PAUL English remembers the first time he heard a Deacon Blue song. “It was in my dad’s friend’s car and his daughter, Elaine, had the Raintown album playing. I was 12 and we were being driven somewhere outside Port Glasgow. I distinctly remember hearing Chocolate Girl. I think your ears suddenly start to awaken to the sound of certain bands at that time in your life. You are choosing your direction in terms of identity and music can imprint on you.”

Shortly after this introduction he was ready for their second album, When The World Knows Your Name, which reached number one, convincing the young Paul that “this band were a horse I was going to back”.

The writer and broadcaster has interviewed Deacon Blue many times. The culmination of this association arrived when he was invited to author and edit their first official book.

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To Be Here Someday features extensive contributions from the band and those who have been around them over the past 35 years. The second part is a collection of memories, carefully assembled from fan contributions.

The limited edition volume is “a chronological history of Deacon Blue from their own perspective, from the early days with Ricky Ross putting things together, the story of the individual members, through multi-million albums, huge Wembley Arena gigs, what they thought was their final night at the Barrowlands in ‘94, then the reunion and what has happened since,” Paul explains.

HeraldScotland:

There are certain points where the story of Deacon Blue and Glasgow, their city muse, intertwine. The Big Day concert at Glasgow Green in 1990 was one of them. The backdrop to many of their most successful songs was Europe’s Cultural Capital at the time and there was a renewed sense of optimism in the air.

This seemed to give an added energy to the opening bars of Real Gone Kid as they were broadcast live on television.

“When your debut album is called Raintown and the artwork is an Oscar Marzaroli print that includes the Finnieston Crane, then that’s a statement of intent. Ricky would say it isn’t really a concept album but the characters are rooted in stories that have sprung from the people of Glasgow.

“Similarly, with Fellow Hoodlums, which is their third album, there were songs going in quite a different direction musically, but it is a Glasgow album. The songs reference streets like Kelvin Way, Queen Street and pubs in Glasgow like The Budgie and Sloan’s.

“So those albums are very much connected to the geography in which the characters in their songs are living in every day.

“In terms of The Big Day it was a sense of the stars aligning at a time of cultural confidence. It felt like a generational thing. Glasgow was saying we understand where we were but we’re going somewhere.”

Every provincial nightclub in Scotland has played Deacon Blue’s hit Dignity and got an instant reaction. When you think of the band you may be distracted by the mainstream pop sensibilities, the radio-friendly perennials and the Hogmanay sing-a-longs.

Many fans of the group have a closer connection to the back-catalogue. They hear stories in the songs that resonate with their lives, and not all of those lives have been easy.

“Lorraine talks about that in the book, how some people come to the gig just to hear the big hits, but others are hoping for obscure B-sides. I feel like Deacon Blue capture moments in time, living in Glasgow. There’s themes of political alienation, Scotland’s own cultural identity. There are riches beyond the obvious.”

To Be Here Someday, published by This Day in Music Books is out now.

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This feature appeared in the November edition of Best of Scotland magazine, published monthly in The Herald on Sunday and Sunday National newspapers.