Stories from the pages of The Courier have been immortalised in a quirky new collection of Dundee folk songs.
Events and issues as diverse as a gritter running a red light, a joiner being dismissed from his job and a pupil collapsing at school after taking a legal high have proved inspirational to Emil Thompson.
The student has created 12 compositions, collected in a songbook entitled Back Stories, as part of the Masters Show at Duncan of Jordanstone.
Over a 12-month period Dundee-born Emil, 51, looked at the newspaper headlines and created a back story in song for each, imagining what led to the incidents recorded in print.
“My work is primarily interested in the local and vernacular, looking in particular at poetry and song, but really any way that people write about the city,” Emil said.
“I looked at the newspaper headlines on the 19th of every month for a year and took whatever was on the bills as my inspiration.
“It was just pot luck. I read the story behind the headlines and then imagined my own version of events behind the scenes.
“The papers tell you the facts, but I’ve imagined what was going on with the people involved, using artistic licence to tell my version of their background stories. Really these are folk songs about what is happening now.
“As part of the performance, I’ve created a songbook in the style of a newspaper so that anyone can learn to play the songs themselves.”
A public performance of the songs at the Dundee Commons Festival elicited great interest and there will be repeat acoustic shows at the Roseangle Arts Caf ahead of every lunchtime talk this week from around 12.30pm.
Video of Emil’s work will be on display within the Cooper Gallery at Dundee University all week, while audiences can also pick up a copy of his songbook as part of the work.
Inside, they’ll also find songs on the V&A Dundee, Dundee’s “secret drugs shame” and two separate missing person hunts, alongside the music required to play along.
The performance piece Back Stories Songbook will be at the Cooper Gallery all week as part of the Duncan of Jordanstone Masters Show.