Kenny WrongChurch RIP

30 03 2020

Following hard on the heels of the death of Country megastar Kenny Rogers, news is just reaching us about the demise of local Country and WestrenIsles star Kenny WrongChurch.

Kenny was one of the leading lights in the world of Country & WestrenIsles music and had an impressive back catalogue of hit singles and albums. He was also a serial churchgoer, and enjoyed fomenting discord and schism in many local church denominations, as he was a deamhnaidh old bleigeard and could never make up his mind as to what church he should be attending. 

Kenny first found fame as a member of The New Christian Ministers, a band singing Country and Westren Psalms, but left due to a schism over whose turn it was to precent. 

His next band, formed with the crew of a Marvig herring drifter, was Kenny Wrongchurch and the Fish Edition. They had a big hit in 1967 with “I Just Dropped In (To See What Condition The Crit Was In)” which was based on a true story of a particularly boisterous session in the Criterion Bar. 

Wrongchurch and the Fish Edition were fleekeen hippies, and thus opposed to the long-running intervillage conflict over sheep grazing rights on the Arnish Moor known as the VietRam War. In 1969 they released a searing indictment of Point’s role in the conflict, told from the perspective of a Sheshader war veteran:  – “Rubha B (Don’t Take Your Love Duwn The Tuwn)”

In the early 70s, following another theological schism over the acceptable shade of black for elders’ hats on the Friday of the Tolsta òrduighean, Wrongchurch split with the Fish Edition and went solo. This turned out to be a good move, as the 1970’s were a very lucrative period for Kenny with hit after hit raising his profile all over some of Lewis. Meanwhile his former bandmates’ splinter group, “The Fish Edition (Continuing)” sank without trace.

In 1977 he wrote “Lewis Eel”, an appeal to the Stornoway Trust to do something about the increasing numbers of fresh water eels that were taking over the trout lochs and salmon rivers .

”You took a fine time to reel-in Lewis Eel 

With four angry ghillies keeping watch on the Creed

I had some tangled lines, caught up in a power line

But this time my hook’s needing freed

You took a fine time to reel-in Lewis Eel”

Perhaps his most well known song was his tribute to Stornoway’s only bookie’s shop, ”The Campbell-er”. This was a moving tribute about John Campbell’s betting shop on South Beach. WrongChurch would spend many happy hours there losing his shirt on the Newmarket nags. 

The B-side of “The Campbell-er” was “The Gambol-ler”, an alternate take of the same tune, but sponsored by the Board of Agriculture and intended to educate crofters in the basics of sheep management:

“Ewe got to know when to fleece ’em,

  Know when to freeze ’em,

  Know when to dose ’em,

  And when to get the ram,

  You never count your money,

  When the subsidy’s on the table,

  There’ll be time enough for countin’,

  When you get the cu-ram”

And of course in 1979 Wrongchurch finished off the 70s on a high note, with the international (Pairc and West Side) smash hit “Coward of the County (Public)” which went on to sell an unprecedented 4 copies in Maciver & Dart, 3 in DD Morrison’s and scored him 2 plays on Radio Ranol. 

At the start of the new decade, Wrongchurch had a successful writing partnership with Niseach precenting sensation Lional Macritchie, frontman of the Communiondores (“Easy Like Sunday Morning at the FP Òrduighean Isn’t”) which resulted in several hits including “Lady (Matheson)” and “Shear Your Love”.

Also in the early 1980’s The Highlands and Islands Development Board commissioned him to write a song promoting the new Parkend Industrial Estate. He enlisted local lass Dolly Parkend and together they had a smash hit which reached Number 1 all over Sandwick. This song was, of course ’Islands Industry’. 

WrongChurch also had huge success performing another duet in 1983 with the heartfelt ballad ‘We’ve Got The Sh*tes’,  with Sheena EastStreet. This was a cover version of a well known song by Bob Seceder and The Silver Pullet Band. 

(With thanks to Dunky, Roddy H and Innes for their help reminding us of Kenny’s many hits)





Terry Blones: A belated tribute

20 03 2020

Mainland comedy fans suffered another sad loss a few weeks back, with the passing of Monty Python’s Terry Jones. 

