Archive for Craig Herbertson, Burns, Burns night 2013,

Cincinnati Kid

Posted in USA Tour 2008 with tags , , , , on March 12, 2008 by craigherbertson

Its a long way from the cold wee dorf of Witten to the grand city of Cincinnati. I left at four in the morning. It was raining lightly.

The drive to Frankfurt flughaven was uneventful except for a momentary panic when I ran out of petrol just after Cologne. When you drive a tiny old Renault Twingo you come to expect catastrophe. Fortunately, it happened yards from a petrol station and I was able to push the vehicle the remaining distance. I had a few euros left so I filled up with petrol and performed my usual trick of lodging the car in a free car park a few kilometers from the airport. More doom approached when I thought that the bus wasn’t going to make the airport on time but it did with a few minutes to spare. I saved about forty euros and lost about ten years life span. European Airports are part of the general global conundrum. In my next life I am going for architect and have made a life plan to construct airports with some means of getting on the plane. It seems simple. Planes leave, planes arrive. You get on and you get off. How humanity reached the stage where that process bears a similarity to a blindfold game of simultaneous chess remains a mystery.

The interrogation at the Delta gates was a wonder. Armed with the memory of past bad experiences I had come with a selection of identification papers including pictures and phone numbers, addresses, telephone bills and a bunch of plastic from credit through medical to christmas cards. The guy let me in without so much as a white spot lamp and a good cop/bad cop routine. The previous encounters had ended with me saying ‘look, its a passport, its my passport, that awful picture is me and it entitles the bearer to pass the port’.

The flight was uneventful. The word ‘uneventful’ can conjure a number of images. In this case it means that failure to sleep meant I had to watch three edited films and a set of bland sitcoms for nine and a half hours. This was ameliorated by the usual proficient steward service and the first intimations that Americans are good people and their air hostesses are kind of cute. They are all older women in these long flights. it makes you speculate if there is a pecking order in this once glamorous activity or that it has been recognised for what is: Bus conductresses in the air. I listened to their soft drawl and began to think of Georgia.

If you have never been to the states before prepare yourself for the shocking revelation that you can detract an extra hour from your life on arrival. Filling out a green card and a customs paper can occupy only a fraction of that lost time. The rest is spent staring idly at the back of another emigrant’s neck while contemplating the chances of getting through the gate. Its the Great Escape in reverse. Will you be able to break in? Steve McQueen’s tennis ball is your only hope to relieve the boredom but there are no walls to bounce it off.

Digits and retinal pattern faithfully recorded you enter the airport foyer. We are only on orange alert apparently. Perhaps orange alert describes the profusion of flickering television screens which are clearing trying to make something convulse in your brain. They are supported by light effects from Starbucks and other shopping mall things.

Cincinnati airport was thankfully smaller than the metropolis at Atlanta. I was able to pick up a couple of tee shirts for ten dollars a go. Already I was profiting from the veteran travellers trick. You only need one pair of y’s and socks.

Travel light, buy all that shit when you arrive. I like the colour of the tee shirt and its bold proclamation that I was now the Cincinnati kid.

Published Works

Posted in Published works with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2008 by craigherbertson


School: The Seventh Silence (2005) Editor: Storm Constantine

The Heaven Maker (1988) Editor: Clarence Paget The 29th Pan Book of Horror
Short Stories

Soap 7 (1990) Editor: Dave W Hughes: Works 7
The Glowing Goblins (1992) Editor: Nik Morton Auguries 16
Under the Moons of Mars (1995) Editor: Frank Westwood Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Return to Greenwood (1997) Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Strange Fruit (2008) Editor: Rog Pile: Filthy Creations 3
On the Couch (2008) Editor: Charles Black The Second Black Book of Horror
Synchronicity. (2008) Editor: Charles Black: The Third Black Book of Horror
Soup (2009) Editor: Charles Black: The Fourth Black Book of Horror
Leibniz’s Last Puzzle ( 2009) Editor: Charles Black The Fifth Black Book of Horror
A Game of Billiards ( 2009) Editor: Benedict Jones Tales from the Smoking Room
Maidenhead ( 2009) Editor: Coral King: The Thinking Man’s Crumpet
Spanish Suite (2010) Editor: Charles Black: The Sixth Black Book of Horror
The Waiting Game (2010) Editor: John Mains Back from the Dead
New Teacher (2010) Editor: Charles Black: The Seventh Black Book of Horror

