As an actor by habit, I have been taken aback recently by the fact that for the last three months most of my attention has been given to writing a book and painting a series of canvasses in oil. The book, The Sevenpenny Gate: A Lifelong Love Affair with Celtic FC was actually signed off this very day and will be in the shops in October. The research allowed me to re-live the many happy hours I spent queuing up at the Boys Gate to see a very ordinary Celtic team play, but I loved every minute of it and was able to be part of the Lisbon Lions triumph and even to see them through the Stein years until the new stadium rose up all around us and pointed the way to football days to come.
The ‘Nine Lives of Robert Burns’, which is the painting project, is due for exhibition at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway on December 01, 2011 and will run to January 25, 2012. This project has been long talked about and has been on the easel for the last year, but I see the end in sight at last. I’ll be at the opening of the exhibition on December 01 to tell the Robert Burns story by means of the narrative implicit in each of the frames. It will be a new way of outlining the themes I’ve lived with for the last four decades. To mark the closing of the exhibition on January 25, I’ll be playing A Burns Experience with my dear friend, Alicia Devine, and her songs, so please note these two dates and book early.
A new approach to Burns was allowed me by the Carnegie Trust in Dunfermline, who invited me to give a lecture on Carnegie’s relationship with Robert Burns. It is yet another strand to be explored, another instance of the impact had and continues to have even on tycoons.
I’m now looking forward to appearing again at the Wigtown Book Festival with the new Celtic book and Greasepaint Monkey: An Actor on Acting and 25 and 26 September respectively. I’ll also be talking about Greasepaint Monkey at the Strathearn Library on November 26. In no time it will be Christmas.