Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Songs about Scottish Sea Mist!?!

Living on the banks of the Tay, as I do,  and not very far from the North Sea - when I moved here two and a half years ago I very soon learnt a new word:
I'll let the bbc weather page explain a bit more: 

"Scotland's weather is a subject close to the heart of her inhabitants. Its variability and uniqueness sets the country aside from many other global destinations, and keeps the Scottish people not just on their toes, but weather wise.

Some of the unique weather phenomenon taking place in Scotland each year includes the effects of the Gulf Stream and Fohn Effect, as well as the notorious North Sea Haar.

On the east coast of Scotland a sea fog, known locally as Haar, often plagues the local residents and ruins what would otherwise be a fine day. It most commonly occurs between April and September, on or near the east coast or in the Northern Isles.

The warm air at the bottom of the parcel is cooled by the cold air below...
It does not usually penetrate far inland, but can filter through valleys like the Great Glen and the Central Lowlands as far as Glasgow. Haar forms when a parcel of warm air passes over the cold North Sea. The warm air at the bottom of the parcel is cooled by the cold air below, until it can no longer 'hold' the moisture that was previously contained within. Therefore, it releases some of the moisture in the form of liquid water through condensation. Add an onshore component like a wind of 5-20mph, and the cooling in the bottom of the warm parcel of air is spread upwards and generates a fog like Haar."

It's very true, many an otherwise good day can be almost ruined by a haar; the most mysterious of all cloud bullies. 

Amazingly talented Folkist musician, Fife resident, and Fence Records associate James Yorkston has written a song "When The Haar Rolls In", and named his new album after it. It's fab too. 

So then, this leads to two questions I'd like to ask youse:

1. Do any of you have any bizarre local weather phenomena? 
2. Can you think of any songs that are the only ones out there in the wide world of music to use a certain word (names and nonsense disqualified, by the way)? 

When The Haar Rolls In by James Yorkston

If you like it, please buy his records here.


DarceysDad said...

Re the weather question - I live in Queensbury, a village at the top of the hill between Bradford & Halifax. We're higher than Shap summit; boast the most elevated senior school in England (where my girls are NOT going unless it improves out of all proportion in the next couple of years); etc etc

I could walk you down the A647 towards Bradford on a summer's day with a can of spray paint, put a line on the pavement, and I'll guarantee that line will be within 50 yards of the snowline when the weather turns.

So famous is Queensbury's inclement climate compared to the town/city 3 miles either side of us, that the village community website address is

And it ain't no lie!

DarceysDad said...

Re one-off word use:

Live's Lightning Crashes is playing as I type, and I'm fairly sure it's the only one I know of that uses 'placenta'.

I suppose Nick Cave probably has something to say about that, but I only have a couple of albums.

DBT's Angels And Fuselage, maybe? Don't think Saxon could SPELL 'fuselage', let alone pronounce it.

Blimpy said...

hey darce - fascinating stuff!

You of course now have to pop out with a camera and can of spray paint and then report back in a few months!!!

Blimpy said...

google tells me that The Bloodhound Gang have a song called "The evils of placenta hustling" , and Mission of Burma have a song called "smouldering fuselage"

Blimpy said...

Has anyone visited The Tropic Of Plockton?

Frogprincess said...

Tricky using "schism" on Maxinquay? And I used to live in an area of our city - a street - where it would snow. And. Nowhere. Else. I would drive to work in a car covered in white powder and all the other cars would be clean...

Blimpy said...

Jackie Redding on Scottish weather:

"it can be raining at the front of the house and not at the back! Hence, if you don't like the weather just wait 'a wee whiley' or 'go doon the road' and it will change."

DarceysDad said...

O...K... um, almost anything sung by Liz Fraser or Jonsi Birgisson?!

Serious suggestions:

Little Feat - 'apolitical'
Screaming Jay Hawkins - 'constipation'

DsD said...

@ fp - Apparently it snows just&only over the brewery in Burton-on-Trent, beceause of the nature of the heat & moisture coming off the factory.

TracyK said...

I'll hazard The Decemberists' use of 'parallax' in Come And See. Willing to be proved wrong, mind.

DarceysDad said...

Got a couple of illnesses that may qualify as single use:

DBT reminded us Steve McQueen died of Mesothelioma. [Mission To Felspar have a song by that name, but it's never used in the lyrics, so the only time you'll hear it SUNG is by Patterson Hood.]

Slobberbone have a song subject incapacitated by his 'Lumberlung' which I've nominated before on RR.

steenbeck said...

I thought of the Decemberists, too. They must have a million...corn crake, legionnaire....

DarceysDad said...

Shack - the song on HMS Fable with someone wearing 'trainees' ... Daniella, I think.

treefrogdemon said...

Though maybe none are unique (um...circumlocution?) I offer you the Gourds' 'Makes Me Roll' as a damn fine set of words:

"It's yer

sweet interjection (makes me ro-ho-holl)

kind of affection

boring contraption

gooey confection


Rasputin tootin

dismal depression

Rich Little impression

cosmic connection

third world oppression

antique collection

recording session

Texas secession

troubling vibration

doubling inflation

mystic incantation

pagan celebration

taxation without representation

makes me roll..."

