Rafferty play highlights culture boost for town
ARTIST and playwright John Byrne is working on a stage musical inspired by the music of his longtime friend Gerry Rafferty.
Byrne, who is best known for his work Tutti Frutti and the Slab Boys, grew up with the late singer-song writer in their native town of Paisley.
The show, Underwood Lane, explores the friendship between two teenage boys who form a band together and tackles the religious divide in the west of Scotland.
It will feature some of Rafferty’s best known songs, Stuck in the Middle with You, Whatever’s Written in Your Heart, Baker Street, Night Train and Can I Get My Money.
The writer said he would like to stage it in his home town if Paisley wins the UK City of Culture title in 2021. He spoke as the town marks two years since launching its bid for the title.
Byrne, 77, said: “Underwood Lane is basically about two guys in Paisley who are exactly the same age as each other, in their late teens ... they don’t know each other because one goes to a Protestant school and the other goes to a Catholic school.
“But they know they are made for each other playing in a band.”
He added: “The script of Underwood could stand alone without any music in it.
“I didn’t write it to accommodate any of the songs -- I just wrote it as a play. But it’s the songs that make the thing a complete work of art”.
Byrne saw Rafferty shortly before he died and read the eulogy at his funeral.
Meanwhile, the forces behind the City of Culture 2021 bid, saidlocals have found a new passion for Paisley which, has led to fresh optimism and confidence.
Sharon McAulay from the Paisley-based STAR Project, said: “The impact of the bid so far has been huge.
“When we were shortlisted attitudes literally changed overnight.”
Massed choirs in the town centre give an emotional send-off to Paisley’s bid to win the UK City of Culture title in 2021