Restless Natives

Quite often these days I like to listen to a little music when running alone. I succumbed from this practice for a lot of years, mainly because I like to appreciate some of the attractive environments I chose to run in. After all, what could be more pleasant and uplifting than listening to Spring birdsong when gliding through a dappled glen, or listening to mighty waves beating against a sea wall on a beach. Sometimes though it’s good to have the company of a little music, especially when the running might be trying for whatever reason.

I see many people that run along in time to personal stereos these days, we all know what a common sight that is on the streets and pavements. Apart from one or two very significant safety drawbacks it’s easy to see why people are still continuing the jogging boom of over thirty years ago with the encouragement of a beat or a melody to step out to. On a shorter run I tend to like up-tempo music, perhaps not surprisingly. There’s a tendency to seek out music with a personal meaning or history for me too. One such piece of music I fins particularly stirring is the title track from a little-known, low budget movie from years ago entitled Restless Natives.

The film sports a glorious fusion of comedy, pathos, jaw dropping scenery and a powerful and soundly integrated sound track by rock band, Big Country.

Alone upon the fells of stone

Through summer sun and winter snow

The Eagle he was Lord above

And Rob was Lord below

‘Rob’ refers to infamous Scottish Highland outlaw, Rob Roy McGregor and is synonymous with the two main characters in the film, two Edinburgh youths, bored, listless and heading nowhere especially in life in their home town of Edinburgh. The two unlikely heroes hatch a plan to add a little glamour to their lives by heading up north into the Highlands on their diminutive Japanese motorbike to rob American tourists – in the nicest possible way!

After attracting little success our two hapless outlaws decide to utilise some of the stock from the day job working in a joke shop and so are born The Clown and The Wolfman, complete with masks and a ‘puffer gun’ loaded with itching powder, sneezing powder and athletes foot powder. The two head off back north and become a stunning success and an immediate tourist attraction – especially with American visitors!

Big Country – Restless Natives – play loud

Truly the film is not afforded justice by any written description. It has to be seen – it’s just one of those movies that’s humour makes no sense until viewed and heard.

Big Country’s part was an astonishing one. The twin lead guitars and Highland sound of Stuart Adamson and Bruce Watson in particular dance all over the screen, especially during the action scenes when the youngster are being hunted and given chase on the little Highland roads. The guitars soar and swoop, they skirl. They make my heart beat faster. They make my heart ache. Oh to be in those places again.

Two-hundred-forty years we lived

Without hope and without fight

But who will ??? where they came from

Who takes up swords for what is right

I will be with them

In the summer sun and the winter snow

They will come and crowds will grow

And show them we are proud again

When I play that title track tune (and many other Big Country numbers) to myself whilst I run, it always reminds me, if need were so, that I am one of Scotland’s sons. It’s an inescapable feeling that moves me. It travels to the soul of my identity and tells me who I am.

10 thoughts on “Restless Natives”

  1. It’s a cult classic!

    They recently released an anniversary edition on DVD with additional material in the way of interviews etc. Well worth a few quid.

    What a soundtrack too!

  2. Saw this when I was searching for a copy of the book. One of the classic Scottish films and classic soundtracks.
    “Have you got any false t*ts?”
    I got the book off amazon for a penny.

  3. Haha! Thanks Martin. You might be surprised how often those words are mimicked in our home!

    Glad you enjoyed it as much as I have (numerous times).


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