Scotland Away Kit

October 23rd, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Following Scotland’s sadly predictable inability to make it to the World Cup playoffs, and Gordon Strachan’s leaving, the question of ‘who next?’ is inevitably being asked by every Scotland fan. What should also be of great concern is ‘what next?’ for the away shirt – Scotland has a long line of (sometimes) memorable and joyful away kits, and this is a rare Scottish national team tradition that I would like to see continue. What follows is a short analysis of the last 30 odd years of Scotland away shirts, and my suggestion for the next. Home shirt analysis will follow at a later date.

Being in my mid 30’s, I will only go back so far as I can remember. My earliest away shirt memories are of Mexico ’86 – a simple reversal of a classic home shirt, with thick bands of shiny, and less shiny, yellow polyester. The thick horizontal stripe is an underused shirt design, and stripes are a regular Scotland away shirt design trope. In ’86, this was memorably and daringly used on the shorts as well as the shirt – this has not been repeated. I do feel an away shirt should have a real colour clash with the home (which is why I’m not a fan of white away shirts, as there is already white in the home shorts) so the bright yellow is good here. But, there is a bit of design laziness in maintaining the same design composition as the home shirt. I guess the mid 80’s was a little before the mass buying of football shirts, and the away kit may not have been deemed economically viable enough to justify a fancification of design. I’ll give this kit 6/10.

Willie Miller – Israel v Scotland 1986

The away shirt from 1988-1991 continued with the yellow, and the stripes, but mixed things up a bit. with white and a bit of navy blue. Thin and thick stripes, but unusually, one thick band across the chest to leave space for the badge and manufacturer logo. I really love this shirt – it’s simple, well composed, and has a classic shirt collar (with a lovely ‘SFA’ detail). Maybe its because of my memories of Italia ’90, but this has stuck with me. It’s the first of Scotland’s (modern) away kits to be designed without reference to the home shirt. I’ve always wanted to own this one, and for me, it’s a 8/10.

Paul McStay & Stuart McCall – Scotland v Costa Rica 1990

From 1991-1994, Scotland really went for it. At this point in time, away shirts in general seemed to be taking more risks. I think it was seen as a chance to go a bit wild, and this Scotland kit was in some ways a bit of a trail-blazer, and a sign of things to come in the early to mid-90’s. White is predominant, but is punctuated by what I can only describe as a purple and red splurge of shattered glass across the chest. Doing away with any formal composition, I have no idea what the designers were attempting to replicate or symbolise, perhaps the shattered shin bones of opponents. It’s this lack of formality which was shocking and appealing. The white of the shirt did have a kind of weird repeated shiny white triangle design, which was unnecessary, but of it’s time. It’s worth talking a bit about ‘fit’ here – in the late 80’s shirts were pretty wee and tight, as were shorts. In the mid ’90’s  things swung horribly the other way, with very wide shirt, long (short) sleeves, and enormous shorts, all very ugly. Then towards the late 90’s early 00’s things went very tight again (eg Italy Kappa kit) which seemed normal, as generally players were now more athletic, and a tight shirt emphasised this. Then mid 2000’s things got big and baggy again, and now they are tight again. Personally I am a fan of the shorter short sleeve, a straight fit, and not too tight – good tailoring generally. I do notice a lot of art-students now wearing oversized baggy 90’s shirts nowadays, so I guess its swings and roundabouts. This Scotland shirt was creeping towards wide and baggy, but just stays the right side for me. 9/10, mostly for impact and influence.

Ally McCoist – unknown game 1991

 

John Spencer & Zinedine Zidane (!) – France U/21 v Scotland U/21 – 1991

With 1993 came the first sort-of reference to the Rosebery colours for 40 years. I remember it being described as ‘salmon-pink’ at the time, which seems fair enough. This strip is a bit of a nod to the 30’s and 40’s I think, which happened a lot in the mid-90’s, when draw-string collars were popular for no-known practical reason. Salmon pink, with a thin purple pin-stripe, and purple collar. The collar was of the same fabric as the shirt, which was a development of sorts. I quite like this, though it went way too baggy. Again, there was a nice little SFA badge detail under the collar buttons. It also saw the introduction of ‘UMBRO’ instead of ‘umbro’, which history tells us was a mistake. Overall, it was restrained in composition, bold in colour, so I give it 7/10.

