Sunday 29 November 2015

Scotland is no longer a nation for and says "Fareweel" to an old poet called Sandy Hutchison

Sandy, who the American poet August Kleinzhaler, has described in tribute as 'a brilliant poet with an incandescent word-hoard, fiercely, indelibly Scottish', has died at the age of seventy-two.

He published 'Let the rough and tumble begin. DEIL TAK THE HINMAIST' as one of six poems in 'Bones and Breath' in 2013, the year after he won first 'Saltire Poetry Prize.' He dedicated it to the late Scottish poet, journalist, essayist, Christopher Murray Grieve, known by his pen name, Hugh MacDiarmid and said This poem began its life in English as 'Unfinished Business'. A few years ago it decided it had another identity, pretty well transforming itself into (mostly North-east) Scots. The spelling usually is an aid to pronunciation. It should be read out loud, in the spirit of the old flytings: ritual insults freely exchanged. The chopped-out framework and various levels may appear Dantesque; but Dunbar and Rabelais are in the line-up too.’  It begins :

'I think ye ocht t' pit the pillywinkies on t' him..' 
The girt yett kickit in, an lo! – they liggit: scummers o pots an skelpers o cuddies; jaws that cleikit, rhymes that reikit; Kerr's Pink
tatties biled in their jaickets; deedle-dabblers in cytoplasm; virtual
realtors swickin an swyvin; daddy-lang-legs; dirlin Dodies;
hoodie-craws cracklin fae the tippy-taps o trees: 
                                                                   Deid-loss or Daidalos
                                                                   fit's it gaan tae be?
Pooshin pumpers, coonter-jumpers, cairpet fitters birslin wi a moo-fae
o tacks; tomcats; corncrakes; shilly-shally sharn shifters; couthy bicuspids;
aa the wee glisterin anes; aa them that wid grudge ye one jow o the bell.
The neist yett swung, syne mair wis kythit: tethered tups,
draigelt yowes; the slalom loons fae Dandruff Canyon; wheepers
o candy-floss; footerin futtrets; the hee-haw-hookum o hystet hizzies;
foosty fowk lik Finnan haddies; Buckie blaavers wi the full wecht o blaw....

It was in Buckie, a small fishing town on the Moray Firth coast of North-East Scotland, that 'Alexander' was born during the Second World War in 1943, the grandson of a grandfather on his mother's side, who like his father before him was a businessman 'who thrived in the days of the great herring fishery which went on all round the coast of Britain' and of a grandfather on his father's side who had been brought up in the hamlet of Tugnet and worked in the salmon fishery at the mouth of the River Spey before becoming a doctor. Sandy's father, who had been born in Spey Bay had followed in his father's footsteps and was a general practitioner while his mother worked as a school meal's supervisor.

Many years later Sandy gave voice to the 'The Herring Song' :

Vat'll I dew wi the herrins' heeds?
I'll mak 'em inte loaves of breed,
Herrins' heeds, loaves of breed,
And all sorts of things.

The herrin is the king of the sea,
The herrin is the fish for me,
Sing, fa la la la lie do
Fa la la la lie do
Fa la la la lie do lie day!

He remembered that as a boy he 'had howked and picked potatoes on a neighbouring farm during the school Tattie Holidays, and remember the tractor’s jolting approach and the forks of the digger curving through the dreels to churn out our work. We filled buckets, the buckets filled sacks or harn bags, and the harn bags filled the horse-drawn bogie.'

At the age of 6, sported a pair of boots and in 1950 he had 'delivered ‘Gunga Din' to the local church Sunday School Christmas party : "I felt I was being condescended to slightly by the elder or School supervisor as he led me forward, me probably in short trousers with straps as braces crossing at the front. "Oh, and he’s going to do a po-em." I recall looking up, holding his hand, as he (perfectly friendly) looked down. Then I set off at a trot a capella :

"You may talk o' gin and beer"
And on for fifty lines or so to :
Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,
By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din! "
Thought that it was "Odd that I should relish that relic of Empire and choose to pipe it out on that occasion" and put it down to his Grandfather the GP, who had Kipling's 'Barrack Room Ballads' as one of his favourites and "though he died the sane year I was born, I obviously hadn't been slow to follow up his taste in verse. I did the same with his copy of FitzGerald's version of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam- getting long slugs of it off by heart."

