Posts Tagged ‘glasgow’

MY PHOTOS OF GLASGOW 1

2010-06-05

I was mesmerised by the pattern of light on an old brick building on Finnieston Street.  As the sun set, it reflected off the highly mirrored finish of the tall Sky Park building.

[davedevine's fone snap of Building on Finnieston Street]

I saw a similar effect on Gordon Street, with the Ca’D’oro building, along with rainbows and a nice reflection:

[davedevine's fone snap of Ca'D'oro building]

And again with the old Dental Hospital entrance up near the Art School.

[davedevine's dental hospital reflection]

As a result, I began to notice more and more the reflections on buildings’ surfaces. I noticed the Gaelic School reflected the RSNO building nicely.

[davedevines's picture of the RSNO reflection]

Churches make good subjects, so I took two pictures with my mobile phone one lunchtime on Bath Street.  The subject is Renfield St Stephen’s church restored spire.  There are two office blocks across the road, the first picture is 225 Bath Street’s entrance, which is clear glass.

[davedevine's fone snap of Renfield St Stephen reflected on 225 Bath St] [davedevine's fone snap of Renfield St Stephen reflected on office Block on Bath St]

The second picture shows the church reflected in the highly mirrored building directly across from the church.  I took another picture of this building from a different angle and disregarding the church’s reflection:

[davedevine's fone snap of office block on Bath St]

I realised that there are quite a lot of buildings that attempt to be invisible by being mirrored to reflect the Victorian surroundings.  In some cases the building is almost invisible when reflecting the sky:

[davedevine's fone snap of the Crowne Plaza]

Invisibility can make a building light and feint, and nonemoreso than the new Springburn College — known as North Glasgow College, which is formed in plan by two squashed boxes separated by a sharp or acute triangular portion. The pointed bit really is pointed, and vanishes into the sky, being mirrored on both sides.

[davedevine's photo of NGC point]

[davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College] [davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College] [davedevine's picture of North Glasgow College]

Sometimes a building will be shiny and silvery, but not really act like a mirror.  There is a very strange building in the IFSD:

[davedevine's picture of foil-wrapped building]

It is like a foil-wrapped building, and it still can reflect the sky to become almost invisible.  However, this picture was taken from a narrow lane at the rear of the building, so it mainly serves to reflect light into a dark area.

I like reflections of their own sake — buildings that were not designed to reflect can sometimes do so by virtue of their glazing — a=to great effect if what is reflected is noteworthy.  I spotted this window in the Park Circus area:

[davedevine's fonie snap of park circus reflection]

Another picture from the next street has a massive mirror to lend light and a feeling of spaciousness to a moat area:

[davedevine's fone snap of mirror at park circus]

The above point of the North Glasgow College, reminded me of a picture I took with an old Nokia phone of the Science Tower:

[davedevine's Nokia phone picture of Science Tower]

I like looking up at tall buildings; it certainly beats looking down!

[davdevine's mobile fone snap of office block] [davedevine's phone camera shot of flats on Broomielw] [davedevine's cameraphone snap of the Eagle Building]

[davedevine's fone snap of Beresford on sauchiehall st]

No article on pictures of Glasgow could miss out The Stobcross Crane or the Armadillo landmarks, and of course, the Clyde itself — perfect for reflections. These three cameraphone snaps were taken from the Squinty Bridge (Clyde Arc).

[davedevnie's sunrise over the clyde taken by phone camera]

[davedevine's Clyde Arena camera phone snap] [davedevine's fone snap of crane and clyde]

Hope you enjoyed seeing around my home city of Glasgow through my eyes and the lens of my old trusty Sony Ericsson phone. There are beautiful things all around us all the time — if you choose to look for them.

§

FRANKIE BOYLE

2009-09-22

[Picture of Frankie Boyle comedian]Frankie Boyle is brilliant.  He is the best part of “Mock The Week” — sooo acerbic!

He has a new book out soon called “My Shit Life So Far“, and I can hardly wait until 1st October (because that’s the date it will be available)! There’s no chance of seeing his run of live shows at The King’s Theatre next year as they are already sold out — but I like the fact that it’s called “I Would Happily Punch Every One of You In The Face Tour”. How “Frankie” is THAT?

