In this regular Sunday feature, we ask Scots about 10 things that changed their life. This week, Bobby Bluebell.

1. My first house

The National:

THERE was a turning point where the band [The Bluebells] were doing quite well, we had a couple of songs in the charts and touring and an income from the publishing rights, and I was able to buy a flat in the West End, at Bowmont Gardens.

I had been living in London for two years with my girlfriend [Banarama’s Siobhan Fahey], but buying that house was definitely a marker in my life. Around the same time I bought a car, so these things were really good for me in that I was doing something I could make a living at.

My dad was a shipbuilder, and my mum is Italian – I was working in an architects office and told them I had been sacked and I was going to London to be in a band, and they were obviously really worried by that.

So when the band did do well and when I bought the house it was a bit of a relief that I was able to look after myself and that music was a real thing.

My dad took great pleasure in helping me do that flat up and they both loved coming to visit me. It’s a really nice feeling when you can show your parents that you are OK, especially coming from a working-class background when you have to earn everything and there isn’t a safety net. It’s good for me now to know that I don’t have a financial panic, but I remember very clearly the stress of no money, and the stress of when the shipyards were closing. I do feel extremely lucky that I’ve been able to have a life where work has been what I love doing.

2. Paddy’s Market

The National:

PADDY’S Market was our eBay. This was where we went when I was in my early 20s to get clothes and records, if you wanted anything like a great pair of boots or a great t-shirt or a Velvet Underground album or a Beatles album this was the place.

After a while you got the eye for it and you could pick out the gold. Everyone in the band had a similar sense of taste and we could always find things that we were really pleased with. If you read about something in a magazine you went to Paddy’s Market to seek out things that were different. In those days there were things like pristine first editions of records and books, you would never get it now but it was a great destination.

3. Glasses

The National:

I THINK I was 10 when I got my first pair. I couldn’t see the blackboard at school and I was distracted all the time, and obviously the first pair were huge NHS ones.

I think the choice was black, see-through or blue and I chose the blue ones.

Always wearing glasses is part of my zeitgeist, and as people who wear glasses will know it becomes part of your identity.

The blue NHS ones weren’t probably the most stylish thing but years later I found myself seeking ones out that were almost the same.

A lot of my musical heroes wear glasses – Andy Warhol, Elvis Costello, Buddy Holly, John Lennon – and then you think, well, glasses are quite the thing aren’t they! The irony of the whole thing is I’ve got detached retinas and when they fix your retina now they put in a lens so in actual fact my eyesight is really good, but I still choose to wear glasses, they are part of what I expect to see when I look in the mirror and my other half says I look better with them on anyway.

4. My guitar

The National:

ONE year when I was about 11 or 12 my mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas and for some reason I said a guitar – I’ve no idea why, I’d never even touched one before, and we went to the Trongate and she bought me a £5 guitar out of a pawnshop.

I remember going home and holding it and thinking “this is going to be everything”, but then I realised it was really difficult to play!

Throughout the years I kept going back to it a wee bit at a time until my fingers didn’t hurt so much.

When I was about 15 or 16 she bought me a semi acoustic electric guitar which was just … incredible.

Well, even now I wished I have that guitar, I’ve got no idea what happened to it. When I went to college my friend and I used to go round playing Simon And Garfunkel songs at the old folks homes, but even then I had no idea that I was going to be in a band.

I had no intention for music to be my living, I was really shy and awkward and quite aware of my looks.

But somewhere I think I got some bravado and confidence, and since I was never going to get by on my looks I thought I have to be interesting in some way – and that was music.

5. Apple Mac

The National:

I LOVED computers from an early age and I think that merge of music and technology has made things like the Mac almost as important as a guitar now. I always liked the fact they were on their own independent operating system and we were on an independent record label, I liked the ethos of that.

Now when I’m writing music it is very quick to get it into the computer and you can digitise what’s in your head very quickly, and then you can listen back and change whatever you want without needing 10 people in a rehearsal room. Making music is the best feeling.

