dumping.’

Leaked emails showed he was aware long before mid-August 2006.

A rough translation of the Greenpeace press release is shown below:

Criminal prosecution of Trafigura’ s president
Amsterdam January 30, 2012— After a long procedure with objection and appeal up  to the highest Court of the Netherlands, the Court of Appeal Amsterdam has today decided that the Public Prosecutor may prosecute Trafigura’s president Claude Dauphin in the case of the Probo Koala.

Dauphin may actually be prosecuted for leading the illegal export of the waste from the Probo Koala to Ivory Coast.

Evidence that - also thanks to research of Greenpeace - has become public in recent years shows that the President-Director of Trafigura, Claude Dauphin knew and was involved from the beginning till the end, from the generation of the toxic waste till the delivery of the waste to Ivory Coast. Previously leaked e-mail correspondence between Dauphin and staff of Trafigura shows that the multi billion oil trader was aware that the experimental caustic washing process carried out aboard the vessel Probo Koala would generate toxic waste. It was also  known by the company that such toxic waste could only be processed in a few places and that it would be expensive. It was also known within the company that the export of waste from the European Union was prohibited.

In the opinion of Greenpeace it was therefore a  deliberate circumvention of legislation. The judges also came to that conclusion and the Amsterdam Court of Appeal only recently (December 23, 2011) found the company Trafigura guilty on the deliberate and illegal export of waste from Europe to Ivory coast.

Greenpeace is pleased that the highest boss of Trafigura is now accountable for a judge. Marietta Harjono, Greenpeace: "Dauphin was personally involved and knowingly accepted the risk of causing harm to human health and the environment by transferring the toxic waste to Ivory Coast."

[The original can be read here]


We await developments with great interest.

Music in the Morning Playlist


The YouTube playlist for all music featured during 2012 is available



Music in the Morning No. 240 – Mountnmonkeys


For the third time I feature this group – see here and here.

When I featured them in my Sunday Morning Coffee show I wrote this,

“We move away from the stars, the incredibly talented, the TV programme and return to where music lives, music belongs: with ordinary people, playing together, passing on tunes and skills, enjoying their music in their own homes.

Real music.  That’s what I celebrate today and I celebrate all those who play and jam at home, with friends, but I do so in the company of The MountnMonkeys.

Never heard of The MountnMonkeys?  Don’t worry, neither have they.  As far as I am aware they don’t have a name: they just enjoy a jam.

Why then “The MountnMonkeys”?  Because one of the players posts their videos under the  name of  “MountnMonkey” and, so, I christened them.  They all live in and around Huntington in West Virginia.”

I hope you enjoy their music.


Mountnmonkeys                                                        Cold, Frosty Morning


There must be so much talent hidden away like the Mountnmonkeys.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 239 with a Love Song


Not just a love song; not just any love song but a song of God’s love and our love of God.

Not just any song of God’s love and our love of God but The Love Song of the Welsh Revival.

I knew the song but not its background. 

I knew nothing of the Welsh Revival of 1904/1905.

‘Just after eleven o'clock on a Wednesday evening a hundred years ago, a solo voice rang out with the beautiful Welsh hymn "Here Is Love Vast As The Ocean". Maybe a thousand people were in the Chapel at the time, leaning over the galleries, packing every pew and squeezing into every spare corner. They'd been here for more than four hours, in a service of intense emotion.  

Meetings like it were taking place across Wales night after night, with fervent prayer and passionate singing - and similar disregard for the clock. They both excited and appalled, left many puzzled and some frightened, but it was reckoned that in less than a year, over a hundred and fifty thousand people had made a new commitment to Jesus Christ.

Whole communities changed, as men and women found themselves drawn into a powerful experience of God; and sparks from their awakening were soon to ignite fires in more than a dozen other countries.

And the hymn that soloist struck up spontaneously, about "love vast as the ocean", was heard so often that it became known as "the love song of the revival".’ [Source]

Listen to this wonderful hymn – the original would be in Welsh – and then I’ll tell you some more about the revival.


