Legacy - Black Skull Corps of Fife and Drum

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LEGACY Roderick Buchanan and Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum

Relief of Derry celebrations, Londonderry, 9 August 2008

Contents — Introduction 7 The Commission


Scots Irish / Irish Scots




The Artist


Meeting the Band


Interview 77 Glossary 106 Band statement




Left Glasgow city crest, Glasgow, 15 April 2011 Following spreads Practice night, Glasgow, 20 November 2010 Band photo, Oldbridge House, Drogheda, 13 July 2007, photo by Andy MacAdam







Introduction — When the Museum awarded a commission on the Legacy of the Troubles in 2008, we selected the artist Roderick Buchanan for his uniquely non-partisan and non-judgemental approach to the subject. His existing relationships with the bands demonstrated his ability to hold and honour the trust of the communities and this unique level of access was recognised as crucial for the success of the project. Buchanan’s working process was open and reciprocal and allowed the bands access to the materials produced as part of the project and the opportunity to comment on the films and texts. All participants in this project — the artist, the two flute bands, the Museum — have their own motivation and expectations and over the years a relationship has developed which is not exploitative or superficial. Buchanan’s artworks emphasise a common language while remaining sensitive to differences. He offers an arresting artistic approach that is, importantly, acceptable to both communities and moreover he enables us, the general audience, to engage with a difficult and contentious subject. I would like to thank Roderick Buchanan for going on this extraordinary journey; working and building relationships with the bands, immersing himself in the subject, and his commitment to the subject and the people he has met over the years. Our thanks also go to the bands for allowing the artist — and through him the Museum and our public — this unique access into their lives. The successful outcome of this commission and the resulting exhibition at the Imperial War Museum would not have been possible without the judgement and expertise of the Museum’s Art Commissions Committee. The project has been supported by many members of my staff with their customary expertise but I would particularly like to thank Ulrike Smalley, who has curated the commission and exhibition. Last but not least I would like to thank Creative Scotland, the Henry Moore Foundation and PF Charitable Trust, whose generous support has enabled us to bring this commission to fruition. Diane Lees

Director-General, Imperial War Museum

Left Painted bass drum shell, Glasgow, 20 November 2010 Following spread Crowds around George Square for 12th of July commemoration, Glasgow, 4 July 2009





The Commission —

Production still from I am Here, Scottish Opera rehearsal room, Glasgow, 4 February 2007, photo by Alan Dimmick

In May 2009 I wrote to Andy MacAdam, Bandmaster of Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum, to persuade him to work with me on a project aimed at recording the long established link between Scotland and Northern Ireland expressed by the band. I explained that in autumn 2008 I’d been approached by the Imperial War Museum to talk to them about developing a new artwork. This was off the back of the success of I am Here a presentation I made at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Glasgow in 2007. Black Skull had been one of two bands I’d worked with on this commission for Glasgow City Council, part of their social justice programme ‘Blind Faith’ on sectarianism in the city. Andy and I had often talked about the gap between the public perception of flute bands and his own community’s impression of itself. Large swathes of the population outside traditional parading communities didn’t see parades and only received information on the subject via journalistic accounts that fed on controversy. I pointed out that the Imperial War Museum’s own current display on the Troubles was sourced from the sort of pictures taken by journalists through a long lens from behind police barricades during periods of conflict. This was currently the impression of the Loyalist and Republican communities as they are represented to thousands of people every day as they walk through the Museum. We had the opportunity to make a different visual statement. One that is visually rich, intimate and could be viewed as honest by the band and their supporters. The committee of the Imperial War Museum were impressed by I am Here and invited me to take my idea forward. They had a commission on offer that they called a ‘Legacy’ artwork. This was to reflect the legacy of the Troubles and would be for display in the Museum. The essence of the presentation in Glasgow had been the production of two films. Working with a prominent Loyalist Flute band (Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum) and a prominent Republican Flute band (Parkhead Republican Flute Band) I made two separate films that allowed the audience to choose what they wanted to watch. My agenda has always been representation. Rarely are bandsmen consulted about how they’re portrayed. My aim on 8 August 2009 was to follow one band as they experienced the Relief of Derry* Parade and to subsequently involve the band, through consultation, in the process of production and presentation. The only stipulation of my commission was that anything I did working with one community I did with the other. Using the template where two bands are given equal representation, a separate film and a room of their own, with neither band playing over the others music, I was invited to make a new film work with both bands. Through these films I would be able to record and present the bands in



their more familiar setting of the street (in the 2007 films the bands were recorded in a studio setting). I talked to the Imperial War Museum about the inherent drama of marching the walls in Londonderry and they understood the importance of recording this moment properly. One of the legacies of the post Good Friday Agreement environment was the work put in by the Apprentice Boys of Derry* to create a new focus for the Relief of Derry Parade, telling the story of the siege and its impact on British history to new visitors to the parade. Therefore what I proposed to shoot would be a record of the goodwill between Black Skull and the people they meet in Londonderry. To capture their traditional red military uniform in one of the best-preserved fortified cities in world and highlight the musical arrangements that so much care is taken over during the year, to film the band as members watch the pageant presenting history as street theatre, an innovation devised by the Apprentice Boys some years ago to invite more people to learn about the siege and it’s implications for British history. * See Glossary on page 106

St. Columb’s Cathedral, 4 December 2010



Scots Irish / Irish Scots

Londonderry City crest, 4 December 2010



Film Sequences — 1 Silent 08:30 — Hanging around the bus and forming up 2 Sound Walk to the Mem’ Hall from the Fountain Estate 3 Silent Hanging out at the Mem’ Hall 4 Sound Walking the walls 5 Silent Architecture 6 Sound Hymn at the Diamond 7 Silent Silence at the Diamond 8 Sound Walking from the Diamond to the Cathedral 9 Silent Walking from the Cathedral to the Mem’ Hall 10 Sound Mem’ Hall break 11 Silent Walk from the Mem’ Hall to the Cathedral 12 Sound Tuning the flutes 13 Silent Pageant 14 Sound Hanging out on the bridge 15 Silent Security and police activity 16 Sound Walking from Carlisle circus to The Diamond 17 Silent Landscapes 18 Sound National Anthem 19 Silent Clapping other bands in at the Mem’ Hall 20 Sound 17:45 — Shaking hands after massed bands parade



Shipquay’s Gate

19 20 21 22

The Bogside

3 10 12 17 18 19

Butcher’s Gate The Diamond


6 7


24 15

Mem’ Hall

25 26





Ferryquay’s Gate



New Gate

Bishop’s Gate Brandywell Stadium The Fountain 1 20



Carlisle Circus


To the Waterside

Hanging around the bus and forming up Silent 3min 39sec

Kennedy Street, the Fountain, Londonderry. 8 August 2009. Camera picks out the no drinking sign in the coach, follows the group unpacking their drums from the boot of the bus. Closes in on the drum Corps putting on their gloves, taking special care to remove marks from their uniform. The band then moves out onto the street. In pairs they adjust each other’s kit so that they look right for the days parade.

Walk up to the Mem’ Hall from the Fountain Estate Sound 3min 18sec

Hanging out at the Mem’ Hall Silent 1 min 52 sec

The weather is turning cold and wet. The army bomb disposal unit have been called to check out a suspect device found by Apprentice Boys of Derry (ABOD) stewards near the Walker Memorial on the walls. Everyone is speculating about what’s happening.

Walking the walls Sound 5min 23sec

Music: ‘The Adjutant’. The band parades through the Fountain estate. A number of houses and factories are lying empty. Bunting has been hung out; kerbstones are painted red white and blue. Smoke rises from the ashes of a bonfire on common ground. The band marches into the walled city through New Gate to the Apprentice Boys Memorial Hall.

Music: ‘For Flag & Empire’. ABOD stewards hold the parade back because of further security alerts. Suspicions are that these are hoax bombs aimed at disrupting the event. Billy Moore, General Secretary of the Apprentice Boys gives the signal for the colour party and Black Skull to proceed and the parade moves off past the 13 sycamore trees towards Double Bastion.



Architecture Silent 3min 24sec

The camera picks out details around the Walls of Derry Concentrating on significant architectural statements: the walls, the gates, the Mem’ Hall and the Guildhall. Details are emphasised through close ups of gargoyles, friezes, keystones, plant life growing in the wall and columns with their ornate capitols.

