Your Cheatin’ Heart hits the screen. Without Walls. and Glaswegian humour on the radio.
LISTINGS: WEEK ONE 83 WEEK TWO 84
Stand by your telly
Does the prospect of a six-part music-based comedy—drama by Paisley boy, John Byrne. strike a chord of recognition? Is it by any chance related to the story of The Majestics farewell tour? Ross Parsons shoots the breeze with JOHN GORDON-SINCLAIR.
Sometimes. it‘s hard to be a writer. giving all your love to just one script. Not a problem John ‘Midas‘ Byrne suffers frotn. With his Slab Boys trilogy being performed at every other town hall north ofthe border and a hugely successfull TV comdey-drama series. Tutti Fruiti. to his name. he could. if he wished. proclaim himself Scotland's most popular writer ofcontemporary comedy-drama. Which explains the excitement over his latest six-parter for BBC Scotland; Your Cheatin' Heart(Thursday l l. BBCl. 10pm). Like the tale of Big Jazza‘s brother and his motley crew. there is a pervasive muscial twang to this one. Unlike The Mujestt'chubilee rock ‘n‘ roll tour however. Your ('lteutt’tt Heart fearlessly plunges into the little-explored mileu of Scottish Country and Western lovers.
John Gordon-Sinclair. (Frank McClusky; food journo and reluctant country and westernophile — in the series) is quick to scotch any idea that this is merely a Tutti Frutti ll. ‘()fcourse there is the difference in sheer size between Robbie (‘oltrane and l. I think John Byrne‘s idea was to do a trilogy ofmusic-based dramas. but it's not like it‘s a follow up to Tutti Frutti in any way. The storyline is a lot more complete than Tutti Frutti was it‘s much more rounded.‘ Thematically. Country songs tend towards a greater depth of expression than that offered by the rock and roll
theme of Hunt. lending credence to the assertion that this is a more mature work. Certainly. there is a difference in shade between the two. This production is of a much darker hue. ‘Not so much hitting the heights but plumbing the depths.‘ according to Byrne.
Reaching such depths has been no shallow undertaking. Many laborious. damp. nighttime shoots around Scotland went into recreating the pervasive/Hm ttoir atmosphere. The control aspect seems to appeal to Byrne. who ultimately wants to write for the big screen. As with the tale of The .ilujestit’s the characters are in a world almost of their own creation. w hich sweeps the audience along with them. as if the the viewer is privileged to be given such an insight.
Strangely neither John Gordon-Sinclair nor the author were heavily into ('s W before. For Sinclair. it opened up a new vista. as it may for the uninitiated viewer. ‘()h. I never really listened to it at all. but I did buy a pair of cow boy boots. which had been a long-standing ambition. It was my way of sort of becoming country and westernified. Listening to it. there’s a lot ofgreat
songs. Hank. watsisname . . . Williams. Patsy (‘line and all that. I think I‘ve developed an ’ interest in it and then developed a liking for it. I wouldn't go so far as to say converted. The show itself is very music orientated: if not involved in the main action then at least incidental to it.‘ 'l'here's always a touch ofgreasiness about praising each others work. though Gordon-Sinclair seems to have been genuinely influenced by the S/uh Boys- before he ever entered the oh-so—chummy world ofshmvbiz. ‘When I saw the l-‘rutti script in my agent‘s office I begged him. well asked hitn. to let the read them. He said “Aw go ahead but you're too young." So when these scripts catne in I read through them in about five minutes flat.‘ An unlikely feat of speed-reading. which in theatrical terms means — he is a vet y respected writer and I atn verv. verv keen to get involved. ' ' So what will the third part of the trilogy bring'.’ Spinal Trip in Shetland'.’ or morris dancers in J mid-Lothian‘.’ ‘I don‘t know if there will be one.
John mentioned Scottish ('ountry dance music.
bttt I don't know if he was just kidding or no.‘
Yes, I too failed to see "Boozy Best' in his "Porky Pies' shocker on Wogan. Strange how many people who felt compelled to write about it had also failed to catch a glimpse of his inglorioush decline. Michael Parkinson even referred to him as the fifth Beatle -very strange -I always thought that was Pete Best. Well, Parkie was obviously much closer to him, and would have known more about George giving up his promising
career in the music biz to sign for Manchester Utd. Nevertheless, I have
no doubt he was, and is, the best professional drinkerthe game has 3
Meanwhile, a more serious confrontation was addressed by Channel 4‘s new documentary series 1 Critical Eye. Focusing on the Anti-Poll l Tax demo which took place in London I last spring, the programme at last gave : the protestors an opportunity to tell their side of the story. What emerged was a very different tale from that
handed to the media in the immediate aftermath. Whether by accident or design, the police handling of the demonstration was, at the very least, brought into question by the witnesses and film footage. At worst they stand accused of deliberately adopting a confrontational approach to the initially peaceful protest. The policing ' of demonstrations at both Orgreave and
. Wapping were eventually ofticially
' called into question after a matter of
5 years had elapsed. Fortunately there
' are still television programmes willing
to give voice to the genuine anger of the people involved in what was. after all.
I a pertectly legal demonstration. (Ross Parsons)
lliL‘ list 38 September— llUL'lnlk‘l‘ l‘mil81