Very few comedians make me laugh aloud, Frankie is one of them — and it’s guaranteed!

Embedded YouTube clip of Frankie Live at The Apollo December 2008

That’s just magic – “He looks like a sad face that somebody”s drawn on a scrotum” – sheer genius, and Abu Hamzar doing shadow puppetry with a hook for a right hand — fantastic. I don’t think he aims to be offensive, he’s just like blokes on the street in that respect — anything goes.  Most of the stuff on YouTube was cut from being broadcast.

Embedded YouTube clip of Frankie Live on “Mock The Week”

Like most comedians, once you get to know the material, you can hear the same gags re-used from time to time. But, with Frankie, it seems to me to be a two-way street; his quick-thinking wit informs his stand-up act as much as his stand-up repertoire provides gags for his on-the-spot stuff.

Where he falls down is his awareness of sensitivity — hence the legendary amount of outtakes and cuts.  I would guess that being aware of rules and suchlike would hinder his thought-processes to his detriment, so long-live Frankie Boyle’s free-flowing super-wit.

I love the reaction he gets from other comedians on “Mock The Week”; that really shows how “Out There” Frankie gets.

§

POETRY RETURNS

2009-05-07

I have a real passion for poetry — and I always have.  Poetry is something that comforted me as a child, and that grew along with me into adulthood.  I have written and read screeds of poems throughout my life, and I even studied it at university level, which made me too much of a critic for too long.

The poems that earned me money, the great many that were actually published over the years, were not, in my opinion, my best work.  Very far from it. In fact, I developed a bit of a chip on my shoulder about what I had done, and I began a long period of trying to distance myself from “all that”! I used to spend hours on-line, quarrelling with people about their poetry, conjuring up my daemonic “Rhyme-Rage” on occasion!

But I have since changed my stance, I have softened, perhaps worn down by time. I have recently allowed myself to accept myself in this respect, and to accept what other people are doing; poetry ought to be maintained, encouraged and relished once more.

Those of you reading this may remember my original web site had a great deal of poetry, and since that site died, I have been trying to transfer everything over to this site (including the comments).  So far (according to my tag cloud), Poetry is my biggest category here — and that’s quite right, for what is dave devine without poetry?  Everyone who knows me, knows how important poetry and language is and has been to me.  Here’s a list of what I have available on site right now:

Sadly, that is all I have managed to do since starting this new site back in November 2008.  There is so much still to do, and I promise that I will do as much as my busy life will allow.  Please be patient, and keep checking back from time to time — remember RSS feeds probably won’t work, and neither will search engines like Google — because I am deliberately trying to date each one according to the old site’s structure.

Anyway, having explained all that, we can now turn to the subject of this post — POETRY IS BACK.

Poetry Season is an initiative to bring poetry to the forefront for a while, and the BBC (and celebs) are behind it.  The season climaxes on National Poetry Day in October, and (according to the BBC’s press release)  it all begins next Monday — 18 May 2009.  Please check out the website: bbc.co.uk/poetryseason.

On top of that, history was made recently — Ms.Carol Ann Duffy OBE has become the first female Poet Laureate in the post’s 341-year history.  She’s the latest in a line of poets which began with John Dryden and has included such famous poets as William Wordsworth, Alfred Lord Tennyson and John Betjeman. It used to be a job for life, but new rules mean that it has a ten-year tenure: Andrew Motion was Poet laureate from 1999 – 2009.

Not only is she the first female, but the 53-year old, was raised as a Roman Catholic in Glasgow.

This is an outstanding achievement in so many ways, a woman was unthinkable for so many years, let alone a Scot, but a Roman Catholic is a revolution (the last Roman Catholic was Dryden, and he was sacked as a result) — and it is simply because she is so good; she is a poetry superstar!

So to celebrate, here’s my favourite Duffy…

Mrs Lazarus

I had grieved. I had wept for a night and a day
over my loss, ripped the cloth I was married in
from my breasts, howled, shrieked, clawed
at the burial stones until my hands bled, retched
his name over and over again, dead, dead.

