by Stephen Martin

TWO school pals from Clydebank High are back on the road in a rock band 51 years after their first gig at the school’s Christmas dance.

And the remarkable reunion between Jack Law and Dougie Harrison is all down to a chance meeting in a Sainsbury’s car park.

Jack, now aged 68, and Dougie, 67, were shy and nervous budding musicians when the deputy head at Clydebank High called them into her office back in November 1966.

Expecting a rollocking for something they’d done wrong, the formidable Miss McLaren instead announced: “I think you boys should form a group and play the school Christmas dance.”

And so on December 14, 1966 they duly did – alongside two other friends – in a hastily put-together four-piece called This Way Out.

With Jack on guitar and lead vocals and Dougie on bass and singing, they played covers including My Generation by The Who and Land of 1,000 Dances by Wilson Pickett.

They went down a storm. So much so that pupils started a petition calling on Miss McLaren to give them another gig.

A faded picture taken that night captures the moment perfectly: Jack and Dougie are both wearing ties – but with their rock’n’roll top collars rebelliously left undone.

Jack and Dougie lost touch after leaving school – but bumped into one another outside Sainsbury’s in Drumchapel 15 years ago.

They stayed in touch, began to play together again and now at the combined age of 135 they’re on the road, playing gigs and having the time of their lives.

Jack is one of Glasgow’s best-known social work faces and a former chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, as well an established folk musician. Dougie is a retired technology teacher.

Together with friends Jean-Claude Danti, Duncan Sloan, and Colin Robertson the five-piece group are called Raging Twilight.

That’s a reference not just to their age but their attitude – as angry now about social injustice as they ever were as teenagers.

In fact, if anything they are angrier, a theme that comes across in Raging Twilight’s self-titled debut album and features songs such as Hope Sails Down the River and Hard Times Bad Times.

The album, which launched on July 7, is mix of blues, rock and soul, with Jack and Dougie both on guitar and vocals with Jack also playing the mandolin.

Father-of-two Jack said: “You might think we’re just a bunch of old guys and in some ways we are.

“But we’re actually younger than the Rolling Stones. So if they can be out on the road playing gigs still, then so can we.”

“I’ve actually never felt younger. Music does that to you. It’s a great energiser and helps keep you relevant and up-to-date.

“And if you feel strongly about the way the world is, then it gives you a great outlet.”

The album was launched on Friday, July 7 with a gig in Glasgow’s Glad Café and took place more than five decades after the school dance that hurled Jack and Dougie together.

“Miss McLaren was a pretty intimidating character,” says Dougie. “When she said she thought we should start a band it wasn’t said as a suggestion which she was politely floating in conversation. It was an instruction – so we thought we’d better get cracking and do some practice.

“After school we drifted off into different lives as you do – and when I saw Jack outside Sainsbury’s I never thought for one minute that it would lead to this.

“But I’m very glad it has. We’ve got a shared passion for music. After we met up again I played on Jack’s solo album Take a Second Chance and that set us thinking about putting together the band.”

The set list will be very different to 1966 and this time they won’t be having to beg, borrow and steal instruments, amps and a sound system.

Jack added: “If they have another petition demanding to get us back then we’ll know we’ve done alright.”