Monthly Archives: June 2014


Fantastic time with friends at Harrison Square in Lerwick to enjoy great live music from four talented musicians (previously mentioned on the blog) – but, heck, every performance has its distinct flavour and this latest one did not fail to meet its magic 🙂
The Donald Anderson Band is unafraid of cool N/NE’lies in a June silver sky – their melodies, spirit & vibes fly like gulls – free to delight their tuned listeners.
Now, my friend Kate is a real fan, and showed us all to love it more!
Wrapped up, alive, with open smiles 🙂
Thank you, all for a(nother) delicious slice of life.







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sleepless 60N

From last to first light, same time – 0107BST…
So in the shortest night of year, we gathered on a beach, shared, feasted & drummed. Sunset was luminous, crimson mirrored on the North Sea and our eyes shone right through the shades of blue till the early hours. As we parted dawn chorus filled a sky of pastel pink & blue.
On such night, I always light a beacon for all those I love, my peerie SA sister as well as those on the other side of the equator, who rotate through the Winter Solstice. This year did not fail, but I lit it by the waterline.
Magical Solstice celebration, thanks to my dear friends, Kate & Larry 🙂 xx














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A Sense of Place #2: Millfield School Poetry Festival (Year 9, 10, 12)



The Millfield Poetry Festival was an opportunity for our students to express themselves and have fun with words. The theme was “a sense of place”, which our highly creative pupils interpreted in a dazzling variety of ways, from the visual to the abstract, the comical to the philosophical. The English Department was overwhelmed by the inventiveness, daring and candour demonstrated by the young poets. The festival culminated in an evening showcase, in which students read or performed their poems and received prizes from our guest adjudicator, charismatic performance poet/rapper Breis, who finished the evening with his own inspiring material.

What follows is a small selection of some of the poems featured in the festival. I hope you enjoy them.

James Baddock Head of English, Drama & Media

Year 9


by Hussein

In the great city of Cannes

The air is so fresh;

Beautiful beaches boast soft sand


View original post 694 more words

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June 26, 2014 · 10:19 pm


15 young Shetlanders, learners of Norwegian, learnt about the meaning of ancient democracy, Viking style.
For this, they were invited to visit a sailing exhibition on board a boat I associate with summer, friendship as well as a powerful lifeline with my own ancestors.
This ship is called M/S NYBAKK .

On a 2-day visit to my side of the North Sea, this floating museum reached the last leg of an epic journey through both North & Irish Sea & Atlantic, even sailing across the Caledonian Canal (from SW to NE) to reach out to the Northern Isles.

At each stage of the voyage, NYBAKK anchored in ancient & deeply rooted democratic sites. Some are called “things”, others, “dings” or “tings”, depending where you stand on the old Viking map.
Now, last month, on 17 May 2014, Norway celebrated her 200th Anniversary as a democracy. It is also known as Constitution Day, and since the Northern Isles were once part of the Viking realm (for much longer than it has been Scottish), such Day is celebrated on this side of the North Sea. It makes complete sense, as this corner or edge of the kingdom remains above all Scandinavian.

The islands indeed belong to a network of ancient parliament sites, which, in the eyes of NYBAKK, had to be mapped and celebrated. For this, Foundation Leader, Per Kåre Nybakk, contacted Shetland Amenity Trust and offered to sail through those ancient sea trails from the North Atlantic with a formidable exhibition.

The project is called THINGProject

Over the course of today, Wednesday 25 June, NYBAKK was involved with various events, including a civic reception at Lerwick’s Town Hall, a visit to Scalloway & Tingaholm, Shetland’s most famous ting, or Field of Parliament and special presentations at Scalloway Museum.

Among the speakers, Per Kåre Nybakk delivered a powerful message of friendship he carefully included in his speech. Placing high values on our shared cultural heritage, the importance of such network as well as friendship between us all. Needless to say education is high on his agenda.