Here is Love, Vast as the Ocean                                                Robin Mark


This is SO inspiring!  This alone could bring people to God!

‘On December 31st 1903 and January 1st 1904, Joseph Jenkins a minister in New Quay Cardiganshire, who was undoubtedly a key man in the Revival, held a "Deeper Spiritual Life Convention". Joseph had been seeking an enduement of power, and shared the testimony of his experience of the Holy Spirit engulfing him as a flame of fire. This was to impact his Church.

On February 14th, in a Sunday service at his Chapel, a young woman named Florrie Evans stood to her feet and publicly confessed "I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart". As she spoke these words the Holy Spirit seemed to fall on the meeting. Many say this was the real beginning of the Revival. A move of God took place in that Church, as after-church meetings were held to seek the Lord's presence and empowerment, and God began baptising - initially young people, mainly girls and women in their teens and early twenties - with the Holy Spirit, and the fire quickly spread to other young people in the Cardiganshire area.‘ [Source]

The story itself is inspiring but there’s more.


‘As revival fire spread across Wales in late 1904 and early 1905, although no official records were kept of the actual number converted, 150,000 is considered a very conservative estimate, during the first six months! People's lives were transformed by the thousands. This was indeed, a sovereign move of God's Holy Spirit!

Whole communities were turned upside down, and were radically changed from depravity to glorious goodness. The crime rate dropped, often to nothing. The police force reported that they had little more to do than supervise the coming and going of the people to the chapel prayer meetings, while magistrates turned up at courts to discover no cases to try. The alcohol trade was decimated, as people were caught up more by what happened in the local chapels than the local public houses and bars. Families experienced amazing renewal, where the money earning husband and father, the bread winner, had wasted away the income and sowed discord, but now under the moving power of the Holy Spirit, following the conversion to be a follower of Jesus Christ, he not only provided correctly for family needs, but was now with the family, rather than wasting his time, and wages, in the public houses of the village or town. Souls were saved, individual lives were changed and Society itself was changed. Countless numbers were converted to Christ.

There are men and women still in churches today whose parents or grandparents' testimonies were that they were converted in the Revival in 1904 or 1905. Not only were individual lives changed by the power of the Holy Spirit, but whole communities were changed, indeed society itself was changed. Wales again was a God-fearing nation! Public houses were now almost empty. Men and women who used to waste their money getting drunk were saving it, giving it to help their churches, buying clothes and food for their families. And not only drunkenness, but stealing and other offences grew less and less, so that often a magistrate came to court, and found there were no cases for him.

Men whose language had been filthy before, learnt to talk purely. It is related that not only did the colliers put in a better day's work, but also that the pit ponies were so used to being cursed and sworn at, that they just couldn't understand orders being given in kind, clean words! Yet, still the work output increased. The dark tunnels underground in the mines echoed with the sounds of prayer and hymns, instead of oaths and nasty jokes and gossip.’ [Source]

I think we’re long overdue another such revival!

And now I must go because I must return to sing along again and be with God!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 238 – Karl Doty and Kip Jones


Today’s music is very, very different. 

The piece – Argon – written by Doty, a member of  the classical music group, ‘A Far Cry’, was played as an encore to ‘A Far Cry’ concert in June 2011.

I was entranced but I recognise that you may not take at all to the sound.  To find out what you think you’ll need to listen.

Karl Doty and Kip Jones                                                                       Argon

There is something almost religious about the sound.  I just love this.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 237 – Gerry Rafferty


Just over one year ago, Gerry passed on  For those who remain his music is testament to his greatness.

Today, he welcomes you with a simple little tune but one which may indicate his struggles.  Certainly his words will strike many of us as being very real.

Gerry Rafferty                                                                      Where I Belong



Where I Belong

Each day is harder to get through
My head it is spinning, I don't think I'm winning the race
Whenever I think of the future
I just see the one thing that might bring a smile to my face.

To be where I belong
Is the force that keeps me going on.

Sometimes life seems to slow down
I try to move faster 'cause disaster is hot on my heels
Maybe I don't have to worry
Perhaps I'll keep learning concerning the way that I feel.

