Monday, July 30, 2007

Click Here To See.. Eh.. No, Never Mind..

I’ve lost count of the vast number of people – it’s at least 5 or 6 – who’ve sent me text messages and emails in the last couple of days asking for a review of Friday night’s charity gig featuring the first performance in eight years by The Signals. It was my sincere hope to be able to direct you to an appropriate place on the interweb to view a high-definition, digital video of the whole performance to see just how f#cking rockin’ we were (because WE WERE) but alas, therein lies a sad tale.

After their daughter was born, my pal Bruce and his wife Linda bought themselves a fancy digital camera and I went to great trouble on Friday afternoon to wrestle it out of his desperate, clawing grasp…

“…b.. b.. but she might start walking this weekend!”

“SO…? My band hasnae played in eight years. Besides, she’ll still be walking next weekend.”

… in order to film the band. As luck would have it, some other friends were coming to the gig including Fergie, Chomp, Mrs Chomp, Miss Chomp, Poochie (i.e. young Dave who I write to every Friday) and He Who Shall Not Be Named. As a result of some extensive “home projects”, He Who Shall Not Be Named has thousands of hours of experience behind a camera lens so naturally I selected him as a “safe pair of hands” to capture the band in all their rockin’ majesty. After successfully filming us mounting the stage (you just knew he’d get THAT bit right) he decided that the camera wasn’t switched on and proceeded to stand and “film” us for the next 40 minutes with the ‘Pause’ button on… *cue whispering tumbleweed*

It’s a shame really ‘cause as much as anyone else, I’m very keen to see and hear what the audience experiences. I know it’s not a very objective opinion but from where I was standing I thought we sounded great. Forty minutes went by in a flash and although there were a few bum notes, as well as some *cough* creative licence with the lyrics, the songs seemed to go down well with the crowd.

The main thing is that a lot of money was raised on the night for the Kids Cancer Charity (congratulations to you Lena for that) and a lot of teenagers got very drunk. And you can’t get much more rock ‘n roll than that. Incidentally, if you’re wondering why Lena, the event organiser, hasn’t written anything about it yet, she told me on Friday that her computer’s packed up.

For those who like such things, here are the songs we played on Friday night.

Ballroom Of Romance* - The Signals
Ten Cents A Dance – The Signals
Not Such A Lonely Place – The Signals
Need Your Love So Bad – an old blues song as sung by Fleetwood Mac
I Can’t Make It Alone – on old Carole King song as sung by Maria McKee
Days To Come* - The Signals
Goodbye Girl – Squeeze

*Available to download at

Friday, July 27, 2007

Something For The Weekend 26

Well Dave… it would appear that this site has just turned into a weekly dispatch to your good self, occasionally offering some suggestions as to how you could productively wile away your weekend hours rather than staying at home and practicing that excitable little effeminate handclap of yours.

There was a time when I used to have opinions and observations about other stuff… stuff like how come all the smart people who design mobile communication technology still can’t come up with an easy way to get the back off a cell phone? And don’t get me started on the so-called charities who post plastic bags through my door on a daily basis, advise me to fill it with unwanted Birmingham Bags (ask Blousie) from the 70s (like I’d ever throw THEM away) and leave it on the doorstep and then DON’T BOTHER THEIR WHALE-SAVIN’, FAMINE-RELIEVIN’ DO-GOOD ARSES to come back and pick it up.

Anyway, I’m probably still a bit tired and emotional after the trauma of watching Sergio NOT capture the Open title last Sunday. I was pleased to see Anyone-But-Tiger win but I was living and breathing every second of the agony of his wayward drives and missed putts. In fact I was so exhausted afterwards that I had to go to my bed early and could only manage a couple of chapters of Harry Potter & The Unfeasibly High Body Count before my heavy eyes fell shut.

As for this weekend, there is only one important thing to tell you about. Tonight, after eight long years away from the rock ‘n roll fast lane, The Signals will kick off their slippers and put down their copies of People’s Friend and – after making responsible childcare arrangements and punching the venue address into their sat-navs – will take the stage once again to unleash their unique brand of face-meltin’ rock.

You’ll be pleased to know that final rehearsals on Wednesday went well, not counting that awkward moment when the bass player called a halt to proceedings to instigate a frank debate as to whether his prostate management routine was in line with generally accepted medical recommendations. Sure, it’s a valid concern but there’s a time and a place…

With any luck, I might be able to get tonight’s short, 30-40 minute performance videotaped and once I’ve added the hysterical crowd noises and overdubbed the bum notes, it may well appear somewhere on the interweb. Remember, the gig is for charity and there are other bands playing also so it should be a great night. If you can make it along, I look forward to seeing you and witnessing the aforementioned handclap. If you can’t, here’s a wee taster of what you’ll be missing… rock ‘n roll AND levitation!!!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Something For The Weekend 25


Been travelling down south a bit this week… so very tired… and grumpy. Not quite sure how that happened because people in London are usually so warm and pleasant and have a generosity of spirit that should’ve left its indelible mark on me. And of course flying with Easyjet is a seamless travel experience designed to leave you feeling that you’d like to spend the rest of your days in a departure lounge enjoying their revolutionary No-Seat-Ignore-The-Announcements-Rush-The-Gate™ boarding system. Genius.

