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!

Sometimes your brain just runs wild, thoughts flashing through your mind, you know, a frenzy.

  • Turning Japanese – The Vapours
  • Every Day I Die – Gary Numan
  • Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
  • Be My Girl (Sally) – The Police
  • St. Swithin’s Day – Billy Bragg
  • Pictures of Lily – The Who
  • Pump It Up – Elvis Costello
  • My Ding-A-Ling – Chuck Berry
  • Fingers – Pink
  • Bed Bugs – TownTown

Sometimes you just have to make a list. A top ten even. It’s in no particular order mind. TwinsTown are No.1 not No.10, but it’s just random anyway. Certainly nothing anyone might want to hide from their mum and dad.

Bed Bugs is track 11 on Brankholm Brae the stunning debut album from TwinsTown.

Bed Bugs is a song about mental health: the importance of it and occasionally, or sometimes more than occasionally, the things we do to keep ourselves sane. Check out the chorus…

 I try to fall asleep but the bed bugs

Want me

Oh the creepy little bed bugs

Haunt me

I try to fall asleep and the bed bugs

Taunt me

They’re keeping me up in the night

TwinsTown

I love the bridge too. We can all relate…

And they’re jealous

They’re all paranoid schizophrenics

And it’s all my fault

TwinsTown

Arguably, Bed Bugs provides the most engaging intro of all the songs on Brankholm Brae. It’s both quirky and cute. The song continues in the same vein as the lead guitar takes us into a bouncy tune with the trademark TwinsTown call and response vocals used to full effect.

Look out too for the equally subtle and gorgeous backing vocals from Billy George, Ben Sharp and Ellie George. After her introductory appearance on Big Heart, I think I’m right in saying Bed Bugs is Ellie’s second outing on Brankholm Brae.

I hope her fellow backing singers, only her dad and boyfriend, won’t mind if I say Ellie gives good “Oooo’s”. I can’t even spell Oooo’s. The last time Stuart passed me the mic Mark jumped out of his piano stool like a scalded cat and chased me away. That’ll be the end of my singing career.

Back on topic, Bed Bugs is over far too soon. T’here’s an impatient urgency, a rush and a push towards the climax. I didn’t say pull.

Despite it’s brevity, I predict it’s going to be a classic. Bed Bugs is the TwinsTown song for TwinsTown fans… like me!

Fred Flintstone and Clint Eastwood are hard acts to follow, but Bed Bugs goes in hard, standing up to the pop reference challenge with the rat pack and Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and the twins’ grandad. 50p each way on Dean Martin.

The flavour was fine

’cause it got savoured in time

We try try try

But love’s hard to find

So bye bye bye !!!!

TwinsTown

Four exclamation marks to end this one. Oaft! There’s some pent-up emotion going on and no mistake.

Following Wrath of the Rum and Say Goodbye to the Summer, Bed Bugs is the penultimate track on TwinsTown’s Brankholm Brae.

Just one song preview to go now, the title track, Brankholm Brae. There’s going to be no pent-up emotion for the final track. It’s all released. There won’t be a dry eye in the house. Tissues at the ready, please.

Coming soon…

We can’t keep it undercovers forever, it’s the album most likely to, it’s Brankholm Brae.

Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from TwinsTown. Honestly, it’s coming soon.

Watch this space for details.

Stay alive!

As I suspected when posting yesterday, the final master mixes for TwinsTown’s Brankholm Brae arrived last night.

Appropriate really, as the next song to be previewed here is track 4. Something New and it’s the song introducing the band’s current line up, featuring Mark Guyan, Wayne Robertson and Harry Dixon.

The twins are back, that’s a matter of fact

And they’re back with Mark and The Wasp and The Duke

What you see is what you get

And what you hear man, you’ll never forget

TwinsTown

Along with Wayne on drums and Harry on guitar, piano man Mark Guyan has added a touch of class to proceedings, a whole new dimension.

I had a wee listen to the new mixes on arrival but I’ll be blasting them later today.

On Something New one wee update incorporated by producer Robin at Tpot is making Harry’s “Flare it!” shouts a bit more prominent.

The green light on Brankholm Brae is drawing ever closer.

