Being a Scotsman living in Houston, Texas, there is a 1980’s light comedy movie that resonates with me on many different levels. ‘Local Hero’ is set in a small coastal village in Scotland, whose residents are captivated by the idea that an oil executive from Houston will make them rich by purchasing the village lock, stock, and barrel to build an oil refinery. ‘Mac’, the American protagonist, becomes enamored by the glorious Scottish landscape and the eccentric and uninhibited nature of the Scottish villagers. Convincing himself he’d “make a good Gordon”, he suddenly finds himself whisked back to Houston before he was ready or willing to leave; and the movie closes with him wistfully longing to be back in Scotland.
Bill Forsyth’s masterpiece resonates with me, not only because I too find myself in Houston, and often longing to be back in Scotland, but also because of the soundtrack. Dire Strait’s Mark Knopfler wrote the music, and much of it appears on their early 80’s live album, ‘Alchemy’, which is music that I listened to over and over again as a boy. This included the signature themes ‘the Rocks and the Thunder’ and ‘Going Home’, and the more haunting ‘Stargazer’ music. This apparent personal connection to the music lead to find some of the filming locations for the movie, which were actually scattered across the west and and north east coasts of Scotland.