I was surprised this weekend by a conversation in The Guardian between Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie and Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, ostensibly in support of Gillespie’s upcoming memoir, The Tenement Kid. What surprised me wasn’t that the two were talking, nor even that Gillespie had written a memoir — I’d found that out a few months ago, and have been lowkey looking forward to it ever since, especially because it stops before Primal Scream are successful, thereby avoiding the traditions and pitfalls of celebrity memoirs — but that, in reading the conversation, I found myself thinking feeling particularly, repeatedly, empathetic towards the points Gillespie was making.
More often than not, I’ll shy away from the idea that I’m particularly Scottish, or that my nationality holds any real sway over my personality. It’s not just that I’m particularly paranoid about nationalism, nor that I’ve spent almost half of my life outside of Scotland by this point in time — next year will be the 20th anniversary of me moving to the States, shockingly. Instead, it’s that I didn’t really see myself exhibit the various threads of a national personality that I did identify as “Scottish,” for better or worse. (I’m not entirely sure myself.)
Reading Gillespie, in particular, made me reconsider that — not least where he makes a joke about hating the Tories because he was raised in the west coast of Scotland, something that I read and instinctively went, yes, yes, that exactly. There are things that are deep rooted in my head and my heart that entirely come from where I was born and raised, as opposed to being specifically related to my family or friends, which was my previous explanation for things that felt very… Scottish, for want of a better way of putting it.
I’ve become more Scottish as I’ve gotten older, as well; it’s not been intentional, but it’s happened nonetheless. A mix of nostalgia, homesickness, and, I suspect, just simply age has made it happen. Perhaps I need to go back again, to see where my head is really at when it comes to my home country and heritage. It has been almost 10 years by this point, after all…