Scots Whay Hae!’s Alternative Hogmanay Night In, 2015…

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Once again Mr Scott raises a bottle to see out the old year and ring in the new and that means it’s time for Scots Whay Hae!’s annual New Year’s Eve treats. It’s an alternative to the Hogmanay telly, so if there’s little you fancy on the box, this might be more to your liking.

There’s music, comedy, drama (including an Oscar winner) and a fond farewell, all involving some of our favourite folk, including Duglas T Stewart, Peter Capaldi, David Kane, Only An Excuse, William McIlvanney, The Waterboys, WHITE and finishing with some Arab Strap. Heroes one and all. That’s quite a lot to get through, so without further ado….

We’re going to kick off with some music. This first post is inspired by Nicola Meighan’s article in The Herald on The BMX Bandits. It’s an interview with Duglas, followed by a brief clip of Wray Gunn & The Rockets, before the Bandits cover ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’, and it’s an all-time favourite TV clip in our house:

Next, a bit of a forgotten gem. Jute City is a 1991 dark thriller set in Dundee, with a cast who include Clive Russell, David O’Hara, John Sessions, Jenny McCrindle, Peter Mullan, and Fish (yes, Fish!) among many more. Written by David Kane, who would go onto write and direct This Year’s Love, Born Romantic, Sea of Souls, The Field Of Blood and Shetland, this is arguably his finest work. If you are a fan of Edge Of Darkness, this is for you. Here is just taster:

It’s been a hell of a year for Peter Capaldi, but then that applies to most years recently. In my opinion he has become a great Doctor Who, but then I am slightly obsessed with the man. Here are a couple of reminders that he is a fine a director as well as an actor. The first is a clip from the underrated Strictly Sinatra:

..followed by all three parts of his Oscar-winning 1994 short film, Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life:

We sadly lost William McIlvanney this year, and you can read SWH!’s celebration of his life and work here. One of Scotland’s great writers, and a great man, let’s remember him in his prime. This is an episode of STV’s Off The Page programme, from 1992, where you can spend 25mins in the man’s warm and witty company:

Hogmanay telly means Only An Excuse, which I’ll still watch, but it isn’t a patch on the glory years of the 1990s, when Scottish football was nuts, with teams paying players and managers more money than their English counterparts, and becoming a fascinating circus because of it. It was ripe for satire, and Jonathan Watson and Tony Roper rarely missed their targets. This is from their live show of 1993:

As is only fitting, we will finish off with some more music. As an alternative to Jools, Ruby Turner and Tom Jones on the Hootenanny, here are three clips to bring in the new year. First, it’s the early days of The Waterboys on The Tube, when the world was theirs for the taking. I’ve rarely loved a band as much as I did them at that point in time. This is ‘A Pagan Place’:

Playing Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party this year are a band who made a real breakthrough in 2015. They are WHITE, and here they are playing ‘Future Pleasures’ on a BBC Introducing session earlier in the year:

The perfect band for the end of any Hogmanay, at least most of the ones I’ve been at, is surely Arab Strap, and what better tune than ‘The Shy Retirer’:

And that was 2015. I’m not sure quite how 2016 is going pan out but whatever happens we’ll be there reviewing, commenting, and talking to some of those who are going to shape it.

From everyone involved with Scots Whay Hae!, Happy New Year and we’ll see you on the other side…

William McIlvanney (1936-2015)

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It can be argued, and I would, that William McIlvanney was one of the most influential Scottish writers of recent times. This is partly down to his being ordained as the “Godfather of Tartan Noir” in recent years, (a title he didn’t particularly care for), but is mainly due to his tough, lean prose which gave a literary voice and identity to Glasgow and the West of Scotland at a time when it had next to none.

It was an identity strong enough for people to come to believe that Glasgow was full of men who had the patter of his detective Laidlaw, and who could fight like Dan Scoular (The Big Man), not least Glaswegians themselves. But there were other aspects to that identity which came straight from McIlvanney himself. Strong, sure, fair and fiercely intelligent. Like his fellow Ayrshire writer, Robert Burns, he was charming, passionate and believed in the power of discourse to change the world.

Back in 2012, in an Indelible Ink column looking at McIlvanney’s 2007 novel Weekend, I wrote:

“With the recent success at home and abroad of Scottish writers such as Irvine Welsh, Iain Banks, Ali Smith, Ian Rankin, A.L Kennedy etc, it’s perhaps odd to think of a time when having Scottish novels post R.L. Stevenson in a Scottish house was the exception rather than the norm, at least with most of the people I knew growing up. In the ’70s and ’80s, if a family had only one Scottish writer on their shelves there was a good chance it would be William McIlvanney, and I’ll give you good odds it would be one of Laidlaw, The Big Man or Docherty.

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