To be where I belong
Is the force that keeps me going on.

Each day is harder to get through
My head it is spinning, I hope that I'm winning the race.


I have loved this song for so many years but had lost it for most of them …. if that makes sense.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 236 – KT Tunstall


Another Scot brings you magic this morning.  Sit back, lie back or whatever.   Simply enjoy.


KT Tunstall                                                                         The Entertainer

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 235 – Julie Fowlis


A strange language this morning even to me, a Scot, but Gaelic is beyond me.  Fortunately, the other language, music, is open to us all.


Julie Fowlis                                             Biodh An Deoch + others unknown

Ah!  Understood all of it!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 234 – Bach & Mischa Maisky

This morning’s piece is a hugely popular one. I’m sure you’ll love this!
Bach - BWV 1007, Cello Suite No.1, I. Prelude                   Mischa Maisky

Fabulous.  I closed my eyes and …..
Well, where did this take you?

Monday, 23 January 2012

Trafigura: Appeal to Dutch Supreme Court


At some point in the last few weeks, Trafigura has posted to its website a response to the Dutch Appeal Courts upholding of the guilty verdicts.  I append a small portion of that response below:

“On 23rd December 2011, the Dutch Appeal Court confirmed the acquittal but maintained the two convictions. These matters involve complex technicalities and significant legal issues, so Trafigura duly lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. Trafigura is satisfied that the acquittal was upheld, but disappointed that the company was not completely cleared. We continue to believe we acted properly and used the correct procedures. [source] [My emphasis]

So the saga is not over yet.

“We continue to believe we acted properly and used the correct procedures.


Where is the truth between the two views – Trafigura’s and the Dutch courts?


In December I wrote a series of posts highlighting gaps in our knowledge  - I called them Truth Gaps – because it appeared to me that Trafigura’s knowledge of the waste and its actions in Amsterdam and beyond were irreconcilable.  Clearly something was missing, we were missing some knowledge to make their knowledge and actions reconcilable.

For those who may have missed these posts I append a portion of one.

“Here I summarise what we know Trafigura knew about the caustic washing of coker naphtha before Trafigura committed the Probo Koala to sail to Amsterdam.  Alongside this I put their actions in Amsterdam (before, during and after the visit).  I contend that the two are irreconcilable and can only become reconcilable when more information, more truth comes into the public domain.

This extra truth, which we don’t have yet, I call the ‘truth gap’.  It’s what we need to understand Trafigura’s actions.  Without the new truth we can speculate but speculation leaves us open to Carter-Ruck getting in touch.

Far better to highlight and keep highlighting the truth gap.

Far better to highlight and keep highlighting those areas which don’t stack up.

Far better to ask and keep asking Trafigura to answer questions.

Far better to highlight and keep highlighting those questions Trafigura does not answer (if there are any).

Enough of this.  It’s time to identify the truth gap in Amsterdam.


What goes into the Truth Gap?”

I have my views about where the truth lies and what goes into the Truth Gap but only you know your views.

Music in the Morning No. 233 – Eddie Vedder and Mark Seymour


A brand new song to me.  There are lots of versions but this was, by far, the most atmospheric.  Mark Seymour, the composer, guests with Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam for this brilliant rendition.


Eddie Vedder and Mark Seymour                   Throw Your Arms Around Me


I hope that wasn’t too energetic for you as you broke the night’s cover.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 232 – CalumCarr and John Barry


I’ve made it onto the greatest musical show on earth!

Yes!  That’s here, if you didn’t already know!

You don’t get to hear my voice or my music but you get John Barry’s music with my words subtitled.   There is no way I could inflict my voice on me, far less on your delicate ears.

The music, ‘John Dunbar Theme’ from the film ‘Dances with Wolves’, featured 5 weeks ago or so but, as I listened to the music, words appeared in front of me as though they were being given to me.  I wrote them down and made the video.

I hope you enjoy.

CalumCarr and John Barry     Teach Me, Lord Jesus (John Dunbar Theme)


Did you manage to sing along as the words appeared?  Bet you did a better job than would I.

