Letters: A long-term fan remembers the great Nanci Griffith

I WAS minded to write following Rob Adams’s thoughtful and sympathetic obituary of Nanci Griffith in The Herald (August 17).

I was incredibly lucky to see her over 200 times in the UK and Ireland, and on two separate occasions in Texas.

I first heard her on a compilation tape and, while impressed, I didn’t think any more of it. However, I was in a bar in Glasgow and someone put her on as background music. Although I had only heard one of her songs her voice was so distinctive that I recognised her right away.

After that I was smitten and when I left the pub I went and bought all the albums that were available.

This was in the mid-1980s and she first appeared in the UK as part of the New Country genre. Of course, I wanted to get tickets and see her play live. Following the first concert my aim was always to get front row, which I often did.

At the end of the show I would give her roses. This happened a number of times until she actually said to me … why don’t you come backstage?

From then on I went to most gigs on the tour, including many trips to Dublin, where she was especially loved. Her father had Welsh origins and her mother Scottish, and the a cappella song The Road To Aberdeen celebrates this. It was always one of many highlights of her shows.

Given her Texas background, I wanted to go there and walk down the streets of Austin as reflected in one of her best songs, Love At The Five And Dime.

I have many nice memories of being backstage in her company. On my second trip to Texas, we had dinner after her final show in Fort Worth and I was lucky to get invited on the tour bus on a trip to the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland on a rare day off.

Nanci Caroline Griffith was a strong, independent woman who ploughed her own path, which ultimately didn’t help her career.

Despite selling out show after show and multiple nights at the Albert Hall in London and big venues in Dublin, she should have been bigger.

It was a source of frustration that other people had hits with her songs although she was always gracious, generous and supportive of up-and-coming singers as well as her own heroes.

When I heard the news of her death last Friday I was devastated. But she was latterly very frail and had fought off at least two bouts of cancer. I will cherish all the special memories of 30 years of shows and being in her company.

She was always incredibly kind and generous to me, and she was on the side of the angels. Hopefully, she will keep me a place at the bar.

Howard Young, Helensburgh.




YOUR editorial of August 14 (“The Government must carry the can for the ferry fiasco”) speaks scathingly of the Government’s failure to demand a complete rethink about Scottish ferry and rail services, and emphasises the necessity of finding someone competent to organise services satisfactorily.

This scarcely needs saying, but what indication is there of any intention of changing anything?

There isn’t a shred of doubt that anyone on the editorial staff of any railway enthusiasts’ magazine could do a vastly better job of administering the services for a tiny fraction of the comically gargantuan remuneration which by modern convention is invariably given to the nominally suitable but essentially useless person who will be appointed.

The modestly-paid enthusiast would actually know about the subject and have a genuine interest in remedying matters.

How would the Severn Valley Railway, or the Waverley, for example, be doing if they were operated by the kind of people who currently administer rail and ferry services?

Robin Dow, Rothesay.




IN his article “Does anyone know what social justice in schools means?”, (Agenda, August 12) Neil McLennan sets out a number of points, which I wish to clarify.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland was set up in 1965 after teachers raised concerns about the increasing number of uncertified teachers in Scotland’s schools.

There was a strong view that establishing GTC Scotland was an important factor in enhancing the public status of the teaching profession by giving the teaching profession itself responsibility for its own standards.

GTC Scotland and the Professional Standards belong to teachers. Teachers make up the majority of council and have been involved in the creation and revision of their Professional Standards.

The values that Scotland’s teachers have set for themselves in their Professional Standards are ones which they understand and translate into practice on a day-to-day basis.

There are countless examples of how schools and teachers demonstrate a deep commitment to values, acting selflessly to seek the best outcomes for the children and young people in their care.

As the professional body for teachers, GTC Scotland has a statutory threefold role: registration, regulation and professional learning.

The teaching profession needs to constantly refresh and develop a shared understanding of what it means to become, to be and to grow as teachers in Scotland.

We will continue to work with teachers to ensure they have opportunities to explore what their professional values mean in the diverse and dynamic society in which we live.

David Innes, Convener, GTC Scotland Council, Edinburgh.




IAN Gray (Letters) was right to lament the acquisition of so many Scots firms, but sadly this is how things work in an increasingly international and competitive business world.


The Herald Scotland

The Herald Scotland

The Herald is a Scottish broadsheet newspaper founded in 1783. The Herald is the longest running national newspaper in the world and is the eighth oldest daily paper in the world. The title was simplified from The Glasgow Herald in 1992