Welcome to my World is the opening track on TwinsTown’s forthcoming debut album Brankholm Brae. This post is a TwinsTown welcome to the new year.
Always keeping up with the Jones twins next door, this year the Mackay twins are keeping their tree up longer.
“It’s a 2021 trend,” explained Stuart, “and of course we’re keeping up with the Joneses.”
“AYE!” screamed Donald, “the Joneses don’t have an album to release this year, and if they do, it won’t be a patch on Brankholm Brae.”
Okay Donald, keep the heid.
You have to admit though, it’s a stunning display of self-confidence from boys wearing matching Elton John T-shirts.
Talking of Elton, he appears in today’s MusicWeek.
Click the link above, it’s an interesting wee read. It’s all about Elton’s online popularity and success. Actually, I hope the twins don’t click. I don’t want Stuart and Donald turning into green-eyed monsters. Maybe the Mackays are keeping up with the Joneses but Elton is the Rocket Man.
Are you keeping your tree up this year? I hope so. 🙂
I’m sitting in the flat above Tappie Toories, thinking about Stuart Adamson writing Big Country songs up here. Now I’m thinking if Harry doesn’t arrive soon we’ll be doing the interview doon The Glen or on the benches opposite The Old Inn. It’s 5.15pm and I’m lonely. Now I’m wondering if we can have a drink outside after six. I think we can but only until a minute past midnight on boxing day.
This is 2020. Five days before Christmas. I had a braw lunch at The Carnock Inn today. Steak pie with two tins of Irn Bru. My social inhibitions have not been lowered for a very long time. News just in, Police Scotland have no plans to establish checkpoints or road blocks at the border. Now I see Celtic celebrating the quadruple treble in an empty stadium. Despite setting his lawyers on the BBC, Tyson Fury is still in the running for Sports Personality of the Year. You couldn’t really make this up.
Where is Harry!?
News just in, Harry’s daughter Frankie is finishing her ice cream. I fetch the tins from the fridge. It’s the benches for us.
Harry the big bad bassist bangs the door. The lights on Bruce Street are beautiful reminding me things could be worse. Thankfully TwinsTown are Covid-19 free. Cree Spowart who lives on Bruce Street told me this year’s lights are a tribute to Dunfermline’s weaving industry. My mum left school to help with the war effort and became a weaver at 15 years of age.
Anyway, the twins in TwinsTown keep telling me they’re in a rock ‘n’ roll band and I need to make them appear all rock ‘n’ roll. That means less blethering pish about whatever. Well, I say twins, Donald is the particular one. Stuart doesn’t give a monkey’s what I write.
“Right Harry, what’s rock ‘n’ roll about you?”
He looks surprised. I’ve surprised myself. I’m angry.
“C’mon then,” I continue, “sitting on a bench at the corner of Maygate and Kirkgate drinking a can of Tennents, rock ‘n’ roll, aye!?”
“Fuck AYE!” he replies.
“You should be in Tappies now, playing to a heaving crowd of 114, or at least a polite, sanitised, socially distanced, reduced capacity 25 all enjoying table service, with both doors open for maximum ventilation. Do you feel robbed?”
“Aye, totally, but we’ll think of a funnier answer than that.”
Ten minutes later…
“I’ve no funny answer, but as a serious answer, I do feel frustrated. We have an album [Brankholm Brae] in production and limited opportunity to promote it.”
Harry braved the cold, scooped a bottle of wine, and told me his role on Brankholm Brae is bass guitarist, and occasionally lead guitar. His favourite bass line is Dive In, an upbeat track about bouncing back after heartache.
“I tried to add texture to Dive In’s bass line by avoiding first position root notes and aiming for greater complexity, whilst keeping it true to the spirit of the song,” explained Harry.
Wow, the wine is potent.
Harry goes on, “I like playing Bed Bugs on a high register. It’s not difficult but it’s fun to play. As is Say Goodbye to the Summer, where no one complains when I crank up the distortion pedal.”
Harry’s catchphrase is “flare it!” as he is notorious for flaring his guitar pedals, anytime, anywhere, any angle, and any song.
Harry loves recording in the studio. It’s obvious. Yet his shyness kicks in.