Gone home. Gutted the place. Slept in a single cot,
widow, one empty glove, white femur
in the dust, half. Stuffed dark suits
into black bags, shuffled in a dead man’s shoes,
noosed the double knot of a tie around my bare neck,

gaunt nun in the mirror, touching herself. I learnt
the Stations of Bereavement, the icon of my face
in each bleak frame; but all those months
he was going away from me, dwindling
to the shrunk size of a snapshot, going,

going. Till his name was no longer a certain spell
for his face. The last hair on his head
floated out from a book. His scent went from the house.
The will was read. See, he was vanishing
to the small zero held by the gold of my ring.

Then he was gone. Then he was legend, language;
my arm on the arm of the schoolteacher-the shock
of a man’s strength under the sleeve of his coat-
along the hedgerows. But I was faithful
for as long as it took. Until he was memory.

So I could stand that evening in the field
in a shawl of fine air, healed, able
to watch the edge of the moon occur to the sky
and a hare thump from a hedge; then notice
the village men running towards me, shouting,

behind them the women and children, barking dogs,
and I knew. I knew by the sly light
on the blacksmith’s face, the shrill eyes
of the barmaid, the sudden hands bearing me
into the hot tang of the crowd parting before me.

He lived. I saw the horror on his face.
I heard his mother’s crazy song. I breathed
his stench; my bridegroom in his rotting shroud,
moist and dishevelled from the grave’s slack chew,
croaking his cuckold name, disinherited, out of his time.

The new Poet Laureate has her own website: www.carolannduffy.co.uk, please visit and support her. She is not restricted to poetry, and is well known as a children’s author, playwright and lyricist!

Who knows, maybe the new Poet laureate and this year’s Poetry Season will create something really special.  I do hope so.

§

DAVID SHRIGLEY

2009-03-10

Shrigley has always entertained, always managed to make me laugh. Well, that is, ever since I saw an article on him in the Guardian back in 2005 or 2006.

[Picture of Shrigley's Ignore this building SECC Armadillo]He’s got a funny website, funnily enough called www.davidshrigley.com. And funnily enough, he lives and works in Glasgow and declares himself to be a Glasgow Artist, even though he’s fay Macclesfield.

Fair enough; after all he did go to the school of art. He does wee cartoons for the Guardian, and he’s responsible for Jason Mraz’s latest album being called after one of his pieces: “We sing. We Dance. We Steal Things”.

[Picture of David Shrigley Art Please don not return] [Picture of David Shrigley Art - Beach with wee faces]

Sure, you can always argue about “what is art” and “What art ought to be” — and maybe Dave’s stuff is not art.  Maybe it is. Maybe it is called art because there is no better word, or because art is a catchall word for this sort of thing these days.

But for me, whatever Dave does, it is interesting, thought-provoking, unusual, enlightening, mischievous, fun, funny, and very entertaining.  To draw wee faces on pebbles on the beach, or to put up notices may seem childish or affected, but it’s less pretentious then most other art today, and too good to be dismissed as merely childish.  Too mature to be immatute — if you take my meaning.  It’s one level past that at least.

Anyway, enjoy Dave Shrigley (what else can you do with him?).

§

GLESGA

2008-06-09

Glasgow should be a city state — its own country; it’s so completely different from Scotland.  Now, it has to be admitted that I was born and grew up in Renfrewshire, which is near Glasgow.  However that’s a mere detail; Glasgow is not restricted to political boundaries.  A good way to determine whether somewhere is in Glasgow or Scotland, or whether someone is Scottish or Glaswegian, is to listen to how they speak; Glaswegians do not say “Ken”, instead they say “y’know” (which means the same thing).  In Glasgow, something is “Big” where in Scotland it is “muckle”.  A ‘weegie will say something is “good” or “great”, while a Scot will say the same thing is “braw” or “bonnie”.

The Scots have a passion for comics and cartoons, mainly the city of Dundee — the home of “The Beano”, “The Dandy”, “Oor Wullie”, and “The Broons“.

