Archive for the ‘Ghàidhlig’ Category

Bringing Gaelic back to the Glenkens

Posted: 11/09/2017 by Alternate Celt in Ghàidhlig, Life

This evening we had our inaugural Gaelic class at the Library here in Dalry. With a brimming class of 12 at all levels, Anndra (Andrew Wilson of Beltie Books in Wigtown) led us through the basics of introducing ourselves. As there were two Angelas in the class I decided to go with my middle name since it’s Irish, so I get to be Cerridh on a Monday night from now on! 

With a brief break for coffee and biscuits, we finished with a rousing couple of rounds of Oidche Mhath Leibh. Being a swot, I took up the homework for more advanced peeps, but I may yet regret it! 

So, we had a great first hour and a half of Gaelic. 

Moran, moran taing  Anndra a-rithist! 


Courses, blogs and music, oh my!

Posted: 06/09/2016 by Alternate Celt in Extracts, Ghàidhlig, Life, music, musings, writing

I’ve signed myself up for two very different courses to keep me busy and growing all winter long. In my thirst for self improvement I decided I need to revisit Creative Writing from a formal perspective, so I’m doing the first level course with the OU, starting next month. I’m also revisiting Scots Gaelic with an online course with the school in Skye. Between the two of them, they will probably tax my wee brain to it’s limit, so I will likely not be posting a great deal here for a while, although there are still a few exciting wee treats to come. 

I will be serialising Pearls on the Road for FTP (fuck the patriarchy) magazine, which is a new and exciting feminist mag covering the whole world of issues and culture with a bit of pith and passion. Once the Girls are go on the site, I will post links to the parts here!

The summer has been busy, largely with music and baking, but also with life. The winter will be busy with learning. As a sop, I’m posting a new wee snippet of Burn, since that’s been my main writing project over the summer. I will be sad to put it aside as Tighe has really grown on me as a character. Looking forward to checking back in with her and her boys next year.  Anyway, here’s their first gig!

I realise, just before the lights go up on the tiny stage we’re crammed into, that I have never been so fucking terrified in my life.  I have a dozen flashbacks; black and white freeze frame vignettes; the first time Dad put me in hospital, my first time as a hooker, my first cold turkey, my first beating from Shane.  It seems like just about fucking everything, including the crash that morning, all passing by my eyes as the stage lights spark into life and none quite measures up to the fear clutching my heart and squeezing my throat closed.  Oh shit.  We cannot afford to fail.  I cannot afford to fail, because I have to get out of the bullshit life that just flashed in front of my eyes.

Light floods the stage, my throat miraculously opens and I step up to the mic.

“How the fuck are you doing, people?” I yowl, wildcat like,  as Zack makes his guitar growl  behind me, echoing me.  I feel spikey, bitchy and dangerous and I am going to make these people pay attention to me.  The crowd, noisy and more concerned with drinking than music until then, goes suddenly hushed.

“That good, huh? I’ve had a shitty day too,” I chuckle darkly at them.  Zack makes his guitar snigger then howl like he can’t decide to laugh or cry.  I feel ears prick up all around the room.  Ché comes in then, on a low, soft chugging riff  under which Emilian creeps.  Zack gets pulled down into the growing  song by them and Jason snaps to, tumbling into the beat. I hear the song solidify and I know where I am.

“We are Tighe Blackheart and the Highwaymen.  Y’all oughta know this song,”

We’d argued all the way across the North District about the song we were going to open with.  Ché had been set on Welcome to the Jungle but after the shit we’d been through there was no fucking way I could start out singing that.  Ché had been busy arguing that Axl Rose had always sounded shit on his first song when Jason chipped in with For Those About To Rock. No fucking way I’d been about to exclaim when Zack and Ché both gasped “yes!”.  I suggested a dozen other songs, all pulled out of the air, and they were looking at me skeptically when Emilian suggested Crazy Train, which won the coin toss against some other song I don’t fucking remember now.  It doesn’t even matter, because we absolutely kill that fucker and the place is jumping.  

What can I say?  We’ve got Chémistry, and it doesn’t even matter that we haven’t had time to change out of our bloodied, ripped and filthy clothes, or that we’ve been to hell and back today, once we start playing together we play like we’re fucking possessed. It’s awesome, like the best drug you can buy and the only one you can really share.  

My voice warms up, the boys loosen up and the drinks start flowing our way.  We tear through our improvised set, playing by wire.  The stage is cramped, so I spend a lot of the night back to back with Zack, or wound round him, swinging my ass like a pole dancer while his fret board is smoking.  It must have been driving him crazy, because we had barely stepped off the stage before he was dragging me off to the toilets to fuck me against a wall.  Fuck it, I was more than ready for him.  All that grinding against those tight leather trousers of his had made me slick as a river and aching for him.  It gets me like that every fucking time.

When we stepped back into the walk in closet sized dressing room the party was already in full swing.  We’ve been around the world so many times now it makes my head spin, but we’re still living the same party that started after that first gig.  It had been a baptism of fire, which we’d survived and then kicked ass. Damn fucking right we wanted to party.


Posted: 23/04/2016 by Alternate Celt in Ghàidhlig, music, musings

Rinn mi bliadhna de leasanan Gàidhlig, ach gu mì-fhortanach tha cuimhn ‘agam glè bheag. Is toigh leam  a ‘chànain agus tha mi a’ gràdhachadh e ceòl.Tha mi a ‘feuchainn ri fhaighinn air ais e, ge-tà, beag air bheag. An-diugh tha mi a ‘dol gu clas òrain Ghàidhlig.*


I really wish, as a Scot who lives in an area where the language died about 200 years ago, that I could actually have written the above without resorting to Google Translate.  While it’s awesome we finally have Scots Gaelic for Google, I can’t even really tell you how accurate a translation it gave me. I  recall a few handing greetings and polite phrases, I can count to ten if I screw my eyes up and force it out of my brain, and I know the names for dozens of oddly disparate things, but that’s it.
What I don’t understand is why anyone would want to let the beauty of the language and it’s lyricism die. People still sing latin hyms, for Christ’s sake, and most of them are dirges. There’s an entire culture’s worth of myth, memory and practice  tucked away in Gaelic song, all of which are much more part of our heritage in Scotland than any Roman legacy that’s taught in scools to Scots kids.
I’m a bit too far out in the hills to get to the evening classes in Dumfries, can’t afford a trip to Skye for an intensive course, so I’m not quite sure how I’ll get to learn the language that used to echo in these very hills and glens, but I do dream of a part in bringing that back. At least I’m able to sing in it!

*I did a year of gaelic lessons,  but sadly I remember very little. I love the language and I love it’s music. I’m trying to get it back, though, little by little.  Today I am going to Gaelic song class.