A FORMER psychiatric hospital patient who has turned his life around is set to release a Christmas single with Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones.
Peter Mackie, 54, who lives in Sighthill, has been attending weekly musical workshops led by Jones at the Whale Arts Centre in Wester Hailes since September. The musicians taking part in the workshops have formed their own band, South West Sounds, and will release their first track – Have a Whale of a Christmas – around December 15.
Jones, a guitarist in Edinburgh-based Idlewild, will feature on the CD playing acoustic guitar, with Peter – who is a published author as well as a musician – playing keyboard.
Peter said: “It feels very good, I have always wanted to have a record out since I was a teenager. Rod came up with the idea of producing a CD when we were starting to rehearse.
“Each verse is about different, fictitious people and what’s happening with them and Christmas. One of the verses is about a soldier coming back from Afghanistan.
“I’m hoping something might come out of this and we might do another song, possibly with Rod again.”
He added: “It’s been very nice going to the workshops and I’m getting used to playing along with other people – they’re quite a friendly crowd. I have now realised my dream which I have had since I was a teenager of playing music in a band with other people.”
South West Sounds, who will perform the festive track at the WHALE Arts Centre on December 15, rehearse at the centre for two hours every Thursday and recently performed at Craiglockhart Leisure Centre. The band will record the Christmas song tomorrow. It will then be available to buy from the centre.
Peter, who recently released an anthology –Poems of Youth and Turbulence – written as a teenager in the 1970s when he spent two years in an adolescent psychiatric unit, said: “If people find out that Rod Jones is producing the CD, I was hoping it might become popular.”
Peter’s book The Madhouse of Love, which he wrote aged 17 based on his experiences as a teenager in the psychiatric unit, was published last year.
A keen mathematician with an interest in unusual music and astronomy, Peter said he did not fit in at school or at home and his parents eventually took him to a psychiatric hospital when he was just 12. The experience haunted Peter for the rest of his life, resulting in failed suicide attempts and a disrupted education.
The musical workshop also runs at Carrickvale Community Centre and the St Bride’s Centre in Dalry, with both groups attending also releasing their own singles for Christmas. WHALE manager Allan Farmer said: “This is part of a wider two-year project that we’re working on called South West Sounds.
“The aim of the project is to get aspiring musicians of all ages and abilities out of the bedroom and into regular groups.”