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MARTEL MAXWELL: Deacon Blue are returning to Dundee and I’m ready to re-live my teens

Ricky Ross with Deacon Blue will be live on stage at the Caird Hall.
Ricky Ross with Deacon Blue will be live on stage at the Caird Hall.

I can’t remember the last time I went to a concert.

The concept is simple – a band or performer play to an audience who listen and enjoy their music – but it almost feels like a distant memory, a relic from life before lockdowns and masks.

But on Friday (woop, woop) I’m off to see Deacon Blue perform their homecoming gig at the Caird Hall.

It’s been in the diary for more than half a year – my pal Zoe took the reins and signed up the school girls.

Seven of us were hoping to make it. Alas, life being the way it is when kids come along, three have pulled out with various commitments.

But four of us will be there, just like 30 years ago when we went to see Ricky Ross and Co in our teens.

My friend Sarah Jane is a super fan and knows every word to every song, even the ones no one has heard of.

She and her dad once shared a bus to a Dundee United game with lead singer Ricky.

I can still remember listening with star-struck wonder when we heard that story as kids.

She lives in Germany now and won’t be able to make it this time, although she did look at every flight option before sadly coming to that conclusion.

On Virgin Radio the other day, presenter Eddie Temple Morris said he’d been to see Deacon Blue perform in London a few nights before and been moved to tears.

Dignity deserves its anthem status

It’s a sentiment shared by many across the industry – including fellow presenter Chris Evans – who rate Dignity as one of their favourite songs to play on radio.

Ricky with his wife, singer Lorraine McIntosh, at rehearsals in Berkley Studios, Glasgow, in 2012.

I envy anyone hearing Dignity for the first time.

There’s a man I meet, walks up our street
He’s a worker for the council
Has been 20 years
And he takes no lip off nobody…

The anthem was recently voted the greatest Scottish song of all time – and yet it has never become over-played or cheesy.

And with a back catalogue that also includes Real Gone Kid, Fergus Sings the Blues, Chocolate Girl, Wages Day there’s plenty more to admire.

When I hear a Deacon Blue song come on, it feels like a treat – one that doesn’t happen often enough – and I can’t wait to hear and see them live.

I can’t wait to experience the majesty of the Caird Hall with a crowd again and seeing vocalists Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, keyboard player James Prime and drummer and now presenter Dougie Vipond will feel surreal.

There may be happy tears.

I can’t wait for warm-up cocktails and dinner and a good old catch up about everything with my pals too.

The simple things become less so when geography, kids and darned Covid come into play.

So I guess we’ll just have to make the most of Friday.

If you’re going, I’ll see you there.

More power to the engineers

Now I’ve had power back on in the house for a week, I feel a bit guilty.

Last week I told you I’d had a sense of humour failure with no heat, light, running water or flushing loo for five days and questioned SSE as to why it was taking so long.

But I drove past some engineers at the side of the road a few days ago who looked absolutely exhausted.

They had the aura of men who had pulled an all-nighter – for six nights on the trot.

They said the repairs had been relentless and they were doing their best and I just thought ‘bless them.’

Storm Arwen might have been inconvenient for the tens of thousands left without power, but it was certainly no fault of the engineers on the ground who used skill and – in many cases – bravery, to do their job to the best of their ability.

Sadly, some people are still without power. One of my cameramen in the North East of England is thankful he has a generator after 10 days, but I do still worry about those living rurally, who might slip off our radar.

It would be comforting to know lessons have been learnt to avoid such chaos if there’s a next time.

Confused by the Covid rules

This week for work, I filmed in Scotland, England and Wales.

Three countries with their own dialects, traditions and..you guessed it, mask-wearing rules.

A lady working in a hotel in Cumbria told me the rules had tightened in England and I really should have my face covered – though she wasn’t sure herself if hotels were included or except.

I was so confused as to what to wear and when, I ended up keeping my mask on every time I stopped anywhere.


MARTEL MAXWELL: Storm Arwen has left us powerless – and running out of patience

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