I’m sorry to see the back of Lewis. Its blasted moors knitted tight with heather and the sea everywhere about, licking at the rocky coast have kept my mind occupied with peaceful thoughts mostly. I came for the quiet to write and walk. I have twenty new tunes scribbled on A4 and wailed onto cassette locked in an old briefcase in the boot. I queue for the ferry under high cloud and savour the sadness of departure like a sour sweet. There’s Friday night excitement in the air as folk stand around their cars gossiping and watering their dogs. The mainland is pulling us all back. The stillness here has an effect on you, making you reflective. You can hear your soul shifting in its sleep. I think of Glasgow’s grime and aggro and feel unprepared. I have bought a bottle of wine to celebrate later, it sits…—More Tales
Today we are traveling to Bogbairn farm just south of Inverness. We’re playing a boutique festival called Northern Roots, run by my old friend from Blazing Fiddles, Bruce McGregor. Bruce has his fiddly fingers in a gamut of tasty pies. He hosts an excellent radio show called Travelin’ Folk on Radio Scotland, gigs with the Blazers and has been running a little annual event on his farm for a few years now. I believe he is also an apprentice milliner. But I have seen his hats and that way lies lunacy.
High winds and scattered clouds, bursts of sun and sprays of rain decorate this three or four hour journey. The sun sits very high this time of year so the afternoon gets flattened out with scant shadows lending the greenery a uniform dullness. It’s the sideways light that makes this country ring and glow like god. Ben Lomond stands…—More Tales
When I was little and when I was a little bigger, before I joined the fraternity of a band, I had no brothers. Two fine and beautiful older sisters and a brilliant maw but no brother to kick a football around with or to pick a fight with, to blame or to laugh with. Suited me – I didn’t need the competition.
What I did have, however, was cousin Rod, four years older but never dismissive of me (little squirt that I was) nor bullying or belligerent. Rod paid me the same respect and attention that he did his own friends. He was generous and giving and funny to a fault.
And Rod had records. Beatles’ records, Eric Clapton records, Jimi Hendrix records. He even had an 8-Track cartridge deck. While my big sister Rachel introduced me to cool things like Dr Feelgood and Thin Lizzy, Rod had the classic rock collection…—More Rants/Slates
It does not matter whether the United Queendom prevails. All that matters is subjugating the Irish, the Welsh and the Scots.
It was the year when the sound of eighties synths and vocals swamped in reverb continued unabated, a colour that seems to have been in vogue on both sides of the Atlantic for at least five years. The year when Kate came back and folk swooned while nobody really noticed gems like Withered Hand’s New Gods and Perfect Pussy’s Say Yes To Love. The year when lavish praise was poured over the Parquet Courts album in spite of it being stuffed with direct lifts from the history of post-punk; The Feelies and The Fall especially. When Paulo Nutini attempted to make an enormous soul/pop album and somehow managed to remain utterly charming and brilliant in spite of missing his target by a country mile. When Leonard Cohen, yet again released an album of faultless songs irreparably marred by horrifically cheap production and female backing vocalists who wouldn’t be out of…—More Rants/Slates
20/11/14 – 11/12/64
I sit in my seat like a teacher at a staff meeting, room service beer in full flow, and watch my last guest die. Ella Guru has gone to the other side. Being young, she has seen the sense in heading for the hills of immediate sleep. My banter, demanding as it must be of recipients, falls on deaf ears.
I bear witness and keep vigil. Ella Guru slumbers as soundlessly as the pharaohs, her beer propped up in her lap like a leaning Eiffel. The squeaks and strains of morning erupt around my room – o shit, the world is awake.
Nighttime is everything to me, I could not live without its cloaking. Mornings are murder, murderous and murderers. They are deathly, depressing and disastrous. They bring clinging women, creepy uncles: mornings are cunts that catch one at play.
A little diseased breath in…—More Tales
Airports. I walk the gauntlet of painted ladies and try to fight off the olfactory assault. Right after the martial roadblock of security the inquisition of the wallet. If there’s an empty space, put a shop on it. You can’t get near a chair until you’ve done the corridor of consumption. I buy a Private Eye from a scrupulously polite young man in a glorified kiosk. He’s going places and so am I. I espy in the lounge a soundman with whom I am acquainted but he’s deeply buried in a book. A little further on I see Stevie Jackson from B&S but he too is engrossed, headphones locked over his curly hair so I resist interrupting and take a seat in my own little patch. We all have our own little patch. A very pretty young mother approaches with two red-faced bairns and parks opposite. I pick up my…—More Tales