John Gibson: Call her a cullen skink specialist

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I FEEL I know her so well, having lost count of our assignations. A straight talker, no messing. The sort of interviewee who makes the job a pleasure, a privilege even. Barbara Dickson is at the Festival Theatre on October 27 on her To Each and Every One UK-wide tour.

Here are some words from Barbara recalled from our past encounters: “People up there think I’ve retired. Some even think I’m dead, it’s been so long since I’ve done live concert work in Scotland. Maybe five or six years.”

She didn’t need to be asked twice to come to Edinburgh to star in Songs of Praise. “I’m not what you could call ‘holy, holy’ but I do watch the show, usually in my kitchen when I’m preparing my youngest son’s tea. That, followed by the Antiques Roadshow, is my Sunday early evening routine.

“I’m not a practising Christian, so to speak, but I do try not to miss church on Sunday. I don’t take a Bible or hymnary with me, we have sheets of paper with the hymns by the door as we troop in. I pick one up and I sing along with the congregation.

“Put it this way, I try to observe the rules.”

Though the main part of Songs of Praise Edinburgh took place in the Canongate, Barbara was actually filmed in Cramond.

“I should have known better. I didn’t expect it to be so chilly, so I didn’t bring my thermals to wear underneath my coat and trousers. I stood there like a twit, shivering and sustained midway through the shoot by a bowl of cullen skink in the riverside tearoom. Call me a cullen skink girl from way back.”