Kelvingrove organist’s Bowie tribute

The organist at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow played Life on Mars today as a tribute to David Bowie and a chap called Gordon Wilson was smart enough to film it on his phone. The organ obviously isn’t the best instrument to play it on, but he makes a good job of it I think. The organ is played every day at the same time, but the last time we were there, when we had Peggy from the US with us, we weren’t lucky enough to hear it.

David Bowie 1947 – 2016

I blogged about David Bowie once before, early on in ‘Pining’s’ career, but I can hardly believe that I woke up to the news of his death this morning. So sad, for me he was much more important than John Lennon and streets ahead of Elvis Presley. Bowie was an all round genius as well as a being a good guy, those two things aren’t often found wrapped up inside the one body.

It was T.Rex and Marc Bolan who first got me interested in music as a real fan. As an eleven year old my bedroom wall was plastered with posters of them, mainly pulled out from the middle pages of Jackie magazine. But I grew out of T.Rex fairly quickly and moved on to Bowie. It helped that my older brother is a Bowie fan so he was playing his music full blast a lot of the time. It would have been murder if I hadn’t liked the music.

So I’ve been a fan since the early days, and I’m so glad that I was there to witness Bowie’s early years. It would have been awful if I had not been able to witness the development of his career first hand, mainly through his performances on TV. In fact I never did get to see him live, my mother wouldn’t let me go to his Ziggy Stardust gig in Glasgow when I was 13. I was desperate to see him then and in later years we didn’t live close enough to any venues, and probably couldn’t afford it then, way back in the days when people paid for everything with cash, and did without if they didn’t have the cash.

Suffice to say that in the grey days of early 1970s Britain, when we had political strife and umpteen strikes leading to regular power cuts, Bowie and the Spiders from Mars were something to behold when they exploded onto our TV screens.

Unlike T.Rex, there was no danger of growing out of Bowie as he was ever changing, constantly developing and maturing, like all the best things.

I still can’t believe that he has gone.

Starman is an early favourite.

When I came out of hospital with my first son in 1986 it was Absolute Beginners which was in the charts, which is exactly what we were, new parents and clueless, but we managed to muddle through!

Another of my early favourites is what I call Tactful Cactus from the Hunky Dory album, but it’s called Eight Line Poem.

And from 1974, Lulu Singing The Man Who Sold the World which was written and produced by David Bowie, who also sang the backing track with Mick Ronson.

When I was a Boy by Jeff Lynne

Jeff Lynne of ELO fame has a new single out called When I was a Boy. I heard it on the radio for the first time last week, and in my semi somnus state ( it was on the clock radio which had just woken me) I was thinking, – who is that singing? it isn’t Julian Lennon or Sean, but it sounds so Beatle-ish. Jeff Lynne has never made a secret of his love of The Beatles’ work so I should have realised it would be him, I suppose it’s an homage to them, whatever, I really like it – do you?

It sounds like the audio version of a patchwork quilt made up from bits of your family’s old clothes, a beloved memory in every piece.

White Christmas by The Drifters and Clyde McPhatter

I was listening to Radio Scotland the other day when this version of White Christmas was played, the DJ recommended that we have a look at it on You Tube, so I did and thought you might enjoy it too.

The Drifters with Clyde McPhatter

Christmas Carols

Jack’s 60th birthday is almost over and as usual I’m shattered before I even start cooking the Christmas dinner. Having a birthday so close to Christmas is a pain for all concerned as there’s no point in going out for a meal due to everywhere having a Christmas menu at the moment, so I’ve been in the kitchen for a large part of the day. Heigh ho – part two tomorrow, the kids are all here so what more could I want?!

Well some Christmas carols would be welcome, although I’m not at all religious I do love carols and a good sing song is the one thing which I miss about not going to church.

So here is the King’s College Cambridge choir, the beginning of it reminds me of our trip there earlier in the year, although we didn’t go on a punt as it was chucking it down with rain when we were there.

Fisherman’s Blues – by The Waterboys

We were driving back home from Perth this evening, listening to Brian Burnett’s (pronounced Burnit) show Get It On on Radio Scotland when he played Fisherman’s Blues by The Waterboys. You can always tell when a band is Scottish or Irish, that Celtic lilt just screams out at you!

Lovely stuff, the only down side was that as we were in the car we couldn’t dance to it, we’ve made up for that now though!

Shetland Folk Festival 2013

Well, the Shetland Folk Festival has come and gone, if you want to see and hear some of the music which featured in it – have a look here.

I’m not a crazy folky myself, although I do like it I wouldn’t go out of my way to hear it. One of my brothers absolutely despises (his word) all Scottish music, and just about foams at the mouth at the first squeeze of an accordion, it’s hilarious. But he is a massive Stranglers fan and follows them all over the place, even abroad. I must admit that I would probably choose to listen to The Stranglers rather than the old fashioned kind of traditional Scottish music.

Marc Bolan, T. Rex, Hot Love

Because I have siblings who are a lot older than me, I grew up hearing the music of the early Beatles, Rolling Stones, The Kinks and such, in fact one of my earliest memories is of Helen listening to Up on the Roof by The Drifters on our Dansette record player. But when I was getting on for being a teenager myself it was T.Rex and Marc Bolan in particular who had me starry eyed.

