I’ve been quiet lately because I’ve been busy moving house (see scary picture of my grand piano being hauled through the window). After living in London since leaving university, Bob and I have moved to my home town of Edinburgh. To my surprise my return was mentioned in this delightful column by Michael Tumelty in the Herald on May 6.
It’s an exciting time to be returning to Scotland. How do I feel about an independent Scotland? That’s the question everyone asks me, both north and south of the border. I’m still mulling it over. I’m trying to amass information about the choices, with the help of some very well-informed people.
But there’s no doubt that the atmosphere is different in Scotland these days. When I was growing up and hoping to become a professional musician, there was a strong feeling that anyone serious about a musical career would have to move south of the border. ‘The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road which leads to England’, Samuel Johnson quipped in 1763, and over 200 years later there was still quite a lot of that sentiment about. Most of the talented Scottish students I looked up to had gone to English universities or music colleges, and in due course I followed their example and stayed.
But now there’s a sense that moving the other way would be invigorating. Scotland now has a more positive sense of identity, an international outlook, and a growing sense of its own potential to do things differently. In the past couple of years I’ve met creative people in a number of different fields who, like me, once felt that they had no place in Scotland, but are now excited to live or work there. We all feel that whatever the result of the referendum, Scotland has signalled its intention to be heard. It feels good to be here at this moment in its history.