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'It was hot at Glastonbury, horrendously so, but we're expecting as warm a welcome in Inverness!'

By Margaret Chrystall

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IT took just minutes for The Proclaimers’ last Inverness show in November to sell out in the wake of 11th album Angry Cyclist.

This weekend’s show returning them to the city in a big top tent was announced just days after that gig and since then Craig and Charlie Reid have played to 250,000 people across Canada and the UK.

Last weekend they were returning to Glastonbury main stage for the first time since 1989.

And as one of the hardest-working sets of musicians in Scotland, the Reids will have covered Iceland, Dubai, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia by the time the year is out.

Earlier this week, Charlie interrupted a homecoming family get-together to talk about the long career, the part played by Inverness men, their late manager Kai Davidson and the late Iain ‘Moggy’ Moir at the Market Bar, and the seemingly unstoppable creative juices that keep their music innovative and dynamic.

Charlie was still downloading the Glastonbury experience which was all positive.

“It was extremely hot at the gig at Glastonbury, horrendously so. But I’m expecting as warm a welcome in Inverness… maybe not quite so much hot air!” Charlie joked.

“Craig worked out it was seven times we had been there but the last time we played the main stage was in 1989 – we played there first in 1987 and since then we have done smaller stages.

“But coming back to the main stage was a big thing, and a great crowd I have to say.

“I enjoyed bumping into our old guitar tech, Brian Dunn, who was there when we played the main stage in Glastonbury in 1989! He’s now out with Liam Gallagher, so he keeps going. The good guys stick at it!”

It’s over 30 years and counting for The Proclaimers’ own career and the release of Angry Cyclist last summer proved that creatively they are still able to surprise fans.

But there’s graft involved, Charlie hints.

“We keep getting lucky, I have to say, but we do work hard at getting lucky! We’ve had certain fortunate things happen throughout our career – having a bit of success in America in the mid-90s, a couple of movie things…”

The hit stage musical and film Sunshine On Leith introduced a whole new generation to the Reids’ music.

“And over the last 20 years it’s been festivals, club and theatre gigs and we have just kept going and we’ve definitely replenished the audience, notably through festivals, big ones like T In The Park, Glastonbury, and many smaller ones around the UK – Belladrum, amazing. We just keep gigging all the time.”

And having settled down to a three-year cycle of writing and recording their studio albums before touring them live – a routine that works for Craig and Charlie, Charlie makes it sound like coming up with a fresh, vintage proclaimers album like Angry Cyclist with its contemporary worries in the foreground is relatively straightforward!

“Inspiration comes but you still have to work for it. You get stories from songwriters finding a quiet corner at a party and writing a song. I don’t think Craig and I are like that. It’s nearly all perspiration!

“Bob Dylan – probably the greatest lyricist of the 20th century –I saw a documentary on him and the American interviewer asked ‘How the hell did you do it, those early songs?’. He basically said ‘I don’t know and I can’t do it any more!’. So maybe even the geniuses get a golden spell, then have to work at it.”

The Proclaimers play Bught Park on Saturday. Details: www.lcclive.co.uk

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