Hymn at the Diamond Sound 1min 34sec

Music: ‘Nearer My God to Thee, Abide with Me’. Timed to coincide with the bells of St Columb’s, Black Skull play a hymn on their own surrounded by the General Committee and all the Parent Clubs: Walker, Mitchelburne, No Surrender, Browning, Baker, Campsie and Murray.


Silence at the Diamond Silent 3min 58sec

Jim Brownlee, the Governor of the Apprentice Boys of Derry lays a wreath at the city war memorial. A bugler plays the ‘Last Post’ and a piper, wearing his Apprentice Boys collar, plays a lament. Black Skull stand to attention. Press photographers record the focal point of the day.

Walking from the Diamond to the Cathedral Sound 5min 34sec

Music: ‘World War Melodies’. The bands march up Ferryquay Street and Pump Street into the precinct of St Columb’s. Black Skull walks up and past the entrance to the Cathedral where the colour party receives Apprentice Boys for a service of thanksgiving led by the Church of Ireland Dean, the Very Rev’d William W. Morton.


Walking from the Cathedral to the Mem’ Hall Silent 4min 24sec

The band falls out and the camera follows three members as they make their way upstairs inside the Memorial Hall. Evangelical Christians approach band members on the street for donations. Members disperse. Some hang out with their families, some with friends; others make their way up to the next rallying point.

Mem’ Hall break Sound 3min 00sec

Ambient sound. Members of Hamilton, Churchill, William King, Star of the Roe and Black Skull all mix together in the large hall upstairs on Society Street. Men and women mix together. Groups of similar age collect together.


Walk from the Mem’ Hall to the Cathedral Silent 2min 45sec

Band members make their way from the Memorial Hall up to the gates of St Columb’s cathedral. On the way they stop and look down Bishop Street towards Shipquay Street where a small counter demonstration is taking place. Members of the Crimson Players roll their canon up the street to the rallying point.

Tuning the flutes Sound 2min 16sec

Ambient sound. Willie Menzies asks for all first flutes to be checked. Concerned about the sound, he uses his flute stick to check the pitch of each of the instruments. He lets people know they will be punished if they’re instrument is out of tune. He also questions whether the players at the other end of the Corps are really playing. Members assure him that they’re playing and playing well.


Pageant Silent 5min 57sec

The Crimson Players re-enact the events surrounding the siege of Derry. Local community actors play the parts of Captain Browning, the Rev Walker, the residents and local militia. Black Skull, other participants and members of the public line Craigavon Bridge and Carlisle Roundabout to watch the event.

Hanging out on the bridge Sound 4min 57sec

Ambient sound. Norman Rosborough, Drum Major with the William King Memorial Flute band and leading member of the Crimson Players, leads the narration telling the story of why the siege began, it’s impact on Scotland, Ireland and England and it’s impact on the citizens of Londonderry. Without the services of their usual drummer boy in 2009, George from Black Skull helps the pageant and performs the roll.


Security and police activity Silent 4min 12sec

Security measures around the commemorative parade are thorough. In past years rioting has marked the event. This year is the 40th anniversary of the ‘Battle of the Bogside’. Today fencing is placed along most of Ferryquay Street around the top of Shipquay Street and Butcher Street, to create a barrier between nationalist protesters outside the Richmond Centre and bandsmen and Apprentice Boys as they file past the Diamond war memorial.

Walking from Carlisle Circus to the Diamond Sound 3min 30sec

Music: ‘The Adjutant’. Bands are requested to stop playing midway up Ferryquay Street out of respect as they approach the war memorial. This has been a regular flashpoint between Loyalists and Nationalists over the years. With colours lowered they march in time with the drum around the Diamond, only starting to play again when they’re out of the square.


Landscapes Silent 3min 03sec

Up the river you can see the bell tower of St Columba’s Roman Catholic Church in the foreground, beyond that the river that marks the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Down the river you see the Foyle Bridge and the hills of Donegal in the distance.

National Anthem Sound 5min 54sec

Music: ‘Orangeman’s Medley’ and ‘God Save the Queen’. The band, free from its duties of leading the General Committee, play for the crowd who’ve returned to the heart of the city. Facing Derry’s walls — facing out over the Bogside and the Creggan, the band plays the Orangeman’s Medley. Everyone is spirited but relaxed. The band then about turns and plays the national anthem which the assembled crowd sings.


Clapping other bands in at the Mem’ Hall Silent 2min 35sec

It’s an important mark of respect between the bands that they applaud each other’s efforts. Clapping is reserved for the bandsmen and peters out when Lodge members pass. Some Apprentice Boys point into the distance as they pass the headquarters of the organisation. This is their traditional salute.

Shaking hands after the massed band parade Sound 3min 29sec

Ambient sound. Massed bands parade from Society Street to Kennedy Place at the end of the day. With three Londonderry bands and Black Skull taking part they march to the Fountain estate before being dismissed by the Drum Major of William King Memorial Flute Band. Everyone takes the opportunity to congratulate one another before they leave the event for the day.


Right George McNeill, Glasgow, 26 October 2008, photo by Brian McDonough, digital imaging by Donald Nesbitt Following spreads Mural, Fountain Estate, Londonderry, 4 December 2010 Relief of Derry celebrations, Londonderry, 9 August 2008 Apprentice Boy’s armband, Shutting of the Gates Commemorations, 4 December 2010 Relief of Derry celebrations, Londonderry, 9 August 2008 Crimson players, Londonderry, 9 August 2008













Left Relief of Derry celebrations, Londonderry, 9 August 2008 Following spreads Relief of Derry celebrations, Londonderry, 9 August 2008 East Belfast Protestant Boys band trip to Londonderry, 9 August 2008 Massed bands, Londonderry, 9 August 2008









George Washington mural, Ebrigton Street, Londonderry, 4 December 2010



The Artist — 19 December 1973, Bishobriggs, Glasgow I don’t know when I became a Celtic supporter. I have photos of myself when I was eight in a replica kit, so it’s been a long time. However I know I’ve always been a contrarian. My mum used to feel sorry for her Uncle James when we went to visit him in Milton; he never really understood why I didn’t follow the Rangers. I couldn’t properly explain at that age that it was just out of badness. I was getting the response that I wanted and I liked it, that sort of alienation really suited me. I think my mum thought football didn’t really matter much and that this switch of natural allegiance was a break from the working class norms she wanted to escape, so that was fine with her. My dad and big brothers weren’t interested in football so I could do as I liked, and I did. Saying that, it left me outside peoples’ company, I was never sure what sort of reception I’d receive if I told them I was a Protestant that supported Celtic.

11 November 2001, Tiger’s Bay, Belfast In 2001, the Daily Record reported the death of Glen Branagh in Tigers Bay, North Belfast. The Loyalist bandsmen had died when a pipe bomb exploded in his hand during a riot. They gave the account of a young bandsman in uniform in Tigers Bay who, when stripped to assess his injuries, was found to be wearing a Celtic strip under his bandsman uniform. It seemed to expose a double life. However the next day the newspaper had to backtrack, it seemed that Glen was well known in his community for following Celtic, it was who he was and he was accepted for it. I’ve held onto this story for a long time now and drawn strength from its extreme parable as I try to make sense of my own identity. 23 October 2001, Macbeth Scottish Pub, Trondheim Celtic v. Rosenborg. I’m walking around Trondheim in Norway trying to get a bit of atmosphere before the match. The Irish pub in town is stowed out and you can’t get near the counter so I walk over to another bar, the Scottish pub. The bar staff are busy working hard. Standing at the nearest open spot I wait to be served. The singing starts up. I know a lot of Celtic songs but this one I don’t know. I hear songs in the stadium and pick up lines and the odd chorus as it wells up in the stand, but this one is new to me. The guys round about me give me the distinct impression that if I don’t know this song and I’m not in here with my dad or my brothers I’m a bit suspicious. I move up the bar to the other end, it’s a bit quieter up there. I try to recover myself. The guy next to me asks me where I’m from. ‘Glasgow’ I say. He squints at me, ‘You’re no fae Glasgow’ he says and turns away.