Described'Buckie, where I was born and grew up' as laying : 'long and narrow along the Moray Firth coast: the countryside at the broadest point of the town being only about a kilometre from the sea. Both the fishing and farming communities were generous to me in a number of ways, and their differing accents and idioms were readily assimilated during the process of growing up. Subsequently, sources as diverse as Dunbar and Henryson, Montgomerie, Urquhart, the varied deposits of folk tradition and balladry as well as nearer contemporaries, all contributed to thickening the broth. But the stock was basically Banffshire and Moray coast.'

Recalled that he was in his teens and attending the local 'Buckie High School' with its motto 'Remis Velisque' / 'By, or with, oars and sails', when his Latin teacher, Thomas Laing, 'first encouraged me to try versions of the classics in Scots. He taught me Cicero too, of course; though I didn't warm to that passionate discourse and complicated sensitivity till much later, when I read the letters and had a chance to see where he lived – and where he learned to speak the way he did.'

In the mid 1950s was struck by Stephen Spender's 1930's poem, 'The Express' and later thought that he "must have come across it in an anthology one of my sisters brought back from teacher training college – probably alongside ‘The Landscape Near an Aerodrome’" and thought that "it could have been the blatant introduction of the mechanical that caught my attention."

After the first powerful, plain manifesto
The black statement of pistons, without more fuss
But gliding like a queen, she leaves the station...

Left school at the age of 17 and in 1963 started life as an English Lit. undergrad at Aberdeen University, where in "my first couple of years I was caught up in a mish-mash of bookies and the pub and javelin and fencing and this and that. Pals from Shetland and the Hebrides. When I did spend time in the library it was mainly to leaf through books in the fine art section, though Aberdeen didn’t offer a degree in that. I rediscovered the Flemish primitive painters, confirming an early attraction, and the early 20th century Russian women - Goncharova, Popova and Rozanova."

Didn't consider himself to be "a sophisticated reader of poetry at all as an undergraduate – and certainly not in the first two years. Patricia Thomson was my tutor in Advanced Special English, and I wince to remember at an early tutorial wading in with both feet to rubbish Dunbar’s 'Done is a battle on the dragon blak', before she put me to rights."

Done is a battle on the dragon black,
Our champion Christ confoundit has his force;
The yetis of hell are broken with a crack,
The sign triumphal raisit is of the cross,
The devillis trymmillis with hiddous voce,
The saulis are borrowit and to the bliss can go,
Christ with his bloud our ransonis dois indoce:
Surrexit Dominus de sepulchre.

Supposed that he had "improved" and in his final year "wrote essays on Marlowe and Johnson (with Voltaire) and gave Dunbar his due as well. The year before I had been fired up by Blake: 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' was the first piece I consciously took as a model."

Rintrah roars, and shakes his fires in the burden’d air;
Hungry clouds swag on the deep.

Once meek, and in a perilous path,
The just man kept his course along
The vale of death.
Roses are planted where thorns grow.
And on the barren heath
Sing the honey bees......

  At the age of 23 left Scotland for close to 18 years: teaching at the University of Victoria and elsewhere in Canada, "taking a doctorate on Roethke at Northwestern University while living in Chicago" and where, as he later reflected, that it was only when he "started teaching undergraduates myself that I came at all to grips with contemporary verse and fiction."

 At the age of 30 in 1973 he "encountered Spender in person – round about the time of the Watergate trials in America. I was finishing up graduate work, and he was a writer-in residence at Northwestern. By chance I glanced in one morning to the huge TV viewing room at one of the student residences and saw Spender’s snowy head of hair and his lanky frame right in the middle of rows of empty seats – he was the only one there – watching the live telecast of Nixon’s downfall. I passed on some poems for his opinion, includingLyke-wake’ :

'As an old man lags on the hillside, wagging
his stick where the sun burns over Caithness,
seeing the whole coast to Lossiemouth and beyond
the light on the rocks beyond the harbour mouth
the boats setting out for a night's fishing -
Lilt, Bezaleel, Glad Harvest - their nets drawn dry
from lofts and roadside fence, spread again  to the sea....'

'and when after a decent interval I went along to his office to seek him out, he said (fishing around for the right loose leaf pages), "You’re so-and-so, aren’t you? I liked these very much." I said, "No. I’m Hutchison." Then he, with decided adjustment, plummy voice going, if anything, plummier: "Oh. Well in that case I liked them very much indeed.

August Kleinzhaler, one of his students at Victoria who became a friend recalled : 'Even while still in Canada Sandy's Scottish-ness remained undiluted. He put me on to haggis, kippers, halibut cheeks and fish roe as much as Henryson, Montgomerie and MacCaig' and 'He dragged me to more than one Buns supper.'

