There is a copy of singer James Yorkston’s book, It’s Lovely To Be Here: The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent, in our house. I know because I bought it as a birthday present for my flat mate, who says it’s very good. Unfortunately I haven’t borrowed it yet, mainly because my mighty pyramid of to-read books is so enormous it hurts my brain. Still, that didn’t stop me going to see Mr Yorkston talking about it with Ian Rankin at the book festival over the weekend.
It was a great event, the atmosphere was very friendly and there was cheery banter aplenty. After a brief overview of his new guitar (made from Tazmanian blackwood, spruce and Brazilian Rosewood), Rankin began by asking about Yorkston’s background.
He grew up in Fife and attended Madras college in St Andrews, a few years below Kenny (King Creosote) Anderson and amongst such luminaries as KT Tunstall and Steve Mason from The Beta Band. Listening to him describe his early years “dancing with my across the road neighbour, Vic Galloway (a BBC Scotland presenter and DJ) like dafties on the lawn,” it strikes me the East Neuk is overdue an Almost Famous style look at the music scene – there are so many artists compressed into that area it’s a bit ridiculous.
Apparently Yorkston wrote his first song at the age of 8, him on electric guitar and Galloway on banjo. “It went, baa baa goes the cow, moo moo goes the sheep, woof woof goes the hippopotamus and they all went to sleep.”
I felt exactly like Cameron Crowe as I typed that up, seriously. This could work.