Unfortunately, the demise of Jones’ island cousin on the same day was largely ignored on the other side of the Minch. Which was a shame, because the comic legend’s late Leodhasach relation also had a long and varied (if slightly less successful) career in TV and film.

Terry Blones was a member of the influential comedy team Maw T Peatiron’s Flying Cearc-house (and acquired his surname because his colleagues were forever making him him dress up as a cailleach). Along with his 5 colleagues he produced some of BBC Alba’s finest comedy moments and left a legacy of groundbreaking sketches, with catch phrases that have become part of everyday conversation (for a certain species of truaghan bochd who can’t resist reciting them at every opportunity).

Blones didn’t actually appear in what is probably the most quoted piece in the team’s TV series. In “The Dead Guga Sketch” an irate Niseach played by John Clisham goes into Cross Stores to complain that his singed/dried/salted/packed gannet from Sulasgeir is a bit listless. (For more Southerly listeners, the piece was dubbed from Niseach into Lochie Gaelic and retransmitted as the “Dead Sgarbh Sketch”).

However Blones took the lead role as the waitress in the equally famous “Sgadan Sketch”, (Cove: “Dé a thagaibh?”  Waitress: “Tha buntàta, sgadan ‘s buntàta, buntàta ‘s sgadan, sgada ‘s buntàta ‘s sgadan, buntàta ‘s sgadan ‘s buntàta….”). 

Blones, Clisham and Chapman met while performing in the YMBridge amateur theatrical company “Footlights” (a group which spawned many comedy greats over the years, as well as a respected Free Church Minister.)

The Peatiron crew all went on to greater success. 

John Clisham wrote and starred in Fawlty Todhars (co-written by his then wife Connie Bùthsheumais) and A Fish Called Cnòdan. 

Michael Pale-ale became famed as a globe trotting documentary maker, including Around The Pubs In 80 Minutes, about a particularly memorable pub crawl round Stornoway during the 1979 Mod) and Dole to Dòmhnall (about his time spent working in Stornoway Job Centre when everyone was called Domhnall)

Terry Gili-amadan became a respected illustrator and director of fleekeen weird films including “Bragar-zil” and “Timsgarry Bandits”.

Eric Ayeayedòmhnall – Became a well known comedic actor but was perhaps best known for writing and singing Stornoway Sea-angling Club anthem ‘Always Hook on the Right Side for Lithe’.

Grazings Chapman – went on to write and star in the pirate film Yellowfleece. The film was originally conceived as a vehicle for hard-drinking and notoriously incontinent rock drummer Keith Mùn. However due to the fact that Mùn was long dead by the time Chapman got around to filming, he was replaced by an entire cast of Stornoway worthies including Peter SheepCrook, Marshy Fieldman, Spike MillRoadigan, Digg*m Da, Ch*rsty Al*ne and B*gie. Chapman also wrote the popular “A Lair’s Autobiography” – the life story of a burial plot in Aiginish cemetery, to which he retired in 1989.

Terry Blones found post Peatiron fame as a well respected director but found plenty of time to pursue his real passion as a medieval historian. His study of 13th-century Arnol poet Cheffrey Chau-siar was critically acclaimed. Meanwhile his BBC Alba documentaries such as “Terry Blones’ Mehhh-dieval Missionaries” and “Terry Blones’ Barra-barians” provided a refreshing reappraisal of peoples that history had previously judged to be ignorant uncultured maws from outside the cattle grid. Always keen to set the record straight, Blones did extensive research and arrived at the surprising conclusion that – yus, they were indeed as raw as a fleekeen peat, the whole fleekeen lot of them. 

