Our Whanga Records executive Craig Birrell is rock ‘n’ roll.

Birrell or Biscuit – Anthemesque (Official Video)

Watch Craig giving it laldy by clicking the link above.

Craig Birrell, before giving it laldy in the official video for Anthemesque.

Directed and filmed by our PR and photographer, Joe Graham, at Whanga Records’ rehearsal and recording studio at 2a Chalmers Street, Dunfermline, Craig gives an amazing, dramatic performance, like a modern-day Richard Burton. Sorry young yins, let’s say Joaquin Pheonix or Daniel Day-Lewis instead. I watched There Will Be Blood recently and Day-Lewis was astounding.

Actually, there was blood in Anthemesque. I was agog. I only said that because I love that word, agog. I fully expected spectacular method acting and full commitment from Craig. I’ve not known him long but he is an extremely talented writer, producer and performer who gives it his all, every time.

It’s an angry song…

Craig Birrell in a scene from the official video for Anthemesque.

Thanks go to Whanga Records’ marketing executive, Mariam Ahmaz, who sourced the still working TV for scenes reminiscent of the Sex Pistols or the Clash. I think we forgot to switch it on though. I’ll take the blame for that. Apologies to Mim who was working in The Old Inn and missed out on her usual cameo role.

Thanks also go to Harry Dixon. The Duke appeared in the Anthemesque video; he’s the one fiddling while Rome burns, or more accurately, playing bass whilst Birrell destroys Whanga.

TwinsTown’s Harry ‘The Duke’ Dixon crowns Craig Birrell with a straw hat at Whanga Records, Dunfermline.

We asked Harry to look disinterested as Craig’s mad turn grows but I couldn’t fit him into the main shot. Like the true professional that he is he worked his way in and fulfilled his role perfectly. Respect to The Duke, the Robert De Niro or maybe Keanu Reeves of TwinsTown.

I love Harry Dixon in Anthemesque. The Duke! Flare it!

Coming soon

Craig co-founded Whanga Records with Stuart Barrett and big Barrett is rock ‘n’ roll too. Look out for him in the forthcoming 1/4 Chubz video for Cut Me Down alongside band mates John Simpson and Trroyy Lleggatt (spelling from Facebook – that can’t be right!?).

I expected Cut Me Down to be the first music video directed and filmed by me for a few years now, however I was delighted when Craig asked me to do Anthemesque in only 24 hours and fortunately I was available at short notice.

Apologies to the 1/4 Chubz, although I’m sure that, like me, they don’t mind accommodating a friend and musical colleague.

In the meantime you can watch both Whanga founders in TwinsTown’s official video for Callum Paterson’s Broken Song. Barrett is on the bass and Birrell is pretending he knows how to work Big Daddy’s camera (although he knows now as I gave him a crash course after he bought his own camera).

TwinsTown – Callum Paterson’s Broken Song (Official Video)

Other official music videos you may like

Birrell of Biscuit – UFO Space Disco

TwinsTown – Dive In

TwinsTown – Welcome to my World

Stay alive!

Be careful what you dream of

It may come up and surprise you

Christopher Adrian Layhe / Robert Ian Mcnabb

So goes the opening line of Hollow Horse by The Icicle Works. It’s bound to fill our manager, Billy George, with good Christmas cheer. I know it’s one of his favourites. I think I’m right in saying that, under the guise of Honk Promotions, Billy booked lead singer Ian McNabb for a brilliant gig at PJ Molloy’s.

There was a technical issue during the first four songs and Ian McNabb walked off. Issue resolved, McNabb returned from the green room and started the gig anew. He played the first four songs again, continued on for ages and brought the house down.

I remember it being really loud for a lone singer/songwriter. No bad thing when the sound quality is top notch, which it was once the technical was fixed.

Ian McNabb of The Icicle Works.

The chorus of Hollow Horse is memorable too.

We’ll be as we are

When all the fools

Who doubt us fade away

Christopher Adrian Layhe / Robert Ian Mcnabb

The feel good factor for Wayne…? I’m thinking Jump by Van Halen.

I get up and nothin’ gets me down

You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around

And I know, baby, just how you feel

You got to roll with the punches and get to what’s real

Alex Van Halen / Edward Van Halen / David Roth

Aztec Camera recorded a very gentle cover version of jump and Wayne can choose.

Eddie Van Halen on top and Roddy Frame from Aztec Camera below. What will Wayne choose?

I’m torn over a selection for Mark. I’m thinking piano, keys, synthesizers, the mellotron and “the fucking Jennings” as Mark calls his favourite instrument at Robin Evans’ Tpot Studios, Path of Condie.

Mark at Tpot Studios.