M80, Glasgow, 22 February 2010



Meeting the Band — I first met the band during the summer of 2006, working on a commission from Glasgow Museums to make an art exhibition on the subject of sectarianism for the Gallery of Modern Art in Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow. I’d proposed to make a film with flute bands but needed someone to introduce me to the bands. I was invited to attend a parades commission meeting where it was thought I might meet some bandsmen who could help me out, but there weren’t any bandsmen there. I don’t think they’d been invited. Reporting back to the consultative committee assembled to help me navigate the interest groups and lobbyists in this area, I met a member of council staff who had professional contact with a member of the Orange Order*. It was only because this Orangeman worked next to a Black Skull bandsman that I made contact with the band. This seems oddly haphazard but that’s how it happened. My timing could not have been more fortunate however, as the band were preparing for a public performance at the Cooper Institute that weekend. Of course I was all a bit nervous, turning up at the front door with only Andy’s name as a sort of password into a community that I didn’t know. I remember introducing myself to a big guardsman at the entrance and preparing to walk in. It was heavin’ just inside the door and in my minds eye I was already in there and trying to find out what was going on. ‘Ah-hem’ says the guardsman, ‘Fifteen quid?’ I’d gone along to talk to Andy about the idea of making a film with the band, but when I got there and found half a dozen technicians adjusting lights and fiddling with mixing desks that sort-of took the wind out of my sails. They had better equipment than me and seemed to have a better idea of what they were doing. I settled deeper in my chair. The lights went down. I didn’t really know what to expect, whatever it was, it wasn’t the Ulster Scots Folk Orchestra. These guys came out the traps singing, dancing, playing the pipes, accordions and the big Lambeg drum. I hadn’t expected all this. It was another world with a driving energy that I’d never encountered before. The crowd in the auditorium were polite in their applause for this performance but I could feel they were really here for Black Skull. Willie Drennan and his band tidied themselves away and set the stage for Black Skull to perform. As the curtains opened on the second half performance I saw rank upon rank of red tuniced bandsmen all sitting behind music stands embroidered with the band crest. It was a sight that was designed to impress. Silver buttons glittering, webbing bleached, boots bossed, everyone sitting in perfect order. Steven Bradley showing the prize to be awarded during Black Skull’s annual band competition, Bishopbriggs, 26 February 2011



I sat there listening to the programme unfold. Confidently, they played arrangements of music I could hear were the military standards. However that was only to prove they knew their stuff. They then took the audience on an adventurous musical journey with virtuoso drum sets, humorous arrangements and a provocative ensemble piece played on the penny whistle, bones and boron that I could see challenged the audience. The capacity and energy of the band was there for all to see. As the curtain fell that night my mind was buzzing, I hadn’t seen anything like this before. It was an expression of Scottish identity that was new to me. I hung about downstairs among the well-wishers as photos were taken and pals set one another up with drinks at the bar. I asked a bandsman if he could point out Andy MacAdam, but he was still behind the scenes making sure everything was all right. Ten minutes later, and with a handshake from Andy, I left the hall happy. From this point on I knew that if I could introduce an art audience to Black Skull free from prior judgement. I could make a powerful and effective artwork.

Left Kelvingrove Park 12th of July commemoration, Glasgow, 4 July 2009 Following spreads Practice night, Band Hall, Glasgow, 20 November 2010 Practice night, Band Hall, Glasgow, 20 November 2010 12th of July commemoration, Glasgow Green, 5 July 2008 Bandsman’s tattoo, Glasgow, 26 October 2008, photo by Brian McDonough & Donald Nesbitt











The Diary —

9 September 2006 Following a phone call with Andy MacAdam I drive over to watch the bands twenty-fifth Anniversary Concert at the Cooper Institute, Glasgow. I thought I knew about flute bands until this evening.

5 April — 28 October 2007 Histrionics. Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) Glasgow. Mark O’Neill, head of Arts and Museums opens the exhibition. Journalists and critics respond well: Iain Gale of The Herald describes it as ‘One of the most significant achievements of the past few decades’.

4 February 2007 Following the commission by Glasgow City Council to produce an exhibition on the issue of sectarianism, I proposed working with two flutes bands in the city. With Greenroom Films, of Leith, we sought the right location and shot the film; I am Here in a large opera rehearsal room in Maryhill.

5 July 2008 Glasgow traditionally holds its big walk on the Saturday before the 12 July. I follow the band from Blythswood Square to Glasgow Green counting 39 bands from Scotland, 12 from Northern Ireland and 2 from England.



9 August 2008 Off the back of tendering for a community art project in Ballymagroarty I attend the Relief of Derry Parade with Peter McCaughey. At our meeting with a council representative in a café opposite the Guildhall, I can’t help noticing people in the shops ignoring the spectacle of thousands of bandsmen marching only a hundred yards away.

12 December 2008 — 7 February 2009 Bloomberg exhibition. Martin Herbert writes ‘the Black Skull’s members gaze implacably out, latently asking for connection: and we come to recognise that none of us are defined by our alignments, while being reminded of the degree to which, from the outside, we typically are’.

26 October 2008 Via a commission for Bloomberg SPACE in London on the subject of group portraiture, I approach the band and invite them to let me take their individual portraits and present the series under a title suggested by their bandmaster: ‘Scottish by Birth, British by the Grace of God’.

9 April 2009 During my research on the Ballymagroarty project, I find a treasure trove of newspaper clippings on the Relief of Derry Parade in the city library. A wide range of opinion are expressed from ‘Take your parade elsewhere’ the request of Donncha MacNiallais of the Bogside Residents’ Group in the Derry Journal 17 December 1996, to ‘Mad Dog Adair for Boys parade’ from the former commander of the Ulster Freedom Fighters in 11 July 2000.



4 July 2009 12 July parade Glasgow. The big walk starts this year with a commemoration at the war memorial opposite the City Chambers first thing in the morning. After hymn singing and prayers from the Orangemen, Black Skull are invited to play in George Square for the hundreds of people attending the service.

8 August 2009 Filming the Relief of Derry Parade. With five cameras, a rickshaw dolly, steady cam unit, two tripods and a handheld camera, two producers, seven grips, runners and assistants and eight operators, we film from 8:30 in the morning until 18:00 in the evening.

9 July 2009 After writing to the General Secretary of the Apprentice Boys Billy Moore, George Barr from Greenroom Films, Ulrike Smalley of the Imperial War Museum and I meet Billy at the Apprentice Boys headquarters in Londonderry. He walks with us around the Walls and takes us up the tower of the Memorial Hall.

15 November 2010 Orange demonstration outside Glasgow City Chambers. Eddy Hyde, the County Grand Master says ‘We are here today to expose and resist by lawful means the efforts of Glasgow City Council to deprive or diminish the parading culture of the Orange Order in Glasgow. As taxpayers of this great city the Orange Lodge members are entitled to fair representation and equal treatment.’ New policies passed by the Glasgow City Council in December will cap the number of parades in Glasgow.



4 December 2010 Shutting the Gates Commemoration. Billy Moore lets me join a group of Apprentice Boys as they fire a canon at midnight over the walls of Derry. Thirteen Apprentice Boys travel round the four gates: Bishops Gate, Castle Gate, Shipquay Gate and Ferryquay Gate to symbolise the closing of the gates in 1688. The next day I watch them burn an effigy of ‘Lundy the Traitor’ on the high street.

20 November 2010 Photograph rehearsals. Although I’d watched the band for over four years I’d never sat through a practice night. Thirty-five bandsmen and Andy directed the evening.

10 December 2010 1st Battalion Scots Guards returning home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan hold a private service of remembrance in St Giles Cathedral Edinburgh. Raised to deal with the 1641 rebellion against Scottish settlers in Ulster, the regiment has a special place in the collective memory of the people of Ulster (Black Skull parade in this uniform).

23 January 2011 Interview with Andy MacAdam. Armed with a packet of Club cigarettes he helps me pick my way though the bands history.




26 February 2011 Memorial Hall, Balmuildy Road, Bishopbriggs. Black Skull hold the first band competition of the year. A way to raise funding through selling merchandise, food and drink. 13 bands each play a full half hour set from 12:30 in the afternoon until 19:30 in the evening, their performance scored by members of Black Skull and the winners receive a plaque.

