AUTHOR Martin Knight admits he wasn’t a fan of the Bay City Rollers in his youth but these days he’s an enthusiastic convert after co-penning Alan Longmuir’s autobiography.
I Ran with the Gang, published on November 26, charts the music career of the plumber from Gorgie who, along with brother Derek, cousin Neil Porteous, friends Nobby Clark and Dave Pettigrew, formed the band that would become the tartan teen sensations.
Martin, who has written autobiographies with footballers George Best, Charlie Cooke and Dave McKay, met Alan in January 2017 and they became friends during the six-month writing process.
He said: “It was like an accelerated friendship. Although we only met four or five times, it was quite intense. We spoke on the phone almost daily”
The pair never got round to writing the planned final chapter as, sadly, Alan, 70, died in June after falling ill in Mexico while on holiday with his wife, Eileen.
Martin said: “Had he lived longer it would have been a longer book because he wanted to talk about his plumbing career.”
Looking back at his friendship with the bassist, some conversations have been cast in a different light for Martin.
He said: “A lot of the stuff he said became more poignant. At the end of the book, he said he hoped the Rollers could play one last time together. He actually said, ‘we’re not getting any younger and one of us will be the first to go and statistically, that’s me’.
“He was almost reaching out to the others.”
Alan was an open book, more so than others Martin has worked with, and he wanted to pen a happy tale that would change people’s perspectives.
Martin said: “He was fed up with the negative publicity and everyone focusing on the bad things in the Rollers’ story.
“He said most of it was brilliant fun, these five young lads going all over the world and being worshipped.
“He wanted to redress the balance a bit.” The autobiography, according to Martin, is Alan’s story, “how he saw it”.
Martin said: “In the book you see the low points on Alan’s life in context. He navigates his way through the madness with his tongue in his cheek and he’s laughing about it most of the time.”
Alan credits his wife Eileen for saving his life.
Martin said: “He admits he was lucky. If he hadn’t met Eileen, the implication was that he would have died, he says that in the book.
“He was drinking too much and felt he didn’t have much to live for, which is very sad but it turned around and he was very, very happy in the last decade of his life.”
There was no sign that Alan was ailing before his sudden death. In fact, says Martin, he was “fit and alert and in very good spirits”.
The Rollermania of the 70s didn’t include Martin, but he’s definitely a fan now.
“I’ve been properly converted”, he said.
“I was amazed. I knew Bye Bye Baby but they never really appealed to me.
“I started listening to their music [after meeting Alan] and I just got hooked.
“The song called Don’t Let the Music Die is as good a song as you’ll ever hear.”
Martin remembers Alan fondly.
He said: “He was a very humble man with great integrity. He was very generous. A kind, generous and humble man.”