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Boaty Weekender

by Frances Mckee

In Summer 2019, Glasgow-based teacher, Frances McKee was invited to teach Iyengar yoga and play with her band on a festival cruise organised by Scottish band Belle and Sebastian.

Port / Starboard

Teach yoga on a boat sailing from Barcelona to Sardinia? How could I refuse? Only one snag. I get terrible sea sickness.

‘The Boaty Weekender’ as it was called was the brain child of Belle and Sebastian, a Glasgow based alternative band. I think they even made it onto Top of the Pops if anyone reading this is old enough to remember that programme.

I am from Glasgow and over the years have taught some members of the band Iyengar Yoga. So it’s nice to be asked. It took me about one second to reply. OK.

Ship Ahoy

What could possibly go wrong? As it happens, quite a lot – especially trying to get to Barcelona, given that the previous day British Airways had à computer meltdown. Belle and Sebastian took two days to get there, while Camera Obscura had to cancel their first show as they just managed to get aboard before setting sail.


I should also give some background to the Glasgow music scene. Basically if this boat hit an iceberg, alternative music in Glasgow would be just a memory. Some of the most legendary bands were due to play and quite a few from Glasgow. Teenage Fanclub, probably the most well known, apart from the Belles, Honeyblood, The Buzzcocks, Yo La Tengo, The Vaselines and much more.

Are you that girl?….

Wait, I forgot to mention I am also in The Vaselines…I started this band with Eugene Kelly literally decades ago and every now and then we drag ourselves out of our care home to play some shows. We opened the weekend which was quite an accomplishment given all the hiccups encountered by everyone else.

What time is Class?

My first yoga lesson was the following morning. Or It was supposed to start at 10am, then 11am, 11.30am… there were no mats, it was getting hotter and hotter, we moved into the shade, we found mats and then everyone started arriving, ten twenty…please no more, thirty, ahem …over one hundred!!! Not only that, but by this time I had to compete with The Buzzcocks sound check …So obviously I got a microphone as well.

Have you done this Before?

Basically I arranged people on the good ship into two groups, The Stars and The Gummy Bears ….. then focussed on some basic work with the legs and some shoulder work. As a short introduction to lyengar Yoga, the feedback was very positive and for those who had more experience, given the heat, the intensity of the class was enough.

Come Back

Of course, the proof is in the pudding. I had another class to teach … would anyone return for seconds??? I am pleased to say … yes!!!


And what about the sea sickness? The Boat was HUGE and the waters were very calm. So I was fine. It was an amazing weekend actually … And. I got to sing a song with my legends, The Buzzcocks.

Published in IYN Spring 2020

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