I know it’s not the easiest music to sing but, as I alluded to earlier, I had no option.  I didn’t choose to write words to the music: they appeared.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 231 – Hiromi

Hiromi?  Who?

I hadn’t heard her music nor even heard of her until I stumbled across this video.  I stumble across, fall into, so much fabulous music this way.  I was gobsmacked, grabbed, by her brilliance and sheer exuberance. 

Never!  Absolutely never, have I heard music remotely like this and I mean this in an immensely positive way.

Pachelbel can never have been played like this!

Pachelbel with guts!

After this build-up I would be disappointed if you didn’t love this too but I must be realistic: some will love and some won’t.

Sit back for 8m 30s of ……

Pachelbel: Canon in D                                                                        Hiromi

I did tell you!   Hiromi is brilliant. 

Need to listen to this again?  I can’t get enough of Hiromi!

Friday, 20 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 230 – Handel


What a welcome for the new day!


Handel                         Concerto grosso for two violins, cello, strings and basso continuo in B minor Op. 6 No. 12 HWV330    Mvts  3 to 5


Have a lovely day!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 229 – Fiona Apple


I had never heard of Fiona before this video popped up.  If you are in the same position, please listen because this track is a classic  … or rather it should be.


Fiona Apple                                                                                        I Know 


Told you!  A classic!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Scottish Referendum: How Many Questions?


Much has been made in the last week or so about the confusion which would arise if more than two options were given because the voting form would look something like the one below.


[Note: we can argue over the exact words used.  I have chosen words quickly to illustrate the issues]

There is no doubt that, were the questions posed in this way, confusion could arise. 


Therefore, say many Unionists, only a straightforward Yes/No option should be presented.

One possibility could be:


Is that it then?  There is only the Yes/No option!




Imagine the following layout.


With this layout, if there is a majority for independence then the results for 3. and 4. are ignored.

If there is a majority for retaining the Union then 3. and 4. are counted.

The results from a layout such as this gives the parameters of negotiation.


Is this too complicated?


Shouldn’t be!


This exact layout was used in 1997 for the Scottish Devolution referendum. I’ve put the actual questions from that referendum into my layout.


[Remember: in the 4 different layouts I have chosen words quickly to illustrate the issues]


Here we have it!

No confusion and a fuller range of options considered.


Were some trying to muddy the waters unnecessarily?

That is for another day!

Music in the Morning No. 228 - Ray LaMontagne


Sad, sad start to this morning  ……

…… but do listen to a master.


Ray LaMontagne                                                       Are We Really Through



Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Scottish Referendum: Vote Britain ????


The case is compelling.

[Courtesy of Alan Bissett]

UPDATE:  Thought I’d give you the words.

People of Scotland, vote with your heart.

Vote with your love for the Queen who nurtured you, cradle to grave,

Who protects you and cares, her most darling subjects, to whom you gave

the glens she adores to roam freely through, the stags her children so dearly enjoy killing.

First into battle, loyal and true.  The enemy’s scared of you.

That’s why we send you over the top with your och-aye-the-noo Mactivish there’s been a murrrderrr jings! crivvens! Deepfriedfuckinmarsbar wee wee dram of whisky hoots mon there’s a moose loose aboot this smackaddict

Vote, Jock.  Vote, Sweaty Sock.  Talk properly.

Vote with those notes we scrutinise  in our shops.

(might be legal tender but looks dodgy to me)

Vote for the Highland Clearances. Baaaaaaaaaa.

Vote for nuclear submarines in your water.

Vote for the Olympic Games you didn’t vote for

(but you’ll pay for it, you’ll pay for it).

Vote Conservative. Vote Lib Dem. Vote Libservative. Vote Condabour.

Vote with the chip on your shoulder.

Vote Labour.  New Labour. Old Labour. Scottish Labour.

(Get back in line, Scottish Labour, HQ in Solihull will issue their commands shortly,

Just keep the vote coming in from up there thanks goodbye,

Subsidy junkie).