“This is going to sound like a Mr. Men book,” complains Harry as he clams up.
“What Mr. would you be, Harry?”
“Mr. Flare It!” Harry fires back.
His shyness gone, he shows me his new tattoo. ‘Flare It!’ on his chest. Mark, Stuart and Donald have the same. It’s male bonding gone bananas.
Hoping for a hard-hitting question, “I hear you’re a big fan of Danny Dyer, is this true?” I ask.
“No, I prefer Sean Bean, in Sharpe, and Ronnie Scotland.”
In other important matters, I wonder who is Harry’s favourite Tappies bar tender. Apparently, it’s Shaunski aka Shaun Manuel Mitchell who was famously hospitalised after falling off the monkey bars in a local swing park.
We’ve been sat on these benches for three hours. I’m freezing. We’ve had a few drinks. You can probably tell.
“We need a sensible finish,” I suggest, hopefully.
“We didn’t finish talking about my favourite track. It’s Spitfire. I get to show off my guitar skills on it,” replies Harry, “and I totally flared it!”
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.
The chorus of Hollow Horse is memorable too.
The feel good factor for Wayne…? I’m thinking Jump by Van Halen.
Aztec Camera recorded a very gentle cover version of jump and Wayne can 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Yes, Donald is still standing – no thanks to Stuart.
Talking of Stuart…
Yes, you can count on toun legend Stevie Agnew to put a smile on Stuart’s face.
Last but not least, Harry. Last Christmas is too obvious a choice. Staying with George Michael I’ll pick Careless Whisper for The Duke.
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.
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 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.
TwinsTown talk. I listen. I hear certain names come up time and time again. Take Stevie Agnew, TwinsTown talk about Stevie all the time. In a good way. After all, Stevie is a toun legend.
When I asked TwinsTown who qualifies as a toun legend, Stevie was mentioned first. He’s a legend in a fantastic town. Yes, Dunfermline is fantastic, and fantastic in so many ways. In music, not only do we have a plethora of talented artists, but they all admire and support each other, with admiration for Stevie off the scale.
So many international acts don’t get along. Has Robbie Williams forgiven Liam Gallagher for calling him the fat dancer? Does Robbie still want to knock Liam out in a £100,000 winner-takes-all boxing bout? The last I heard, some 20 years after the initial challenge, Robbie was asking the UK’s top boxing promoter, Eddie Hearn, to organise it.
Actually, I’d probably rather see Robbie Williams vs. Liam Gallagher than this coming weekend’s pay-per-view event, ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson vs. ‘Captain Hook’ Roy Jones Jr. Two ex-champs coming back at fifty-something is just exploiting a gullible audience.
I think Robbie would KO Liam.
Although, you never know…
Taylor Swift vs. Kanye West is arguably the best known musical feud. The most devastating is perhaps the Notorious B.I.G. vs. Tupac Shakur. Both were murdered with, amongst other things, their rivalry blamed. The funniest is possibly Elton John vs. Madonna. Elton fanboys Donald and Stuart won’t enjoy hearing this but Elton kept taking hissy fits about nothing. He’d apologise before becoming even nastier during his next outlandish rant. Madonna is no angel though, she started a feud with Lady Gaga by claiming Gaga basically stole her Express Yourself to make Born This Way. Apparently the chord progression is similar.
Kanye’s protest was badly misjudged and well done Taylor for standing up to his idiocy. However, Beyoncé really should have won.
Beyoncé’s Single Ladies video was an absolute powerhouse: an awesome song, a stunning video and a strong message. Taylor’s You Belong With Me was sweet but far too familiar.
Feuds within bands are all too common: The Kinks, The Police, The Jam, The Beatles, Oasis (they had to follow The Beatles, eh!?), Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and the list goes on.
Allegedly, my favourite Ramones song The KKK Took My Baby Away was written by Joey Ramone after Johnny Ramone, who held strong Republican political views, stole his girlfriend Linda, who Johnny later married. Whether this is true or not remains a matter of dispute, but either way both died without a good word to say about the other.
TwinsTown will never fall out, but if they did I’d like to think they’d cast the odd black eye aside and write a song about it. Maybe call the song Dark Autumn and play it to me down the phone. It’ll never happen though. It’s like me knocking Harry off a bar stool, or Billy throwing a punch at Stuart. Pure fiction.
