He has rolled joints for punk legends and drunk pints with rock's finest. Now JOCK SCOT is releasing his first tape of performance poetry. Words: Ann Donald
ENCOUNTERS WITH JOCK SCOT Part I. A carousing figure sporting a Stetson jumps on stage with old Edinburgh muckers Nectarine No 9. Said individual is obviously on intimate terms with a gallon of alcohol and begins a poetic rant directed at Evening News moralist John Gibson.
Encounters with Jock Scot Part 2. A giggling. bespectacled figure wearing denims with giant-sized turn-ups begins to read from a poem entitled "l’here’s A Hole In Daddy’s Arm’. Said individual is obviously on intimate terms with a gallon of alcohol.
Encounters with Jock Scot Part 3. A tape entitled My Personal Cul/m/en arrives in the post. Eighteen idiosyncratic paeans to love. Ronnie Wood and a bridge in Leith are variously read/giggled/growled by the maverick poet. with musical backing courtesy of Edinburgh’s swampy punkoid noiseniks Nectarine No 9.
Jock Scot is the latest abrasive addition to
Poetry in a glass: Jock Scot downs another
the performance poet brigade. Formerly of
Musselburgh — ‘the very edge of the Edinburgh conurbation’ — and now a resident of Kilburn in London — ‘my office is round the corner at Filthy McNasty’s’ (the infamous drinking den.) — Scot is a man with a very colourful past. Niddrie librarian. lumberjack. hashish smuggler. record company executive and rock ’n’ roll pal to the likes of The Clash. Blondie and Jerry Hall. he is not your archetypal fey
'lt annoys me, this whole love thing. It never works out and anyone who says they’re happily married is a liar.’ Jock Scot
poet wandering lonely as a cloud. spouting on about the ether. ‘l’ve just been digging in the garden.’ reports the chirpy voice. ‘l’m planting my marijuana. A bumper year. I hope.’ he giggles in between taking gulps of his pint. Fresh from the studio where he’s been helping out fellow McNasty’s drinker Shane
MacGowan record his latest album, the 44— year-old muses on his own recording debut. ‘l’m delighted with it.’ pronounces the gent with an uncanny Sean Connery touch to his accent. ‘I got some pages of my writing together and Davy [Henderson from The Nectarines] added his eccentric bits to make it more entertaining for the listener.‘ In fact, long-time cohort Henderson also produced this fine coupling of words and music. ‘I didn’t question Davy because you can’t tamper with genius. I think it’s all marvellous,’ he adds in mock-luvvie tones.
Any attempt to analyse Scot’s brand of wild verse — with titles like ‘Gay Paean To Thierry’ or ‘Just Another Fucked Up Little Druggie’ — are met with a philosophical shrug. ‘Ach. it’s not academic poetry or traditional verse. lt’sjust stuff that comes out of my head. I think that all good poetry should be entertaining, so that’s what I try and do.’ And of the poet’s perennial favourite subject matter — a messed-up love life. ‘I do have a romantic inclination,‘ admits the father of two ten-year— old daughters. before embarking on something of a rant. ‘But it annoys me, this whole love thing. It never works out and anyone who says they’re happily married is a liar. Only 5 per cent of relationships work out: everything else is a compromise.’
On a happier note. Scot is a man who seems in his element as prime raconteur. Which is probably why he was taken on as ‘barman and joint roller’ by Ian Dury And The Blockheads back in the punky 70s. ‘I met him in Edinburgh.’ recalls the poet. ‘I went backstage az'd said hello. then a few days later I was in the Borders playing a game of football for the team I was running. I decided we were near Newcastle. where The Blockheads were playing that night. I hitched a lift and turned up still in my footie gear. and just stayed on tour with them.’ In fact. Scot was famed by Blockhead fans for his spirited renditions of “Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll’ in full Highland regalia.
Word spread that Scot was the master of good vibes, and his services were sought out by Talking Heads. Blondie. 852s. Rip Rag & Panic and Wreckless Eric. Legend has it that after a particularly arduous tour. he woke up in a broom cupboard and decided to stay in London. ‘I started reading my stuff at this pub in Portobello Road called The Warwick Castlc.’ he explains. ‘Jerry Hall and everyone used to come in for a pint. It was brilliant. I lived there.’
A taste for the high life has obviously not left Jock Scot Esq. ‘l’m just back from the races at Cheltenham.’ he giggles. ‘Shane [MacGowan] was backing winners. but I lost everything until I found £100 lying on the deck.’ With his recording and drinking career in full swing. life seems quite sweet for Scot. ls there anything other than a bumpy love life that addles the entertaining poet'.’ ‘Yes.’ he responds promptly. ‘You know. I do try and dress for the races — tweeds. collar and tie. brogues — and so I hate to see scruffy people at the races. I’m very glad they separate them off in the enclosure.’
My Personal Culloden is out on Sano Music on Mon 5 May.
2—15 May 199nm; UST13