Edwyn Collins – pure class


The BBC Scotland Documentary tonight on the return from, almost literally, the dead by Edwyn Collins to record a live BBC gig was nothing short of amazing.

With the unstinting support of his wonderful wife Grace, he had undergone intensive physio and speech therapy over a three year period since suffering a double Brain Haemmorage and despite losing the ability to speak, read, sing (of course) and walk with huge spasticism down his right side he sat on that stage at the Electric Ballroom in Camden like the star he truly is.

For thirty years I have been a fan of, first, Orange Juice and, then, Edwyn’s solo work. This proved how great a contemporary talent he is.

I have a close friend who has been through a similar experience so I know first hand how great his, and my pal’s, progress is and how hard it is to achieve.

Roll on Edwyn’s next number one and thank you BBC for such a great programme.

4 thoughts on “Edwyn Collins – pure class

  1. A strange but true story….
    One of the first bands I worked with when I moved to London to work for Polydor were Orange Juice, around the time of the album ‘The Orange Juice’ and in particular the single ‘What Presence’. A lot of it was hard work – Edwyn seemed to be on a mission at the time to upset as many people as he could – but I remember laughing more than anything else, and loved working with him. That was 20 years ago, and I’ve bumped into Edwyn and Grace only a couple of times in the intervening period.

    However, about 2 weeks before Christmas I was sitting in Starbucks in Parsons Green with 2 old friends from the Polydor days – Malcolm (who was the A&R man that signed Orange Juice to the label) and Kate (one of the A&R assistants at the time).
    We were chatting, when I looked up, and through the door walked Edwyn and Grace.
    They were on the way back from seeing Edwyn’s physio in SW London to their home in NW London and had decided to stop for a coffee. The odds of that group of people who had all worked together in the distant past meeting up like that have to be long – you’re the betting man, you should know…

    Anyway, Edwyn was on great form and took us through the story of what had happened. As you’ll know from the documentary his speech and mobility have been badly affected, but he seems to be improving and he’s back at work, albeit in a limited way. Ask how he’s doing recalling lyrics when he can’t read at present, and you’ll get a verse and chorus sung for you. Grace read him a review of the previous weekend’s London show from The Times – which was excellent – and the famous Collins ‘guffaw’ was in full effect.

    They were heading up to Glasgow for ‘The Spirit of Scotland’ awards later that week, where Edwyn was nominated in the music category. He won.

    Mixed feelings about seeing him that day though. Sadness at how suddenly someone can be struck down by something so unexpected and brutal, but a more over-riding delight at seeing Edwyn alive, kicking and laughing!


  2. Stumbled on this posting by Alan, another spooky coincidence! It was weird and wonderful to have that Starbucks reunion. Edwyn back in the day was magnificently and hilariously hard work. I was a novice manager and watched with amazement as he alienated everybody at Polydor systematically. Athough Alan was always patient with us. No regrets, vivid memories of reckless youth and today we face new adventures. Love on ya, Grace x


  3. Pingback: Edwyn Collins to Play Glastonbury « gibberish

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