Eddi Reader is in Dublin later this week with Luka Bloom and will play in Tokyo and Osaka next month. Eddi has also been a supporter of the campaign to keep the Johnnie Walker plant in Kilmarnock and recently talked about how the whisky might have saved her life during a prior trip to Japan.

Eddi also just missed out on Alec Downie’s list of the top 20 Scottish cover versions. Ticket info on the Dublin and Japan shows below.

KILMARNOCK JOHNNIE WALKER SAVED MY LIFE
by Eddi Reader

When I was first invited to sing in Japan, I was thrilled.  One of the first times I visited the city of Tokyo, I felt the need to wander off and explore after one of my shows… I was with Neill MacColl, and David Donald.

We were a little drunk and wandered further from the hotel that night than we had dared. We ended up lost and REALLY LOST… with no real ability to recognise street names or hold on to any visual reference that looked different from any other street corner…

I decided we should look for food, people and conversation. So we stopped into this little doorway, covered with a cloth for a door, behind which was a bench and a giant pot of some kind of soup. The old man and woman working there welcomed us in and we pointed our way to a meal.

Suddenly, just when we were feeling more confident about where we were, in walked three real loud characters… they sat beside me and the boys.

They shouted and talked to the owners who seemed to suddenly be rushed off their feet serving these guys and responding to what they were saying.  Awkward smiles around me and unease came upon me as I recognised aggression in the air.

We made to leave but one of these guys held on to Neill’s arm and said: “YOU! STAY pretty boy”.

I pulled on that old survival technique that I had learned growing up in households where booze flowed and sometimes charm works better to diffuse the crappy attitudes that alcohol brings sometimes.

I giggled and asked the one talking to Neill his name. He was wearing a vest top over a chest full of Japanese tatoos and one of his arms was in a sling.

He menacingly leaned towards me, pointed at his bloodied, bandaged hand and said: “YAKUZA… ME!  YAKUZA!!”

I kinda knew a bit about the Japanese mafia thing I had read so I realised the guy’s bloodied hand I was looking at was the aftermath of the initiation ritual of chopping off the little finger of one of the hands of the newer members to join the Yakuza. I think Neill and David started to look a little pale.

Vest top guy said: “You pretty lady,  London???”

I said: “No English, SCOTTISH!  ME SCOTTISH!!!”

He said: “Ahhh, VIKING lady??….. JOHHHNNNNIEEE WALKKKA…. JOHHNNNIEE  WALKKA… KILMANOCK.. KILMANOCK!!!”

With that we ordered a round and I sung them a song and we all were set free … although I think Neill got a lingering look….

We grabbed a cab and said “Thank fuck for Johnnie Walker!”

PLEASE SAVE IT… THE TOWN NEEDS IT.  DIAGEO PLC ARE MESSING WITH YEARS OF HISTORY. SIGN THE PETITION PLEASE!!

Eddi
xxx

Reprinted from Eddi’s myspace page.

BBC News – Celebrities back whisky workers

www.eddireader.co.uk/