Not everything in life is simple. Red Smed, however, is. And to prove it this blog has been set up to take you deep into his deranged socialist utopia where Lenin was quite a nice bloke, , Bridgwater has been renamed Parretgrad , every home has to display a portrait of Jake Thackray and Leeds United are at the top of the premier league.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Where's Mac?

The late (well he's not arrived yet) Mac McCausland
The question I get asked most often that I can't answer is 'have you really been out with ALL of the Spice girls and how is that even possible?'. No it's not in fact. The question is 'Where's Mac?'. The people who write me fan mail (by which I include geneal enquiries and parking tickets) always first remember the great and talented frontman of the Spanners Mac 'Lawrence' McCausland who was everywhere and then suddenly nowhere for about 10 years. And nobody knows where he is. Probably including himself.

In this clip- 'Stalin was a really nice bloke', sang by Mac, I've unearthed some rare footage of him moving. I mean, some rare moving footage of him. Nostalgia , isn't what it used to be.

It comes from a gig at the Bridgwater Arts Centre which was recorded and released as the Spanners album 'I like a glass of beer now and then'. Which was true of Mac. But who was-and maybe still is -Mac McCausland. It's a question thats confounded men, women and paleontologists alike for the last 15 years.


The Skacats playing on Luhacovice, Czechoslovakia
From the quaint Kentish town of Minster, very close to the second world war Manston air field and the seaside postcard town of Ramsgate, Mac move to Combwich. A village situated on the widest part of the river Parret and within exploding distance of Hinkley Point nuclear power station. His main employment was as a barman - usually in the Labour club but also in the Art Centre. And in 1991 he was elected the Labour councillor for Eastover, which lasted 4 years. Throughout this time he was the lead singer with any band I was in and lead actor in numerous stage shows of the Sheep Worrying Theatre company including his starring role as pantomime villain 'Bad sir Bastard' in the 1990 show 'Jack and the Poll Tax' with his false black moustache sitting uneasily over his famous red beard. (see photo).

Mac also wrote several songs with me, including 'New Age Boogie Man', which we recently aired at the 'Come back (and don't come back) gig' at the Art Centre in April 2016, 'We'll be in love forever' sang by co-Spanner Alexia Vernon and Anne 'Stevie' Fraser -now working as a redcoat at Butlins Caerphilly, and several from the musical 'Czechomania' which celebrated his love for the Czech Republic-a place he helped us link up with.


Mac with some other 'Sheep Worriers'. Red Smed at the piano
In fact Mac was never happier, or more popular, than singing interminable Irish songs to visiting Czech students in those pioneering days of the first British-Czech twinning. Whether it was sat around a campfire in Moravia drinking slivovice or sat around Crowcombe Youth hostel drinking slivovice or sat arund the Labour club drinking slivovice, Mac was always part of the furniture. Which might explain the incident with the chisel and the sanding tool.

Mac was on the first pioneering bus trip with us to what was then Czechoslovakia in 1992. The band we took over was the 'Skacats' - a bunch of musicians we'd basically thrown together in the mistaken hope that the Czechs would like Cliff Richard and the Shadows and fondly remember the film Summer Holiday. Sadly they had shot people for less during the early 60s.

The Skacats is a story for another time. Which I'll tell. But can somebody..ANYBODY..tell me..Where's Mac??????