The Smell Of Dancing

When the Ceilidh Bandidos first formed in 2001 we decided to announce our birth to the world through the medium of the West Highland’s largest (literally) newspaper, The Oban Times.

We thought long and hard about the style this announcement should take and decided to avoid the standard “we are The Ceilidh Bandidos, we play for ceilidh dancing” and to write a story instead. The results are below, and on re-reading, i am amazed the normally staid Oban Times printed.


The Ceilidh Bandidos

As the low, bass rumbling got louder I noticed the cloud approaching and stepped onto the porch of the small town’s only hotel to avoid the oncoming buffalo stampede. After the dust settled I could hear behind me the unmistakable sound of Donald McLean’s Farewell to El Paso, in perfect rhythm to the swinging creak of the old hotel sign.

I pushed the saloon doors open and stepped inside, being greeted by the smell of whisky and dancing. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust to the gloom, but then I saw them…. three rough looking characters on the tiny platform, throwing out some of the finest dance tunes I’ve heard. The big one’s fingers danced lightly over the ivories of the old honky-tonk piano. The smaller one bowed his fiddle as if he was trying to banish a demon from within, and the middle sized one was losing the battle with some strange instrument that looked like an octopus. On the floor the dancers whirled and spun each other around, yipping and hooching like hyenas. I made my way to the bar wondering how to get myself a piece of the action. The heavily moustached barman slid a small shot of whisky my way and looked me up and down suspiciously.

“Who are those guys?” I asked the barman.

“You’re obviously not from these parts.” he replied. “Why, they are The Ceilidh Bandidos, the freshest ceilidh band in the west!”

“My lil’ sister, Marybell Louise, is getting married next month,” I said, “how do I book this band?”

“That’s easy,” he said, “just contact the deputy on 01234 567890* or email her at”

At that moment the music changed, the band played the classic New Mexican tune ‘The Headlands’ and the barman leaned over and asked, “Fancy a Gay Gordons?”

I danced all night, my spurs tinkling in time to the light-hearted, upbeat sound of the band. Later I stepped outside into the still, moonlit night, untied my horse and headed into the hills with my head full of memories of dancing to THE CEILIDH BANDIDOS.

* I have changed the phone number to avoid confusion.

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