Okay, so as Beatnic Prestige told us when performing with The Ordinary Boys at one of PJs best ever gigs, boys will be boys. The talent in Dunfermline can go a wee bit haywire sometimes. Even Stevie has his moments, although he’d never want to fight anyone.
Mostly, everyone gets on and people play together. Actually I’ve got video somewhere of Gumsy, Albo (pictured above), Mikey O’Reilly and Jamie Watson of The Skids and Big Country playing together at a Tappie Toories kitchen party. Jamie recalled his dad Bruce and Stuart Adamson writing Big Country songs in the flat when Stuart owned Tappies and lived there.
Talking of Tappie Toories reminds me that I owe Stevie Agnew an apology. In four years I’ve failed to organise Stevie a gig at Tappies. As soon as this pandemic ends, I’ll right that wrong.
I think I’m right in saying that the last three times I’ve enjoyed live music it’s been Stevie or The Stevie Agnew Band. Unlike The White Gates, the band probably won’t fit in Tappies, although you never know. We’ve had a few band’s in Tappies over the past 4 years, including Aye Hobos.
Expect to see Stevie Agnew, TwinsTown and the return of many performers mentioned above playing Tappie Toories as soon as gigs are allowed.
The swat of the class is Donald. I ask TwinsTown; “What’s your favourite Christmas song?” Hornet’s hand shoots up and he’s calling out his answer. He’s put no thought into it, no effort, therefore I’m moving on…
Mark offers the first considered answer.
“The Power of Love by Frankie Goes to Hollywood,” says The Darkness, explaining that, “it shouldn’t even be a Christmas song, but it’s class… the piano and the emotion in the vocals… it’s RAW!”
Okay Mark, no need to shout. I was hoping he’d pick Christmas Time by The Darkness ’cause it’d fit with his nickname and I could slag Justin Hawkins off for being a Grinch. Have you heard the Christmas Time lyrics!?
Justin and his band mates despise their gifts AND drink mulled wine. No amount of falsetto makes up for being spoilt, ungrateful, and middle class. Although if Justin got the mulled wine at The Georges’ Christmas soirée last year we’ll sweep it under Billy’s hand-woven, velvet pile Axminster and say no more about it.
Donald’s wee hand is still in the air. No Hornet, we’ll come to you later.
Next up, Mark again. Hang on, he’s had a go. What’s that, Mark, Lonely This Christmas by Mud, you say. You’ll be lonely this Christmas if you keep jumping in.
Oaft! And I thought Donald was bad.
However, lo and behold, Smackay wants two goes too.
“Elton John’s Step Into Christmas,” he ventures, adding that, “Elton performed a marvelous version on the Gilbert O’Sullivan show, 1973, whilst sporting an over-sized white feather boa.”
Stuart must’ve been at one of The Georges’ recent soirées. And I thought Donald was the swat.
“Stay by East 17,” says Stuart, wanting his second go.
Harry and Wayne are saying nothing. Billy is busy. He hasn’t completed his Christmas spreadsheet:
Douse the Christmas pudding
Purchase the Lindor balls
Choose scented candles
Confirm the wrapping paper colour scheme
Investigate the provenance of the turkey…
It must be my go. Oh, wait, Donald is waving his phone in the air playing Stop the Cavalry by Jona Lewis. I thought you were all about Bruce Springsteen, you know, Santa Claus is Coming to Town?
“Well, if they’re having two goes…” he pouts.
My go at last and I’m nothing if not predictable.
I love the Pogues and I love Kirsty MacColl even more, so to say I was pleased with Fairytale of New York would be an understatement. I know the BBC are butchering the lyrics this year, but not me. I’m already Dunfermline’s most wanted.
Two toun legends, one stunning image. Billy George’s brilliant photograph of a lonely Disco Deek walking along Bruce Street sums up our times, our town and our country.
On the bright side Donald and Stuart Mackay have written a TwinsTown song about it all. It’s called The Girl on the TV. I think it’s currently unfinished. As are we, hopefully. We are unfinished too. The Smiths remind us, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”.
