Leith Docks, Edinburgh, 2010
Before we would leave Edinburgh, we still get the chance to jaunt at the edge of the city, where it borders the sea. Ballboy-singer Gordon McIntyre lives out here in a church in the northern district Leith. Living in a church is not so extraordinary here than it might be for us Austrians and for other people outside Scotland. There are simply so many of them on the isle and far not all are used for clerical purposes anymore. However, instead of doing a church session, Gordon and his bandmates Alexa, Gary and Nick follow the call of the sea (or of the “half-woman half-mermaid” as the song suggests) to perform “I Am An Indie Pirate And I Will Skuttle Ye” that fits the setting perfectly. The band makes storytelling music and man, what a lyricist Gordon is! Ballboy’s songs get under the skin and don’t miss the esprit. No wonder, as these friendly four guys personify a character trait that we think that you can appreciate as somewhat Scottish: don’t take yourself too serious and stay jocular! It is no inconsistency (or at least a loveable one as the next song suggests) that you first still have fun with your “bawbags” and then fall in the lugubrious song “The Guide To The Short Wave Radio”. In chilled-through nightly peacefulness we say goodbye to Edinburgh.
Leith Docks, Edinburgh
Describing Edinburgh’s impressive scenery of outstanding old stone-buildings and the dramatic castle – that is something we leave to other more capable ones. It is true that the beauty of the city – embedded in always green hills and situated next to the rough sea coast – is breathtaking. Edinburgh as one of the cities with the highest living standard in UK is a place to breathe in history (something we are familiar with from our home base Vienna); nonetheless there is still a lot of non-historical things going on. With a population of about 500,000 (a third of the number of people living in Vienna), it is far from a metropolis feeling and still has a really remarkable music scene. To get some feeling for it, you should check out the music video project Off The Beaten Tracks and the music blog (containing videos and podcasts) Song, by Toad from this cool guy Matthew. We have to thank him a million times as he was the one, who made our filming in Edinburgh possible. We were staying with him, his great wife and crazy cat and used Matthew’s resources (knowledge and opinions about music, his network as a label owner and blogger, his internet, his bathroom etc.) to connect with Edinburgh’s music world. So we are happy to start the Scotland music special with the four sessions that we have done in Edinburgh (and yeah, we know – shame on us! – we missed Frightened Rabbit). The session with Ballboy took place at the Docklands of Leith, a northern district at the mouth of the Water of Leith. Leith Docks is the port of Edinburgh.