cuimhne albannach


I left the lab the other night, getting into my car, going through the usual rigmarole of adjusting seat belts, switching on the ubiquitous mp3 player, and putting the car into ‘R’. The first chords sounded…

When I wake up yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who wakes up next to you

…and even as the drums kick in, I’m transported back to Hogmanay 2005.

We had left the house after the usual passing of time for the New Years’: some alcohol, some snacks, some dinner, some music, a lot of laughter and fun. Aberdeen had one of the bigger street parties in the UK, and we didn’t want to miss the best part. Even as we entered Union Street and found our way through the crowd and hit the randomly sighted people we knew… the countdown had started.

New Years was ushered in by the crowd of over 2000 people screaming.. as the final echoes of the scream died away.. the distinctive chords were struck. The crowd had turned as one towards the stage.

When I go out yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who goes along with you

All at once, the crowd bayed an anthem of their times… and we joined on yowling away to our best. Someone took up a Scottish arm dance, and before we knew it, we were circling each other, linking arms, breaking away.. banging our feet, clapping our hands together.. dancing like so many others around us. I remember at the time, one of the highlights was the fact that random people around us joined… most importantly Scottish girls 🙂

If I get drunk yes I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who gets drunk next to you
And if I haver yeah I know I’m gonna be
I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you

The chorus came once, twice…and we joined in the best we could. We didn’t know the words, the band, the song, the people around us. But I remember that the Scots around us had clapped us on our backs, and joined in our dance, stamped feet in unison with us, and at the end of it all, hugged and wished us a happy new years. We didn’t know them, nor they us.. but the smiles and the nodding stays with me now.

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more

My eyes came back to focus… on the parking lot I was in. The rhythm still gets me… I was banging my feet in my car and snapping fingers to a long-forgotten beat. The song was slowly reaching its end, I reached out to play it again. It shouldn’t have to end,  I should be able to go back in time to where I want.. when I want. Especially to the times in Aberdeen.

Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door

No matter how many years pass, Scotland can never really leave me.

The Proclaimers500 Miles
cuimhne albannach = Scottish memories (roughly)


3 thoughts on “cuimhne albannach

  1. Reading this post in my feeds made me want to listen to the song again – so that’s what I’m doing 🙂

    Seems like a fun time was had – Scotland is on my ever-growing list of places to visit.

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