Timeless Love (2008) Editor: Rog Pile Filthy Creations 2
A White Rabbit in Gent (2005) Editor: Storm Constantine ‘School: the Seventh Silence’
Candlelit Waltz (2009) Editor: Coral King The Thinking Man’s Crumpet

Tarzan, Nietzschian Superman? Editor: Frank Westwood Fantastic worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Rope Editor: Frank Westwood Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs
Dumarest: The Coming Event?, (2010) Editor:Stephen Theaker Dark Horizons 55#

Filthy Creations 3

Posted in Tales of Horror with tags , , , , , on March 3, 2008 by craigherbertson

Filthy Creations 3#

The third issue of Filthy Creations is on the market, stories by Franklin Marsh, Coral King…

The third issue of Filthy Creations is available for a giveaway

£2.50 (inc. p&p) from:

Rog Pile
46 Trenoweth Estate
North Country
TR16 4AH

Edited by Steve Goodwin and Rog Pile and illustrated by Rog, it includes stories by Franklin Marsh, Coral King, Daniel McGachey, Noah Brown, Peter Coady and Craig Herbertson

The Musician

Posted in Life and Times with tags , , on February 22, 2008 by craigherbertson

Granddad Herbertson

Jock Herbertson (2nd from the right) Marine Garden Ballroom 1930

There has been music in my family for a long time. My grandfather, Jock Herbertson, was an unusual man. At an early age he was inducted, by mistake, into Silver Service as the valet to the younger son of the Earl of Moray. (Jock had fancied the Civil Service and later resumed that career to a high level). This younger son of the Earl of Moray gained notoriety as one of the suitors of the late Queen Mother.

My Grandfather, as a result of his contact with the gentry became the epitome of style. Throughout his life he remained immaculately dressed and bore himself with consummate dignity. Picture him in plus fours, sipping a gin and tonic, holding a silver cane in one hand while demonstrating the latest hustle in card tricks.

Jock was an obsessive man, a championship winning golfer, a car driver in a day when not many drove, a card sharp and billiard player who could ride a horse and give a good account at polo. But perhaps above all a musician. One of his talents was journalism.

Fortunately most of his published articles were on his boyhood in Dalry, Edinburgh. There, he mentions the fiddle playing of my Great grandfather and relates anecdotes of kicking balls of straw and rags around with the Heart of Midlothian football star, Bobby Walker, in the streets of Gorgie.

Because of Jock’s articles, I know that my Great grandmother would sing the family favourite: “The Rowan tree” and the whole family would be expected to contribute to musical evenings, typical probably of many Scottish families. At the time, everyone had their own party piece, card tricks, poetry, recitation, a song.

My Great grandfather was a cabinet maker who at one time rented apartments in Charlotte Square. Shame he didn’t have money enough to buy the place as by now it would have been worth millions.


Vida la Court

Jock Herbertson

Jock Herbertson

Jock Herbertson was a violinist who learned by ear. He played a multitude of venues: silent films, Clubs, theaters and dance-halls. When his fingers began to fail he turned to the English concertina and was capable of playing some very difficult pieces on it.

In the heady days of his youth he ran off with my my Grandmother Veda La Court who had been on the stage in vaudeville since the age of 14. Her first part was as beauty in a tableaux titled ‘beauty and the beast’. She was a contralto, a friend of Gracie Fields and Harry Lauder and she accompanied Caruso on an Irish tour. She apparently had a beautiful and unusual voice. While on the ferry to Ireland, Caruso drew a little charcoal picture of her which was unfortunately lost.

My father, who left home when I was nearly five, was a singer. Ken learned the trumpet in the Harry James style, toyed with the clarinet, and saxophone and remains a fine pianist. He has played regularly in clubs for more years than he cares to remember. He celebrated his eightieth birthday not long ago and the club put on a big spread for him to mark the transition. The Evening News made much of the fact that whole generations of Edinburgh Dancers had proposed, engaged and married to the music of his band The Kentones.

My mother never sang professionally but I always remember her singing beautifully when she was on her own in the kitchen. Like my uncle, she was pitch perfect and always recognised immediately when I drifted from the melody.

