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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah …. The Lovely!!

Now I just couldn’t resist this, could I?

Sent to me by Big Rab … whose musical & artistic taste shows pure class

The paintings of Hopper have become well-deserved icons of Americana and are, somehow, the perfect backdrop to The Blue Nile’s evocative sound

I’ve been a fan of The Blue Nile since day one, when they released their debut album, A Walk Across the Rooftops in 1983, and have enjoyed their hauntingly beautiful melodies ever since, and have played them as I travel, constantly, for the past 25 years

And this, from a man whose musical taste is always evolving and searching for new sounds. Few artists have ever made this sorta impact on me, I can assure you.

When I’m “away fae hame”, “Tinseltown In The Rain” by The Blue Nile can literally reduce me to tears, while smiling like an idiot … and when I’m out in ma garden on a sunny summer’s day ( yes, we do have them in Scotland), and I’m cooking at my barbeque, their track “Heatwave” is still one of ma favourites.

If you aren’t familiar with their work … DOH!!!

And, check out Rab’s collection of tasty titbits on the boys too


We’ve all sung-a-long with the hits on the radio, only to find that while Queen were saying one thing, the rest of us were chanting along with “pork sausages”, right?


Well, this young lady’s performance on the Bulgarian Pop Idol has seemingly made her an internet star with her highly distinctive interpretation & version of that old standard:
 “Ken Lee”


It might be cruel, but …. I really did really laugh at this … repeatedly …. cos’ it gets funnier each time you watch.








I know that it’s it’s easy to laugh at other people’s ignorance …
so, why not?






The adorable Mrs Who? and I decided to pay a visit to Glasgow on Saturday to some shopping and to visit the famous Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

Many moons ago, when I was a young shaver, making my way in the world of graphics and exhibition design, I was seconded as a trainee to the Kelvingrove facility and spent a highly enjoyable month working there mounting a large exhibition in the main entrance hall

Having seen the press reports of the major refit of the galleries, which took some two years to complete, I was really looking forward to seeing what modifications and improvements had been made to the place

Boy, was I disappointed

Apart from the dreadful new, under-stocked & over-priced tearoom, the place showed no visible modifications that impressed me, and the whole dimly lit, badly displayed, poorly managed facility was, in my eyes, a bloody disgrace considering how much time, effort and finance has gone into the refurbishment

As you enter the main hall, the first thing to catch your eye is the sign that directs to the “Glasgow Stories” exhibition … a must for me, as a writer whose interests at present are very much concerned in Glasgow’s past … and, surely, an immediate interest for any tourists to our city … and what’s the first thing on display?

A large exhibit of two huge cases containing two football scarves, of the Rangers and Celtic variety, a sash from the Orange Order, and a huge banner portraying William of Orange … seemingly a representative cross-section of Glaswegian culture, and the religious intolerance that our city is famous for

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh … I was furious!!

Maybe our city is well-known for this sorta puerile nonsense because writers, commentators, and the media in general, keep giving it such bloody prominence in any exposition of Glasgow.

I’ve lived my whole life in Glasgow and have rarely ever witnessed any real bigotry or religious intolerance … this might well be explained by the fact that I’ve only ever attended one football match, when I was in my teens, and …. I don’t hang out with assholes!

Sure … I know there are plenty of pig-ignorant bigots, racists, and twats here in Glasgow … as many as you’d find proportionately in any large conurbation … but I bet Leeds doesn’t “celebrate” the culture of BNP twats in its community in exhibitions, or does Aberdeen have a photographic homage to drunken oil-rig workers on a hooker-based night out

Glasgow can be its own worst enemy in continually portraying itself in a negative stereotype, whose basis actually resides in the events of past decades

Football and bigotry?

Is that the face of Glasgow we wish the world to see?

The Glasgow I know bears no relationship to the crap that’s being peddled n Kelvingrove – the Glaswegians that I meet are not being represented by these portrayals of excess, whether in bigotry, in sport, whether in violence, in drinking, or in the average day-to-day life of the average punter

But maybe that would be difficult to illustrate in an exhibition

The rest of the exhibition, to be honest, was lost on me, as I was so pissed off by this first exhibit, … but the other displays that I looked at were so badly lit, obscured by reflections on the glass cases, and bloody boring, that we just checked out the French Paintings (my two favourites were on loan to other galleries), had a quick once-around-the-houses of the ground floor exhibits where an inordinate amount of dead animals are displayed, and left … a bit dejected, and annoyed.

Maybe I’m being a bit over-the-top, as Mrs Who? usually suggests, but c’mon Glasgow, can’t we show ourselves to be slightly better than this?

Remember … it’s hard to change first impressions.







I first discovered RED MEAT and the artwork & humour of MAX CANNON on the web many years back, but still find it fresh and weird
Begun in 1989, Max Cannon’s Red Meat is an independent comic strip. It appears in over 75 alternative weeklies and college papers in the United States and in other countries. The strip features a cast of characters with abnormal personalities. A visual hallmark of the strip is the almost total lack of movement of the characters from panel to panel and a “Featureless Void” of no background.


featuring MANU CHAO


If you’ve been to any of my shows recently and watched me twitching & grooving prior to the show’s start and wondered if I was having a fit, or possessed by demons, then the answer is – No!

