21 October 2010

Scrambled Eigg - The Away Game Diary by David from Kid Canaveral

Smashed Tits

Jealousy is a an awful trait, but I have to admit that I was incredibly envious of all of the lucky punters that attended the Fence Collectives' inaugural 'Away Game Festival' on Eigg. Having been to Home Game I had a rough idea of what I might have missed out on. In order to rub salts into the wound I decided to ask David from Kid Canaveral to write me a wee diary about his experiences on Eigg, or at least tell me the bits that he could remember/would actually share with me. So here it is, Mr MacGregor's hazy memories of a cracking weekend spent on an Island off the West coast of Scotland.... (I should point out that all of the terrible captions under the photo's are all my doing, yes, I know they're terrible)

After the 150 tickets sold out in six minutes, and the fact that an additional 90 musicians would accompany those lucky brief-holders, led some people to question if the 70-or-so inhabitants of the beautiful Isle of Eigg would know what hit them. I, on the other hand, having heard tales of these merry Islanders, thought that it may be the incomers attending the first Fence Records Away Game (a new and wild sister Festival to the annual and fantastic Homegame) who would be the ones left shell-shocked. I certainly know it took me, and others, almost a week to pull themselves together after returning to the mainland.

My morning started by returning to Strathclyde Students Union to pick up my car before the meter ran out. Glamorous stuff, I know. I left the other Canaverals blissfully unconscious and headed back to where we'd opened for Frightened Rabbit the previous night. Which was the (very good) reason we weren't on Eigg the previous day. That was quite an experience, but it was having an adverse effect on my early morning Yoker to Queen Street train ride. We progressed smoothly through breakfast and packing the cars. But, hang on, shouldn't Kate be back from picking up Johnny Flynn from the airport by now? Scott and Laura are already at ASDA (other supermarkets are available) waiting to buy drink? What time is the ferry? Right.

What should have followed was one of the most scenic drives you can do in Scotland, if not the UK. What actually followed was a convoy of three cars tearing up the West Coast trying desperately to make up time that had somehow disappeared, and not create an indelible black mark on the weekend by causing the deaths of (at least) eight people. The prospect of missing the last Shearwater ferry of the Friday was a thought too much to bear. Incredibly, and despite almost being crushed by a lorry over-laden with hay bales on Rannoch Mor, we arrived for our 6pm ferry at 5.54. Apparently this crossing was something that was widely discussed throughout the following couple of days, to the extent that some people would have you believe that it could make an appearance on the big screen as "The Third Crossing of The Shearwater". Yes, it was little choppy, and yes, there was some splashing but it wasn't that bad, was it? Obviously I say this having had the comfort of being in the cabin, due to the fact we were last in the queue and everyone else wanted an open air view. Ha. If you speak to Dan of Withered Hand fame, you'd get a different story. Somehow we managed to survive the 'perfect storm'...Scott and I by consuming most of a (modest) crate of Tennent’s and cheering at each plunge over a crest of a wave, Kate and Rose by staring at a fixed point in the distance. Each to their own. Scott and I had foolishly positioned ourselves immediately beside the boats only toilet. This would lead to a steady stream of folk who had been in the pub all afternoon crashing by us and the repeated visits of the unfortunate Sunday Times journalist who'd gone greener than a bi-lingual road sign. What a rubbish simile.

We arrived and were greeted with open arms by Johnny (Pictish Trail) and Kenny (King Creosote) before participating in the human chain of baggage handlers tossing amongst other things, some questionable luggage, from boat to tractor trailer. The full beauty of Eigg was not immediately apparent as the sun had been setting with haste as we made our way across The Minch. So, I should probably start talking about music, as that's what everyone was there for. The two venues for the weekend were the Town Hall and a specially erected Marquee immediately beside it. It was impressive stuff. I’ll admit that the two days of music are now one crazy blur of tunes, drink and pastry, so I’ve only really written about what I can recall. I make no guarantees about timings…or days. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Oates Field. Especially ‘I won’t want you’. One of their new songs still has me blushing when I recall the lyrics. FOUND were even better than when we played with them in St Andrews recently. Their set was interrupted by a local gentleman who (after asking Ziggy if he could use his microphone) berated the crowd for not dancing more fervently to “this f***ing amazing band”. Everyone obeyed. Withered Hand delivered a great set during which a woman shouted “Men! You’re all the same!” at me whilst I was singing along to one of Dan’s more salacious lyrics. Dancing, falling over, repeatedly hugging an incredibly patient Bart from Eagleowl (whilst lamenting the worst (and most humiliating) gig we ever played as a three piece, that he and every other musician who was on the LIMBOLive Vol.1 CD witnessed at the launch) and all sorts followed and Friday became Saturday and I got a year older. That’s 27, if you’re counting, not “40!”, as someone shouted at me during our set.

Guinness for breakfast, nice...


Saturday started with a stumble down from the farmhouse to the hostel for some breakfast. Well, in the back of a transit van. There, a game of hungover scrabble was punctuated by interruptions by one the most hilariously awful women ever to draw breath. Don't worry, she was an incomer. After some incredible patience and toast it was time to head back to the Town Hall and Marquee.

The Legendary Bearded Ladies of Eigg

Slow Club were the perfect tonic to a hangover, and provided inspiration to many by having consumed a fair few already on the Saturday morning/afternoon. With a crystal clear sound in the tent that most venues would be envious of they reminded me just why I have enjoyed their live show so much in the past. I would later really ingratiate myself with Charles (Watson, of the ‘Club) as while I was talking to him in the bit at the back of the Marquee stage with two guitars over one shoulder and a pint in my hand, one of said guitars would slip off my shoulder and land on my forearm causing an arc of Guinness from said pint to land in the lid of their Merchandise case. I wasn't even drunk. He was awfully nice about it...