The characters in “Oor Wullie” and “The Broons” are Scottish — NOT Glaswegian; they say “ye ken”, they say “muckle” and “braw” and the chat is closer to Swedish than English. (Swedish for “Muckle” is “Myket”, “Brå” is “Braw”).

Glasgow was once the second city of the British Empire (after London, of course).  As the British empire was the biggest empire in history, it therefore follows that Glasgow was once the second biggest and most important place on planet Earth.  It was MASSIVE — five football teams and millions of people — in tenements marked out on a North-South-East-West road grid system.  It had trams, buses, ferries, bridges, tunnels, trains, and was the first place outside of London to have an underground train system.  in fact, Glasgow has a subway as well as low level trains!

Naturally, the people had an ATTITUDE — a swaggering approach to life — and a very famous sense of humour.  Comedians used to be afraid to play Glasgow as the hecklers were funnier than the acts!

Stanley Baxter and others used to make fun of the Scots — especially regarding how measly Scots were with money!  This native Scottish thrift is forever remembered in Glasgow by virtue of a bridge — the train bridge going south over Argyle Street from Central Station — for it is known as the “Heilanman’s umbrella” (Highland man’s umbrella — making fun of the Scottish misers from “up North” who wouldnt’ spend money on an umbrella, and would instead stand under a bridge to keep dry).

Glasgow was world-famous for it’s city-wide sense of humour — Stanley Baxter, Chic Murray, Francie and Josie, Billy Connolly, Arnold Brown, Rab C. Nesbit, Hector Nicol, and Lex Mclean, and can still raise a laugh today  — Rory Bremner, Frankie Boyle, John Sessions, Jerry Sadowitz, Armando Iannucci, Chewin’ The Fat, Karen Dunbar, Alan Cumming,  and Still Game.

Classic Glesga music hall “Francie and Josie”:

Here’s a wee taste of some recent stuff from the brilliant Chewin’ The Fat…

Making fun of the famous gangland culture — No mean City, with “The Big Man” —

— and taking the piss out of the Scots is still done — check out Karen Dunbar’s hilarious Teuchter Schoolteacher in a Glesga school (note also: Thomas Devine’s “Gypsy Haircut” LOL)…

And to finish, the (in)famous stonner/ stawner…

For me, the good old days of Glasgow humour was epitomised by the likes of cartoonist Bud Neill and Tom Shields’s Diary in The Herald.

§

GUS AND FIN

2007-02-19

There’re a couple of Glaswegian Ukelele players taking You Tube by storm! Gus and Fin are their names. Yes, I know that the Ukelele is not usually thought-of as the most rock’n’roll of instruments, it’s not usually considered “cool” — until maybe now!

[embedded video “Are Friends Electric” on youtube.com]

They have taken the You Tube philosophy on board — they are broadcasting themselves — and it’s fabulous!  I love ’em.  It shows that mad hairy Glasgow drunken fools can have a laugh — and entertain.

[embedded video “Down Down” on youtube.com]

Fin has his own YouTube channel — www.youtube.com/FinRaucous, and Rumproast has quite a few of the videos — www.rumproast.com.

§

CADO BELLE

2005-03-14

[Picture of Maggie Reilly of Cado Belle]In the mid 1970s, I had a girlfriend who bought me the self-titled Cado Belle album. She was in a bit of a scene, I think her brother was pals with their sax player, Colin Tully or something.

We used to bump into various members of Cado Belle all the time — for example, I can remember one time we went to a new place called “The Hot House” to see Kim Beacon and grab something to eat.  Colin played the sax, and Alan Darby was blinding on guitar.  I always liked Alan’s playing, especially the solo on “Nightbird” from “Ravenna”. It was a blinder of a gig — the venue was great, the food was superb, and the gig was wonderful and probably one of my all-time-faves as it happens.

Anyway, I got to know that Cado Belle album very well over the years, and Maggie Reilly really is very unappreciated in my opinion.  What a great singer, and what good songs too.  Maybe a bit dated now, but nevertheless, they are intelligent and wry: none of the lowest common denominator here.  Full on lyrics, key changes, tempo changes, cute bridges, intros, fade-outs, harmonies, lush arrangements. A tour de force of an album.

