I have just started Lanark. Only just. I’m not the fastest reader and I started much later than I wanted to, which meant my eyelids already were starting to get heavy barely one chapter in. I managed two. Lol. And am already attributing the identity of Sludden to a certain someone. Lol. And I would be any of those hangers on – apart from Gay – I should be so lucky! Or Rima (she has standards – it seems so far anyways). So I guess it only leaves me to be Frankie – most likely – or the other one whose name escapes me (irony!).
Anyway! Early days.
But I am already wanting to explore the world of Alasdair Gray so much more already as a consequence of those couple of chapters of Lanark.
So very later last night, after listening to a new episode of The Archers (now caught up with the real world – Ambridge is now in lockdown too) – and a very emotional yet beautiful Desert Island Discs with Charles Hazlewood as the castaway – highly recommended listening by me, not always easy, granted! (I still keep wondering when the frig they are going to get Jim on there!). I then put in Gray’s name in the search wondering if the BBC had done any adaptations to his books, etc, so thought I’d see what a search of him would bring up.
Well, it brought up this in the search results. A wonderful interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I started listening. I had assumed Gray would sound very dour and “Weegie” for one – but I found his voice mesmerising and beautiful. He has such music in his voice. A beautiful burr and lilt that I just was not expecting – almost as if he sang as he spoke. As a consequence, as enthralled in the interview as I was, I found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through, to awake again for the final few minutes and the talk of the hardships of making a career from art – making a sustained paid professional income from artistic pursuit.
His final goodbye was pure music, and rather poignant for this must have been one of his final interviews. He passed away at the end of December last year.
I fell in love with him. He sounded like a magical being. Like a pixie or elf or something. Little did I know my flippant little line to Jim the other day about “starting a book at chapter three – seems like my kinda guy” would ring so true.
You can listen to the interview via BBC Sounds HERE
I just want to be able to talk to him! I know a ton of other fans do too. But A lot of them have had that opportunity. And…YES…it makes me absolutely fucking EVERGREEN with envy. It really does.
He just sounds so convivial and chatty and just…you know.
Above ALL the other stuff! All the rest of it…adoring him, fancying the pants off him, being in awe of him…there is the overriding thing of…he’s just genial. Warm and humorous … and… a bit of an embellisher – but, he’s great at it.
Yes…I had heard the stories before. Us diehards all have. But…what a story it is…and he tells it so good.
To my dying day I will wish to talk to him for more than a few minutes. Also will dream I mean something more to him than “just another fan” and also pray to whatever god will listen that he actually at least tolerates me and sees something amiable in me and doesn’t see me as a pest and a bore and just…a stupid woman. (That final look in Copenhagen.)
And now I will go and cry in a corner.
And maybe alter this post later.
And then get the audio posted here as soon as I have copied it off and downloaded it.
And seemingly asks him the same old questions everyone else does. So let’s hear the story about “Don’t You” for the fifty gazillionth time! *rolls eyes*
I mean…YES, I’ll tune in and listen. Probably even record the thing so it stays here on the blog. Who knows? There might be a surprise or two? But…well, if Jim gets asked the same questions, he’s happy to respond with the his usual “stand-up routine” replies. You know…he’s a story-teller and he DEFINITELY embellishes things, that’s for sure!
Geez, it would be nice to be taken seriously sometimes though. I know I would die of cardiac arrest and would be a complete nervous wreck – just the thought of it!
But imagine the coup it would be if *I* could interview Jim for this blog? I was told in no uncertain terms that, when I asked and was brazen enough to try – the one time I did that “Jim and Charlie ‘don’t do’ blogs.” Which is crap – as Jim has been interviewed for PLENTY of music blogs.
I *HAVE* conducted interviews! Jaine Henderson, Bruce Findlay, Steve Jefferis of Warm Digits – I’d like to hope that these people would attest to my professionalism when conducting interviews.
YES, I’m not Billy Sloan or Conan O’Brien, but I can string a sentence together. And I think my questions that I’d pose to Jim could and would be interesting to fans.
But I know I will never be given the opportunity. Which sucks ass.
Oh, just me contemplating the notion makes me feel like a brazen and delusional idiot! But if you don’t have these kind of dreams and notions then…well, he’d say it…you might as well pack up and go home!
These bouts of delusion don’t last long with me and I end up coming to my senses. Oh, but just for today…let me dream I could be in Ricky’s shoes.
I posted about this around a month or so ago and linked to the podcast but they were only on a 30 day “listen again” time limit. I downloaded the episodes so they could be available here permanently.
