Monday, 28 September 2009

Tutti Frutti

Tutti Frutti is finally available to buy (or chorie) on dvd and, as it's in my top 5 tv progs ever, i watched all 6 episodes in 2 sittings over the last coupla weekends. There's a wee scene which reminded me of a bit o daftness my maw got up to when i was 6 or 7.

We'd no long moved to Kent and one long hot summer day there was a chap at the door. Rather than just answer it, my maw shooed me through to the kitchen and under the table, with a "wheesht" finger at her lips. I hadnae a clue what was goin on but was fair enjoyin the game til there was a sharp rap on the kitchen window and this posh voice went "I say, are you alright in there, i can see your leg under the table." We were rumbled and out crawled my maw to make a false confession to the local vicar.

She telt him we were "lookin for something under the table". Chat was then reasonably pleasant if a little stilted til, after inviting us to next Sunday's service, our man o the cloth went on to suggest that Vote Labour posters wouldnae go down well in the area and should be removed from the window as soon as poss. To her shooge credit, my maw lost it at this point and told the rev we were athesits who'd never attend his stupid church and we'd put up whatever posters we fancied. Get it right up ye, Mr vicar (she didnae add).

So it's been 22 years since Tutti Frutti first hit the screen and judging by the nick o sound and picture quality on the dvd, the tapes have been festering away in a dusty old cupboard since then. Thankfully the writing, direction and outstanding cast make up for this shortcoming and after a while it's like watchin a great subtitled film, you stop noticing and just enjoy.

I'll no say too much about Tutti Frutti. If you've seen it before, you'll ken what i'm on about and enjoy it again. If you've never seen it, do yirsel a massive favour and track it down. For my dosh it's easily the best telly or film work ever done by Robbie Coltraine, Emma Thompson and Richard Wilson (pictured above wi Katy Murphy), all 3 of whom made it big on the back o this.

A wop bop a loo lop, a lop bam boo!

Thursday, 17 September 2009


The royal family and the obeisance they inspire in otherwise sensible peeps give me the boke. So i was delighted to hear some architect gadge on the radio ripping into Luggy's Poundbury project the other day. His main point was that there's no good organic reason for this place to exist and that all successful settlements have an obvious raison d'etre. I ken bugger all about architecture, town planning or any of that stuff but i couldnae help agreeing.

Ullapool's organic reason for being is very obviously the sea. It was founded as a sheltered, deep water, easy access point to the vast herring shoals which used to head this way from the Atlantic Ocean. Today, most of the herring is gobbled up by floating factories much further west. The herring fleets of the British Isles and Scandinavia mos def aint wot they used to be. There's still fishing to be had out of Loch Broom though - most of the catch is shellfish and most of that ends up in restaurants in Spain and France. So Mand loved every second of our self-guided tour of the fishing boats last Saturday (oh no she didnae).

U-pool's also where the CalMac ferries head to Stornaway even on a Sunday and there were a fair few yachts and cruisers bobbin round the bay. The town's sea-going credentials are clearly alive and kicking despite the scarcity of herring. But we werenae in town to fish, ferry or faff in the sea, we were in town to catch up wi Goa chums, Eve and Donald. Oh aye, and to get reekin oot wir coupons on the booze.

To be fair, we did take my fascinating tour of the boats and we hit the barry wee Ullapool Museum for an hour or so. The museum's housed in a converted church originally designed by the prolific and highly talented Thomas Telford. (Bit wrong i ken, but i cannae help crackin a wee smile when churches are converted into somethin a bit more useful than erm...houses of worship.) TT also designed the grid pattern streets of the old town as well as the Village Hall where we caught Super Furry Animals 4 years back.

And that was pretty much that on the culture and tourist trail for us. We knocked back the chance to head south to Gairloch, Gruinard Bay or the wondrous gardens of Inverewe. We failed to head north and climb the spikey peak of Stac Pollaidh, pictured below by the snaptastic Dave Henniker.

