Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Tuesday 22 April 2008

I'd never seen Edwyn Collins live before and, in view of his well-documented illness, I wondered if it would be anything like the real thing. I needn't have worried.

Sadly the Upper seated area wasn't open so we chose the seating downstairs - we're getting too old for this rock 'n' roll lark.

Unfortunately there's very little inclination to the seating so you can't really see much at all, no matter how tall you are (I'm 6 foot 3). I wasn't too bothered and was happy to just listen, with the occasional glimpse of Edwyn or Roddy. The GLW ventured off to the moshpit for the middle section of the gig because she's just ickle.

While Edwyn understandably struggled with some of his speech, his singing voice was in fine form and a set filled with golden oldies and new classics went down a storm. For those who are interested in such things (aren't we all?) the setlist was: Falling and Laughing, Poor Old Soul, What Presence, Home Again, Make Me Feel Again, One Is A Lonely Number, You'll Never Know (My Love), Hope and Despair, One Track Mind, Wheels of Love, Rip It Up, Then I Cried, A Girl Like You. The encores were: Searching For The Truth, Blue Boy, Don't Shilly Shally.

It was fitting that my first gig (the first I'll admit to anyway) was Aztec Camera at The Queen's Hall in December 1983 and here we are, 25 years later, with Roddy riding shotgun to Edwyn and still looking about 15. Bastard!

Our telly has died. Over the past few months it has taken to switching itself on and off, sometimes as many as 10 times, before it settles down. In the last couple of weeks the sound started going too with it only returning after a solid slap to the side of it. We bit the bullet and got a new telly, which arrived this morning. It seems you can't buy a telly anymore that's anything less than 3 feet high but we managed to get a 32" Sony Bravia. Now these things are supposed to plug in and go but I found it anything but. It was almost an hour and half before I go it going. I went through the manual page by page but it just wasn't straight forward enough for me. It made me feel stupid and I'm not. Honest.

It's two gigs in a week for me as I head of to Glasgow on Sunday to see I Am Kloot at ABC2 on Sauchiehall Street. I got the tickets as I present for Gaz's birthday and I've promised him a bag of chips as well. I'm even going to pick him up from his door and drop him off there in the early hours. My only concerns are parking (I think the City Parking charge £2 all day on a Sunday, which isn't too deadly) and the fact that the Old Firm are playing at 1230. Fingers crossed there isn't any trouble after it. I'm a lover not a fighter. And I bruise like a peach.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Monday 21 April 2008

I'm glad to say that last night's show went swimmingly. No major cock-ups with the exception of playing Lesley Gore instead of The Vernon Girls.

Here's last night's running order:

John Mayall - Crawling Up A Hill
The Quik - Bert's Apple Crumble (show theme)
Harpers Bizarre - Come To The Sunshine
Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street
The Action - I'll Keep Holding On
Brenda Lee - The Letter
Barbara Mills - (Make It Last) Take Your Time
Pearly Gates - Johnny and the Jukebox
Joy Dawn - Hang It Up (Connect 3)
Warm Sounds - The Nite Is Comin' (Connect 3)
The Grass Roots - Midnight Confessions (Connect 3)
The Everly Brothers - Talking To The Flowers
Gladys Knight and the Pips - Here Are The Pieces of My Broken Heart
Johnny Tillotson - Send The Pillow You Dream On (Birthday)
Billie Davis - Tell Him
Delroy Wilson - Better Must Come
Christine Delarouche - La Porte A Cote (Foreign Language)
Kathy Lynn and the Playboys - Little Baby
Harry J All Stars - The Liquidator
Nat King Cole - Too Young To Go Steady (Request!)
The Hipster Image - Can't Let Her Go
The Munx - Our Dream
The Darlettes - Lost
Tintern Abbey - Vacuum Cleaner
The Barracudas - Summer Fun (Under The Influence)
The Barracudas - (I Wish It Could Be) 1965 Again (Under The Influence)
Lesley Gore - It's My Party
Brenda Holloway - Tell Me Your Story
The Tiffanys - Gossip
The 2 of Clubs - Walk Tall (Like A Man) (Connect 3)
Jet Harris and Tony Meehan - Diamonds (Connect 3)
The Emeralds - King Lonely the Blue (Connect 3)
The Association - Come On In
Denita James - I Have Feelings Too
The Kinks - I'm Not Like Everybody Else (Two of a Kind)
The Kinks - This Man He Weeps Tonight (Two of a Kind)
Pam Grier - Long Time Woman

Feel free to suggest something you might like me to play. Unless you're in the Kirkcaldy area you won't hear it of course but it's the thought, isn't it?