Margaret Buglass

My Mother


My Father


Fredrick Buglass, Black Watch 1918 (Standing far right)

Her father, Freddie owned a fiddle and one of the best collection of 78 records imaginable kept in the guests room in a tenement in Tolcross, Edinburgh. He was a sergeant in the black watch and fought in both world wars. One of his favourite recitations was Abdul Abulbul Amir by Percy French, which of course he could relate word perfectly with all the appropriate actions.


Fredrick Buglass circa 1916

Fred Buglass

Family Buglass fancy dress circa 1920


The Herbertson brothers wearing the family tartan (cheap and hired)

As far as I can establish my family on my father’s side have been self taught musicians for generations and on my mother’s side, the Buglass and Sandilands and Towers the folk and popular songs were part of the evenings entertainment doubtless for generations.

I remember at parties, uncles and cousins sang Scots songs and popular songs of the day. It would be a myth to say everyone sang traditional songs. Uncle Joe was renowned for singing Sinatra. My Aunt Norah was an absolute star with Shirley Bassey numbers. My step father liked Perry Como and basically my lovely Great Aunt Jessie just liked a laugh. Her son, Uncle John was a bit of star and would occasionally do an Elvis Presley impersonation wearing her wig. No one in my family, on either side had any serious musical training.

The music apparently had to come out regardless.

My oldest daughter Alex, plays the violin now. both my sons the guitar. My youngest daughter ahs already song on stage at the age of seven. (Didn’t push her). Alex is the first in a long line of bemused fakers to get some decent lessons. She sounds great.

Things to do this year. Get the family singing and doing party tricks at Christmas. perhaps we can reinvent folk music.

‚A Health to the Ladies’ von Craig Herbertson

Posted in News and Tittle Tattle with tags , , on February 21, 2008 by craigherbertson

‚A Health to the Ladies’ von Craig Herbertson

Die neue CD des schottischen Sängers und Songwriters Craig Herbertson ‚A Health to the Ladies’ wird am 25. April im Warehouse No1 zum ersten Mal öffentlich gefeiert.

Mit der CD bezeigt der Künstler seine Hochachtung gegenüber den Frauen Schottlands; von der tragisch-schönen Mary Queen of Scots bis zu den weniger bekannten Marketenderinnen und Ehefrauen, die mit ihren Männern in den Napoleonischen Krieg zogen.

Craig Herbertson wuchs in Edinburgh/Schottland auf. Seine Familie blickt auf eine lange Tradition von Musikern zurück.

Craig, der hauptsächlich als Sänger schottischer und irischer Folksongs bekannt ist, ist zudem ein brillianter Gitarrist, dessen Repertoire sich von Jazz zu Folk erstreckt.

Craigs Album ‚Hearts of Glory’erreichte Platz 20 der ‘BBC Independent Charts, die nachfolgende CD ‚Lord of Whisky’ wurde von den Kritikern gefeiert. Mit seinem neuesten Album ‚A Health to the Ladies’ hofft Craig seinen Ruf als internationaler Folksänger zu konsolidieren.

Venue Warehouse No 1 Kreuzstraße 8 44139 Dortmund

Produktion: Ruhrfolk


Label: SteepleJack


The Early Years

Posted in Life and Times with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by craigherbertson

Ninth Legion

It was 1973 and I was thirteen years old when I teamed up with Michael Robertson. We were in the same class at Portobello Comprehensive, Edinburgh. Until then I had only annoyed my brother with music. Michael and I began writing songs immediately. We projected vast fantasies about the lifestyle we would shortly lead, mostly centred on women and money – my brother anticipated compensation in the form of a Spanish villa, with swimming pool and Jacuzzi. He’s still waiting.

Th arrogance of youth

I purchased my first guitar at Woolworths. Aesthetically, it had all the expected parts but it didn’t really work as a guitar. ‘Woolies’ was always good for sweeties. I recall the scenario when I took the sad affair to a music shop to buy my second:

Guitar salesman: ‘If you want meat, buy it from a butcher, son.’ Good advice. Should have followed it really, but youth had its own agenda.

