I was sorry when I heard of the death of Alastair (Ali) Donaldson who I knew as William Mysterious, once a member of The Rezillos. His obituary in The Scotsman is here. The Rezillos were, and are, a lively punk/new wave band fom Edinburgh who performed some great, light-hearted songs. I didn't know The Rezillos in their heyday of the late seventies but their reunion gig which I saw in around 2003 was about the best I've ever been to. Edinburgh audiences are known for their coolness, but for them the venue shook with ageing punks dancing themselves out of their old Rezillos T-shirts.
Ali left The Rezillos before they got big enough for Top of the Pops. He did various things after that, including busking and playing in Edinburgh's pubs. He appeared a lot at the Full Moon Club which my boyfriend Fritz Van Helsing ran and I helped out at, where he did humorous songs like Bring on the Pancakes. He often did The Rezillos' (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures, a song full of lightness and humour:-
She don't care For one night stands And naughty boys With sweaty hands She got a thing About carving wood Or shaping a figure From a lump of mud
Don't love my baby for her pouting lips Don't love my baby for her curvy hips I love my baby 'cos she does good sculptures yeah...!
We'd visit him and his lovely wife Ksenija in their little flat in the Southside. It was his second marriage and they had a baby, which Ali looked after while Ksenija worked. My memory is of Ksenija and I talking our heads off while Ali was present, handsome, a little detached and with a dry, understated humour.
Someone wrote a poem about him called "Billy, You've still got that Sax Appeal". (Ali played sax and bass, and other instruments as well).
The picture of a Power pop combo In the first flush Of joyous youthful arrogance Burns bright from within Scottish pop's murky depths They all had guitars They all had chords . .
And still, you sit On the sidelines by choice Watching all and sundry As if you're saying
"I'm free" and doing Exactly whatever the hell You want, just like Any true punk would
His funeral last week was attended by a lot of people from Edinburgh's music pub scene. Ali's own songs were played, as well as Johnny Cash performing The Beatles' In My Life.
There are places I remember All my life, though some have changed Some forever not for better Some have gone and some remain All these places have their moments With lovers and friends I still can recall Some are dead and some are living In my life I've loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers There is no one compares with you And these memories lose their meaning When I think of love as something new Though I know I'll never lose affection For people and things that went before I know I'll often stop and think about them In my life I love you more
I saw Robert Ellis last night supporting Richard Thompson at Usher Hall, Edinburgh
Sing Along - guitar-picking song about being brought up as a Southern Baptist in the bible belt.
Nobody talks too loud in my home town Nobody stands too tall for fear of getting knocked down. .
And the flames of hell, they seemed so high I could barely see over the view I was just a boy when they told me that lie, But lord it seemed so true.
And that's a hell of a thing to do to a kid Just to teach him right from wrong You can burn in hell the rest of your days, Or you can choose to sing along.
Richard Thompson started off with songs from his new album Electric, including Salford Sunday
(He pointed out that Salford was the dirty old town of Ewan McColl's famous song.)
He still can write the songs though he did spend a lot of the evening doing guitar pyrotechnics - too much for my taste. I prefer him doing straight ballads. And he didn't do Beeswing or Vincent Black Lightening. But he did do this great version of Hey Joe:-
I live by Murrayfield Stadium. There's a Scots v NZ game today. Last weekend I could hear the sounds of the haka as I walked in Roseburn Park behind the stadium. It seems the NZers were practising. Today it's the bagpipes - a sound that always wrenches my heart, especially today.
Camille O'Sullivan was performing at The Queen's Hall on Tuesday. She sang Hurt:-
She was sitting on a chair in a red dress and very pale fish net stockings banging her feet and legs up and down to the music. As she moved this song along on its steps of menace and doom, she made the shivers go up my spine.
What a voice - she growls, she rasps, she belts and then she can go sweet. She inhabits the songs - she delivers them with high theatricality.
She covered Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel, Kurt Weill, Nick Cave:-
She did a big teasing routine before she did In These Shoes - picking up the red sparkly shoes, putting them on, letting the intro go on for ever, and then performed it magnificently:-
In the Captain's Bar last night the duo Rantum Scantum were playing. Bobby Nicholson on guitar and vocals, Eddy Hanson on fiddle. Bobby Nicholson, writes funny, satirical songs. This is a recent topical one, Go and see the pandas:-
Things to do when nothin's on the telly (recorded live, so sound quality not good:-
So it was worth it - the rehearsals, the practice at home, the horrible stomach-twisting and cold-sweat nerves I get before performing. We played a blinder, and went down a storm. There were a load of bands playing that I've seen over the years, and they were all rocking at the top of their game. It was a grand memorial gig. Fritz would have really liked it.
Kudos to the organisers. Every band started on time with none of the usual delays. The sound engineer was excellent. A brilliant night.
The first act I saw were Fraktured Fingers – an amalgam of (I think) Frak and Nicotine Fingers. Appropriately enough the first song that I heard all night was written by Fritz and it kicked off a hugely enjoyable half hour or so of punky/new wave pop.