MacDonald briefly attended King's College, Cambridge , at first to study English, then archaeology and anthropology.  He dropped out after a year. While at Cambridge , he was distantly acquainted with the singer/songwriter Nick Drake . From 1972 to 1975 he served as assistant editor at the NME . MacDonald began a songwriting collaboration as lyricist with Quiet Sun , which included his brother Bill MacCormick and future Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera . The collaboration resumed in the late 1970s, with MacDonald providing lyrics for the album Listen Now . Later, Brian Eno assisted MacDonald in producing Sub Rosa , an album of his songs released on Manzanera's label.
Dutil: I think so. Unquestionably, for Canada he is more than Lincoln. He is Washington. His thinking, his vision, his restraint, his force, his bridge-building abilities, all those things we recognize in Washington we should recognize in Macdonald. Not innocently in the respect of accepting this, but as a starting point in terms of a dialogue. We need to talk history. History is a dialogue: you tell me a story, I tell you a story and somewhere along the line we will develop a line of inquiry, a line of debate, and we will think about the past. How does the past shape what we are today? Because it does, it does. Count the number of Washington streets and Lincoln streets and Jefferson streets in Canada, put them against Macdonald, and you’re gonna see a lot more of those streets than Macdonald. Spelled properly, small D not a capital D. It says a lot about how we wilfully forget who we are and the people who shaped our society, for good or bad.