Saturday, August 26, 2006

You can't hide your love forever

I've just bought the Orange Juice compilation, The Glasgow School - breaking my own rule of "out with the old, in with the new", or is it "never go back"?

Reading the sleeve notes I was astonished to discover that the classic "Blue Boy" (as well as "Lovesick" and the better known "Simply Thrilled Honey") was recorded in the village I grew up in, in my old school, which was turned into a recording studio in the late 70s. I visited the studio (Castle Sound) in the early 90s to see a friend who was recording there, and for the twisted nostalgia of it, I knelt on the polished wooden floor in what used to be the assembly hall (now a recreation room complete with pool table) and sang a few bars of "The Lord of the Dance", just like old times.

My sister and I used to listen avidly to a weekly programme on Radio Forth, hosted by Colin Somerville, called The Rock Report. I clearly remember him playing a few bars of "Blue Boy", which was the second single released on Postcard Records (I resist the tempation to use the adjective "legendary", but it is). I had no idea that what we were taping, using the time-honoured ancient tape recorder crammed up to the radio, which meant that our comments and parodies could often be heard in the background, had been recorded less than a mile away.

I suspect only my sister and I will find this news at all exciting. But I felt a strange stab of disorientation that, as I travelled to work on the number 23 bus from Mid-Levels to Admiralty in Hong Kong, I should be listening to a song recorded by one of Scotland's best ever bands in the building where I learned to write.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The deceitful face of hope and of despair

I was thinking about calling this post "Leaving on a jet plane", which seems appropriate for a number of reasons. I've been suffering from jetlag all week, having arrived back from the UK on Sunday. Jetlag does strange things to your mind, not least because it involves (often) being inadvertently awake at 3am which as you know is the worst time to be awake if you don't want to be.

Yes, jetlag is that contemptible middle class affliction, so you may say I deserve no sympathy (and the cure for jetlag is not to fly); but what it really feels like is suffering from a week-long hangover complete with all those feelings of disorientation, intermittent self-loathing, miserabilism, and helplessness. After the plot to blow up planes mid-air was uncovered this week, my 3am preoccupation was how angry and impotent I feel about the fact that although clearly UK foreign policy is a powerful impetus for nihilistic religious maniacs with murder in their hearts, Tony, and I voted for him in 1997 (or at least, for the lickspittle David Lamy, in whose constituency I was living at the time), persists in his egomaniacal self-serving refusal to bow to anyone's advice, no matter how sensible, at the cost of the lives of hundreds of Lebanese civilians to date, a third of whom have been children.

That last fact puts my own silly preoccupations into perspective.