The Peatiron gang made several films over the years including:

  • And Now For Souming Completely Different
  • The Meaning of Lithe
  • Maw T Peatiron and the Holy Creel – A take on the Arthurian Legend, where a bunch of inept Knights try to find the legendary and long lost Holy Creel. The film featured The Knights Of Niseach, Tolsta Witches, mysterious enchanters and The Knights of the Round Table (who were played by the various Peatirons) included Sir Galanhead, Sir Gawainabost and Sir Manse-alot,
  • The Life of Brendan – possibly the Peatirons’ best known film. This caused all sorts of controversy when it came out. The film was ostensibly about a young man called Brendan, who just by chance grew up at the same time as a well known MP. Terry Blones directed the film but also famously played Brendan’s mum with the classic line ‘He’s not the MP, he’s a very naughty boy’. The Life of Brendan also brought us ‘ What have the Rubhachs ever done for us?’ and ‘The Peoples Front of Judea (Continuing)’.




Freekirk Douglas RIP

12 02 2020

We’re sad to report the passing of movie legend Freekirk Douglas, who has died at the age of 103. A veteran of Holywood ( Stornoway’s famous religious film-making industry), Douglas was still acting and doing his own stunts up until last Tuesday afternoon.

Freekirk was a cousin of the late Kirk Douglas, who also died recently in America. Sadly Kirk and Freekirk hadn’t been on speaking terms since 1843, when a discussion on lairds appointing ministers or something degenerated into what the sheriff court column of the Gazette described as a “disruption” outside the Star Inn.

Born Ist-thu Domhnalliainovitch, the son of impoverished fuidheag-dealer immigrants from pre-revolutionary Tsarist Sheshader, Douglas was fascinated by acting from an early age. At the Amarybank Academy of Dramatic Arts (and Livestock Management) in Newvalley, Douglas studied the Mehhh-thod acting techniques of Charles Tolstanislavski, and after graduating, soon began to make his name on stage and screen.

Let’s take a brief look back at some of Freekirk’s masterpieces from the golden age of Holywood:

Spàganagus- Based loosely on the popular Gaelic children’s books, but with content slightly less suitable for its usual aged 6-8 readership, this historical epic sees the friendly purple monster Spàgan (Douglas) discovering to his surprise that he’s a slave during the Roman occupation of Stordinium (see previous MUHOS entry) and has been sent to Gladiator training school at the Coll-oseum. Spàgan soon leads a slave revolt and almost defeats the Roman Empire, but ends up getting caught and crucified on Dan Dougal’s Brae. Standout scenes from the film include the bit where the slaves were asked who hasn’t paid for a Spar Take Away Coffee Cup and they all pointed to Freekirk ( admittedly it didn’t have the same impact as his cousin’s “Spartacus”). Spàganagus was perhaps Douglas’s most famous film, co-starred Lawrence Oliversbrae, Peter Uistinov, Jean Simonsroad and Tony Cearc-is as Antandecus, and was directed by Stanley Cù-brick.

The Strange Loves of Martha Ivorhill (1946) with Barbara Sandwyck.

Young Ram with 2 Horns (1950) with Dùinandoris Dé and Lauren Bac-coll, in which Douglas plays legendary jazz chanterist Bix BrevigBacke.

Gunfight at the OK Communions with Cearc Douglas as Wyatt Earshader and Freekirk as cuireamach gunslinger Doc Holyday

The Heroes of Texel Mark- Stornowegian resistance fighters in WW2 blow up the paint factory that produced the paint used for marking sheep, as the Nazis were trying to develop Heavy Paint and New Clear Wool.

Lust for Lithe – biopic about the tragic life of local fish salesman and p*ss-artist Vincent Fishvan Gogh

The Baaah and the Beautiful – with Lamb-a Turner

The Marvik-ings-pillaging down the coast of Lochs

The Todhar Wagon (1967) – John Wayne returns to Ness after 3 years in jail and enlists safecracker Douglas’s help to steal a valuable cargo of manure being transported to Sweeney’s potato feannag in a heavily-armed trailer.

Is Harris Burning? – moor burning goes wrong in North Harris. Freekirk played the role of General Tweedpattern.

Stornoway Aths of Glory- three wrongly convicted Aths players have to go up before the Lewis and Harris Football Association to get their red cards annulled.

