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2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)

Jack Campin 18 Feb 17 - 01:40 PM
BobKnight 18 Feb 17 - 02:15 PM
Murray MacLeod 18 Feb 17 - 07:27 PM
Jack Campin 18 Feb 17 - 08:41 PM
GUEST,jim bainbridge 19 Feb 17 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Mo&so 19 Feb 17 - 09:24 AM
Brian Peters 19 Feb 17 - 09:37 AM
Waddon Pete 19 Feb 17 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Nick Dow 19 Feb 17 - 05:16 PM
Tattie Bogle 20 Feb 17 - 12:49 PM
GUEST,Jim Byrne 20 Feb 17 - 04:11 PM
Steve Byrne 21 Feb 17 - 08:16 AM
GUEST,Emil Veit 21 Feb 17 - 09:03 AM
Richard Mellish 21 Feb 17 - 11:07 AM
Jack Campin 13 May 17 - 10:09 AM
Tattie Bogle 13 May 17 - 10:29 AM
Jack Campin 13 May 17 - 10:36 AM
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Subject: Obit: Paddy Bort
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Feb 17 - 01:40 PM

Eberhard "Paddy" Bort, known to everyone on the Edinburgh folk scene (and much more widely), died suddenly last night.

Steve Byrne posted a long obituary on Facebook which I can't yet find. Maybe someone could repost it here?

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Subject: RE: Obit: Paddy Bort
From: BobKnight
Date: 18 Feb 17 - 02:15 PM

A big shock to a lot of folkies, not just in Edinburgh. I played for him just last Sunday at the Wee Folk Club, in the Royal Oak. A sad day for Scottish folk and traditional music. My condolences to all his friends and his family.

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Subject: Obit: Paddy Bort, Edinburgh Folk Club
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 18 Feb 17 - 07:27 PM

It is with great sadness that I have to report the death of Eberhard "Paddy" Bort, chairman of Edinburgh Folk Club for the last 19 years.

Paddy was a great encourager of younger talent in the traditional music scene, and his presence will be sorely missed.

We (myself as vice-chair and the rest of the committee) will try to soldier on as best we can, as Paddy would undoubtedly have wished.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 18 Feb 17 - 08:41 PM

Here is Steve Byrne's article:

A hole the size of Arthur's Seat is in the Edinburgh folk scene today. It is with the deepest, utmost sadness that I impart the news of the sudden death of our old friend, colleague and comrade, Eberhard 'Paddy' Bort, long-time stalwart of Edinburgh Folk Club, the Wee Folk Club and the Phoenix Irish Pub, Lauffen.

I've known Paddy since I was 18 years old; Paddy and I came to Edinburgh within a year of each other in the mid-1990s. As such he was very much part of my own personal landscape musically and socially and today I am in total shock at the loss of someone who had such an influence in my early days as a young musician, starting up the ladder and beginning to travel across Europe.

Paddy was in a sense the archetypal 'welcome stranger' who came to Scotland from his native Germany to shine a bright light on our cultural riches that we have often been backwards in coming forwards about. A confirmed Hibernophile and Scotophile, hundreds of us in the folk scene have had floor spots and gigs at all stages of our careers from Paddy, benefitting from his drive and enthusiasm.

He gave Malinky their first floor spots, including one which got us our record deal with Greentrax Recordings Ltd, and booked our first ever big city gig. He spent hours with me discussing the topic of my undergraduate dissertation on the the phenomenon of Scottish and Irish traditional music's popularity in German-speaking areas; he himself was very much bitten by the bug, and took Malinky and countless others to play on his home turf, the Phoenix in Lauffen am Neckar.

Flitting between his office at High School Yards, the Royal Oak and his flat in Nicolson St, Paddy never stopped. By day, he was a renowned academic at the University of Edinburgh, bringing hundreds if not thousands of students to Scotland to study the path of devolution. Working with Nordic Horizons, the Jimmy Reid Foundation and the Scottish Fabians amongst others, he championed the cause of local democracy, inspired by the democratic traditions of local representation in his home area in Baden-Württemberg. He authored and edited numerous volumes on Scottish and European politics and was widely respected in his field; some of the earliest books of his that I have were from the late 90s on Borders and Borderlands in Europe and the intricacies of the Schengen agreement. It is particularly tragic at this point in European history that we lose someone of his expertise.

He was, in essence, the ultimate European.

