Culture/Arts in General Literature Music/Literature Newsworthy

Rare KM & WC gig tomorrow night at EdBookFest!


Willie and I are playing a rare gig tomorrow night at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. We’re honoured, delighted. and very much looking forward to it. The gig is part of the lively Jura Unbound strand that takes place in the wondrous Guardian Spiegeltent – it’s a free, drop-in event that starts at 9pm. I’d advise you to get there early because it’s liable to be busy, plus our Very Special Guests are not to be missed.

Willie and I will play tracks from our Visible From Space album, plus Willie will do some solo work – the astounding one-man band looping-pedal stuff that takes serious co-ordination and which he does so well.


I’m thrilled to say that we will be joined by the pre-eminent Shetland poet and novelist Robert Alan Jamieson and terrific singer-songwriter, Island Review writer and all-round-good-guy Jordan Ogg. They, like me, were friends and fans of the late Lise Sinclair and we’re dedicating our night to her memory – in a celebratory fashion, as she would have doubtless wanted. (Click here to read Mary Blance’s poignant, eloquent obituary to learn more about Lise, or better yet get a hold of one of her CDs.)


Edinburgh International Book Festival

Jura Unbound

Kevin MacNeil & Willie Campbell

Thursday 15 August

9:00pm – 11:00pm

The Guardian Spiegeltent

Free & Drop-in

bikes Newsworthy Personal

Thank You!

Friends, I’m touched that so many of you have donated to the charitable causes on whose behalf I’ve cycled the Danube/Ness-Leverburgh/RideLondon100. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Between us we’ve raised £6539-33 for Cancer Research, Macmillan Cancer Support, Bethesda Hospice and Guide Dogs. None of these cycles was easy – they all involved fixed-gear or single-speed bikes, and they all involved pain! Because I don’t wish to impose upon your kindness, the next (95-mile, single-speed) bike ride and the half-marathon are not for charity, just for ‘fun’. And because I value your support, anyone who has sponsored me for any of these bike rides can email me with Short Story as the subject and I will email you back a free, unpublished short story. Can’t say fairer than that. Again, thank you, on behalf of all these charities. Your donations are making a real difference to real people.x



Putting the ‘Neigh’ in Neighbour

Putting the ‘neigh’ in neighbour! Every day the Hebridean island on which I grew up becomes more and more like Craggy Island. (A good thing.) At this rate I might have to move back.
So many great quotes in here: ‘The situation is not ideal’; ‘I will sell myself before I sell that pony’; ‘Who would want their next-door neighbour to be a horse?’ and more.
Anyway, whether or not the woman is a dedicated and compassionate animal-lover or whether she is less than stable, her neighbours are saddled with the situation.

Article via.
The unwelcome horse-guest! Animal lover causes outrage on small island by keeping pony in living room of semi-detached house

Dapple grey makes herself at home in living room of Stephanie Noble’s semi
Neighbours brand divorcee a ‘fruitcake’ and demand animal’s eviction
Last updated at 12:19 AM on 13th January 2012

It is an average, neat semi-detached house on a remote Scottish island, owned by a divorcee animal lover in her sixties.

But Stephanie Noble has horrified neighbours in Back, Lewis, after moving in her pet pony as a lodger.

The three-year-old dapple grey, named Grey Lady Too, has taken up residence in Miss Noble’s living room after a dispute over grazing left the filly without a field.

‘Fruitcake’: Miss Noble has provoked outrage by allowing her pet dapple grey to become a lodger at her semi-detached home on the Scottish island of Lewis

Her owner has put in a hay bed and turned her chairs into feeding troughs to accommodate the animal, which she now refuses to move.

Miss Noble is now the subject of numerous complaints and visits from her local council and the Scottish SPCA, but because it is her own home officials said last night there is nothing they can do.

Miss Noble said: ‘This is my own property – if I want to even keep an elephant in the house I can. I have had nothing but stick from people because it is unconventional.

‘It is not normal to keep birds in a cage, because they should be flying about, but people don’t complain about that. Grey Lady Too is very happy.

‘She goes out to the lawn – though she has eaten a couple of the neighbour’s plants – and comes back in the house herself. The situation is not ideal, but it is safe and secure for her.

Neighbours beside the semi-detached home in Broadbay View say they often see the horse staring out of the ground-floor living room as they pass.

Grey Lady Too – named after Miss Noble’s first pony, Grey Lady – has two chairs full of straw to feed from and a bucket of drinking water regularly refilled from the kitchen next door.