I had the reminder yesterday, by way of His Kerrness (it was that title of his homage to Little Richard what done it, “the darker the night, the brighter the stars”) to get these episodes uploaded to the blog.
So, here we go, Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, in four parts.
Well, that’s tonight’s gig sorted. Fire up the TARDIS…get to that front row. Gawp at the most goegous man, ever…mouth agape. Lol (Oh…and maybe take the odd cursory glance at Kenny too…)
Oh, I dream.
UPDATE: The crowd when Celebrate starts! The roar of applause! It’s fucking awesome! The bass is off-the-scale crazy. I don’t tend to give a lot of praise these days to Derek Forbes but OH MY FUCKING GOD – he was on FIRE at this gig. And Kenny is playing quick time, giving Dan not the easiest job to keep up. It’s mental! This Fear Of Gods! Wow! I love that bit before it starts as Jim is introing it and then he says “give me some echo, Gallagher” – meaning Frank Gallagher. I love those kind of bits…hearing those kind of machinations. Being privy to them. It’s all so bloody “professional” now. You’d never hear him say “turn me up, GG” or the like to Olivier Gerard – it would all be long sorted before us fans are present.
And then to have FACTORY as an encore?! OMG! IN MY DREAMS! How I would love something other than Alive and Kicking and Sanctify Yourself. I mean…I love those songs…but…I wish I could be surprised a little more often.
Yes, they had fewer songs in the bag back then, but still. The setlists are ssoooo formulaic these days – despite how much Jim can claim they “mix things up” – it rarely happens. And YES, I was ssooo happy for what I got in Copenhagen, and I didn’t expect much change in the setlist of the two gigs, and I know they had to shorten the sets. None of what I am saying here is a gripe on the Copenhagen gig AT ALL. It’s just…a general thing. The past three tours – Acoustic, Walk Between Worlds, and 40 Years Live have had the very same end and encore.
Besides the point. Back to this Tiffany’s gig. I WANT JIM KERRR’S BABIES – Lol! Well, no, I don’t. I’m nearly 50 FFS! Baby making days are looooong gone. And I never wanted to be a mum anyway. PRACTICE. I just want the practice (of the baby-making).
It’s been a looooooooong time, man. Don’t I know it. I reckon my hyman’s reformed by now. Lol. Okay…I’ll shut up now. Just laugh and carry on. Don’t mind me. I’m just expressing some goddamn wishful thinking here.
God I can dream!
By the way…there’s another gig on the way thanks to the amazing Art & Talk. Some of these bootlegs are my life! I mean…damn!
I only have the vaguest memory of what happened in 1993 in Waco, TX. The overriding memories were that David Koresh sounded like a nutjob – that the authorities in America tried to drive him out of the compound by constantly playing Billy Ray Cyrus’s Achey Breaky Heart in a loop day and night – and that ultimately it ended in tragedy.
Revisiting the story, it really was such a tragic thing that happened. How so many people were taken in (and taken!) by this man. That so many Brits went over and fell victim to what unfolded. Very few escaped.
It’s a sobering listen, but fascinating too. I have enjoyed and learned so much from listening to this podcast.
You’ll find the link below…
I do love listening to BBC Radio dramas, book readings, etc. They do them so well. I recently listened to another Dostoevsky adaptation – that of The Brothers Karamazov – also equally well done. I’ve listened to three of the episodes of The Idiot so far, and will listen to the final one tonight.
I’m sharing the link to the podcasts for now, but the episodes won’t last for long but I’ll get them and create permalinks here for them. In the meantime, if you want some escape from lockdown and you just want to close your eyes and listen to something – you could do much worse than escaping to Russia and listen to The Idiot.
Enjoy the dulcet tones of acting doyen, Roger Allam, in amongst the cast.
UPDATE: Now finally uploaded the episodes, here’s the permalink:
I was listening to Billy Sloan’s show on BBC Radio Scotland last night and he played a previously unreleased version of Bowie’s I Can’t Read which is set to be released on a new compilation due out on Record Store Day called CHANGESNOWBOWIE. He then followed it up by playing a cover of Absolute Beginners. Almost immediately I was like “woah, this is pretty good. WTF is this?!”
To my utter amazement, when it finished Billy revealed it to be Steve Harley. My gob was truly smacked. That was NOT the name I was expecting to hear at the end of it. I don’t know whose name I WAS expecting…but it wasn’t Steve Harley’s. But hats off to him. It’s a wonderful version.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the link to Billy’s show. Absolute Beginners plays about 48 mins in. Give it a listen and see what you think.
It’s a track on Harley’s upcoming release called Uncovered. I’d be intrigued to hear the rest based on this track.