MULL OF KINTYRE ‘guess whose coming to dinner … in 1997 ‘
by Andrew Hennessey
In the words of Paul McCartney, the peninsula on Scotland’s south west coast, made famous by the song Mull of Kintyre has ‘mist rolling in from the sea’ and he adds that his desire is always to be there – Oh Mull of Kintyre.
A hundred plus miles away, the phone rings at home in Leith, Edinburgh the capital city on Scotland’s eastern seaboard.
It was a client wanting to book the Wild Geese, my 4 piece band in which I play the electric fiddle. We had vocals, a great selection of songs, bass and drums of the highest calibre and a great spirit for any occasion.
The event was in some sleepy fishing village on the east coast of the Mull of Kintyre near Campbelltown on the Argyll peninsula.
I remember thinking how lucky we were to get that gig … as Glasgow being the closest city had to be full of bands of similar format and lineup, who would not be requiring as much travelling expenses.
We were to stay the night there in a small village hotel next to the Manor.
The day for the gig came and we set off early – across the centre of Scotland, through Glasgow and eventually up into the mountains.
The old van was pulling well with its load of kit and humanity … and as we started on the little road to Campbelltown it was a good day .. the sun streaming through the forest, the bassist was doing his Sean Connery impressions and the singer was engaged with our fiesty drummer on the finer points of Robert Fripp’s progressive rock drumming.
Round and round the road, bend at a time, scots pine trees, engaging low gears, the revving engine whilst in the air the scent of pine trees borne on the sea breeze that was Scotland at its summery best.
Eventually on our left the sea of the Mull of Kintyre, which thankfully had no mist rolling in just yet.
The sky was blue and now and then we would pass some picturesque little hamlet with its whitewashed cottages and little fishing boats with their nets and lobster creels basking in the sun on the shingle beaches.
It was a very rustic scene indeed, then, finally, the fishing village of our destination which had a collection of expensive sailing boats in the harbour and picture postcard cottages and hotel.
So we got in to the hotel, and the people from ‘the house’ that booked us would be along later.
We set up onstage in a fairly big hall that would hold maybe 200 people and got soundchecked in preparation for the event.
Lots and lots of people started arriving and we had some supper and got changed into our gig clothing for the event.
The dances went well with 50 - 80 people dancing the set dances and I was playing away with my usual gusto and all the band sounded really good.
Our half time break came up and the contingent from the big house came over to thank us and to say hello.
The lady of the Big House brought her daughter over, she was about my age with long black hair, and we exchanged some conversation.
Then suddenly, the daughter turns to her Mother and says ‘Mamaa, I’ve never seen one like that before …. Can I keep him ????’
I sort of felt left out of the loop at that … as though my fate hung in the balance ….
I felt my mind being scanned and influenced … this was apparently a nice place to be – then I heard my Guardian Angel say No.
If Mamaa had been able to say yes as she probably has done before then the words of the Paul McCartney song seemed to make sense …. ‘ my desire .. is always to be there .. Oh Mull of Kintyre’
Am I some sort of lesser life form that can be acquired as a pet with impunity.
Would not people be asking questions should the Wild Geese not make Edinburgh without their driver and fiddle player ??
And as has obviously happened before when Mamaa had previously said yes – what scale of cover up was involved amongst the villagers and the police ??
This was sounding like the real Wicca man stuff …
If I was a lesser life form that could be acquired as a pet, what kind of life form, therefore was this human looking child and her mother ?
Mamaa though, had said no … but the dark haired young lady accompanied me to the buffet table and engaged me in conversation as I tucked into my sausage roll and pickled herring.
The local fishwives around here chew the bones from the herring she enthused … oh dear I thought ….
The legends of the Blue Men of the Minch, in Scotland’s western waters were well know and were written of as long ago as 1697 by the Reverend Robert Kirk, indeed there is a Reptilian Stone Head in Rosslyn Glen next to the famous Blueblood chapel.
Indeed on the Isle of Lewis there is a sept called the MacCodrums of the Seal that are part of the reptilian shapeshifting tradition in Scotland.
I couldn’t help but wonder exactly how many ‘herring’ had been chewed around here by the local ‘fishwives’.
She then said that she was going to get some night air and wished us a good night.
At this point the bassist came over to retrieve me as we were about to restart.
We finished the gig with our usual style and went to bed for the evening in the little hotel next to the Manor ….
The night passed uneventfully for me …
And as I drove us back towards the mainland I couldn’t help be a bit anxious that the road did seem to bend back on itself, looping through the swaying pine trees. The van did seem to take its time getting up to speed on those climbs, and although mist was rolling in from the sea, I definitely didn’t desire to always be there.
We saw the sign for Glasgow, a city that takes its name from the tradition of blue green beings and we headed back to civilisation having not been registered as missing people.
Competition in the music business in Scotland is pretty cut-throat, but it seems obvious that very soon we would be without peers and have a total monopoly of the central belt.
Them bone crunching Rock and Roll Lizards sound like they are eating their way through the Scottish whose who.
The shoals of herring around Scotland may have drastically dwindled in the last 10 years, but one thing is for sure – the cuisine at functions hasn’t got any better. If you do come on over – BYOB – Bring Your Own Bananas.
If the fishwife aristocrat had never seen one like me before though it does rather suggest that there would be other monkey business in the offing for the Wild Geese and their Angelic Road Crew.