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Spoken word on the kindness of Scots for this year’s St Andrew’s Day

Published: 27 Nov 2020

Photo of spoken word artist Chris McQueer in front of a graffiti wall
Photo of Chris McQueer by Sinead Grainger Photography

The Scottish Government has enlisted the support of Glasgow-born author Chris McQueer, who has composed a new piece of spoken-word to mark this year’s St Andrew’s Day.

The St Andrew’s Day 2020 campaign celebrates the community spirit and shared kindness displayed across the country in what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years the country has faced in decades.

The award-winning writer of ‘Hings’, a collection of short stories on everyday life in Scotland, Chris McQueer has penned and narrated six passages on what kindness means to him and to a country of resilient and proud Scots, including his take on the power of a smile, a hello or checking in with friends, loved ones and strangers during these challenging times.

An excerpt from the commission includes:

It’s your pals and family looking out for you. It’s a quick text to see how you’re doing. It’s lifting you up when you’re feeling down. It’s a friendly wave from the window. It’s a toot of the horn and a thumbs up. It’s dropping off some goodies at your front door. It’s a phone call to say they love and miss you. It’s the wee things that get you through. It’s a simple act of kindness. It’s what we do best.

Listen to an excerpt of What kindness means to me by Chris McQueer.

The new work complements the Scottish Government’s national St Andrew’s Day 2020 campaign which this year is asking people across the country to recognise the value of connecting with and helping others by reaching out and sending a message to friends, family, neighbours and communities near and far, in a bid to generate One Million Words of Kindness by Monday 30 November.

Chris is now rallying his friends and followers to join him and share a kind message over the phone, on social media or by picking up a newly created kindness postcard created by Scottish illustrator, Emily Hogarth.

Photo of illustrator Emily Hogarth
Photo of Emily Hogarth

Chris McQueer said: “Scotland is a wee country to be proud of - its cities, its countryside, its food and drink, its music and arts scene, but I’d say, most importantly, its people. We’re a generous bunch and we’re friendly - most of the time! St Andrew’s Day is a great chance to celebrate Scotland and all its worth, especially after a hard year up and down the country. So that’s why I’m sharing my thoughts on Scottish kindness and will be sending my Kindness postcard to Jay Gray, my wee brother, to say thanks for being a pal this year.”

More than 100,000 of these free postcards, featuring a matt laminate finish for Covid safety, are available in Scottish Lidl stores across Scotland this week, for shoppers to pick up and send messages of thanks, hope or a simple hello to mark Scotland’s national day. The card is also available to download and share online from the Scottish Government’s website.

For more information visit: www.onescotland.org/st-andrews-day


St Andrew’s Day 

St Andrew’s Day is part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals - a Scottish Government initiative, delivered in collaboration with VisitScotland, BEMIS Scotland, the Fair Saturday Foundation and the English Speaking Union Scotland and is supported by a wide range of other partners.

Chris McQueer 

Chris McQueer is a Scottish writer and spoken-word performer from Glasgow. He began sharing his short story work on his Twitter (@ChrisMcQueer_) and has since gone from strength to strength. His first published book collection “Hings” includes his short stories as a collection and won Best Story Collection at the 2018 Saboteur Awards.

About Emily Hogarth 

Emily is a Scottish designer and illustrator living and working in Edinburgh. Through her motto ‘making the everyday magical’, Emily captures the magic of the Scottish landscape and its wildlife and combines it with recognisable floral and faunas. The St Andrew’s Day 2020 postcard design encapsulates iconic moments of kindness shared since the coronavirus pandemic began and includes drawings of friends sharing a cuppa and chatter through a window; food parcels being left at neighbours doorsteps and, of course, a Zoom screen to signify the virtual socialising that we have all experienced this year.