>> The Proclaimers
Francie & Josie <<
Double acts are the staple of the entertainment industry, and this week we feature two very different exponents. Auchtermuchty duo The Proclaimers (twins Craig and Charlie Reid) first came to public attention after an appearance on 80’s pop show The Tube. They steadfastly refused to conform to music industry expectations by performing their jagged distillation of folk, country and soul in broad Scots accents, but it was their curious and slightly nerdy image that set them apart from their contemporaries. They continue to advocate Scottish independence and identity and have recorded ten albums and even spawned a hit musical (later a movie) Sunshine on Leith. They remain one of the best-loved Scottish musical icons of the late 20th/early 21st century. A very different kind of double act, Francie & Josie arose out of the variety circuit of the 1950s, featuring Jack Milroy and Rikki Fulton in the roles of glaikit Glaswegians of undetermined sexuality, forever on the lookout for ‘burrds’, announcing their arrival with their catchprase ‘Hallawrerr!’ before bursting into the inevitable silly, sentimental singalong. Their timeless, broad appeal was featured on television from the early 1960s until their final reunion appearance in 1996. Although the two double acts represent two different strands of Scottish entertainment culture – one subtly militant and nationalist, the other sweetly daft – both found a lasting place in public affections.
by Theresa Muñoz
(according to The Proclaimers’ songs)
A letter from America, ocean & railroad track,
a second chance, broken jaw, cigarettes
back of a bus, a slap in the puss,
cat that barks, a poor lonely heart
what it takes to be a man:
a king of the road, a drunk fighter
this man waking up next to you,
who passes every penny on to you
who would walk 1000 miles
in sorrow, sorrow.
by Charlie Gracie
Barga, in summer sun, and I’ve polished up my Italian.
“Una birra alla spina, per favore.”
“That a pint or a hauf pint, pal?” A husky resonance of the Clyde.
She has old skin, but her eyes sparkle, soft and brown.
Her parents, refugees from dry Tuscan hills to the bright, damp hope of Troon.
She married a McLean, lost her Moscardini tag, but not her Moscardini heart.
Now, as generations of Bargagiani have swung back and forth,
no husband or bambini in Scotland any more,
she is a nonna here.
“Do you miss it?”
”I miss,” she takes her husband’s ghost in the pose, “a dance on a slidey floor,”
and turns, as light on her feet as she always was.
“The Gaiety, where I met my Bill.
He took me to Francie and Josie the very next week.
She laughs a long wheeze.
“Bill hated them. ‘A couple of eejits,’ he said.”
She grabs him again and spins off,
a waltz in dusty sunbeams.
Theresa Muñoz was born in Vancouver and now lives in Edinburgh. Her debut collection Settle was shortlisted for the Melita Hume Poetry Prize. She reviews books for the Herald and is Research Associate at the NCLA.
Charlie Gracie’s first poetry collection, Good Morning, was published by diehard in September 2010. His work (poetry and short fiction) has been published in a number of journals and anthologies in Scotland. Alongside this, his poetry has featured in The Herald and the Irish surfing magazine Tontta. He is currently working on a second poetry collection.
One thought on “WEEK FIFTY-FOUR – The Proclaimers/ Francie & Josie”
[…] Scotia Extremis has been an excellent project run by Brian Johnstone and Andy Jackson. I’m delighted that my poem Ye dancin? features this week. The theme: Francie & Josie and The Proclaimers. What divergence, but also such resonance with both pairs laid deep in Scottish hearts. […]