2010 – These are the times that try men’s souls?

These are the times that try men’s souls!

2009 was a tough year for many and 2010 looks like another tough year as the recession grinds on and politicians freeze policy ahead of the UK election. To battle through 2010 I’ve made a commitment to myself to not only work hard but to balance it out with a few more social events than I would normally – a chance to chill out and get some work/life balance.

For instance I’ve been a fan of Dick Gaughan for years but have never managed to see the man in concert – so last week I fixed that when me and Mrs O crammed ourselves into the tiny seats at the Stirling Tolbooth (presumably Stirling people are only three feet high or don’t have legs).

If you have no clue who Dick Gaughan is then do the Google thing, and if you can’t be bothered doing the Google thing then…. he’s a Scottish folk singer writing about the unjust and the unrecognised from a politically left viewpoint (does any folk singer view things from any other side).

Anyway, by the end of the night I was suitably recalibrated away from my liberal wishy washy views on life, and ready to march on parliament……. but I jumped in the car and headed home instead.

DG does that thing that guys who have been playing in front of crowds in wee places for years do naturally – he just blethers away as he tunes, retunes and thinks about what he’d like to play next. He just blethered away……

…. and then he said he had just picked up a sub-conscious request from the audience to sing a tune about a chap from St Kilda that had left the island and joined the Gold Rush. Best to just play these tunes – he said – exorcise them – who knew why they came into the consciousness.

Well…I think the thought might have come from me…. I think. I’d been thinking about a blog I’d just written about Mrs O selling her Gold (times must be hard) and was making a note to self to update a Facebook status relating to it – and I’d also just finished writing some copy for a client who takes folks to St Kilda on his boat. Gold, St. Kilda…..ermmm – spooky or coincidence – I don’t know.

There were a couple of other gems during his tuning breaks that also struck me as well though – he’d learned all his Scottish history from folk tunes – yip I could empathise with that – history at School was indeed full of Henrys and Edwards as opposed to Alexanders and Wallaces.

But there was more behind the lyrics of those folk tunes than I had realised. For instance Scots Wa Hae was actually written by Burns in support of Thomas Muir who was tried for sedition for his involvement in the Friends of the People movement in 1793 – makes much more interesting reading now that I know that. Nows the day and nows the hour – blatantly obvious when it’s pointed out.

Nor did I know that A Mans A Man for Awe That was inspired by Norfolk born, American hero Thomas Paine author of “Common Sense” the publication that is credited with igniting the American Revolution. And a man imprisoned in France for speaking out about the execution of Louis XVI.

Why I am blogging about this? No idea – just felt somebody needed to know…..blame my or your own sub-conscious.

Are these the times that try men’s souls? Perhaps, but not so much as we would fear. Perhaps it’s more a case of what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. Google Thomas Paine for more.


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