Wild Horses

So Susan Boyle has released her version of the Rolling Stones classic 'Wild Horses' which to be fair isn't too bad, I can't deny that the lassie has got a damn good voice. However it's not a patch on the sublime cover done by The Sundays way back in 1992. This song was featured on the album 'Blind' which to this day remains one of my favourite albums.

It's one of these albums that I've returned to over and over again since it was first released. I was an angst ridden, spotty 16 year old when it first came out and I'd read a review in  Melody Maker (remember that?! ) eulogising about Harriet Wheeler's voice. Off I popped to Engebretsons garage in Stornoway to see if they had a copy. Decent record shops on Lewis were few and far between or just downright nonexistent. We had Woolies on the High Street but new releases seemed to arrive just after they'd finally dropped out of the top forty and there was an electrical shop on Francis Street that occasionally had more recent releases. But if you wanted anything other than the poptastic offerings of the charts then the place to go was Engebretsons garage on Sandwick Road. They sold everything from petrol to newspapers to videos to tapes and cd's. Their selection of music was always a wee bit more eclectic and it was a popular stop for pupils at the nearby Nicolson Institute. It was here that I bought my first copy of 'Blind' on tape and its been with me ever since. That is the music has been with me ever since! The original tape has long since been lost and I've moved on to CD and Mp3.

The whole album has a haunting quality to it, the chorus laden jangly guitars  join perfectly with Harriet Wheelers fantastic voice, it is one of those albums that manages to soothe frayed nerves after a busy day in the office. In my case it soothed injured pride and calmed me down after the usual verbal and occasional physical batterings from the school bullies.  In later years it was the soundtrack to sleepless nights where nothing but the opening bars to 'I feel' would take the edge off things after drink, drugs and suffering the consequences of not giving a damn about other people had taken its toll. Now as I'm older and more mature (stop laughing at the back!) it's an album that I can chill out to whilst crashed out on the sofa reading with daughter.

I feel fine...
don't wake me up yet
oh the young & the old they get everything
& it's my turn...

The perfect album? Well I like to think so!

EDIT: I've had to remove the photos as I've been told that Universal will get pissy with me for posting them.I thought they'd appreciate the free publicity...

My wife and daughter have just finished working on the set of the new Kevin Macdonald film The Eagle of Ninth. Based on the book by Rosemary Sutcliffe and set in the second century AD, it's about a Roman soldier who tries to recover the lost of standard of the Ninth Legion that disappeared in Scotland. The synopsis by Focus Features is as follows:

“The Eagle of the Ninth” is set in the dangerous world of second-century Britain. In 140 AD, twenty years after the unexplained disappearance of the entire Ninth Legion in the mountains of Scotland, young centurion Marcus Aquila (played by Channing Tatum) arrives from Rome to solve the mystery and restore the reputation of his father, the commander of the Ninth. Accompanied only by his British slave Esca (Jamie Bell), Marcus sets out across Hadrian’s Wall into the uncharted highlands of Caledonia - to confront its savage tribes, make peace with his father’s memory, and retrieve the lost legion’s golden emblem, the Eagle of the Ninth.”

They've been filming near Achiltibuie over the last week and have had to endure some pretty wild weather, Friday's weather in particular threw everything it could to make proceedings as miserable as possible. They've kept at it though and I was impressed at the professionalism of the crew and the fact that everyone seemed willing to muck in and help when things got tough. The stars of the film (Channing Tatum and Jamie Bell) had no airs and graces about them and were more than happy to mingle with the extras - they also signed my daughter's book so she went home very happy!

The added cash to the local tourist economy has been well received with most of the local B&B's hosting cast and crew members. Local people have also been used as drivers and of course extras - hence my wife and daughter's involvement.

It's been a busy few days but the camaraderie has been fantastic and even the crappy weather failed to dampen people's spirits. We did hope to get another day on the shoot on Monday but they don't need quite so many Extras next week. The film comes out in summer 2010 and I for one am looking forward to it.

(If anyone knows the name of lady in the hat in the background here, pass on our thanks. She was absolutely brilliant with the kids! I didn't get a chance to say thanks before we left for home. She's one of the costume designers and is a nanny for Kevin Macdonald)

Two Blogs?

It seems that I'm writing two blogs, this one and the Cycle Around Scotland one. From now on I'm going to update this one with general non-cycling stuff and keep the other one as a diary for cycling trips and raising awareness of the 'big one' next year. This one has been neglected over the last year or so but I'm finding more things to write about, whether anyone reads it is a different matter entirely!