Here we intend to post any relevant items relating to Hugh MacDiarmid, Scottish literary and other arts activity, community events in and around Biggar and further afield. Let us know of things you think we should publicise by submitting details of any news, events and happenings. Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To start with: at the end of 2017 the first new portrait of Hugh MacDiarmid since his death in 1978 was created by the artist Calum Colvin. The manner of its creation was as striking as the end result. Calum came to Brownsbank and took an exhaustive photographic record of the cottage. His studio was then set up in the Royal Scottish Academy where he worked on the portrait with public access to the work while it was being undertaken. On New Year’s day this year at the gallery Calum spoke about the work and James Robertson read some of MacDiarmid’s work. (Incidentally Calum has also done the cover of James’s superb new biography of the singer songwriter Michael Marra ‘Michael Marra -
The portrait was hung in the Royal Scottish Academy in 2018 summer exhibition. You can find out more about Calum, who manages to find time to be the Professor of Fine Art and Photography and Programme Director at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Dundee University, and his extraordinarily fine work at his website calumcolvin.com
Photograph of National Collective, James, Alan and Denham outside Brownsbank March 2014.
In March 2014 The National Collective made a film at the cottage featuring James Robertson and Alan Riach discussing MacDiarmid. You can watch this important record by entering ‘Ode To All Rebels’ in the search box on Vimeo.com
FURTHER USEFUL LINKS
Saltire Society: www.saltiresociety.org.uk
Scottish Poetry Library: www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk
Scottish Book Trust: www.scottishbooktrust.com
James Robertson has written a piece entitled MacDiarmid and me which is being published by the Times Literary Supplement on August 3. It is a very good little memoir of his coming to and being at Brownsbank as the first writer-
THE CONCERT FOR BROWNSBANK
Friday 12th October, Biggar Corn Exchange
AIDAN O’ROURKE (LAU)
with KIT DWONES (ECM RECORDS)
and JAMES ROBERTSON plus SPECIAL GUESTS
A Performance of 365 VOLUME 1
The concert was a memorable and magical evening. It raised £1657.10 ! Our warmest thanks to all those who performed. These also go to all in the full audience who so generously supported MacDiarmid’s Brownsbank. Withal, the whole experience w an inspiring and motivating event.
A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle
‘And let the lesson be -
Ye needna fash gin it’s to be ocht else.
To be yersel’s -
Nae harder job to mortals has been gi’en.’