Bruce Findlay

Bruce Findlay
Schoolhouse Management, 42 York Place
Edinburgh, EH1 3HU
Tel: (+44) 131 557 4242

Bruce's Havers

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

09 11 1989

November 1989 Tony Hollingsworth ( we became friends in 1988 when he organised the Nelson Mandela Tribute concert at Wembley stadium) invited me to a conference on contemporary music business in East Berlin as a guest speaker and of course I was delighted to accept...this was at the time Michael Gorbachev was bringing East and West together...How could I resist?

We flew to West Berlin and made our way by coach to the East via Checkpoint Charlie(held up for a couple of hours which was the 'norm' at that time) and then on to our very posh hotel only a few hundred yards from the crossing.

After checking in(this hotel was for western diplomats and business people and only accepted western currency..very odd I thought)we made our way to the conference centre and were met by our hosts who were most charming and got started. The atmosphere was quite surreal as there was a feeling anything might 'kick-off' in the streets and in fact there was a strict curfew on evening movement and on any public demonstrations with orders to shoot if necessary...exciting and frightening.
A few of us befriended a couple of students and snuck out our hotel in the evening to 'hang out' with them at the student union..good music good fun and innocent..but not allowed.
On the last night of the conference (the 9th ) we invited our new friends to our hotel for supper and were enjoying a splendid meal and conversation when a waiter came to our table and said there was a rumour that Checkpoint Charlie was about to allow a free flow between east and west with simple ID.True or false this was not to be missed and we(8 or 9 of us including our two young friends who had never been to the west before)quickly made our way to the checkpoint.
There were about 60 to a 100 people gathered around a few bemused guards who seemed unsure of what to do,but without much fuss an officer said something to the guard at the front of the excited line of people and they let us pass through with a skant glance at our passports and ID cards and we made our way across 'no man's land'to the west.
It was amazing...there were thousands of people on the other side cheering and yelling and throwing rose petals in the air...it was like the war(cold) was over.
We of course made our way to a pub to celebrate where our young student friends insisted on buying the first round.I went to the bar with them to help carry the beer back to the table but on trying to pay with their east German money they were told in a horrible unfriendly and condescending manner 'we don't take that money here!'.They did take my credit card,but what a welcome for these guys....It did not spoil the moment however...but it did remind us that not all things were changing.

Still on one glorious evening we thought the world was going to change for the better and for ever.....I still believe.

Give peace a chance and Long live the Revolution !!

Bruce's Havers

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

back in the 1960's

Malcolm Dickson, Bruce, Joe Boyd, John Cavanagh ... Photo: Julia Nicolle


It was a pleasure to join Joe Boyd 'on stage' at Trongate 103 last Saturday and John Cavanagh did a splendid job in leading the proceedings. The discussion centred around the 60's and it was great to hear of Joe's early years in the UK....he was absolutely in the thick of it in mid decade London. A couple of interesting facts to come out of our chat were that the underground movement was not just a London phenomenon, and how much influence IT (International Times) had on the 'scene' nationwide.
Street Level at Trongate 103( www.streetlevelphotoworks.org ) is a very welcoming place and is in a great part of Glasgow...well worth a visit as it embodies the spirit of the 60's and reassures me that the underground and alternative thought will always be part of NOW.....

Long live the Revolution !!

Bruce's Havers

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1960's/politics/now

Photo: Julia Nicolle


John 'Hoppy'Hopkins exhibition of photographs from the 1960's at Glasgow's Trongate 103 is a wonderful reminder of the impact the 'cultural underground' had on our attitude to politics and politicians at that time.Politicians love 'hanging out' with cool( well famous)artists especially in the run up to elections, but they hate it when artists have the audacity to challenge their(the politicians) policies.In fact the establishment will often try to 'silence' them....'Stick to making music' they say...Well you know what? I believe artists(writers/painters/musicians,especially the opinionated ones)more than most politicians and it was so inspiring to hear Hoppy in conversation with John Cavanagh last Saturday at Trongate 103 recounting his time in the 60's working with CND setting up IT (International Times)and of course his photographs of that time tell it all.

Next week (Saturday 10th Oct)I will be in the 'hotseat'along with legendary American producer Joe Boyd and of course our own John Cavanagh will be in the chair...maybe see you then ?

This Thursday it's Born to be Wide again,and as always at the Voodoo Rooms Edinburgh..I will be there.

In this year of 'Homecoming' there has not been enough heard from the 'underground' as it is very much an 'establishment' idea but I have a feeling that might be changing and we certainly need change.

Long live the Revolution!

Bruce's Havers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

rubbish/firemen/infrastructure/needs

The Pretenders new line-up was sensational last week at the ABC Glasgow and Chrissie was at her magical best...I love them ! Simple Minds also pulled out ALL the stops at Edinburgh Castle when a downpour of biblical proportions tried ( in vain ) to spoil their spiritual homecoming last Saturday( see previous haver )....NO CHANCE...What a band...What a crowd..What a show!...Much heralded critics ? What do they know?...not much, but then, they get paid to say something and of course 'Simple Minds defy the odds' is too easy....but it was true... and some.

