A pal of mine, and of this blog, has written a book.
But not just any book.
It is called The Perfect Reminder, and it is 350 pages wholly devoted to I’ve Seen Everything, the second album recorded by Trashcan Sinatras which was released in 1993. The book has been written and published to coincide with the remastering, repressing and reissuing of the album by Last Night From Glasgow.
LNFG is a not-for-profit label that was founded in 2016, since which time it has done a ridiculous amount of great work to promote and support some of the best new music coming out of Scotland and further afield. More recently, the label established Past Night From Glasgow (PNFG) as a way to make it easier for fans to pick up vinyl copies of some classic albums from years gone by. It was always a dream of LNFG founder, Ian Smith, to be able to re-release I’ve Seen Everything as it’s his favourite Scottish album ever, and having been given the green light to do so, he then turned his thoughts to create a book telling the story of the making of the album, of its songs, of its artwork and to link all this into some of the backstory of the band itself.
Ian turned to Craig McAllister and asked if he would take on the task. Craig, as any of you have ever visited the blog/website Plain or Pan will know, is a tremendously gifted and able writer, someone who really could have made a name for himself if he’d ever looked to be a music journalist. He’s also from the area in which the Trashies grew up and, back in the early 90s was himself a budding musician whose band had rehearsal space at Shabby Road, Kilmarnock, the very studios in which I’ve Seen Everything was mostly recorded. As such, he was around when the songs were developing from demos into fully-formed things of beauty, all of which made him the ideal person to take on the task.
As the blurb on the LNFG website states, the book features interviews with the band and the likes of Chas Smash, Pete Paphides, Gideon Coe, Emma Pollock, Roddy Hart, Eddi Reader and many more. I happen to be one of the ‘many more’ as Craig also sought out contributions from fans, and my musings have been given over to all of Page 275.
The Perfect Reminder is an absolute gem, perfect itself in every way imaginable as it’s the sort of book that you don’t have to be a fan of the band to enjoy. What it most certainly will do is make you want to own a copy of the album so that you can listen to what all the understandable fuss is all about.
Craig has done an incredible job in knitting it all together, ably editing down what must have been endless hours of chats with not only the five members of Trashcan Sinatras, but also the many others involved either on the creative side of things or who were part of the supporting network/entourage in the early 90s. Alongside the words you’ll also enjoy portraits and images, most of which have been taken by Stephanie Gibson, herself a very well-known face across the music scene in this part of the world, while the contribution of Brooklyn-based, and long-time band associate, Chris Dooley, in the design process has helped create something more akin to a piece of art rather than a mere book.
There’s so many parts of the book that I want to share with you, but in the end I’ve settled on the backstory to The Hairy Years, the last but-one track on the album, as told by its co-writer, John Douglas:-
When I was 12 or 13, the family went on a summer holiday to Pontins in Filey, a seaside holiday camp with amusements, funfairs, various sports halls and probably bars, although I was too young to notice.
I was always a sucker for twinkly lights, so as soon as I was set free from parental gazes, my savings were flung into the nearest exciting flashing lights machine, promising fun and prizes…delivering neither.
The first day ended with me knowing heart-sinking skintness, a larger than usual burden of guilt and a lingering anger at being taken for a ride. The seriousness of my situation was mainly because I knew I was on a promise to bring my Gran home a present.
My cashlessness and the frightening thought of not returning with a present for my expectant, formidable Gran became a constant time bomb ticking throughout the holiday as it slowly passed to its last day.
In desperation, I decided to nick a snow scene from the souvenir shop and, somehow, I found the nerve to do it and the skill to get away with it.
Thus, with a swipe of a souvenir, my first autonomous ‘adult’ act was committed. I did not do as I was told. I did not do as I was brought up to do. I stepped into a kind of independence…criminally so, but there we are.
A small, guilt-driven, event became a milestone. I was no longer a frightened wee boy. I was on my way to something else. As the song says…’Here began my hairy years….’
The Perfect Reminder will soon be available to buy in stores and via the online markets, but you can pick it up now by clicking here for the link at the LNFG website, and at a price which is 20% cheaper than what will be the RRP. You can also pick up a specially designed t-shirt and tote bag if you like. Elsewhere, you can click here to purchase the album, while a good browse around the website will also show what other goodies are on offer, including membership of LNFG for 2022, which itself comes very highly recommended.
I just want to show you the way…..