The Door’s Light My Fire or People are strange, The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever or Lady Madonna, or Baba O’Riley by The Who? No, I’ve got it, for Mark it’s A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum.

We skipped the light fandango

Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor

I was feeling kinda seasick

But the crowd called out for more

The room was humming harder

As the ceiling flew away

When we called out for another drink

The waiter brought a tray

 Gary Brooker / Keith Reid / Matthew Fisher

As the BBC have shown us this Christmas, changing a famous Pogues song, it’s okay to butcher other people’s lyrics. Here’s my alternative chorus for Procol Harum’s classic.

A night out with Big Daddy

We both ended up in jail

My face, at first just ghostly

Turned a whiter shade of pale

Joe Graham (TwinsTown EDIT)

I know Kirsty MacColl sang “haggard” instead of “faggot” on Top of the Pops and a few years ago Shane McGowan couldn’t be arsed arguing about it. However, Fairytale of New York is a classic and MacColl is singing in character; a marginalised and bitter character. In the voice of that character, the lyric is true. The BBC = lyric police.

Rant over, it’s Donald time!

You can’t touch this

You can’t touch this

You can’t touch this

Break it down!

Stop, Donald time!

Rick James / Alonzo Herbert Miller / Mc HammeR

Okay I made a wee change there too. MC Hammer’s Hammer Time has been compromised. Anyway, my actual choice for Donald is of course Elton John, but not Sacrifice, oh no, it’s I’m Still Standing.

Don’t you know

I’m still standing better than I ever did

Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid

Elton John / Bernie Taupin

Yes, Donald is still standing – no thanks to Stuart.

Talking of Stuart…

The walls are closing in at night

Ain’t a friend in the World in sight

The boss man like to mess my day

Someday soon, gonna make him pay

Gonna hit him heavy gonna hit him hard

Wreck him in his wreckin’ yard

Wreck him in his wreckin’ yard

Gonna wreck him in his wreckin’ yard

stevie Agnew / Chris smith

Yes, you can count on toun legend Stevie Agnew to put a smile on Stuart’s face.

Anna and Stuart proudly sporting his Stevie Agnew and Hurricane Road baseball cap.

Last but not least, Harry. Last Christmas is too obvious a choice. Staying with George Michael I’ll pick Careless Whisper for The Duke.

I feel so unsure

As I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor

As the music dies

Something in your eyes

Calls to mind a silver screen

And all its sad goodbyes

 Andrew J. Ridgeley / George Michael

Wayne told me that George Michael wrote Careless Whisper and added Andrew Ridgeley to the songwriting credits to ensure his Wham! band mate never had to worry about money.

C’mon Donald and Stuart, fingers oot! None of us want to worry about money either.

Tappie Toories, the spiritual home of TwinsTown. There is a light that never goes out.

The Proclaimers twins meet TwinsTown twins.

I could get a broken jaw from being in a fight.

I know its evening when day turns to night.

I can understand why Stranraer lie so lowly.

They could save a lot of points by signing Hibs’ goalie…

Charles Reid / Craig Reid

The Proclaimers have written some tremendous lyrics and the verse from Cap In Hand about Hibs’ goalie is my runaway favourite. I love a football reference and this one rivals Billy Bragg’s beezer from Sexuality.

I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade

He said some things are really left best unspoken

But I prefer it all to be out in the open

Billy Bragg / Johnny Marr

I love these two songs; they reference football AND they have a strong message. Cap In Hand is a rallying call for an independent Scotland and Sexuality is an anthem to equality, rousing us to shed any and all prejudice based on sexual orientation.

I’m going to stop before All I Want for Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit by Half Man Half Biscuit gets a mention. It’s too upsetting to contemplate. Dukla Prague did not get an exemption to join my Christmas bubble.

If you know TwinsTown at all, you’ll know they are nothing if not keen.

TwinsTown with Zena sans The Darkness.

Not that I can talk. I was nicknamed Mister Mustard by my trade union comrades. My old boss called me the “make it happen man,” and my IT colleagues gave me a leaving card showing a rottweiler chewing a bone above the words; JOE ‘BITES-YER-LEGS’ GRAHAM. I understood this to be a reference to both my football and my work. Apparently I was like a dug with a bone until the project was done.

It’s nice to see the band doing the same. The hard work goes on on debut album Brankholm Brae, as scheduled by manager Big Daddy aka Billy George, and in spare time work has begun on the difficult second album. You know pop mythology, the rock ‘n’ roll cliche; an up-and-coming band work for years on an explosive first album but stumble trying to follow-up on their initial success within a year or risk losing their currency. Even taking time can end in disaster. It’s known as Difficult Second Album Syndrome (DSAS).

