32 years ago today Callum Paterson was born. He’d go on to lead a remarkable life and we’d like to remember him today as a great friend, contemporary and collaborator on the local Dunfermline music scene.

I’d personally like to remember who won when we played FIFA on the Xbox in Tappie Toories. Callum would often arrive in Tappies late on quiet midweek nights and if the Xbox was out we’d play a few games. He’d always insist that he’d gubbed me the previous week or a fortnight ago or whatever but I could never remember. The results were lost in a sea of banter.

To this day I have no idea who won any game. All I remember is the carry on and us laughing at anything.

That’s how I’ll remember Callum today, as an outrageously entertaining and funny raconteur who could possibly play Xbox FIFA or mibbies no.

You can hear the man himself singing in the demo that he sent to Stuart MacKay from New Zealand, where Whanga was his Maori name, in TwinsTown’s cover of Callum’s Broken Song.

The demo appears at the beginning and end of this video produced by TwinsTown and Whanga Records for the anniversary of his birthday today. I managed to feature Callum in the video itself too via the magic of Facebook, both old stills and old video clips.

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

It’s no surprise how often he’s laughing in the video clips.

TwinsTown’s Donald MacKay covering Callum Paterson’s Broken Song during the official video filming at Whanga Records.

Happy heavenly birthday Ceeps ❤️ Love and miss you always ❤️✨

ANNA Heslop
Michelle Robertson, Caitlin Mitchell, Anna Heslop and Goldie Looking Chain at the Callum Paterson’s Broken Song gig, Whanga Records. Oh, and I just spotted Mim Amhaz in the top right-hand corner.

…yous will not be fucking behaving up there…

Troy Leggat (who lOst his dad one year ago today)
1/4 Chubz Troy Leggat playing at the Callum Paterson’s Broken Song gig for the official video filming at Whanga Records.

Happy birthday Callum. This place just isn’t the Same without you! Love you mate. Til we meet again ❤️

Greig Morrison
Paying fitting tribute exactly as Callum would’ve wanted it is co-founders of Whanga Records, 1/4 Chubz’s Stuart Barrett and Birrell or Biscuits’ Craig Birrell, and all during official video filming for Broken Song at Whanga Records.

RIP Callum.

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!

I just knew you guys had something special from the moment I met you.

Billy George, manager and vocals

My wee song previews for TwinsTown’s stunning debut album end here, with the title track, Brankholm Brae. It’s going to be emotional.

I’m buzzing with this album… love you all like brothers, the whole team. I mean it from the bottom of my big heart [Big Heart is track 6 on Side One].

Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar

Being part of TwinsTown is great. We are like brothers. The brethren. Making Brankholm Brae has been one of the best experiences ever, and I think that goes for everyone involved. Even Harry has his mojo back.

Aye, actually enjoyed playing guitar for the first time in about 7 years.

Harry Dixon, bass and lead guitar

We’ve reached the end of an era.

  • No more trips to Tpot Studios, Path of Condie.
  • No more extraordinary feats of producing (and patience) from top sound man Robin Wynn Evans.
  • No more extraordinary feats of everything (including huge patience) from top band manager Billy George.
  • No more recording sessions watching Harry Dixon, Wayne Robertson, Mark Guyan, Donald Mackay and Stuart Mackay putting heart and soul into their work.
  • No more mixing, trying to decide if Harry shouting “FLARE IT!” can be heard during Something New.
  • No more drinking ’til the early sunrise, Monday morning long lies, nor holidays and alibis.

As for the mix. Fucking love it. It’s perfect for me, every track. I’m happy with the drums and the vocals. Wrath has a cool western reverb too.

Wayne Robertson, drums

Of course, you know what brothers are like. It’s not all love and bromance. There’s always the odd fall-out, tumble off a bar stool, black eye, and even the odd dressing down in a dressing gown. The quiet ones are always the worst. You know who they are, and THEY know who they are…

Honestly feeling a lot more confident about everything after [rehearsing] last night. Not going to lie, I was doubting my capabilities quite a bit, but now I can’t wait to get gigging.

Mark Guyan, keyboards and piano

Putting bumps into othewise flat roads is the worst “calming measure” ever. Speed bumps infuriate me. TwinsTown have the best calming measure ever. The Backbone is back! The King of All-In as I call him. B# to some, it’s Ben Sharp. The former TwinsTown man has returned for Brankholm Brae providing all with a sharp dose of reality, bass galore and angelic vocals.

Yep, tunes sound banging… we’ve all put in good work.

Ben Sharp, bass guitar and vocals

Although when it comes to the good, the bad and the ugly of TwinsTown, the B-Sharp man doesn’t stand alone in the good category. Who can forget Donald and Stuart saving Jim on the bridge in the Wölves’ video for Animal.