Craig Levein – Scotland v Germany 1993

Another trend of the 90’s was a certain busyness, with bits here, bits there, a lack of simplicity and design composure. The away kit of 95-96 is an example of this. I think it’s fair to compare this one to the purple and red smashed glass kit – whereas the early concentrated it’s oddness to a splash across the chest, this one just decided to put weird angular purple and green dashes (apparently the colours of the SFA tartan) across the entirety of the shirt. It’s also the introduction of the central SFA badge, which, for me, is never good, along with a weird oversized shield, surrounding the (old) SFA badge, which already consisted of a shield. I guess it’s kinda funky, but I think in a combination with the shorts, its too much. I don’t think this was ever worn in a competitive game. 5/10

Scotland team v Columbia 1996

From 1996-98, we have the first in a series of pretty unremarkable away kits. A return to the all yellow of 1986 (which was the first) but with none of the subtle design (although I do like the thin yellow pin stripe), instead just a bland shirt with an ugly collar and an ugly stripe on the shoulders…and way, way too big sleeves 4/10

Craig Burley – Scotland v Norway 1998

From 1998-2000 we move back into salmon pink territory (though pinker than before), this time with a slightly more complimentary navy blue, in a large band across the chest. For me, its spoilt slightly by having another navy band down the shoulders, and a collar which is neither one thing or another. Again, it’s far too big, but I guess that was the thing. 6/10 (if you could get a smaller size to fit like a normal size).

Alan Johnston – Germany v Scotland 1999

What follows this shirt is 7 years of uninspired, lazy shite. From early 90’s school kids favourite Fila, to nobody’s favourite Diadora, here they are. I give them the following marks; from 2000-02, 1/10 – its not only white, its just a reversal of the home shirt. Lazy, boring, lazy. The only thing going for it is a return to a simpler SFA badge. Although, ooh look a swish on the collar.

Matt Elliot – San Marino v Scotland 2000

2002 – 04, Fila go for a kind of combo of the 2nd salmon pink shirt, and the ’86 kit…with a hideous yellow. At least it is simple, and has a round collar. 3/10

Kevin Kyle – Iceland U/21 v Scotland U/21 – 2002

From 2003 – 2005 Diadora gave us another white kit, which is even shitter than the last. This time, they decided to mix things up with some weird lines, and a saltire under the SFA badge, which was useful as at first sight you might have thought it was a failed England shirt. I can find no images of this shirt in action. Dreadful, 1/10

I could not find any images of this shirt in action

From 2005-2007, something different happened, something blue, but a different blue. With two stripes. When I was at school ‘two stripes’ was a derogatory term for something not-quite-adidas, and possibly bought from Kinross Sunday market, ie maybe not legit. At least its not white – I do actually like the pale blue as an away colour. Again, I can find no evidence of this being worn in a match – 4/10.

Neither this one

2007 – 2009 – ooh, a bit of variety here – the St.Andrew’s cross, which to me seems a missed opportunity in Scotland kits generally, is kind of reversed. A big cross is a powerful graphic tool, but something about the composition seems a bit clunky. Maybe it could have been flipped 90 degrees to fit the shape of the shirt better. Still, there is a hint of doing something different, and I like the gold trim along the edge of the saltire (though not on the shirt numbers) so I’ll give it 6/10.