We couldnae even be ersed jumpin 15 miles along the road to Corrieshalloch Gorge with its fab swingy rope bridge thing. Instead we hit the Argyll, the Arch and the Seaforth - scene of Al D's infamous karaoke incident. Al better relate that tale one day soon right here cos if no i'll do it for him and he'll come off a lot worse in my version.

As well as the sea, the scenery and the touristy stuff, U-pool's got a great rep for live music with local bands, traditional music sessions and erm...karaoke on most nights somewhere in town. This weekend coming it'll host the annual Loopallu festival (didja see what they did wi the name there?) I'm a daftie cos i shoulda planned the trip for this weekend so we could've seen our groovy chums, got pished and grabbed some top notch live music. But Ullapool's no gonna disappear anytime soon and there's always next year i spose.

In the meantime, Jo of the Isles will have some of her poetry read out on Ullapool based Loch Broom FM. I'm gonna try and get some kinda podcast link to it up here but should you fancy a cheeky wee taster of her works (and i think you should), follow this link to Ottertalk. It's right guid gear.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Sconny Botland

The man in the picture, George Burley, was manager of Hearts for about 3 months. His record in competitive games was won 8, drew 1 (against Celtic at Parkheid and theirs was a dodgy offside goal). That's the best run of 9 games the Jam Tarts have had in their 125 year history, even better than anything done in the '50s when Hearts and Hibs regularly won the League, League Cup and Scottish Cup - oops, sorry.....Hibs havenae won the Cup since 1902.

Burley was sacked as Hearts manager cos the owner, bad Vlad Romanov, is a megalomaniac who likes to pick the team himsel. Within a few months Vlad went on to sell Hearts' 3 best players including the captain to Celtic. This was too much for me to take and i've never paid to see Hearts at home again. I miss the fitba, don't see as much of my dad and have lost touch with a few peeps because of the self imposed ban but i'll no be back til the owner's gone (probly once he's stripped every last asset and flogged the ground to a property developer).

George Burley's now manager of Scotland and despite the balloons who run the Scottish Fitba Association and the overpriced, substandard guff we usually have to watch, i've long been keen on big match days out in the Weege. Most folk dinnae rate Burley as highly as i do - they're no fellow Jambos, they didnae see much o the barry way we played under his stewardship and, frankly, his record with Scotland's been fairly keech (i blame the dearth of decent Scottish players no the manager).

Scotland games arenae often memorable for the actual match but it's fab to have a day at the game wi non-Jambo footy chums. On Saturday there was me, a Sheep, a Hun, a Tim, an Arab and 3 Hibbies (trendy fuckers). We got tipsy in Glesga boozers, spraffed nonsense wi randoms and fuck me if we didnae get to see our team win for a change. Win in style. Score a coupla peaches. Spend the last 40 mins sprayin the baw and takin the tash. It was feckin magic. Okay, we were playin Macedonia not Brazil but check this oot (groovy Arabic commentary included) and tell me you wouldnae have loved to have been there. Hampden Park was rockin even at half time when we'd been shite beyond belief so when we actually scored goals the joint went bonkers.

We probly still need to beat the Netherlands on Wednesday to have any chance of qualification for the World Cup in Sooth Efrikay. We probly won't do that. But for the unrestrained joy of Saturday, i remain extremely grateful to G Burley and the team he put out. Shame Copie nutted me when the second goal went in but my egg shaped lump will recede far faster than the memory of a top day out.

Moan the Sconny Botland!

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Long Hot Summer Just Passed Me By

32 years after the Jam's first single release and 37 after he first formed the band, it's still tres cool in some quarters to bang on about how barry Paul Weller is. In some eyes, the so called Modfather cannae put a foot wrong. Everyone loves the Jam and a lotta cats dig Weller's patchy solo output but most peeps dinnae really get the Style Council. Personally i loved them, dodgy boatin clobber anaw.

They dressed like fuds but this was was the early 80's and let's be honest, who didnae? Early on the band released a tiptop cheap as chips soul-infused mini album, nane too originally entitled Introducing The Style Council. This smashin wee platter included the doleful Long Hot Summer single with its catchy line "...the long hot summer just passed me by".

I ken how they felt. September awready. Cheesy peeps.