Talking of toun legends, let’s go for a hat-trick, here’s Mr Dunfermline himself, Jim Leishman, entertaining an enthusiastic and packed Tappie Toories.
Harry is a werewolf. At least, that’s the explanation I prefer. Any other logic I come up with is infinitely less palatable.
Legend has it, Harry was enjoying a pot of tea in Tappie Toories, Dunfermline, with his friend Jack. It was so much better than the scaffy tea Harry endures at home.
As Harry and Jack prepared to leave Tappies, a man throwing darts warned, “Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors.”
Another playing chess advised, “Beware the moon, lads.”
A feeling of apprehension fell over the pair. They glanced towards the bar hoping for reassurance.
The bar tender offered no hope. She turned away and opened a bottle of Fireball as Harry and Jack traipsed out onto Kirkgate in the Fife town’s heritage quarter. There was a full moon.
I’ve not seen Jack since that fateful night. I guess Harry suggested a shortcut through the Public Park where they were attacked by a lycanthrope. A werewolf. Suffering an unnatural death, murdered Jack must now walk the earth in limbo until the werewolf’s curse is lifted.
On the bright side, if Jack is undead and haunting Harry, at least he’ll hear some good guitar licks and catchy TwinsTown tunes. Harry is a scarily good guitarist.
I bet Donald and Stuart could write a decent song about a werewolf, maybe even a guitar-playing werewolf. Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival is a classic.
Bark at the Moon was Ozzy Osbourne’s first music video, heavily influenced by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Ozzy’s werewolf terrorizes, is killed, and later mysteriously returns to once again wreak havoc upon the villagers. Meanwhile Ozzy’s mad scientist is committed to the Holloway Sanatorium on the outskirts of London. Another classic.
Is it okay to talk about Michael Jackson? My third favourite werewolf song is Thriller and I love that video. It was on in Coady’s the other day, I hadn’t seen it for years, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. The voiceover by Vincent Price is a class touch.
C’mon then, Donald and Stuart, write a beezer of a song all about a werewolf. After debut album Brankholm Brae there’ll be that difficult second album to wrestle. Big Daddy has warned you.
What is Brankholm Brae? It’s the wild, wild west of Rosyth.
Really? Aye, running from the A985 Rosyth to Kincardine road to Grange Road, the notoriously dangerous shortcut to Dunfermline, Brankholm Brae is as far west as housing development in Rosyth goes.
A notoriously dangerous shortcut to Dunfermline, aye!? That’s not all, notorious twins Donald and Stuart Mackay live there aka Double Trouble.
Okay, now I know why it’s wild, but why is Brankholm Brae in the news? During lockdown, missing all their friends and family, the twins were very sad. Tear-stained beer mats containing scribbled lyrics littered their penthouse apartment. And then, gathering all their resolve, the poor wee lambs transformed themselves into mummy’s little soldiers. They fought back from the brink of despair. Armed with guitars and keyboards, the twins turned those soggy lyrics into tunes so catchy all their troubles evaporated. In a mist of creativity Double Trouble survived. Songwriting saved them and our intrepid lockdown survivors decided to name TwinsTown’s debut album after the street where it all happened, Brankholm Brae. It’s the lockdown legacy.
Wow, that’s inspiring. I spent lockdown playing xbox. That’s why you don’t have a no.1 album in the making.
Bruce Springsteen named his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. making Brankholm Brae to TwinsTown as Asbury Park is to The Boss… Aye, good point, although Bruce’s debut was a critical but not a commercial success. TwinsTown won’t care about critics. “F*** the haters!” is their moto. TwinsTown just want the commercial success; selling out albums, singles and gigs (when gigs are allowed).
Isn’t “Flare It!” the TwinsTown moto? You can never have too many motos.
You can have too many rums though… Funny you should say that, Brankholm Brae features 11 brand spanking new lockdown-inspired tracks and one returning Wingnuts classic, Wrath of the Rum, featuring the lyric, “take me to the wild, wild west…”
Is that analogous to the wild west inhabited by Jesse James, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday or about the wild west of Rosyth? Ah, it’s a closely guarded secret. Although, did they have O.V.D. in the old western saloons of Tombstone, Arizona and the like?
