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On a cold winter’s night in Stornoway, I waited outside the Caberfeidh Hotel, wondering what to do. I was working for the Stornoway Gazette, the ‘Only Newspaper Printed in the Outer Hebrides‘ according to its masthead, and I was the Island’s soul dedicated newspaper photographer. What’s more I was onto a scoop. I’d had a tip-off from the Manager of the hotel, that a, ‘big band from the south’ was staying with them.
He’d told me the band’s name as if it really should mean something to me. Oh ‘Ultravox‘ I said knowledgeably when he called with his hot scoop, wow. I think I’d heard of them, just, but I around that time I was a little in the musical wilderness. Anyway, I went into the bar to scope the place out and got into conversation with a cool looking leather jacketed Glaswegian. A few pints later, I confided my mission to him and asked if he knew the band?
I suppose I’d been expecting someone fairly outlandish and aloof to be the leader of this big band from ‘the south’ but when my new drinking buddy told me he thought I might be looking for him, I was chuffed. This was Midge Ure. I was even even more delighted when Midge asked us on the band’s video shoot the following day.
These pictures were taken at Callanish Stones the day after my meeting with the band. I can’t remember the date exactly but it was mid winter ’84 and bitterly cold. The band recorded the video for ‘One Small Day’ which was a single released from the album ‘Lament’.
The stones are called Tursachan Chalanais in their Gaelic name and are an ancient Megalithic site built around 3000 years BC. They lie on the west coast of the island of Lewis.
I spent years – probably literally – at the Calanish Stones in Lewis. I’ve photographed them and the people drawn to them hundreds of times. People react to the stones in the most extraordinary, bizarre and liberated ways.
This is one of the very few times when I appear in my pictures of Calanish performers. I went last year with my 88-year-old Dad on a tour of our old Highlands haunts.
It was my Dad who got me interested in photography. His pictures are very different to mine. He wants to get the people out of the picture, I always want to put them in.
Calanish is an inspirational megalithic stone circle. Many artists and performers are drawn here to the stones.
The Calanish stones are the second most important Neolithic monument in the UK. Each year, thousands of people visit the stones. Theories abound as to why the stones were erected; the powers that be call them ‘an ancient site of community interest’.
Dancing druids, stone huggers, or hamper campers; they all visit, and because the place is so ancient and enigmatic, many people are freed by the theatre of the stones.