You are my fucking hero… a life saver! [Donald to Billy].

Donald Mackay, lead vocals and guitar

Last night a DJ saved my life… yes, I can remember when Billy was a DJ. He played one of my office parties at Murrayfield and had a longstanding residency in the classic Somewhere Else famously run by the late Jim Kirkpatrick and Bob Dick. I wonder what those two toun legends would say about TwinsTown now. It probably doesn’t bear thinking about.

Brankholm Brae’s title track is track 12 on TwinsTown’s stunning debut album.

The more I listen, the more I like it.

Joe Graham, PR and photography

Brankholm Brae does grow on you. Arguably the title track more than any other. I just can’t get Brankholm Brae out of my head, it’s indie pop gold from the very first verse…

I’m moving on, I’ve left the nest

I’ve found a safe haven and I’m taking a rest at the Brae

TwinsTown

Track 12 Brankholm Brae is unashamedly sweet and sentimental. Donald and Stuart issue an open invitation to visit and stay at Brankholm Brae, their home. It brings a tear to my eye thinking of the lonely twosome heartbroken, their kind invitation dashed on the rocks by Covid-19’s social distancing.

You can come along in the morning

You can come at night or day

You can come along without warning

You can come to mine and stay

At the Brankholm Brae

TwinsTown

Kindness is the best and there’s tons of it whenever you visit Double Trouble at the Brae. I can testify to it personally and I won’t mention the neighbours.

Don’t be a stranger

It doesn’t matter what the neighbours say !!!

TwinsTown

With the album sorted thoughts are turning to music videos now.

Do you have any ideas for a video that aren’t like a David Lynch meets Quentin Tarantino on acid collaboration?

Billy George, manager and vocals

Personally, I like vampires and cowboys.

Everybody loves a cowboy! We need to do a western for Wrath of the Rum. We can use Erin’s horses.

Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar

Wild, wild horses, I hope.

As well as videos, thoughts are turning to gigs, streaming or at least live recordings.

I think Ben needs to play the bass for the first two it would be like The Beatles without John Lennon playing those songs without your guitar parts Duke, especially Spitfire [Donald to Harry].

Donald Mackay, lead vocals and guitar

As I mentioned previously, I’ve been tuning into Stevie Agnew’s Sunday Sesh on Facebook Live. Food for thought. I can tell TwinsTown are hungry, itching to get going, on something or another.

Absolutely love you and your playing… [Harry to Ben].

Harry Dixon, bass and lead guitar

Videos, gigs, and of course thoughts are also turning to singles. That really will be a difficult choice. Billy was considering Johnny Depp for the first single but…

I might change my mind in the morning though. Such is the fluctuational appeal of this wonderful collection of songs.

Billy George, manager and vocals

I’m the same as Billy, there’s just so many good tunes that there really is no obvious first single. At the moment I favour Dive In which is track 7 on Side Two.

Side Two of Brankholm Brae the stunning debut album from TwinsTown.

Anyway, we’re almost at the end… of the previews, only the previews.

I think the songs speak for themselves, Joe… I like folk guessing what they are about.

Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar

Aw aye, thanks for that, Stuart. Now you tell me, AFTER I’ve written the 12 wee previews. Grrr!

Only joking, I think everyone has their own idea of what a song is about. It actually doesn’t matter what the writer or writers intended. One of the beautiful things about music is that one song can mean different things to different people.

Music for me, and I like music.

Anonymous
Brankholm Brae – Side Two.

Coming soon…

You’ll never guess… it’s only Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from Dunfermline indie rockers TwinsTown.

Brankholm Brae – TwinsTown.

Watch this space for details.

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.

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.

Stevie Agnew at The White Gates, Comrie.

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.

Robbie Williams vs. Liam Gallagher.

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.

Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr.

I think Robbie would KO Liam.

‘Fat Dancer’ Robbie Williams looking mean.

Although, you never know…

Robbie knocked out.

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 West storms the MTV Video Music Awards to tell Taylor Swift and the world Beyoncé deserved to win.

Kanye’s protest was badly misjudged and well done Taylor for standing up to his idiocy. However, Beyoncé really should have won.

Beyoncé’s Singles Ladies video.

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.

Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me video.

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.

Linda Ramone, widow of Johnny Ramone, poses in front of a wall-sized photo of the band, with Johnny on the far left. Joey is third from the left.

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.

Beatnic Prestige with Albo far left.

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.