James McFadden – France v Scotland 12/09/2007

For 2009-2010, Diadora followed this vaguely imaginative kit with another dreary white one. This one has a very fine pin stripe though, and a navy blue rucksack strap element. 2/10

I could not find a better image than this

2010-2011, and we have a big hitter sportswear provider – Adidas. I know from experience, that Adidas often have a kind of ‘rent-a-kit’ that is adapted to a team’s colours, so its testament to the buying power and loyalty of the tartan army that Adidas have continued to make some quite unique shirts for Scotland, but not this. The first away kit was a return to yellow, with a kind of pointless big shadow version of the SFA badge. As far as I’m concerned, this also marks a return to a decent shirt fit. That’s it – its blue and yellow. 3/10.

James Morrison – Wales v Scotland, May 2011

2011-2013 and Adidas made the bold move from yellow to…white. The round-neck was replaced by a v-neck. wowsers. 2/10

Darren Fletcher – Belgium v Scotland October 2014

And now we enter the fun-zone. First of all 2014-15, a sort of nod to the Rosebery kit’s, the only problem being the stripes stopping short of the edges of the shirt – why? I don’t know. The stripes get thinner as you go further down the shirt – why? I don’t know. But pink, yellow (and white) is fine by me. The collar and button are good too 7/10.

Scott Brown, Alan Hutton – Scotland v Nigeria 28/05/2014

Now we are up to date – 2016-17 saw a return of the pink. This time, a kind of flourescent shade. I don’t know how deliberate it was, but the reduction of the SFA badge to one colour seems to work graphically, and makes the badge feel less stuck on. But I think the badge is better in red and yellow. I didn’t like this shirt at first, but seeing it en-masse in the Scotland end of the Slovenia match, I warmed to it. Its hot pink. Maybe too hot for an average football team from a grey country, but maybe that’s why it’s good. 8/10

Robert Snodgrass – Slovenia v Scotland 08/10/2017

So what next – well, I had an idea, then I found out someone had already done it. But, that should never stop you – if you think the shirt below looks like Hearts’ away kit in 2016/17, thats because it is. But it is the ideal Scotland away kit. I wonder if Malky Mackay would agree?

Scotland Ideal away kit/Hearts away 2016/17

Michael Marra – Arrest This Moment (James Robertson)

October 23rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

You can now buy this biography of Michael Marra, which launched last Friday. Written by James Robertson (Professor of Truth, And the Land Lay Still, Testament of Gideon Mack etc) its an unconventional biography, featuring reconstructed conversations with Michael Marra, along with plenty of images and examples of Michael’s own drawings and paintings. I wrote the preface (originally written for this blog) and the cover is an image by Calum Colvin. You should go and buy it – also, almost all of Michael’s recordings are now available digitally, including some ‘new’ releases.

Darren Almond – Present Form (2013)

May 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

New work – Drawings & Video from ‘DCA Thomson’ at DCA Dundee

February 27th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Photography by Ruth Clark & Erika Stevenson

 

Drawing & Painting Explosions with Ian Kennedy from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

On This Day

February 10th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

711 years ago, valiant Robert the Bruce stabs a man to death in a church

450 years ago, Lord Darnley is found strangled and half naked in the Kirk o’Field

21 years ago, a man is beaten in a game of chess by a computer

Book review – “Under the Skin” Michael Faber (2000)

February 6th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes – it’s very different to the film, and that’s made me like both more.

Charlotte Barker

April 27th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Visit Charlotte’s website

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Book Review – ‘The Living Mountain’ Nan Shepherd (1977)

March 26th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Living Mountain

Most definitely yes. Clear, concise, deceptively simple. Worth reading the whole book to get to this bit:

“Why some blocks of stone, hacked into violent and tortured shapes should so profoundly tranquillise the mind I do not know. Perhaps the eye imposes its own rhythm on what is only a confusion: one has to look creatively to see this mass of rock as more than jag and pinnacle – as beauty. Else why did men for so many centuries think mountains repulsive? A certain kind of consciousness interacts with the mountain-forms to create this sense of beauty. Yet the forms must be there for the eye to see. And forms of a certain distinction: mere dollops won’t do it. It is, as with all creation, matter impregnated with mind: but the resultant issue is a living spirit, a glow in the consciousness, that perishes when the glow is dead. It is something snatched from non-being, that shadow which creeps in on us continuously and can be held off by continuous creative act. So, simply to look on anything, such as a mountain, with the love that penetrates to its essence, is to widen the domain of being in the vastness of non-being. Man has no other reason for his existence.”

