Friday, March 14, 2014

One night in Coatbridge

So there I was, balls deep in exams, revising for exams and generally worrying about exams when a speaking engagement in Coatbridge came upon me like a source based question in two parts (little college humour there)

I spent all of Monday revising until it was time to hit the road and huge thanks to Ally Holman for the lift to and from the event. Organised by the committee of the St Patrick's Day Festival in Coatbridge, I was approached by Joe Bradley(he of the Celtic-Minded series of books) way back in December to come along and speak to a few people in March. "No problem" and to the back of the mind it went.

Then about two weeks ago word start filtering through to me about it being in a 120 seater venue and the words "Holy shit" were not far from my mind. Don't ask me why but I had thought I would be talking to 10-20 folk in a laid back fashion, suddenly it was like a book launch on tour. Promo mode began because I genuinely thought I'd be talking to three men and a dug having barely mentioned the gig in two months.

Cut to Sunday there and @edgarblamm got in touch to tell me that the venue had told him the talk was now sold out. Curious, I spoke to Eddie Cantwell who, after a few calls and tweets, confirmed that all remaining tickets were gone.

I'll be totally honest, that info nearly knocked me off my feet.

As many will know I suffer from PTSD and one the effects is almost always to think the worst and so this was a real shock to me.

But a pleasant one.

Arriving at the venue, The Columba Club, I could tell right away I was among good people. I nipped in for a quick leak and met an old guy who asked "whae is it that's oan in here the night?" Eh, it's me. He then told me how he worked for Fergus McCann and loved him.

I took my seat and before long was doing a presentation on The Asterisk Years Project. Let me tell you, in any kind of project of this nature you get a lot of shit flying at you. However, nights like Monday make it all worthwhile. A crowd full of Celtic men and women, respectful, intelligent and enlightening. I loved every second of it.

After that, there was a quick break and then a Q&A which heralded lots of laughs and fun throughout.

It was a night I wish lasted forever.

Huge thanks to everyone involved and I hope to see you all again soon.

In the meantime, there will be a few more Presentations/Q&A's being announced soon, if you want to stage one, get in touch.

You'll need to do well to beat Coatbridge though.

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