I'm still off work sick. My stomach and head are in a mess. My new anti-depressants are still taking time to kick in (the changeover was hellish and I was climbing the walls) and the peppermint tablets for my bowel are working, up to a point but I'm still sore and tender. However, my farts smell all minty and... PING!... I have 'ring of confidence'!

Watching last night's TV BAFTAs was interesting, if a little predictable. I'm glad Harry Hill won his awards because I do enjoy his TV Burp but the whole "Gavin and Stacey" thing has passed me by and I'm rather indifferent to it - it's this year's Little Britain. I think Peter Capaldi should have won for "The Thick of It".

Football: Doesn't Sir Trevor Brooking look like a turtle's head? Thank you Ian Wright for doing the decent thing and getting off the football coverage. You made Mark Lawrenson sound interesting and that's saying something. I was almost tempted to e-mail Sky Sports at the weekend because the football analysts for one of the games were Jamie Redknapp and Paul Merson whose continual butchery of the English language drives me up the wall.

I've pretty much finished writing the two quiz night "gigs" I'm doing soon and I've also got the offer of another! The GLW and I have realised that we need a car each because one of the contributors to my stress is public transport. I've also supported public transport but my continual battles with Stagecoach are beginning to take it's toll.

You'll recall recently my battles to get a bus shelter at my local stop. Basically, the Council said that not enough people used it to warrant one. I might have just been able to handle that if I didn't see a bus shelter being erected at the very next stop; a stop which has no more passengers than mine and a stop which is now serviced by even less buses (the D3/D4 circular routes have been expanded to cover more new houses, other areas where no-one lives and a Health Centre, which isn't even open, so the Masterton Roundabout, a main junction, is only covered by the D7). I've asked the Transportation Services department of Fife Council for an explanation.

The GLW and I are off to Edinburgh tonight to see Edwyn Collins at The Queen's Hall. Roddy Frame is playing guitar and Dave Ruffy is on drums too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Sunday 13 April 2008

My career with Kirkcaldy VRN was almost over before it started. I won't bore you with all the details but despite arriving at the station half an hour before showtime, it kicked off twenty minutes late.

Here is the somwhat amended playlist for "Where The Action Is", which I present under my nom-de-plume of The Cat:

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again (full version so I have time to gather my thoughts and compose myself after the dramas)
Cilla Black - Work Is A Four Letter Word (Connect 3)
The Beatle-ettes - Only Seventeen (Connect 3)
Janice Nicholls - I'll Give It Five (Connect 3)
The Action - Baby You've Got It
Truth and Beauty - Tuff Little Surfer Boy
Al Green - Here I Am (Come and Get Me) (Birthday)
Ricky and Sandy - Lost My Girl
Dana Gillespie - You Just Gotta Know My Mind
France Gall - Laisse Tomber Des Filles (Foreign Language)
The Fortunes - Carolina (My first ever listener request!)
The Cryan Shames - Greenburg, Glickstein, Charles, David Smith and Jones
The Bittersweets - The Hurtin' Kind
Cher - Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
Timebox - Soul Sauce
The Beach Boys - Don't Worry Baby
The Moody Blues - Ride My See Saw
Mamas and the Papas - Glad To Be Unhappy
Tom Jones - Dr. Love
Duffy - Mercy (Under The Influence)
Duffy - Warwick Avenue (Under the Influence)
Nancy Sinatra - Last of the Secret Agents
Val McKenna - House For Sale
Jackie Lee - The Town I Live In
Manfred Mann - Ha Ha Said The Clown
Jan and Dean - The Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle Book Review and Timing Association (Connect 3)
Shirley Ellis - Ever See A Diver Kiss His Wife While The Bubbles Bounce About Above The Water (Connect 3)
Alma Cogan - Just Couldn't Resist Her With Her Pocket Transistor (Connect 3)
Gary Puckett & The Union Gap - Lady Willpower
Gene Pitney - Tremblin'
The Monkees - Valleri (Two of a Kind)
The Monkees - Mary Mary (Two of a Kind)
Jimmy Radcliffe - Long After Tonight Is All Over

Keith, whose Twilight Time show is on after mine, turned up in time for a welcoming chat and some useful advice. I'd "trained" Keith at Radio West Fife but he didn't stay long there and has been at VRN for 18 months and he really enjoys it. We even had some on-air banter too, just like real DJs! Roll on next Sunday.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Wednesday 9 April 2008

I haven't blogged for a while because I've been ill. Not physically ill enough that i couldn't drag myself to the computer but mentally ill. There have been some physical ailments too, which are manifestations of my current stress and anxiety levels.