The world has changed so much since I was a kid – a lot of the technology that people think is terrible I actually think is good, like Twitter.

There’s people I’ve met through Twitter like Euan McColm and Chris Deerin – totally on the other side of the independence argument to me – but now that online conversation has morphed into a new band, The Fat Cops, that I’m really excited about.

People with a different point of view to you aren’t your enemy, the point of democracy is to have the conversations and have the discussions about your country.

6. Volkswagen

The National:

CLARE Grogan and her band Altered Images gave us our first break as a support act. We used all their equipment and gear when we were just starting out. Then in 1993 Clare’s sister Kate was working for an advertising company and they had shot the advert for Volkswagen. They were going to use Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You for the music but the film The Bodyguard had just come out and the cost of using the tune went through the roof because Whitney Houston had recorded it.

So, Kate suggested Young At Heart, they put it to what they had shot and it worked really well; it had the same joie de vivre.

We didn’t know it was going to be the hit that it was. I remember standing in Woolworths on Byres Road and I looked down the queue and every single person in it was holding the single. Even now I get a tingle thinking about that moment. I remember rushing out to phone Ken [McCluskey] from a phone box and he was like “so what?” and I’m going “Ken, Ken, it’s going to be a hit!”

It went into the charts at number five and then the week after I was in the studio, and we stopped at six o’clock to listen to the charts. We’re listening and we weren’t number four, we weren’t number three, and the DJ says “And at number two this week is … Shaggy with Miss Carolina”, and we just erupted, we were jumping around the room. Being at number one a long time after we had first written the song was incredible.

Young At Heart is really about my dad. He is the guy who married young, for love that lasts. It was a thank you to my parents, acknowledging that they had given up certain things.

7. DJ-ing

The National:

IN the 1990s and 2000s I was DJ-ing nearly every night of the week. There were so many clubs around Scotland – the Arches, the Tunnel, Archoas (pictured) in particular – these were all wonderful places at the time and I think I DJ-ed in every club in Glasgow at that point.

There’s nothing like taking a room full of people and getting them all to dance. Over a four-hour set you are trying to get the room from A to B with the music. It’s not about putting on a record then putting on another one, you are really making something happen in front of you which is a great, great feeling. Sending people home happy is fantastic.

8. Glasgow’s West End

The National:

I THINK I probably went into the West End by myself when I was about 13 on the underground and got off at Partick. I’ve got a really strong memory of the first time I was there – I remember walking up past where I live now and thinking “how does this exist?” It was students and people wearing scarfs and duffel coats and carrying guitars and books about; it was just nothing like where I was from, and yet it was straight across the river from me. My part of Glasgow was about gang culture and planning your route home.

The West End was definitely the place where the music scene was in Glasgow – I remember hanging out a lot with the guys from Postcard Records for a long time, and we rehearsed a lot and recorded our first demos at the Hellfire Club. That part of Glasgow was like our own wee town within the city.

9. Catcher In The Rye

The National:

THIS was a big thing for me. I had always liked biographies about people like David Bowie and I liked skinhead books as well, but I had never read a classic book the whole way through until Catcher In The Rye.

I think I was about 17 or 18 when I read it – I guess at that age hypocrisy and phonies are a big thing, and you are making choices at that age about friends who you might be disappointed in, or you realise actually someone you liked is full of shit. It’s a great book and it was life changing.

10. My kids

HAVING kids is obviously the most life-changing thing I’ve ever done.

My daughter is 18 years old and she’s going to university next year, and my wee boy is seven. Having kids makes everything better – they make going to work better, make going for a walk better, they make going to the shops better.

Having kids is the best thing I’ve ever done. I loved travelling, I loved going to LA and the south of France and Japan, but now travelling is just a means to an end, it’s the thing you’re doing before you go home.

They are the best thing that’s ever happened to me without a doubt.