My friend lived a few miles to the east of us in the little seaside town of Carnoustie. I was mid-primary school age and it was the summer holidays when my folks had been visiting his folks and, although Pete was a couple of years older I was allowed to stay over one Sunday night. I don’t remember this visit very well, although we remain life long friends, but do remember that during the night there was a violent summer storm. Lightning lit up the sky and the two of us enjoyed the thrill of waking up in the hours after midnight as we stood at the window and counted down the gaps between the thunder claps and the explosions of electricity across the horizon. The added possibility that we might be in some kind of danger only added spice to the whole adventure.
I thought of this the other night as the thunder and rain broke the Glasgow heatwave and our garden enjoyed the cool, fresh rain and suddenly everything felt a little greener again. The summer always brings the best contrasts. Lightning storms in Tuscany or southern France are part of the fun of the holiday and I remember standing out on the pavement to record the giant thunder cracks that seemed to shake the foundations of Sao Paulo when I visited some years back. It’s maybe only when we are very young that the full force of the weather makes a lasting impression. There was another summer evening when I stayed with a friend at his aunt’s house further up the east coast and it seemed as if the rains would wash us away so constant was the downpour. Torrents of rainwater gushed from drains and spilled over from the viaduct that overhung the small coastal town picking up speed as they tumbled down the narrow streets towards the shore.
Then there was the summer, more recently, where my wife, our dog and myself followed the North Coast 500 in a camper van only to have a weather front cross over during our one-night stay in Durness. How the wind blew and the van rattled as we tried to get to sleep in the storm. To wake the next day and find that all was calm and the beach had returned to its summer splendour was the best of surprises.
So it may be this August Tuesday evening brings you indoors for the first time for a while as you take shelter from whatever the weather has in store. If so I feel our little radio show might prove to be a great friend. We’ll bring you songs about bad habits by some old and new artists, explain how the piano can be as down-home as the banjo or the pedal steel and remind you of some country songs you may not have heard in a while. Listen out for Kelsea Ballerini, Jason Isbell, Patsy Cline, Charlie Rich and Waxahatchee. There will be new music from First Aid Kit, John Moreland and Ferris and Sylvester. It all starts just after eight o’clock this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland FM or on BBC Sounds whenever you like. Do join me if you can.
Born in the Storm?