Let’s Hear It…

In the next few days, there will be a post about my day trip the other day to Liverpool and another about my experiences visiting museums. But first, I want to say a little about the Proclaimers.

I went to see the Proclaimers last night at the Royal Concert Hall on Buchanan Street. They were magnificent, playing a decent mixture of old and new songs from their vast back catalogue. I was there with my mum and ended up singing along, jumping up and down and generally being as joyous as one can be when holding one’s jacket.

The Proclaimers are my favourite band. They have been for years and years. Their songs are well written, emotional but not sentimental, deeply Scottish but concerned with the human condition. I can probably find a Proclaimers song for every mood, every day. Each morning, when I travel to work, I listen to music. Without fail, there is a Proclaimers song there somewhere.

That all started when I was at school. I didn’t like high school and before I left, to gee myself up, I would play music, much like they play suitably rousing tunes before a football match. Invariably, Sunshine on Leith would be among them, perhaps Throw The R Away. That song came on the radio one morning, just before I left for school, and I smiled all day.

Throw The R Away is my favourite Proclaimers song, from the first album, This Is The Story. It’s about not being appreciated or understood because of a thick Scottish accent. Living here in Glasgow but being from the east, I can often relate.

Sunshine on Leith is my favourite song of all. To quote John Peel, talking about his favourite song, Teenage Kicks by the Undertones, there is nothing about it that can be improved. It never fails to cheer me up or console me in times of pain or to celebrate the best of times. Recently, I got some very good news and I was sitting on a bus on Victoria Road here in Glasgow just having heard the good word. I put on Sunshine on Leith and I was in tears, delighted beyond words. Last night, it was the highlight of my night and I couldn’t help belting it out as so many times before, in my own company or more recently after big victories at Easter Road. I read somewhere that the melody came first then the words came after, as the boys were sitting on a plane approaching Edinburgh at just the right angle. I often think of that. More often it reminds me of the motto of Leith, Persevere, that there’s no other option, that life is ultimately worth it and in the end with some hard work we can and will prevail. I must have heard it thousands of times and it still has the same effect, every time. I don’t play it every morning, only on big days or when I need just a wee boost.

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Actual Sunshine on Leith there.

The first song they played was Sky Takes The Soul, which is also from This Is The Story, a song which is also my ringtone. It has an incredible guitar bit to start. I read last night that it was actually written about the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. It has quite bare and stark lyrics but it is essentially about living each day to the last. I often think of the line ‘with a faith and a bit of luck, and a half-tonne bomb in the back of the truck’. Except the bomb, you don’t really need much else, really. It was the opening song in the Sunshine on Leith film and it was great to hear last night.

It was followed by Over And Done With, which David Tennant chose as one of his Desert Island Discs a few years back. This one I listened to this morning on the way to work as it currently has a resonance in one part of my life, which is indeed over and done with, or just about to be.

One of the band’s most famous songs is I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). While it is a great song, and I listen to it each time I go to my library job, the Proclaimers have many, many other, better songs. Foremost amongst them is the brilliant Joyful Kilmarnock Blues. It was that which I sang walking down Buchanan Street to the station last night. ‘I walked through the country, I walked through the town, I held my head up and didn’t look down’.

The Proclaimers aren’t that fashionable, really. But they make great music that is beautiful and downright awesome. And they still do. The new album, Let’s Hear It For The Dogs, is rather fine. I liked Like Comedy more, particularly for the title song, which helped me get a better perspective on a difficult part of life recently. They are still great and particularly live, particularly when there is nothing to do except go absolutely radge.

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