andrewcferguson

writer, performer, musician, wine drinker

Monthly Archives: August 2018

Never Forget – Someone Up There Likes You

I haven’t an idea how to promote myself via social media. No clue. When something I do works, I can’t work out why: when it doesn’t, the same.

I could, of course, turn to a thousand digital marketing consultants for a fee, but I tend to think that, as William Goldman says in Adventures in the Screen Trade, no one knows anything. He was talking about what it takes to make a hit movie, but, frankly, when it comes to making yourself a shining beacon in the dense jungle of the interweb, I reckon same rules apply.

However, at least now I know someone up there likes me.

Now, when I say ‘up there,’ I should explain I’m not talking about Him, or more likely Her, Up There. I’m talking about Mountain View, California, which Soundcloud tells me was the home town of someone who downloaded one of the tracks from my first album, ‘Never Forget,’ recently.

Mountain View, Wikipedia tells me, is a town of around 81,000 souls, with many Silicon Valley employers, including Mozilla, maker of my favourite browser, Firefox. However, it’s probably best known for being the HQ of Google.

Comparisons between God and Google are invidious, of course. They do start their names with the same first two letters (coincidence? You decide) and both have a motto ‘don’t be evil’ (to paraphrase). However, only one of them can lay claim to being all-seeing and all-knowing. So far.

Anyhoo, man (or woman) from Mountain View, whether or not you work for Google, Mozilla, or the local coffee shop, thanks for listening, and especially, in this age when everyone streams everything, downloading. You have exquisite taste, and keep tuning in, because I have a bunch of new stuff coming up in the next few months that I think will knock your socks off.

 

Never Forget

When the hatred is high, and injustice is flowing

We must never forget who we are.

When the lies, and the fear, and the prejudice is growing,

We must never forget who we are.

 

We are very far from perfect, and we must keep going forward

But we are better than this. We must never forget who we are.

 

We have come a long way, out of shadows, out of ignorance,

Out of our own prejudice and unreason

But we must never forget who we are.

 

For we have become more tolerant, we have become more peaceful

We have welcomed our neighbours; we have sheltered strangers

We must never forget who we are.

 

And though it feels like night has fallen, there is a light

Shining within us, enlightenment in the darkness;

We have a history of this

We must never forget who we are.

 

Where we have reached out, and helped, and stood for

Fairness, equality, freedom and brotherhood

We must never forget who we are.

 

Where tolerance and understanding have lost their currency,

Where scoundrels wrap themselves in flags, wolves in sheep’s clothing

We must never forget who we are.

 

We are very far from perfect, and we must keep going forward

But we are better than this. We must never forget who we are.

 

We have come a long way, out of shadows, out of ignorance,

Out of our own prejudice and unreason

But we must never forget who we are.

 

For we have become more tolerant, we have become more peaceful

We have welcomed our neighbours; we have sheltered strangers

We must never forget who we are.

 

And though it feels like night has fallen, there is a light

Shining within us, enlightenment in the darkness;

We have a history of this

We must never forget who we are.

 

When our values, our beliefs,

when everything we hold dear is under threat,

We must never forget who we are.

 

Where there are refugees, where there are dispossessed,

Where there is shelter to be given,

Where there are children of every nation crying,

We must never forget who we are.

 

And where we believe we are in the early years of a better nation,

We must never forget who we are.

 

For if the eyes of the world are on us,

And we want to look them in the eye,

We must never forget who we are.

 

PS – Although the track uses my own music now, I originally wrote it to go with this Mogwai track, Special N, so feel free to read it with that playing if you prefer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for ads about Mogwai? They’re probably not below here. More likely car insurance or some such.

 

 

 

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Stamping out the Clutter

As part of my Loft – and Life – Decluttering Campaign I sold my stamp collection for minus five pounds the other week – and I was happy with the deal!

I’d made an appointment to see the eponymous Mr Murray of Robert Murray Stamp Shop, in Inverleith, Edinburgh. He turned out to be a charming gent who I trusted on instinct when he told me my rag-tag collection of stamps from the late 60s/early 70s wouldn’t fetch enough to cover his auction fee.

I had done almost no internet research: in fact, the only sketchy look I’d had the night before had been in relation to the Forth Road Bridge first day covers. I had three of them, but it appeared from that brief internet trawl that they were of virtually no value, despite now being over 50 years old. Sure enough, the only thing Mr Murray showed a flicker of interest in was the invite to the Bridge’s opening that was in one of the envelopes.

However, this was one of the few things I wanted to keep. It had been my Mum and Dad’s invite, through my Dad’s job and, as I may have mentioned before, I have a connection with the old Road Bridge as it was opened on my second birthday in 1964.

So I kept that, handed over most of the rest to be sold off for charity at the next auction, and ended up spending a fiver on the presentation pack Mr Murray had put together in 2014, on the Bridge’s 50th (and my 52nd, obvs, although it isn’t all about me) birthday. It’s a nice little thing to have (pics below) and I thought it book-ended my involvement with the Bridge nicely (I was also briefly involved with it through work, and went up it a couple of years ago as a result).

The more interesting bit is the story Mr Murray told me about the original first day covers – and one reason why they’re not worth anything now. Back then there was a guy ran a stamp shop as a hobby in a small West Lothian town near Edinburgh: with some interest growing in the opening of the new Bridge, and knowing the Post Office were bringing out a first day cover, he put a tiny, two-line advert in the Daily Express (back then still a widely read newspaper of some repute).

His offer was to buy the first day cover and the stamp, address it to the relevant customer, and send it on to them on opening day, 4th September – because everyone knew that, to have any value, first day covers had to have a postmark. All you needed to do was to send him your address and a postal order for an amount which gave him a small profit on the transaction.

A couple of days later the postie arrived at your man’s main business, a carpet shop, with a sackful of postal orders: in the end, he had to close it and focus on the first day cover venture, enlisting his family to do the licking, sticking and addressing by hand: 12,000 requests in all. It didn’t make him rich, but I bet it gave him a very sore tongue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t an advert for anything. Except, I suppose, Robert Murray Stamp Shop – and I’ve not been paid for that; more adverts I haven’t been paid for below…