Ray Laidlaw, drummer with folk rock giants Lindisfarne, always kept a diary.

From his scribblings of dates, times and places the musician has created a theatre show called The Lindisfarne Story. Ray and singer Billy Mitchell tell the back story of the songs and the history of the band.

Ray said: "We don't take ourselves too seriously but we are proud of our music. We do simple acoustic versions of the songs, the way we wrote them, straight and simple. We do covers of songs that influenced us and it is very visual with video backdrops.''

The boys retell anecdotes but there is no Q and A session, until they head for the bar afterwards. Ray said when they come to Swindon's Arts Centre as part of the UK tour they will happily chat to their fans.

Lindisfarne, named for an island off the coast of Northumberland, began in 1968 with Alan Hull as lead singer. Their first album, Nicely Out of Tune, had two singles, Lady Eleanor and Clear White Light, neither of which charted, initially.

It wasn't until 1971 that the band shot to fame with Fog On The Tyne which began a run of hits, built Lindisfarne a huge following and gave them an enduring legacy.

The name Clear White Light was used again when the director of the West End production of Billy Elliot wanted to use Lindisfarne's music in a play. The songs were inspired by Alan Hull's time as a nurse.

"It is a contemporary story about a nurse on her first night shift at an all-male psychiatric unit,'' said Ray, who performs live on stage in the production.

It is based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher, written by Paul Sirett and directed by Joe Douglas.

"Twelve of our songs are woven into the plot,'' said Ray.

Along with playing in Lindisfarne and his live theatre shows, the drummer also dabbles in filming.

He has produced film footage along with old pal and award-winning director Geoff Wonfor. ''I started working with Geoff on filming in about 1976 when he was at the BBC, before he moved to Tyne Tees and became a director for the Channel 4 music show, The Tube.'' said the drummer.

He wrote and co-produced the Sir Bobby Robson tribute DVD - A Knight to Remember.

Ray also produces the biennial Sunday for Sammy charity gigs, set up by what he calls the Geordie Mafia, with Tim Healy and Jimmy Nail. It began in memory of the Auf Wiedersehen Pet actor Sammy Johnson. He also enjoys playing the gigs.

"It was great to play on Sunday for Sammy this year because I got the chance to play with Mark Knopfler. That was brilliant.''

When Lindisfarne first performed on the BBC programme Top of the Pops, Ray used a rubber fish instead of a drum stick. "It was to be remembered and journalists are still asking about it, so it worked,'' he laughed.

One of the most iconic moments in pop history was the footballer Paul Gascoigne singing Fog On The Tyne with Lindisfarne.

"Last time I heard about him he was not well,'' said Ray, "I have not seen him for a while, he was ripped off I believe, it was tragic.''

The musician says that in the 1970s Lindisfarne was a tight group of mates who supported each other. "We debunked each other and kept our feet on the ground. We had an anti-star philosophy and took the mickey out of glam rock.''

The drummer says he will be heading to Wiltshire, not only with his theatre show but to record a documentary about Alan Hull.

The Lindisfarne Story is at the Arts Centre, Devizes Road, Old Town on Thursday, April 4 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £22.50 from 01793 524481 or visit 01793 524481. - Flicky Harrison