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

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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Oct
31

X-Factor? Zzzzz-factor more like.

The X-Factor sucks. A lot of people watch it. Simon Cowell has made a lot of cash out of it. But it still sucks. And not just because I think the talent doesn’t have any. The sheer cynicism of the show has corroded the soul of the old ‘Opportunity Knocks’ format and left us with […]

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