I Remember: Scotland’s Covid Memorial audiobook released for National Day of Reflection

Photo by Hannah Laycock

Read by Robert Carlyle, the audiobook created for I Remember, Scotland’s Covid Memorial, is now available to listen to online – coinciding with the National Day of Reflection taking place on 23 March around the UK.

I Remember is an audiobook created for Scotland’s Covid Memorial. It features a selection of contributions which were edited by Alec Finlay and read by Robert Carlyle, with sound design by Chris Watson. It is now available to listen to or download on Bandcamp. The audio is also accessible to smartphone users via QR code in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow.

(Given the nature of people’s experiences of the pandemic, some of the material is upsetting.)

The creation of Scotland’s Covid Memorial was initiated by the The Herald through their Covid Memorial campaign. It led to them establishing a public fund and saw Glasgow City Council offer Pollok Country Park as a home for the memorial. The artist commission is managed by Greenspace Scotland. The memorial was conceived by Alec Finlay, in collaboration with Ken Cockburn and Lucy Richards (Better Company), after a period of consultation with people affected by the pandemic, including bereaved families and people with Long Covid. covid:aid has also been a partner for the project.

The audiobook features a selection of memories contributed by hundreds of people. They are presented anonymously, but every contributor is credited on the website which will launch soon. A longer selection is available as a paperback book from Stewed Rhubarb Press in May 2022. Every contribution that Alec received was painted and published on the website. The solo that concludes the recording is the song of a mavis or mistle thrush. 

Alec said: “Everyone who has heard the recording that Robert Carlyle made of I Remember has responded with a deep sense of the complex emotions it stirs. Robert and I were in tears during the recording session, as it expressed the enormity of what we’ve all lived through, in individual lives and homes, in Scotland, and around the globe.

“It’s a reminder, in a world where we see a divisive splitting into communities and tribes, competing for the right to be seen as victims, that every experience can be acknowledged in its own right, and on its own terms. Indeed, real change only comes about when this act of empathy is to the fore. In that sense, the I Remember audio is a radical work and, I hope, a contribution to the creation of a culture of recuperation and healing, in which we learn to listen to one another with open hearts and understanding.”

On 14 March, the messages and artwork for I Remember were buried in a moving ceremony at Pollok Country Park. (Find images below.)

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