The stories behind the songs ANOTHER EDEN Yet another song set in Edinburgh. You may recognise the cobbled streets of The Royal Mile and the wonderful 'Eden' of the Pentland Hills, just south of the city next to the roaring road of the City bypass. Have a look in the Photo section for a glimpse of Glencorse, then go up there and breathe deeply... Written in Aberdour in Fife where the flat looked over the Forth with a view of all the settings for the song. Dunedin is the old name for Edinburgh. IN NORTHERN TOWNS LIKE THESE A song about childhood growing up in the coastal town of North Berwick in East Lothian. Our house overlooked the beach with a vista stretching over to Fife past the string of islands from Fidra to the Bass Rock. The long low silhouette of the May island could be seen in the distance next to the twinkling lights of the Fife coastal towns. It seemed like a mysterious other world back then. It's also a song about a child encountering the phoney adult world. CARLEEN ON THE PHONE I love the Guillemots song Made Up Love Song No 43 with the great line 'The best things come from nowhere'. This is a song about just that... Also has some associations with Glasgow as I went to a few of the opening concerts for the new BBC studios at Pacific Quay and crossed the squinty bridge which lights up in an arc of blue at night and reminded me of a songwriter friend who lives in that city 'the sweet soul giver'. Also plays a bit on the Peter Green lyric from ' Need Your Love so Bad' Need someone to stand up - to stand up and tell me when i'm lyin'' THE HARD ROAD TO HEAVEN A song about people who let you down, creep you out, steal your ideas, manipulate you for their own ends to make themselves look good, show you friendship only to drop you when you hit trouble, tell you how should behave in circumstances they have never had to go through. Other references: I used to travel over the Forth Road Bridge each day to go to work and all this news came out that the cables are gradually snapping and we will soon need a new bridge. So much for Scottish engineering. Another bridge close by is still surviving the same weather and so far hasn't let us down. The Athens of the North is an old name for Edinburgh. Sean is now happily married. Not sure what happened to the girl from Stavanger. CANDIDE I used to stay in a tenement flat in Marchmont in Edinburgh and our back window faced out over a large common garden space. The rear windows of all the opposite flats lined up in rows and at night played out different life scenarios like banks of huge TV screens. ( I always think of Hitchcock's film Rear Window with Grace Kelly and James Stewart.) The song is very loosely based on an incident I saw in the street, a terrible scene from a tragic life. Recorded on a 4 track cassette machine with Simon Jaquet on wah wah guitar and drum programme. This was a demo for the Night Visitors album Private but never made it for some reason. Written in Kinfauns Perthshire. The section with 'the church on the corner' was inspired by the scenes conjured in a Ricky Ross song on his first solo album: So Long Ago (1984). A Week in Politics is a Long Time (Undiscovered Kingdom). THE NIGHT WINDOW Written in Brougham Place near Tollcross in the early hours where I wish I could say I was gazing across a lovely view of starlit Edinburgh. However the flat faced onto a tenement block and you could just catch a vague glimpse of the Meadows, the expansive park in the Southside district. I got the name Blaise from Blaise Pascal the philosopher who I was reading at the time and I had been discussing the 'principalities and powers' which work on us all with my friend Donald, referred to in the writings of Paul (the Apostle) in one his letters. I worked on the song with my friend Ricky in The Netherbow Theatre were I worked as we were planning some concerts there and were in a band. This is yet another song which I didn't complete till many years later (2008!) when we got together and finished it in his house in Glasgow. THE IDIOT SLOT A song about the struggle for meaning and a rant against all the cosmic shysters at loose in the world who dress up their hate in religious clothing. You know who they are. OFF TO THE WAR You may know the scenario. You're mad about the girl but she won't say yes, yet she won't say no. She leaves you alone for weeks then gets back in touch... you get back in touch, then she leaves you alone. My solution was to go off to my local war, put my life on the line. Would she wake up? The song should have been on the Winter's Children album with it's theme of Edinburgh in winter. I wrote it as Autumn changed to Winter in a cafe which used to be at Holy Corner in Bruntsfield. (So called because there are 4 churches at this intersection in the city.) LATVIAN LANTERN NIGHTS Written for Juris Greene who left his home country of Latvia for Scotland when the Soviet Union annexed the Baltic States. He worked in Edinburgh for many years as a lawyer and when I met him he had retired and had lost his sight but introduced me to Latvian Folklore and gave me a strong sense of a country I had known nothing about. The song was inspired soon after Latvia regained it's independence since following his death I realised he had never seen his homeland regain it's freedom. Another song about Edinburgh and the Grange area in particular. DARLING CHARLOTTE, DEAREST JACK I always had these lines playing on the number seven. Seven Seas; Seven Deadly Sins; the Secret Seven...but had never written a song until I was asked to take part in a Fringe event by Elspeth Findlay and Richard Medrington who perform their own poetry. (They are also part of the Company who tour a wonderful show called The Man Who Planted Trees). I never know where songs come from but I wrote this in one sitting and it's basically a rant at the state of the world. MARMION ROAD A song about childhood in North Berwick on the East coast of Scotland. One Saturday morning I went down to the shore with some friends and a boat had been thrown up on the beach by a storm. Over the months we played on it until it gradually disappered from view in the sand. I also used to lie awake at night listening to the sea pound the shore. Dreams are there about lightning striking the harbour; also speechless at wonder and love; loss of childhood in the adult world. MY LADY HEADSTRONG On a visit to the island of Lismore in September 2009 we walked from Richard and Morag Fowler's Cottage at The Point to Port Ramsay and eventually round the west coast to Castle Coiffin. Named after a Viking prince, the ruins are of a later date and were erected by the MacDougalls of Lorn. One window remains and I imagined a princess waiting in vain for the return of her lover lost at sea. I found out later from Dorothy Livingstone that there is a legend telling of Beothail, the sister of Coiffin, who laments her love who never returns from a distant war.