I’ll Take the Low Road: Our Trip to Scotland

The forecast predicted thunder showers every day.
“That car will never make the drive to Scotland,”  (The exhaust is literally held together with an old tin of beans.)

But our little car made the 6-hour drive, and every day we spent in Scotland was sunny.

In Glasgow, we stayed with my pal Neil, who lives near a take-away place / concrete shack without any windows called the ‘China Hut’.
“I suppose it’s so nobody can break the windows…”
(An abandoned school around the corner with all it’s windows smashed was evidence that this theory was probably correct.)

A few empty glass bottles of Buckfast lay broken on the sidewalk.  (Buckfast is fortified wine mixed with caffeine (!)  Their unofficial slogan is ‘Buckfast gets you fucked fast’ (!!)  In spite of all these gritty stereotypes, the place had a friendly charm.

Our trip to Scotland was off to a good start.

Neil took us on a tour of Glasgow to see the Cathedral, the Art museum, the botanical gardens and the oldest remaining house in Glasgow (built in 1471… and it has linoleum floors…those things last forever!)

The next day was show day, I was playing at Apocalypso: a monthly concert at the Rumshack.  The booker hung up tropical decorations which brightened the place.  The venue filled to it’s 200 person capacity and after Future Fetish played, I was up.

The sound was great, the audience was great, Robert manned the projections, (which looked great) and the whole night went perfectly!  I drank cans of Red Stripe, met many lovable Glaswegians and enjoyed watching Raza and Fallopé and the Tubes (a band who dress up as vaginas and sing about psychic orgasms.  They are now my favourite band.)

At 2am, I got a message asking if I’d be up for another gig the next day at the Glasgow Art School!  Hells yes I would!  It’s a massive venue (800 capacity) and I was over-joyed to be invited!  The event was called Broad Daylight, an all-day event on Easter Sunday.  11 bands, DJs and a zine workshop!

At the venue, bands set up in a semi-circle in front of the stage.  I was up first so I line-checked and started my set at about 4pm.  Although it was early, the brave ones danced and it was a wonderful experience performing in front huge, high-quality speakers (instead of getting sound from smaller monitors onstage like one typically does).  Robert VJ-ed, Neil took pictures, I had a ball.   We stuck around for the wide-range of different bands from experimental to rock to noise.

in love
with Glasgow.

Neil took us to Loch Lomond (where we saw Nessie poking her head out of the depths for some sun!) and a pretty village called Luss.   We met some Scottish re-enactors and got to hold their large authentic rifles…(get yer mind outta the gulley!)

The next day we drove to Edinburgh.

“What’s Edinburgh like?” I asked a Glaswegian.
“It’s shite.  It’s pretty, but it’s shite.”

Hot damn is Edinburgh pretty!  Way too pretty, it’s unreal!  They should really consider giving some of that prettiness to other cities instead of hoarding it all for themselves!

We stayed at my old pal Andrew’s place, he lives close to the centre.  He gave us a tour and showed us the graveyard where J.K. Rowling found inspiration for many of her character’s names!  (Squeeeee!)

We stood in front of William McGonagall’s grave.  He was a notoriously terrible Scottish poet from the 1800’s.  Everyone loved to hate on his poems, but he didn’t give a fuck!  He kept touring and reading them, and when audience-members would chuck rotten fruit at him during his performances, he was prepared with a large sword he used to deflect the incoming projectiles!  He’d continue reading his poetry whilst simultaneously battling produce!  The man’s a legend.

We also ate a haggis burrito!  It was so good when you didn’t think about what’s in it!

Then we went to see my friend Cera Impala and her band perform folky, gorgeous tunes at their cd launch.  I met Cera in Berlin, where folk music ain’t so popular.  (This apparently has to do with it being Hitler’s favourite type of music.  Germans just don’t wanna associate with anything that guy loved).  One day, Cera had a dream she moved to Edinburgh.  She packed up her family, moved there and hasn’t looked back since.  I was happy to see her play at a wonderful venue to many adoring fans and I was happy to know that Cera found a home for herself and her music.

We did a 3-hour walking tour of Edinburgh, went to a few pubs, hung out with Andrew, ate some pizza made from a Sicilian man who adamantly proclaimed “I swear, I’m not in the mafia!”  (Don’t know why he had to clarify that to us…SUSPICIOUS!)

We unfortunately went to the Surgeon’s Hall Museum where we looked at bloated 200-year-old ball-tumours in jars and dead babies with no skin.  We felt faint and had to leave without seeing a fraction of the exhibition.  (Andrew’s scientific bravery got him through the exhibition, but he claims to have struggled as well,..)

Then we climbed Arthur’s seat to clear our heads from those things we can’t unsee.  It was so beautiful!  We took a billion pictures, ate Scottish pancakes and hung out looking over the wondrous land of Robert’s forefathers.  The view is so magical, if anyone visits Edinburgh, this is one thing I recommend!

We drove to Bamburgh to meet Robert’s family and spend a day by the sea with them.  We went to Holy Island, which is only accessible at low-tide.  At high-tide the road gets swallowed by water and some unlucky cars get flushed away!  We explored Bamburgh Castle for three hours, learned lots of history, which I won’t bore you with…(did you know that a chain-mail shirt weighs 15 kilograms!?  And Sir William Armstrong, who lived in the castle, invented hydraulics!)

After so many adventures and wonderful experiences, our Scotland trip was over and we drove back to Sheffield to hang out with steel-workers and the rain.

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