Archive | April, 2013


21 Apr



The stories about Duncan were legendary. I once attended a dance where a jazz band from London was playing. During the evening Duncan had a few, ‘wee refreshments’ and was in a fine state. He appeared from somewhere at back stage, grabbed the mike and decided to address the audience. He ranted and raved at the bemused audience about how Border Dances brought these bands all the way up from London and, according to Duncan, none of the audience seemed to appreciate his efforts. He was beside himself with the drink and nobody had a clue what he was babbling about. Suddenly, he stopped talking, replaced the mike on the stand and commanded the band to start playing. The band had been standing there wondering what all the fuss was about but they quickly took the lead from Duncan and started to play again. Duncan jumped from the stage down to the floor, completely oblivious that there was quite a long drop to the dance floor. One foot smashed through the seat of a cane back chair, he immediately grabbed a startled young lady who was sitting on the next chair and whisked her away on a merry kind of dance of his own invention, quite unaware that one leg was still encased inside the now seatless chair, He was feeling no pain, as they say. I actually witnessed this gem from Duncan, although it took me a while to stop laughing. 


More details about Duncan will be revealed in my forthcoming book, ‘My Rock ‘n Roll Daze’ to be released soon.                             





10 Apr



Sidney Devine and his pals often made directly for The Imperial after they had finished their act at the Palladium Theatre. Somebody in the band always recognised Sidney and asked if he would oblige the company by singing one of the Elvis Presley songs from his stage act. He was quite unaware that we called him, ‘The Tartan Rocker’, and was always delighted to be recognised and requested to sing a couple of numbers with the band.

I once told Lisa, a friend of mine in the USA, that I had known a guy called Sidney Devine who used to enjoy singing a couple of songs with my band in Edinburgh back in the sixties. She was convinced the name Devine was a fake name, although it is quite a common surname in Ireland.  I told her about ‘The Tartan Rocker’ one evening while we were chatting at the bar in Sheabeens Irish Pub in Aurora, Colorado. I had a feeling that Lisa did not really believe me and I told her to google the name Sidney Devine when she got back home.

I saw Lisa a couple of days later when I had popped into Sheabeens for ‘a wee refreshment’. She could not wait to tell me what she had found out about Sidney. Apparently, there was page after page on the internet concerning the great Sidney Divine,  he was the biggest name in Scotland as a top Country and Western singer.

Well done, TheTartan Rocker!Image


9 Apr

You must remember, this was 1960, long before the time of microwave ovens, the sausages and chips had been cooked in fat much earlier in the evening before being shut into the gas oven set at low. Our, ‘heart attacks on a plate’, meals were pretty solid by then. Just like the tired sausages, the Chef was probably in the horizontal position himself by then and unable to prepare a fresh supper, or anything else for that matter.

I have already observed that the evening was nice and warm and it was the early part of the year when  it was still daylight in spite of the hour. The windows in the staff dining room were wide open onto the steeply rising cliffs of Arthurs Seat, a very romantic and picturesque view. The lovely view, plus the invitation offered by the wide open windows gave me an excuse to show my disapproval of the spoiled supper at very little cost or effort.

I was staring at one of the long gone plates of solid food on the cheap hotel plate in my hand when I had one of my great ideas. These great ideas of mine would appear suddenly in my head without any warning, I must be a very bright kinda guy, I guess I am just very talented in that direction. I adopted a crouching stance facing the open window, holding the plate in my right hand, I threw it just like a flying saucer right through the window where it skimmed, fully laden through the air towards the scenic view opposite. There was a long pause before we heard the crash well below the window which confirmed what I had rather expected that the area way below the rear part of the hotel was just an empty lot of waste land. This was confirmed when we all dashed forward to look down from the exit window, I was particularly reassured when I saw the small specks of the white plate where it had dashed to pieces on the rocky ground.

My daft mood swept across all the other guys, now reassured there was nobody way down there below us, they all returned to the table to retrieve their previously disdained white dinner plates still full of inedible food then, one by one, they launched the offending plates out of the window into the lovely evening. Unlike the ill fated plates of food, our infectious loud laughs and giggles wafted across the waste ground to bounce romantically off the rocks of Arthurs Seat to send an echo back to us. We were just like a bunch of silly kids. I blame it as a side effect to which musicians are particularly prone. This effect would  morph and expand to other young musicians fairly soon when they became rich and famous and responsible for apparently senseless vandalism in Hotel bedrooms- – –                                                          (that’s my only excuse, your Honour).

Well, I have been looking for something that happened in our past which might enable me to claim we were trend setters. This is the best I could do.



5 Apr


Geoff Stanley (who tells me his kids say he looks like Freddie Mercury) I’m just saying . . . Geoff is providing a steady backing for my hero, Billy the Pik (Bill Smith) who is doing some magical work with a solo for SHOOS BLOOS BAND. Read all abaat it when My Rock ‘n Roll Daze gets released.

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