A few remembrances of Stuart

I used to joke that my Mums settee had two claims to fame. Firstly, Gordon Brown had a cup of tea on it (he was canvassing as her local MP), and secondly that Stuart Adamson had been sick on it!

I first met Stuart at Beath High School in Cowdenbeath. He lived in nearby Crossgates and I lived in Kelty. He and Willie Simpson joined the school in 3rd year and pretty soon the two them and me and another Kelty boy Graeme, became best mates.

We were all heavily into music but Stuart and Willie actually had guitars which made them pretty damn cool in my eyes! I remember us going back to Stuart’s house after school one Friday afternoon with the intention of watching Wimbledon but instead we just sat around listening to him play his guitar. It was the first time I’d heard him play (and it was a FLYING V!!!) and even then he had that distinctive sound that later would stun the world.

We spent most Friday nights listening to local bands in Dunfermline and Cowdenbeath, and Stuart and Willie had started up Tattoo by this point. They’d come back to Kelty to sleep over and that was when my Mum’s second claim to fame happened! Sometimes if we could afford it we’d get the train to Edinburgh for a big night out, we always missed the last train home and slept in Waverley Station. It was damn cold and we continually got moved on by the polis but on the upside there was a tea-wagon that came round every couple of hours.

This was all before Punk took hold but we were listening to a lot of music which was definitely not mainstream. Oh we loved Roxy and Bowie but we also felt that we’d “discovered” Be Bop Deluxe, Doctors of Madness, and Deaf School. We’d get NME, Sounds and Melody Maker every week and swap them round and we found out that there was a New Year festival taking place in London and both Be Bop and the Doctors were playing………..this was almost too good to be true!! Sadly it turned out to be exactly that as we simply couldn’t afford to go. Damn!

We had a massive consolation shortly afterwards however as Be Bop Deluxe did their first UK tour and played the Adam Smith Centre in Kirkcaldy! No bands ever played the Adam Smith Centre so our joy was unconfined!

That love of Be Bop was certainly the foundation for Stuart’s later collaborations with Bill Nelson, and our many playings of Roxy Music albums and trips to see them live probably planted the seed for Big Country covering Prairie Rose.

We were all mad Dunfermline fans (Willie not so much) and apart from East End Park we’d be on the away bus to Forfar and Brechin and Stranraer on some very wet and miserable Saturdays, or even worse on Wednesday nights. We were a distinct minority in that there were only around 40 of us but I remember how proud we felt. And in later years I was very proud of Stuart for his association with the club. (Jim Leishman had been a couple of years above us at Beath High)

The four of us talked about going to find work in Amsterdam but for me it was only talk. I had a steady job by this time and bottled it so Stuart, Willie and Graeme set off. They didn’t last long as they couldn’t find work (despite a couple of postcards saying it was all going brilliantly!) and it was very soon after they came back that Skids were born.

The last time I spoke to him was when he teamed up with Ricky Jobson (in Arran jumpers!) to do their famous Flower of Scotland at the Edinburgh New Year thingy. He seriously hadn’t changed a bit.     

I was sat in my car in a supermarket car park when I heard the news of his death on the radio. I knew he’d been missing but just expected him to turn up somewhere. I cried and cried thinking it was such a waste.  

My love for Stuart is not only that of a teenage friend and the things we did “back in the day”…..It’s because through all his fame and stardom he genuinely never forgot his roots. Not many can truthfully say that.

RIP Stuarty.

By Tom Simpson

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