February’s gigs were both crackers – Edinburgh Folk Club, followed by Stirling five days later. These are both long-established, knowledgable clubs, and I was quite nervous. I needn’t have worried – we were well received and even sold a fair few CDs! I sometimes think the whole gigging thing is too stressful – dealing with the promoters, organising the band, rehearsing etc etc – and wonder whether it’s worth the hassle, but when I get to play really nice venues like these, I end up buzzing for ages afterwards, and that’s why I keep horsing on – it’s an itch you never lose, and you gotta keep scratchin’ it….
February also made me shiver, as the song says. My dear old pal Harry Barry called me right at the start of the month. We spoke for an hour or more about songwriting, mutual pals, gigging, his new play about Coatbridge’s history which is planned for May and the World in general. He was in great form. Three days later I got a call to say that Harry was gone – suddenly, during the night, and with no apology. An aneurysm, apparently – just tapped him on the shoulder. I spoke at Harry’s funeral – a real privilege and an honour for me, and also terrifying. I remembered a fine songwriter, a master writer of radio and TV jingles and a funny, daft, kind and utterly passionate human being. Bill Torrance led the service, and his pal Roy McCallum delivered a heartfelt eulogy, while Alastair Macdonald sang his song ‘The Leerie’ with words by one of Harry’s favourite poets, Robert Louis Stevenson. I can’t believe I’ll never see or speak to him again.
But life goes on, even though something will be missing. There’s a definite hint of Spring, and the endless cold sunshine definitely lifts the spirits. I spent today in Edinburgh, and even a chauvinistic old Weedgie like me was impressed, strolling down Prices St in the sunshine.
Musically, there’s talk of some more film and TV music to be written and produced by me and Cy, and we’ve got a couple of song ideas on the go (at long last…!). Three gigs in March, then nothing until late summer, although we’ve a few ideas about some trips to the west coast over the summer. I’d like to put on a few small shows around the country, but it’s finding the time to organise and promote them. I still work full-time in the music business, and love my job to bits, but it does take up a lot of time and energy. I think Irene and I might take off for a week in the sun, then I’ll come back with recharged batteries. After that, weekends in Skye, Arran, Islay, Kintyre and a few other places as yet undecided – good times ahead!!
Anyway, that’s February for you. Off to London for a couple of days tomorrow, then a weekend seeing various pals we haven’t seen for ages – can’t wait.
See you again in March…