What is it with Glasgow that they never celebrate talent?  Maggie would definitely get a star on Glasgow Walk of Fame. Definitely. Hey, maybe we ought to start a campaign for Sauchiehall Street!

Alan Darby and Colin Tully went on, if memory serves me well, to write and play the soundtrack for  the movie, “Gregory’s Girl”.  That must have made them a few bob so that’s something at least.

[Edit: 2010-01-14:

[embedded video from Youtube.com]

/Edit]

§

THE BLUE NILE

2004-07-17

[Picture of The Blue Nile]It seems that you either love The Blue Nile, or you hate them.  That in itself is “A Good Thing”, in my opinion; they don’t seem to me to be striving for global domination, pop stardom or chart success.

I think of them as a Glasgow band, even though Paul Buchanan is from Edinburgh, but all three members graduated from Glasgow Uni, Vocalist/ guitarist Buchanan in English Literature, bass-player Bell in Electronics and synth-player Moore in Maths. But when they formed, they were getting nowhere fast.

At this point, a slight detour is required because you have to know about Ivor Tiefenbrun.

You see, Tiefenbrun was a local character — he started out working with his Dad’s company — Castle Precision Engineering — probably so named because it was set up near Castlemilk, Cathcart Castle and Linn Park in Glasgow.

Ivor and his brother Marcus managed to precision engineer one of the world’s finest hi-fidelity turntables.  They immediately set up their own company, called Linn Products to produce the legendary Linn Sondek LP12. Each one was incredibly expensive, but Ivor was a renowned perfectionist (and was closely involved in every step of the production process).  They eventually moved away from the tough Castlemilk area of Glasgow, to the genteel small conservation village of Eaglesham.

Many of the Hi-fi enthusiasts I knew back then had special 12 inch diameter vinyl LP discs for testing quality of tracking, rumble and so forth. I have heard demonstrations of an LP played on a Linn Sondek and also on another turntable, and I was able to hear violin sections on the Linn, but not on the inferior turntable.  Seriously.

So anyway, as I remember it, and as legend would have it, Ivor and Linn wanted to make a record that would show up the frequency handling capabilities of their turntables, and so they advertised and held auditions, and The Blue Nile were chosen.

Linn — the hi-fi equipment manufacturer — set up a special record label (Linn Records) for their single, solitary act, The Blue Nile.

So, with Nigel Thomas on drums, they set to work in Castle studios with Callum Malcolm, and of course, we were all buzzing — what would it be like?  We knew it would be synthesiser music, but would it be pop or dance or what?  None of these guys had much of a local reputation for being any good at actually playing instruments, so the main rumours going round were that The Blue Nile were not going to be a “real” band — there would be no interviews, no miming TV promotions, and no live gigs!

[Picture of A Walk Through the Rooftops - The Blue Nile Lp Cover]The photograph of the album cover was taken in Govanhill, at the site of an old Baptist Church!  The rumour mill went into overdrive!

When “A Walk Across The Rooftops” appeared in 1983, it was totally perfect (as one would expect with Ivor involved).  It was all done within a tone of D! The arrangements are sparse — with lots of empty space to reveal hiss on cheap equipment, but remember, it was not meant to be pop or to sell well, but to sell equipment. Nevertheless, it slowly began to climb sales charts — particularly in mainland Europe!

Linn gained confidence and began making statements in the press to the effect that CDs were rubbish and a passing fad, and that a track from The Blue Nile played on their equipment was far better than the CD version played on a Phillips CD player!

Linn were wrong, and within 5 or six years, CDs had all but killed off vinyl and Hi-fidelity equipment.  Turntables and vinyl were still around, but for use by club DJs for live mixing and scratching hip hop and dance music, rather than by hi-fi buffs listening to classical at home.

