Ballboy band
Ballboy (also spelled ballboy) were formed in Edinburgh in the late 1990s. They have recorded mainly for the label SL Records, to who they signed in 1997, but their most recent LP, I Worked On The Ships (2008) came out on the band's own Pony Proof Records. Gordon McIntyre has been the band's main force, originally on guitar and then moving on to vocals (original singer Viv Strachan left due to being uncomfortable performing live) and writing most of their material. It took them five years to release their first LP, A Guide For The Daylight Hours (2003): up till them they had released a series of EPs which were collected on Club Anthems (2001). Both Gordon and Katie Griffith (keyboards) are teachers: McIntyre explained in an interview for Vanity Project (2002) that I Hate Scotland, for example, "wasn’t really linked to a specific moment. I think it’s just something you see all the time living in Scotland. I guess teaching makes me spend lots of time thinking about the different relationships between parents and children, but I have a feeling that that lyric would have been written whether I taught or not."

They have been labelled 'the Scottish Wedding Present' and allmusic claims they have been "cloaked in the kind of hype, critical darling-hood and general preciousness which enveloped their Scottish forebears Belle & Sebastian several years earlier." [1] Their songs can also be poignant, as in their cover of Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA"few cover versions have approached the poignancy of (this), drawing out the pathos that was always there but too easily disguised by Bruce's  air-punching, anthemic treatment." [1] Nonetheless, their melodic style, firmly rooted in the music and social mores of their homeland, forged a style that evidently appealed to JP, who cited Olympic Cyclist as one of his favourite tracks from 2000. He first started playing them at the end of 1999 and they appeared in every Festive Fifty from 2000 to the end of Peel's run. Moreover, they recorded five sessions for the show, one live from Maida Vale and their last from Peel Acres: this contained a duet with Laura Cantrell on I Lost You, But I Found Country Music which so far has been the only one of their BBC recordings to see the light of day as a commercial release.

Gordon acknowledged John's influence on their career in 2002:

"John Peel allows thousands of people to hear music made without the guiding hand of the corporations. He is an outlet for music that people love, but would not get to hear otherwise. Without him we would have died, or become a faceless corporate band." [2]

Festive Fifty Entries

Ballboy achieved the highest number of placing in the chart for both 2003 and 2004. In Mark Whitby's 2005 book The Festive Fifty, they are 23rd in his list of 'Top Festive Fifty Bands and Artists,' and he dubbed them "one of the genuine heavyweights of the Festive Fifty".


  • Five sessions. 'I Lost You, But I Found Country Music' (with Laura Cantrell, session #5) released on CD single Past Lovers (SL). First session available as a free download from SL Records (which lists the wrong first TX date). A sixth session was broadcast on 09 November 2004, but was never released.
BALLBOY (1st John Peel Session 2000)

BALLBOY (1st John Peel Session 2000)

1. Recorded 2000-01-30. First broadcast 21 March 2000. Repeated 07 December 2000.

  • Essential Wear For Future Trips to Space / I Hate Scotland / Sex Is Boring / Stars & Stripes

2. Live at Maida Vale. First broadcast 27 February 2002 (SL Records special)

(Listener emails about the “decidedly average” NME review of ballboy album that week. JP: “But that’s a magazine that thinks Slipknot matters, do you know what I mean, so I shouldn’t pay too much attention to that.”)

(Peel asks ballboy to play ‘Hang Flags From Cranes’. Gordon McIntyre (ballboy): “If you request it, we’re not going to turn you down, are we?” JP: “No, well you can do. You can tell me to piss off. Many people have done that in the past and many more will, I think.” GM: “Not Scottish people.” JP: “No, that’s true.”)

  • All The Records On The Radio Are Shite / Avant Guard Music / I Lost You But I Found Country Music / Olympic Cyclist / Where Do The Nights Of Sleep Go When They Do Not Come To Me / They’ll Hang Flags From Cranes Upon My Wedding Day / I Wonder If You’re Drunk Enough To Sleep With Me Tonight

3. Recording date unknown, own studio. First broadcast 23 January 2003 (Burns night special)

  • A Man's A Man For A' That

4. Recorded 2002-02-16. First broadcast 20 March 2003. Repeated 25 September 2003.

  • You Should Fall In Love With Me / The Time Out Guide / I Gave Up My Eyes To A Man Who Was Blind / Nobody Really Knows Anything

5. Live from Peel Acres (Christmas special, with Laura Cantrell). Broadcast 23 December 2003

  • There Are Only Inches Between Us, But There Might As Well Be Mountains And Trees/Past Lovers / A Starry Night / I Lost You, But I Found Country Music / I Still Miss Someone

"The Christmas special was our third or fourth (actually fifth) Peel session. We had played in Berlin a couple of days before and had bumpy flights both ways. We flew back into Stansted late at night and drove through the snow to a hotel near Peel Acres. The next day we drove through snowy countryside to the house where we met up with John and Sheila, their family and friends, Laura Cantrell and her husband and guitarist. We basically convened in John’s study/studio at one end of the house to the record the sessions, and moved along the hall to the front room to record the Christmas carols. It was an incredibly happy night, warm, friendly and filled with good food and drink. It is hard to describe it beyond that, but it was one of the best nights of my life." (Gordon McIntyre, Scared To Dance interview).

Other Shows Played

(The list below was compiled only from the database of this site and Lorcan's Tracklistings Archive. Please add further information if known.)

  • 20 March 2001: They'll Hang Flags From Cranes Upon My Wedding Day (CD - Girls Are Better Than Boys) SL
  • I Lost You But I Found Country Music by Laura Cantrell Ballboy

    I Lost You But I Found Country Music by Laura Cantrell Ballboy

    24 March 2004 (with Laura Cantrell): I Lost You, But I Found Country Music (single b-side - Past Lovers) SL
  • 01 April 2004: Past Lovers (CD single) Ballboy
  • 29 April 2004: The Angels (EP- Past Lovers) SL
  • May 2004 (FSK): The Angels (CD - Past Lovers) SL
  • 04 May 2004: The Angels (EP- Past Lovers) SL
  • 07 October 2004: The Art Of Kissing (download) SL

See Also

External Links

  1. Whitby, M., The Festive Fifty, Nevin Publishing 2005.
  2. Although the official release had been voted for, John left it at home and had to play the session tape instead.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.