Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The moving story of Killian Mansfield - and some good music too

Being Scottish, you have to fight past the slight whiff of tooth-grinding sentimentality. Well, I did. But it's more than worth it, just for Dr John doing Scratch My Back.

Killian Mansfield was a 15-year-old ukulele player, dying from a rare form of cancer, who determined to record an album with 'famous people'. It helped, I suppose, that he lived in Woodstock. Still, the result is more than moving. It's very good. And the 'famous people' are quality: The aforementioned Mac Rebennack, Kate Pierson from the B-52s, Levon Helm, Todd Rundgren and John Sebastian.

Read the story here.

Stream the album here.

Contribute to the foundation here.

1 comment:

Nairn said...


The hallway dare I say it has been a sublime DIY job, we don’t sit in it and there isn’t too much to move so not much disruption to family life. True it took months of nagging for me to agree that the walls were marked in a couple of places, and that the gloss paint was definitely cream rather than white in shade. Personally I blame it all on ma specs, everything looks just fine if I don’t wear them!

Mr Morton although back in the UK but still he doesn’t grace our airwaves at 2:00 pm, although he has been providing some excellent thought provoking material, Drinking for Scotland.

Today I’ve made up a ‘Tom’ play list in ma iTunes, great sing alongs which will help with the finishing touches to the painting, everyone is out so I can crank up the stereo to at least volume 11 without any complaints or nasty remarks such as ‘what on earth is that you are playing, gross’.

Today’s job is a muse or rather amusement for the painter. In reality the job is finished but many years ago the beautiful (Never seen them so assuming here) mahogany banisters were painted gloss white. The house was a former B&B that had a makeover sometime in the 1970’s. Apart from the banisters some panelled doors were replaced and old fireplaces pulled out and boarded over. Some of these items I have had to buy back from what is called ‘architectural salvage’, the scrappie to you and me.

I did consider taking the banisters back to their natural wood. In the past I have tried stripping wood with both blowtorch and chemical paint stripper, both seem to make an awful lot of mess especially if tried inside.
I’m painfully aware that making an awful lot of mess indoors is not a good idea no matter how good the end result might be.
So… I have treated myself to one of those fake wood paint kits, namely two tins of paint of slightly different shades, and some plastic combs to drag through the paint in order to create a grain effect. Mahogany banisters here we come.

It’s hard not to move around or at least sway to the loud music, but a steady hand is required here.
The results are looking very promising even when I put ma specs on. I finish the last banister and step back.
The rear of the house is an extension built in the 1930’s, which gives us an odd half landing and some awkward twisty stairs.
One small step for me (Backwards) results in ma foot missing a stair tread, and as ma body jars doonwards by eight inches, the contents of the tin of reddish brown paint in ma left hand whooshes past ma ear.
The results are quite spectacular, Gerald Scarfe himself would approve but ma other half most definitely won’t. Downstairs Mick is belting out Honky Tonk Women, ‘upstairs for a ride’ aye, that’ll be right.
My saving grace is in the kitchen, a new bottle of carpet shampoo. Just for once I had not only read the message list but also managed to find and then buy an item written on it at the shops, unheard of.
A river of blood red soapy water is running down the stairs but the paint is gradually coming off the walls, the skirting, the ceiling, and the stair carpet. An hour later it looks as though my hard efforts have worked.

The front door opens and I gingerly descend the stairs. My wife screams and points at me, I immediately think I’ve missed a bit.
‘What’s happened to your shoulder?’ she cries. In my haste to tidy the spilt paint I hadn’t realised that a large dollop had hit me, dried deep red it now looks as though I’ve suffered a mortal wound. ‘Och that, I just split a wee bit paint, but the jobs finished now and I thought I’d give the carpet a clean’.
Another of my nine lives has been lost but I live to tell the tale, but deep suspicion now rests on the cleaned stair carpet… I wasn’t even asked let alone nagged!

From windy Nairn