20000 Leaks under the Seaforth -an on call plumbers story. All the beer pumps start leaking under the Seaforth Public Bar putting the Galaxy Disco and An Evening With Philomena Begley in jeopardy. Based on the book by Jewsons Verne and featuring the notable Captain Zebo character.

On the news of Douglas’s death, tributes poured in from his family, friends and showbusiness colleagues. But the end of an era represented by the screen legend’s demise is probably best summed up by the headline in respected Holywood trade magazine the Fr** Ch*rch M*nthly R*cord: “Freekirk Douglas is No Longer (Continuing)”.





Nicolsonroad Parsons

2 02 2020

It’s been a sad week for mainland comedy fans, with the passing of “Just a Minute” host and lechendary “Sale of the Century” quizmaster Nicholas Parsons.

Sadly this has meant that the demise of Parsons’ island cousin in the same week has been largely ignored on the other side of the Minch. At any other time there’d no doubt have been a big fuss, since the departed celebriy’s Leodhasach relation as himself a much loved fixture of BBC Alba, Radio Ranol and the Playhouse Cinema.

Known for his gentlemanly manners and immaculate attire – cravat, blazer, crisply pressed boiler suit and wellies polished to a dazzling shine, Nicolsonroad Parsons was born in 1853 to posh parents in Stornoway’s exclusive suburb of Goathill.

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At school Nicolsonroad was thick as fleek, so instead of becoming a doctor or a minister he was apprenticed as a trainee barnacle scraper at the Patent Slip. Strangely, this proved to be the genesis of his acting career. His refined Goathill enunciation marked him out for regular batterings from his proletarian colleagues, so Parsons quickly learned how to mimic his fellow workers by adopting an Inaclete Road accent.

He was ruppish at it, however, and the batterings continued – with increased intensity because everybody now thought he was taking the p*** with his: “Ei say, old cove, shaw deich tessden. Fawlaw shee-yas gooh Cath-ay Yee-ha-wool’s an get one a quarter bottle ow Trawler Raahm awhhgawss ten Woodbine, theah’s a good chep”. This proved fortuitous as, wandering along Newton one day with a black eye, several missing front teeth and numerous splints and bandages, he was spotted by a producer and offered a part in the Stornoway Thespians’ critically-acclaimed 1887 production of “Emergency Ward Hen”.

A busy career on stage, film, radio and TV followed, including a starring stage role in Arse and Old Lice, voiceover roles in Gerry Andersonroad’s puppet “Westren” series Four Heather Falls, The Bennydrove Hill Show, and a long-running role as straight man to egomaniac comedy diva Arthur “Mise ‘s Mi” Fheins. On the verge of breaking big in America, Fheins became paranoid that Parsons was becoming more popular than he was, and gave Parsons the big bròg after an appearance on the Ed Suilven show.

In 1967 Parsons was hired by Radio Ranol to present “Church a Minute”, a panel show in which contestants had to improvise a 60 second prayer without hesitation, repetition, or deviation into the doctrines of Presbyterian splinter groups other than their own. Following audience complaints after the pilot episode, the show was soon relaunched as “Church an Hour (And a Half at Least)” and has run in this form until the present day.

Regular guests in the early years included the Rev Kennethstreet Williams (FP, Cari-onshader), Rev Hensly Nimmo (Backsliding Easy-osy Church of Sasanaich, Stornoway), Rev Stclements Freud (Rodel) and the Rev Peat-er Jones, who was also the voice of the Book in BBC Alba’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Disco”.

As the old contestants expired, they were replaced with younger ministers from the world of “alternative communion-dy” such as South Harris’s Rev Graham Northton and happy-clappy townie the Rev Paul Mertonsmemorial, but Parsons himself remained a constant of the show for over 52 years.

Of course, if you’re not a Radio Ranol listener, you may remember Parsons best for his legendary Aiginish TV quiz show “Sale of the Cemetery” ‘And now, from Knock(wich), it’s the quiz of the week’, boomed the familiar intro at the top of the show, as contestants competed for a series of increasingly expensive and prestigious lairs in the nearby graveyard.





