Dougie MacLean  | Perth St Andrew’s Day Celebrations

If you follow Blue Noun Language Hub, you can’t have missed the news that last week I hosted my first Amplify online festival (or virtual artist residency as I called it).

Something to Celebrate!

Amplify. went fantastically well, but what better way to recover from your own online festival, than go along to your local public street party and celebrate Scotland’s national day: St Andrews Day.

And what better way to learn English than with Scottish culture – so of course, I invited my Ukrainian English-learning friends to join me!

Read on to find out what happened!

The Monster

Is it the Most Sung Song in Scotland?

Dougie MacLean told the crowd about writing his ‘monster’ of a song – Caledonia.

He wrote it, homesick in France.

As he says, there’s probably not a night of the week where somewhere in Scotland, someone is not drunk and belting it into the night.

Although he’s proud of how prolific it is, like Dr. Frankenstein – he’s not entirely sure of what he created.

Silent Disco | Learn English with Scottish Culture

What, No Noise?

This weekend event was also my first time at a silent disco.

That took place within Perth’s roofless St Paul’s church walls – a well preserved, sheltered historic city space that has a regular market (and really can house a great silent disco).

In case you don’t know, at a silent disco there is more than one song playing, so you choose which track you want to listen to on your headphones.

The result of this that half the dancers suddenly start doing the YMCA or the Gay Gordons – while others are oblivious and rocking out in their own world.

The tracks were obviously picked to maximise visual dancing and for novelty value.

I’d like to try it again, but with tunes I really love.

Dougie MacLean  | Perth Music Festival
Hue & Cry  | Perth St Andrew’s Day Celebrations

What a Hue & Cry!

The highlight of my weekend was catching up with Hue & Cry again.

I was a massive fan in my teenage years (genuinely, fan club member no. 225), and it was a real delight to reconnect with their songs.

I’ve always loved the old-fashioned swing and jazz influences in their music. Although Hue & Cry are at their richest with a row of jazz musicians behind them, the stripped-down version with Greg Kane on keyboard and Pat Kane singing works too.

Pat took advantage by jumping off the stage to sing and chat. Like Dougie MacLean before them, he told a good story and took his audience on a journey.

Although superficially mostly love songs, Hue & Cry songs have powerful, loaded lyrics that explore relationships, politics – and Scotland: full of heart – but really not much traditional romance and little sentimentality.


What, no Audience?

While Sunday was a day of Scottish headliners and crowd pleasers – the same stage on Saturday had a distinctly seasonal flavour.

The music may have flooded the city and kept the shoppers entertained, but hardly anyone actually stopped to watch the stage – a real shame as the Max Popp Trio were brilliant: blowing on their hands to warm them enough, they gave their all – to me, and few others, dancing away in a car park.

Most importantly, our festive activites are FREE OF CHARGE* meaning those who are finding things tough right now, can let their hair down for a few hours and enjoy a day of fun”. 


The Monster

I Know Where (Some of) Your Audience Was!

I liked the messaging around this event: I felt that Perth City got their copy spot on.

These are difficult times indeed for families.

I find it unforgivable that on Saturday afternoon, the bus from Crieff to Perth arrived, got cancelled (with no explanation) and drove off (on time) with no one onboard.

This one bus left a group of people waiting ONE HOUR for the next one, freezing at a bus stop – including one mother with two very young crying children.


Few things make you feel poor and shitty like waiting in the cold because of a cancelled bus, when you’ve been invited to ‘a day of fun’. 

Ruth, 2022 

Perth City: Don’t lay on a music festival, invite the hard up – then omit to tell the local bus company that they need to get their service right. 

Not only had I invited ALL my Ukrainian families to join me on that bus, (including one family with a 4-year-old, who have to walk for half an hour to even get to the bus stop), I met a Polish woman in the queue – a night cleaner at a hospital – who told me she was worried that she might miss her whole shift one evening, because of the how unreliable bus service currently is.  

She needs her shift – and I’m certain the hospital wards need her too.

Perth, you may have your big city pants on (and I’m glad you do!), but this is a rural region – buses are the lifeblood.

We want them. We need them. More than anything, we need to be able to rely on them! 

A celebration of Scottish national culture should not leave ANYONE behind.

Perth Music Festival

Your English Teacher

One thing that makes me an empathetic English language coach is having experienced living in a new city/country/language – alone – and having to figure it all out myself.

This experience is why I now reach out to international people in my own community and help them to get where they’re going (quite literally if the bus is cancelled!).

I’ve always loved bringing people together – but now I share my friendly community with internationals at our ‘hub,’ where I share my friends, culture – and we explore Perthshire through alternative immersion English language holidays (April – September).

Such behaviors are admittedly a bit unusual (even for my very friendly hometown), but they are how I choose to move through this world.

I believe that every time I help someone on their journey, it makes me a better citizen and a wiser English language coach.

I reckon I’m also paying back every single act of kindness I received when it was my time to travel.

Let me know if you feel the same about travelling. For me, it’s like I have a debt to help other travellers on their way!

Further Reading

The Travel app I have a screenshot of is the Traveline Scotland app. If you are exploring Scotland by public transport, use the app or their website to plan your journey!


Perth now has a fabulous new museum. Read about when our language school visited for the first time.