Michael, with better taste and more money, got hold of a Yamaha 12 string. It was a lovely guitar. We spent endless hours constructing songs on it about harlequins, mocking queens, frozen oceans, deathless warriors, painted ladies, starship captains traversing eternity, broken philosophers – all with an Em9 chord in them somewhere.

Michael rashly compounded our errors. He bought a microphone and stand. It’s bizarre how the presence of technical equipment transcends native intelligence. In no time at all, we had booked our first gig at a miner’s social club near Bilston Glen, later to become the scene of much sorrow in the miners strike; now the scene for a merely minor tragedy.

This was the plan: We win the competition, buy more equipment with the prize money and then, if they haven’t rushed to sign us up, we go for the big time.

We were called ‘Ninth Legion’, after the ill-fated Roman soldiers who disappeared without trace somewhere in Caledonia. Perhaps we should have hired someone to read Eagles in the sky. The omens might have been equally prophetic.

It’s amazing how the mind heals after time. I still remember the sweat from the dressing room, the white-suited, peroxide blonde, slightly dumpy; her voice outside on stage rendering a merely passable ‘Country Roads’. The John Denver look-alike, guitar/amp, jeans, utter indifference, singing ‘Them Old Cotton Fields’.

Perhaps this should have given us a clue. The dining room of public taste only had a tiny table reserved for songs about the ghosts of lost Roman legions clashing on dream beaches. It also had a doorman to eject arrogant, inexperienced youths.

We couldn’t have been said to have come ‘last’. There are categories beyond this reserved for those who invite their parents to watch their first gig. My mother and stepfather were there. You have to remember my mother had been married to one of Edinburgh’s top musicians. I am sure she expected some sparkle of inborn talent, perhaps mixed with a little naivety, but doubtless she anticipated a performance, competent and entertaining. Deathly silence, stunned indifference, overwhelming shame and humiliation were probably not even lurking in her mind.

Gruff miners in rustic speech made diffident remarks about our performance in language that still remains unfamiliar to my mother. Like Peter she denied me three times. She never talked about it much but I noticed she didn’t come to another gig for thirty-three years.

Undaunted we sought solace in numbers.

Lazy Daze

The Death of Dignity

Early Rehersal Kirkliston Church

Nicky Arkless lived by Portobello beach once the Mecca for Glaswegian tourists, now a deserted wasteland populated mainly by used condoms and sewage. There was a small carnival there. Ray Bradbury might have based a story or two on it. If he did, it would be amongst Nicky’s Horror comics, doubtless the source of his gallows humour. Nicky had long hair and a small set of drums; drums which later proliferated like a virus to consume entire ballrooms. If Nicky’s drums had been capable of spontaneous procreation, the future world would not be ruled by ants, but tiny high hats and cymbals.


Kenny Dalgleish

As well as denim jackets, we shared a taste for Michael Giles, the drummer from King Crimson. Nicky was undoubtedly a talented and imaginative drummer. He loved Heavy Metal and he seemed to share our enthusiasm for doomed starships and frozen oceans. Suddenly, we sounded like a band. But a band that required a Bass player. With the confidence of youth, I persuaded the others to take on my best friend, Kenny Dalgleish. He had never played the Bass and didn’t own one: Small potatoes to young enthusiasts.

We changed the band name to Lazy Daze, built a practice room in Nicky’s cellar and began a campaign of church halls. We had discovered reverb early on and supplemented this with a copycat echo machine. Later we bought silver suits, stroboscopic lights, spots, a whole PA system and enough smoke bombs to start a minor insurrection. This with Orange amps – how Michael loved that colour!

The copycat looked like a mix of a Dr Who tape machine and a radio and sounded utterly fantastic. It’s still astounding that a wee bit of tape circulating around a box can make a band sound like they have emerged from a half price Martian space shuttle.

Orange Amp 1



Orange too

The orange amp looked somewhat like this only oranger. (If that’s not a word, it should be). I think we might have had two of these lovely things. Andy Warhol would have put them up on his mantelpiece if he’d only known.

Much later, we were reviewed in a fanzine as ‘David Bowie meets Yes’, a happy mix of my Bowie influence (Metal with lipstick) and the more technical heavy stuff from Michael and Nicky. For the moment, we launched into recording some demos. We still discussed time warriors, frozen seas and lost starships. Demis Rouses’ keyboard player was our engineer. Okay, his dad was the engineer but he heard the stuff. He thought we were very good, and later, helped with some neat recordings, which, in our inimitable overconfidence in stardom by osmosis, never saw a home outside of our bedrooms.

