We asked Charlie what it’s been like to be separated from the band.

“We haven’t been able to get together for over a year. For a band, being in the same room together as an ensemble and interacting is what’s enjoyable, so we certainly miss that. For Craig and I, it’s the first time since we formed the band that we haven’t rehearsed for months. We’ve both had our first jab and have our second this week, so that’s comforting but we’re keeping to the restrictions. Although we’re twins and work closely together, we have been separated from other family members too, which has been tough and something many other families will be dealing with too.”

Has lockdown affected the band’s creativity?

“We’ve been working on 9-10 new songs. The intention was to record them this year, but we’ll have to wait until next year. It’s the right thing to do. It’s frustrating but it’s better to say it will be next year and work towards that, when hopefully life will be getting back to normal.”

Has listening to music helped you through?

“I think nothing gets people like music. I’m very lucky to be a performer because music can move and console people. I feel for young performers who have not been able to gig for a long time. It’s tough creatively and financially too of course.

“When music means something to you, it has the power to uplift you. I’ve gone back to Ray Charles and The Beatles, music that was there for me before and uplifts me again now. Listening to something light-hearted like Bernard Cribbins or Noel Coward is also a great way to cheer me up.”

Apart from music, how have you been spending time at home? We see people cycling past the hospice by Wardie Bay. Some of them look to be novices!

“I did have a go at cycling again but my achilles heel was playing up. I’ll do a bit of stationery cycling when I get back to the gym, and rowing too, which I enjoy. That’s something to look forward to. For now, I’ve been trying to get out most days for a walk. It always lifts my mood.”

Do you get recognised much?

“With a mask on I definitely don’t get clocked so much. Since things started opening up around my neighbourhood I’ve seen lots more folk going to the pubs and restaurants. I’m sure I’ll get more of the usual chat soon. People do like to tell me how many miles they’ve walked!”

Ha, ha, on that note, did you know that our nurses walk approximately 4 miles on a 12 hour shift!?

“I am very impressed! Our mum was a nurse. She worked in Edinburgh and then Fife, on the wards and district nursing too. I have a massive appreciation for nurses. I’m also in awe of the bus drivers and the shop assistants who have been there for us all the way through. I think the pandemic has woken people up to who does the really important jobs in our community.”

You and Craig are big advocates of community – we’re also very appreciative of the support of our community. What do you think makes a community strong?

“When people care. It’s surely the definition of love. When we are divided and pass each other by, there’s an absence of community. Kindness and love and community are bound up. This pandemic has not discriminated. It has been desperately sad at times, especially for those who have lost family and friends. Many people have lost someone over the past 18 months, not just to covid. It has perhaps made us appreciate, like never before, how much we need each other.

“I have so much admiration for everyone at St Columba’s. Your hospice is a pillar for Edinburgh. It is hard to put into words what I think of what you do for the people you care for. That care does not lessen, its fundamental to all you do. Your team are what’s loving and good and I can’t thank you enough for all you do. It’s beautiful.”



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