My top albums of 2020 – and some other music that got me through it

2020. An inarguably shite year. But one of the things that emerged early on as a small salvation was the continuing stream of music releases. The live scene may have been completely shuttered – my last gig was the fantastic-as-ever Meursault on 13 March, a show like many around that time which shouldn’t have been […]

“Parla Inglese?”

Italian customer service is legendary. Everyone who’s experienced this wondrous, infuriating and frankly astounding phenomenon has their own story. Well, here’s mine. We were in the bustling Termini station in Rome, the great city’s main rail hub, on a busy Saturday afternoon. We wanted to ask about tickets to Florence for a possible trip the […]

Death or glory? Raith’s future hangs in the balance

It was a candid comment of the sort we’re not used to in the inane realm of post-match interviews. Asked whether the target for next season is promotion, John McGlynn, architect of Raith Rovers’ season of over-achievement, refused to gloss over the grim predicament facing the club. The practiced tone of upbeat, football-manager-speak noticably fell away […]

“Surely unthinkable for the skipper to miss…”

“… And he doesn’t! “Celtic have won the Coca-Cola Cup!” Doesn’t really have the same ring to it does it? But even the staunchest Raith supporter would not begrudge Paul McStay his penalty spot revenge over Scott Thomson in the Ronnie Coyle benefit match at Stark’s Park today that featured some of the players from […]

This mess he’s in? Why Thom Yorke should pay heed to PJ Harvey

Thom Yorke and Polly Jean Harvey were born one year apart, and separately they have risen to the very top of the critics’ darlings list of British musicians over the past two decades with consistently intelligent, restless albums. The king and queen of indie, if you prefer journalistic shorthand. Like every other person in the country […]

Happy Burns Night!

I had to dust off my pitifully neglected blog eventually, and what better occasion than the birthday of Scotland’s Bard, the original Makar himself, Rabbie Burns (note the ‘a’ in ‘Rabbie’, Americans). So what does Burns mean to me? Well very little, if I’m being totally honest. My Granddad on my Mum’s side liked to […]