With it being Shirl’s birthday on Friday and with Caravan Palace pulling out of their planned Friday night gig for Celtic Connections in Glasgow she had to do something to celebrate. So Sharon, Jamie and I helped her get unco fu at our wee local instead.
|The wee local at Wellgate head. You need to limbo dance out the door. Big beer bellies get stuck here.|
Maisie’s is a bit shit just now if I’m really honest.
Used to be a good cool crowd that drunk there (ok, ok there were the usual drunk aggressive numpties too). But it was young. Or if it wasn’t young, it was right on the money when it came to music. Mostly.
Meg’s and Charlotte’s barmaid nights were rich trips through the new and the old. You’d get Bowie played next to Florence and the Machine. Or Buckley (either) and slit yer wrists Nick Drake right next to Prodigy. John Martyn and Danny Thompson with a bit of Fleet Foxes. Johnny Cash and Biffy Clyro. The stupendous Mogwai. The delicate wit of Divine Comedy. Villagers and Arcade Fire. Queens of the Stone Age (yes, Meg, I count them too).
Meg and Charlotte have moved on. As they always needed to.
|Meg and Berlin.|
Charlotte has finished the music degree and is gigging about 20 hours a day (really, she is). The girl is a stunning guitarist and her voice is honey and broken glass. Astonishing range and an emotional depth that can only increase with her age. Lanark gets the treat of her and Jaz (soon to be a Daddy Jaz and getting anxious about how to be a good ‘un) singing their own stuff usually the last Thursday of the month at The Crown.
|Charlotte and Jaz – taken last year for Lanark’s Music Festival. This photo makes them look very clean and tidy and square. And they’re not.|
And they’ve been replaced by lovely lassies who’ve a taste in Guns n Roses. Status Quo. And Leo F’ing Sayer.
We staggered down to Shirl’s at last orders. I had a Baileys for the road. Shirls and Sharon decided they’d have coffee and cheese n biscuits (those were tasty crackers, Shirls) and we got into music we liked.
Trip down memory lane stuff.
Kate Bush. Just the best. But be warned this youtube vid is of the whole album…
Divine Comedy. Playing by the Seine. A Lady of a Certain Age. My favourite.
Moving Hearts – ripping off Christy Moore. Controversial vid for this part of the world…
Prince. ‘I bet he’s a tosser.’ (Jamie you really don’t like the man. eh?) But that music is sex. Maybe not this one mind. My jury’s still out on the new album.
Queens of the Stone Age. This I played myself out loud on the iPhone on the way home. Meg – I played it for you, to try to understand what you saw in them. Sorry kid. I still don’t really.
Jamie did his usual naked streak. We shrug shoulders and go on munching crackers and brie.
At 3am I thought I’d brave the cold. From Shirl’s it’s only a mile and half drop to the bottom of the valley and home.
I crunched over old snow to get from the farm to the road end. Then I walked, hearing only the soft sound of my boots on the tarmac, until I got to the head of New Lanark and the top of a steep descent into darkness, trees, phosphorescent lights and kamikaze badgers.
It’s at that bend in the road – from open land to steep drop – that I always steel myself.
One night, years ago, I was followed down by some man I couldn’t recognise. I was drunk and as my feet got quicker, his did too. I ran the last half mile. The fear pounding in my ear drums until I got to my door.
My neighbour came to see me the next day. Was I ok? He’d tried to catch me up last night but couldn’t…
My walk home on Friday was a peaceful one. There was that heavy sound of nature’s silence. Dundaff Linn and the Clyde thundering, full of snow waters. Occasional twig snapping in the undergrowth either side of me. I listened to Villagers. It seemed the right thing to do.
And Joselito Montoya. Camaron de la Isla. Tomatito. Flamenco. Avoid the shitty commercial sentimental stuff that tries to straddle ‘pop’ and go for the screaming and swirling and then just surrender to it.
Joselito sang me into the darkness.
When I got in I remembered Elvis. I rejected him years ago. With all the energy and vigour that a teenager rebelling against Ma and Pa’s ‘type’ of music could muster. I’m getting old. Or I’m changing. Or something. He’s better than I thought. And oh my god he was good looking.
That’s Alright Mama.
Then sleep, with a pint tumbler of water beside me.