 These were the years in which he kept a " hard-bound, varying-sized notebook as record and aide memoir; dressed it up with drawings and photos, copied out texts and models by hand, pasted things in, snatches, sketches, apothegms, quotes and snippets of overheard conversation, bits and pieces, just like a bower bird. Occasionally I put in journal entries – especially if travelling – dreams too from time to time."

Adopted Canadian citizenship and enjoyed his most productive period when he "lived up near Oyster River, and Black Creek and Miracle Beach on Vancouver Island" where 'Deep-Tap Tree' in which he drew on Celtic and Norse antecedents indicated by the two serpents, one large, one small, entwined on the cover and once commissioned by a Viking, an admiral for one of the Emperors of Byzantium and "In terms of language, the cryptic, reductive, ironical character of the saga-speech and related dialects was around very early I suppose – a typical winter’s evening exchange of pleasantries in my home-town of Buckie, with the boys taikin up or doon the brae, could easily go: "Fit like, man?" – pronounced min. And the response: "Aye, it’s a caal hoor o a nicht". So laconicism was a native element of style."

Returned to Scotland at the age of 41 in 1984, where he aimed to spend two years, then return to Canada, but in fact spent the last 31 years of his life, living for seven in Edinburgh and the rest in Glasgow and recorded in 2004 : "Still here: just the way things worked out. Like it, and love the people I'm with."

On his return admitted that he had written poems in the 'Buchan dialect' and the idiolect with which he'd grown up all through his own poetic practice and translated a handful of Catullus’s carmina, followed by versions of four sonnets by Ronsard, as indeed, some years before, he had translated two poems of Ernesto Cardenal into Scots and when he met him briefly while visiting Nicaragua at one point "he asked his assistant, Luz, about this business of translating into Scots. 'Is it like English? Is it as good?' I tapped his wrist gently and, when he turned his face to me, said smilingly: 'Better. Better!' He grinned, and we shook hands."

Once said with perfect modesty : 'Poetry has been a main element in my life for as long as I can remember, and though I can't say I write a lot, and there have been big gaps in composition and publication, I have always been on the look out for possibilities anywhere and in anything: reading, listening, noting, mixing a variety of things up on a wide-ranging basis, all with a kind of focussed intent. I think I can say honestly I've never pushed it – in the sense of straining or getting anxious – but I have stuck at it, and in the process have discovered enjoyment – and even, as part of the pleasure, improvement.'


Tuesday 24 November 2015

Britain is a country with a department store called John Lewis which has commodified the loneliness of old men at Christmas

The charity, 'Age UK', which has given its blessing to the John Lewis campaign to highlight the plight of loneliness among pensioners, while at the same time maximising the company's profits at Christmas, said it was “delighted and touched” at the response so far. The main focus of John Lewis has been the multi million pound video ad called 'The Man on the Moon' which tells the story, to the words of Oasis 'Half the World Away' sung by Norwegian, Aurora, of a little girl called Lily who :

* sits next to her brother and is bored as he is engrossed with playing his xbox.

* looks at the moon through a telescope at the window in the lounge.

* focuses on a hut in a crater from which and old man emerges in total isolation.

* opens her mouth in awe and waves at the old man who looks up and sees nothing.

* skates outside on her scooter the next day and has a thought.

* goes back to the telescope while she eats her toast and sees the old man sitting on a bench on the edge of a crater.

* sees his blank eyes, stares back with open eyes and dashes upstairs.

* writes the old man a letter with a smiley hand and outside climbs a ladder.

* waves her envelope addressed to 'the Man on the Moon' at the old man.

* wraps the letter around an arrow and fires it, unsuccessfully, from the roof window at the moon.
* throws the letter, unsuccessfully, as a paper dart at the moon.

* looks fed up, while the old man bows his lonely head on the moon.

* runs down stairs to open her presents on Christmas Day, thanks her Mum and dances with the other kids.

* on the moon the old man raises his head at the approach of a gift wrapped present carried to him by a cluster of balloons.

While on the moon the old men :

*  eagerly opens his present, a telescope and looks at the people in the snow in Lily's road.

* pans his telescope across the festively lit houses and zooms in on Lily waving at him by her telescope.

* looks with a smiling eye through her lens while he sheds a tear from one eye looking through his lens.

* waves at Lily from his seat and 'Show someone they're loves this Christmas' is imposed on the night sky.

