Friday, June 12, 2009


+ counting, eh ?

That's a lot of f@cking hits.

Well. I don't know about Susan Boyle. Or the c@nting Priory. Personally, I'd rather suspend my disbelief for Dundee's Billy MacKenzie. Just as patently ridiculous, but a tad dashed more handsome. And charismatic.

Pompous ? F@ck, yes; but unabashedly so. A bit like tartan f@cking shortbread, siblings. Hysterical ? Definitively. Like opera for soap junkies waiting impatiently for Brookside Close to stage a seige.

Apparently, an entire Scottish football team went down with Swine Flu while visiting Dundee recently on an away fixture. Interesting.

"Sulk", the long player which supported this 45, was the Associates 'Woolworths' album; ideally, it should have left point of sale wrapped in a free pair of leg warmers, or Ratners' vouchers at the very least. A major departure from the independently pitched "The Affectionate Punch" and "Fourth Drawer Down", this was Billy and Alan embarking on a clear strategy to court airtime and crash the charts. With Martha Ladly - of Martha and the Muffins - on backing vocals, the Associates immediately secured a string of Top 40 hits.

And promptly went off the rails entirely: an episode of tantrums and tiaras which allegedly cost WEA £250,000, and ultimately culminated in Billy MacKenzie's suicide in 1997, aged 39, on his father's allotment back in Auchterhouse.

Dundee Repertory Theatre this week staged a production based on Billy's saga, "Balgay Hill", named after the cemetery on the east coast where he was laid to rest. It opened on June 9th, and has already generated much positive coverage.

Alan Rankine: instruments;
Billy Mackenzie: vocals;
Michael Dempsey: bass; John Murphy: drums.

ASSOCIATES: PARTY FEARS TWO from "Party Fears Two b/w It's Better This Way" 45 (Associates / Beggars Banquet) 1982 (UK)



sunnydustmote said...

As a fellow Dundonian now for the past 10 years, I can safely say that I don't have swine flu (are we carriers????).

There has certainly been a buzz in the city for the past couple of weeks. Last week saw the premier of 'The Glamour Chase' by Andrew Miller at the DCA - a great film although Alan Rankine did little to impress us what with his vulgarities!

Last Thursday Dundee Rep Premiered 'Balgay Hill'. A full house and many of Billy Mackenzie's family came. There is certainly a Mackenzie genetic gene that has been passed down in the eyes. Beautiful!

Just about everyone in Dundee has a tale to tell about Billy Mackenzie and I certainly liked the one his uncle told me! Billy was certainly a great man with indubitable charisma.

Today I ventured up Balgay Hill for the first time - stunning. There is certainly more to Dundee than just Jute, Jam and Journalism.

I recall growing up listening to the Associates through my Big Brothers record collection and 'Party Fears Two' transports be back to the 80's growing up in Houston. Thank you IB for posting this article.

ib said...

I put on my painting rags earlier this afternoon, only to discover those pants are now a little too tight around the waist. The lassitude of middle age comes to us all, sibling.

One coat of 'soft chalk' in, I laid down pad and brush to check in on the possibility of a comment or two and caught this. The wine is drying on my lips as I bang out this retort.

Poor Alan Rankine. Vulgarities aside, Billy MacKenzie rode the limelight while associate, Rankine was often forced into the shadow. The Associates was very much a two man affair, but his contribution is sadly much overlooked. Under the circumstances - and the very nature of their public falling out somewhere down the line - Alan's inability or unwillingness to gloss over events is perhaps understandable.

Billy MacKenzie was a very dynamic personality. Driven by ego, but also the unshakable recognition of his own unique talents as a singer and presence. It is good you got the opportunity to meet his uncle. His family have every right to feel proud. It must be especially hard that Billy is no longer around to set the record straight, or at least make light of any misguided attempt to cause slight or injury.

I remember him fondly.

Swine Flu be damned.

sunnydustmote said...

Yup - I know the feeling of middle age spread only too well! Why oh why????

Löst Jimmy said...

First off, all that internet hits you mention at the to be 'hit-tastic'

As for tightening of the waistband, I put such a change in 'circumstances' as merely "relaxed muscle" not a problem

The crazies were out in the estate last night, carrying on where they left off on Thursday. The Polis were out in force (no pun intended) any luck it'll be quieter tonight

Have a good rest of the weekend bro

ib said...

Yeah, Löst Jimmy; those YouTube statistics for Susan Boyle's audition are somewhat hard to reconcile.

And as for that "relaxed muscle" I am currently packing, I am determined to shed a little simply by employing the paint brush more vigorously than is required. Sadly, it is looking like this might be a three coat affair; more sweat to break in this unseasonal heatwave.

The crazies are out here too in droves, brother. Better to stay indoors and dodge the Buckfast empties and flying splinters of Mad Dog 20/20.

Löst Jimmy said...

Hope your week is going well ib, been up and down a bit here - the roaming urchins destroyed my clothes drying whirly thing in the back close last night - they turned it in to something akin to a work of modern art all hanging metal and strands of clothes line - the image probably enhanced with my look of horror when I pulled back the curtains this morning...and to think I keep myself to myself too

ib said...

As bus drivers in the west coast of Scotland are wont to remark: "Houston, Texas, son ?"

Witty bastards.

Sorry to hear about the whirly, Löst Jimmy. Sad they did not manage to impale themselves in the process. I liked that "Bah!" by way of a sign-off, there. Made me think of Dudley D. Watkins and Wullie on his bucket, head in hands. Very appropriate.