Engie-o Morrisone RIP (and the 35th Anniversary of Back To The Future).

25 07 2020

We’re sad to report the recent passing of the well regarded local composer (and Mòd Conductor) Engie-o Morrisone. News of his demise came just moments after we heard that his slightly more famous distant cousin Ennio Morricione had also died. 

Engie-o Morrisone,was of Ness-Italian descent and spent much of his early life working in the local Italian Cafe, ‘The Coffee Butt’,  where he used to sing as he washed the dishes and served guga lasagna . He was a naturally gifted musician and could knock up a good tune on the box in a couple of minutes. He first came to fame when his old school friend, the Niseach auteur Sergio Liònal, asked him to do the soundtrack for a few films he’d been commissioned to make.  

These films became hugely popular and defined a whole genre, called:  Sgadanghetti Westrens:

They all stared Clint Eaststreet, (who’d learned to play a cowboy as Raodan-y Gates in BBC Alba’s long-running TV Westren  “Mawhide”). And they were all supposedly set in the desert badlands of the Mexican/American border, which meant that filming them on the moor between Skigersta and Tolsta was ideal.

As well as Eaststreet’s iconic lead character, the thing that made the movies stand out was Morrisone’s haunting score. Who can forget the chanter and accordion call and response of ‘The Guga, The Baaah and the Eaglais’?

This film was followed up by ‘A Ciste Full of Dollags’ and ‘For a Few Dollags More’. Hot on the heels of Liònal’s success, a plethora of other Leodhasach directors started cashing in by making a whole pile of hastily assembled rip-offs. The trademark violence, unconvincing cowboy props, and the shoddy overdubbing of the original Gaelic dialogue into Stoarnowegian for the Townies, all led critics of the day to dismiss this genre as  ‘Sgadanghetti Westrens.’ 

But by this time Morrisone had moved on to non Westrens, including: 

  • Cinema Para(galaxy)disco
  • The Unchurchables
  • The Mission(house)
  • Mission to Marabhaig
  • In the Lithe of Fire
  • Once Upon A Time On The West Side
  • Thon Thing

Morrisone won an Ossian in 2015 for the soundtrack of Quentin Todharantino’s “Hateful Eightsomereel”.

Morrisone also collaborated with the Peat Shop Boys on 1987’s “It Couldn’t Habba Here”.

Baah to the Fuidheags:

It’s an unbelievable 35 years since the groundbreaking time travel romp ‘Back to the Future’ hit cinemas. The film has gone on to be hailed as one of the classic films of the 1980’s, and has brought a collection of quotes, memes and fond reminiscence into popular culture. 

However, it is a little known fact that the original film was actually made in Gaelic by BBC Alba.

The BBC Alba version of the film, ‘Baah to the Fuidheags’, directed by Robert ShellMekis, starred Michael J Flocks as teenager Auctionmarty MacSteinish, a typical Stornoway teen (and part time crofter/weaver) living in 1985 Lewis. 

Auctionmarty inadvertently finds himself transported from his mid-eighties life, back 30 years to 1955, where in a bizarre coincidence he meets his future ma and da (Seoras and CoulregLorraine) and has to ensure that they fall in love or he won’t exist in the future. Or something like that.

Auctionmarty has to find a way ‘Back To the Fuidheags’ so he doesn’t miss the next pick up from Sticky’s Mill. And he can’t do anything that might alter the stream of time.

So how the fleek did he get transported back in time? Well, Christopher Leodhas plays the part of Doc-an Brown, a lecturer/mad scientist at Lews Castle College, and friend of Auctionmarty’s, who invents a time traveling ‘Dé làraidh a th’ann’ (with gull winged tipper) powered by Peatonium he stole from Luerbostyan terrorists. 

Doc-an was planning on doing all the timetravelling, but instead Auctionmarty finds himself getting a first hand taste of Stornoway in 1955 (which was basically exactly the same as Stornoway in 1985 apart from Woolies having a different sign).

He searches out the 1955 Doc-an Brown and together they concoct a complicated and convoluted plan to get Auctionmarty back home, involving a bolt of lightning, the Town Hall clock, speeding along South Beach, getting his parents to fall in love and saving 1985 Doc-an’s life. Pretty much your average episode of Machair. 

Auctionmarty still has time to deal with the school bully, do a bit of plasterboarding (which was replaced by skateboarding in the English-language version) and play lead accordion at the Niccy School dance (stunning the audience by introducing them to what will become ‘deoch n roll’). 

The Gaelic original version featured a memorable theme song (whose name we forget) played by ‘Holy Leodhas and the Pews’.