Trainspotting, Deacon Blue and The Arches: New Books Document Cornerstones of Scottish Culture – Brian Ferguson

Deacon Blue’s 35th birthday was documented in Paul English’s new book, To Be Here Someday (Photo: Simon Murphy)

Writers and publishers have been giving me freebies for weeks now.

I went from struggling to find time to finish a few pages of a novel a day, to reading an entire book in one or two sessions, then coming back to it to learn more as I got along. began to write about them.

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There is no doubt that the extended periods of lockdown have played a role in the fact that many of these books are emerging now, especially given their reflective and nostalgic nature.

It is no wonder that the memoirs of Brian Cox, Sir Billy Connolly and Alan Cumming made headlines given the fascinating lives they led, the remarkable encounters they had and the way they spoke.

But others have become instant treasures of flashbacks to different times, occasions, places and people.

There isn’t much that I can – or want – to remember about my efforts to prepare for my exams in school. But the only thing I’m sure is that I’ve spent way too much time daydreaming about a soundtrack of the first two Deacon Blue albums and the tracks on the B sides of their singles.

I hadn’t even gone to a concert when they first sold the Barrowland Ballroom, but I was certainly there when they headlined the Big Day concert in Glasgow Green during the the city reigned as a European City of Culture in 1990, when they stepped down after announcing a breakup in 1994, and during their reunion concert at the Royal Concert Hall five years later.

Brickwork: A Biography of The Arches by David Bratchpiece and Kirstin Innes is now available.

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The new book giving the inside track on the making of Trainspotting 25 years later

These episodes and many more are remembered by band members and their devoted fans in Deacon Blue’s first book, To Be Here Someday.

Compiled by Paul English, it traces the group’s rise from a Lanarkshire pub, where a young Ricky Ross saw a first incarnation of the Waterboys, to knocking Madonna off the top of the UK charts in three years.

If the narrative of the first concerts will have fans nostalgic for the Glasgow of the 1980s, fans of The Arches, the arts hall and the nightclub that helped transform the city’s cultural reputation from 1990 onwards, should prepare for Brickwork. .

A labor of love by David Bratchpiece and Kirstin Innes, it’s drawn from the accounts of central figures in the place’s history, including its dramatic rise and catastrophic fall in 2015.

Then there’s Jay Glennie’s remarkable celebration of directing the film adaptation of Trainspotting, 25 years after its premiere.

It brings together the memories of all the key protagonists for the first time, in front of and behind the camera, as myths are shattered and legends are finally confirmed.

The books on Trainspotting, The Arches and Deacon Blue may be nostalgic, but they are also extremely important for properly documenting the cornerstones of Scottish culture for the first time – as I’m sure a 40th anniversary book by Jonathan Melville on the making of Local Hero will be doing next year.

One can only hope that they will all spark discussion and debate about what deserves a proper celebration.

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