Country and Northeastern
‘It doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t care’Pictures of Islands – CS Buchan
I’ve only been to Aberdeen once. It was a dose of the predictable and unpredictable in equal measure. Predictable as a gritty 0 – 0 scoreline was mercifully brought to a close at the permafrost, uncovered away end at Pittodrie, unpredictable in that the subsequent voracity of the night out resulted in me puking on the Scotrail service back south and getting out at Arbroath, 2 stops early, to avoid owning up to my heinous deeds. I feel pretty poor about it even today, the misery that it must have caused fellow travellers and staff that day, a day already marred by the slate grey sky and the prices of Scotland’s inefficient, privatised rail network.
Anyway, what I want to say is that Aberdeen and the North East in general is a place of surprises for the intrepid traveller used to the predictable charms of central belt living. Anyway amongst Aberdeen’s various unpredictabilities ranging from Annie Lennox, to Brexit, to the cheapest drink I ever bought in the UK (vodka coke: £0.69) to winning the European Cup and back again, is CS Buchan.
Through Scots Whay Hae I heard previous single ‘Watching Over You’ and thought I had him placed in the singer-songwriter type mould that I have been known to occupy myself. Maybe ‘country and northeastern’ if you will. The song’s delightful, with a good wee swedge of conversation from Buchan’s own granny finishing it off.
Some months later while listening to some exploitative streaming service that doesn’t give you any real context unto who the fuck you are listening to other than adverts that focus on my cookie history that must mark me down (correctly) as being unemployed (Army/Royal Marines/Navy, for some reason the RAF aren’t interested), I heard ‘Pictures of Islands’ and I thought about the start of Amos Moses by Jerry Reed.
Now, who the fuck is Amos Moses? Well, Amos Moses was a Cajun fella who hunted alligator by sconing them on the bonce with a tree stump. His actions, illegal as they were, lured the relevant law authorities deep into the Bayou only for them to be eaten by the very alligators that Amos hunted. It’s hardly a story that would have any relevance in Aberdeen, Fraserburgh or Stonehaven perhaps, but Aberdeen no way. Right?
But here is where the unpredictability of the place caught me out, for the funky riff I heard came from the very same CS Buchan that I had heard before, only you wouldn’t know it, such is the versatility of the man.
As a musician, I spend most of my current conscious attitude towards personal musical expression ‘paranoid as fuck’, to paraphrase Aristotle. ‘Pictures of Islands’ makes me think of the relative normality of places like Australia and New Zealand, who, for a variety of factors, enjoy a degree of normality that is not afforded to us. You can go to a gig in New Zealand even; now wouldn’t that be a novel concept? Closer to home even Barra and Shetland are moving to Level 4, so that’s that then. No concerts for us outwith the imaginary islands conjured up by Señor Buchan.
‘This is your fault wrong by default’Pictures of Islands – CS Buchan
Aye, wrong by default we are these days, that about hits the nail on the heid, but such is the joy of finding escape in music that you can interpret some of the lyrics as you will, or at least I took that particular liberty. Apologies. Indeed, we are a bit humped at the moment regardless, but no great angst should be shown because of the situation of crud in which we find ourselves. ‘It doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t care’. That’s what I got out of it. Was I right? It could also be about a massacre on an island community, though I am going for my wishy-washy interpretation over the literal.
That is for each listener to decide.
Support independent artists by getting CS Buchan’s music on Fitlike Records’ Bandcamp here.
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