27 March 2011 With the co-operation of the band I conduct a photographic survey of the tattoos they have. With a photographer and assistant we catalogue the tattoos of 18 members on practice night.

Right Apprentice Boy’s collarette, Shutting of the Gates Commemorations, Londonderry, 4 December 2010 Following spread Practice night, Band Hall, Glasgow, 20 November 2010





A Conversation between

Andy Macadam Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum, and

Roderick Buchanan Black Skull’s rehearsal rooms, Tradeston, Glasgow January 2011

Andy MacAdam, Band Hall, Glasgow, 20 November 2010



They’re still going, well you know that band formed out of the original Bridgeton Billy Boys a hundred years ago.


I’d like to talk about the history of the band. How did the band start? Can you remember?

Right… What age were you when you joined that band?

A ndy

I started there in the mid ‘70s, when I was 14. And I think it was about six years I was there, and as I said, I was like a lot of young boys that were in the band at that time, there were a lot of talented people in the band. The young ones all left. A lot of the younger ones went to other bands which were becoming more prominent and more popular. I just decided I’m not going to go to these other bands I’ll start my ain.

I should think so, I started it. Why was the band started? The band started because I was fed up with a previous band I was playing in. Away back in ’79,’80 the band I was in started to take a turn for the worse with regards to their decorum, their ability and so forth. They didn’t want to progress, even though they were well known. Things came to a head and I just decided to leave. I left with no intentions of starting a band, instead I joined a Lodge and fortunately for me, the Lodge that I joined was all bandsmen.

When you started the band did you start it with pals? There was a pal of mine who was in the same band and I said to him ‘You want to come with us’, and he says ‘Aye’. At that time you could put adverts out in the Rangers News and we advertised in that, and basically there was only me and him that could play; we had nae money, we had nae instruments, we had nae nothing. He had a flute and I had a flute. We got a lot of young kids in and that’s where the original band formed frae.

Was it an Orange Lodge or the Apprentice Boys? Orange Lodge, but because I was a fanatic on the band scene I couldn’t stay away from it. There was no point going back to the band that I was in so I decided to form a band in the area I stayed. The band I used to be in was in the East End, but the bands in the East End were hard line, and there was always sort of, how would you put it, a fight for players, there were that many bands to choose from.

What’s the true story behind the name Black Skull? Originally when the band was formed in October 1980, we were known as the Young Protestant Crown Defenders, which was a bit of a mouthful. My brothers and others I knew came into the band but they were basically non-players. They all had to be taught. So we took all these people and we started from scratch and we walked the first year as the Young Protestant Crown Defenders up in Finlay Drive in Dennistoun.

Was that in Bridgeton? Bridgeton, that’s right. You had Bridgeton and Dennistoun, but there were a lot of bands in that area. At that time I stayed in the Southside up in Darnley and decided to start a band there, and that’s basically how it came about. So I only lasted three months out of the bands, I just couldn’t stay away from them.

Is there a Lodge there? Well, it used to be the head quarters of the Orange Order and it just so happens that it was a district as well, it sort of sponsored us. Not financially but they took us out for our first year. You know where we form up in the morning for the big walk, have you been up there?

So what was the name of the band in Bridgeton? Bridgeton No Surrender. Are they still playing?

Aye. 78


Exactly where we form up — there’s some new building there now — that’s where the Orange Halls were. You keep going? Aye, the first time we ever walked on the road was from Finlay Drive, so we just have this wee sort of annual tradition every year that we walk from Finlay Drive. That’s how we started, Young Protestant Crown Defenders was the original name. After a year things were going well, numbers were up, but it was a hard job. It was hard to raise money and a lot of money came out of my own pocket. We realised there was nothing standout about the band’s name. At that time bands had wee logos, as they still have to this day. So for a very brief spell we changed the name to Young Britannia, because of the logo with Britannia and the lion. But it doesn’t have your ears going up when you hear that name. So that particular year was my first year and we were going over to Belfast. At our big walk the week before going to Belfast a band came over to our area called the Orange and Blue. Now they came from a village in Northern Ireland called Black Scull, it’s spelled with a ‘c’, not with a ‘k’. And I just found that sort of funny, it got locked in the back of the head. With every band at that time you used to take a spare bass drum with you. It was part of the tradition. Now we got a loan of an old bass drum for going to Belfast but there was nothing on the skins, so we had to put something on. I used to be into airfix paints and I decided to just put on a caricature because that was the thing at the time and I painted this skull wearing a Balmoral — that’s the hat the band wears, the one with the hackle. Is that the one? (referring to a picture) Yeah. So I painted this skull wearing a Balmoral with a big red hackle on it, and the band’s name next to it. Not giving it a thought, just went ahead with it. There was nae intention to change the band’s name or anything. So what age are you at this time?


I’m 21. Now in the house there was a spare room, and it had all the band stuff in it. For some reason I went into this room. Bearing in mind I knew we had to stamp our mark on the scene pretty soon or we wouldn’t be stamping nothin’. The bass drum was sitting there and I saw this thing that I had painted months prior, and I just kept saying the name over and over to myself and tried to convince myself that the name would be socially acceptable within our fraternity. Obviously at that time it sounded like a heavy metal band type name, but to me it just sounded… in your face. It played in my mind and so I says to myself ‘Bugger it… I’m going to change the band’s name to Black Skull’ and I have to say, the minute that the band’s name was changed to Black Skull everything just fell into place. We were changing our uniform at that time and we came out with a uniform that had never been seen before and we adopted a style of drumming, bass drumming, that was new to the scene as well. Were your family involved in bands? My oldest brother Ian used to play in a band before he joined the armed forces. He played in the band up in Ruchill. So you got a notion for it yourself? Yeah, as a young kid I started going to watch the big walk as we call it, and our Ian was in the big walk, and when you’re a young kid the biggest influence when you see a band are the drummers, not fluters, not bass drum, no nothing, only side drummers. For some reason a kid likes to play a side drum, even to this day all young kids want to play side drums. When my brother left Glasgow to go and join the army he left his drum behind and I used to play about with it. There was an uncle of mine who was in a band. My ma had been telling him that I had been battering the thing and he said ‘You want to go down to a practice?’ and I said ‘Aye’, and that is where it really stemmed from. Even in the short time I have known the band there has been different members through. How many people do you think have been through the band?


Oh, I couldn’t put a number on it. It’s an absolute impossible question to answer. We should be able to look through all our records and everything else, obviously the books go back 30 years. I mean from the core of the bandsmen now some of them go back close to the beginning? Well, the only one that’s been there 30 years is me. Billy Faulds has been in bands for over 30 years, Alan Taylor has been in bands, but they’ve been in bands before they came to us. There are a lot of people that have served a lot of time. It must be hundreds? Oh definitely it will be way, way, way into the hundreds. Were you always interested in Loyalism? I think the Loyalism side of it stemmed from my oldest brother Ian. When he joined the army, he was based in Londonderry, and he sent me a calendar. Sort of a political calendar during the early days of the Troubles, but really if the truth be told kids, in particular myself at that time, the brain is nae adapted to understand definitions like Loyalism and so forth. It’s the music, it’s the instruments, and you don’t even know what half the tunes are called. It’s just being in a band. You are not physically conscious of ‘I’m in a Loyalist band’. It doesn’t work that way. That’s why when kids go to school and the teacher asks ‘Has anybody done anything special this weekend?’ and the younger one puts up his hand ‘Aye miss. I was out with my band’. ‘What band is that?’ ‘Out wae Black Skull’, ‘What’s Black Skull?’ ‘A flute band, miss’. ‘A flute band?’ They have no concept that certain people have closed their minds tae our tradition. That it could be contentious? They are quite protected from what other people might think of them. For want of a better expression you are sort of educated into it, to make you understand what you are all about. Some people are more literal than others; some people are more hard line than others. It just depends on what 82