* followed by : 'John Lewis in store / online / mobile' is imposed on the night sky.

then :


John Lewis has said that the purpose of the ad is to raise awareness of the elderly and the importance of being together at Christmas through 'thoughtful gift giving.'  Apparently the John Lewis 'gift giving' to Age UK will consist of a modest  'hundreds of thousands' of pounds made from just three distinct products.

So has John Lewis 'commodified loneliness' as suggested by Christopher Hooton in an article in the 'Independent', when he asked the question :

'Is its heart in the right place? Or does it communicate corporate, materialistic, self-interest values under the guise of charity?'

The answer is that : it doesn't really matter. Clearly 'Age UK' doesn't care if it does or not. Esther Jackson, its 'Marketing and Fundraising Director' said: “We really hoped the ad would strike a chord with people - driving not only awareness, but importantly donations and actions to help some of the million older people who go for a month without speaking to anyone.  It’s also a great reminder to us all to reach out to older family members, friends and neighbours over the cold winter months.  We’ve been delighted and touched by the response so far - for both this activity with John Lewis and our wider ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’ campaign. We’ll be responding to all those who have got in touch about wanting to volunteer.”

In addition, more than 500 people in the last week have also called 'Contact the Elderly', which organises Sunday tea parties for people aged over 75 living alone, with many citing the advert as the reason. Mary Rance, Chief Executive of Charity said:
“We see first-hand how debilitating loneliness is for older people, and things like the John Lewis advert and the recent Bisto campaign are helping to highlight this more widely. Our dedicated network of over 8,000 volunteers make a huge difference to the lives of older people across the country by contributing just a few hours a month through our tea parties. We’re delighted that more people are coming forward to help. Our simple solution is one that works, and we’d love to extend our lifeline to more older people.”

Friday 20 November 2015

Britain is a country and Scotland a nation which say "Farewell" to a scarce old, radio producer called Stuart Cruickshank

Stewart, who worked tirelessly as a radio producer for the BBC for the best part of 35 years and did much to heighten the profile of folk and related music, gave many young bands their first airtime, was held in esteem and with affection by musicians and listeners alike and never lost his boyhood enthusiasm for all things music, has died at the age of 64.

What you possibly didn't know about Stewart, that he :
* was born in 1951 in Edinburgh to a mother who had won medals competing in 'Co-operative Society Singing Competitions' and stimulated his early interest in music to which he listened, when the fitful reception permitted, on Radio Luxembourg under the bedsheets at night and at the age of 11 attended the Trinity Academy, a grammar school in Edinburgh where he met his longtime pal, 'Will Smarties' and found they had a shared interest in Dinky Toys, Meccano and music.

* recalled that : 'In those days you could only afford to buy a single or an album once in a blue moon. But it was the era where, if you bought a record, you used to wander about self-consciously with it under your arm, like a badge of honour. School uniform was sacrosanct, so the only way you could show your individuality was carrying the record' and in his case walked about with the first record he bought, the Beatles 'Twist and Shout' EP.

* recalled that, on the occasion of the Beatles first visit to Edinburgh at the ABC Cinema in 1963, when he was 12, where he had been taken to see a number of bands on package tours by his parents indulging his love of rock and roll but where it was the Beatles who captured his heart and sent it racing.

* remembered it being : 'viscerally exciting because you knew you were part of a special moment and at the same time you felt you shouldn't be part of it. It was like sneaking into an X-rated movie, or going to the pub when you're under age. When they came on the stage, I never heard so much noise in my life. I don't think I was bothered though. You had the records if you wanted to hear the Beatles.'
* recalled that, at the age of 13 in 1964, he had heard George Gallacher (left) sing 'the eerily beautiful 'Now We’re Thru’ which marked 'the beginning of a life-long adventure in reverberation' and in the early 60s favoured 'The Yard Birds', 'The Kinks' and 'The Byrds', sported Curzon shirts and kipper ties.

* was 16 when he picked up John Peel's 'Perfumed Garden' on pirate, Radio London in its last days before it was closed down by the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act in 1967 and found the programme’s eclectic mix of everything from 'Pink Floyd' and 'Grateful Dead' to 'Marc Bolan' and 'Bert Jansch' left their mark on him, in what he later described as  “a big defining moment" in his musical development.

