If you have never heard the music of Colin MacIntyre do yourself a favour and check it out straight away. I bought the first album he made as Mull Historical Society 15 years ago and have played it constantly since. Subsequent albums as MHS and under his own name have been consistent in their quality. This is a man with an extraordinary gift for melody. As the name he records under suggests, he was born and raised in Tobermory on the beautiful Isle of Mull.
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of meeting Colin for the first time. The great thing about book festivals is that they take you to places you’ve never been to before and into communities that you would never have had the privilege to access if it wasn’t for the books. This was the second ‘Tobermory Book Festival’ and being on stage with Colin is probably the closest I will get to rock stardom. As well as producing wonderful music, Colin also writes (‘The Letters of Ivor Punch’ won the Edinburgh International Book Festival’s First Book Award) and so we had much to talk about in our appearance together on Saturday evening. The highlight for me came when Colin picked up his guitar to sing two special songs.
The first, ‘Five More Minutes’ is a lament for his father, Kenny MacIntyre who was the BBC Scotland political and industrial correspondent and died suddenly in 1999. It’s the stand out track from that 2004 album (‘Us’) and never ceases to move me. The second was ‘Blackbird’, the classic McCartney track from the White Album.
Unbeknown to Colin my son Jamie started to teach me the fiendishly difficult guitar accompaniment when he came up from London to East Yorkshire in the spring. We continued the tutorial via Skype through the summer. Colin’s rendition continued my tuition.
Of all the many gigs I’ve done at book festivals and on the theatre tour this magical time in Tobermory is amongst the most memorable.