The irony was that The Blue Nile’s second album “Hats”, sold shedloads as a CD!  Ironic when you know that the reason for their existence was to feature the sonic properties of a turntable for playing vinyl LPs! It went into the charts everywhere — even the USA. Linn started making CD players, but it seems that Ivor was actually right, and that, with today’s MP3s, the days of the CD are numbered.

All the above is background.  I like to set you up in the scene. There are real people, Glasgow is real, there are a lot of very creative people mixing it up — we’d all just come out of very tough times of high unemployment, the threat of nuclear holocaust, punk — and we were rebuilding Glasgow, stone cleaning, grants for back court improvements, new windows, heating, regenerating the river. The European City of Architecture, the European City of Culture and the Garden Festival were on the horizon, and things were looking bright and sunny and on the up.

“A Walk Across The Rooftops” was different — unique, and incredibly sad.  Deep feelings are explored in this album, and deep feelings are engendered in the listener.  It’s perhaps best described as Paul singing amidst a cacophony of sounds and noises. This record sounded like nothing else.

Of course, the music press clamoured to get interviews — to find out what it was all about, but The Blue Nile are “reclusive”.  I love that.  Yeah, let the music speak for itself.  It is supposed to show off posh hi-fi gear and be aimed at a market of discerning adults with lots of money and good taste, so the less said the better.

OK, now to get personal.  I didn’t own a Linn Sondek, but I had a shy, geeky pal who had a Michell Focus One with an SME headshell blah, blah, blah, and while I was good with it all,  I didn’t really “get it”… until that is, “Hats“.

My father had died pretty much at the same time as my ten-year-long relationship ended. Can you imagine where my head was? I got “Hats” on CD  when it came out, and was surprised that they had added a couple of other keys! I then got the first album on CD a couple of weeks later.

Basically, what I am saying is that I couldn’t listen to The Blue Nile for about ten years — simply because of the heart-ache it conjured up; it rips my heart out like nothing else. It definitely suited my mood and my situation at that time.

I can listen to these two albums now, I can even enjoy them again, but — y’know, sometimes they can still catch me off-guard, like when they just come on the radio unexpectedly — or they get a track played in a bar or even a shop… I’ve seen me having to excuse myself and vanish to the gents or outside for some fresh air because of the raw heart-wrenching emotions their music can evoke. I have to be prepared to listen to The Blue Nile.

The Blue Nile are a dangerous band.  I can be touched by Jackson Browne, or Steve Earle, (and I know people are touched by Leonard Cohen and even Dylan), but not to the extremes, not to the core of the void that The Nile can evoke within seconds!

I love The Blue Nile. I hate The Blue Nile. I feel close and connected to The Blue Nile. I cannot bring myself to go see their rare concerts. WOW, what a band, eh? Powerful stuff.

I know they have done a couple of albums since, but I missed out on them.  Maybe I will get around to checking them out someday.

  • A Walk Across The Rooftops — D major;
  • Tinseltown in The Rain — D major;
  • From Rags to Riches — E major;
  • Stay — Eb major
  • Easter Parade — E major;
  • Heatwave — D major;
  • Automobile Noise — G major.

Hats:-

  • Over The Hillside — D major;
  • The Downtown Lights — E major;
  • Let’s Go Out Tonight – Emajor;
  • Headlights on The Parade — A major;
  • From a Late Night Train — C major;
  • Seven A.M — A major;
  • Saturday Night — A major.

That’s the two albums I know well.  There is no “worst track”; all are equally brilliant.  They have taken great pains over each and every sound recorded and reproduced, each and every word.  You know this is a quality product, this is high standards, music that takes years to make by a mathematics graduate, an English literature graduate and an electronics graduate, come ON, this is stuff that has been analysed and agonised over.  It is high art indeed.  But for all the cerebral qualities, it can strike you right in the heart.

Check out this heart-wrenching advert: http://tinyurl.com/qqe39q

As for their name, well I heard it was because there was a pub in Glasgow called The Blue Nile at the time –and that that in turn was chosen because Glasgow’s river Clyde is for Scotland what the Nile was for Egypt — with the addition of “Blues”, which is most likely a reference to Glasgow Rangers than Blues music.  The Blue Nile was also a travel book by Australian newspaper man Alan Moorehead (he also wrote The White Nile), but these were published twenty years beforehand, and don’t seem to have any relevance to anything, and so I would think it unlikely be responsible for the band’s (or pub’s) name.