Top Young Protestant Crown Defenders, 1981, Andy MacAdam’s personal archive Bottom Black Skull, Glasgow, 1982, Andy MacAdam’s personal archive


bands you go into, what direction you go, who you get involved with because there is a lot of things out there where you can easily be embroiled in hard line stuff. We are a ‘musical front’ we do our bit, as we call it, for the cause that way. The cause takes a wide range of views, it has a wide range of inputs. Some go down the political road, some go down the institutional road, we go down a musical road. You do get sort of… …blinkered? Aye, you’re blinkered to various aspects of the traditions, the culture. There are a lot of bands out there who are involved with political groups and they walk carrying standards. We would never go down that road, irrespective we’re all part of the same fraternity. There are different ways, but it all comes out of the same book. We all belong to the same group, the same fraternity. Some people are just more radical than others. When you said that Ian was serving in Northern Ireland in Londonderry, that must have had a strong impact on you psychologically? I was only a young kid at the time. As I started to get older and the longer he was serving then you realised it could have been Ian that was hurt. I think this is why a lot of people did get embroiled in the Troubles. I can say if anything had happened to him in Londonderry, I would probably have joined a faction which was political and radical. Fortunately my brother came back safe but I dare say that’s the reason a lot of people did join. I remember you told me that at one stage there had been a wee bit tension between the Orange Lodge and your band. You told me about wearing the tinsel wigs? [Laughs] Aye, there have been a few confrontations between us and various institutions. In 88-89, when the name Black Skull came about, it was like a whirlwind and it just escalated. We did a parade which ended up in a scuffle with the police and a couple of guys in the band got lifted. Word spread all over the West of Scotland about this parade and the trouble. It just so happened that the following week we were at Falkirk out in the 84

East Parade and people were all pointing to us saying ‘There’s that mad mob frae Glasgow’. So the name had created a whirlwind, unjustifiably, you know what I mean. The stories had grown arms and legs as time went along. We became an influential band at that time. The following year the band came out in made-to-measure uniforms in a style that had never been seen before. Was that a military outfit? No, these were the blue uniforms. What did that look like? Well, at that time bands used to wear maybe a jacket and a shirt and tie, and there were an odd couple of bands who wore a suit. But because I was very influenced by the guards, we came out with drums with the bands crest on it, wae drag ropes*, the bandsmen marking time. There was a lot of wee details put into this uniform and when it came out, it blew the band scene to another level. Did you never fancy going into the army? I tried on three occasions but I was a bit of a rogue and back in those days you had to be of a certain standing to get into the Guards. I just wanted to go into the Corps of Drums. That had always been a lifetime ambition, even though by that time I was married and had a kid it was still the pinnacle for me to join the Guards. I went down and went through the usual rigmarole with paperwork and everything else ‘Have you been in trouble?’, ‘Aye’… bearing in mind the trouble I’m talking about was not serious offences… and he says ‘come back in a couple of year’s time and we’ll have another look’. So as I say, I tried on three occasions and I kept getting knocked back. What was Ian in? Ian was in the Royal Artillery. But life moved on, and the band moved on, the band was getting bigger and better and the notion of the Guards just faded away. We’re heading towards the tinsel wigs…?


Yeah, well as I say you can’t get to that stage until you come through these particular times. That’s what I want to get. I’m trying to get the history, so if there are any gaps please fill them in. Well, back in those days the Irish bands were the big guns, they were the daddies, and then this wee band Black Skull came on the scene with an explosion of colour, sound and everything else which had never been seen before. Your numbers weren’t bigger than anyone else’s? Oh aye, we were about 60 odd at the time, we were a big band. In those days there was an interest in all bands not just us. There were a lot of big bands. There isn’t a band of 60 now, is there? Oh aye. You’re not far off it I suppose? Yeah, but see what happens in the band scene, there is a cycle every seven eight years, when there is an influx and a group all comes in wanting to join. Now basically at that time bands didn’t have a Colour Party, some bands had flags at the front but they didn’t have what is now defined as the Colour Party. I brought in a Colour Party, all very regimental, the big white cuffs for carrying the flags, the flags with orange cords and tassels. Very visually impressive, full made to measure uniform i.e. no expense spared. And one of the things with the bands then was that a lot of bands wore ties, but when you looked at them coming down the street some had a big knot, some had a wee knot, some knots had slipped and I went ‘no that’s not right’. And I used to sit and think about these things…clip on ties! Everybody’s the same. So that’s what I’m talking about with all these wee bits of... …detail.


Details with the accoutrements and everything else. The bands crest on the front of the drums and so forth. All the other bands came along, ‘We want a bit of that’. However despite all this, that year was a time of discontent. There was a lot of running verbal battles between bands and the Grand Orange Lodge. On that particular day there was a directive sent down frae the Grand Master Magnus Bain that no band will carry more than three flags or two flags and a bannerette. There were certain rules that were already in place but nobody really adhered to them because they were just peripheral, but he started making issues. The big walk to us is a joyous day. It is a day for the family being there. It’s a day for having a good laugh and celebrating our traditions and culture. A dark cloud hung over everything with all these ‘You can’t do this, you can do that’. So I decided for a bit of a laugh we’d try and gee things up a bit. We’ll get some funny masks and tinsel wigs. We’ll get all the drum section and the Colour Party wearing funny masks. The flute section obviously can’t wear funny masks so they wore tinsel wigs. We’d have a wee bit of banter, no’ being derogatory or bringing anybody into disrepute, just a laugh. But it didn’t go down too well. What were the masks? The masks were just like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. They didn’t see the funny side of it. There was one member of the Orange in particular who started bawling and shouting that day as the band was moving, we’d actually moved off but we hadn’t left the park yet. He started shouting ‘Get these masks aff’, he wanted me to stop the band, I was playing the bass drum at the time. And I turned round and told him ‘I’ll stop the band when I’m ready to stop the band, not when he tells me’, so the band finished playing its selection and stopped. I said ‘What’s your problem?’ and he started bawling and shouting, ‘Get these bloody masks off, blah blah blah’, if you don’t get them off I’ll put you off the road. In they days I was very head strong, you didn’t have to tell me anything twice, I said ‘you’ll what?’ He said ‘I’ll put you offae the road’. I said ‘let me tell you something you won’t put anybody off the road, I’ll put the band off the road, I’ll take the band off the road right here and now’. 87

He stood back in amazement, ‘Watch this’ I said. I turned round and told the band to get on the pavement, I put the band aff. The consequence was we ended up getting barred by the Orange Order. They said we were disobeying direct instructions from the Grand Lodge and bringing it in tae disrepute. When the incident took place they had a hearing-court-type thing which we’re no privy to. We got sin died [banned/outcast] and that sent shock waves through the band fraternity. Now what you have to understand is back in those days when a band got put off the road — it wasn’t an uncommon thing — they folded and they started up again under a new name. Now I had put too much work and too much of my life into this band and there was no way I was folding the band. So once we heard the news I got hold of everybody that was in the band and said ‘look this is the situation. The band has been sin died. If any of you want to leave the band and go and join another band, if it’s important for you that you have to walk on the day of the big walk, you can move on’. Nobody left the band. That has to be the most influential thing that happened to the band because what it did then was it instilled a belief within the group. The only disappointing fact to us was that we couldn’t get walking. Well we thought that when we got banned; we can’t walk in Belfast for the Twelfth.* That was a bit hard to take. Then somebody from the Independent Orange Order* contacted us ‘would you like to come over for the Twelfth?’ Happy days! That meant that we would never miss the Twelfth. The following year somebody else approached us, who became a good friend of mine, a good friend of the band. He was a secretary of a Lodge in Glengormley, and he asked if we would walk with him and I said ‘we can’t walk with you we’re barred’. And he said ‘if I can get you to walk with us will you walk with us?’ Unaware that at that time we were barred under an agreement called the Glasgow Belfast Agreement. What that meant was that when you were barred in Glasgow, you were barred in Belfast. You weren’t barred in the rest of the province. He knew this beforehand and he came back and said ‘listen, I got it all clear from the Grand Secretary of Ireland. Aye you’re barred in Belfast but you’re not barred to walk with us’. Glengormley is very close to Belfast [laughs].