Edinburgh suffered real grief last week with the tragic loss of a local hero ..Ewan Williamson, a fireman who died in his job, on duty,at a fire in Dalry. These people ( firemen and women )deserve all our praise and thanks and along with the police and ambulance services should be backed 100% by our local council and the Holyrood government.Ewan's family and his workmates deserve all our sympathy for the tragic loss of someone who from all reports was a fantastic guy...and a real loss to our city.

The 'bin dispute' rages on in Edinburgh just now, and for those of you who don't live here....it's HORRIBLE. I don't understand our local authorities who are letting workers ( who sadly most of us take for granted )suffer from a huge drop in their standard of living by changing the way they are paid,resulting in a substantial lowering of their take home pay...STOP THIS NOW...and while I am ranting...GET BEHIND THE TRAM PROJECT.....It will be a HUGE benefit to the city and tourism when it is completed ( sad thing is ...it's only for one route ).

Rant over...

....
Long Live the Revolution!

Bruce's Havers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Simple Minds/Edinburgh Castle...

Photo: Julia Nicolle

Rain kept falling and falling...it was incessant....I was lucky and only got soaked, but others got drenched.What a night of great music it was however and the Silencers were in excellent form with Martin and Joe playing like they did twenty years ago and young James was a revelation on guitar.Jimme was always a great frontman and didn't let us down despite the downpour.
It looked like the gig might have got 'pulled' after the Silencers as the rain got heavier and heavier, but, hey it's Scotland in the summer...IT RAINS quite a lot and Simple Minds were not going to let a monsoon like downpour put them off and stormed into their opening number 'Waterfront' with total passion and zest. The next two hours was a simple love affair between the band and the best fans in the world...what a show...The Minds are back on form.
Met up with Simon, Shaun and George....all fans who had travelled some distance to see the band....maybe see you all again soon..

Bruce's Havers

Monday, July 13, 2009

Edinburgh and Glasgow.....this week...no politics.

Crosby/Stills and Nash ( Edinburgh Castle) last Saturday, 11th....wee bit flat at the start but it did warm up,unlike the weather, and in the end it was great night.
Caught bits of T in the Park on T.V.,but it's not the same as being there,however one of of my daughters was there and it sounds like she had a 'blast'.
It's all go at the moment with Duran Duran and my old friends Simple Minds both doing Edinburgh Castle later this week....I know Simple Minds sold out a few months ago, but I believe there are still a few hundred Duran Duran tickets left..but be quick if you want one.
Tomorrow night at the ABC Glasgow the coolest woman, well person, in Rock...Chrissie Hynde ( the Pretenders)....I will be there and I can't wait !
If you are looking for a cool place to go after 'the Minds' gig on Saturday try Cabaret Voltaire, just down the High Street from the castle and turn right a hundred yards after St Giles Cathedral and another couple of hundred yards down the hill on the left....Gareth Sommerville hosts the evening 'Ultragroove' with Steven Rodgers and the Club for Heroes DJs doing their stuff ...11.00 p.m till 3.00am..well worth the 7 entry fee.
There is a thunderstorm going on outside my office just now but I don't care and in fact I'm off out to 'face it''

All you need is LOVE !!

Bruce's Havers

Monday, July 06, 2009

Too Long...what is twittering?

It's been too long since I last 'havered'..........

Elections/spring/football...well,Hibs....Oasis at Murrayfield....sensational and it got right up a local 'right wing' M.P's nose( he likes rugby but not 'noisy rock 'n' roll...poor soul)....but it was a great day and it was fantastic for Edinburgh.
Paulo Nutini has been to number one in the charts, and quite right too....you know what I think of young Paulo !
Michael Jackson dies and his dad, as ever tries to make capital out of it.Hey Jo...leave him alone...your son was an incredibly gifted artist and anyone who thinks your type of management made Michael the artist he was has no idea about the 'thing' that makes an artist. Treating the young Michael like some kind of freak on the other hand ..may have had something to do with his torment.
Rest in peace Michael and WHAT a catalogue of sensational recordings and videos of your music and performance you have left behind for those who want to remember your
unique talent...amazing!
Leith Town Hall ( Leith Theatre..to you young folks) needs an urgent dose of TLC...well..it needs millions of pounds to save it for Leith and Edinburgh.The sums I have heard would hardly buy 'that' Ronaldo's right foot,but would be worth a HUNDRED times more.This space,at the end of Ferry Road in Ediburgh/Leith is a fabulous 'space' that deserves to be brought back to life for the community it serves AND beyond....Please, those of you who care about this city/artists/ and what makes a country 'tick'..watch out for any initiative that might bring this space 'back to life' and get involved....'many a mickle makes a muckle'

Andy Murray ...Andy Murray...Andy Murray...I love this guy and along with most of Britain I just want to say..what a sensational year you have had and we all (well I do..sorry)...KNOW ..The best is yet to come ...good luck at the U.S. Open.

Glasto..has come and gone...and I have to say Bruce and Neil did it for me.

Crosby/Stills and Nash this week-end at Edinburgh Castle....it's your turn..come on 'blow our minds'...'Don't you know I'm riding,on the...'

Must rush...the soil needs feeding !
Bruce Findlay