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Edwin Morgan meets IDLEWILD

Idlewild's latest album the remote part is out now, and its final track, in remote part/scottish fiction includes a poem by Edwin Morgan; he wrote it specially for this album and also performs it himself.
In case you're wondering how this collaboration came about: In the winter of 2001/2002 the rock group Idlewild contacted Edwin Morgan, asking him to write a new poem for their next album. In the Scottish Poetry Library's Newsletter (SPL Newsletter 38, January 2002, page three) Edwin Morgan wrote: "[It] was to be a themed album on the subject of Scottish Fiction. […] They sent me a copy of their album 100 Broken Windows, and their vocalist Roddy Woomble came to see me. The atmosphere was good. I got to work, and later I recorded the verses…"

Roddy Woomble, singer of Idlewild, writes: "I've been a fan of Edwin's writing since I was fifteen, when my mother (a big poetry reader) gave me a copy of his collected poems for my birthday. But it wasn't until I saw Edwin read his words aloud that I realised how much his voice brought the language to life, gave it emphasis and made you understand both the poetry and poet even more. It parelled my thoughts about music giving words a new meaning and emphasis in a totally different way. Needless to say seeing Edwin talk had a big impact.

So all these thoughts brought me to write to Edwin and see what he thought about my ideas. For a while I'd wanted to make the record have a lyrical theme that ran through the songs, dealing with both the issue and the issues of identity, where you belong, or if you belong. Those kind of things.

Edwin wrote back and from there wrote the poem scottish fiction which summed up exactly what I'd wanted to say in a way I couldn't. it was the perfect end to an album, a lyrical full stop.

I taped Edwin recite the poem on a mini disc player I couldn't work properly and we tried it with a few different instrumental ideas before the words found their home at the end of the record.

I'm enormously proud of scottish fiction, I think the music gives more power to powerful words. It's also the song most people have picked up on, from all over the world. If that introduces more people to Edwin Morgan's poetry, then that's what I'm proud of the most."

Here is the poem for you to read:


Scottish Fiction

It isn't in the mirror
It isn't on the page
It's a red-hearted vibration
Pushing through the walls
Of dark imagination
Finding no equation
There's a Red Road rage
But it's not road rage
It's asylum seekers engulfed by a grudge
Scottish friction
Scottish fiction

It isn't in the castle
It isn't in the mist
It's a calling of the waters
As they break to show
The new Black Death
With reactors aglow
Do you think your security
Can keep you in purity
You will not shake us off above or below
Scottish friction
Scottish fiction

© Edwin Morgan and Idlewild, 2002

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