Before I set off on my week away from work, it seemed the Creative Scotland issue was heading in a more positive direction.
A series of letters and statements from Creative Scotland seemed to be more conciliatory and open than we had seen previously and, going into the two artist meetings in Edinburgh and Glasgow, one sensed the beginnings of a sea-change at the top of Creative Scotland, at least at board level, and a sense that it knew it a) needed to change its ways and b) would benefit from some internal reforms.
Running from January 17 to February 3 next year, it will celebrate its 20 years of success with another packed programme featuring Salif Keita, some high quality Transatlantic Sessions, Aimee Mann, Old Crow Medicine Show, concerts at the Barrowlands and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, amid numerous other highlights.
I'm looking forward to hearing and seeing the brilliant Nic Jones, whose recorded version of Rufford Park Poachers, a favourite folk song, is probably the best (alongside James Yorkston’s stellar version)
But to Creative Scotland first:
The two-sub committees of its board have now begun their work investigating and gathering evidence before major changes are wrought at the funding body. Let’s hope their reports are not shelved or ignored.
The committees will both provide reports to the full board before Christmas. The inquiries were, I understand, actually planned before the letter signed by 100 artists was sent to chairman Sir Sandy Crombie last week. But the impetus behind them is now even more urgent.
We in the media are quick to say any item of news (especially our own) is unprecedented, devastating or a turning point, but this week’s letter signed by 100 of Scotland’s leading artists and sent to Creative Scotland, asking for a “fresh start”, is certainly one of them.
The letter was signed by some of the best known, most respected, most talented and honoured artists in and from Scotland.
“This is a game changer, this is the big one,” a weary voice at Creative Scotland said on Monday night. And they were right.
Why was it depressing? Because I said that I didn't think there was any organised campaign to express the disquiet over Creative Scotland and its policies, funding, strategy and so on.
"It was dispiriting to read that," one person said. I felt it was true. Yes, there are lots of dissenting voices, and many opinions on Creative Scotland, but no cohesive voice, and certainly no defined campaign, counter-weight or plan.