Hi. Tomorrow we’ll publish our shortlist of Scotland’s Ten Greatest Vocalists for you to vote on (and for you to give us pelters for leaving out Susan Boyle etc). So today, in the calm before the storm, I thought I’d reflect on Dear Scotland’s first six months and, with your help, look forward to 2010.

As a Scot who recently moved abroad, I am the first to admit that there is a touch of romanticism that sweetens my feelings about Scotland. But it seems to be a common affliction. I know many expats who have said that they feel so much prouder to be Scottish now that they have lived in another country. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all.

So when ‘Dear Scotland’ started eariler this year, the intended audience was expat Scots around the World who, like myself and the inspirational Alec Downie, might also have rediscovered a passion for the homeland.

What I probably didn’t expect was that our expat romantic notions would find such natural bedfellows in the optimism and excitement exhibited by Scottish residents like Vic Galloway and Matthew Young, two individuals on the cutting edge of the current Scottish music scene who also want to show the world how great Scotland is.

So the project took on a life of its own. Now when combined with the best of some other great Scottish blogs by Saba (Scottish film) and Colin (Scottish photography), and the brilliantly original thoughts of Billy (Scottish football) and Alistair (Scottish books), I think Dear Scotland presents a pretty unique snapshot of a great country.

It’s also a combined vision of Scotland that I would suggest is unusually not shaped by politics or by negativity, but rather by a genuine appreciation of Scotland’s qualities.

Judging by the numbers, there are a lot of people out there who also appreciate this positive view of Scotland; and not just expats around the world, but tens of thousands of Scots in Scotland and around the UK too.

And the good news is that we really enjoy putting all this together. So expect Dear Scotland to be around for a while.

That said, we’re currently working on a few ideas to enhance the site and we’d welcome your input. Feel free to let us know what you like and don’t like about the site below, and how we might make it better. Perhaps a forum? Perhaps some podcasts? Perhaps you’d like to see more mp3s, (though to be honest we’ve tried to stay away from illegal downloads. We’d rather promote live music and fair pay for musicians). Perhaps you’d find a Dear Scotland shop useful? A Dear Scotland CD?

We are also working on some exciting plans for the 2010 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas and the summer festival circuit. More on that next year.

As I said before, tomorrow we’ll open the voting for Scotland’s Greatest Ever Vocalist, and then over the next week and a half we’re going to take a short break from our regular features to relax a bit and work on new ideas.  We’ll still be publishing articles every day but these will be a mix of new articles alongside some of our most popular articles from 2009. Normal programming will resume on January 3, 2010.

A massive thanks to all the brilliant Scottish musicians and managers who have been so supportive of Dear Scotland so far; thanks to all of our contributors – Alec, Billy, Vic, Saba, Colin, Matthew, Shiner, SwatPaz, Alistair, Kenny, Len and The Wee Man; thanks to all the Scottish bloggers who have linked to us and who continue to promote us; thanks to my wife for putting up with me and thanks to everyone who has visited Dear Scotland in 2009.

On behalf of all the contributors here at Dear Scotland, have a great Christmas and a fantastic Hogmanay, and we’ll see you all in 2010. Cheers.

The Dear, Editor


Photo Credit: Mojita