It must be love...

So then we had our set. It was going to be great. The tent was filled all the way to the back and we were riding on the back of some great gigs and some very flattering press following the release of our debut LP ‘SHOUTING AT WILDLIFE’ (plug, plug, plug). Our first two songs went fine, perhaps a little baggier than usual, but that was just down to the excitement of the occasion? Things started to go wrong on our cover of Missionary (that we'd learned for our BBC session earlier in the week) and after this it became apparent something was up. 'Smash Hits' was plagued by drumming 'issues' and one of the strings on Kate’s guitar prominently used in the choral riff managed to slip a whole semi-tone out of tune, during. It turned out Scott was suffering from what appeared to be rather acute cramp in on of his arms and it looked like our set was over. We were all gutted and none more than Scott. His face was a mixture of pain and distress. Scott managed to continue through the remaining songs of our set and in the process gave himself a black eye and a bloody crotch (luckily [!?] the blood was from his hand) through overcompensating due to the cramp. He carried on where many others would have jacked it in, and considering the fact folk still seemed to be enjoying themselves I can't stress enough how grateful I am.

Apparently Barry Manillow made a surprise appearance on Eigg...

For 'You Only Went Out to Get Drunk Last Night', we were joined by an extended choir featuring four of the recorded members and additionally Johnny Lynch, Kenny Anderson, Princess Biscuit and some of the RaMilnes. After a false start it was great fun. We finished our set (which by the end of, Scott was an unhealthy green pallor from the pain) and limped offstage to far greater ovation than we thought we deserved. Upon talking to people (specifically other bands/performers first, to ask was that as crap as it felt) afterwards we were told a number of heartening things. For instance: 'it was shambolic, but entertaining" and "you were shite technically, but it was great fun". When talking to others who'd been in the crowd and weren't necessarily paying particular attention to the technical side of things, most seemed too inebriated to care and claim to have enjoyed it. And that's what matters, eh? And a fair amount of folk bought our album afterwards. Scott still couldn't make a fist on the Sunday, so we're hoping that it was just cramp and not something more serious and problematic for the future. Mercifully none of the reviews have mentioned us [apart from a favourable one in the Guardian, YAS!], as compared to the many other acts over the weekend, we were sorely below par. Good-natured heckling requesting the removal of my shirt and repeated renditions of the chorus of Stevie Wonder's 'Happy Birthday' punctuated the gaps between songs where I would normally ramble on. It was touching. Perhaps I will listen to "TAPS AFF!" at our next show.

King Creosote played a set that was just flipping marvelous. A greatest hits set of sorts and a version of “the Happy Song” that had me thrashing about like an idiot pumping my fist in the air as if I was mulleted, watching Bon Jovi and mentally insufficient. Brilliant. After this I learned that if you haven’t eaten for 10 or so hours that the best thing to do is get two of the Fisher and Donaldson (blatant plug for free fudge doughnuts?) Spinach and Ricotta Rolls that have just appeared from the oven down in Galmisdale and put them either side of a sausage roll, sandwich style, it’s probably one the best things ever. Not for regular consumption, though. I managed to squeeze in receiving some verbal abuse from Matthew of Song, By Toad infamy before watching British Sea Power do lots of climbing in the marquee making it a bit wobbly. Luckily everyone was too smashed to be worried of collapse. As the evening careered on, I indulged in some “Ill” ceilidh break-dancing with Sarah (Tanat-Jones of Come On Gang!) to Daimh before laterplaying guitar on one of the songs in their set (COG! not Daimh…). This was lots of fun, obviously, but it was born out of badness/mischief. Mikey (Morrison) was meant to join us for a song at our album launch, but we didn’t have time to practice. I was meant to join COG! for a song or two at their single launch last month, but we had a show in Glasgow on the same night. I asked jokingly when we first met on Eigg what song they wanted me to play on and Sarah convinced me to wind Mikey up about it until they played. Then it ended up actually happening. Sorry Mikey. The rest of their set was flippin’ brilliant and led to me thrashing about like a muppet, yet again. I would dearly have loved to have been able to stay conscious and upright for Gummi Bako and Massacre Cave at 6am, but we’d just had a mental busy week and, alas it was the cold, cold tent for me.


When we were heading back down to the ferry port on the Sunday, our very polite-seeming, female driver came out with and absolutely cracker. When asked how we were feeling, we groggily responded unanimously with “Fine”, to which she responded “F.I.N.E, that's F***ing Incapable of Normal Expression, isn't it?”. Which I guess is kind of similar to what the weekend had been: Good humoured and full of pleasant surprises. The ferry home was notable for the presence of a whale alongside us. Malcolm Middleton took a moment out of feeling seasick to observe that it could be Johnny in wet suit trying to give us one last festival thrill, the wry bugger.

Thanks to Johnny, thanks to Sarah and thanks to Kenny. What an adventure.

I think someone wants to go home....


  1. Verbal abuse? VERBAL ABUSE? Fuck you, with your verbal abuse, that was convivial chit chat, that was.

    Fucking pop stars, eh. What a shower of moody cunts.

  2. it was me what wrote it, then I decided that Smashed Tits was more appropriate ;)
    bloody schoomzers...

  3. Anonymous21/10/10

    You and fucking Jones with your 'jokes' and cool dancing and shit. Aye that's right, apologise now, over the internet, when you're not at arms reach. I just remember sound checking for that gig, all along trying to keep Mr Canaveral on a short a leash as possible...whilst he (turns out deliberately) kept fucking up the guitar part he convinced me several times already he could actually play.

    But it was his birthday, so how could I refuse though rosy cheeks?