The back pains have gone, while the throats problems are lingering like a bad smell. My doctor have given me some peppermint type tablets for my stomach problems and she's trying me on new anti-depressants; I think these are my fourth or fifth different ones.

I've been off work since last Tuesday when my combined ailments struck. Last week was spent lazing around feeling sorry for myself while eating for comfort. I've now been signed off for another fortnight and I'm determined to drag myself up and get myself motivated. I've made lists of things to do over the last three days and am managing to get through them, which gives me an enormous sense of achievement. However, the "black dog" is still lurking and that continues to be a struggle.

Now let me think what good news can I bring you to cheer you (and me) up. Well, since I last wrote the football boots I won in February have finally arrived (modelled by Wayne Rooney in the picture above). I'm still awaiting the other bits and pieces. We won a weekend in a Travelodge for four people via the Sunday Express Sportsword crossword. I also followed in the GLW's footsteps by winning a £25 runners-up prize in the Sunday Express' Skeleton crossword.

One of the major boosts to my confidence has been my acceptance as a presenter on (the award-winning) Kirkcaldy VRN, the hospital radio station which broadcasts to local hospitals and beyond. Normally it takes 3 months of training (a probationary period) before they would even think of putting you on air but because I've done it before I took to it fairly easily. We're using a system called Myriad 3, which is like a big Windows Media Player. My first show is this Sunday (5-7) and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. I need some fine tuning but that comes with practice. More importantly, the people I've met have been really friendly and very helpful.

I've pretty much decided what I'm going to play and it'll be along the lines of my previous show on RWF, where I played mod, soul, girl groups, sunshine pop and all manner of delights from the late 50s through to the early 70s. I'll post my set list after the show (we're not allowed to do it before we broadcast) so you can see what I'm playing. I'll use my old nom-de-plume too, The Cat, and my show will be called "Where The Action Is".

I've also written another Recommend piece for The Scotsman and that should be in next Wednesday's edition, which will be celebrating their first anniversary of the feature.

I finally managed to get hold of Care's "Diamonds and Emeralds" CD, which brings together their singles and the "lost" album. I got it on eBay for £1.70 - my kind of record shopping. When I get a minute I'll post a couple of tracks. For those of you who don't know Care, they were Paul Simpson of The Wild Swans and ubiquitous scouse popster Ian Broudie of Lightning Seeds fame. Because it's a compilation of bits and pieces rather than a "proper" album, it can seem a bit patchy and "of it's time" but I like it a lot. "Flaming Sword" certainly stills stands up as a fine pop song. Hell, I remember that even my mother liked it and that's saying something.

One of my favourite bands, The Orchids, are playing in Glasgow tomorrow night but as it's only a short set (it's a charity gig with loads of bands doing small sets) I've decided to give it a miss. I have, however, managed to tickets for The Proclaimers gig at Dunfermline's Carnegie Hall in July. It's a charity gig to help send a local lad to Florida to get some dolphin therapy.

On my list of chores to do while I'm off is to sort Sky+, which is happening on Saturday. We got fed up missing programmes we wanted to catch so we've bitten the bullet. We're going to change our broadband over too but we'll have to wait until the start of June as we're still under contract to BT. I phoned BT yesterday to check on how I would go about changing and not surprisingly my concerns were cast aside as the woman not only tried to sell me BT Vision (their Sky+) but she managed, rather magically, to take £5 off our monthly Broadband bill if we signed up for another 12 months! This begs the question, why not sell me Broadband at £17.99 ALL the time, instead of when I'm threatening to leave. There was also some scaremongering about what Sky might or might not be able to deliver! I said I'd call back in June. The only good part is the call to BT was free, while the calls to Sky were on an 0844 number. I was on the phone to Sky for more than 15 minutes and the woman I spoke to even read out some lengthy Terms and Conditions at my expense, which I hardly had time to take in.

I've also put a couple of items up for auction on eBay. Mike Joyce, drummer with The Smiths, sat in for Marc Riley on his "Rocket Science" show on BBC6 Music and gave away some of his Smiths own stuff in a competition. These included a "Shakespeare's Sister" signed 12" white label, some original Rough Trade postcards and an English Tour programme from 1985. I've decided to sell them because, whilst they're nice items, I can't really enjoy them. I have the songs and someone else might appreciate them more. I have other Smiths items of worth but those mean too much to me.

Stop...coffee time.