I'm currently sitting with my fellow support crew in front of an enormous log fire in the drawing room of Castle Menzies while Dougie is upstairs doing what he does best. It's far colder tonight, the moon is shining clear and full in the crystal autumn sky. We're all enjoying a wee dram of Dougie's latest offering, Caledonia 12 year old single malt whisky. Every now and then we hear a burst of uncontrollable laughter from the audience, and the humerous boom of Dougie's voice. The singing tonight has been wonderful!
Its now Day Four of the festival & things have settled down to being the proverbial well-oiled machine. In the beginning we were all together for the first time, wanting everything to go smoothly. The pressure was intense, but seeing as this is the fifth Perthshire Amber festival Dougie's wife Jenny & daughter Julia are masters at delegating & we all know our roles well.
The first order of business was that we were all fitted out with walkie talkies as we've been pretty spread out throughout the theatre. Communicating is much easier than running around relaying messages. Dougie has been obsessed with using these. They actually work in his
favour for two reasons, the first being that he can disappear into his campervan (AKA Bad Boy) to give his voice a much-needed rest & let the
support crew know where we can find him.
Secondly, well:*crackle* 'Dougie to Julia, Dougie to Julia, over'
*crackle* 'Dad, it's me, what is it?'
*crackle* 'I can't find my lighter. Does anyone have one? Over'
*crackle* 'You don't have to keep saying 'over', Dad. Look in your jacket pocket'
*crackle* 'Ok, got it *pause* Over.'
Fortunately this has only occurred twice, much to everyone's amusement! The performances have been utterly superb. Of course, Eddi Reader is a delightful class act. While introducing 'Ae Fond Kiss', she dedicated it to 'a very sad moment in our lives this year,' and the entire audience held their breath for a poignant moment. 'Yes,' she continued, 'I'm talking about the devastating breakup of Peter Andre & Jordan.' She then proceeded to sing so beautifully that one actually did feel for them, however briefly :)
Beoga blew the roof off the hall when they performed. Their energy & sense of fun, not to mention phenomenal musical ability was nothing
short of jaw dropping. This is definitely a band to watch, I've not seen anything like these guys since Lunasa. Catch them if you can! A couple of times during the festival Paul, Bridge, Mannie & I have had 'what are we DOING here?' moments. The cameraderie and sense of being a part if something special is absolutely fantastic & we're loving every minute of it :)
Tomorrow will be a cracking night as Mike McGoldrick, John Joe Kelly & Ed Boyd (from Flook fame) will perform at Dunkeld Cathedral. I'm a
huge fan of all of their music and just can't wait to catch this set! In the meantime, I plan on sitting in front of this divine fireplace sampling Dougie's Caledonia whisky. All in the name of stringent taste testing of course ...