* from 1969 started to visit 'Bruce's Record Shop' launched by the brothers Bruce and Brian Findlay in Rose Street. Edinburgh, which specialised in US imports and underground rock and was famous for its red carrier bags with the legend “I Found It At Bruce’s” :

* having passed his 'A' Level exams in 1969, took himself off with his guitar and Wilf, with whom he'd been playing since 1966, to Woodbridge in East Anglia and playing rhythm as 'Gilmore Wines' jokingly named after a local licence, formed 'Mowgli and the Donuts' having picked up Keith Rae on bass guitar at a university jam session and as 'Gilmore' was reported in the Ipswich Evening News in 1973 as saying : "Music needs a shot in the arm because it's become stagnant. People are too involved with electrical components instead of guitar strings" and contemporary music was "generally retrogressive" and contained "very little magic or atmosphere."

* posed for the paper at the age of 22 in a hat as 'rhythm' with Thorov to the left as 'road manager and mixer' and to the right Nick Jones, 'drums', his pal Wilfred Smarties as 'lead' and Keith Rae on 'bass' and recalled : “We lived in East Anglia and we were never famous, but we did loads of gigs, large and small."

* moved back to Edinburgh in 1977 undertake his undergraduate University studies in Economics and Economic History while Wilf got to work on his Phd in Chemistry, while continuing his association with the band and undertook experimental music where "Wizard used to support us at Tiffany’s" and the 'Theatre Workshop' with Wilf stating at the time : "A large part of our set comprises short, sharp numbers and bursts into controlled improvisation. We like to base our playing on the audience."

* performed his last gig with the band in 1980 and having graduated from University and picked up an additional qualification in 'Librarianship', turned up, at the age of 29, at BBC Scotland’s Queen Margaret Drive Headquarters in Glasgow’s West End, to undertake a trial as a 'gramphone librarian' and later reflected that : “As ever in life there was a certain element of coincidence. I was there initially for one week and it led to me working in broadcasting for the best part of 35 years. You work your way to becoming a producer then a senior producer and the way you do it is to learn and learn and I’ve never stopped learning, not just about music but about how radio can be put together.”

* learnt the ropes as a 'recorded music librarian' alongside producing 'Radio Scotland’s Top 40' and researching for the 'Ken Bruce Show' and by the mid 1980s produced radio documentaries : 'Beatstalking', a history of Scottish rock music presented by Muriel Gray and 'Street Fighting Years', profiling 'Simple Minds' and went on to found and co-produce the long-running indie rock show 'Beat Patrol' and presented it with Sandy Semeonoff and Peter Easton and like them, in his own time, with a third of every show devoted to Scottish bands and gained acclaim by giving early airplay to 'Belle and Sebastian', 'The BMX Bandits', 'The Bachelor Pad' and 'Baby Lemonade' and in the process built up a loyal listenership.

* in addition, produced sessions with 'The Delgados' and 'Bis' and went on, with Rab Noakes and Donald MacInnes, to create Radio Scotland’s 'Be-Bop to Hip-Hop Jazz Pogramme,'  'Original Masters' with John Cavanagh and pilot the series, 'Celtic Connections' from which Glasgow’s Winter Festival took its name and handled the challenge of  broadcasting 'T in the Park', the major Scottish music festival, held annually since 1994, named after its sponsor, the brewing company Tennents, originally providing for the thousands of campers at Strathclyde Park, Lanarkshire, then, from 1997, the disused Balado Airfield, Kinross-shire.

* became involved in his old hero, John Peel's first radio sessions in Scotland and with the long-running 'Travelling Folk' and especially 'Iain Anderson's Show' and along the way introduced Ricky Ross, Roddy Hart and Karine Polwart to the niceties of radio presenting.

* had also worked on a  BBC Radio 2 series covering 'Ray Davies', 'The Sex
Pistols' and 'The Who' and spent time in California and New York compiling shows which were subsequently networked globally, interviewing Jackson Browne and Lou Reed with whom he spent two days, recalled by producer John Cavanagh as : "the people who commissioned that on Radio 2 said "Oh, we've got our big boys and they can't get anything out of Lou Reed and this little guy from Scotland will never do it" and Stewart went there, started talking to him about Do-Wop and radio stations and they hit it off like a house of fire."

* at the age 48 in 1999, produced a programme about the album 'Deserters’ Songs' by the US rock band 'Mercury Rev,' which won a 'Gold Disc' and was senior producer for 'Music Live 2000' from Shetland and in 2001 was conferred a 'Fellowship of the Royal Society of the Arts' for his 'Contribution to UK Music Radio' and in the same year had George Gallagher and Fraser Watson sing on the occasion of his 50th birthday and reflected, on the occasion of  George's passing in 2012 : 'The application of eloquence and economy in language: George Gallacher. Not for nothing did Andrew Loog Oldham sign The Poets.'