Today, young Shetlanders learnt about such project, history, shared heritage and bonds from both sides of the North Sea. Our northern isles are very special.
Today, we celebrated a fantastic human adventure as epic as the Norse Sagas.





More is to come 🙂

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Planet’s climax with nearly 19 hours of light, as our sun drew closest to the island… Stars have vanished. Fields have turned so cacophonous life is screaming everywhere.
Exhilarating moment.
Here, a couple of images to illustrate such moment, as well as a piece I shared last night with my fellow writers fae da #Westside.

It is entitled Simmerdim



And talking of Simmerdim, a new piece also featured in my local literary journal, The New Shetlander (Simmer Issue No.268). The poem is entitled Elevations, and was inspired by both the beauty of Shetland and Mr Jakob Jakobsen.




Happy Midsummer/Midwinter, everyone 🙂

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new publication

It is out,
coinciding with 2014, Shetland’s year of the dialect – exactly ten years after our dialect group, aptly named Shetland ForWirds, came into existence.
We are committed to promote wir local tongue, which is still very much alive, and survives to the many onslaughts of Americanisation one hears so frequently on television, among today’s media.
Shetlan has its own evolutionary story through the ages, but it is the very fabric of its own community.





Should you be curious about our local dialect, order your copy at Lerwick’s Shetland Times Bookshop.
It is a humble well of wonderful words in a dual form – Shetlan & English – and photographs.
Am so happy to see it out, as a linguist, islander & contributor 🙂

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nearing da simmerdim

Walk around Lerwick past midnight on a fine “simmerdim” night – or azure in colour, and marvel at the first astronomical light.
It is barely 01 something in the morning.
That array of magical pale pink-orange begins to glow against Bressay’s skyline.

And as I leave the harbour, revellers disappear in between taxis…
Driving southbound to my 60N latitude, that daring sky blushes further. Azure & orange taint my eastern horizon.
It is both delicate and magical.



No wonder why our breeding birds makes most of such light to rear their chicks. Light is paramount to find food…

Oh, and the sunrise looked spectacular too!




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I love “creative” accidents.

A day dreamer par excellence, I sometimes lock myself inside a page and lose utter track of time. Such accident certainly happened yesterday late afternoon as I settled on a brown sofa facing Hay’s Dock. Rain was tap dancing on flagstones & roof tops, sliding in a nonchalant manner against Mareel’s long glass panes.
By the time James walked by, little did I know I was just about to return to the Lerwick Writers. And what better timing, as I was polishing a piece inspired & initially scribbled in haste at the end of the school day. James led me to the meeting room where I reconvened with both new & familiar faces, including friend & fellow poet Christian S Tait. Boannie night of fine prose, poetry & song, as Donald Anderson freed the guitar from its sarcophagus.

The pieces I shared with the group rubberbanded down to South Africa (Madiba Forever) and pre-70 Glasgow, with this latest poem entitled Lollipop Lass.
It is a much darker, abrasive piece in a free-style form, which emanating from a social history lesson & a 1961 picture of the Old Gorbals, Glasgow’s notorious slums (now gone).

Amazing as the mind works, but the poem currently reads as follows,

Lollipop Lass

Whatever colour of gutter,
squalid Gorbals or
sordid stairs,
she comes flying
down in a
kingfisher to
satisfy hunger from
sap, white nectar, opium for
Whatever hour of
day, night,
she spends
minutes at her
dresser, put on eyelashes,
eyeliner, a bit of rouge
after sunset
eau-de-toilette to
let her forget of pavements,
green graffiti sprayed,
dogs’ urine,
triple X cans in
drunk hands,
dark south banks from
mystical Clyde.
teaser, tosses
pleasure like a pancake.

© Nat Hall 2014

The theme is certainly unusual, and such choice somewhat surprised the assembly. However, it got me out of my comfort zone and it also allowed the exploration of much darker avenues. Furthermore, the piece was well received.

All in all, a very pleasant night 🙂


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