Vote for any argument you construct in your defence being ‘anti-English’.

Vote for Scots who make their career in Scotland being ‘unambitious’.

Vote for enjoying your own culture being soooooooo parochial.

Vote God Save the Queen and that bit about us crushing you all.

Hush.  There there.

Vote for Scotland being refered to as a ‘region’, like, say, Yorkshire? Or East Anglia?

Vote for our voices dominating your media, but in no way telling you what to think.

Take a drink.  Go on, son, take a drink.

Vote for oil revenue, which we ensure flows directly from us into you.

Vote for being told you’re the only country in the world that could not possibly survive and that without us you’d fall to pieces like children abandoned in the wild, caked in faeces.

Vote Daily Mail and Rupert Murdoch and

illegalimmigrantskilledPrincessDiana and

London London London most exciting city in the world darling

(Glasgow is a very violent place, is it not. Do you have art?)

Vote wth your heart.  Vote Empire. Vote tradition.

Vote for our proud shared history of


Bringing Wealth and Prosperity to the World!

being on the right side just once and that’s only because it was against yer actual fucking Hitler

Vote for the #ScottishConspiracy at Westminster

(who really runs the show here eh – Blair, Brown – got your own in that time, we aren’t allowed to vote in Holyrood but there’s Archie McPhee pulling wee strings in our parliament when we wouldn’t even think about interfering in how you run your own affairs but while we’re at it, this referendum eh? A so-called referendum, is it?  Have it now, make sure it looks like this)

Vote for very, very, very rich people patronising you.

Vote for Glasgow having the highest knife-crime rate and lowest life expectancy in Europe

due to our generosity.  You may thank us at your leisure.

Vote for the absence of your history in our schools.

All Brits together.

Vote for our shock at your ingratitude!

Vote for us saying ‘Eh? Eh?’ when you open up your porridge mooth.

Vote for bafflement about why you want the England football team to lose.

We always want the Scots to win (except in referenda).

Vote for psychopathic villains with your accent in a soap opera.

Vote for tuition fees and student loans, ensuring that the brightest of your working-class

(since you still insist upon the term, although Our Leaders had it banned)

will one day rise and take their place in this great land.

Vote for us deploying strategic references to Braveheart to dismiss you all.

Vote for Robert Burns being called by Paxman ‘sentimental doggerel’.

Vote for The Iron Lady.  Such a strong leader, gave this country backbone

(you didn’t really want the unions, industries or council homes, just made the place look tatty)

Vote for a deregulated banking class, lionising of the hardworkingwealthgeneratingjobcreatingentrepreneurs

who you will in no way refer to as ‘greedy, selfish bastards’.  Give them your taxes.

Vote for foreign wars.

Yes, sadly, some of you will die.  But you will return to a hero’s welcome


the Union Jack, proud symbol of integrity and honour, draped across your coffin

while your mother, dabbing at her eyes, recalls the words she learned in school

in Kircudbright

  ‘There is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England.’

Vote with your heart.

Music in the Morning No. 227 – John Butler


A guitar solo.  Not just any guitar solo but an absolutely brilliant one.  I hope it’s not too early for you to appreciate magic.


John Butler                                                                                       Ocean


If only ….. 

If only ….. I could play one chord!


I’ll have to be an expert listener!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 226 – Old Crow Medicine Show


Sing-along music; jump-up-and-dance music may not what you want first thing in the morning but this will shake away any cobwebs.  Don’t hold back; let it all hang out!

Old Crow Medicine Show                                                       Wagon Wheel


Right!  Now I can put back all those bits which did hang out …. and move on with my day with a spring in my step.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Scottish Independence: Telegraph Cock-up?


Lifted from today’s Telegraph.




This just has to be deliberate!


[UPDATE: ach, they’ve gone and corrected the ‘mistake’!]

Music in the Morning No. 225 – Dougie MacLean


There have been many, many versions of this song but Dougie does his composition justice in this video.  I would love this song even if it weren’t about my country because it speaks of our homeland wherever that may be.