Shoegazer said...

Dub Syndicate - "Wadada (Means Love)", although Burning Spear also has a "Black Wadada" & there are probably more out there.

ToffeeBoy said...

@ blimpy - you do set some tough questions...

Bizarre local weather - it was sunny in Watford most of today.

Words not used in other songs - my initial thought was the following from Orange Juice's Inituition Told Me (Part 2).

'Here I stand, disarmed, in limbo,
You stand with your arms akimbo'

... but I found other uses of 'akimbo' google-wise. Great rhyming couplet though.

I'm sure there are other songs that mention swings but Sufjan Steven's use of the word 'swingset' ('when the swingset hit his head') in John Wayne Gacey Junior may be unique...

Shoegazer said...

Don't know what Ege Bamyasi Is apart from a Can album, or Tago Mago come to that.

snadfrod said...

Well, living as I do (for only 24 more days, folks!) on the very edge of Europe, its fair to say that the weather here is fairly, um, specialist.

We face directly west, staring into the Atlantic and a great mass of nothing all the way to Newfoundland. The town of Caherciveen has, on one side, the long, low ridge of Valentia Island and, on the other, the peak of cnoc-Na-Dobhar mountain to protect it. The ridge of Coomanaspic then stands sirectly to the south, heading out toward the sea.

As a result of these three, if you like, windbreaks, the weather on the north side of town, in town and to the south can often be completely different all day. The cloud and the rain hits the ridges and splits, sometimes totally, leaving micro-climates all over the place. Mrs Frod works in a bay, about 15 minutes drive from me now, over Coomanaspic ridge. Many is the day she'll phone me and say "get the washing in, it's lashing" whilst I relax in nothing but sunlight all day and watch, in the distance, as her rain wends casually past.

And when it rains, it really does RAIN. Stair-rods, spikes, shafts of cack in your face. European tourists wander around the place, punch-drunk, covered head to toe in poncho, whilst locals (and I) tut, put on a jumper and mutter about it being a 'soft' day.

The other thing I love about the geography here is that, from certain points, you can just watch the rain as it comes towards you. You can see it sucked out of clouds that sit like bad toupees on top of tiny peaks, and you can trace its progress as it will either grab you and shake you or just float serenely by.

Coach tours are a massive business round here, doing the Ring of Kerry. But I can't ever help myself but feel tremendously sorry for them when, 50% of the time, the cloud lies so low as to make your own fist impossible to make out clearly. In August. Essentially it amounts to a day sat on a bus getting herded by scalpers. And for that, I'm sure you'd agree, some people would probably pay a LOT...

goneforeign said...

Do we have a weather 'expert' on board? If so I have a question, we hear of massive amounts of rain being dumped by hurricanes, 10-12" in a couple of hours, all of that rain was swept up from the ocean as the hurricane crossed the Atlantic yet when it falls as rain it's freshwater, where did the salt go?

Blimpy said...

Good point!

Similarly, when you put bread in the toaster, and toast pops up - where does the bread go?

saneshane said...

Salt goes to The Chip Shop.
Bread just hides..(sometimes in the chippy too)
if you toast properly the bread will still be in the middle..
like an armadillo soft on the inside crunchy on the outside.

glad that's sorted.

CB said...

On Tuesday the family and I stood on the front porch and watched for 20 minutes as a thunderstorm passed with its outer limit seemingly directly over our street. The lightening and thunder were practically continuous for all 20 minutes. I have never heard so much thunder. The lightening flashes seemed to be going between clouds rather than to earth. Yet no rain fell on our street. It was hard to tell how far away rain did fall but it looked as though it was less than 100 metres away.
Whether it was salty or not I therefore cannot say. Due to the moisture being lifted through evaporation; I suspect not. As to the bread question: I have no idea. Are there toast fairies?

ejaydee said...

See, that's way I refuse to make the distinction. It's all bread, just toasted. Also, it's not "have your cake and eat it too", but "eat your cake and have it"!
Semi-rant over.

ToffeeBoy said...

One of the highlights of my week is helping out at the local primary school breakfast club on Wednesday mornings - I always enjoy it when one of the children asks for bread instead of toast and I make a disgusted face and say, 'Urrgh! Raw toast'!

They usually give me a withering look...

Shoey said...

Another fine tune Blimps. May discuss the weather once the current hurricane line up has buggered off.

saneshane said...


Rain, or atmospheric water vapour is made of just water molecules, not anything that is in the original solution. If you boil salt water the salt remains in the pan because it is too heavy to vaporise.

so I'm told...

Blimpy stop disrupting the class.

(got Noah and the Whale on impulse yesterday..'cos of all your past posts.. why work when a record shop is open.. eh.. enjoying so far)

ToffeeBoy said...

Noah & The Whale are a landmark act for me - the first band to be recommended to me by my younger daughter - aged 13 and with surprisingly good taste.

goneforeign said...

Shane: I knew about the boiling salt water bit but what was/is confusing me is that huge vortex streaming across the ocean surface pulling up [frogs] and anything else in their path and then depositing same as freshwater [plus frogs] on terra firma.