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The Cottage: Inside The Quaich

Guest Post: Winning New York

30th October 2019

My recent trip to New York has been full of so many new experiences. Not only was it my first time to the ‘city that never sleeps’ but it was also my first time on a long-haul flight (although I have frequented a long-haul ferry and don’t recommend). I’d never even been outside of Europe before, let alone America…you know…just in case this whole thing wasn’t exciting enough!? It turns out I quite enjoyed the long-haul flight experience – it was just an excuse to binge watch films whilst kindly being fed food and wine. Very pleasant indeed.

From the moment I saw the New York skyline as we came in to land, I couldn’t get over how surreal it felt to be there. I suppose you become so familiar with the city through pop culture it was very strange to see it in real-life – the yellow cabs, times square, central park and the empire state building are all REAL! I genuinely felt like I was the protagonist in a film as I was exploring the place.

In classic Alannah form, the food needs to be discussed. I ate a lot (how unusual for me?) and it was all splendid. We all went to the best Italian restaurant I’ve ever been in and ate the best pasta of my life, I naturally had classic American pancakes, the traditional NYC ‘slice’ and I ate so many croissants alongside cups of coffee that I think I’m having withdrawal symptoms. Worth it though!

On the 19th, my performance, and the night itself, was just incredible. Both my songs (Don’t Compare and Hoy) were well received and it was crazy to be watching Alan and KT do their thing – it’s always amazing to watch people do what they do best let alone people you have come to admire! In quite a bizarre yet ridiculously cool turn of events, Alan and his husband kindly invited Lorne, KT, Michael and myself back to their house where we had a crazy time singing songs, telling stories and having a laugh. It was quite probably one of the best nights of my life.

All in all, New York has been the craziest experience. I am so grateful to The Quaich project for giving me this opportunity and I would like to thank everyone and anyone that took the time to vote for me in the tightest of public votes – this opportunity has meant so much to me.

Not only have the Quaich Project allowed me to go on this fantastic trip, but their campaign is one that means a lot to me. The project aims to improve West Princes Street Gardens, making it a greener and more accessible space for all. I currently work part-time in one of the shops on Princes Street and the gardens provide a much-needed escape from the busy and frustrating aspects of the job. I’m most looking forward to the changes being made to the Ross Bandstand – I can’t wait for the new performance space and for the positive changes it will bring to the gardens.

I’ve recently been invited to perform for The Quaich Project alongside singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer and runner-up winner to the project’s Scottish Emerging Artist Competition, Ada Grace Francis, as the first of many One O’clock Fun activities at the Bandstand. If you would like to see me perform – we will be at the Ross Bandstand Friday Nov 1 from 1pm playing our music.

Alannah.