Monday, 25 February 2013

The book is published!

Guess what arrived in the post today?   I must confess to feeling quietly proud.  (The 'quietly' makes it sound more modest, I hope!)

I still have the excitement of a couple of launches in two months' time - nothing like prolonging the excitement!  (Here's the Ashgate link.)

Does this mean the end of my blog?  I'm not sure I want to stop!  So the only answer is to start writing something new.  Now, let me see ...

Friday, 22 February 2013

Alexander Campbell's Birthday: 249 years young today!

Happy birthday, Sandy!  (I feel we know each other well enough for me to use your familiar name now.  At least, I know you well enough.)

Today, I was in Edinburgh for a course at the Scottish Storytelling Centre.  (I am looking for tips to make my book-launch the most memorable event it can possibly be!)   While in a decidedly chilly Edinburgh, I managed to fit in a brisk walk up the road to Roxburgh Place, where I stood solemnly, looking decidedly suspicious, peering through the windows of a financial services agency to see if there were ANY interior reminders of the building's original Episcopal church status.  I think there was an arched church-type window at the far back, but the whole floor was divided up into office spaces, so it was hard to tell.  One or two snowflakes fell as I stood there, and I didn't hang around too long!
So, THIS was where Alexander Campbell was organist!  I stood on flagstones that he probably trod every Sunday.  This is my kind of history.  I took photos, obviously.  What I didn't realise until I got home this evening was that today is actually his birthday - he was born in Perthshire, 22 February, 1764.  Call me a sloppy sentimentalist, but I think it's a lovely coincidence that I found his church today of all days.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Closer, Closer - the Birth of a Book

Our Ancient National Airs:
Scottish Song Collecting from the
Enlightenment to the Romantic Era /
Karen McAulay, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, UK

  • Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain 
  • Sample pages for published titles are available to view online at:

I got not one, but two emails from Ashgate today.  One sending me a flyer for promoting my book, and the other telling me that my complimentary copies will be sent out in a few days.  It really is happening, and  my book will be published on the 18th March 2013.  We're having a book-launch at my workplace, the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, on Friday 26th April at 4 pm - a short talk, and musical illustrations by some of our star students, and two of my best friends.

The flyer reads as follows:-
Karen McAulay traces the complex history of Scottish song collecting,
and the publication of major Highland and Lowland collections.
Looking at sources, authenticity, collecting methodology and
format, McAulay places these collections in their cultural context.
Attention is given to some of the performance issues raised, either in
correspondence or in the paratexts of published collections; and the
narrative is interlaced with references to contemporary literary, social
and even political history as it affected the collectors themselves.
Most significantly, this study demonstrates a resurgence of cultural
nationalism in the late nineteenth century.
Contents: Introduction; ‘Never hitherto published’: preserving the
Highland heritage; ‘The aera of Scotish music and Scotish song is
now passed’: Lowland song collecting, c. 1780-1800; ‘To take down
a melody’: travel in pursuit of song; ‘Leaving the world to find out
whether they are old or new’: invention or fakery?; ‘Which many a
bard had chanted many a day’: paratextual imagery and metaphors in
Romantic Celtic song collections; Illustrations and notes: Stenhouse’s
and Hogg’s quest for origins, c. 1820; Increasing the knowledge
and improving the taste, c. 1830-1850; ‘The feelings of a Scotsman’
and the illusion of origins in the later 19th century; Conclusion;
Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

To order, please visit:  All online orders receive a discount
Alternatively, contact our distributor:
Bookpoint Ltd, Ashgate Publishing Direct Sales,
130 Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4SB, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1235 827730 Fax: +44 (0)1235 400454
March 2013
294 pages

Friday, 1 February 2013

Haunts of Ghostly Organists

Episcopalian Church door, Roxburgh Pl.
I blogged about this excitement on Whittaker Live, a couple of weeks ago.  In short, a historian of 18th/19th century Edinburgh has helped me identify which church Alexander Campbell played at.  Read my posting here:-

Edinburgh Doors

Roxburgh Place Episcopalian Church
Up until now, I knew Campbell played at an Episcopalian church in 'Nicolson Street', but I hadn't been able to find the name of the church.  Eleanor Harris helped me work out that the church was actually round the corner in Roxburgh Place.  It was originally two flats on the ground floor of a tenement, and believe it or not, the clergyman paid for the premises himself.  The building is still there - my next challenge is to see if I can gain access.

I'm beginning to plan my book-launch, which will be in the Whittaker Library at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland at 4 pm on Friday 26 April 2013.  There will be music a-plenty: fiddle, cello, clarsach, bagpipes, me on the piano, a fabulous singer and - hopefully - a saxophone quartet.  And a talk, wine and nibbles.  Surely unmissable!  I was talking to my friend the piper only today.