I was born and raised in Glasgow but it was only once I had lived in another country that I realized what being Scottish meant to me. And it was something that I wanted to celebrate. Over the years I have met many expat Scots in New York City and around the World who have felt the same thing – a renewed passion for our distant homeland.
I was living in Brooklyn when I started ‘Dear Scotland’ in 2009. My original idea was to create a blog that listed and interviewed every Scottish band on tour outside the UK. It would also feature articles about the contemporary Scotland that I missed.
We gathered together contributors from across the globe including Scots in Australia, Texas, China, Turkey, Jamaica, Luxembourg, and New York to write about Scottish music, film, photography, football, literature and more from their unique perspectives.
For years I published an article every single day. I would spend my nights and weekends trawling through websites and MySpace pages for international tour dates, and then gather everything into a comprehensive global listing of Scottish bands abroad.
Through more than a thousand articles we created a snapshot of Scotland, and Scots abroad, that was unusually positive for Scottish people, and I’m very proud of it.
By the summer of 2013, the articles had become more infrequent as I focused on a new business and a new family. There would still be a flurry of activity around the SXSW music festival here in Austin, and Alistair Braidwood continued to write his much-loved monthly column on Scottish books. Sites like Songkick also made it easier to track bands on tour.
In 2014 there was a referendum that kept everyone busy, and then we celebrated Alistair’s 50th book review by launching a writing competition and giving away a copy of all 50 books to the winner.
As 2015 drew to a close, I resolved to do two things: to return to Dear Scotland more often, and to write creatively. Then I had the idea to bring those two initiatives together. We’ll see what happens next.
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