Jun

04

Are ye dancing?

“Are ye dancing?” “Are ye asking?” When I was a schoolboy, I saw Francie and Josie deliver this routine at Perth Theatre. Dressed in vivid Teddy-boy suits, the Scots comedy duo – aka Rikki Fulton and Jack Milroy – lampooned the Scottish dancehall mating ritual. Fresh from the searing humiliation of Scottish country dancing classes […]

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Apr

29

Jazzed up

I don’t like jazz. I don’t like it in the way that The Boomtown Rats didn’t like Mondays and that I, in turn, didn’t like the Boomtown Rats. It’s a personal, visceral thing. Of course, everybody likes Ella and Louis. (That’s Fitzgerald and Armstrong for anyone under 40.) And I love Billie Holiday, mostly because […]

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Apr

02

“It’s a drag, innit?”

In Paul McCartney’s house in Liverpool, the wallpaper in the living room doesn’t go all the way round. The room is half-decorated in an exotic Japanesey bamboo print which gives way to a couple of different, cheaper papers. If done up as intended, the effect might have been fairly chi chi for a small council […]

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Mar

10

How easy is it to get banned from the BBC?

The BBC is a hotbed of radicalism, isn’t it? The licence-fee funded broadcaster is full of lefties, anarchists and unbelievers, all committed to the downfall of civilisation and right-thinking religiosity. Or so you might think, if you listened to the persistent propaganda from this country’s right-wing politicians and press. Yet, a simple glance at the […]

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Feb

13

David Bowie Is…

That’s the title of an exhibition of the rock star’s artefacts which opens next week at London’s V&A Museum. Even at £40 a ticket, it’s the fastest, biggest, best-selling show in British art history. After ten years in self-imposed retirement, and two years secretly recording his new critically-acclaimed album, there’s now a frenzied re-examination of […]

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Mar

27

Goodbye Mr Mackenzie

The note in his hand simply said “I’m sorry”. He was found, in the garden shed at his father’s house, wrapped in a blanket with a family photograph album in his arms. That year, Billy Mackenzie was just one of 655 men to kill themselves in Scotland. Today would have been his birthday. But it’s […]

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Jun
08

Obsession Magnificent

If you recognise the headline, then you won’t need anyone to tell you what this note is about. Baffled? It’s about Billy Mackenzie. Who? The Associates. Nope? Jeezy Peeps, as Oor Wullie might say. You can find a few Mackenzie-esque gems on YouTube – of which this from French TV is my favourite. The video […]

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Feb
07

James Grant – Strange Flowers

James Grant. Strange Flowers. Possibly the best album ever made by a Scottish artist. Buy it now at www.verticalrecords.co.uk

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Jan
07

Sadie’s Story Music

Sadie’s Story An excerpt from the beautiful, sad, sweet orchestral score composed by James Grant for the film Sadie’s Story, directed by Pete Martin.

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Dec
09

Headin’ For a Gig

Here’s the video I shot for Scottish pop legends Hue & Cry (aka Pat and Greg Kane). The tune – Headin’ For A Fall – is a slab of 70’s-Stevie-Wonder-style funk shot through with that same sense of righteous anger Stevie was once able to summon up, before the lurid clothing and schmaltz got in […]

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