* during 'Celtic Connections 2011', was in discussion with Iain Anderson and Rab Noakes on the subject of the influence of Scottish and Irish traditional music on Bob Dylan and began the programme with a well-researched an erudite analysis of possible Scottish influences on Dylan in his youth : "I've been lucky in my career because I'm a radio producer and I've become friends with and I've worked with many of the people who know Dylan. I don't know Dylan himself, I've never met him, but the people that I do know pretty well like Roger McQuinn, Judy Collins, Eric Andersen, Tom Paxton and many, many others and they would all attest to the fact that Dylan was voracious in his appetite for music. He wanted to drink it in and that included Scottish music."

* left BBC Scotland in 2006, but continued to co-produce the 'Iain Anderson Show', in association with the production company Bees Nees and finally retired at the age of 64 last October and reflected : “I’ve been very lucky. I’ve been honoured to showcase tens of thousands of hours of dazzling musical talent on radio, from Scotland and way, way beyond. It began and will continue with them.”

* in 2011 attended the launch of Arne Bellstorf's novel, 'Baby's in Black' at the Library of the Goethe-Institut, Glasgow, based on the author's conversations with photographer and artist Astrid Kircherr and participated in the discussion focussed on the Hamburg subculture of the early 1960's with those attending the free event invited 'to join us after the reception for a “swally” as we carry on the evening at a nearby venue with Stewart Cruickshank, where he’ll be playing Beatles tunes and more from the DJ booth.' 

* also in 2011, gave his opinion to 'Public Radio International', of the importance and influence of Bert Jansch, on the occasion of his death at the age of 67.

* in 2013  at the age of 72, returned to where he started with the 'Mowgli Project' and the reformation of 'Mowgli and the Donuts' spent a week in a cottage in deepest Derbyshire , converted by Wilf Smarties into a recording studio and along with him, Keith Froude and Iain Veitch, made music :
Mowgli Christmas

The Wheels on the Bus

Help File Rag

Indian Summer

* in July 2015 in the 'Herald Scotland', delivered his critique of Government plans for the Future of the BBC in an article entitled 'BBC Green Paper threatens privatisation by stealth'  and stated : 'I agree there isn't a lot to my taste on BBC One. I can happily live, and do, without The Voice, Strictly et al. And, yes, I'll throw the radio or TV or whatever out the window in response to perceived "bias" in its news content. But that's not the point. Mr Whittingdale's agenda is intentionally designed to, yet again, leave the BBC stuck between a rock and a hard place.'

* continued : 'Funding trashed. End of public service broadcasting. The next move would be to give us the option to pay to not receive adverts on the BBC. Perish the thought' but thought it was a good idea to 'shed the layers of pseudo management which clog up the BBC system and re-channel public money into the talents who produce the content' and had kept up 'with ongoing developments for BBC Radio in this public/private sector hybrid' and concluded : 'It is still one of the world's largest brands - and about to expand. It costs relative buttons, but radio always will be the BBC's greatest international ambassador. Mr Whittingdale, please take note.'

* had his passing commemorated on BBC Radio Scotland in 'Remembering Stewart Cruickshank' with John Beattie joined by journalist and broadcaster Siobhan Sinnott, the music producer John Cavanagh and musician Roddy Hart who was in some ways discovered by him and said : "He loved to talk music. He had time for everybody and he was in many ways a renegade at the heart of the BBC, because I think he saw himself as a rock and roller. He came from music, he played music, he knew what it was like to be out there gigging every night, putting yourself out there as an artist at whatever level and that element of being a renegade was why he connected with so many musicians and why they responded to him so brilliantly."

* Roddy continued : "He had an absolute undeniable magic and he was a metaphorical as well as a literal 'arm around the shoulder' to artists, but also to cultivating talent. He did it with me, with the radio. I had no clue when I started putting together a radio show, about presenting. Stewart was amazing at just being able to choose his moment to say : "Don't worry about what other people think. What you are is important" and he did that with music and musicians across the board. Not just in Scotland but to many people that he met."

and concluded :  
"He wasn't afraid to approach musicians and talk to them on their level, because he realised at the end of the day all musicians are music fans. That's why they do it in the first place and that's the place Stewart Cruickshank came from and that's why he was so important to Scottish music."

What better epitaph might an old music show radio   producer have ?