Ten minutes up the road. But they don’t walk in Belfast, they walk in East Antrim. So we ended up walking with that Lodge and we have been with them ever since and that’s 20 odd years now. So you’ve got that Dennistoun connection and now you’ve got the Glengormly connection. The way I sort of operated with the band from the beginning was when somebody was good to the band, not in financial terms, but when people were good to the band as in the hand of friendship… Showed an interest in it. …and they built a rapport up with us, then we stay with them. It’s quite ironic now when you look at these things, there’s Brian’s Lodge that’s 21 years we’ve been walking with them, and the Apprentice Boys of Derry that’s 21 years or 22 years we’ve been walking with them, leading that parade. That came about because we had been put off the road. We were asked if we’d like to go to Londonderry. We had actually been asked many occasions before but we never took it up because we’d always walked here and walked with the Blacks*. But when we got put off the road, there was nothing to stop us. That’s why I say in hindsight getting put off the road was one of the best things to happen to us, because it opened other doors and made us look at things differently. So you said that you marched with the Blacks in Glasgow? Oh, we done both because the Blacks is an extension of the Orange Order. Was that the next day or something like that? They all have different days. The Blacks main parade is in August and the Orange Order is obviously July. And then somebody invited you to go over to Londonderry? Well, they asked if we would like to go over… 89

That was the Apprentice Boys. …and we’ve been there ever since. So you think the band had reached a point where folk were noticing? Were you musically getting it together? Well, we were learning all the time. You can have the look but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the sound to go with it. And we were very fortunate that we were looked upon as a new wave band, we had our ain style, we had our own sort of drumbeats, we had our ain sound. So had you gone through Blood and Thunder* and got into something else? Aye, we came through the whole thing. We are still Blood and Thunder. We’re defined as a melody band, but strictly speaking we’re no’. We’re a Corps of Drum band. But in the early days we were strictly Blood and Thunder and then we learned and learned. The whole ironic part of that decade of being sin died was striking up rapports with Glengormly, with Londonderry and having a big name and a big influence within the band fraternity. So how many years were you off the road? Eight to ten years, I can’t remember exactly, but it never bothered us because we had a lot of friends. We used to go and do the band competitions. But the main thing for us is that we have to walk on the Twelfth of July, from the day I’ve been involved with bands I’ve never missed the Twelfth of July and until the day I’m up the stairs with the big man — that’s if I go up the stairs — I will never miss a Twelfth of July. So earlier on you were going over to Northern Ireland? From the year we started the band we were invited over, a wee unknown band. The band went to Drogheda House*? I’m wondering about these other interests of the band. There was also a point where a couple of the bandsmen went over to the Somme and the Menin Gate. 90

Aye, there are a few of the boys go out there every year. It’s a remembrance thing really, but it stems from a political group who keep the affiliation with the 36th Division*. But now the so-called war is over the 36th heritage groups are more of a thing. Drogheda is totally different. I would say it has to be one of the highlights if not the biggest accolade for the band. I don’t see anything ever surpassing that just for the sheer fact that we were the first band ever to have an official invitation to play on the historic battlefields. It went off brilliantly. For the band to sit in front of an audience on the battlefields, doing it as professionally as we could. It’s nothing to do with religious triumphalism, bearing in mind I don’t define myself as religious, I don’t define myself as a Protestant, Presbyterian, Church of Scotland, x, y and z. I am what I am. I believe in my traditions and my culture. We sing and dance and recite the poems all about the Boyne. 99.5 per cent of Orangemen have probably never been to the Boyne and we’ve actually sat there and played where it all took place. So that’s something that will be with us to the end. What date was that? That was 13th of July. Was it five years ago? Let me think [laughs]. Three years ago? 2007 was when I made the film in January. Had you been there by then? I think it was that year actually, because it was the first year of the new Corps of Drums uniform so that’s 2007. Have other people been there subsequently? Well, other people have been down but they have never done a concert. You have got to bear in mind that it’s a tourist attraction now. But when we went it had just officially opened. Have they invited you back? Well it’s been done now, hasn’t it? 91

Like the moon. Why go back to the moon [laughs]. Why go back? But at the same time for us to be invited was a highlight. You’ve got to bear in mind we were going into ‘enemy territory’. We were going down to the Republic to play on the battlefields. Is it in Cavan or Monahan?

…you’re quite stubborn [laughs]? Very! I would have come back and bit the arse right aff them. When the band was parading here and in Northern Ireland did you ever face threats of violence? We never faced threats but there were occasions we were there at flash points.

I think its Meath. There are still Lodges down there, aren’t there? Oh aye, it’s not the Grand Lodge of Northern Ireland. It is the Grand Lodge of Ireland. But to do the Boyne that was probably the biggest thing ever. I sat on the historical battlefield of the Battle of the Boyne and played what my tradition is all about, you know. We didn’t hold back. We played tunes that might have been controversial like ‘The Sash’* and ‘No Surrender’ and ‘God Save the Queen’. At the end of the day that’s our national anthem irrespective of where we are, when we finish a performance we play the national anthem. It is our mark of respect for our tradition. I have to say the people down there were absolutely fantastic and couldn’t have done enough for us. If more people were like that and accepted what we are and our traditions… They are making thousands out of our traditions now with the amount of people who travel to Drogheda House to see the re-enactment of the Battle of the Boyne. Has anybody ever mistreated you because you run the band? Nobody has ever been nasty to me. There are times when like everybody else you feel you’ve had enough and I’m no different. But I’m old enough and wise enough and have learned through the years. We have lost a lot of personnel through the years because they’re fed up, and they’re tired, maybe they have personal problems. Were you never specifically targeted by anybody? Nobody has every targeted me. That would have been the stupidest move anybody would ever have done, because at the end of the day... 92

Even when I was there, there were folk throwing stones. We’ve been very fortunate through the years that we have never had any big flash point. Saying that we have no qualms whatsoever, many an occasion we’ve confronted Republicans and others. There are quite a few stories I could tell you. The parade in Londonderry has changed and I suppose I’d quite like to hear a wee bit about that. It’s been very relaxed these last two years that I’ve been. Yes, we’ve been up there when the tension has been high. But see what you’ve got to understand is, when the tension is high the adrenalin is going, and it makes you more determined to hit it harder, blow it louder, stamp your feet harder. There’s nae fear factor. …Not from your wife saying: do you think you should be going this year? Well no, no, no she knows. I’m fortunate enough she will never say that and it will never happen. I dare say some people may have that. My wife says ‘Are you sure about going down to that band again’ [laughs]. I dare say some mothers are nervous but we’re very careful about what we do. Saying that, anybody who steps on our toes, does that at their peril, because you’ve seen the size of a lot of us. In Londonderry there are occasions when the world media is there and the tension is high, but that just makes us more determined, that’s what gives us the buzz. 93

You have been at the front of that parade since ‘91? No, 1990. I thought it was later than that? It’s either 1989 or 1990, the first time we walked. When were bands allowed back on the walls? They were allowed back on the walls about 96–97. Once again that was a buzz and a half. You’ll never know unless you are part of the fraternity and you understand what we’re about. You will never experience, the buzz, the adrenalin to walk on the walls. To say ‘I’ve walked Derry’s walls’. To be the first also since 1969 or something? To be the first Scottish band that has ever done it and the only Scottish band that’s ever done it. So you are still the only Scottish band that has done that? Oh aye. Just going to the constituency of the band, half the band are from Glasgow? The majority of the band are from Glasgow, we have got one from Harthill, two from Fauldhouse, one from Kirriemuir up near Aberdeen. Aye that’s the guy that works on the rigs? There used to be ones from Liverpool but they are no longer in the band. It is no a case of the catchment area, it’s a case of somebody comes to us and they can dedicate their time to the band. Then we’re prepared to accept them into the band. It’s the commitment factor. Bear in mind a lot of people come to us because of who we are and the name we’ve made for ourselves.

When I first started doing this project a lot of my interest was based on the fact of being in a mixed marriage… Well see this is the thing; you have got to understand there are boys in the band that have mixed marriages. That is not an issue. There is this sort of belief that with our fraternity when you join they ask you what you are, what your wife is. That’s not the case. You have got to understand as well we’re not a religious body. We don’t have rules like the Orange Order. Strictly speaking the bands are an extension of these institutions from past years but now they have their own lives, their own breathing apparatus. And now you are independent? 99.99 per cent are independent. I’m a great believer that you take people for what they are. At the end of the day if somebody is married to a different denomination that’s his prerogative but it’s made more of an issue by media and people outside the fraternity than it actually is by the people in it. If you came down here with your wife or anybody else we wouldn’t say ‘What religion are they?’ we’re not that barbaric, we’re not that backward. And another thing of interest: When we used that statement Scottish by birth, British by the grace of God. That’s my slogan you stole. [Laughs] Yeah it was offered to me and it’s there. Your Scottish identity, is that important to you? I would say I am more British than I am Scottish as most of the band probably would. At the end of the day the Scottish identity has watered itself away. It’s a hard one to explain. Do you feel proud to be Scottish? No, if the truth be told. Was that feeling always there?

