Friday, 23 November 2018

The United Kingdom of Song #12: Lochaber, Sutherland, Lewis, Skye, Bathgate, Linwood, Methil, Irvine and Wester Ross

Back to Scotland today, and a variety of locations all in the same song.

We start in the Highlands, in Lochaber - the inspiration for a traditional folk song from 1760: Lochaber, No More. (Well, there's a big clue if you've not yet worked out today's song.)

Joe Strummer's mum came from Sutherland, and the village of Durness apparently inspired John Lennon to write In My Life. (The Sutherland Brothers are both from Aberdeenshire.)

Donald Trump's mum came from The Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. (I recommend listening to Karine Polwart's thoughts on that... a track I'm sure to be featuring again soon.) Anyway, we can't blame Lewis for Trump. Instead, take a listen to Iain Morrison, a famous musical son who delivered a couple of excellent records I picked up after hearing them on Radio Scotland earlier this year (Amusement Arcade & 3 A.M.). You should start with Let's Go Captain, one of my songs of the year. Give it till at least 1 minute 10 seconds before you make up your mind.

(Also on Lewis is Stornoway... there's a very fine band called Stornoway... but they're from Oxford.)

Skye... well, I'm sure we'll come back to Skye one day.

Leaving the Highlands behind for a while, Bathgate is only half an hour from Edinburgh. David Tennant comes from Bathgate, along with the band Goodbye, Mr. Mackenzie.

Linwood, on the other hand, is just stone's throw from Glasgow. (If you can throw a stone 15 miles.) I can't find anybody famous from Linwood.

The artist Jack Vettriano came from Methil in Fife though. I like his style.

Nicola Sturgeon comes from Irvine, along with the lead singer of Biffy Clyro, and Roddy Woomble of Idlewild. Edgard Allen Poe apparently went to school there for a while.

All of which brings us back to the Highlands, and the very first location mentioned in this song... the National Scenic Area of Wester Ross, which crops up in the song Kishorn Commandos by North Sea Gas.

However, there is... of course... one famous song which mentions all these fine locations.

And here it is...

I suppose we better go to Wales next week, just in case any Welsh readers (I'm not sure I have any Welsh readers, but maybe this is why) feel left out. We'll go camping while we're there, shall we?


  1. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to watch "Proclaimers: This is the Story" which BBC4 is screening a week tonight.
    It was originally shown on BBC2 and features megafan David Tennant talking to Craig and Charlie about their songs, their musical influences more contentious issues. They are the real deal and this is a great documentary.

  2. Aha, CC of course guessed it would be this song last week. I was being dense at the time despite having written about in my blog. So many locations and so many interesting snippets about the people from each place. As for Jack Vettriano, I quite like his style but I've had to take my print of his from our wall, as Mr WIAA's art college colleagues were aghast! He inspires mixed reactions it seems.

    I always know when the doc Lynchie mentions is shown on telly, as my stats spike because of the posts I've written about the Proclaimers. My most viewed posts by a country mile. Still love them and they've certainly achieved longevity.

  3. Shirley Mansun of Garbage fame was in Goodbye Mr Mackenzie


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