Book Review – “The Big Music” Kirsty Gunn (2012)

November 12th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

the-big-music-1

This review is over a year late for some reason – anyway, its a big fat

YES. Simply put – It’s about family, music, place and its about pibroch, and is written in the style of pibroch. Sometimes this can be tiring, particularly with repetition of the footnotes, as things are literally repeated a lot. But overall it is ambitious, and works as far as I’m concerned. I read it just before making “The Drummer & The Drone”

The Drummer & The Drone from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

Craig Coulthard interviews Craig Coulthard about Randan Discotheque

October 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

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Craig, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. You have a new Randan Discotheque single out, perhaps you could tell us a little about it?

Sure, it’s a double a-side 7” single, with “Ring the Bell” and “National Geographic (2012)”, and it’s a very limited edition of 20, plus a digital download. It also comes with a limited edition riso print, with the song lyrics

I’ve noticed the lyrics aren’t so clear on the print, is that deliberate?

Oh yes.

Why?

So people have to listen harder.

Why is it released in such low numbers?

Well, after I/we made “Sonderweg” our last full length album I became a little despondent about the amount of time and effort, not to mention money that went into it, without much reward. I pressed 300 copies of it, and I still have at least two-thirds of them left. I wanted to release something that wasn’t going to end up losing me more money.

Have you lost a lot of money?

I wouldn’t say a lot, but I’ve never really made much from Randan Discotheque. With Sonderweg, there was the recording studio, mastering, pressing, promotion etc, not to mention the time I spent on videos and design. I decided I would try a crowd funded approach for the next thing I released. Thanks to the generosity of some friends, fans and family, I was able to raise enough to make a very short run of vinyl. I thought that if I could get them produced for a reasonable amount, and get the money up front, I would maybe end up at least breaking even, and not have boxes of left over vinyl sitting around. I wanted to make something quickly, with music I was still in the process of writing, and hopefully give the funders a sense of helping me along with the creative process. Each of the records is hand painted, and has a personalised message on the back. I felt it was more important to make a personal connection with a few people, than no connection with a lot of people.

That sounds a bit pompous, and an excuse for not having a lot of fans.

Perhaps you’re right.

 

Randan Discotheque – “Ring the Bell” from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

Tell me a bit about that creative process

The songs were both sketchily written a couple of years ago, but I’ve developed a way of writing now whereby if I have an idea, but the circumstances aren’t right for recording it yet, I can hold off until the time is right. A kind of tantric-writing. Both these songs were written during a week in Kilconquhar in Fife, and I waited until I knew I was going to release something before actually recording and producing them, which is done in my living room

Tantric writing? That sounds like bollocks. What are the songs about?

National Geographic (2012) is a kind of revisiting of the approach I had to the single “Daily Record May 18th 1993” – I subscribe to National Geographic, and sometimes find it hard to retain any knowledge I have gained from reading it. There is too much stuff going on everywhere, and I end up not taking anything in. The song is a list of some of the subjects along the spines of the magazine from 2012. “Ring the Bell” came about during a walk in Elie & Earlsferry, and visiting the ‘Lady Tower’ by the beach there. Apparently Lady Jane Anstruther had the tower built as a kind of changing room when she went swimming. She would have her maids ring a bell so anyone else on the beach would have to leave. I started humming the tune when I first visited, and it developed from there. She had her portrait painted by Joshua Reynolds.

Is it historically accurate?

I have no idea – I imagined Lady Jane as a very sexually confident woman who would go skinny dipping, and maybe had a certain hold over men, including Reynolds, and the locals. There’s a lot of not very subtle innuendo in the song, and ‘ringing a bell’ is an example of that.

You don’t seem to have done a lot of promoting, or gigging in advance of this release, is that deliberate?