Over the past 15 years or so, Paddy was also hugely instrumental in securing the legacy of Hamish Henderson, through setting up The Carrying Stream Festival, as well as involvement with the Hamish Henderson Archive Trust, and edited numerous vital publications on Hamish with Gonzalo Mazzei and Grace Note Publications. He was kind enough to be, in the context of one of those volumes, my first publisher, so to speak.

Some of my happiest memories are the days of the Royal Oak plays back when I had time enough to spend as a regular in that real howff that was the Oak in the late 90s, where Paddy's love of Irish literature came to the fore – not least the works of Flann O'Brien. I particularly enjoyed times with him in the Phoenix in Lauffen where he was on great form, relaxed and very much 'daheim'.

There's plenty I've missed out - as he has done so much for so many of us, and for Scotland, und für Europa. The saddest part is not having been able to tell him just how grateful we are. Auf wiedersehen, und herzlichen Dank, mein Freund.

All ihr, die ihr an Freiheit glaubt,
Hört nicht hin, wenn die Krähen nach dem Weltuntergang krächzen.
In euren Häusern können alle Kinder Adams
Suppe, Brot und ein Zuhause finden.
Wenn MacLean Freunde in Glasgow trifft
Und Rosen und Kirschbäume blühen
Und ein schwarzer Junge aus Südafrika
Die Galgen der Bourgeoisie fällt.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: GUEST,jim bainbridge
Date: 19 Feb 17 - 05:37 AM

I didn't know Paddy well, mainly on my infrequent visits to Edinburgh, but consider myself a friend.
I have huge respect for his contribution to Scottish traditional culture via the events he promoted in the city, and his part in the written culture, especially his co-operations with Gonzalo, in work related to Hamish Henderson.
I found him knowledgeable, friendly, inspiring, and I always looked forward to being in his company -very sad news RIP old pal

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: GUEST,Mo&so
Date: 19 Feb 17 - 09:24 AM

Greetings - Paddy, one last time! - from Germany, from one who acted with him in the Tübingen Anglo-Irish Theatre Group. I stayed with him in Edinburgh a couple of times in his early years, doing an MA-thesis on the fringe festival and bringing a play to the Royal Oak another year...
Memories and stories keep popping up all day since I heard, this morning. I'll lift a drink to you tonight, Paddy, rest in peace.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Brian Peters
Date: 19 Feb 17 - 09:37 AM

Dear, dear, this is shocking and tragic. Paddy did such great work in steering the Edinburgh Folk Club over many years, and honouring the memory of Hamish Henderson through his books and the'Carrying Stream' festival. He was always cheerful and upbeat, and I won't forget the way he supported my music. Such a shame. I too will toast his memory tonight.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Waddon Pete
Date: 19 Feb 17 - 03:32 PM

I shall raise a glass to his memory as well. I have added his name to the "In Memoriam" thread. My condolences to all who know and love him.


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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: GUEST,Nick Dow
Date: 19 Feb 17 - 05:16 PM

I am shocked and saddened by this news. He will be sorely missed.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 12:49 PM

Untimely, unexpected and so unfair. A huge shock. Paddy was an absolute tower of strength in the Edinburgh folk scene, as well as in his writing and academic work. Nobody quite like him.
Apart from recording my personal condolences, I would wish to thank him for liaising with Edinburgh & Lothians TMSA Branch, allowing us to contribute to the annual Carrying Stream Festival in memory of Hamish Henderson. (17th year last November.)

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: GUEST,Jim Byrne
Date: 20 Feb 17 - 04:11 PM

That's terrible news about Paddy, very very sad. Cecilia and I have known him since 1989, when we were inTubingen for a year and joined the theatre group. Cecilia later sang in the pub in Lauffen on a little music tour Paddy orgainised. He came here to visit us in Vermont and I last saw him in person in Edinb. a few years ago and we had a couple of pints in the Oak. One of my students was taught by Paddy in Ed last spring and loved him. I was just about to send him a book about San Francisco arts and culture characters. He will be missed by everyone who knew him. Rest in peace my friend.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Steve Byrne
Date: 21 Feb 17 - 08:16 AM

Here is a most erudite tribute from one of Paddy Bort's closest friends and colleagues, Professor Chris Harvie of the University of Tübingen. It gives a rich picture of Paddy's wide range of activities, particularly in the years before we came to know him in Edinburgh. It seems to have been disseminated quite widely on email so I hope Chris doesn't mind me posting it here.

(Note, I feel bound to say re the first paragraph, that the exact circumstances of Paddy's death are not confirmed, and may well not be. However, I understand from a university contact that High School Yards, the location of Paddy's office, were closed by police on Friday morning; a small comfort that he may have been found there as opposed to somewhere more anonymous).


