Around this time (September 2020) I’d planned to travel to Scotland, on my first visit. There was to be a family gathering for my sister’s wedding in Edinburgh.
The trip’s now postponed indefinitely, for obvious reasons
The idea was to visit Boyndie, Banffshire, where my great-great-grandfather John Collie grew up.
In 1856, in his early 20s he published a book : Poems and Lyrics (in the English and Scotch Dialects).
I‘ve started setting some of it to music.
For me it’s a work in progress, an acknowledgement of my (pakeha) whakapapa, and renewed appreciation of the English (and Scotch) language.
In 1858 John Collie emigrated to New Zealand.
He first settled in Dunedin, then spent his later years in the Wellington region.
He worked on infrastructure projects, such as helping to build the original railway across the Remutakas in the 1870s.
Nowadays the railway line is a walking and cycling route.
No writings by John Collie in New Zealand are known to survive; he appears in the historical records for his work on the Rimutaka incline project (and for being fined for public drunkenness and letting animals wander).
He died in 1893, and is buried in Karori Cemetary.
Poetry and accompaniment in a more modernist vein – verbose spoken word (salad) + improvised guitar. A journey down a road not taken for NZ music, by Dave Edwards with Simon O’Rorke, Youjae Lee, and Simon Sweetman, (2004)
Compilation of songs, spoken word and instrumental improvisations from the early phase of my gloriously unsuccessful career, by Dave Edwards with The Winter, Ascension Band, plus Chris O’Connor, Paul Winstanley, Simon O’Rorke, Chris Palmer, Sam Prebble, Francesca Mountfort and more