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Some cautionary tales

​Following on from Monday’s tale of our Orkney friend falling asleep on a late-night bus, after some Celtic shenanigans, and finding himself lost in East Kilbride, we’ve heard a couple more such stories which merit re-telling – if only for cautionary purposes. One involved the late Gordon Duncan - whose tribute show Just for Gordon was also mentioned in Monday’s dispatches – and takes us back to the early glory days of the Festival Club at the Central Hotel, which hallowed premises Duncan departed early one morning, after a typically epic night there, to catch the first train home to Pitlochry. From Glasgow, this involves changing at Perth – otherwise, as Duncan was forcibly reminded when he eventually awoke, you end up in Aberdeen. Having killed a couple of hours in the Granite City, he boarded another train bound for Perth – only to wake up this time back in Glasgow. At this point, he bowed to what seemed to be the inevitable, and retraced his steps to the Central Hotel, for another night at the festival.


The other story concerned a well-kent face from the wider Celtic family, who on this occasion was heading home to Glasgow after a big night at the Edinburgh Fringe. Though he hadn’t managed to organise a bed for the night in the capital, its long-extended festival opening hours kept him happily enough entertained until the first bus back along the M8. Unfortunately, said bus wasn’t terminating in Glasgow, or even returning to Edinburgh, as the main Citylink service does – and thus our hero, upon regaining consciousness some hours later, found himself in Preston. So on those remaining Celtic days when the night afore is exacting fiendish penance, comfort yourself that it could be worse.


After our passing Biblical reference in Sunday’s post, a couple more of these have also come to our attention in a Celtic context. Shetland fiddler Ross Couper, having survived a truly epic day and night on Saturday – playing in the Strathspey and Surreal Society premières at lunchtime, followed by the Peatbog Faeries’ soundcheck and gig at the O2 ABC, followed by the Peatbogs’roof-raising set at the Festival Club – greeted the world on Facebook on Sunday (at 4.56pm) with the shortest sentence in the Bible (Google it), albeit expanded from two words to three by Couper’s distinctly non-scriptural emphasis.


On a more inspirational note, John Grant prefaced his utterly glorious performance at the Concert Hall last night with a recording of those justly celebrated lines from Corinthians 13: “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” And even if the sonic distortion gradually engulfing the words pointed to Grant’s past experience of religious homophobia – experience reflected in some of his searingly eloquent lyrics – his belief in the verses’ original message shone movingly throughout the show.


Lochaber fiddler Allan Henderson, who featured in several Celtic concerts last week, has never been a city boy, but his rustic habits have recently been reinforced further by living in Benbecula, where he’s teaching on the UHI traditional music course: even in central Glasgow, apparently, it took him a few days to stop waving at every car that came along.
There have long been a good few “separated at birth”-style anecdotes about musicians Findlay Napier and Aaron Jones being mistaken for one another. Now, it seems, perhaps due to converging tastes in facial hair, the same has started happening to bassist Euan Burton and Gaelic singer Darren Maclean – with the same insistence, by the person who mistakenly accosted Burton last night, that they were correct, and the artist they were speaking to was in fact mistaken as to their own identity. Maybe we should have an actual lookalike contest one of these years, just to see how far we can confuse the issue.