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The Proclaimers on why their touring days are numbered after decades of shows


For decades The Proclaimers have brought people together.

Songs like I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Sunshine on Leith and Let’s Get Married have been sung around the world at music venues, sporting events, pubs and parties or danced to at indie discos and at weddings.

Twins Craig and Charlie Reid, 56, have been uniting us since 1987.

But Craig, like many people in Scotland, is deeply worried about breaking up – Brexit and the future of the UK, to be specific.

The duo’s songwriter said: “Brexit is an absolute disaster. If it’s a hard Brexit I think it will crash the economy and I think they’ll try and engineer a second vote – I don’t know if that’s the right way to go, either.

“What I do know about Brexit is no one will get what they wanted. Everybody will be disappointed and there’s no good way out of it.

“I think it’s the single biggest mistake I’ve ever seen any Western electorate make – given, of course, the majority of Scots voted to Remain.”

Twins Craig and Charlie Reid have been uniting us with their music since 1987

Craig is vocal supporter of independence but he’s unsure this is the right path for Scotland to take at the moment, until the mess of Brexit is sorted out.

On IndyRef2, he added: “I think there will be another referendum sometime in the next few years but I’m not sure we should have it early or we should wait until after Brexit.

“I’m not convinced either way. But there will be another one.

“But I don’t know if there’s a majority for another one and the upheaval Brexit may be so catastrophic that people may look for the least amount of change that they can have.”

Not that Yes supporters won’t continue to have their say. The Proclaimers’ most famous tune has given a 500-mile rally its name.

The I Would Walk 500 Miles event, starting on September 15, will take place over three weeks with participants walking for 25 miles for six to seven hours a day.

Craig is proud of their song being used, yet another example of how much the duo have become part of the nation’s tapestry.

As well as the stage show based on their songs, Sunshine on Leith, and a new tour in April this year, we’ve also seen a film with Carol Smillie teaching CPR to the tune of 500 Miles.

Craig said: “That song has run away from everything. It’s become the property of the general public around the world.”

It doesn’t stop there. Tennent’s Lager trolling play-acting football star Neymar when Brazil crashed out of the World Cup in July tweeting “Neymar no more” a play on the lyrics to the brothers’ Letter from America.

Wearing specs and denim, the Scots- accented brothers emerged in a decade better known for high-gloss pop and reached No3 in the charts with second single Letter from America in 1987.

Their worldwide hit 500 Miles is even being used to teach CPR

Other artists to storm the charts that year included George Michael, Pet Shop Boys and Sinitta – so it’s no wonder Craig could never have believed they would still be a household name 31 years later.

He said: “I never thought we’d have hit songs.

“Thought we’d get a small audience and play small clubs. Never thought about having a long career because I never thought it was a possibility.

“It’s gone a lot better than we thought it would.”

Craig doesn’t like nostalgia and resting on his laurels.

Apart from a seven-year gap between third album Hit the Highway in 1994 to 2001’s Persevere, the brothers have regularly made new music and a week on Friday release 11th studio album, Angry Cyclist.

The twins think it’s important to keep moving forward. And while the Rolling Stones are still playing live in their 70s, Craig reckons he and Charlie, who are approaching 60, only have “a few years” as a live act.

Craig said: “We won’t be around for ever.

“Playing gigs is not any harder but the actual touring takes it out of you. I’d hope we’ll still tour for the next few years. Beyond that I can’t say.”

Which isn’t good news to the 30,000 fans who snapped up tickets for their new Scottish tour in an hour.

The brothers will release their 11th studio album, Angry Cyclist, on Friday

They’ll play Ayr Town Hall tonight, Dunoon on Friday and Oban on Saturday before going to Canada and returning to the UK in October to play more sold out gigs in Edinburgh, Dunfermline, Glasgow and Perth, Inverness and Aberdeen.

Craig said: “We were shocked (by the demand). But we thought we’d see the Scottish leg out in a couple of days so all the folk who could get tickets could get one. We will do more live work in Scotland next year.”

Angry Cyclist is a stomping, up tempo, witty album that mixes digs at Donald Trump on Classy with an ode to vodka on The Battle of the Booze, graffiti on Information and a new Scots anthem in Streets of Edinburgh.

Firstly, Craig is at pains to point out he’s not against cyclists.

He said: “I have nothing against cyclists. I used the image of a cyclist in heavy traffic being hemmed in by cars and buses, sweating, angry and scared as a way to describe how politics is going with polarisation and the swing to the right virtually everywhere.”

Streets of Edinburgh is up there with Sunshine on Leith as a love song to the city. Craig added: “I didn’t want it to be too nostalgic and not too praiseworthy. It’s not a place that shouts at you.”

In that way, it’s a bit like The Proclaimers.

● Angry Cyclist is out on August 10.





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