I haven’t played a gig in 4 years or so. Although I enjoy it a lot, circumstances change, and its not really something that is practical at the moment. Jobs, life, health, other projects, things happen. Promotion in general makes me feel a little sick. When we were gigging and getting a bit of press and radio play in the past, I thought perhaps this could be a career, but then it kind of petered out, and promotion was depressing. I thought it would be much better to just record as and when I wanted.

Have you done any promotion?

I’ve posted it on facebook and twitter.

That’s not very much

No. I reckon a few people will see it and then it’ll disappear without a trace, much like a lot of creative endeavour nowadays. I’ll send some emails out too.

To friends and family, and people who already know you?

Yeah.

That’s not going to get you much attention.

Or sales. The thing with facebook etc is, you can have 100’s of friends, but very few of them are likely to even see your posts and videos, unless you start ‘boosting’ or ‘promoting’ them. I can’t be arsed with that. And even then, some of them don’t like what you do, and then the ones that do sometimes forget, and then others don’t think anything.

How do you expect anyone new to hear your music?

I’ve no idea, I don’t know if I do.

That sounds a bit pathetic, shouldn’t you put more effort in? You can’t rely on friends to support your creative work?

No, you can’t. I realise that. I think I just want to make something, and move on to the next thing.

What about people who work really hard to build a fanbase, go on tour, to reach the people that are looking for that particular thing? It sounds a little like your making it for yourself, a little self centred and egotistical?

Yes, it is. Most creative work is though isn’t it?

Not everything is

Well, everything I do seems to be. Musicians, artists, most of them have big ego’s or pretend they don’t.

Really? What about Moondog?

Yeah, ok, maybe not, but I’ve never met him because he’s dead. He might have had a massive ego for all you know.

Randan Discotheque – “National Geographic (2012)” from Craig Coulthard on Vimeo.

How are sales going?

Well, up to now, I made 20 copies, and kept one to myself, 12 went to funders, and 3 have been sold. There’s 4 left.

So you haven’t even managed to sell those?

No, not yet.

Do you ever think to yourself “maybe the reason I don’t sell is because I don’t do promotion or gigs”?

Yes, maybe. This is promotion though?

An interview with yourself, by yourself, is promotion?

I think so. We’re always told “you’ve got to do it yourself, no-ones going to do it for you”

I guess so. Ok, have you ever thought the reason you don’t sell much is because the music just isn’t very good?

No

You’ve never thought that?

No, I have absolutely never thought that.

Never ever ever?

No, not once ever. I’m surprised you keep pushing the point.

Have you ever thought about just giving it up?

Yes, I have. But I realise now that it does me more harm to not indulge myself in this way, than if I do. Like masturbation.

Your’re saying Randan Discotheque is like masturbation?

Exactly.

You don’t think it’s possible for music to be more than that? Something that moves people?

Yes absolutely, music can change your life.

What music changed your life?

I would say “Graceland” by Paul Simon. I first heard it when I must have been 5 or 6, and my parents had a tape of the album. I was interested in the rhythms, and the complexity of the words. The images that were conjured up listening to it are still with me now. As I got older, I began to understand more about what was being sung, and then older still to understand more about the conditions the record was made in, with the South African musicians, and the zydeco etc – it retained my interest, and it still does. I like singing “Joseph’s face was as black as the night, and the pale yellow moon shone in his eyes”. The image in my brain when I sing it, is the same as when I heard it as a boy. It wasn’t religious or anything – just a simple image of dark skin with yellow moonlight. I always skip through “Homeless” though.

So what are your plans now?

I have about two albums of ideas sketched out, I’m just waiting for the right moment to develop them.

When can we expect that then?

I have no idea, I was 9 months late with this release, so it may be a while, but I hope not.

Well, thanks for the interview, it was moderately interesting. I wish you the best of luck for the future.

And I to you.

“Ring the Bell/National Geographic (2012)” is available now on limited edition 7” single, and digital download from Randan Discotheque’s bandcamp page

www.randandiscotheque.bandcamp.com

 

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