Rijksmuseum Van Gough, Amsterdam

Reception for Glasgow: Art in Concept exhibition. Reviewed by Mary Miller in The Scotsman 2 December 1992:

“As the Binkies played and sang, amid an irritating amount of noise, the listeners gathered round, to hear Judith Peacock’s gentle voice, McGuire’s bewitching flute, and rhythms which rolled like a stream over cobbles.”

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Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Mr Menuhin’s Delight. A special concert as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

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Reviewed in the Scotsman on 15 August 1985 by Alastair Clark.

Reviewing the concert in the New Statesman on 25 August 1985 Angus Calder wrote:

“MacDairmid wished Scottish culture to live in a modern and international ambience. One afternoon at Queen’s Hall, Yehudi Menuhin met the Whistlebinkies, a folk band, and six fiddlers expert in different styles. Mr Menuhin’s Delight triumphed because it was so nearly a cockup. Audience and performers were delighted by a common fear of disaster. The Beeb, recording the event, had failed to provide technology to ensure that Menuhin’s conversations about technique with other artists could be heard in all sections. The compere kept fluffing and some of the fiddlers looked frightened by the occassion. But they playedgloriously. Ron Gonella’s suavely beautiful tone contrasted with Bob Hopkirk’s bagpipe-influenced style and the great Aly Bain’s fierce Norse-Shetland virtuosity. The occassion became historic when Edna Arthur played with supreme skill and intensity a magnificent pibroch dating back to 1526, transcriped for the fiddle in the late 18th century.

Whistlebinkies’ flautist. Eddie McGuire, is also Scotland’s leading avant-garde composer (and left-wing with it). The final item was a new slow air and reel written by him for Sir Yehudi. All the performers assembled to participate. the great man, due to lead off, fluffed on the first note, said sorry, and lunged on at once like a small child performning at its first school concert. The piece was fine, the applause was tumultuous; Menuhin played much better in the encore. I felt I was hearing the feudal past being ferried across to the socialist future. Elated, I went out into another torrential downpor. God really doesn’t like to see Scotland getting too big for its boots – or, rather, growing into bigger ones.”

Scotia Bar, Glasgow

From the Scotia Bar wbsite:

“Always buzzing with stories and stirrings of common-folk, the two pubs became popular for that old Glasgow past time ‘wan singer wan song’. By the time The Scotia Theatre opened as Glasgow’s first popular music-hall in 1862, its neighbours The Scotia Bar and The Clutha Vaults were well used to theatrical characters. Although the ‘Clutha’ underwent numerous name changes, the two pubs had enjoyed an enduring period of bustling business when they were joined by The Victoria Bar opened in 1867 on the corner of the Briggait and Stockwell Street. Together the formed a strong triangle of good cheer which deserved to outlast all the others in the area; and did.
Throughout the rest of the 19th and late into the 20th century, the three pubs were well known landmarks, as colourful as Glaswegians themselves. Regulars came from all parts as well as the workshops and markets in the Briggait but the ‘Scotia’ was the most affected by the proximity of the theatre, which by now had changed it`s name to ‘The Metropole’.

For years the The Stockwell (triangle) provided the perfect fib for many a timorous intemperament. They could excuse themselves for going to the theatre while the only role they would see is when they met themselves coming backwards tumbling home full of the relaxed and forgetful. In 1961 The Metropole Theatre was destroyed by fire and but for the Folk-Revival and C.N.D. movement, the ‘Scotia’ would have extinguished along with it.

Impossible to find a howff in the Southside that could survive Glasgow`s systematic demolition programme, the Gorbals and Govan Young Socialists adopted The Scotia. At the same time folk-revivalists from the doomed Marland Bar in George Street were on the look-out for a new H.Q. The intrepid trio of Billy Connolly, Tam Harvey, and Mick Broderick set off in search of the barman who would tolerate their rantings and found him in The Scotia. The blend of humorous blethering, socialism, folk-music and downright violent pacifism that carried The Scotia into the 1970s became legend.”

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Joe O'Brien, Billy Connolly, Geordie McGovern, Mick Broderick