My bedroom walls were completely plastered with their posters and it was a great week if the middle poster of Jackie magazine was one of T.Rex.

It was the early 1970s and all of my friends were into The Osmonds, Jackson Five, Michael and Donny, Mark Lester and even what Jack calls Scotland’s Shame – The Bay City Rollers. But I was the only discerning one and was into T. Rex right from their beginning.

It’s sad to think that they are all long dead now, but here they are with Hot Love. I would have liked Ride a White Swan but couldn’t find a good version of it. As you can see, it was the year of hot pants and Pan’s People are shaking their stuff.

Who did you have stuck to your bedroom walls?

And if you don’t know what Up on the Roof sounds like, here it is. I’ve just realised that I must have been 3 years old when I first heard it!

Good Morning Britain by Aztec Camera and Scottish Independence

Well the date has been set for the Scottish Independence referendum, it’ll take place on 18th, September 2014. Already there have been quite a few programmes on about it with talking heads all trying to get us to do whatever it is they want. It’ll be interesting to see how the campaign unfolds. One thing I do know for sure – if we are inundated by Tory toffs telling us what to do – it’ll be fatal for the union!

Apparently most women are undecided, me included and I suspect I might still be undecided when I walk into the voting booth to cast my vote. I must admit that I’m nostalgic for a Britain which doesn’t actually exist any more, which you probably guessed from all the old books which I read. Just as a matter of interest, as we’re all obsessed with the weather in the UK, according to Angela Thirkell’s books the summers weren’t any better way back in the 30s,40s and 50s. I know, that’s me going off at a tangent again, it’s just that it’s so much colder here than it should be at this time of the year and we’ll probably have a white Easter!

Anyway, I like Aztec Camera, a Scottish band from the 1980s. Have a listen to Good Morning Britain, the lyrics are definitely not upbeat, but the tune is. The film running behind them is interesting.

Songwriters: FRAME, RODDY
Words and music by roddy frame

Jock’s got a vote in parochia
Ten long years and he’s still got her
Paying tax and and doing stir
Worry about it later.
And the wind blows hot and the wind blows cold
But it blows us good so we’ve been told
Music’s food ’til the art-biz folds
Let them all eat culture.

The past is steeped in shame,
But tomorrow’s fair game,
For a life that’s fit for living
Good morning britain.

Twenty years and a loaded gun
Funerals, fear and the war ain’t won
Paddy’s just a figure of fun
It lightens up the danger.
And a corporal sneers at a catholic boy
And he eyes his gun like a rich man’s toy
He’s killing more than celtic joy
Death is not a stranger.

Taffy’s time’s gonna come one day
It’s a loud sweet voice and it won’t give way
A house is not a holiday
Your sons are leaving home neil.
In the hills and the valleys and far away
You can hear the song of democracy
The echo of eternity
With a rak-a-rak-a feel.


From the tyne to where to the thames does flow
My english brothers and sisters know
It’s not a case of where you go
It’s race and creed and colour.
From the police cell to the deep dark grave
On the underground’s just a stop away
Don’t be too black, don’t be too gay
Just get a little duller.

But in this green and pleasant land,
Where I make my home, I make my stand
Make it cool just to be a man,
A uniform’s a traitor.
Love is international
And if you stand or if you fall,
Just let them know you gave your all,
Worry about it later.

Under My Thumb – The Rolling Stones

Occassionally I have the experience of reading a book which has a sort of internal sound track as I’m reading it and it has happened with the book which I’m reading at the moment. It’s The Long View by Elizabeth Jane Howard, and almost from the beginning I’ve been hearing Under My Thumb – as I read it, over and over again! I hope to finish the book tonight and write about it tomorrow sometime.

As I am the youngest in a large family I had a lot of teenage siblings who were into – The Beatles (girls) and The Rolling Stones (boys), when I was just a wee thing. So being a girly it was The Beatles for me and when I asked Jack – who did Under My Thumb? (why Google when you have a Jack to ask?) – he said The Rolling Stones of course! Well actually, being Jack he said The Strolling Bones, but I knew what he meant and I was gobsmacked, because I had always thought that it had been done by a Motown group.

Anyroad up – I got on to You Tube to see what was available and I couldn’t resist putting two on, the performances are 40 years apart and sadly the line ups are obviously quite different, and on that note, did you know that Brian Jones bought Cotchford Farm which had belonged to AA Milne who wrote most of the Winnie the Pooh books there? That was where Brian died.

Jack immediately said – oh Kathy McGowan, Ready, Steady, Go – well I can’t remember her at all, I’m one of the Top of the Pops generation. Have a look at the 1966 version, obviously they hadn’t got around to lassooing the crowd with a big rope to keep them under control. The guys are having a tough time holding them back.

This version is from 2006, what a difference 40 years makes. Keith looks as if he has just been switched off when they get to the end. It reminded me that I haven’t got around to reading his autobiography yet.

Anyway I just thought I would share with you what has been going around in my head for days now. Do you ever get invaded by songs or tunes whilst you are reading?