In the living room, close to a desk and chair is the pony’s bed of hay, on top of 60 litres of cat litter and four heavy-duty rugs for the filly’s droppings and urine.

The pony was kept on land a few miles from the house after Miss Noble bought her in September, but moved because the grazing was ‘unsuitable’.

Taken to land in the nearby village of Gress, the filly was left on Miss Noble’s property on Christmas Eve, she says, after a dispute over payment.

She spent a night in the cells after putting the pony in a nearby shed, which she says she believed was in common ownership.

Nosing around: Neighbours are furious with the situation and claim they always see the pony staring out of the ground-floor living room as they walk by

The ensuing argument with the property owner saw her reported to the procurator fiscal for an alleged breach of the peace and vandalism.

After that, she took the pony into her house.

The owner said: ‘I will sell myself before I sell that pony. I don’t think any horse or pony should be out in this climate in winter. All I’m doing is fighting for my rights against people, who because it’s unconventional, think it’s wrong.

‘I would love somebody to come up with suitable nearby grazing.’

In the meantime, the £1,850 pony, which is not yet broken-in, remains in the living room.

No home: Miss Noble says she was forced to take her pony in because of a dispute over grazing left the filly without a field

Miss Noble, a qualified British Horse Society instructor who lived in America until 1994, hopes to eventually use the filly for breeding. Her neighbours, however, are less than happy with the bizarre set-up.

One said: ‘Who in their right mind would ever want their next-door neighbour to be a horse? The problem is not unsympathetic neighbours. She has been a pain in the neck from the minute she got here.’

Another described the divorcee as a ‘fruitcake’, while a neighbour added: ‘People are concerned about the horse and her.

‘The horse walks in and out of her house like it is its stable. It is put out into the garden, which is not the kind of space I can imagine a horse needs.’

Home sweet home: The pony’s bed of hay has been placed on top of 60 litres of cat litter and four heavy-duty rugs for the filly’s droppings and urine

The Scottish SPCA has offered to take the pony in but been refused. Inspector Andy Brown said yesterday: ‘We are concerned about the welfare of the pony. But it does appear to be in good condition and well cared for.

‘We are hoping to discuss the matter with Ms Noble. It is an unusual case.’

Miss Noble was not answering her door last night, but a spokesman from Western Isles Council said she was free to do as she pleased in her own property as long as public safety or hygiene were not affected.

He said: ‘We don’t encourage people to keep horses in their homes.’





Kim Jong-un Wisdom: on democracy

‎”Mitt Romney spent tens of millions of dollars on his campaign and won by just 8 votes. I spent jack squat and won by a motherhugging landslide. Just sayin’.” Kim Jong-un




Cheetah, the chimp who starred in the Tarzan films of the 1930s, has died, aged 80. He liked finger painting and watching people smile. I hope they’ll say the same of me one day. But I hope they won’t also be saying, ‘What? He wasn’t still alive, was he?’



Do you like Gaelic music?

Do you like Gaelic music? Murdo Dan MacDonald has one of the best voices around. Alongside Broadbay Sound he has released a brilliant new CD, In a Ceilidh Mood. Murdo Dan was a friend of my late mother and the final track on this album – A Pheigi a Ghraidh – is dedicated to her. All proceeds from this great new album go to the amazing Bethesda Care Home and Hospice, where my mother spent her last days. It’s only a tenner, but could be the best tenner you spend between now and next year! Http://


Track Listing

Loch Liobhann (Alasdair Rankin / Charles MacInnes)
Fagail Bharraigh (Iain MacFhionghain) mcps
Gruagach Dhonn Bhrunail (Dòmhnall Iain Dòmhnallach) mcps
Togail Curs Leodhais (Trad)
(Aros Park. Comp: Pibroch Mackenzie Mull / Campbelltown Kiltie Ball. Comp: PM John McLennan) / Walter Douglas MBE. (PM D Macleod mcps)
Teann a’ nall (Gilleasbaig MacDhòmhnaill) & Morag Of Dunvegan Trad
Nighneag A’ Ghraidh (Murchadh Moireasdan)
Coille an Fhasaich (Rugadh Dòmhnall MacPhilip) mcps
Waters of Kylesku (David Henderson) Mcps
Cailin mo ruin-sa (Donald Ross) & Eilidh (seumas macCoinnich) Trad
Killberry Bay (Iain Macphail) / Sweet maid of Glendaruel Trad
Uibhist Mo Ghraidh (Alasdair MacMhathain) mcps
A Pheigi a Ghraidh (Ruaraidh Caimbeul) mcps *

Vocals: Murdo Dan Macdonald
Accordion: Seonaid C Mackay
Whistles: Cathy Macarthur
Melodeon: Fiona M Mackay
Midi bass, Accord & Keys and musical arrangements by DB Macleod

*Dedicated to the memory of Peggy MacNeil.