Unfortunately, like Orsen Welles our career appeared to operate backwards. We never sent the recordings to anyone. We lived on the belief that we would be spotted by a big company. We didn’t realise that we lacked cultural capital, street credibility and none of us attended art college; fatal errors in the music business. Even so, I was offered a recording contract as a songwriter. I turned it down for two reasons – firstly, they didn’t want the band, and secondly, even as a naive youth, I sensed that a deal that involved no money or commitment on the part of the company might be unhappily flawed.

By chance, two friends, Davie Campbell and Bruce Livingstone, thrust me into a talent competition. They will verify that, out of a spirit of genuine camaraderie, they put my name into sing on a vicious Saturday night in an Edinburgh club, which had the same attitude to prisoners as Blucher’s Prussians at Waterloo. Despite being drunk, and having put the clubs behind me as a bad bet at the age of thirteen, my ego drove me to the tiny stage. It was Harvey’s club on Lothian Road, home of tough doormen, young thugs (those were only the ladies) and soul fans. Once, it is rumoured, Bruce Springsteen nipped into the club after a gig, but he wasn’t helping me at the moment. I lost to the worst Elvis impersonator in Scotland, but the manager liked my youthful gyrations. He took the band on and suddenly we were playing everywhere. Well, we were playing as Moondust at the infamous West End Club and a few pubs.


The Androids circa 1976

Our first pub gig in was in The Yellow Carvel which later hosted a decent session to compare in numbers, if not in historicity, with Sandy Bell’s. We stormed it. Looking back, I think we might have actually been good. We gained an instant following of large bikers with long hair – doubtless attracted like moths to Nicky’s drum kit and similar coiffure. Unfortunately, someone was jacking up heroin in the toilet. We were blamed even though we still thought a needle was used by your mum to repair holes in Jeans. The manager threw us out.

Moondust (think of a crap name, make it worse)

Moondust (think of a crap name, make it worse)

But that was long ago. Now we were over sixteen and playing with the big boys. Or at least the big doormen were rearranging our lives at The West End Club.

I got the West End Club gig through my brother’s friend’s hairdresser – essentially, we were cheap and loud. We suffered somewhat from only playing four cover versions: ‘Jumping Jack Flash’, Stones, ‘Man of the World’, Fleetwood Mac, ‘Hang on to Yourself’, David Bowie and I am telling no one about the fourth. This was a disadvantage in a club, which had over a hundred assault charges in one year to its name, where the sailors fought the soldiers, and often lost narrowly to the doormen. Where a competent knowledge of the current top forty hits would suffice to save you from a beating; a vast repertoire of soul sounds and twelve Roxy music classics might get a clap from someone unseasonably drunk. (But you were more likely to get clap from the toilets).

There were concrete steps out the back with blood on them. Three simple anecdotes should suffice.

Anecdote 1)

We start playing; the dance floor clears. The manager walks up within three seconds -‘get them dancing or get off the f***ing stage’. I leap off stage in wild circles posturing like a desperate acrobat. Out of pity they dance.

Anecdote 2)

Nicky normally wears surgical gloves to protect the chrome on his drum kit. Like many drummers, he is obsessive about them. They cost him all his money. No one else is allowed to move them, sniff them or touch them without written permission. Verbal warnings are delivered to anyone who looks like they might be offering to help. ‘Want a hand,’ says a doorman. He picks up a tom tom and throws it on to the stage. It bounces three times. Nicky says nothing.

Anecdote 3)

Some weeks later in the middle of the second set, the amplifiers go off. There is no volume. A doorman walks over. He is so big he is level with me although I am onstage.

‘I did that,’ he says.

‘Very good,’ says I, ‘Could you do us a favour and undo it?’ An hour later, a knock is heard on the dressing room door. (At this point, I must remark that we didn’t use the toilets for fear of crabs or, indeed, go out of the dressing room cupboard during breaks through abject terror.)

