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Quid pro quo, I don’t think so!


I thought the book festival was wonderful mummy!

I know this may seem a little big-headed but I am genuinely beginning to think that The Scotsman may have some sort of vendetta against me.  Yes this seems unlikely but I really cannot think of another explanation for recent goings on.  Perhaps they are so threatened by my blog that they feel the need to pour cold water on my every endeavour least I overtake them and become Scotland’s leading broadsheet.

If you  have the time have a little read of this link and see what you think…………

For those of you who have forsworn The Scotsman after the last piece of guff they wrote about me the precis is if you want people to write nice things about your book festival you have to give them lots of free stuff.

Obviously organising an amazing event, featuring six world class authors, in a beautiful setting with wall to wall sunshine and providing said journalist with a friendly welcome and a free ticket for him and his wife plus a whisky tasting with 6 malt whiskies for only £8 is simply not enough.  We should have sent a runner to the nearest Dolce and Gabanna and fashioned a designer sunglass containing goodie bag out of the skin of our own babies – point taken.

I am apoplectic with rage.  I think what really gets to me is the fact that we all worked so hard to make the festival a success.  Those of you who have small children will understand how difficult it is to co-ordinate childcare especially when you are feeding a baby yourself.  Allan and I had to run around like blue-arsed flies to fit in all of our work commitments and allow me to go to meetings.  Allan and my mum both spent most of the whisky tasting washing glasses in the kitchen despite the fact that they weren’t on the committee, had paid for their tickets and my mum doesn’t even like whisky!! (in fact she can’t even stand the smell, it was torture for her).  On the Saturday morning each committee member turned up and uncomplainingly paid for their own tickets despite the hours of unpaid (and largely unthanked) work we had put in.

To have some bourgeois journalist complaining that he had to pay for his own B&B in order to come and enjoy our idyllic island is almost too much for my blood pressure.  I’m not sure where he thinks we would have got the money to wine and dine him from? Perhaps he was hoping I would chip in a little of this months child benefit and that older members of the committee could have done without fuel this spring and contributed some of their pension?  Most likely he had read the previous article and thought Allan and I could spare a little of our ‘enormous salaries’ to support him.

The book festival was the first community spirited thing I have done since coming back to Colonsay and this has left a very bitter taste in my mouth.  The reason I became involved was to allow myself and other islanders the opportunity to engage in a cultural activity which would normally be outwith our sphere.  With one paragraph I feel that the whole event has been somehow cheapened.  That it is assumed that we want to compete on a national scale and, if so, we will be judged not on the quality of our event but on the quality of our freebies.

Fortunately feedback from the authors – some of whom were happy to stay with friends on the island and all of whom did not receive free accommodation for their partners and families has been more positive.  Colonsay is a magical place.  Some people get it, some don’t.  This guy didn’t and that’s his loss.


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17 thoughts on “Quid pro quo, I don’t think so!

  1. Beth Piper on said:

    What a pathetic response to an amazing Book Festival that was! Poor man! I feel sorry for him that he could appreciate it from my perspective. And The Scotsman must be underpaying him if he couldn’t afford the £8 for all that alcohol – maybe he was hungover when he wrote his article? Did he actually attend the superb talks or just the final session? Not a mention of the hysterical rendition of Winnie the Pooh in Scots or the moving reading by Liz of her poetry. Heed A McC S who loved the “intimacy” and said not to change a thing! Ignore the dross, Morna and fellow organisers, and bask in the knowledge that the whole weekend went brilliantly and was a credit to you all! I loved it!

  2. Cameron McFarquar on said:

    what a swearwording cheap skate swear word.

  3. Thanks Beth, it wasn’t for journalists afterall it was for the islanders and people like you so I will try not to let it bother me!

  4. donnie mcphail on said:

    You sound more like your father every day!

  5. I hope it does not put you off being involved in your community. He sounds like a *this is where I say insert swearword here but I have been beaten to it* and not at all like the target audience. I thought it sounded great from what you said.

  6. Well I was shocked at reading his article I cant believe that anyone could write such a terrible short minded and frankly stupid article. It got to be so much that I’m not only going to sign up for the Scotsman online so I can post but I’m going to write to the scotsman expressing my disbelieve that they published this.

    Dont let it put you of your community work clearly the guy is a filho de puta …..and that’s a pite Portuguese phrase for what he really is.


  7. Don’t waste your spleen – the article, insofar as it deals with the book trade, is very lazy and derivative – the attempt at ‘humour’ with which it begins is heavy-handed and entirely derivative – and derived from a bilious old creature like Evelyn Waugh at that! Wonder when this ‘reviewer’of book festivals last read a book – after all Waugh’s ‘Decline and Fall’ was published in 1928… It’s quite immature, he isn’t sophisticated enough to realise how badly it reads, or to imagine different points of view among readers. He does however praise the B&B and the deliciousness and cheapness of the oysters [Edinburgh viewpoint remember, he probably rarely ventures beyond the Barnton roundabout].
    I did wonder if you had sent any publicity material to the Gaelic section of the ‘Scotsman’- they DO notice island ‘cultural events’ where English is spoken! – and last Saturday’s editor of that section was from Argyll.
    Bottom line, don’t be too bothered – the boy has already been slapped down on the ‘Scotsman’ website. And from what I’ve heard, your book festival was excellent. People had a great time, that’s what matters.

    • Thank you. The rage is subsiding now and I’m very grateful for the slapping down that has taken place on the Scotsman website – some of the slappers may have been my followers- thanks folks!

      I don’t think the gaelic section of the Scotsman was on our publicity list but we will definitely keep them in mind for next year especially as we would love to feature a gaelic poet. Thanks again for your kind words.

  8. I have to say as a journalist myself that was not a balanced piece at all. There should be no expectations when covering a story and one can always refuse. The aim of a journalist is to cover a story, not complain. I have met such types and they embarrass themselves with this type of writing, Don’t let it bother you.
    On a lighter note I have given you an award as I love this blog.
    Pop over to my blog to see it.


  9. Beth Piper on said:

    I have tried to get on to the Scotsman page to comment but it says it’s closed!

  10. Dear Morna, do not be disheartened! I have been to Colonsay many times over the last 25 years and it has been crying out for new blood to get it going and you are one of that desperately needed group! More power to your elbow! Some of us are doers and all the rest try and climb on the bandwagon to bask in reflected glory! Do more! David Nash.

  11. Lucy Piper on said:

    Hello Morna, finally come to see your blog and can say it’s a vastly better read than the Scotsman. Perhaps you should become a columnist for them so you can take paid holidays at other book festivals? Sorry, bad joke :-p

    I’m extremely pleased to hear that you’ve joined the local development company – not for profit/community engagements may not pay hard cash but I hope it will enrich your environment and life in other ways… I look forward to reading about your work with it in future blogs.

    Lucy x

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