An incredible journey with the Incredible String Band – BBC News

The Incredible String Band were one of the most influential bands of the swinging Sixties but their roots lie in the folk clubs of Edinburgh.

Their incredible journey took them from experimenting in Scotland’s all-night venues to an infamous appearance at Woodstock, the biggest counter-cultural event of the decade.

Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were all said to have been influenced by the psychedelic folk rock of the band, who played “world music” a decade before the term was coined.

Comedian and banjo-player Billy Connolly, who was a massive fan and who got to know them when they played the folk clubs of Glasgow, described the band as “hairy, exotic and interesting”.

The story of how a group of folkies playing the Crown Bar in Edinburgh and late night clubs in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street rose to become musical pioneers, who are still revered around the world, is told in a new book by the Incredible String Band’s Mike Heron and long-time fan Andrew Greig [ . . . ]

Full Story: An incredible journey with the Incredible String Band – BBC News


Mouse Eat Mouse: Scottish musos on independence and working class liberation

Self-described “extreme folk” Scottish band Mouse Eat Mouse are one of the more obscure acts around, which makes it all the more satisfying to hear any new works.Last year’s Toxic Tails is an album of beauty, anger and passion, traits often missing in today’s sanitised music industry.I decided, therefore, to get in touch with CD Shade, the bald-headed, smooth-singing wordsmith who is the backbone of the act.

It turned out to be a fascinating exchange, Shade [ . . . ]

More at Source: Mouse Eat Mouse: Scottish musos on independence and working class liberation | Green Left Weekly

A Lump of Rock, an Otter and a Secessionist

SANDNESS, Shetland Islands — With gray clouds building and rain slanting in over the Atlantic, Stuart Hill pointed to a small lump of land inhabited by an otter, a few seals and a variety of seabirds.

To the rest of the world, this barren, inhospitable and largely inaccessible rock off the coastline of the Shetland Islands is a part of Scotland, on the northernmost tip of Britain. To Mr. Hill, it is the sovereign state of Forvik, whose independence he proclaimed in 2008, arguing that it — along with the oil-rich Shetland Islands themselves — is legally neither part of Scotland nor Britain.

Needless to say, the authorities here do not agree. The police have confiscated three vehicles from Mr. Hill after he drove in Shetland with [ . . . ]
Read Full Story at: NY Times

You Know What You Could Be review – a Scottish tale of psychedelic folk


This enjoyable joint memoir by Mike Heron and Andrew Greig has at its centre late 60s hippiedom and the Incredible String Band

This book is a freak, a fairground mermaid, half monkey, half fish. It is therefore entirely in keeping with its subject, the Incredible String Band, the 1960s group that was never quite one thing nor another – folk or rock or world music – but always a mingling of influences, voices and styles.

You Know What You Could Be is a joint memoir, at times a joints memoir, written by the String Band’s Mike Heron and the poet Andrew Greig. Despite being the marquee name and main draw, Heron here plays the support act in his own story. His contribution comes first and takes up not quite a third of the book. He sometimes uses the present tense (“I’m back at the drug emporium two days later”) to describe the years between 1957, when he is a 15-year-old Edinburgh schoolboy, and 1966, when he is on the brink of becoming a star. Greig picks up the story in the late autumn of ’67, writing in the past tense about how he, still at school in Fife, had his mind blown by the String Band [ . . . ]

Read Complete Story: You Know What You Could Be review – a Scottish tale of psychedelic folk | Books | The Guardian

The incredible story of Bessie Watson: the youngest suffragette

SHE WAS the girl piper who joined the suffragette movement at its peak and attracted the attention of some of the most influential figures of the twentieth century.

Bessie Watson was born on 13 July 1900 to parents Agnes Newton and Horatio Watson, who raised her in their small house on the Vennel in the heart of Edinburgh. As a young girl, Bessie was described as small, frail and “bandy-legged”, but of good nature.

When she turned seven, Bessie’s aunt Margaret contracted tuberculosis – an incident which would change the youngster’s life forever. Margaret lived with the family, and Bessie’s parents, worried that she might fall ill to the contagious disease, encouraged her to take up the bagpipes in a bid to strengthen her weak lungs. Her first set of pipes was specially-produced according to her diminutive stature as she was too small to properly inflate an adult-sized bag [ . . . ]

Source: The incredible story of Bessie Watson: the youngest suffragette – Edinburgh Evening News

Raise a glass to the Bard – Edinburgh Evening News

Award-winning Scotch whisky, Glen Grant has partnered with The Bon Vivant, Thistle Street, to create the The Chieftain, a haggis-infused cocktail named after Robert Burns’ famous description of Scotland’s national dish, the ‘great chieftain o’ the pudding race’.

Created by Bon Vivant’s Will Cox, The Chieftain’s recipe is inspired by a traditional Burns Supper menu and includes ingredients found in the traditional meal [ . . . ]

Source: Raise a glass to the Bard – Edinburgh Evening News