Musical Advent Calendar Day 9: King Creosote – Pauper’s Dough

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Today’s advent calendar door opens on a musician we might be going to see tonight – I had no idea, when I started this thing, that I’d be saying that quite so often this month!

King Creosote, aka Kenny Anderson, has a pretty cool idea when it comes to hometown gigs. Every night from 1st until 23rd December, he’s going to be playing at the East Neuk Hotel in Crail. If you’d gone on 1st December, you’d have got in for one of your English pounds. The gig on the 2nd would’ve cost two: by this Sunday, it’ll be a tenner. On the 23rd, it’ll be the full £23 – but, in fairness, by then it’ll be a full band set, whereas at the start of the run it was ‘just’ Kenny solo. Not quite sure how many musicians we’ll get 9 days in, but I’m sure it’ll be pretty damned fine whatever.

The whole concept is to do with the magical number 23 – it’s 23 years since Kenny assumed the nom de plume (or is that de guerre) King Creosote; an album from 2003 will feature strongly, etc, etc. All part of the mythology.

When I say might, by the way, that doesn’t express ambivalence on our part: it’s just the website doesn’t seem to be working. We’ll probably just make the 40 minute or so car journey along the East Neuk to see if there are tickets on the door. If not, there’s always the famous Anstruther Fish Bar.

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Crail Harbour

The track I’ve chosen, Pauper’s Dough, comes with a story. It’s part of the soundtrack to a BBC film made for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, From Scotland With Love. Comprised of archive footage of various Scottish scenes from bygone eras, King Creosote’s soundtrack captures what the Guardian, in its review, called at the time ‘clearly a labour of love … you can hear the emotion in the accordions, guitars, cellos and heartfelt lyrics.’

Of course, the Games wasn’t the only event that happened in Scotland in 2014. Interestingly, the song had originated as being a very personal one about a situation Kenny found himself in at the time, and the line about rising from the gutter you’re in was about his own self-transformation.

With passions rising in the approach to September’s vote on independence that year, Kenny very sensibly steered clear of overtly political lyrics in the rewrite (the BBC probably wouldn’t have used them, apart from anything else). All the same, I defy anyone who calls themselves Scottish not to feel some sort of stirring when you listen to the rising swell of strings, drums and voices in the chorus, and that’s very definitely no matter which way you voted.

If you’re not Scottish, of course, you can only use your imagination, but you know what I mean. And we can all identify, I think, with the quote from an interview with Kenny from the time, featured in this Youtube video: ‘imagine us now, with someone in 100 years looking back, on us sitting here, and trying to work out what was all going on…’ Now, as much as in 2014.




Yep it’s that pesky charity thing again – if you want, here’s a link to the Red Cross Appeal for the refugees from the Myanmar crisis. These guys could use some help.
















Down here are adverts WordPress put on my page. They probably don’t need so much help.



  1. So glad you like KC … thought you might. He came to Waid for months working with a group of kids who’d written poems for the Pushkin Prize. He helped them write songs
    and we actually made a CD. He’s a great guy as well as musician. He gave them so much belief in themselves.

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