6053 EH


Ask someone to name a fiddler and if they can think ofone it‘s likely to be Aly Bain. Twenty years as a professional have taken his music

into every home in Scotland and he is in part responsible for the recent great resurgence in popularity of the instrument.

Many publications over the last few years have been devoted to the fiddle and a new collection of tunes Beauties ()f The North is being celebrated by a concert with Aly. the author Bill Hardie. Alistair Hardie and the Fiddle-Based Kist ofMusik in Edinburgh on 26 November. It‘s all a far cry from the time when Aly as a young Shetlander got his first fiddle. ‘It was £3 about a week‘s wages in those days. and I still have it. it‘s a lovely three quarter size. I just taught myself. I didn‘t find it difficult and I played away. and Tom Anderson heard me and thought he‘d teach me. . .just tostraighten me out. stop me getting bad habits. Then when I was thirteen. an uncle of mine not a great player but nuts on fiddle music. gave me two records. by Sean McGuire the great Irish player and Hector MacAndrew. They just amazed me. I wore them out playing them over and over copying the bowing and the . phrasing ofall the tuncslike the ‘Beeswing Hornpipe‘ and McGuire‘s version of the ‘Mason‘s Apron‘ with all the variations and these great tunes like the ‘Sligo Maid‘. I still play the slow airs from the MacAndrew Album.‘

Through his teens and the long Shetland winters when the fiddle comes out on the islands (the summer is too short and busy for music). tunes and techniques— American. traditional Shetland. jazz. or Scottish or Irish were acquired. The islands harbouer many fine musicians with a sophisticated repertoire. including ‘Peerie‘ Willie Johnstone with his Eddie Lang style of jazz chording on the guitar. ‘When I was making the Channel 4 series last year I was talking to some of the old guys in the Appalachians and they were telling

me that the guitar only came in with Eisenhower‘s roads after the War. It was up in Shetland long before that.‘ The decision to turn professional and give up eight years as a joiner meant leaving for the mainland and the Blairgowrie Folk Festival. ‘It was a revelation. That weekend I met (‘hristy Moore. Finbar and Eddie Furey. Archie and Ray Fisher and all these players. singers like Willy Scott and all these people who were not stuck in the Scottish Dance Band scene or wore Highland dress to play the fiddle. And they were mostly about my age. Up in Shetland there were only three of us young ones that played.‘ Aly worked the folk club circuit for a few years. sometimes in a duo. but after the formation of the Boys ()f The Lough. it became obvious that it was economic suicide. and they decided to start promoting themselves. It has proved an enduring success. They now work seven months of the year. touring North America. Australia and Europe and Aly has sessions with players in the bars of Boston. Brisbane. Berlin and Cape Breton. Canada‘s Little Scotland. Aly appears in Glasgow on 25 Nov.


In town recently to promote her Scottish appearances at Glasgow‘s Hospitality Inn and Edinburgh‘s Playhouse as well as the Gala

i“ i 3* .

(‘harity night at Glasgow‘s Theatre Royal later this month. Randy Crawford was understandably weary after a Breakfast tv appearance. a flight north and several interviews. Apparently mystified at all the fuss she said: ‘I do charity work in America. but I keep it quiet.‘ She was. unfortunately. not quite au fail with her co—stars at the Gala evening. touchingly referring to ‘Andy Cameroon‘. Asked about the Glasgow concert in aid of UNICEF. she replied: ‘I‘ve only just heard about that . . .can‘t we talk about my new album A bstraet Emotions and my new single Almaz'." This. so we are told. is ‘a ballad in the vein of Rainy Night in Georgia.‘ Ohio born

Crawford. incidentally responsible along with Chic for one ofthe GREAT records. Streetlife. said she ‘hopes to write some tnore‘ of her own material and move on while ‘preserving what is is people like about you.‘ Currently on a long and successful tour. Randy said she has never had an unpleasant audience and explained she looked after her voice on tour because she is a ‘very responsible person‘ and doesn‘t smoke or drink and goes to bed early. In these days of pop singers trying to be actors it is also a refreshing change to hearof a pop singer who ‘really doesn‘t like being filmed.‘ (Graham Caldwell) .S‘tagefor Age. Theatre Royal. Glasgow. 30 Nov.


Billy Crystal is best known to British audiences as Jodie in the cult television show Soap which is still running on Channel 4. Now he has emerged as a fully-fledged movie star with his participation in Running Seared. a slick. lighthearted cop caper.

Soap ended in 1980 but the intervening six years have been creatively abundant ones for Crystal as he has honed and perfected his stand-up comedy routine and spent a year on the phenomenally popular Saturday Night Live. His success in the latter led to the offer of Running Scared which he eagerly accepted. ‘The character was really interesting to me. I like the premise. I thought in this movie I could be funny and tougher than I‘ve ever been in anything. The character had more of an edge than anything I‘ve done and I wanted to really stretch myselfand do something that people wouldn‘t readily associate tne with.‘

Cystal points out that even people who don‘t like Running Seared have responded favourable to his fancy teamwork with screen partner Gregory Hines. There is an infectious camaraderiebetween this Laurel and Hardy of the Chicago Police Department. The two men had met only briefly before but quickly established a warm rapport. ‘We got together three days before we started shooting but we became instant best friends. ()ddly enough our upbringings are very similar. There was a family act Hines. Hines and Dad that was in the music business and dancing. My dad was a producer ofjazz concerts. Iwas around all the great jazz artists ofthe day. Our rhyhrns his as a dancer. mine as a comedian both came from music.‘

Running Scared has been a top box-office attraction in America and the inevitable sequel is now in the pipeline. ‘They were talking about a follow-up the third week in shooting.

They were loving the two of us together and they‘ve started working on a script that I will have something to do with.‘

Crystal‘s film career was somewhat stillborn after his appearance as the world‘s first pregnant man in Rabbit Test. written and directed by Joan Rivers. ‘()ne of the worst movies of all time. It feels like another life ago.‘ Now. Running Scared has established him as a bankable performer. He has recently completed a cameo role as the ancient Miracle Max in the medieval fantasy adventure Princess Bride. directed by his good friend Rob Reiner. His own script Goodnight Moon. a father and son drama. should go into production soon and he is currently sorting through a host ofoffers. He knocks on a wooden table and says. ‘I have been deluged. The next one is harder to find because I want to be very careful about what I do from now on and really be selective about who‘s directing. who's writing. . . just what‘s the best possible package of talents. Finding the next script has been a real interesting process of seeing what Hollywood wants to make and what I‘d like to do. There seems to be a great number of scripts about the same subject people switching role and bodies. It‘s really weird; there are three scripts about the same subject. which is a father changing places with his son. They‘re all by very talented people. There is a lot of that kind of comedy and I‘m more interested in doing real. human comedy tinged with something touching. My idol right now is Woody Allen.‘ (Allan Hunter) Running Scared is scheduled to open in Glasng and Edinburgh on 14 November. See ( ‘inerna Listings for Details.



The List 14 27 November 1