Dear Freudies and friends,
Paddy Bort died suddenly in an Edinburgh street on Friday evening, apparently through a heart attack. We had supper on Thursday evening before I left for the airport and a Tuebingen Kompaktseminar and he was full of plans for the year, and beyond.

Thus ended a friendship of thirty-six years, and a life devoted to peace, regionalism, socialism, learning and drama. In Edinburgh he famously embodied folk music - in some ways as his hero Hamish Henderson had done - but there were different Paddys in different places, who will go on stirring things up.

In Tuebingen's Bert-Brecht-Bau students were rehearsing in the theatre Producer Paddy helped build out of a large and useless cloakroom - it gave that 'austere-brutalist' building a heart. Politics Paddy went on to repeat the act with the similarly-pilloried Scottish parliament, recognising how Miralles' strange creation could throw people together in ways that made them think differently.

His ANNALS OF THE HOLYROOD PARISH (2015) shows (inter alia) how it got us our Borders Railway back - Paddy published the first pamphlet in 1999, and was at a 'fete champetre' at Avenel for David and Judy Steel when it finally opened to Tweedbank in autumn 2015.

As 'Academic Coordinator' he grasped the practical experience Holyrood could provide, partly because, while a student, Stadtrat Paddy was also an SPD councillor in Ilsfeld, the small vineyard-town south of Heilbronn where his father taught. He was influenced by his next-door neighbour the dynamic Lothar Spaeth, pioneer of 'eco-hi-tech' and later Minister-President and even 'the bunch of rascals' who were his conservative opponents but still civic actors. Mutual if wary trust saved their burgh the vast administrative costs we face in Scotland.

Like Patrick Kavanagh Paddy preferred parishes to provinces, because they represented human experience better. The bad news reached Tuebingen via the Phoenix Irish Pub which Barman Paddy had helped restore amid the barges and bridges of Lauffen-am-Neckar.

Freudenstadt started with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung who then owned the Zollernblick in 1991. Its early July discussion weekends now total 26, with 'and-a-half' evenings at Edinburgh's Summerhall.

Above all there was Ireland: that year teaching German at Trinity in 1978-9 when the place began to change; then after 1985 when demographics and new voices from changing Dublin and Belfast reached Tuebingen too. Brechtbau Actor Paddy was Hugh the hedge-schoolteacher in Brian Friel's TRANSLATIONS: perhaps his finest stage role.

Health hadn't dealt the Bort family good cards. Paddy's parents and his younger brother Claus died prematurely and underneath the wit and energy there ran a heroic melancholy, a sense of 'Work, for the night cometh ...'

Something you get from both the Yeats's words and pictures. From 'At Galway Races' we can recover them:
'Sing on: somewhere at some new moon,
We'll learn that sleeping is not death,
Hearing the whole earth change its tune,
Its flesh being wild, and it again
Crying aloud as the racecourse is ...'

Prof. Christopher Harvie

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: GUEST,Emil Veit
Date: 21 Feb 17 - 09:03 AM

It is with poignant grief that I am attaching my posting to this thread. This is the saddest news coming from The Isles since last summer when Brexit became a cold and bitter truth. Why do I feel that my friend Paddy died of a broken heart due to the parcel of rogues that instigated the break away from Europe?
Oh Paddy, I hate myself for not having taken the chance of saying the things that still waited to be said. Thanks and fare thee weel.

"I want for my part
only the little rose of Scotland
that smells sharp and sweet
and breaks the heart"

Hugh MacDiarmid

To life

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 21 Feb 17 - 11:07 AM

I only ever had brief contact with Paddy, but I admire what he did for the folk scene in Edinburgh and I share the sadness at his sudden departure.

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 May 17 - 10:09 AM

Commemoration event:

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 13 May 17 - 10:29 AM

Trying for the 6th time to post this, but it keeps failing! Now re-typing it for 3rd time too!

There is to be a Memorial Concert for Paddy on Thursday 8th June at Edinburgh's Queen's Hall. Great line-up of artists performing, and tickets going well! The date was decided BEFORE Mrs May announced the next UK general election: Paddy might possibly have enjoyed the irony in this! See:

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Subject: RE: 2017 Obit: Paddy Bort (Edinburgh)
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 May 17 - 10:36 AM

And to make it clear: the commemoration and the concert are two different events. The commemoration is a free all-day event hosted by Edinburgh University on 22 May.

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