The (Very) Late June Plasterfield RIP

11 01 2020

We must apologise for being a bit slow catching up on our obituaries recently, as at this time of year it’s hard to keep up with all the famous celebrities popping their clogs.

Recently we’ve lost a great TV medium, famous for his ability to commune with the spirits of dead sheep (Derek Acaora), the puppeteer blone who played Big Bàrd in BBC Point’s cryptomarxist educational kids’ programme “Sheshader Street”, popular TV intellectuals Clive Jamesmackenziesshop and Jonathan Kennystickysmiller, and top musical satirist Niall-Aonghas (famous for his spoof documentary of a top 60s beat combo from Point – “The Rubha-tles”)

But worst of all it’s taken us over a year to get around to reporting the demise of one of the grande dames of Stoarnowaywegian comedy…

At the end of 2018, the nation mourned the passing of Dame June Whitfield. Dame June’s contribution to film, radio and TV from the post-war years to the present day – from the early Carry-on films to “Absolutely Fabulous”, was unmatched.

Well, nearly. Whitfield’s passing unfortunately eclipsed that of her Leodhasach cousin who passed away the same day, and who enjoyed an equally long (if less successful) career as a comic mainstay of BBC Alba and its predecessors.

Like her relative down South, the late June Plasterfield was also recognised as a Dame (except sometimes if she was at the fank in her dungarees and bobban hat).

Dame June was born in Plasterfield when it WAS still a field, approximately where the skip outside the Blackhouse Bakery stands today. She graduated from RHADA (the Royal Hotel Academy of Dram and Antique Ceards) in 1944, and it wasn’t long before she was appearing in a smash hit West Side musical about a nurse stationed in Lemreway and a crowd of singing sailors on shore leave from the fishery cruiser – Rodgers and Hamnaway’s wonderful “South Pairc-cific”. Who can forget Plasterfield’s spirited version of ‘I’m Going To Wash That Ram Right Out In The Rain’ and ‘There’s Nothing Like a DM(boot)’?

Plasterfield’s big break into radio came in 1953 when she got the part of Eff, fiancée of permanently redundant Arnish cove Ron, in “The Glumaigs”.

Many BBC Alba and Grampian TV appearances through the 50s and 60s followed, including Tony Hancock’s “Blood Pudding” episode, Dixon of Dock Grianandaycarecentre, The Arthur Askernish Show, Stepwegailyonewegoe & Son, and the Dick Lemreway Show. Plasterfield was also a regular collaborator with Uist sheep magnate/comedian Fankie Howbeg.

Like many actors of her generation, June appeared in the long running Carry-Out films – on four occasions in her case. The premise of each Carry-Out film was the trials and tribulations of either a group of underagers trying to buy a carry out, or the Dawn Squad trying to get their supplies for the day sorted in the Crit. Alongside a talented cast including Sid Jamesondrive, Kenneth JDWilliamscatalogue, Joan Symesclock, Communionhattie Jacques and Charles Maw-tree, Plasterfield appeared in

Carry-Out Cathy Ghall’s

Carry-Out Up The Castle Grounds

Carry-Out Up the Alley Behind The Acres Hotel, and of course…

Carry-Out Up the Cabar- the antics of the Stornoway Army Cadets trying to sneak in to a wedding dance in the Cabar Hotel through the north-west entrance.

In the early seventies June began a long and successful period working with the actor Sir E Scott, first in the sitcom ‘Cha Bhi Ever After’ and followed by ‘Ferry and June’. Both sitcoms showed the hilarious antics of a middle class family living in the posh commuter belt suburbs of Stornoway (Barony Square). Plasterfield played the dutiful housewife, whilst Sir E played the Captain of the Loch Seaforth.

In more recent times, Plasterfield achieved massive popularity by returning to her home turf, with a role in long running sitcom Absolutely Pre-fabulous (or Ab-Prefab, as it was commonly known). Plasterfield played the mother of eccentric growing-old-disgracefully PR agent Murdina Mawsoon (played by Jennifer Sandstreet). Murdina’s partner in crime, hard-drinking chain-smoking fashionista Patsy Stoneyfield, was played by Joanna Chirstyalumley. Her hopeless Rubhach assistant Baybble was played by Jane Horgabost, and her long-suffering ashcart-driver daughter, Scaffy, by Lochie actress Julia Soval-tha.