Anyway, in coming weeks I’ll have some travel tips for you in case you and your “girlfriend” ever have a fight and you need to book a last minute city break to keep on “her” good side and ensure yourself continued access to quality hoggins. I’ve also rediscovered some classic music which I’ll probably have to explain in the same simple terms as that time when you asked me if Hipsway was some funky new dance move.

Meantime, “Scrubs” is thankfully back on TV, the new Crowded House album is quite good and you were right to mercilessly dump me when I asked if you wanted to go and see the new Harry Potter movie. It was mince.

Cheers, Edge

Friday, July 13, 2007

Something For The Weekend 24

Dave… the great Circle of Life... what’s that all about, eh? I know that at such a tender age, you and your other young “friends” think it’s just a standout melody from one of those musical theatre productions you’re always begging me to go and see with you. However, for those of us not so light on our feet, it’s a subject that hangs over us constantly, casting a dark, brooding shadow and beckoning us onwards towards the edge of the abyss with its long, gnarly finger. But enough of the cheery banter… here’s a sobering little philosophical tale for you to ponder this weekend.

Unsurprisingly, after the devastating departure of Dana on Sunday afternoon, this week has been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I thought the prospect of pizza for dinner on Sunday would raise my spirits somewhat but when I got home and discovered that the “Pepperoni Party” was four days past its expiration date, my despair spiralled further downwards to previously uncharted depths.

Monday at work was a grind but at least I had an hour of five-a-side football to look forward to in the evening, all the more appealing since the sun seems to have returned to Scotland after its eleven-month, two-week sojourn elsewhere. (Gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word ‘sojourn’ before. I wonder what it means?)

For the first few minutes of the game, the physical exertion of each lung-bursting run – or “stroll”, to use the proper terminology – seemed to take my mind off Dana but when I ended up almost punching Bruce for looking at me the wrong way, I knew the raw emotions were still bubbling way too close to the surface.

So on Wednesday night I decided to take some positive steps to cheer myself up and try and move on since, as Kell kindly pointed out, this is what Dana would’ve wanted. What better way then than to sit down and watch that feel-good, cartoon movie classic, “March Of The Penguins”, where all the wee happy-go-lucky inhabitants of Antarctica sing and dance and embark on crazy adventures while listening to Stevie Wonder all day.

Imagine my surprise and disappointment then when I discovered that a different penguin movie seemed to have been mistakenly put in the box; a movie set in an icy world where Stevie Wonder was nowhere to be seen. Or heard.

At the beginning of this “story”, the penguins walked – or “marched” – 70+ miles in winter to hook up with a date and get themselves a little “penguin-love”. Then, no sooner had the females gone through the so-called “trauma of egg-birth”, did they piss off back to the coast with their girlfriends for a spa treat, some swimming and a right good feed, leaving their male partners to stand in almost perpetual darkness for ten weeks, balancing the egg precariously on their toes and bearing the brunt of the coldest and harshest storms on the planet.

Throughout the movie, the booming voice of God was played by Morgan Freeman and he was at pains to point out that not only is this a remarkable story of survival but the penguins have been carrying out this same ritual for millions of years. MILLIONS. Doing the SAME THING over and over despite the cold and the marching AND – Warning: avert children’s eyes from your computer screen immediately – the fact that some don’t survive the trek or drop the egg and kill their unborn chick or never find a partner or other similarly tragic fates.

In between my frustration of not seeing any little happy feet tap-dancing to “Superstition”, I couldn’t help reflecting that surely one forward-thinking penguin, at some point during the past several millions of years, must’ve spoken up and suggested a different strategy. Alternative breeding grounds? Shorter walk? A fairer split of the egg-balancing / spa treat duties? Woolly hats? Winters in Florida?

I mean… imagine if it was you and me. (In general terms obviously – not “egg-making”.) Leaving your play area in winter with no clothes on to walk 70 miles to Dundee to find an attractive member of the opposite sex (a major achievement in its own right) and then indulging in your only “knee trembler” of the year is one thing. But if you were then expected to remain in Dundee for ten weeks in the dark whilst performing some tricky egg-balancing manoeuvre with your toes, I think you’d be starting to ask some serious questions.

