My Spotify Playlist – Track 6

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Posted By Scott

It’s time for the next entry on my Spotify playlist of songs that have given me strength during my MS journey.  This time, a long-time favourite from Scottish band Runrig makes the list. 

Hearts of Olden Glory by Runrig

There can’t be too many bands out there who fall into the genre “Celtic rock” but Runrig may be the pioneers.  Their music is often described as a blend of folk and rock music, with the band’s lyrics often focusing upon locations, history, politics, and people that are unique to Scotland.  

I was vaguely aware of Runrig in the late 80s, mainly from hearing Loch Lomond on Radio Scotland whilst doing my school homework.  I imagine like many people, I really got to know their music courtesy of STV’s “City of Lights” concert-cum-documentary from 1990.  This hooked me and I bought much of their back catalogue.  On cassette.  That’s how long ago it was.  Younger readers will need to ask their parents.

My first exposure to Runrig and a future (unofficial) national anthem.

Way Back When…

“Hearts of Olden Glory” comes from the band’s 1987 album “The Cutter and the Clan”.  It has long been a song that give me strength and from which I can take solace.  Long before MS, this song helped me through the death of my dad in 1991.

Through the sepia showers

And the photoflood days

I caught a fleeting glimpse

Of life

I take this as someone looking through old photographs, seeing the life bursting from the picture.  My dad was in hospital for about two months prior to his death.  He had been discharged and seemed to be recovering well.  Unfortunately, about two weeks later, he suffered a stroke and passed away after a few days.  That two weeks was very much a fleeting glimpse of life.

In more recent times, I’ve looked back at photos of myself from the months immediately before my diagnosis.  It’s an odd feeling.  In those pictures, I have no idea of what is just about to happen.  However I’m not looking at them to mourn what I’ve lost but to encourage me to continue. 

The Great Outdoors

The colours of Scotland

Leave you young inside

To me this is the restorative powers of being outside.  Away from the martial arts and running, I enjoy hillwalking.  Those colours of Scotland, the spectacular views that we have on our doorstep, will always be uplifting to me.  A good day in the hills is one of my simple pleasures in life.

Through the faith

That cleans your wound

Hearts of olden glory

Will be renewed

I’m not a religious or spiritual man.  But it is my faith in people, in medical science, in my own stubbornness to overcome MS that will help clean the wound of my condition.  So many people have help me through this thing.  The advances in medical research are encouraging.  In particular, my ability to continue training gives me hope.  My heart of olden glory, my sense of hope is renewed regularly.

Down the lens

Where the headlands stand

I feel a healing

Through this land

Like my earlier thoughts about getting out to the hills and feeling the benefits.

There must be a place

Under the sun

Where hearts of olden glory

Grow young

Through it all, somewhere our hopes and dreams will be renewed and will thrive.

Back to the Future

Hearts of Olden Glory transports me back to being a teenager, whose father had just died.  A difficult but also a more innocent, simpler time.  I can close my eyes and imagine beautiful scenery such as the one above.  I can still see it for myself.  It gives me hope.

A live version of Hearts of Olden Glory

Runrig Today

Runrig retired from making studio albums in 2018.  I haven’t listened to them as much in recent years but in writing this piece, I was off down the rabbit hole of their back catalogue.   I discovered some of their newer material that I hadn’t heard before.  And of course, they do have an unofficial national anthem heard any time Scotland take the field in rugby, football and numerous other sports.

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