— 94


No, I think it’s an educational process; it’s the things that you learn as you go along. I don’t take any great pride in saying ‘I’m Scottish’. I don’t make it a point to jump about with a kilt. I have no time for Burns whatsoever. Glasgow was the second city in the empire; Glasgow was bigger than anything else in the world apart from London at one time. The influences that we have had on British society have not been acknowledged. Our history doesn’t get taught properly in our schools. I’m not embarrassed to be Scottish but I don’t go out my way to say I’m Scottish. If somebody says to me what nationality are you? I will say British. I feel like Scottishness has been hijacked. Being Scottish is nothing to be proud of. It has been hijacked by the tottie pickers, hijacked by your tartan armies. Who do you mean when you say tottie pickers? Oh, tottie pickers, the ones up north. At the end of the day they are of the same persuasion as us, but it has no meaning to them. The Scottish population is five million. Over four million are of the reformed faith with the Wee Church, the Kirk, Evangelical. Culturally Protestant. We are culturally Protestant and the point being it is considered a dirty part of history which they don’t want to teach in school. About John Knox* etc. Even Glasgow’s position on the Jacobite rebellion*… The whole definition of a Scottish identity. —

I know this is a big question. What would you say is the difference between the Orange Order and the Apprentice Boys? There is a major difference. Ok I’m no authority on these particular institutions but what I know from being part of these things, the Orange Order is a Christian organisation. It’s based on the bible. The Apprentice Boys is an institution which preserves the memory of the people who closed the gates and lived through the siege in Londonderry. In terms of running the band what are the different jobs… Well, a band couldn’t be run without various personnel within the band. Big Willie is the treasurer; we couldn’t do it without him. Billy Faulds does the secretary work. My job is the playing side and visual side. How the band is portrayed is my domain. Arthur and Ian run the hall, it couldn’t run without them doing it. These boys give up their time to do it. So there is a group of guys who keep the band running, it’s like on a building site, you need the dumper driver, the brick layer, the labourer. How do you raise the money for the band? We pay dues every week. How much is that? We pay a fiver a week in dues for guys who are working, for guys who are not we try to come and go a bit, kids we only take half dues off them. We hold dances, we hold a band competition which is a day where we invite bands to come and play at our contest. Do they pay to be part of that?

Following spread Canon, Double Bastion, Walls of Derry, 4 December 2010


No, only the people that come with them pay to get in. But we sell things like merchandise, sausage rolls, and pies. The big influential part of that day is the drink, the more drink we sell the more money we make. It’s really a fund raising exercise. We will maybe hold some functions through the year, dances and race nights. 97



And when people go over to Northern Ireland do they pay their own money? No, the band takes care of everything. We pay for the Belfast trip. We pay for the Londonderry trip, for the hotels, the buses and everything else. If we were to leave it in the hands of the individual we would probably find that on the morning when we go away, people wouldn’t turn up because they don’t have the money. All they have got to do is come with their spending money. Ok in terms of the show at the Imperial War Museum. Yeah. What are your ambitions for that? What do you hope people will get from seeing the band on film in London? If you’re asking what we hope to gain from it, I would say I hope that it educates people and makes them understand that we’re just another part of society who has traditions, who have a background, have a history which can’t be ignored. To try and eliminate the dirtiness out of the word Loyalist. Before the Troubles started, loyalist was just another day-to-day word, but during the Troubles ‘Loyalism’ incorporated paramilitaries and everything else. Now the term is sort of washing itself clean to an extent. We’re a group of people who stem from another group of people who fought and died in battles from the Civil War to the Second World War and beyond for the rights that we have now, and there are people who are trying to take that off us. We will not sit back and allow that. If we can open the eyes of people and say right, look, we are not discriminative, because the perception is that we are hard line Protestants and hate anything to do with Rome and Catholicism. This is far from the truth. All we’re concerned about is how well we’re playing, how can we promote our culture, how we promote our identity, how can we educate people to understand what we’re about. Now whether they accept it or like it is another story but that’s beside the point.


Right I’m going to do the last three questions and try and make them quick. You’re alright. Why do you wear Scots guard uniform? The reason we wear that is that as a young boy I tried to join the Scots Guards and they wouldn’t take me. Trooping the Colour and all these things appealed to me being a bandsman and I was fascinated by it all. We don’t celebrate our Scottishness, but we’re very, very proud to be Glaswegian. You don’t expect us to be Glaswegian and wear a Welsh Guards uniform do you? Where would the logic be to that? So it’s simple common sense. We are a Scottish band so it’s an affiliation… well that’s the wrong word… Even association is difficult. Aye, we are not associating, more emulating. And you’ve had correspondence with the Guards... They weren’t too happy about us wearing that particular uniform. The guy who wrote to us had problems with us wearing that uniform and parading with the Apprentice Boys and the Orange Order. But we have no discrimination toward who we walk with. I said to him at least we try to portray a part of Fife and Drum history, we don’t let ourselves or anybody else down. He has a concern about that. Yet the regiment can sell off their uniforms to people like Mick Jagger and other ones who would dance up and down a stage wearing a Guard’s tunic and dance on top of it, so there are double standards there. In 2007 it was a marine uniform that you wore, wasn’t it? Well in 2007 it was the Scots Guard but we still have the marine suit, we wear what’s called the President’s Own*. So you are still running two uniforms?


We feel like a change now and again. I have noticed of course that the discipline within the band is very well maintained. Do you have sanctions? We have implementations there that will deal with various issues, if somebody was to turn up for the parade drunk we would just take their gear off and put them out. And you would say come back next week? No, we would put them out and when we put you out, you’re out. You could have another scenario where somebody came up drunk and we wouldn’t allow him to walk, maybe deal with him later on, but he certainly wouldn’t walk with us. We don’t tolerate drugs; we don’t allow any drugs of any description within the band. And if your uniform is shoddy? You are inspected before you walk with the band and if your hat is dirty you get done, if your belts dirty you get done, if your boots dirty you get done and you get fined five pound a time and sometimes more than that. If you don’t turn up to band practice and you don’t inform the person who deals with that, you get double dues. We don’t force you to come to practice you come because you want to come, but at the same time it’s a wee bit of courtesy to let us know ‘listen can’t be down on Sunday because I’m working’, fine not a problem. We don’t allow vulgarity to be used in front of the women and so forth. So there are a lot of moral codes that we try to incorporate into the band. Don’t get me wrong, when the guys are together it’s a different thing. But there is a time and a place for everything. There has been talk within the council of trying to pass by-laws on how people are going to parade in Glasgow in the future. How’s it going and where’s it going? Well, this is a matter for the powers that be but I’m of the opinion that they create mountains out of mole hills. At the end of the day the civil liberties are embedded in the fabric of the United Kingdom. They cannot take that liberty away from me. But if the truth be told on 102

these things the councillors that are trying to implement it have an anti-reformed faith point of view. These people would like the parading institutions like the Orange and the Apprentice Boys to disappear. These implementations that you are talking about you don’t hear about them down in Preston, Blackpool, Blackburn, Liverpool, and London. Why is it up here? I’ll tell you why, because Glasgow City Council, despite recent election results, is still a Labour run show. Since the war the Catholic community have worked at putting themselves in power within Glasgow City Council. It’s almost like you can’t get into the Scottish Labour* party now unless you’re a Catholic. You can’t be an Orangeman and be in the Scottish Labour party? You can but the problem is it’s a Catholic dominated organisation. Do you think they’re going to vote somebody into a position of power within the Council if they’re an Orangeman or Apprentice Boy? They’ll put him out before he gets in. You don’t think it’s a class thing. Nothing to do with class whatsoever. You don’t think it’s a middle class agenda to get rid of a working class expression of identity? Not at all. The whole issue boils down to one thing, religious discrimination. The day of the main demonstration in Glasgow is the biggest street event in Scotland at any time of the year. You try and get a hotel room when it comes to the weekend of the big walk in Glasgow, you won’t get one. Now you think about it — this is from police reports, where they estimated between the bandsmen, the Orangemen and the people following the parade or watching the parade the numbers are in excess of a 100,000. If that’s the case you are not telling me that a 100,000 go out there without spending any money? Now I think there’s 118 Lodges and most Lodges have a band. So there is over 200 buses that have to be booked. Now all these people are spending money on meals, spending money in bars, and spending money 103