Stornoway Horror Writers

20 11 2019

Part 1 Of A Few.

Although we’ve spectacularly missed launching our Halloween Special on Halloween, we thought it was still worthwhile to bring this entry in the MUHOS to your attention. There is a long standing tradition of telling spooky tales around the peat fire flame, to scare your grannie and to put the fear of God into your children. This has no doubt influenced the many local authors who have entertained generations with their tales of mystery, the macabre and the occult.

We look at a batch of some of these coves and blones.

Mary Shellstreet

Written at the peak of the craze for Maw-thic horror in the late 18th and early 19th century, Mary Shelltreet’s “Fankinsteinish” was hugely influential on the writers who followed. The deranged Baron Fankinsteinish builds a monster out of bits of deceased livestock that he finds in the skip at the back of the old slaughterhouse on Westview Terrace. The monster learns quickly, takes an interest in philosophy and religion and joins the Free Church, which leads to a big rammy with the Baron, who’s a Seceder. The monster and the Baron pursue each other around the world (well, round the Lewis and Harris Orduighean circuit, to be precise) and the novel culminates in an epic battle at the North Pole (well, North Tolsta)

Mary Shellstreet was the daughter of early feminist author Mary Woolagiescroft (“A Vindication Of The Ruights Of Fleekeen Blones”), and wrote her masterpiece while holidaying on the shores of Lake Airidh na Lic with her future husband, the poet Percivalsquare Mitchellsbysse Shellstreet.

Edgar Aline Doe

Edgar Aline Doe was an infamous deer poacher and writer. His more famous cousin wrote ‘Tales of Mystery and the Macabre’ whilst Edgar Aline wrote ‘Tales of Misery in Mac’s Bar’. His works included:

The Fall of the House of Uibhisteachs – a terrifying tale set in a sinister mansion slowly sinking into the peat bog on which it was shoddily constructed, haunted by apparitions of mysterious builders, who keep coming back under different names and asking for more money. His other works included:

The Macs Of The Red Death

The Murders of the Rubhach Morgue

The Peat and the Pendulum

The RavensLane

Dram Stoker

In 1897, Finding his ocean-going career curtailed when the skipper caught him swapping the ship’s coal for a case of 4-Crown in Cathy Ghall’s, unemployed Brevig seaman Dram Stoker took to horror writing to pay his bar bills.

His most famous work was “Backula”, the spooky story of Count Backula the Vampire. Backula lives in his castle in ‘Ho-vans-sylvania’ (next to Vatisker) and steals blood from the local peasantry in order to make marags (known as marag duine). However, he hears about Stornoway Black Pudding and decides he wants to emigrate to Town to get a better marag recipe. But he doesn’t take vampire hunter Murdo Dan Helsing into account! In a climactic battle in the back shop of Macaskill’s Butcher’s, Backula gets a sirloin steak through his heart and crumbles to smùir.

Robert Lewisstreet Stevenshop

Moving swiftly on through the 19th century, we come to Robert Lewisstreet Stevenshop. Although not primarily a horror writer, Stevenshop deserves a mention here because he was the author of the terrifying “Dockers, Seagulls & Missed the Tide”.

HBP Glovecraft

HBP (Herring By-Products) Glovecraft (1890-1937) was brought up in the Gut Factory, where his old man was the live-in manager, and was consequently a bit smelly. This led to him spending a lot of time by himself and, being rather neonach anyway, dreaming up a whole universe run by ancient, omnipotent and indescribably horrific churchgoing aliens called The Elder Things. Strangely all Glovecraft’s monsters (although indescribable) looked and smelled a bit like sgadan who’d been dead for a few days. He also had a lucrative sideline as a knitter of gloves with scarily complicated (some would say indescribable) patterns which would fill white settlers with horror trying to follow the instructions. His works included:

The Coll of Cthuram

The Duneisdean Horror

The Shadow over Inacleteroad

At the Mountains of Maw-ness

Writers outside the genre who dipped an occasional toe in the Stornowegian horror pond included Gaston Lerubhach (Who can forget his chilling tale of a sinister figure haunting the old South Beach public toilets – “The Phantom of the Opera House”?), fish-obsessed Victorian hack Whelkie Calanneillies (“The Woman in Whiting”), and scary cailleach Daphne Dubh Maw-rier, who wrote “The Bards” (in which Stornoway is besieged by a malevolent flock of award-winning Gaelic poets).

