Musicians get inspiration from the strangest things. While staying at a remote campsite inUganda, I saw a man stumble from the surrounding jungle with a homemade acoustic guitar in his hand. As he passed he stopped, introduced himself as Mutu and offered to play a few songs.

At first glance his guitar looked like an ancient hunting weapon. It was constructed from scrap bits of timber, rusty nails, screws and wire for strings. Mutu’s ingenuity using these limited resources would have put MacGyver to shame.

I was just about to run for the hills when he started playing a catchy riff. He proceeded to sing in his deep soothing African voice that left all the females reaching for a box of tissues. The sound Mutu produced from the fierce looking instrument was amazing. He strummed, plucked, slapped and did things to his guitar that I will never see or hear again.

Now I know bagpipers are not the most loved musicians in the world and some people would argue that an asthmatic pig squeezed under a sweaty armpit would make a better sound. However, the most dedicated musician I have seen was a Scottish bagpiper who was playing at a secluded lookout on the edge of Loch Ness. It was freezing cold and his beard was frozen and every time the wind blew I was sure it would snap.

As he performed to a small group of travellers, a load of Japanese tourists arrived and spewed from a bus. One by one they reached for cameras and began shooting away. The constant clicking sounded like machine gun fire and the blinding flashes of the arsenal of cameras would have unsettled the most resolute man. But the piper’s stance was unaffected, his posture perfect and his mind solely focused on providing a quality performance. I was left dumbfounded by the piper’s determination, passion and pride for his chosen instrument and his country’s music. I was even more amazed that a grown man could look so comfortable dressed like a woman and not worry about frostbite under the quilt.

One of the strangest musicians I encountered was a street performer entertaining a crowd in Kho San Road in Bangkok. He was dressed in old aviator goggles and tight-fitting pilot cap and played an old V-shaped electric guitar that would have made ZZ-Top proud. Biggles (as I called him) was no Hendrix on the guitar, but he certainly put on an entertaining show. I’m not sure if he could really fly a plane but judging by his outrageous guitar moves he was without doubt high as a jumbo jet.

I was so inspired by all these unusual performers that I formed a band with my mate Braddo when I returned to Edinburgh. We bought a guitar named Jip from a second-hand store and spent many drunken nights jamming and dreaming of plenty of sex, drugs and rock’n roll. Over the next few months we performed in locations all over Western Europe. We played love songs to the snow- capped mountains in Austria and Switzerland. We sang sweet melodies to maturing grapes while we swigged wine in the vineyards of France. We performed harmonies to the historic castles that inhabit the stunning Rhine Valley. And we dedicated some angry death metal to the dodgy Italian mechanic who took two days to fix our rickety van in Florence.

The most most memorable gig was at the Thalkirkin campsite where the van got trashed and the red wine supply demolished. However, our time at the top did not last long. When we got back to London, Jip was brutally destroyed by an unidentified attacker who was obviously upset with the way the band was heading. Fingers were pointed, harsh words were exchanged between members, insults were traded and fists were clenched. The band was in turmoil and abruptly split.

A few years have past since the break up and time has healed all wounds. Like all ageing rockers we intend to re-unite for a final farewell tour. Dates are yet to be confirmed, so stay tuned!

October 4th, 2007