§

CINDERS MCLEOD

2003-09-11

I have always enjoyed Cinders’s “Broomie Law” cartoons in the Herald.  I know she lives in Glasgow with her husband and kids, and I think she’s about the same age as me, and that’s about it — apart from a rumour that she’s originally from Canada.

There are not as many female cartoonists and comic book artists around, for some unknown reason.  Maybe Cinders can be a role model!

[Picture of Cinders Mcleod comic strip] [Picture of Cinders Mcleod comic strip]

She has managed to be witty AND have a female voice, at the risk of being all lesbiany and suffragetty, and has great observations about the weird modern world we inhabit.  She’s a real treasure… and she ought to be better kent (famous). Anyway, I’m doing my bit on my blog, hope it helps!

§

JIMMY DEWAR

2002-11-03

This is so strange, but earlier this year, May or early June I think, we flagged a black cab on Clyde street.  I can’t remember where we were going or anything, but I do remember that the cabbie was all in black.  We got chatting — as y’do — it’s always the same in taxis, isn’t it? Anyway, the chap had noticed the guitar cases and said that he’d just been to a funeral.  I think he said it was his sister’s brother or something like that. He said that his deceased relative was a musician, but he didn’t think we’d have heard of him.

He said he was big in the ’states, but almost unknown back home here in Glasgow.  I said

“Try me”

Jimmy Dewar” he said, turning the cab past the Clutha Vaults.

“Oh yes, the singer and bassist with Robin Trower?”

“Eh? You’ve heard of him then?”

“Oh aye, he had a BRILLIANT voice, bit like Paul Rogers — you know ‘Free’?, dark chocolate or whisky and cigarettes.  Oh what a shame! I didn’t know he’d died.”

“Aye, that’s him”

“Jings, he couldn’t have been that old, what was it he died of?”

“Complications after surgery I think, and naw, he wasn’t that old, you’re right enough”

“Aw, man, the more I think about it, the more gutted I am; you’d have thought the papers or telly or somthing would have made more of a bit deal.  Jeez!”

“It was a right celebrity funeral though”

“Oh was it?”

“Oh aye, stars galore!  And that wee tramp Lulu was there as well”

“Eh? Lulu? A tramp? You have to be kiddin’!”

“Whit? Where have you been hidin’ ?  You must be the only person in Glasgow who’s not shagged her, or at least the only person in Glasgow that’s not heard about it.  She’s well known for being like that.”

“Bloody hell, what a life-changing taxi ride this is” I said as he pulled up to a halt.

I handed over the money shown on the meter plus the usual pound on top of the “keep the change” tip, and he drove off.

Who knew?  Lulu was “a raver”, and Jimmy Dewar had died.  I mentioned this to some folks, and yes, it seemed that everyone in the town knew what Lulu was like — although not many even knew who Jimmy Dewar was. But he old timers remembered Jimmy from the strange “Burns Howff” era of Glasgow musical history — Maggie Bell, Alex Harvey, Simple Minds, Stone the Crows, and Frankie Miller.

I guess it was a scene of sorts. I was too young for that scene, and I am not really into that kind of music, but I do feel that it is a shame that we don’t recognise these people better.

I DID like Robin Trower, and I really did like Jimmy’s vocals and bass lines… goodness it got me through school, and I definitely would have bought a ticket had they gigged (so many old timers are still gigging), so it is a personal loss of sorts.

For a long time I played in a trio — and so I have always been attentive to successful trios, and The Police, Cream, Hendrix and Trower are all up there as shining examples to follow.

One chap in a bar we played in over in Woodlands tonight (during one of our Sunday sessions with Chic Henderson) said that he was pretty sure Jimmy Dewar started off his career as Lulu’s bass player.  I was relieved to hear this; it meant that it was possible that the link between Lulu and the great Jimmy Dewar could be JUST musical/ professional!

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