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Headlights on the Parade

The Blue Nile recorded live in 1990 with a filmic glance or two at the childhood of 50 something people from West Central Scotland.



Saints, Sinners and Glacial Rivers in Africa

I’m currently reading and enjoying Nileism -The Strange Course of The Blue Nile about the enigmatic trio of whose music I’m a bit of a devotee.

Some of the references in the book brought memories flooding back. There’s a mention for instance for the Saints and Sinners venue in Glasgow which now continues under the name King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut (King Tut’s for short). I was a DJ there back in the day and we called it ‘Saints and Scunners’.

Only the name has changed

As with anything I’m trying to concentrate on, I read a nugget of information and then I’m off on a tangent. I am the very man for a heid full of nonsense and a mind crammed with useless trivia, which is why I was fascinated by the story behind a track which never even made it onto a Blue Nile album.

The track is called St Katherine’s Day. I have always thought it was a rather bleak song and when you read about the subject matter – nae wonder.

Catherine (Katherine) was born in Alexandria and raised a pagan, but converted to Christianity in her late teens. It is said that she visited her contemporary, the Roman Emperor Maxentius, and attempted to convince him of the moral error in persecuting Christians. She succeeded in converting his wife, the Empress, and many pagan philosophers whom the Emperor sent to dispute with her, all of whom were subsequently martyred. Upon the failure of the Emperor to win Catherine over, he ordered her to be put in prison; and when the people who visited her converted, she was condemned to death on the breaking wheel, an instrument of torture. According to legend, the wheel itself broke when she touched it, other accounts have the wheel breaking under her during the torture. Either way she was killed and martyred.

So…..I now know where the expression ‘spinster’ comes from and when you dig out the Catherine wheel from the firework box later in the year you might think where the name originated.

The track is an unreleased demo

Only whilst compiling this posting has the Egyptian theme struck me. The Blue Nile, King Tut and Catherine’s birthplace of Alexandria all have the connections.

I have a good friend currently working in Alexandria and Keith (for it is he) reports that the protesters there were generally peaceful but that the police waded in with batons to try to disperse them and that was when the trouble kicked off.

So, back to a dysfunctional unproductive yet sublime musical trio from Glasgow via a fourth century saint and some current affairs from an on the spot correspondent.

Do other blogs do this I ask?

Belgium (2)

No sooner than I’d posted the previous article when an email arrived from my friend Annemarie who is a fellow Blue Nile fan. She directed me to this clip which is from Scala & Kolacny Brothers who are…….wait for it…….Belgian.

Here is their choral version of The Blue Nile’s Downtown Lights:

The Blue Nile – News

*Edit: After posting I realised that in fact the radio interview is almost a year old. This perhaps emphasises my first paragraph!

It doesn’t come along very often and those who are devotees of the band have learned what is almost an eastern mystical mind discipline combining patience and scepticism.

However on Thursday’s* Today programme on BBC Radio 4 a new album and tour by The Blue Nile was rather vaguely announced.

The Blue Nile are probably the only band who would announce such a thing on Radio 4.

You can listen to the piece here although this facility will probably only be there for a few days.

At one stage Paul Buchanan says (when asked about the band’s university days and how they ended up in the music business)  “I don’t think we felt emotionally convinced about the lives that waited for us”

It wouldn’t I think be too unkind to speculate if PB has ever been emotionally convinced about anything.

That has probably been the source of his life’s work.

Now if you excuse me I’ve got some mystical eastern mind discipline to do.

Paul Buchanan on KCRW

I left a comment on a friend’s blog this morning (sadly the blog is private so I can’t share the link) who had declared The Blue Nile’s A Walk Across the Rooftops as one of his favourite albums.


For anyone who is a fan of The Blue Nile and in particular Paul Buchanan,
THIS LINK is the sound recording of a session he did along with guitarist Larry Saltzman for Nic Harcourt’s show Morning Becomes Eclectic on LA radio station KCRW in 2004. Sadly the video link is no longer there.

Stripped bare the songs are maybe even more evocative and poignant than the originals.

Well worth 40 minutes or so on a Sunday.

The Blue Nile’s Sideline


Thanks to fellow blogger and friend Colin Campbell for this. Is this perhaps the real reason there’s eight years between albums?

The Blue Nile – Saturday Night

Thank you to Edith in Rotterdam who sent the link for this. We haven’t had a Blue Nile track on the blog for a while. This is from an outdoor festival in Ireland 2006. Whilst I’m mentioning friends on mainland Europe, A quick hello too to Iain in Denmark who emailed me to say he looks in on the blog on a regular basis.