Someone sent me a link to a video of the band Capercaillie recently, which led on, as these things do on YouTube, to a tribute to the band Runrig. It was a video of their last performance in 2018 which came as something of a surprise to me as I had not realised they were still going in 2018.
That in itself was odd because I had been a big fan of theirs. I bought their albums, videos of their live performances and had gone to see them live sometime around 1992ish. I felt rather guilty that at some stage between then and now I had in effect deserted them.
My interest in them waned for a couple of reasons.
First because the lead singer Donnie Munro, who had given them a distinct and distinctive character, left the band c1997 to pursue a career in politics, and it changed the face of the band. I would have tried to maintain interest and given the new line up a chance, but that was a significantly changeable period in my life.
Secondly, one of the changes in my life was the loss of a significant presence in my life. I had seen the band with that person and there felt like a connection between the two events in some ways, and the ending of a period in my life. An ending which, at the time, I was not at all happy about.
That sort of thing I find is often not as major as it may appear at the time, but in this case I think it was more so. Within a five year period I lost the person I thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I changed jobs, changed countries where I worked, found and lost another significant person, found my wife and had a major change of outlook about what I wanted from life, and both my parents died.
To say it was an emotional rollercoaster is a slight understatement.
There were also other things going on related to work that were… taxing.
The loss of the front man for a band I liked hardly seems relevant does it?
And in the greater scheme of things it wasn’t, and I barely noticed that I ceased listening to Runrig in particular and Gaelic folk rock in general.
To have this suddenly brought back to mind was a bit like opening a door. An unlooked for door, behind which you have no idea what lies.
Apparently it was my past.
Now I don’t want anyone to think that it has left me hankering for any of the things that lay in that past. The relationships, if not doomed by my weirdness, were obviously not meant to be – it takes two to tango and just because I or another person felt one way about things didn’t make it so for both of us, or at least at the same time to make it work. So they are gone and I wouldn’t be where I am now with the family I love if they had been forced to work any other way.
But it made me wonder what would have happened if…
Well if any of the other things that might have happened had happened. What are those things? Well having set that question up I am going to be a tease and not tell you the answers. Some of them are personal to other people who I still respect, have feelings for or who may sue me. Some involve the work I did and would have other consequences. I’m not being mean, well I may be, but I’m not intending to be. That wasn’t the point of the story.
So what the **** was the point?
I guess it may only be that I am getting old and the past has a rosy glow of false attraction because I was a younger, more positive and svelter version of myself.
Or perhaps more likely is that the emotional rush reminded me that there are choices and whilst we can’t go back, we shouldn’t just accept where we are now, and appear to be going, as some sort of destiny fixed on tracks. There are choices and alternatives at every stage of life: try and remember to make positive decisions rather than just getting swept along by events and others’ choices.
Or it may be that digging around in the rubbish tip of my brain has uncovered some memories of potential alternative timelines that could be repurposed for potential fictional development. As long as I, you, we realise that the moment you step off the path of what happened it ceases to be real and has no relevance to what are now or could really have been. As that happy go lucky, fun loving angst ridden Danish Christian philosopher Soren Kirkegaard once said ‘Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forward’.
As a plotting device your alternative selves are gold dust, as a plan for your current life? Not so much. Just remember you make the choices now for the future not for the past.
Runrig, like the rest of that part of my life, are now history.
*Hearts of Olden Glory is the title of one of Runrig’s songs and one of my favourites.