in restaurants. There must be eight to ten million pounds generated in the city of Glasgow on that particular day. Yet you don’t hear the council saying anything about it. They will tell you when somebody else holds something ‘Oh, the city’s making this off it, the city’s making that off it’. This is discriminatory. I’m under no illusions. But we don’t do nothing about it. The Orange institution within its constitution states that they cannot preach to their membership on how to vote. Politics is a taboo subject. We need to start voting in people who are going to be more sympathetic to what we are and our backgrounds and traditions. And until that day comes we will get sidelined. At the end of the day, the vast majority of councilors in Glasgow City Council have no interest in us and no sympathetic view of our traditions and the background we come from. So we continue to do what we do. If we walk away from it and everybody else walks away from it, then they’ve won, so that won’t happen. Not in my lifetime anyway [laughs].

Right Imperial War Museum, London, 7 April 2011



Glossary — Apprentice Boys of Derry a worldwide Protestant fraternal society founded in 1814. The Memorial Hall in Londonderry houses a museum and the headquarters of the Apprentice Boys. The society is organised in Parent Clubs and Associated Clubs and run by a General Committee. The Battle of the Boyne was fought on July 1690 between two rival claimants to the British crown, Catholic King James II and Protestant King William of Orange. King James had been deposed in 1688 and sought to regain the crown. He was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne, a significant turning point in the conflict, which ended in victory of the House of Orange. Blacks is a short name for the Royal Black Institution, a Protestant fraternal organisation formed in Ireland in 1797. Members of the Blacks have to first join an Orange Order Lodge. Blood and Thunder is a style of flute band popular in working class urban communities receiving the title due to loud thundering drums and the blood that can sometimes be seen on the bass drum skin after a vigorous performance. Bridgton Billy Boys Protestant gang in 1920s Glasgow led by Billy Fullerton. Drag ropes are small cords attached to a side drum designed to allow a soldier to carry his drum on his back freeing up his hands for other duties. Today these cords are ornamental. Drogheda House Oldbridge House, Battle of the Boyne Visitor Centre, Drogheda.

Orange Order also known as Orange Institute or Orange Lodge is a Protestant fraternal society strongly linked with Unionism. The Order is organised in lodges which send representatives to the Grand Lodge, headed by an elected Grand Master. The lodges are organised in districts. Scottish Labour The Scottish Labour Party is a section of the United Kingdom’s Labour Party. The party has long held dominance over modern Scottish politics. The Siege of Derry took place in Londonderry in 1689. The city was a stronghold of Williamite supporters. Faced with the prospect of Catholic troops replacing the Protestant garrison, 13 young apprentice boys closed the gates of the city on 9 December 1688 before the first company of soldiers could enter. The city was ultimately besieged by the Jacobite army from 18 April until it was relieved on 28 July. The siege is commemorated annually by the Apprentice Boys of Derry. ‘The Sash My Father Wore’ also called ‘The Sash’ is a ballad commemorating the fraternal links between Ulster and Scottish Orangemen. 36th (Ulster) Division was formed in 1914 from the Ulster Volunteer Force. The Ulster Volunteer Force was a Protestant organisation established by Sir Edward Carson to counter the threat of the Home Rule Bill. The 36th Division took part in the Battle of the Somme suffering very heavy casualties. In the 1960s, a Loyalist paramilitary group emerged which took the name of the original Ulster Volunteer Front.

Independent Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal organisation formed in 1903 after a split from the Orange Institution in opposition to the Order’s domination by Unionist politicians and the upper classes. Jacobite rebellion refers to the attempt in 1745 by Charles Edward Stuart commonly known as Bonnie Prince Charlie and grandson of deposed King James II, to regain the British crown. There had been a series of uprisings in Britain and Ireland since 1688 to re-establish James II and his descendants to the throne. John Knox was a Scottish clergyman and leader of the Protestant reformation. Knox is considered to have been the founder of Presbyterianism in Scotland. Mixed marriage a term used in Scotland and Northern Ireland to describe a marital relationship between a Protestant and a Catholic. President’s Own refers to the United States Marine Band, the premier band of the United States Marine Corps. The band has played at the inauguration of every President of the United States since 1801.



Band statement — Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum was born in Glasgow 30 years ago to celebrate and preserve our proud British heritage. We celebrate and remember victories in years gone past, won by our forefathers of all persuasions at places such as Londonderry, the Boyne and the Somme, which still to this day bring us freedoms, opportunities and a lifestyle some blindly take for granted. Like many bands in Glasgow we started in humble circumstances. The task was to take bored, disillusioned youngsters off the streets of Glasgow’s toughest housing estates, teach them to play and read music, foster discipline, develop musical ability and hopefully turn the boys and girls away from the usual temptations in the schemes — drugs, antisocial drinking and violent gang culture. We perform at a wide range of events including weddings, birthday parties, Apprentice Boys of Derry functions, funerals, charity fundraising events, British Legion parades, Orange Order events, fun days and gala days. Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum www.blackskull.co.uk

Right 12th of July commemoration, Glasgow Green, 5 July 2008 Following spreads The Diamond War Memorial, Londonderry, 4 December 2010 Shutting of the Gates Commemorations, 4 December 2010







Left Apprentice Boy’s bannerette, Shutting of the Gates Commemorations, 4 December 2010 Following spread Bloomberg SPACE installation shot. Bandsmen’s portraits plus band slogan, London, 26 October 2008





Burning effigy, Shutting of the Gates Commemorations, Londonderry, 4 December 2010



Andy MacAdam, practice night, Glasgow, 20 November 2010



Practice night, Glasgow, 20 November 2010



Credits — First published in Great Britain in 2011 by the Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London SE1 6HZ www.iwm.org.uk ISBN 978-1-90489-780-4 All texts copyright © Roderick Buchanan unless otherwise stated. Introduction text copyright © The Trustees of the Imperial War Museum 2011. Glossary text copyright © Roderick Buchanan and The Trustees of the Imperial War Museum 2011. All images copyright © Roderick Buchanan unless otherwise captioned. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the copyright holder and publisher. The views expressed in this book are those of the contributors and not necessarily of the Imperial War Museum.

Commission Imperial War Museum Commissioning panel; Commissioner: Roger Tolston; Producer and Curator: Ulrike Smalley; Production house: Greenroom films, Leith; Producer: George Barr; Production manager: Lou Kiddier; Director: Roderick Buchanan. Shoot 8 August 2009 Director of photography: Martin Testar; Sound recordist: Rob Anderson; Focus pullers: Eric Greenburg, Julia Robinson; Steady Cam operators: Mick O’Rourke, Richard Steel, Martin Parry; Camera operators: Eugene McVeigh, Julie Bills; Camera assistants: Connor Rotherham, Ryan Kemaghan, Jonathan O’Hanlon; Grip and Rickshaw dolly: Glynn Harrison; Runners: Frankie Waite, Jonathan Waite. Post Production Greenroom films, Leith; Editor: Christopher Tuszewski; Post production manager: Lee Archer; Sound engineer: John Vick.

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

Roderick Buchanan would like to thank Jacqueline Donachie, Archie, Duncan & James Buchanan; Peter McCaughey; Members of Black Skull Corps of Fife & Drum; The Apprentice Boys of Derry; General Secretary Billy Moore; Chief Marshal Philip Gillen; Crimson player Norman Rossburgh; Police Service of Northern Ireland: Alec Penny & Davie Campbell.

Design: Modern Activity Print: White Print Set in Ronaldson, a font with Scottish origins.

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