There are very few times in my life when I have thought that I had got it right. Marrying Mrs M, of course. Mostly, I have had doubts about any other rightness on my part. Until tonight when another possible example hoved into view.
It seems that one of my fellow Jocks is starting to pall. Billy Connelly is, apparently, getting grief on his current tour for not having new material. I truly did try to warn him.
When I was young, I was a folky. Big for my age and happy to take advantage. By the age of 14, I was strolling unchallenged into bars and, more relevantly, into the Perth Folk Club in the Plough Inn. Where I drank deep of Matt McGinn, Hamish Imlach, Dave and Toni Arthur, Eric Bogle, Martin Carthy, Dave Swarbrick, Alex Campbell and many others. You had to be there.
One fine night, we had the Humblebums. BC and Gerry Rafferty at that time. Mind duly blown. So much so that I raved to all my friends at school. Two weeks later, the Humblebums were booked into the York House Hotel (also Perth) and I dragged along everybody that I could persuade. Bloody brilliant but a lot of the same material.
Moving on another two months, said Humblebums were booked to appear in the prestigious Salutation Hotel (Perth again) on a Friday night. I did the ‘You have to be there’ trick with my chums again.
The end of the first half and the wrong side of two bottles of Carlsberg Special, I was not happy. They had done the same material again. At the break, there I was at the urinal when BC walked in and started to relieve himself beside me. Seventeen years old, slightly pissed and seriously disappointed, I turned to him (while still pointing ahead, of course) and said:-
‘I think you are great. Really funny. But, I’ve heard you do the same material three times now in the last six months. If you don’t try to get some new stuff, you’ll never go anywhere.’
He zipped himself up, turned, looked at me and, with that unique and instant wit that has made his humour a byword throughout the civilized world, Weegieland and New South Wales, said:-
‘F*** off, ye fat wee bastard!’
Three years later. I was at the Uni of Embra and, as it so happens, Entertainments Convener of the oldest purpose-built Students’ Union in the world. A serious budget of at least £500 a year. We (I) thought that a folk concert was worth a try. I booked this group called the’Boys of the Lough’ for their first gig in Jockland. A bit of money left and the agent offered me a newly solo Billy Connolly as a support act.
Magnificent evening and both they and he were brilliant. We adjourned to the Committee Room to pay them and to feed them drink. Obviously, I reminded BC of our shared night of magic in that Perth urinal.
He looked at me and said:- ‘I’m glad to see that you’ve grown a bit taller.’