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Richard Jobson will play a live date with The Skids at Elgin Town Hall on Thursday and music was one of the things keeping him busy in lockdown


By Margaret Chrystall

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The renaissance man of Scottish punk is back living dangerously.

Richard Jobson, back on tour with The Skids.
Richard Jobson, back on tour with The Skids.

And for Richard Jobson that’s risking what he calls the “Wild West” of non mask-wearing England and also a welcome return to Scotland as a post-lockdown tour begins for The Skids.

Not that it sounds like he has been exactly idle during the pandemic.

But it’s clear he is relishing the chance to get back out playing live, a date in Elgin bringing the band to the North.

Richard starts reeling off the creative projects that the time ‘off’ has produced.

Songs From A Haunted Ballroom was the punk covers album The Skids released in June featuring songs by bands that influenced them coming to play in Dunfermline’s Kinema Ballroom.

“We released it during the pandemic and it did incredibly well for us. We’ve been busy, we just kept ourselves busy.”

Richard himself has finished The Story Of The Skids, illustrated by top designer Jonny Hannah, who originates from Fife too.

And Richard has brought out an acoustic album with his friend Martin Metcalfe of fellow Scottish band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and now Filthy Tongues.

The Skids.
The Skids.

Martin originally co-wrote four of the songs on 2018 Skids album Burning Cities, and now he and Richard tour small venues playing favourite songs by others as well as their own.

“We’re doing a small tour to promote the new Skids book.

“I asked him to do the music for one of my films and he wrote some wonderful songs for that and we connect. We just laugh about the same things and all the time on stage. And we have the same musical taste, so we can go into songs we just know Lou Reed songs or David Bowie and we mix it up with songs that we wrote together.”

Now that lockdown is over, will Richard be doing more music?

“Music is really good for me, probably bigger than it’s ever been and I didn’t expect it,” admits the man who is as happy in the world of film or books.

“The Skids gigs have been triumphs.

“When we got back together again we started off in a pub in Dunfermline a few years ago.

“And the last gig we did before the first lockdown was the Albert Hall, so that is quite a journey!”

Richard Jobson.
Richard Jobson.

Making films is something Richard has done with some success, directing16 Years Of Alcohol, New Town Killers and A Woman In Winter.

He admits he has ‘got a bit exhausted with it’, the level of collaborating needed to make a film happen, not to mention raising the finance.

Yet he has two projects he is working on that sound like films to see, when they happen

But he has also been taking a turn in front of the camera, for a change

“I was in a film recently, about Alan McGee, The Creation Story, I played his father.

“It’s done very well. It’s an Irvine Welsh script and Danny Boyle produced it with Nick Moran directing.

“It was quite a big part and, yeah, I enjoyed it a lot. I came out of it OK – and reviewers seemed to think I was quite good. It got a lovely response generally, a pleasantly surprising response.

“I enjoyed it immensely. But did it give me the impetus to suddenly embark on another movie project?”

He laughed: “Not really because I saw with my own eyes this mass of people that brought a caravan of chaos with them.

“So I think I prefer working on books on my own with a pen and a notebook – I still write by hand, then transfer it to my computer.

“I’m more careful with the words then.

“And you don’t feel responsible for other people, then,” he said wryly, referring back to the burden of filmmaking.

Lockdown gave him the chance to read: “I read all sorts of books I would never have read – Middlemarch, War and Peace, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann.

“I went for the big ones and really enjoyed that because you had the time and you could really soak them up.”

He has also written plenty of books of his own, novels and non-fiction.

“Sometimes people say ‘You’ve spread yourself wide, you’ve spread yourself thin’ and there might be something in that.

“But you know sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work and when it works it’s kind of a wonderful experience and if it doesn’t work, I’m not one to sit around moping about it.

“You just pick yourself up and get on with the next thing.

“And that seems to have been the journey for me – that is the mantra and it still works, even at this stage.

“It was my birthday yesterday, I’m on the final countdown if you know what I mean,” he laughs, revealing he went to an early morning Bond screening.

“I’ve still got lots of ambitions to do stuff. That’s what has kept me going over the years, trying new things. Younger people they want the rewards, and I say ‘The reward is the work’.”

I jokingly suggest he might be the next Bond, after his happy acting experience.

“Yeah, James Bond’s grandad, maybe!” he laughs.

He reveals he did put on a few pounds during lockdown.

“But hopefully I will be losing those because I intend to bounce around on stage like a 16-year-old!”

The Skids play Elgin Town Hall on Thursday (Oct 21) from 7.30pm. More on The Skids: Gig details and tickets: elgintownhall.co.uk

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