So there you go… the Circle of Life is indeed a great riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Elton John. If that’s the soundtrack to God’s great plan for the penguins, I’ll take the theory of evolution and Stevie Wonder any day of the week. And twice on Sundays.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Goodnight My Sweet Baby

In the past, when required to discuss the topic of cars, my knowledge and interest has extended only to asking questions such as “Is the boot big enough for my golf clubs?” and “Will it get me to the golf course in one piece?” and “Four is the correct number of wheels, right?”

But ever since I wrote this little newspaper article in February last year, my relationship with Dana has been elevated to an entirely new level of respect, understanding and appreciation. I certainly feel that I’ve been a more attentive partner in the past 18 months or so, taking care of her needs and treating her far more gently and lovingly than I did during the years after we first found each other in the summer of 2000.

About two years ago, Dana required a little minor surgery; nothing too serious, just a body part replacement and she endured the procedure with her usual quiet and uncomplaining grace. Her recovery time was minimal and she was soon back on the road with a zest for life that confounded the so-called experts.

However, in August last year I could tell that something was troubling her. Although she didn’t say anything specific, I was sure I could detect the occasional moan or whimper after a particularly tough drive through Scotland’s torrential summer rain. Throughout this period, the expression on her gorgeous features remained unchanged, but she appeared to withdraw into herself and didn’t seem to want to tell me what was wrong, despite my offers of extra dashboard “rubs”.

Wracked with worry – and much to Dana’s annoyance – I finally called in a specialist and after detailed examinations and endless tests we received the news we’d been dreading.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this but the replacement surgery was only a temporary respite. The illness is back and it’s spreading. She’ll be lucky to see Christmas.”

Understandably, I was inconsolable but it was Dana, brave as always, who dragged me out of my despair and was determined to make the most of the time we had left together. It was she who insisted we take the long drive south, laden with equipment, to undertake The Finn Cousins tour last October. And what precious memories still linger of finishing the last gig of that tour and driving 400 miles together through the night to get to St. Andrews for a tee time early next morning.

Christmas came and went and still she battled on through the winter, determined to get to summer and feel the warm healing rays of sunshine on her flawless skin. But all the time she was growing weaker and the ever-present coughing and spluttering became a constant reminder of the hurt she was feeling inside.

The last two weeks have been tough. I know she’s been keen to keep my spirits up and get out more but she’s really needed her rest and I’ve allowed her to sleep whenever possible. And today, at 5.46pm on the most stunning day so far of the Scottish summer, the sparkling light finally faded from her beautiful clear eyes and she slipped away from me for good.

So goodnight my sweet baby and sleep peacefully now. Thank you for each and every one of your 118,789 glorious miles. I shall never forget you.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Something For The Weekend 23

Hey Dave,

This week, during a quiet moment following a fairly hectic spell at work (we'd just finished doing an exhausting 80s lyrics quiz) one of my colleagues showed me this video on his fancy iPod. It's awesome and I'm not promising anything but I've got The Signals working on something simliar for the big gig on the 27th. Be there!

Have a great weekend.


Monday, July 02, 2007


If you’re looking for some respite from the incessant BBC News 24 and Sky News attempts to outdo each other with ‘Breaking News’…

“So John, reports coming in now of further suspicious characters lurking round Glasgow Airport - what can you tell us?”

“Well Bill, details are scant but I can now confirm that I too have heard that there are rumours of reports of several individuals carrying what looks like bottles with a liquid and/or liquids contained therein and walking in a highly suspicious manner on the cracks in the pavement. John?”

… go to this highly respected media outlet for the last word in cutting edge journalism, comment and opinion.

Two men who drove a lit car into the main concourse at Glasgow Airport are to be charged under Scotland’s tough anti-smoking laws.

While you’re at it, check out a hero for our time.

Those hapless al-Qaeda boys were to find out that Glasgow has no respect for international terrorism – nobody gets between 10,000 Weegies and a £99 week in Ibiza booked on Thursday night through Barrhead Travel.”

And can you imagine the scene back at cell headquarters as they assemble to conduct their Post Implementation Review?

Mr Blue: “So boys, the Glasgow job. Not exactly Oceans 11, was it?”
Mr Blonde: “Freakin’ locals. They were all in the bar by the time we got there.”
Mr Pink: “Yeah, but if you hadn’t been waving that frickin’ razor at the first cop that came along…”
Mr Blonde: “Whatchu say Pink? I’ll skin you clean and then visit your momma for…”
Mr Blue: “Boys, boys, let’s stick to the agenda. Now what went well?”
Mr Brown: “The suits and glasses were pretty cool?”
Mr Blue: “And what could’ve gone better?”
Mr White: “Shoulda gone with plan B? Edinburgh?”
Mr Blue: “Yeah, right enough. I mean… Glasgow… what were we thinking?”