I don’t think I have had many royal encounters. If memory serves they consist of various people driving past in cars. Once when the Tay Bridge was opened in 1966 as the then Queen Mother cut the ribbon then a couple of years later when our entire school were marshalled (by the P7 boys in their football strips) to Perth Rd where the Queen was to be passing and we were all taken to cheer along. Then there was the time when I stood at the north end of Whitehall waiting to cross into Trafalgar Square as the Japanese and American tourists were all pointing west and south only for the whole royal entourage to pass. They were on their way back to Buckingham Palace from some civic do in the City and It seemed as if I was the only one looking into the royal limousines, while all around the tourists missed the very thing they’d come to see.
So I shall leave any wisdom and insight into this current sad period to others. I would add this however: there has been quite a lively discussion about what is and isn’t appropriate material for broadcast during a period of mourning. I’m not convinced that any one has got this right though I have to say I have heard songs on the radio I wouldn’t have hoped to hear in normal times. I have already said as much on twitter, but there is really no excuse (ever) for not introducing or back announcing songs. It doesn’t make any sense apart from anything else. If we wanted to hear a stream of music we can all access Spotify fairly quickly, and many probably took that cue. But there is something else which i have to point out about songs. The reason the ‘sad’ ones often hit us in the gut is precisely because someone has played the song at the maximum point of impact. Play a killer ballad on the back of an uptempo sequence and I’d suggest it might land a great deal more poignantly than had the previous ten records been at a funereal pace.
You’ll also not be surprised to learn that I believe songs to be the perfect medium for expressing so much of what we fail to do in simple conversation. I often recall a literary retreat I went on to Stratford as a student and how we would gather around the piano as songs were sung and a wistful lecturer would quietly listen and simply reflect, ‘Ah, …..songs.’ We all knew what he meant, and if we didn’t we soon arrived at an age when we did.
So songs, good songs, are essential. On this week’s Another Country I’ll bring you two more hours of songs that matter. It’s my last live show for a month or so and also the last blog until late October. If you do join me you will hear some fine new records from CMA Awards nominees Luke Combs and Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Lainey Wilson. We will also spend the second hour playing great tracks from this coming week’s Americana Awards nominees. It all starts at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland. Do join me if you can.
Spending some time on the road at the moment. Along the way, I’ve been listening to your audio book, pausing at various points to listen to the relevant album from start to finish. Fellow Hoodlums reveals a hidden dimension when you know the backstory… as a fan of your music, this is gold.
Looking forward to your show in Bristol. Hoping you might bring a few more……..stories.
We were at your gig last night at Cadogan and just wanted to write how bloody fantastic it was! Really funny stories, beautifully told. What a great venue as well – whoever did the lighting and sound for you (and for Hannah before you) did an amazing job. In the queue for signed copies of your book afterwards everyone was saying how much they loved the night and hearing you talk. Thank you for signing my book and for providing so many good nights out over the years (like Blenheim this summer – all that rain!) and the Apollo before Covid – and of course my very memorable first gig at 16 at the SECC in Glasgow. Literally 34 years of absolute enjoyment for me – cheers
Thanks so much. You were a fabulous audience. Ricky x
Thanks so much Dan. I love Bristol, and am looking forward to it too. Ricky x
Hi Ricky! We have been big fans for over 30 years. Your concert in Utrecht On August 25th was absolutely amazing! Our friends and we had a smile from ear to ear all night long! We still listen to your music on our Friday evening music nights. My husband Gordon is turning 50 next week, on October 19th. I was wondering if somehow you could write or leave him a short message? That would be absolutely fantastic. I could give you my number. Everybody needs a Gordon… I know I do!! Thanks! Best regards from Amsterdam. Diane Smit
Hi Diane. Wishing Gordon a very happy birthday. Thanks for coming to the show. Hope to see you again soon.