Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons To Be Cheerful
Image: Elegant Chic

Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of my first ever Madness gig at a London venue. I’d seen them before by then, but travelling to London to see the Magnificent 7 on their home turf is like going to see Scotland playing at Hampden Park—it has an extra special something.

The occasion was the third installment of Madness’ successful Madstock festival; loads of bands and beer throughout the day topped off with a massive dollop of Madness in the evening. 40,000 Madness fans descended on Finsbury Park in North London that day, 22nd June 1996, and it lived up to everything I’d been told.

That day was also significant in that England were playing Spain in the quarter finals of Euro ’96. The match ended in a draw and went to penalties, at which point I remember the gig being halted so they could play the radio broadcast over the massive speakers at the side of the stage. England won and it was party time (thought they went out a few days later in the semi final to Germany), which was very surreal being one of only a handful of Scots among a very large and drunk crowd. Only one week earlier, a certain Paul Gascoigne had scored the goal of the tournament to help beat Scotland 2-0 at Wembley.

Although yesterday turned into a pretty long day (10 hrs working time and then travelling) I had some good news waiting for me when I got in to boost my sapping energy. Every Day Poets has accepted my poem THE FINAL NAIL to be published at some point in the future. EDP is a popular site that sends out a poem each day to its subscribers, which usually provides me with some good lunchtime reading most days. Therefore, I’m delighted they took the poem, which is a new one by my standards and one that came as a direct result of my new approach to writing poems last year.

Remarkably, THE FINAL NAIL will be the first poem I’ve had published that isn’t part of a chapbook since December 2007! I’ll post the date when it’s due to go out as soon as I have it.

At the same time EDP turned down SCOTLAND NEGLECTED. I’d totally missed the fact the poem was already published in Circadian Poems, which I think was caused by my transference to a new submission system. I simply missed it.

Interestingly, though, they provide rare and valuable feedback of the editors’ comments as the poem gets passed around for reading with the acceptance/rejection. One said: “I came away wanting to hear something more about Scotland, instead of just comments on all the Irish stuff that gets the attention – the poem does the very thing it complains about. That’s a problem because if that were all I knew of Scotland it would leave me thinking “So?” instead of wanting to pin on a sprig of heather and celebrate St. Andrew’s Day.

This criticism is precisely what the poems is about. The reader is supposed to come away wanting to know more about Scotland because the poem is a complaint that Scotland is forgotten among the Scottish fascination with Ireland. The poem is meant to reflect the fact that people in Scotland are happier celebrating St. Patrick’s Day than bothering to do anything at all for St. Andrew’s Day.

In a survey (at the time of writing) a large percentage of Scots thought St. Andrew’s Day was on January 25th, which is actually Rabbie Burns Day and measurably more popular. Why do we not do the same on November 30th?

Therefore, paradoxically, the reason the poem was rejected by this particular editor is the precise reason the poem was written and what it was meant to achieve. C’est la vie.

Applications are being invited by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust for new writers to have the chance to read at this year’s Edinburgh Book Festival. There are slots open daily at 4pm for 10-minute readings for writers who fit the bill. I’m going to apply. I’m still at the “do I write a new piece or send in a good one I already have” stage but I have a few weeks to get my application ready.

England play in their vital World Cup match today. I won’t get to see it unless I spend the afternoon in the canteen so that isn’t going to happen. I’ll have to settle with the sporadic updates from the Internet and then the highlights later tonight.

Later, I’ll be working on the same thing I did last night: GREENER IS THE GRASS. Originally that was only a working title but while working through the story on paper I have seen the theme does actually exist so I’m going to keep it. It works quite well.

There’s a special offer running on my books at the moment. If you head over to my website (or the BOOKS page on this blog) and purchase any of them, when you are directed to Lulu simply enter the code FREEGROUND305 to get free ground shipping up to the value of £25. Offer ends 30th June.

STELLA is also available now to purchase from Kindle. Click here to buy a copy priced $5.29.

Gail Galbraith Photography is offering portrait shoots for £25 (knocked down from £40) if you book before 31st August 2010 and you use the word “Leith” in your query. For that you get a 1 hour session in her new studio in Leith, 1 free 8×6 print, an online gallery to show off to friends and family and where images can be purchase direct from, and all images from the shoot on a free low-resolution CD. (Subject to max of 4 people per session; each additional person is £5 each). You can contact Gail at and view her website at:

That’s all for me just now. Peace out!

The Ranfurly Review – FREE to download – OUT NOW

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About Colin Galbraith

Keen runner, thriller author, Madness fan, Mets fan, St Mirren fan/owner, rabbit tamer, outstanding fake faller. Loves cannolis & espressos. #LFGM
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1 Response to Reasons To Be Cheerful

  1. Congrats on the poem, and I hope you get a slot! Definitely apply!

    For something like that, your first really big appearance, I’d use something tried and true, polished, that you know works. You’ll be nervous enough once you’re up there — have something with you that’s already stood the test.

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