The Fall: Endinburgh Man

 

“We can shape wir bairn’s wyliecoat but canna shape thair weird”

 

The Cornell Fiji House where Brother Griffo lived  with me so long ago.  He once threw my gift out the window from the top floor and shot fiery rockets at me. Wally's purple monument is still buried alongside the door.

The Cornell Fiji House where Brother Griffo lived with me so long ago. He once threw my gift out the window from the top floor and shot fiery rockets at me. Wally’s purple monument is still buried alongside the door.

Perhaps the UK’s most prolific rock band, The Fall, was seen in-concert by the Academic Entrepreneur in 1990. Mark E Smith formed the band upon dropping out of high school at the age of 19 in England.  It was through this festive experience that the Academic Entrepreneur discovered Scotland, and consequently moved to Edinburgh.  But the credit goes to his good friend, fraternity brother and kindred Richard Griffo, aka Brother Griffo, introduced him to The Fall that pivotal year, and, also to Edinburgh. Richard Griffo left us for better lands in 1994. Its time to tell the story of the Edinburgh Man.

The Capital City of Scotland, where the Edinburgh Man wishes to return to walk its coblestones and its bridges

The Capital City of Scotland, where the Edinburgh Man wishes to return to walk its coblestones and its bridges

It was winter. The train ride up the country side, through the post-Industrial Newcastle, where The Dog was brewed, was a time to be remembered as the two sipped on their own frothy cold pups and talked on a range of subjects from The Fall  to geopolitics and the history of the regions they had entered. Brother Griffo loved trains, he knew all kinds of stuff about them. Come to think of it, so did Wally. Trains? Hmmmmm must have been because they were from New Jersey, AE figured at the time.  It was fun to journey with the Griff.  Life was good and this was an era of the free spirit in both of them as they made their way up to the Capital City.

“A rowin stane gaithers nae fog”

The grass was green in the winter there, with just a bit of frost and the smell of roasted barley filled the air, which was chilly, but fresh. The wind howled and pulled at their cloaks as they did what they had to do and crawled the pubs down the gothic lanes of Auld Reekie.  From there they saw Mark E and his band and play Telephone Thing (an eery sign of things to come a dozen years later) and Mr. Pharmacist.  In between songs, of course, like good brothers they took turns fetching plastic pints of stout, as dark as they could drink it of course, from the bar.

“Claw ye ma back, an A’ll claw yers”

The other was thus entitled to enjoy the visuals of the other-gendered Fall fans about.

“Gie it laldy, Failing means yer playin!”

By all recollections Griffo ended up with the brunt of the financial burden that evening, but he took the battering with a gleam in his eye and not a single word of complaint arose from his heid.

Unfortunately, like all good things, the music came to an end. But the duo didn’t stop there and head out to the pub. Griffo was on his best, always making friends and we had a motley crew swarming about us.

“Better a fremmit freend nor a freend fremmit.”

The clock soon struck three. It was time to explore.

We told stories on the stairs. We wandered through parks and cemetaries. We climbed hills,  investigated any old buildings we could get into, and walked on cobblestones admist the characters of Edinburgh until the dawn. We peed in the tall green grass in in wee bits of snow that were too small to initial.  We carried a couple of pissed lads to and fro, helped them out and stuck them in cabs. We gave homeless beggars spare pounds, cigarettes, and beers.

It felt like we walked 500 miles that night. But we certainly sang it and danced it together.

Had he had his records with him, he would have spun them and mixed them right there on the cobblestones.  But he did manage to smash some beer bottles on them in an outdoor pub where we walked on glass toghether with other revelers that were now Richard’s friends.  He had even picked up some Scots and was talking in tounges by the end of it, singing with the Cocteau Twins

Finally we crossed the bridges as daylight approached, we gawked at the train station architecture from above, and at women wearing scantily anything below, and made our way home to crash in the B&B  and shut out the Scottish sun as we could with our drapes.

It was a true Edinburgh nite.

That night Brother Griffo was the Edinburgh Man. 

Edinburgh Man can be heard here: Edinburgh Man or below.

The thing that’s duin is no tae dae.

Richard Griffo, Brother Griffo, at Sister Mary's Wedding. Rest in Peace Edinburgh Man. Fiji misses you dearly.

Richard Griffo, Brother Griffo, at Sister Mary’s Wedding. Rest in Peace Edinburgh Man. Fiji misses you dearly.

 

Lyrics of Edinburgh Man by the Fall

written by Mark E Smith and Craig Scanlon

It’s springtime but I still miss the streets at dawn


And in the morning walking your bridges home
As I sit and stare at all of England’s souls
I tell you something
I wish I was in Edinburgh
I don’t mind being by myself
Don’t wanta be anywhere else
Just wanna be in Edinburgh
I wish I was an Edinburgh man
You can leave me on the shelf
I’m an Edinburgh man myself
I will always give you help
It’s summertime but I still miss your skies so clear
Sitting and staring on a beach somewhere
I’ll tell you something
I wish I was in Edinburgh
Don’t give a toss about private wealth
And history just repeats itself
Keep me away from the Festival
And just give me a warm quarter-gill*
They say you project yourself
But I’m an Edinburgh man myself
It’s wintertime and i still see the cobble stones
Clacking over your streets at dawn
I was really poor since I left Edinburgh
I’m OK just by myself
Cause our miserable king won’t protect us from ourselves
How I wish I was in Edinburgh
How I wish I was in Edinburgh
I was always in good health
I’m an Edinburgh man myself

I will always give you help
I’m an Edinburgh man myself

There is no time like the present.

Scottish Sun shone on the path home of the Edinburgh Man

Scottish Sun shone on the path home of the Edinburgh Man

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  1. #1 by Dr. Joseph Plazo on April 22, 2014 - 08:13

    Hey there! I’ve been reading your website for a long time now and finally got the bravery
    to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Texas!
    Just wanted to mention keep up the great work!

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