Alan has been commissioned to produce songs for the Wigtown Book Festival’s Doctor Megaphone Goes West and Zoom! Children’s science shows (see for more details), and Dumfries and Galloway’s Science Mayhem Day. He has contributed a song, 'Swallows', to the Smart Indie (EM Records) 'Animal Calendar' project, and this will soon have an animation attached to it.  He has produced bespoke songs for weddings and birthdays, and also writes topic-based songs for colleagues, usually with a scientific or humorous theme.


Stay at Home!

In April 2020 Alan was commissioned to contribute to Cranachan Publishing's free e-book, 'Stay at Home!' The collection celebrated the efforts of children in the fight against Coronavirus and brought together 40 Scottish authors, from relative newcomers to National Treasures. The book includes poems, stories and fascinating facts and is illustrated by Darren Gate. Alan's contribution was a Scots poem called 'Ma Name is Billy Baxter', inspired by the son of the janitor at the school where he teaches. The whole wonderful collection is available free from here:

Stay at Home eBook Cover high res JUNE 667x1024

'A Sense of Wonder', a film about James Clerk Maxwell by Kenny Caldwell, used McClure's song 'Whit's the Go o' That?' as performed with enthusiasm by some of his pupils.  The whole film is well worth a look and stars the inimitable Rab Wilson in the role of presenter: the section featuring Alan and his choir starts at around 22 minutes in.

Whit's the Go o' That?

When Jamie Maxwell wis a lad he vexed his faither sairly
Intae this and intae that wi questions late and early
Birds and beasts and clockwork toys all raised the same old question,
“Faither can ye tell me please, whit’s the go o’ that, then?”
Whit’s the go o’ that, whit’s the go o’ that,
What does it do, how does it work,
Whit’s the go o’ that?
His faither sent him tae the school where all the wealthy lads went
They ca’ed him daft and for a laugh they made fun o his accent
but pretty soon they gi’ed it up, their teasing was in vain
Cos Jamie he was happy wi his monumental brain
Askin’ “Whit’s the go o’ that...”
His childish curiosity was merely a rehearsal
And as he grew he turned his mind tae matters universal
He used his maths tae match his facts tae underlying patterns
And just for fun described the nature o the rings o Saturn
He learned the work o’ Faraday which made him wonder whether
Magnetic and electric waves must fly through space the-gether
And figured, since they fly along at licht-speed if you let them
That licht we see is part of the ‘lectromagnetic spectrum
Break: Electromagnetic spectrum (Repeat)

Radio waves, microwaves, infra-red and visible light
ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma-rays radiate through day and night

So children, if your parents say ‘Don’t fash me wi your questions’
Remember Jamie Maxwell’s electromagnetic spectrum
To figure out the universe we need a place to start
and you could do much worse than asking “Whit’s the go o’ that?”

She Sells Sea-Shells

Mary Anning sets her eyes on
an impossible far horizon
With the pounding surf behind her
she’s the queen of the fossil finders

She sells sea shells on the sea shore
as the sands of time slip by her

She sells sea shells on the sea shore
Now we know more than we’ve ever done before

crumbling clifftops let her teach us
of incredible vanished creatures
learned men all fuss and fight for
fossils Mary has risked her life for
She sells sea shells on the sea shore
just to keep the wolf from her door
she sells sea shells on the sea shore
Now we know more than we’ve ever done before
And as she pushes back the veil on what we know
And finds the bones from which great reputations grow
She is penniless, fatherless, unrewarded, undaunted just the same
Let’s chip away the misplaced history, uncovering Mary’s name
She sells sea shells on the sea shore
But she offers the world so much more
She sells sea shells on the sea shore
belemnite and ichthyosaur
she sells sea shells on the sea shore
nursery rhyme no fitting reward
she sells sea shells on the seashore
pterodactyl, plesiosaur


One of several biographical songs for a forthcoming project, "Giants of Science!"

Contact:  Alan can be contacted for bookings or commissions, at:  48 Catherine Street, Gatehouse of Fleet DG7 2JB   Tel: 07496181254


Copyright © Alan McClure 2015. All Rights Reserved.