To celebrate the launch of his new book The Passion of Harry Bingo and our Piping Live tours, Peter Ross and his publisher Sandstone Press have graciously allowed us to use this wonderful piece by Peter on The Sikh Pipe Band’s appearance at Piping Live in 2015. Thanks also to Michael McGurk for allowing us to use his photograph. Keep an eye on our Facebook page later this week for a chance to win copies of The Passion of Harry Bingo. Over to Peter…
Beneath a Saltire blue sky, with Irn-Bru in their bellies and an old Punjabi war cry on their lips – ‘Sat Sri Akaal!’ – the men and women of the Sri Dasmesh pipe band march out into the grassy arena of Glasgow Green, the first time a Malaysian group has competed at the world championships, and give their medley laldy. ‘Gaun the Sikhs!’ shouts a turbaned fellow in the crowd.
The World Pipe Band Championships, known as ‘The Worlds’, is the Olympics of piping. Some 230 bands from sixteen nations, adding up to around 8,000 pipers and drummers, are taking part this year. The championships date back to 1906, but they have never seen anything quite like Sri Dasmesh.
Photograph by Michael McGurk
There are about forty of them, ranging in age from early teens to early sixties, tricked out in a manner that makes the uniforms of even their gaudiest rivals appear drab. Over white robes they wear a bright sash, a plaid in Royal Stewart tartan, and a faux tiger-skin apron, combining in one outfit the distinctive styles of Mason Boyne, Mary Doll Nesbitt and the Bay City Rollers. All of this, mind, topped with a turban and pink plume, or kalgi, bearing the symbol for ‘One God’. They look amazing: Glasgow fabulous; Kuala Lumpur dead brilliant. Continue reading
The redoubtable Rab Noakes, our favourite stylish veteran troubadour from the Kingdom of Fife, has already kindly blogged for us about his early gig-going experiences in Glasgow, and his stories were so good that we incorporated them in our Glasgow’s Music Mile tour (paying full credit to Rab, naturally).
But as he prepares to celebrate his 70th birthday and fifty years since playing his first professional gig (at the Glasgow Folk Centre) at his Celtic Connections headliner, Rab Noakes 70/50 in 2017, we turned the spotlight on Rab himself and asked him to talk us through his fifty year career, including memories of his brief time with Gerry Rafferty in Stealers Wheel, the inspiration behind their most famous song and meeting Elvis’s favourite songwriter. Over to Rab…
Photograph by Carol Ann Peacock
On his earliest musical memories
I had always sung ever since I was a wee laddie. My early experiences are all from the radio, a combination of the Light Programme and the Home Service. I always loved things like Danny Kaye singing Ugly Duckling – novelty songs but cleverly written, professionally constructed songs. I like to think that something was being implanted in me at that time of what the song could be. Continue reading
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be at the birth of one of rock n roll’s bastard offspring then this book is for you. Martin St John was Primal Scream’s leather gloved flailing skeleton, bashing away on the tambourine in the 1960s obsessive, garage psyche, mid-eighties period.
This Thursday 24th November, Martin St. John launches The Psychedelic Confessions Of A Primal Screamer at The Old Hairdresser’s in Renfield Lane, Glasgow at 9pm. There will be a reading followed by a screening of rare archive films and a psychedelic punk soundtrack till midnight. Here’s an excerpt all about the legendary Splash 1 club in Glasgow, and the rise of the ‘Anoraksia’ phenomenon. Continue reading