Tag Archives: 2011

And now a brief intermission……….

Bored with the interval music, I engage a German couple in polite conversation. They are in their early sixties and they’ve flown over from Stuttgart for the festival. Understandably, they’re quite puzzled/disappointed by what appears to be a very poor crowd in attendance, and I have to agree with them. There can’t be more than three hundred of us in what’s a fairly large room.They reckon that compared with back home, it’s not very well publicised for this style and size of event.

While I slowly realise that the price of the same round (Guinness and a Soda water) keeps changing , Astrid, the German lady bemoans the lack of visible percussion on stage awaiting our Mr.Lo. Indeed at this point only a champagne coloured Premier kit is on display along with some unspectacular keyboards. Gunter (no prizes, for guessing which partner he was) makes reference to the ’Sellic Coanection’. I correct his diction and advise that it’s pronounced with a hard Kay. “Sellic is one of our city’s football teams ,the other major one being Rangers” I then attempt to describe the many idealogical differences between the majority of these teams’ supporters. Gunter listens intently as I espouse my perpetual atheism, and the futility of all organised religions, and then asks me, “So who are the good guys?”.

Feeling this is far too reminiscent of one of those job interviews, the sort where you’re asked what Battalion of Boys Brigade you belonged to, I bridle. “Why,simple, anyone that doesn’t drop bombs on Clydebank is a ‘good guy’ as far as I’m concerned!” Fortunately, Gunter laughs off my ‘Meester Fawlty’ moment and we then revert to more suitable small talk  – such as the fact that Astrid only lets him drink lager, as his favourite tipple Guinness also gives him terrible, Germanic, wind.

Neither had heard of Amon Duul II or the Choir Organ!


Oquestrada, Fruitmarket, January 15th 2011 (Act #01)

The first of my, many, Celtic Connections 2011 gigs this year. We turn up after a quick visit to Blackfriars to find that although the ticket says ‘Doors 18:30’ this is not true. My designated driver and I are finally allowed access to the hall about 19:15. ‘No seats tonight’ sees us speed to the balcony where we can lean on the rail and hold small infants over at arms length trying to emulate Michael Jackson. Every time I visit this venue it’s configured differently and tonight doesn’t buck the convention (otherwise I wouldn’t have typed that); I’ve seen bench seats, round tables, normal pews, they certainly keep the staff busy and on their toes. We have a quick drink at the bar, before the band comes on, and then ten minutes of people spotting. Again there’s something different, the bar closes during the performance, not a bad thing and keeps the noise of bottles & tills in another room.

My grasp of accents isn’t the greatest and, for once, not having done my homework, I have this sextet  down as East European. Turns out they’re actually Portuguese, with a penchant for Billy Idol, but not too sharp on the geography front either. The singer, a fetching busty lady who does a fine impression of someone who has already had too many whiskies, applauds the audience for voting to stay out of Europe (???) Anyway I’m fair taken with this crew. It’s Fado but not your normal stuff, more like Punk-Fado. Oddly I say sextet but they only use the trumpeter (wearing a military sort of hat) on the opening and closing numbers. I’ve checked them out on YouTube and while there’s clearly more than one trumpeter (is he their driver/roadie?) that hat’s always in residence.