Sit down, sit back, relax and be transported!


Dougie Maclean                                                                                Caledonia


                   Sorry about the delay: I’ve just returned from being transported.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Scottish Independence: Telegraph Behind the Times


The Daily Telegraph has published an article by an Iain Martin with the strap line below.


Read the article if you wish but it’s absolutely typical of the garbage produced this week by the so-called national media.  I mention the article not because of this though.


I clicked on Martin’s name to get more info about him and this is what I found.


Ian Martin Strap 2


Gordon Brown !

The Labour Government …. in 2012!


I shouldn’t have been surprised by this level of incompetence because, as I said above, it’s absolutely typical of the garbage produced this week by the so-called national media.

And there’s another two years and more of this to come.

Music in the Morning No. 224 – Chris Wood and Andy Cutting


We change form to hear a couple of reels from two fabulous English folk musicians.  I’m sure you’ll love this.

Chris Wood & Andy Cutting            La Contredanse  / Jules Verret’s Reel 

Aaaah!  Each time I hear this I soften inside  …. not too much, mind you!

Friday, 13 January 2012

Scottish Referendum: Open Letter to David Cameron


Fortunately not my words but those of Kenyon Wright who may be unknown to many but was a key figure in developing the blueprint for Scottish devolution [see here and here]. 


‘Dear Prime Minister

The superficial nature of your proposals on the referendum simply proves that you have little understanding either of Scotland's constitutional tradition and history, or of the mood of the people of Scotland.

There are two major reasons why most Scots will, I believe, firmly reject your ideas.

The first is constitutional. In the 'Donald Dewar Room' in the Scottish Parliament there is an important document from 1989. It bears the signatures of the great majority of Scotland's MPs and of our local authorities, of representatives of civil society, the trades unions, the churches and much of the business community. Signed at the first meeting of the Scottish Constitutional Convention in March 1989, it is the fundamental principle on which the Scottish Parliament is founded. It is called 'A Claim of Right for Scotland' and states simply: 'We hereby acknowledge the sovereign right of the people of Scotland to determine the form of government best suited to their needs'.

It is clear and unambiguous, and reflects a principle deep in our history, that the people, not the Crown in parliament, are sovereign. The nature, questions and timing of any referendum are matters for the Scottish people and their parliament.

The day before the new Scottish Parliament met for the first time, I handed that document over to Donald Dewar and David Steel. I said then that one day that Claim of Right would come into its own if any Westminster government attempted to impose any constitutional development on Scotland. That day has come.

Second, there are important democratic reasons to reject your proposals. Despite the fact that the electoral system in Scotland, which I had a hand in devising, was intended to be proportional and therefore to ensure that no party got an overall majority; to our surprise the SNP achieved that. This means quite simply that the present Scottish Government is more democratically representative of Scotland than yours is of the UK.

As early as 2009, I proposed to the then SNP minority government that any referendum should include a third or middle option, which I defined as 'Secure Autonomy' rather than 'Devo Max', on the grounds that 'power devolved is power retained'. There are many views, but the point is that there is a growing debate in Scotland over all these issues, and the details of the referendum, whenever it comes, will certainly reflect that debate. It is not for you to
pre-empt that process.

The Constitutional Commission of which I am president, which is politically non-aligned, has published a draft constitution for Scotland, and is initiating a nation-wide discussion not just of the referendum, but on the very different kind of democracy, already partly embodied in the present Scottish Parliament, we aspire to be. We hope to ensure that the options in the referendum are clearly understood as involving something more than simply a shift of political power. The people will, I believe, understand the full implications for Scotland's democracy of each of the options, be they two or three.

Yours sincerely

Kenyon Wright'

Kenyon Wright is president of the Constitutional Commission

I found these words at  newsnetscotland who themselves borrowed them from the Constitutional Commission.

Music in the Morning No. 223 – Lisa Hannigan


What a treat this morning! 

A simple song but an incredibly beautiful song from Lisa Hannigan. 


Lisa Hannigan                                                                                       Lille


Before launching her solo career, Lisa sang with Damien Rice and we should be thankful that she took that decision.