Classic ghost stories emerged from the pen of dawn squad regular M.R. Jamiesondrive (“My Turn of the Screwtop”), while a never-ending stream of schlock about devil-worshipping and Blackface/Cheviot cross-headed demons was the speciality of the prolific Dennis Peatley (“The Devil Rides (to) Outend Coll”).

More recently there’s been a bunch of blones writing stories aimed at the younger goth market, such as Anne Rylock (“Interview with a Ram-pire”, made into a film starring tiny BBC Alba star Tom Fisherycruiser) and of course, Stephenie Meyerybank’s massively successful “Twilights” saga – a series of ruppish novels about a crowd of angst-ridden teenage vampires trying to get into the Seaforth Disco in the 1990s.

Steven Kingcole

Perhaps one of today’s most successful local horror writers is Steven Kingcole. Kingcole is a highly prolific author whose works include:

Carrie-shader- This was his first book to be published. It was all about a young Uibhisteach blone (on holiday in Uig) with latent teleQinetic powers.

Sailm’s Lot – the terrifying tale of a black-clad coven of APC precentors resorting to witchcraft and vampirism in a croft boundary dispute. BBC Alba made a ruppish TV miniseries of Sailm’s Lot in the 80s, starring David Soval.

The Shearing – film version of the best selling book (3 copies in the Loch Erisort Bookshop) starring well known Gaelic tv and film actors, Cac Nicolsonroad and Welly Duval. Cac played an author suffering from writer’s block who takes a job as the caretaker of the Overbooked Hotel in South Lochs and moves his family there. The film was famed for its enigmatic script, which produced a number of memorable and well used phrases including ‘All Work and No Pray Makes Cac A Dull Boy’’ and ‘Heeeeeere’s Shonnnny’ as Cac battered down a door with a rusty tairsgeir.

However, no list of Kingcole’s best known works would be complete without mentioning “The Strond”; a post-apocalyptic tale in which an outbreak of Super-Fluke (nicknamed Captain Tups) has wiped out 99.4% of the livestock in South Harris. The turmoil that follows leads to a massive fight between Good and Evil, (Evil in this case being personified by the sinister character of Rodel Flagg). The book is famed not for its quality, but for its length (clocking in at around 2000 pages) and its weight (roughly akin to the double wheel of a Massey Ferguson 135) making it the only book never to have been checked out of Stornoway Public Library, even by N*rrie MacGr*g*r.





Chinger BakersRoad.

13 10 2019

Fans of heavy 60s power trios, extended improvisational jazz rock and other self-indulgent hippy ruppish will have been dismayed to hear of the recent death of virtuoso drummer Chinger Bakersroad (80).

His death has been little reported due to the fact that it occurred, coincidentally, on the same day as that of Ginger Baker, his slightly more successful Mainland cousin.

Born near Bakers Road in 1939,  Chinger exhibited extraordinary musical talent from a very early age, playing professionally with Brues Incorporated (where he met long term band mate and sparring partner Jack Brues), along with other stalwarts of the late 50s Leodhasach music scene.

By 1963 Chinger and Brues had joined the Grimshader Bond Organisation. The GBO were a hip, eclectic and critically acclaimed group playing a groundbreaking mix of port ‘n’ beul (P&B) and modren chazz, but the relationship between Brue and Bakersroad was famously antagonistic. Concerts would often end with the pair knocking the fleek out of each other backstage and destroying chairs, tables, glassware and other fixtures and fittings.