The Stone Roses, The Second Coming (Geffen, 1994)

This is the pinnacle of DSAS. It even inspires an argument in Shaun of the Dead when Simon Pegg resists frisbeeing the vinyl to stop advancing zombies but Nick Frost wants it frisbee’d. Heavy nods towards Led Zeppelin couldn’t find critical favour and the Mancunians split up before they could record another note. On the upside, it gave us Ten Storey Love Song, an absolute triumph reminiscent of the Madchester sound on the band’s debut, featuring typically jangly guitars and warm harmonies. Riff-heavy and intense Love Spreads is another highlight.

Simon Pegg watches Nick Frost frisbee vinyl at advancing zombies in Shaun of the Dead.

Elastica, The Menace (Deceptive, 2000)

The eponymous debut sits proudly in my record collection. This does not. Like The Second Coming it was five years in the making and still failed to inspire. On the bright side, it didn’t compare itself to Jesus.

Terence Trent D’Arby, Neither Fish Nor Flesh (Columbia, 1989)

My pal Murray had a copy of D’Arby’s debut The Hardline According To…, and I used to play it. Murray moved into my house when his three house-mates eliminated him from the equation by deliberately moving from a 4 to a 3-bedroom rental. His housemates were risible, pretentious and all too self-important. Exactly like D’Arby’s second album. We frisbee’d it into a boby-building neighbour’s garden.

Guns N’ Roses, Use Your Illusion I & II (Geffen, 1991)

Not one but two successors to Appetite for Destruction, weighing in at an overblown two and a half hours. Enough said.

The Clash, Give ‘Em Enough Rope (Columbia, 1978)

I actually really like this, but the reviews were mixed, therefore it makes my list. Only at No.5 though as it’s pretty good by most standards, just a wee bit disappointing by comparison with the eponymous debut and the magnificent London’s Calling, The Clash’s third and best album by some distance. Highlights include: Safe European Home, English Civil War, Tommy Gunn and Stay Free.

Back to TwinsTown

Actually, I don’t want to call it the difficult second album. I’ll need to give it a working title.

FLARE IT!

Flare It is the obvious choice as it narrowly missed out to Brankholm Brae to be the name of TwinsTown’s debut album.

We currently us Flare It! as a slogan. Who knows it could be the second album.

Therefore, work on Flare It has begun. All socially distanced of course. We’ve gone hi-tech with video conferencing, online multi-user project sharing and the best audio quality available.

War with Myself

The first song completed for Flare It is War with Myself; a man lies in turmoil, his heid is bursting, his thoughts running amok, there’s only two hours before he needs to get up for work, yet he can’t get back to sleep. We’ve all been there. Have you gone to war with yourself about it? I think you probably have. It’s really annoying. I know I have.

Our sleep-deprived hero Hornet aka Donald Mackay chooses full contact martial arts for combat with his psyche. His very soul is at stake. His inner demons must be defeated.

Mixed Martial Arts

He remembers the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the most influential martial art in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, used by Royce Gracie to define mixed martial arts as a sport. Donald is now onto something…

Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock. Gracie used Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to consistently defeat Shamrock winning UFC1, UFC2 and UFC4. They drew at UFC5.

Meanwhile, twin telepathy has Smackay aka Stuart Mackay sitting up in bed. He’s threatening kamikaze to save his bro.

The Wasp aka Wayne Robertson can’t help he’s stuck in an English asylum, Broadmoor. He probably couldn’t sleep either.

“One up, all up!” shout the twins. The Duke aka Harry Dixon and The Darkness aka Mark Guyan are rudely awakened, dragged from their pits, and bundled into The Mystery Machine aka big Barrett’s camper van. They’re breaking Wayne out tonight.

The Mystery Machine sans big Barrett.

TwinsTown v Nazis

The action rages from Tappie Toories to Bratislava where there’s Nazis to chase with Lady Gaga doing the krav maga (it’s so tempting to sing magaga at that point) arguably the most efficient and deadly martial art. It was developed in late-1930’s to fight Slovakia’s Nazis and is famously used by the Israeli Defence Force as well as Willie Doig when manager at The Old Inn.

Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee is on viagra (I didn’t see that coming). I won’t dare tell you what Jackie Chan gets up to. This is no Shanghai Knights. Thank goodness.

Shanghai Knights.

Not so difficult…

War with Myself is the full TwinsTown monty. For me it’s up there with The Wrath of the Rum, the Wingnuts classic making a well deserved return to appear on Brankholm Brae. It’s maybe even as good as Spitfire, my favourite, most rockinest track on Brankholm Brae. It’s a great start to Flare It (working title) the maybe not so difficult second album.