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Wonderland Deep Dive - Part 2

25 August 2023

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Your hosts shake off their cobwebs as they talk about how the Angle Park discussion is likely to fill a few hours on its own. The song is “ground zero” as far as Big Country music goes, and there is a lot to talk about.

The context of the song in terms of its inclusion on Wonderland

How “Angle Park” was considered as the band name in the early days

An Angle Park song timeline

  • Tracing the song’s origins in Bruce’s first band The Delinquents in the 1970s
  • The Eurosect demo version “Forgotten Whispers”, now with lyrics/vocals
  • Stuart hearing the Eurosect demo while still with Skids, leaving the band and starting to work with Bruce weeks later
  • Angle Park being the very first song they finished together – ground zero for Big Country music
  • Further Big Country demo sessions, the first one being on the day of a Royal wedding
  • Album sessions with Chris Thomas, where Angle Park is part of the sessions
  • The band stayed on after the album sessions were aborted to finish Angle Park with Steve Churchyard – this is the recorded version that we have
  • Potential reasons why Angle Park was not part of The Crossing sessions
  • How this opened the door for its inclusion on the Wonderland EP instead

Wonderland – song deep-dive by Svein and Tom

  • The denseness of the lyrics – almost impenetrable
  • Clue #1: the Smash Hits quite where Stuart called the song “the feelings I have on mental institutions”. The Smash Hits quotes are often simplistic to the point of making them inaccurate - how much credence can we give them?
  • Clue #2: the Anglepark house in Dunfermline. We talk of the topography of Dunfermline, and the walk between where Bruce and Stuart was located, where they would walk past the Anglepark house several times every week. They would look over the wall at the statues and fountain that are mentioned in the song.
  • Mike Peters’ tour diary from the 2012 Crossing the Country tour, describing his impressions and thought of the Anglepark house.
  • What did the house and its gardens inspire, and what comes from other sources or the writers’ imaginations? The chorus seems to very much be the former, while the verses likely take a very different route.
  • How dark are the deeds described in the first verse? Are we talking about domestic abuse, or are we talking about what goes on in psychiatric institutions? The co-hosts have differing takes on this.
  • Musically, Angle Park is a defining song as far as the sound of Big Country.
  • Incredible musical arrangements, where it is noteworthy how long the instrumental sections are – the long intro, the instrumental sections before each new verse, and the end section. The sung parts are in the minority.
  • The resilience of the bass part – it has been kept from very early on, and is an extremely satisfying, full-sounding bedding.
  • The song’s vocal melody has a very limited range and is overly basic, especially in the chorus, where it follows the simple guitar melody. How much of a problem is this? Is it a limitation, or does it not matter?
  • An example of an early live version of Angle Park, showing an emotional Stuart as he seems to really feel the lyrics as he sings them.
  • The song’s live history.


A podcast memory: Svein and Tom were treated to Angle Park live via Skype when they called up the band for an interview at the end of 2013.

Bruce and Jamie Watson – Angle Park (live at Lathones)

Final thoughts on the hosts regarding the song’s rich history, the style of the song and how that style was never totally abandoned, more on Angle Park as a potential band name, and looking forward to the next episode.

Speakpipe messages contributed by (in order of appearance): Stuart Menzies, Dermot Owens, Christian Gallagher, Cara Cuiule, and Dwayne “Bogan Hipster” Bunney. Many thanks!

Bonus outtake: Stuart Menzies giving a tour of the Angle Park neighbourhood and associated views.