In the tiny frame of the door the doorman stands. He is so large we are plunged in darkness. ‘You,’ he points a big finger at me. ‘Were you being funny earlier on’? I am reminded of the tale that he had told earlier about hospitalising an innocent drunk. In a voice reminiscent of Mickey Mouse, I find the strength to squeak a desperate ‘no’. I’m still slightly apprehensive that, years on, that immense man might read this and pay me a visit.

After a record series of assaults, the West End Club was finally closed down. It became the infamous gay disco, Fire Island. Why is that ironic; something to do with Yin and Yang?

The Androids

We needed a practice hall. Later we were to build one in Nicky’s cellar. For the moment, we ventured into a form of limbo just below the bridges and not far from the Yellow Carvel pub.

Craig Herbertson Cosmic Rock with the Androids

Craig Herbertson and the Androids

The advent of Punk rock spawned hundreds of bands. Most of them crammed into this damp infested, rat infested, punk musician infested hall of purgatory. There was a disco called ‘Everybody’s’ that was renamed ‘Nobodies’ by some perspicuous musician. There were great bands there. The Freeze, the Flowers, I think the Cheetahs might have been there. There were at least sixty bands. This was the heyday of Punk Rock. 1978 (it took two years to reach Scotland). Some of these bands would probably have made it if they had not died of hypothermia, rat bites and disease.

I recall a band meeting. It seemed with this novel punk rock we had to make a decision.

The star ship captains must desert the sinking ship of experimental Heavy Metal. Those Harlequins had to stop searching for the Grande Meulne’s party and get Mohican hairstyles. What to do? The vote was split evenly. Kenny and I wanted that bandwagon. Michael and Nicky wanted to remain Heavy Metal.

‘But if we do that,’ I said, we’ll end up like these no hopers upstairs, Marillion, or whatever there name is’. The rest of the boys should have considered the names I had come up with for the band, and then a simple calculation of judgement and taste might have tipped them over to see sense. Michael and Nicky capitulated.

October 1978earlyyears_androids_advert

Cosmic Rock

The Androids were born. Perhaps I should say made, because an android is an organic robot as every good science fiction fan knows. It’s usually incapable of love and that was a key problem with our songs. Android Attack, Robot Riot, Strangers from Venus, Communication Breakdown, Metropolis. Great titles, but somewhat lacking in feminine appeal. We went for it with a vengeance. Blue hair, leather suits, silver suits, suits of any colour as long as they looked glamorous or nasty. There were badges, posters, stroboscopic lights, spotlights, smoke bombs, a huge PA.

Now we were playing the universities and colleges. I attended mime classes to improve my stage presence. Nicky was surrounded in drums. Michael had pre-guessed Darth Vader’s outfitter. I shopped in the girls’ section at Wallis and wore outlandish wrestling boots (thank God, there are no pictures). The mime company had introduced me to the Edinburgh gay scene. One of two heterosexuals in a silent theatre company of sixteen happy folk, I thought I might be the new Lindsay Kemp. I came to realise later I was simply in demand as something to look at in a silver jock strap. (The Scottish Kirk banned our mime show: Querelle of Brest was a little controversial)


Self Made Poster circa 1978

Now I knew guys who’d had fashion exhibitions in New York, who’d worked with David Bowie. Michael was attending parties with people who would be famous, notorious, infamous and influential. Kenny was talking to cool musicians and weaving through the tiny pool of publicity that was the Edinburgh New Wave scene. Nicky’s drums had spawned a Chinese gong. At some point, a large record company was going to step in and seal the deal.

There were incidents on the way. Perils might be a better word. An unscrupulous manager wrecked our sound at Dundee University after the Squibs had stormed it. We emptied Edinburgh University by setting off an airport smoke signal. (I can still see them fleeing for the door). My guitar fell on the floor at the opening moment in our biggest gig. I could have pretended I meant it but then we couldn’t play on. We lost all our money, the van and our dignity at Moray House College when the DJ did a runner. The Exploited were supporting us at Harvey’s but we backed out when the promoters reneged on a PA. (Note the Exploited are a successful band to this day. Unfortunately, we had principles or, in this case, foolish pride).


Kenny Dalgliesh

But there were great moments.

