Straight Outta Westwood (In A Green Jacket): Roddy Frame’s East Kilbride

Unknown1Domino Flats – Green (Photograph Anne Ward)

As a follow-up to Tuesday’s blog, in which Roddy Frame shared memories of his formative gig-going at Glasgow’s lamented Apollo in the late-1970s, we called on our pal Anne Ward, who has kindly agreed to share some of her photographs of the town that was helping to form Frame in the same period. Ladies and gentlemen: East Kilbride.

If you were lucky enough to catch the 2013 concerts in which Frame marked the 30th anniversary of High Land Hard Rain by playing Aztec Camera’s seminal debut album live, you’ll already have seen Anne’s pictures. Before getting to High Land Hard Rain itself in those shows, Frame treated audiences to a rare set drawn from what he termed his “East Kilbride period” – the songs he was writing as a teenager that would appear on Aztec Camera’s two Postcard singles, and form the basis of the band’s legendarily unreleased Postcard album, Green Jacket Grey.

While he played those tunes, huge, striking black and white images of his old hometown appeared as a backdrop behind him, setting exactly the right fragile, retro-future new town mood of post-industrial Fahrenheit 451 urban development.

Unknown-55 (Photograph Anne Ward)

The pictures used for the gigs were originally taken by Anne, who had coincidentally managed to photograph some of the landmarks Frame remembered growing up just before they were torn down. (Regular readers of this blog might recall we previously used some of her fantastic images from inside The Barrowland to illustrate this post on the splendours of that other great Glasgow venue by Peter Ross.) We’re posting a few of Anne’s pictures here, and you can see the full East Kilbride set right here.

Below, Anne explains how her pictures came to be used for the gigs. Meanwhile, to really replicate the experience, we suggest these pictures are best enjoyed while listening to the original demo of the title song from Aztec Camera’s lost Postcard album, which Frame posted online back in 2013. Maybe one day we’ll get to hear the fully remastered Postcard/ East Kilbride Tapes


Over to Anne:

Roddy’s manager contacted me after seeing the photos online. He said Roddy was looking for EK photos as a backdrop for the shows. I said I’d be honoured and pointed him to the set to help himself.

Unknown7Duncanrig High School (Photograph Anne Ward)

I was surprised at the photos he picked. He used quite a few of Duncanrig High School, which was about to be demolished when I took the photos. It wasn’t in great shape, but it was obviously dear to him. He also used the brightly coloured houses from Westwood, and the multicoloured flats in the Murray, plus the triangular church, also in the Murray.

Unknown-2Westwood Houses (Photograph Anne Ward)

The lovely thing was, I was a huge Aztec Camera fan (particularly “Oblivious,” a proper indie anthem in my formative youth), and I had gone to Westwood in the first place because it was mentioned in “Somewhere In My Heart.” It was nice that my wee musical pilgrimage proved useful, and they were kind enough to sort out tickets to the gig.

Unknown-3Church (Photograph Anne Ward)

Roddy had total control over which photos he used and how he used them, and there was something very powerful about the way they were all grouped together on the night. It made photos I would have overlooked look amazing and really breathed new life into them for me.

Unknown-4East Kilbride Civic Centre (Photograph Anne Ward)

If anyone wants to see what’s left of these sights for themselves, meanwhile, I can recommend the view from the top deck of a number 18 bus…

UnknownShopping Centre (Photograph Anne Ward)

Roddy Frame plays the bandstand in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park this Friday, August 7th, as part of the Magners Summer Nights Festival.

For more of Anne Ward’s words and pictures, check out her fantastic books Nothing To See Here and Northern Delights.