Jamie’s dad Bruce Watson and Stuart Adamson of Big Country playing a live set at the HMV record store in London, 1995.
Mikey O’Reilly, Jamie Watson of The Skids and Big Country, Gumsy, Lord Provost of Fife Jim Leishman and Yvonne Smith playing Tappie Toories, 2016.

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.

The Stevie Agnew Band at The White Gates.

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.

Aye Hobos played Tappie Toories.

Expect to see Stevie Agnew, TwinsTown and the return of many performers mentioned above playing Tappie Toories as soon as gigs are allowed.

Tappie Toories.

Stay alive.

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…

More on Bruce Springsteen later.

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!?

Feigning joy and surprise

At the gifts we despise over mulled wine

With you

The darkness

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.

You better watch out

You better not cry

You better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

John Coots / Haven Gillespie

My go at last and I’m nothing if not predictable.

You’re a bum

You’re a punk

You’re an old slut on junk

Jem Finer / Shane Macgowan

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.

You scumbag, you maggot

You cheap lousy faggot

Happy Christmas your arse

I pray God it’s our last

The boys of the NYPD choir

Still singing Galway Bay

And the bells are ringing out

For Christmas day

JEM FINER / SHANE MACGOWAN

Stay alive.

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.

Billy George’s Disco Deek on Bruce Street.

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”.

Joe Graham’s Tappie Toories.

Take me out tonight

Where there’s music and there’s people

And they’re young and alive

Stephen Morrissey / Johnny Marr

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.

Jamie Watson from Big Country and The Skids, Graeme ‘Gumsy’ Macleod and Mr Dunfermline, legend Jim Leishman, entertaining a packed Tappie Toories.
A packed Tappie Toories.

Take me out tonight

Because I want to see people

And I want to see life

Stephen Morrissey / Johnny Marr

Stay alive.

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.

Name: Hornet aka Donald.

Hornet at Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

Stuart, Wayne and you were Wingnuts and Wolves before TwinsTown. How is the new band going? We couldn’t be happier with TwinsTown. I’m buzzing. It’s fate, us all coming together; Harry, Mark, Billy and you.

Hopefully our next recording trip to Tpot Studios in Path of Condie will be free of Covid-19 restrictions. I hope so, we are booked in for the end of November and it should be a special weekend. Completing our debut album Brankholm Brae is growing ever-closer.

Apart from Big Daddy the manager, I hear you’re the driving force of TwinsTown, a sort of band leader or club captain in football parlance… We’re all captains.

I see you organising and being the most sensible, although I also hear that one of you goes bananas occasionally. Is it you? No comment.

Something about the wrath of the rum…? That’s a track on our debut album, Brankholm Brae. We wrote it back in our Wingnuts days and it’s completely a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents in the song are the products of our imaginations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Why are you consulting with your solicitor…? Moving on. Are you in the news? Yes, the Dunfermline Press, all about TwinsTown recording Brankholm Brae at Tpot Studios in Path of Condie.

Is the recording going well? No one has gone bananas. That’s always a good thing. Not even Robin, the studio engineer, has lost the plot, and he has to spend 12-hour shifts working with Stuart and me.

Your band manager Big Daddy went a wee bit bananas, didn’t he? Well, aye, but that was in Dunfermline the morning before the recording started. Robin and I were house on fire in the studio.

I’ve actually seen you go bananas. Mind that time in Toastie’s practice suite when you roared: “ARE YOU JUST PHONING IN THE CHORUS!?” He wis PHONING IN the chorus!

You having none of it, aye? AYE!

Do say: “Keep the heid,” and “Quick, hide the OVD”.

Don’t say: “Is that Donald going bananas, AGAIN!?”

It’s a beautiful drive from Dunfermline to Tpot Studies in Path of Condie. Stopping in Kinross for square sausage and bacon rolls only added to the pleasure. I was buzzin’ and looking forward to seeing TwinsTown in action.

Path of Condie. Actual mode of transport may vary.

I was lucky. Doing public relations and photography gave me the second household spot as each of the five band members arrived, laid down their tracks individually, and departed. It made for a long two days but, boy oh boy, it was fun.

I watched all the divas taking tantrums, making unforced errors, losing their nerve, losing their minds and some even lost their hair! I’m sure I could see baldy bits. Embrace the baldness, boys. It’s the price of art.

Prohibited: no baldy bits allowed, say paranoid pair. Be like sound man Robin and buy a hat.

And debut album Brankholm Brae is going to be a work of art. There’s no doubt. We reviewed the final take on each track and when it worked, it worked.

Donald and Stuart Mackay know how to write a catchy tune. TwinsTown manager Big Daddy aka Billy George described one track, Welcome to My World, as REM on speed. I liken Spitfire to Primal Scream giving it laldy singing, “get your rocks off, get your rock off, honey”.