A Typical News Day in Scotland

A typical news day in Scotland: deep fried butter goes on the menu (it’s served with Irn Bru ice-cream and is called Braveheart Butter Bombs); a dog is fitted with a pacemaker; Scots are advised to fortify foods with Vitamin D to compensate for lack of sunshine (I’ve also heard this from a few specialists); train fares are set to rise even though trains all over the country are exceptionally poor value for money in comparison with trains elsewhere in Europe; Highlanders are told a Disney cartoon could bolster the economy.
Wha’s like us?




Images (not Scottish) sourced via this link:

Culture/Arts in General Literature Newsworthy

These Islands, We Sing: An Anthology of Scottish Island Poetry

‘These Islands, We Sing’ launches at the Scottish Poetry Library at 7pm on Tuesday 28th June and in Glasgow at the CCA at 7pm on the 30th June.

“Many of the most important poets grew up or chose to live on Scottish islands, not least the editor of a brand new anthology of ‘island’ poetry, Kevin MacNeil. ‘These Islands, We Sing’ brings together a wonderful array of work from those poets who are readily associated with island living such as Sorley Maclean, George Mackay Brown and Edwin Muir, but also those whose work and life have become heavily entwined with islands, including Meg Bateman, Andrew Greig and Jen Hadfield to name but three.

‘These Islands, We Sing’ will be launched at the Scottish Poetry Library, 5 Crichton’s Close, Edinburgh on Tuesday 28th June at 7.00 p.m. All welcome for an evening of poems from a far horizon with readings from Andrew Greig, Christine de Luca, Roseanne Watt and Kevin MacNeil.”

“Five poets from Scotland’s islands bring their unique work to Glasgow’s CCA on Thursday 30th June in a Scottish Writers Centre Event, 7pm.

The readings are part of the launch celebrations for the new anthology of Scottish Island poetry  – ‘These Islands We Sing’ (Birlinn Polygon) – edited by Kevin MacNeil – about which see:–We-Sing-9781846971969/

Appearing at the CCA are Pam Beasant (Orkney), Rody Gorman (Skye), Christie Williamson (Shetland), Lise Sinclair (Fair Isle) and Kevin MacNeil.”


The following poets feature in the anthology (arranged, as they appear in the book, in chronological order):
Edwin Muir, Hugh MacDiarmid, Somhairle MacGill-Eain/Sorley MacLean, An t-Urr. Iain MacLeoid/Rev. Iain Macleod, William J. Tait, George Mackay Brown, Ruaraidh MacThomais/Derrick Thomson, Laurence Graham, Jack Renwick, Stella Sutherland, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Alastair Mackie, Iain C. Mac a’ Ghobhainn/Iain Crichton Smith, Rhoda Bulter, Domhnall MacAmhlaigh/Donald MacAulay, Alison Prince, Mavis Gulliver, Aonghas MacNeacail, Edward Cummins, Maoilios Caimbeul/Myles Campbell, John Aberdein, Norman Bissell, Christine De Luca, Jim Moncrieff, Catriona NicGumaraid/Catriona Montgomery, Laureen Johnson, Morag MacInnes, Morag NicGumaraid/Morag Montgomery, Sheenagh Pugh, Gordon Dargie, Andrew Greig, Jim Mainland, Alistair Peebles, Aonghas Padraig Caimbeul/Angus Peter Campbell, Siusaidh NicNeill, Mairi NicGumaraid/Mary Montgomery, Ian Stephen, Donald S. Murray, Yvonne Grey, Robert Alan Jamieson, Meg Bateman, Mark O. Goodwin, Rody Gorman, James Andrew Sinclair, Pamela Beasant, James Knox Whittet, Iain S. Mac a’ Phearsain/John S. MacPherson, Alison Flett, Anna Frater, Babs NicGriogair, Alex Cluness, Lise Sinclair, Mark Smith, Christie Williamson, Jen Hadfield, Padraig MacAoidh/Peter Mackay, Raman Mundair, Roseanne Watt.