Kenny had become an innovative bass player, capable of both hypnotic driving bass riffs and strong melodic lines. More importantly, he was open and friendly. He, persuaded Bruce Findlay, manager of “Simple Minds” to attend a practice through which the band were offered gigs with the cult bands “The Fall”, “Doll by Doll” and “Robert Fripp”. He was instrumental in achieving interviews and airplay on Radio Forth and critical reviews in various papers.


The Androids Single 1979

We released a single. (For the young this is like a flat black plate with a hole in it. It came after wax impressions and the flapper craze.) It was double A side recorded at Ca Va in Glasgow.

Double A side Andwella's Dream

Double A side Andwella's Dream

At this stage, we had managed to find that unique gem, a keyboard player. (We had another one, a lovely hippy guy who could dance too but he retired) David Connelly was, by his own admission not a great keyboard player, but he was tall, good looking and had a keyboard. It was starting to sound and look like science fiction on stage

Promoters got interested. We did the old Bay City Roller circuit. This involved travelling to the outskirts of Edinburgh and meeting young people who still wore tartan trousers and starred Jumpers. There was a certain inevitability about these village halls. After we got a little attention from their girlfriends, the youths tended to attack en masse.

Michel Robertson

Michel Robertson

Once we witnessed a girl lying unconscious over the burning disco as the police tried vainly to quell the riot. Another time we were attacked on stage. How that guy leapt to head butt me in one single motion remains one of the mysteries of drunken ribaldry. I was saved by Iain Brown our soundman who banged the lout’s head off the stage. Unfortunately, this was something of a public message that we were not pals with his pals. The band survived by holing out in a cupboard for four hours after a running fight through the venue.

Craig Herbertson

Craig Herbertson

Nicholas Arkless


Kenneth Dalgleish


Once, in Glasgow there were three brawls on the way to the van and a drunk hanging on the doors who apparently wanted a lift home. When the van broke down (shortly after removing the drunk) in Glasgow City Centre, we had to draw straws to go the chippy. ‘Try to talk like Billy Connelly,’ I said on the way in. ‘Just point.’ said Kenny. He was always wiser.

Nicky Arkless

Nicky Arkless

earlyyears_badge The Androids badge

circa 1980

The songs were getting better. The band composed a song called ‘Stranger in Strange Land’. I could listen to it today and still think it was a fantastic song. Usually, I initiated the songs but this was one of the first true band collaborations. (Other members wrote songs or their parts but this felt like our baby) My role was reduced to lyrics and a few screams. Nicky finally was allowed to introduce a 5/4 percussion section. Looking back it was the best song we did, probably because we had, at last, become a band. Sad to say it happened to late.

The PA was too big, Kenny and Nicky refused to lift it anymore. We blamed David for playing too loud. He left the band under a cloud. We soldiered on for a bit, not realising that David was a scapegoat for our sense of defeat. We had been at school together, rehearsed endlessly, played hundreds of gigs, had a few good chances. Like a million other dreamers, it was not quite enough.

It ended in a café in deserted Portobello. Nicky and Michael wanted to do pieces of music. They’d had enough of New Wave. Kenny and I were overjoyed. It was like a divorce: Strange, sad, exciting. But most of all we felt like we had escaped from Alcatraz. Nicky and Michael probably felt the same. None of us realised then that your first band is like your first love. She remains to haunt your memories, never to be replaced, idealised and somewhere in the dark of your imagination, still loved.

The Androids


April 1980 – An optimist

Nicky Arkless: Percussion

Joined Holocaust and recorded at least one LP. He still drums today. Last I heard he was in ceilidh band.

Michael Robertson: Lead Guitar/Vocals

Went on to write his own material at the Edinburgh Songwriters Club. He recorded a highly polished CD before doing an equally polished job producing other songwriters.

Kenny Dalgleish: Bass/Vocals

Formed his own band but died not long after at the age of twenty-three. Sadly missed.

David Connelly: Keyboards

As far as I know, played cabaret and later joined Tactyx, a band in the mould of Camel and Focus.

Craig Herbertson: Lead Vocal/Rhythm Guitar

Kept trying.


photos, photos, photos …

These are my views and memories. I’m notoriously absent-minded and vague, and may have got bits wrong. If I have, I apologise. Please launch in and correct me. If anyone can add or detract from this please let me know.

Craig Herbertson