By David Campbell
Lindsay Porteous 1948 -2023
A visit to Lindsay’s house in Culross was an introduction to Lindsay. His house was halfway between an obstacle course and a museum. He had collections of toys, toy soldiers, Dinky toys and model guns. Apart from the collection of stringed instruments, wind instruments, mouth organs and of course Jew harps of many kinds. He also invented his own instruments and of course he liked to style himself ‘twanger’.
His Christmas cards were equally unique, part Kafka-esque rant against the labyrinthine indecipherability of officialdom. He also filled these Christmas cards with detailed descriptions of music sessions in Stockbridge and Sandy Bell’s Bar. This was punctuated with his frustration at the inadequacies of the bus service and difficulties of getting in and out of Culross.
Household bills for utilities gas electricity and telephone were battlefields with authorities and elicited eloquent outraged outbursts.
Lindsay found companionship with Margaret who for a while attended his music sessions in various venues. This relationship while it lasted was a boon since she wrote an eloquent appeal to the social benefits authority which successfully provided Lindsay with a pension.
A mighty pal, fellow traveller and performer was Duncan Williamson – for Lindsay and Duncan my house was a home from home and a meeting place. They shared the large front room and slept there. Duncan used to await Lindsay’s return from Waverley Market Garage Sales each Sunday. ‘I wonder what rubbish Lindsay will bring back this week?’ Duncan would say. Like the volcano, amongst the ashes could be gold; perhaps a fine instrument or instrument that could be put together into something new and ingenious by Lindsay. When Duncan died a very tearful Lindsay phoned me to tell me the news.
To me Lindsay’s visits were welcome and an entertainment, as were his performances at the Storytelling Centre although some of his jokes were anticipated with some apprehension by Donald Smith.
In a world where people seem to be largely predictable as expressed in the song ‘Little Boxes’ Lindsay was refreshingly himself and that made it a joy and enrichment to have known him. Memories of Lindsay always bring a smile to my face and a warmth to my heart.
Find out more about Lindsay and listen to some of his amazing playing on the link below which takes you to the ‘rare tunes’ website.