Coming home with A Celtic State of Mind
I’ve been really busy recently with my new book stuff. My latest effort, The Factory Girls, has taken up quite a bit of my time recently so my Celtic writing has slightly suffered for that.
About a month or so ago, I was contacted by ACSOM’s creator and good friend of mine, Paul John Dykes, who asked if I’d like to co-present the show with him on 10 August from its Stirling studio. Not only did I see this as a fantastic opportunity for myself, but a fantastic opportunity also to get home. I hadn’t been home since A night with Lubo Moravcik in Glasgow in February.
A week or so prior to actually coming home, and not entirely sure if I could make it yet, disaster happened! I not only lost my wallet with a substantial amount of money in it, but I lost my passport too. The timing, of course, was awful so I set about rectifying what I possibly could and first on the agenda was an emergency passport.
Now, you’re probably thinking whilst reading this, that’s easy peasy? Not if you live in Spain but work in Gibraltar and are stuck in Gibraltar with no passport, bank cards or money. I was issued with a lost property chit from the Gibraltar Police and told that they’d accept such a document at the border to get me through, hoping that my lost property would turn up within the next 24 hours. Nobody told Mr Spanish policeman this and I was duly turned away at the border. I was stuck!
I wasn’t aware of any drug or tobacco smugglers that lived in Gibraltar that could whisk me to Spain on one of their high powered speed boats so the blag of getting out of Gibraltar was in full swing. I won’t put on here how I managed to get out of Gibraltar eventually and back in from Spain the next day but let’s just say I managed it…
Malaga > Saltcoats > Glasgow > Stirling
To cut a very long story short, I managed to sort a Gibraltarian emergency passport and get flights booked – the trip back to Scotland was on. Last Thursday night, I left Malaga Airport after a two-hour delay and arrived in Glasgow in the wee small hours of Friday morning. After about two hours’ sleep, I was up and away down to my local branch in Saltcoats to sort out all my banking.
After a whirlwind book tour of Saltcoats to meet and greet plus take photos with all the local businesses that will be stocking my new book, it was finally time to chill out and have a few well-earned and deserved beers. Or so I thought…
I met an old football team-mate of mine and, from 3-5 p.m. in Bobby Lennox’s old pub, we had a few refreshments and caught up. As I’d only had two-hours’ sleep the night previously, my plan was to head up the road and catch up with my mum and dad before getting myself an early night for the big ACSOM podcast the next day. My mum and dad had other plans…
Just as my last pint was going down, who walks into Bobby’s Bar? Yuuuuuuuuuup, my mum and dad. “Pint, son?” was the cry from my dad. Who was I to refuse? So, the couple of nice chilled pints in the afternoon turned into a skinful, as you can imagine. I had big plans on the Saturday, so after said skinful, I proceeded up the road in a taxi with my dad.Listen to the award-winning A Celtic State of Mind podcast
The Big Day…
Now, for regular readers of my Celtic columns or my Twitter feed, you will know that I have very few loves in my life. However, Judith Ralston and Celtic are most definitely two of them and they were to feature heavily in my Saturday. After saying my goodbyes to my parents at 9 a.m. I set off in a taxi to Saltcoats station for my train to Glasgow. Again, probably after only another couple of hours’ sleep and copious amounts of alcohol. Now, before I continue on with my day, I have to let you all into a medical secret of mine. (This will all become relevant later on in the blog, stay with it). For the past year or so now, I’ve been taking wee dizzy spells every now and then and, when they come on, it’s pretty frightening and I feel like I’m about to collapse.
So, back to the story…
I arrived at Glasgow Central and jumped in a taxi to the BBC Scotland studios and met up with my beautiful and amazing friend and Scottish weather goddess, Mrs Judith Ralston. Myself and Judith caught up, chewed the fat and had a wee Coffee. Paul John Dykes was picking me up outside the studios to head to Stirling at 12 p.m. and so far, so good.
Paul John was bang on time and we set off for Stirling. In the car on the way up, we had a chat about the impending guests and listened to the Motherwell v Celtic game on the wireless on the way up. Motherwell scored and myself and Paul John had this chat about why we have to concede these days before we waken up then BOOOOM it’s 1-1. We arrived at the studio in plenty of time and I felt like I was on good form and ready for the podcast.
On arrival at the studio we met Laura, who was another one of the guest co-presenters for the day and is a bubbly and nice woman. Myself, Laura and Paul John had a wee chat outside when the first guest arrived with two fellow band members. Musician (Eddie Clarke) is a guy from Saltcoats of whom I’ve known of but never really spoken to for no other reason than he was a wee bit older than me and we had different pals. I’ve gotten to know him over the past year or so through Twitter and this was our first time meeting and chatting in real life, really.
I met his other two band members too and they got off to work in the studio, firing out a few of their songs. It included the one that they done for the Bobby Lennox statue fundraiser. As we were stood outside the studio chatting, I had to lean against the wall as I started to feel a bit faint. Oh no. I could feel a wee dizzy episode coming on. Great timing! Eddie and his band finished off after about 40 minutes and we entered the studio to start the ACSOM podcast.
Paul John introduced myself, Laura and Eddie along with his band and started the podcast. After about five minutes or so, I could feel myself swaying, and luckily there was a chair right beside me or I probably would’ve gone down like a sack of tatties. I took a seat and motioned over to Paul John that I needed some fresh air. Due to the power of editing and it not being live, you won’t have the pleasure of hearing me leaving the studio, but believe you me, at the time when the dizzyness comes on, it’s pretty scary stuff.
That was the end of my second but very brief stint on the ACSOM podcast and Paul John along with Laura, carried on regardless and very professionally. Eddie, to his credit, when he came out of the studio, offered to take me to the hospital and, to be honest, I probably should’ve gone but my pride got the better of me. Whilst outside the studio, a few things crossed my mind. First of all, I was devastated that I couldn’t continue the podcast but, secondly, it got me thinking.
What is a Celtic State of Mind?
Why are we so creative? Politically-minded? Not full of rage? Wanting to help the poor and oppressed of this world? Musically-talented people? There’s lots and lots of other talents and views that Celtic-minded people take on board as well. I could be here all day.
I’ve listened to many, many podcasts and watched a few as well that are on Youtube these days. I can honestly say that most follow the same script with the same questions and, if you take a step back and look at them for what they are then that’s exactly it. The same questions and the same patter. The ACSOM podcast is different, much different. It covers a whole genre of topics and people from music, comedy, film, art and television to name a few. The guests are interesting with a story to tell but the best bit about it all is that they are all Celtic-minded.
I’m disappointed with how my second appearance on the podcast ended and hopefully one day I’ll get the opportunity to go back and rectify that. If you haven’t listened to this podcast then it’s a must. I genuinely believe there isn’t a better one out there, Celtic or otherwise. It didn’t win the Best Football Podcast in the UK for nothing, you know.