Something New introduces TwinsTown’s new line up for the recording of debut album Brankholm Brae. Green light coming soon.

Something New also finds Donald and Stuart dreaming of good times to come. Given our current Covid-19 crisis I think we all need the power of dreams right now. Something New either already is, or will be, a reality for many of us during 2021, and hopefully it’ll be something good.

All the best from TwinsTown.

Something New is track 4. on TwinsTown’s forthcoming debut album Brankholm Brae.

Stay alive!

Today TwinsTown reveal their cover art for forthcoming debut album Brankholm Brae and it’s a typically brilliant painting by local Dunfermline artist, and friend of the band, Jack Paton. We’d like to send a big thank you to Jack, his effort and support is very much appreciated.

TwinsTown’s twins Stuart and Donald painted specifically for debut album Brankholm Brae by local Dunfermline artist, and friend of the band, Jack Paton. Thank you, Jack.

The work, painted specifically for Brankholm Brae, follows the theft of Jack’s original take on TwinsTown’s twins Donald and Stuart.

The earlier work featuring Stuart and Donald Mackay by Jack was stolen from Dunfermline High Street.

Jack’s earlier work featuring Stuart and Donald (as shown above) was stolen from Dunfermline High Street. For years now Jack has been adding colour to the auld grey toun by strategically placing art in the centre of Dunfermline.

A friend told me, “you’re nobody in this toun until you have a Jack Paton,” needless to say she reached for her mobile phone to prove that her famous fizzog does indeed appear in a Jack Paton.

Unfortunately, I don’t have that one in my phone, but I do have Pars fan Andrew Carnegie and The Skids’ and Big Country’s Stuart Adamson.

Stuart and Donald sharing the limelight with Dunfermline legends Andrew Carnegie and Stuart Adamson.

Here’s more of Jack’s art and I’m sure the boys will love this.

Noel and Liam Gallagher by Jack Paton pictured alongside their heroes Stuart and Donald Mackay. Or is it the other way around. Who knows!?

My favourite Jack Patons are of Billy Connelly and if you look carefully below you might spot the man himself, toun legend, Jack Paton.

This time Double Trouble, Stuart and Donald, are overshadowed by Jack Paton himself and three of his paintings featuring Billy Connolly. Top left is the Big Yin looking down from the gap site towards Dunfermline High Street.

For the back cover of Brankholm Brae we’d like the full band photographed; Harry Dixon, Wayne Robertson, Mark Guyan, Donald Mackay and Stuart Mackay. However, with lockdown and all the Covid-19 restrictions I have not managed a single shot of the full TwinsTown line up, nevermind one with their backing singers, TwinsTown manager Billy George, Billy’s daughter Ellie and former TwinsTown member Ben Sharp.

Billy is planning a vinyl release for Brankholm Brae but with everything going on we don’t have a date yet. Hopefully it will be 2021. Just for Billy I’ve photoshopped a mostly black and white alternative album cover. I like to call it 52 Years A Par. Well done for supporting the band, Billy. You’re a star!

Black and white version 52 Years A Par for long-suffering TwinsTown manager Billy George.

Thanks again to Jack Paton. To view and buy Jack’s art please click here: Art by Jack Paton.

Stay alive!

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 Dixon and Tyson Fury, two sports personalities of any year.

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, Mr Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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.

TwinsTown pedals.

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.

Harry at Tpot Studios, Path of Condie.

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.”

Harry at big Barrett’s birthday barbeque, thinking of Sean Bean, 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!”

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.

What is Brankholm Brae? It’s the wild, wild west of Rosyth.

Brankholm Brae, 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.

“Flare it!” one of many TwinsTown 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.

“It’s the devil in me. It’s my O.V.D.”

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.

Parental advisory warning not required… yet.

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.”

Name: Big Daddy aka Billy George.

Billy (centre) on a sunny day with, from left to right, former TwinsTown man Ben Sharp aka B-Sharp, daughter Ellie, son Jack and wife Claire.

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!?

Ellie and Billy George (looking nothing like William Shatner or Steve Bruce).

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.

Eventually, a quality album from Honk.
Billy fronting Honk at Leroy Day in PJs.

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.

Heart over 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.”