She brings us music of the angels!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Music in the Morning No. 222 – Drever, McCusker, Woomble


A Scots welcome this morning: Kris Drever leads on this lovely song but with others alongside. 

This is magical!


Drever, McCusker Woomble                                    The Poorest Company



When the wind feels like the words are breathing in and out of me,
And I'm standing beside you, there's a shadow where a man should be,
I would be glad enough if wherever I might be,
People would remember we're woven in a tapestry.

When we steal what we can, with the courage to be free,
And I've found where I belong among the poorest company.

When the wind feels like the world, a useless spinning orrery,
A country round its shoulders, a flag raised on a gallows tree,
I won't let it get me down. I know there are people now
Who bind together what they do and live their lives like I want to.

When we steal what we can, I take everything I see,
And I've found where I belong among the poorest company.

When we steal what we can, with the courage to be free,
And I've found where I belong among the poorest company.





I had another song lined up for this slot but then I found this gem.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Scottish Independence


Last year, in the aftermath of the Scottish elections, I republished a post from 2007.  With the prominence being given to Scottish independence or, at least, to the referendum I repost again.


“In May 2007, just after the last elections to the Scottish Parliament I gave my views on Scottish independence.  Given the SNP’s recent victory -  a majority of seats – to the same institution and the ‘national’ press’ rediscovering Scotland I thought this was an appropriate time to revisit my 2007 post.

Much of the most recent debate is characterised by ill-informed comment and prejudice.  I will not contribute to this pointless approach and I believe my post is as relevant today as it was then and, so, I copy the post in its entirety.  [If you want to read the comments to the original post you can find them here.]

Several weeks ago Lord Nazh asked if I believed in Great Britain or a free Scotland (along with Ireland and possibly Wales)? I read this question as asking. “Do I believe politically in an independent Scotland (with the possibility that some or all of the other three countries could be independent) or do I believe in the United Kingdom (of four countries)?”

At last I can answer him.

There are two issues I need to consider: my national identity and the politics of the situation in the light of that identity.

Let us consider my national identity. In a previous post I wrote:

…. I consider myself Scottish and then British but, if asked, I couldn’t find words to describe even my Scottishness. I just am Scottish. I was born here. I have always lived here. As far back as I have traced – about 1750 - all my ancestors were born in Scotland. I feel British but this is a poor second to my Scottishness. I don’t feel European, ever. I know I am officially a European but the concept of Europe as an entity of which I am a citizen means nothing to me.

Some might suggest that, because I live in Edinburgh, I will have more in common with those in other large cities, for example, London or Manchester, than I do with those living in remote parts of Scotland. Certainly, my lifestyle is more similar to those in metropolitan areas than it is to those in remote Scotland but I do not identify, in any way, with other metropolitan dwellers whereas I do identify with other Scots regardless of where in Scotland they are.

Therefore, my Scottishness is undefinable – it just is – and, similarly, my Britishness just is.”


If I were told that my Scottishness had to be subservient to my Britishness I couldn’t and wouldn’t do it. It isn’t as though I spend my time considering Scottishness – I rarely do - but asking me to relegate my Scottishness would be like asking me to give up my right hand so that my left hand became more important. I can’t because it’s part of me. Only by performing this simple thought experiment can I get an understanding of those for whom religion is more important than their Britishness and the difficulty they would have making their religion subservient to Britishness.

I am quite clear: I am Scottish first and then British is a distant second. In the weeks since I wrote the above piece I make one significant addition: I am Scottish, I feel Scottish, I only feel Scottish but I am British because I know logically that I am British. I do not feel British in the way that I feel Scottish. In fact, I do not feel British.

Now how does my identity affect how I view the United Kingdom and its four component countries?

Given that I feel Scottish but only know that I am British it is inevitable that I see, feel and identify with Scotland as a country but only know, without feeling, that Britain / UK is a country. Therefore, logically, I expect that those born in England and Wales will see the position similarly. I omit Northern Ireland from this because I imagine some will see Eire as their country whereas others will see Britain as their home.