Before the two household restriction, I attended two TwinsTown rehearsals at Scott Gilbert’s Penthouse Practice Suite, above the 7 Kings at 2a Chalmers Street. At the first rehearsal, Zena and I were laughing, singing Wolves lyrics to the new tunes. Wolves being the twins’ former band, after starting out with The Wingnuts. The old lyrics just seemed to fit and we left thinking TwinsTown hadn’t really progressed musically. Fresh lyrics, same tunes we thought.

Zena and Stuart at Toastie’s Penthouse Practice Suite.

By the second rehearsal I attended the songs had developed. It took hours upon hours of work. I know, I was there to see it. When TwinsTown arrived at Tpot Studios to record the album the songs had improved immensely, and I watched as sound engineer Robin, socially distanced in a sound proof booth, tinkered with his mixing desk and offered advice to each individual performer. It’s a process.

The end result is going to be worth the effort.

Of course, I’m bias. I’m the band’s PR and photographer. I booked the Wingnuts to play East End Park in support of Pars United, back in 2012 when we all bought and saved Dunfermline Athletic. Beatnic Prestige headlined and I remember Albo giving the sonic twins a guitar masterclass in the green room. They learned well.

Albo, sporting his blue Fred Perry, giving another masterclass with The Stevie Agnew Band at The White Gates.

I also booked the Wolves for The Creepy Wee Pub. It was their first gig and we made the whole upstairs a stage. What a gig that was!

Wolves after their first ever gig at The Creepy Wee Pub.

I also booked The Mackay Twins to play Tappie Toories, their first gig under that name. I’m sure the old TwinsTown featuring Jimmy Clouston played Tappies too. They just turned up and gigged.

The Mackay Twins play Tappies.

What I’m saying is, I’m a fan. I always have been. As a longtime fan I can honestly say the twins’ new material is their strongest.

My old Wingnuts favourite Wrath of the Rum sits on Brankholm Brae alongside 11 brand spanking new tracks. Wrath deserves a return. It’s a classic. It’s not my favourite anymore though. Spitfire has that honour now. I love it, especially the twins’ Winston Churchill impressions. It’s inspirational, it’s funny, it’s TwinsTown. It’s what the boys are all about.

Spitfire a stunning track from Twinstown’s debut album Brankholm Brae.

Please don’t think TwinsTown is all about the twins. As Harry Dixon tells us, we’re all brothers. Shame you didn’t remember that, Harry, when you got Tony Bellew onto me. The world boxing champ called me an uncultured swine! I’ll be giving the Gypsy King a call, or are you best pals with him too…

I give up!

Seriously though, I used to watch Harry playing songs about his maw buying substandard t-bags from charity shops and despite the strong lyrics his guitar work was inept. Several jugs of lager too many.

Sober Harry is brilliant, on both bass and lead guitar.

To promote Brankholm Brae we’ll be producing a ‘making of’ video and additional ‘in the studio’ videos showing each band member performing a track individually. I’ve already edited Harry’s video, playing bass on Big Heart. It’s impressive, although look out for his wee hussy fit at the very end, and listen on as Robin counsels him over the headphones.

Wayne is also outstanding. He’s like THE toun drummer in Dunfermline. He was a stalwart with The Falcons for years. I think he’s also featured with The Wingnuts, Honk, Beatnic Prestige, The Modern Faces, and the list goes on. He reminds me of Keith Moon from The Who. He’s steady, keeping the beat, steady, steady, and then he goes off unexpectedly. He improvises. He makes every drum track his own.

Wayne drums like Keith Moon from The Who.

New member Mark keeps calling me Bowser ‘cos I can drink 20 cans of T without paying a visit. Nae wonder we call him The Darkness. He’s a bad man and the less said about him the better.

Only joking, Mark does a mean Top Gun impression and he’s a big Ainsley Harriott fan. These are meaningful credentials in TwinsTown. His piano and keyboard work is next up in the studio, so more about The Darkness will follow in due course.

Mark: The Darkness. He’s a bad man and loves Ainsley Harriott.

Big Daddy says he’s planning on old school vinyl for the release of Brankholm Brae. I know everyone says this, but it’s true, vinyl does have the edge over digital. Digital wins on convenience. Vinyl wins on quality and aesthetics and everything else.

Big Daddy aka Billy George, in the red shirt, with his own band Honk (original lineup).

For my part, I’ll be posting here, taking pics and working on the video The Making of Brankholm Brae, plus individual In The Studio vids for each of the famous 5.

Joe Graham aka Bowser doesn’t like having his picture taken.

Flare it!

Twinstown say Flare it!