Categories
Music/Literature

Info on Gigs and the Debut Album

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It’s a busy week. Generous, lovely people have already donated £2377.51 to Bethesda Hospice following my 130km fixed-gear bike ride from Ness to Leverburgh on Monday.
The fantastic folk at Ullapool Book Festival have kindly decided to donate the proceedings from their Sunday coffee morning to ensure that Bethesda gets even more money! How great is that!
Talking of the Ullapool Book Festival, I am teaching a Writing Workshop on Dialogue there this evening (I think it’s sold out, though).
Tomorrow, Friday, Willie Campbell and I do a gig at the Festival to promote our debut album, which we launch officially on Saturday in Stornoway.
Kevin MacNeil & Willie Campbell Are Visible From Space is already getting brilliant reviews. It features the Guardian Single of the Week Local Man Ruins Everything, which was also Single of the Week in The List and on Steve Lamacq‘s radio show, plus many other tracks Willie and I have written together. We are very proud of the album – how it sounds, how it looks, what it is. 🙂

“This is the kind of album that once you’ve put it on you play it to the end because you’re held captive by the sheer audacity and skills of the performers in melding together cohesive use of poetry and ‘out-there’ music…Inspiring…I found myself mesmerised by the articulate detail and storytelling much like that of a child bewitched by a tale from the Brothers Grimm. Buy it and see what I mean.
Pete Fyfe

From Saturday it will be available not only as a physical album but as a download on iTunes and Amazon.

Thursday 10th May
Ullapool Book Festival Village Hall Committee Room 7.30pm Kevin MacNeil writing workshop (Moniack Mhor event) Limited places. Booking essential £7

Friday 11th May
Ullapool Book Festival Ceilidh Place Clubhouse 11pm Willie Campbell and Kevin MacNeil £7

Saturday 12th May
Album Launch An Lanntair Stornoway 7.30pm Free!

Thanks for all your support, folks.

Categories
bikes

130km Fixed-Gear Bike-Ride for Bethesda

Some of you will know I’ve been in training for a gruelling charity
cycle to raise money for the Bethesda Hospice in Stornoway, which
cared for my mum in her final weeks. And, yesterday, I did it. Here’s
how it went…

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My big plan was to cycle from the lighthouse at Ness – the northernmost point of Lewis –
to Leverburgh, in the south of Harris: 130km in all, and a route that
involves a lot of daunting hills. Being a man who likes to push
himself (or who is borderline insane, depending on your point of view), I
decided to make it that much more challenging by doing the ride on a
fixed gear bike. That, for the non-bike-nerds among you, means you
can’t change gear to help you climb, or even freewheel when going
downhill. You must pedal every inch of the way. (I love fixed gear bikes and don’t own a bike with more than one gear).
I trained hard and felt reasonably confident, but, although
I’d done long fixie rides before, I hadn’t tried anything serious involving
this sort of terrain – so I didn’t quite know how it was going to be.
I reckoned it would take me six or seven hours.
Yesterday – the allotted day for the cycle – dawned bright and sunny –
a relief, as I’d feared a rain-soaked, wind-buffeted ride, which would
not have been much fun. Instead, I was lucky with, and grateful for, the weather, and the ride, past some of the islands’ most stunning
scenery, was actually enjoyable in places. And, yes, it was tough – the Devil’s
Elbow just outside Tarbert stands out as a particularly difficult
section. The Clisham – the highest hill in the Outer Hebrides – was not too bad. I didn’t stop for lunch or for any meaningful rests, just had the occasional energy gel or chocolate bar along with a good drink of water.
I pushed through, and cruised into Leverburgh in the mid-afternoon
after just 4 hours 51 minutes of cycling. I was truly elated with that
time.:-)
But, most importantly, thanks to everyone’s generosity I’ve almost doubled my original target of
raising £1000 for Bethesda. I’m currently on £1960, and now really
hoping I can make it to £2000. I’m humbled and awed by the response to
my ride, which says so much about the way the hospice is regarded both on the island and elsewhere. Last summer I saw at first hand what an amazing job the
Bethesda staff do, and it made me determined to do my bit to help
raise money for this wonderful place. Thanks so much to everyone who helped me (Dad, Charlotte, Francis, D.R., Innes, Norrie) and to everyone who sponsored
me
and thus supported the vital service in the community Bethesda provides.

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If you wish to contribute a donation, please click here. 🙂

Categories
Culture/Arts in General

A photo blog

I went home to the Outer Hebrides and took some photos along the way. I did a 100km single-speed bike-ride to maintain my training schedule. I confess I am insane for doing my charity cycle against the prevailing Hebridean winds! Anyway, here are my photos. Enjoy! 🙂 x

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Categories
Newsworthy

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://shop.bethesdahospice.co.uk/ceilidhmood/index.jsp

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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.

Categories
Literature

Controversial Novel? – Motive and Misunderstanding in Literature

My literary hero is not an author but an editor (about whom I will write more – much more – in the future). On August 28th 1928 Maxwell Perkins took the time to write an eloquent letter defending his friend F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby after an anonymous reader wrote a letter complaining about how repugnant s/he considered the novel. In his reply, Perkins wrote:
“The author [Fitzgerald] was prompted to write this book by surveying the tragic situation of many people because of the utter confusion of ideals into which they have fallen, with the result that they cannot distinguish the good from the bad. The author did not look upon these people with anger or contempt so much as with pity. He saw the good that was in them, but that it was altogether distorted…The author intended the story to be repugnant and he intended to present it so forcefully and realistically that it would impress itself upon people.”
Amen.

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