This is probably an appropriate place to say that I harbour no anti-English or anti-anyone feelings: I arrive at my position simply through my feeling of Scottishness.

From my youngest days, I have known Scotland to be a country in its own right but a country subsumed in a larger composite country (United Kingdom). Perhaps surprisingly I never dreamt of Scotland being an independent country. Just as I accepted without question that Scotland was a country I accepted without question the need for Scotland to remain within the Union. This was just how things were.

Even when the Scottish Nationalists were having success in the 1970s with their “It’s Scotland’s oil” campaign I remained a Unionist convinced that Scotland could not survive independently. It was as though the Nationalists were pushing a dream, an unrealistic and unrealisable dream. Through the years my views remained static: even devolution didn’t move my thinking although I was very much in favour.

Looking back I think my position has been that my heart would have been happy with an independent Scotland but my head has seen sufficient negatives to reject the idea. As time has passed my heart is unchanged but in my head now I am prepared to listen to the arguments in favour of, and against, independence: arguments which are solid or flimsy depending on one’s original standpoint. Therefore, I am left with inconclusive arguments about the likely success (or otherwise) of Scottish independence and the safe position, under these conditions, would be to stay in the Union but I don’t want the safe option anymore. For me the time has come when we should give independence a go and make it work. Will Scotland be better off immediately after independence? I don’t know. The success, or failure, of an independent country, of its economy is dependent on so many factors most of them outwith the control of the country that predicting the future is futile.

There is a risk but, in time, I believe we would prosper. We should take the risk.

We won’t go for it, of course. Our inherent conservatism plus the level of fear engendered by unionists will ensure a majority for maintaining the Union. I can imagine that I too would worry more and become more fearful about the future as independence beckoned. That I am not champing at the bit for independence suggests that, despite my support, I am not wholly committed. Major doubt must still remain. Sometime I will explore this area.

Even if Scotland did vote for independence moral and legal questions would abound. Could Scotland become independent on the basis of a vote of its electorate only? If so, imagine the roles reversed and the electorate of England voted for English independence whilst Scots wanted to remain in the Union: what would Scots say? I suspect that we would complain about being cast adrift by our larger partner with no opportunity to influence the decision.

If voters in both countries needed to vote, would Scots not complain that their future was dependent on voters of another country as would the English if the roles were reversed: obviously an intolerable situation.

Therefore, neither approach can be deemed as acceptable but if I had to choose one approach I would have to take the view that only the electorate of Scotland has the right to determine whether or not Scotland becomes independent with equivalent positions applying in the other UK countries.

In a long-winded way I have now answered Lord Nazh’s question.

Yes, I believe in an independent Scotland with any or all of the remaining countries having the right to proclaim independence but I do not necessarily want independence now.

At the same time, I see the UK as the composite entity of individual countries but I do not have any emotional attachment to this composite country. However, until one of the constituent countries wants to split from the UK or until I am committed fully to independence, I am happy to accept the UK as my known, but unfelt, country.

I would change only one small portion of my original thoughts: I am more likely to vote in favour of independence now.”


Now in 2012 my position has changed.


I am committed fully to independence.


Whatever the future holds – good or ill – let it be as a proud and independent Scotland.

Music in the Morning No. 221 - Eric Larkins


After 12 months of silence this series restarts with 5 minutes of beauty in the presence of Vivaldi and Eric Larkins.  I had never heard of Larkins: he is a classical guitarist, clearly, and music teacher from Atlanta.

I close my eyes and I find …..

Vivaldi:                         Concerto in D Major RV. 93, 2nd Movement - Largo

….. my soul!


May you find beauty and peace within.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Music in the Morning Returns Tomorrow


After almost a year away, the series, ‘Music in the Morning’, returns tomorrow. 


To get you in the mood, here is the last post, from January 2010.


Music in the Morning – Saturday – No. 220


Let’s go to Largo again this morning.


Bach: Double Violin Concerto D minor BWV 1043  M2 Largo Ma Non Tanto