O.V.D. rum was first blended and bottled in 1838 on Dock Street, Dundee. It stands for Old Vatted Demerara, a style of rum blending unique to the Demerara region of Guyana. Our emigrants would’ve probably taken it all over the States.
I get it. TwinsTown enjoy a rum. Any other themes on Brankholm Brae? No, it’s all about rum.
You jest… Aye, there are 11 new songs with themes covering all kinds of mental health issues and sinful behaviour. It goes far beyond binge drinking. Alongside wrath the other six deadly sins appear: pride, greed, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth.
Oaft! Sounds scary… Brankholm Brae delves deep into the dark recesses of the human mind. There’s paranoia, schizophrenia, repression, narcissism, fetishism, obsession, depression, anxiety, addiction, sexual frustration, and the list goes on.
Sounds like a night out with Big Daddy… Sssh!
Didn’t you say Fred Flintstone turns up down The Glen singing yabaa dabaa doo? Yeah, TwinsTown love a pop or cultural reference and the humour of the band shines through on every track. Behind the laughter though there’s the reality of heartbreak, trauma and tears…
They’re not crying about the second wave lockdown are they? Of course not, this is the story of lives placed under intense, microscopic review when locked down in Brankholm Brae with only memories and each other for friends. I’m the one crying about the second wave lockdown. It’s effectively closed my pub, Tappie Toories.
You should write a song about that… We’d need a parental advisory explicit content warning for that.
Where can I buy this stunning debut album? Not where, when is the question. It’s a work in progress. It’ll be released next year and, the good news is, vinyl will be available.
Who is the producer? Robin Evans at Tpot Studios in Path of Condie. He worked with The View on their first EP and he’s doing a great job. Covid-19 is not making progress easy.
Do say: “Can I do advanced booking: one album and two tickets for the launch party at Tappie Toories please.”
Don’t say: “Dry yer eyes, lockdown will end and Tappies will reopen.”
As TwinsTown manager you must feel like Top Cat, the indisputable leader of the gang. Aye, the most tip top, Top Cat!
TC was effectual, intellectual, and a VIP… He did outwit Officer Dibble on a daily basis.
Who do you outwit on a daily basis? Well, not Donald and Stuart obviously, they’re far too cunning. I can’t even get them in my car within a half hour of arriving to pick them up.
Yeah, I noticed. Still, TC’s gang adored him: Benny the Ball (Donald), Choo-Choo (Stuart), Brian (Wayne), Spook (Mark), and Fancy-Fancy (Harry). Interviewing TwinsTown, I asked who was their favourite member. After votes for Ainsley Harriott and Tony Bellew were disqualified, you were the runaway winner. Another award for the mantle piece.
The boys say you boldly go where no manager has gone before… Is this a William Shatner joke!?
Oops, caught! Better scrub the one about Steve Bruce. Moving on. Is it true that you have a Wingnuts tattoo? Who have you been speaking to!?
Oops. Moving on. Did Donald and Stuart really save the Pars by singing their own anti-Masteron song in Fabric after the Save the Pars gathering at The Alhambra? No, Jason Duffy saved the Pars playing Pars songs in The Old Inn on the day of the Pars march. The event was featured in the Scotland on Sunday as a double-page centrefold.
Jason’s a Celtic fan though… As are a few other well-known Pars fans.
Enough said. You’re a frontman in your own right with Honk. I’ve got your album, Eventually. What’s It All About and Love You More are great tracks, and I love you playing Home Fires Burning at the end of every gig… It’s a tribute to a great friend David Bell aka Diddyman who, like many during the miners’ strike, suffered at the hands of Thatcher’s police oppression. He was compensated, but later died in tragic circumstances.
TwinsTown have a wee political edge too. I assume you approve… Oh, aye.
Your chilli sold out every table in Tappies on Friday and received rave reviews. Did you miss your true calling in life as a chef, and do you now regret music management? Everyday of my life.
I know you love it really... It’s heart over head when it comes to music and TwinsTown are well worth it. They’re excellent. New album, Brankholm Brae, is 12 of the best tunes I’ve heard in ages.
“Heartover head,” you say. A bit like your politics… Don’t go there.
Do say: “You’re a better frontman than Richard Jobson.”
Don’t say: “The twins are stranded miles away with no money. You’ll have to sort them out again.”