The Abbotshall Hotel, home to 1000's of gigs in the 1980's and early 1990's. It had really nice acoustics, not too much echo. There are soooo many pics and tapes of bands playing here. They had very distinctive wallpaper in their function room and you can spot the wallpaper in, amongst many other images - the poster insert of the first Ghost Train Single (Hope and Glory / Killing Time) and rear cover of the Locomotive Latenight mini album. There are music files of the Ghost Train, The Surgical Wars, The Crucified Brains, Who Cares? and The Twist, all made at gigs here. I used to wonder what the residents of the hotel made of all these scary looking young people and even scarier music here, but maybe they didn't have many residents.
My favourite Kirkcaldy venue. At the other end of town from the Abbotshall. The St Clair Tavern had a function room which had the name "The Starlight Room" in red plastic above it's door. No one ever called it that though. Way before my time, the Starlight Room was some kind of local Skittles Alley, so the room was always known as The Skittle. Mostly on Friday, but sometimes on Saturday's too, the Skittle had live bands. I loved the atmosphere in the place. The owner (I think his name was Derek) was a really nice guy and my flatmate's mate Neil McDougal (or big fat hairy Neil as we called him)El, who was a huge but very friendly ex army guy, was the bouncer. You can hear Neil with some of the typical Skittle banter, at the very end of the last song of the All Days Fade's set on their page. I was at the skittle god know how many times. I met one of my girlfriends there in May 1987. Towards the end of the Surgical Wars, we used the Skittle as rehearsal space and kept our equipment there. Bill Gimix used to use the Skittle for his famous "workshops" where lots of bands who were not big enough to have a gig or a support slot of their own could play short sets. The Skittle had great acoustics, you can hear a whole set the Surgical Wars played there on the Surgical Wars page on this website. The beer often made people ill tough. The local story was that they would clean the pipes for the draft beer out and forget to rinse them properly, so sometimes you'd be drinking bar pipe cleaning stuff and beer and that made people ill. I remember a disastrous period where we drank bottled Newcastle Brown instead of draft beer there, that always made me sick! There are lots of music files recorded at the Skittle on this website, on the pages of The Surgical Wars, All Days Fade and Sphincter Control.
There are loads more pictures taken at the Abbotshall of the bands of the era on this website. This is strange as I'm sure the Skittle would have been a cooler venue to picture a band in, than against the 1970's wallpaper of the Abbotshall - where 100's of photos seem to be taken. Above is a picture of Steve Simpson (left) later of the Surgical Wars and Cameron Campbell (right) later of All Days Fade, The Amused and Darlingheart. Such was our connection at the Skittle that we hired it for my flatmate Nicci's 21st where this photo was taken in November 1985. I'm sure we didn't pay any money to hire it as we couldn't have afforded it, so "hire" is a relative term. Obviously we were still off the draft beer here, as evidenced by the Newcastle Brown bottle. I believe that may be George McArthur at the extreme right of the picture in the background. George was one of the nicest guys in the local scene and he was the Ghost Train's guitar roadie. He also played guitar for the Ghost Train at their final two gigs and also for the Gimix in their final days.
The only pic I have of the stage of the Skittle. Taken also at Nicci's 21st in November 1985. Ian and I made a disco unit out of our respective hifi systems and Julie, who was in the year below me at college who was an aspiring DJ did the honours. I think we must have carted all the stuff there in Cameron's car as he was the only one who had one. I remember endless unsuccessful attempts by me to get the music I wanted played that night. Julie was an aspiring pro and had other ideas.
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