I’m listening on my I-pod to some truly kikkass music fae Mali, played by the fantastic AMADOU & MARIAM … great melodies, kicking beats and astonishing guitars … trust me folks, this is truly uplifting stuff … a feast for the ears!



Amadou and Mariam are a musical duo from Mali, composed of the couple Mariam Doumbia (vocals) and Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals)


The pair, known as “the blind couple from Mali” met at Mali’s Institute for the Young Blind, and found they shared an interest in music.


The duo produces music that mixes traditional Mali sound with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Colombian trombones, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. All these elements put together have been referred to as “Afro-blues”.


This is one of my favourite track from the album at the moment – SENEGAL FAST FOOD – and, for RAB, it features a great bit of moothie



Y’know, I think what the music scene nowadays is sorely missing is … bands who wear matching outfits.


You just don’t see enough demi-capes, tulip collars, and tartan accoutrements in the world of today’s modern pop artistes, and this is surely the missing element which could once again make the European music scene vibrant, in these dark days of economic gloom?


Here are some examples from Sweden’s fine past – an example to the musical youth of today… Rock On Tommy.



























And … how could we resist such an aptly named combo as THIS …. ???























It throws a whole new light on the BAY CITY ROLLERS …

who now look decidedly sedate in comparison to these sartorial dudes


Mind you, I do still see items in TK Maxx which look strikingly similar to some of this tat


But Scotland, of course, had all of the above put to shame …

with the classic, historic elegance that was














For those of ye that ain’t from ‘round here, I should explain that the term “Gallus” is a Scottish, and primarily Glaswegian, term defined in Wikipedia as:


· Gallus A British dialect word, chiefly Scottish, for 1. Self confident, daring, cheeky. 2. Stylish, impressive Origin- derogatory, meaning wild, a rascal;deserving to be hanged (from the Gallows)


I prefer to think of it meaning “cocky”, and with all of its connotations


Anyway … I’ve had an interest for some time on the subject of bands with inventively funny names … the best of these often being “tribute-bands” of course, where the members often don’t have the same over-serious, arse-nippingly pretentious sensibilities of those aspiring pop or rock heroes and wannabe celebrities posing as musicians … and I’ve found that the best & funniest, and to my own particular taste, happen to originate in Scotland … or, maybe that’s just the ones I’ve heard most of?


But who cannot be impressed by a folk band doing heavy metal and calling themselves Def Shepherd … or the very wunnerful Ceilidh Minogue, Red Hot Chilli Pipers, Govan Spoonfull, Judas’s Carry-Oot … or, Glaswegian “Steps” tribute band “Stairs” and, pictured above, the superb “Jimi Shandrix Experience” … is that not a wee belter, eh?


My favourite non-Scottish acts are the Meatloaf tribute act, “Bat Out Of Hull”, Newcastle’s “Bon Geordie”, and the rather middle-class Oxford band, “By Jovi”

Anyway … that’s the selection to date … with thanx to all those who’ve contributed, and to Bigrab for giving me my favourite of the moment


Gallus Cooper





Two of my favourite fellow Scots, doing what they do best


The indomitable Big John, who got most if not all the whiskey, singing with the ever-wonderful Eddie Reader, and accompanied, as ever, by the melodic bass of Danny Thompson


Many moons ago, I was waiting to do a live BBC radio spot, and was well-thrilled to find that I was sharing the studio space, at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre, with John Martyn, and his band.

Having been a fan for over a decade, I was pleased to find John was great company … this was somewhat enhanced by the fact that he was still totally pissed from the previous night, as he had been drinking non-stop for over 12 hours!!  It was 10.00 am on a Tuesday morning, but to Mr Martyn it was an eternal weekend, or so it seemed.

As we did our rehearsals … me first, then John & the band … and awaited the live broadcast spot which was for 12 noon … the BBC producer, NIGEL … No, really!! … Nigel!!! … Nigel was really starting to annoy John with his wittering & worrying over John’s obviously pissed-drunk condition

Eventually, John threw down his Gibson guitar, swearing and shouting, and stormed offstage with a cry of:

“Fuck You, Nigel!! Me & Stu are out of here!”

Fuck! It was my first ever live-broadcast for the BBC … and I was looking forward to it … but, it was John Martyn!!

And he wanted me to go with him!!!!!

What should I do?

At that, Nigel rushed to my side, and frantically whispered:

“Go with him! And get him back here for transmission time … whatever it takes! Please?”

So … I fukked off after John Martyn … went to a nearby hotel with him, where he was staying, and we drank until it was nearly transmission time!

John then agreed … quite easily … to go back with me to the Tron

We walked in … sorry, I walked in, John staggered in … just as Nigel was pulling the last strands of hair from his trendy pony-tail, in nervous apoplexy …. John walked onstage, picked up his guitar, and proceeded to give an absolutely immaculate performance of “May You Never” … guitar & vocals perfect … absolutely gorgeous!!!!

And I sat stunned, as I watched a legend in action

I’ll always cherish that wee moment


ps I’ll keep my Eddie Reader story for another time


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