One night in 1964 they had a particularly savage scrap after a gig in the Macs, inflicting destruction on the bar’s sparkling state-of-the-art washrooms as they swung double basses and flung hi-hats at each other. Nobody could agree afterwards who should clean up and pay for the damage, so the toilets remained in a state of insanitary devastation until the Clachan finally closed its doors in 2013.

Chinger was famed as being one of the first ‘rock’ drummers to use a double bass drum. He unfortunately first decided to try the double bass drum set up whilst a drummer in the Lewis Pipe Band and subsequently dislocated his whole body after marching along Cromwell St Quay in the late 1950’s and overbalancing into the hold of a fishing boat.  

Chinger also encountered ex-Garryvardbirds guitar ace and trainee elder Eric “God” Clachan around this time and it wasn’t long until they came up with a cunning musical plan to form a supergroup to break out of the strictures of classic P ‘n’ B. 

The name they chose for their new power trio was Crowdie. Crowdie hit the ground running and had soon established themselves as the premier Stornoway rock band of the late Sixties. A series of acclaimed albums were recorded, including “Feis Cream” in 1966, “Disraeli Gne-ach” in 1967 and “Wee-Frees of Fire” in 1968. A number of classic songs were also included on these albums including “I feel Freechurch”, “Sunshine of Your Cove”, “I’m So Glic”, “Baaaaahdge”, “Strange Bru” and “White Loom” (which was about running your tweed loom off the white meter once the Harris Tweed Inspector had left the village).   

This short period of incredible creativity couldn’t last and Crowdie imploded amidst a whirlwind of fights, fallouts and fanks. The three members went their separate ways, but not before a career defining farewell gig at the RAH – the Ropach Arnol Hall. On hearing that the band had split, Jimi Hendrix famously interrupted his live appearance on “Se Ur Beatha” to pay tribute to them with a spontaneous rendition of “Sunshine of Your Cove”.

In his post-Crowdie career Chinger became more involved in Chazz/World/Fusion influences and played with some of Lewis’s finest musicians. His notable actives included;

Find Faith- a short lived evangelical super group along with Eric Clachan and Steve Winwool.

Laxdale-based early 70s hard rock megastars Bakersroad Guershadervitz Army.

Chinger Bakersroad’s Gale Force Marine – a fusion rock group singing songs about creels.

Hawkwinch- Chinger joined a later day version of the psychedelic hippies, most famed for their big hit “Silver Maw-Sheen” which was about a tractor valet service.

Faolag Kuti, the legendary African huidh-life musician and seagull lover. Bakersroad went to Nigeria in 1971 and spent several years hanging about with Faolag at his Bacachkota studio next to the Lagos branch of the Gut Factory.  Faolag and Bakersroad collaborated on a number of seagull-related projects in this period, including stealing chips, divebombing cailleachs’ hats and producing Paul Cacsgàrdney’s Wings.

PiL (Prebyterian Image Limited) –  In the mid-80s Bakersroad was recruited by avante-garde producer Bill Laxdale for a brief stint in a team of c(r)ack session musicians hired to back ex Sects Pistol (baptisimal) f(r)ont man Shonny Rotten. The resultant album was generically packaged and released under several titles, so that it could be marketed independently to different Presbyterian denominations without revealing that it was also being sold to their bitter ecclesiastical rivals. The majority of copies were sold in Free Church format, where it was released as  “(Monthly) Record”.

Crowdie reformed in 2005 for a few lucrative gigs in the RAH and Madison Carn Gardens, but both gigs descended into fisticuffs as part forgotten disputes came back to the surface.

For most of his life Bakersroad famously struggled with herring addiction, and developed a variety of bizarre hobbies and lifestyle changes to combat it. A failed experiment farming “Oliver’s Brae Olives” on a South-facing slope next to Knockgarry was followed by many years on a ranch in South Lochs, where he maintained a flock of world class polo sheep and enjoyed punching visiting documentary makers from BBC Alba.

Editor’s note: Chinger Bakersroad was not related at all at all to thon ‘Chinger Stagbakery’ cove mentioned in our 2014 Jack Brue obituary. Any consistencies between that article and this one are entirely accidental.