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31 December 1955
Carlisle, Cumbria, England
|Known for||His books
|Children||five, including James Morton|
Thomas "Tom" Morton (born 31 December 1955) is a Scottish writer, broadcaster, journalist and musician. He lives and works mainly in the Shetland Islands.
Morton is currently writing for the Shetland-based 60 North. He blogs extensively and presents a weekly music radio show called The Beatcroft Social, broadcast on Mixcloud from the Shetland Isles.
Until April 2015, Morton presented a BBC Radio Scotland show, broadcast Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am, a Scottish take on rock and pop from obscure blues to mainstream pop and soul and current independent releases.
He has written several books, including a biography of the Gaelic rock band Runrig, a whisky travelogue called Spirit of Adventure, and several critically acclaimed novels. A spy novel called Serpentine was published in the UK in 2009 and in the US and Canada the following year. For many years, he worked as a print journalist, as a columnist with the Daily and Sunday Express, Scotland on Sunday, The Big Issue in Scotland, The Shetland Times, and as a staff reporter with national newspaper The Scotsman. He was the first non-DC Thomson employee to script the legendary Sunday Post cartoon strips The Broons and Oor Wullie – something he did for 12 months in 2005 and 2006. A Whisky in Monsterville, "the first interactive malt whisky novel" was published in August 2013 by Looderhorn Books.
From November 2011 until January 2015 he edited the magazine "Shetland Life".
Born in Carlisle, Cumberland, England, but brought up by his Scottish family in Glasgow and Troon, Ayrshire, Morton's early years were characterised by committed evangelical Christianity which he alluded to in the novel Red Guitars in Heaven. Heavily involved in religious music during the 1970s and early 1980s, he released several albums and toured as a full-time evangelical singer. This period of Morton's life ended in 1984: a change referenced in several of his books.
Morton wrote reviews and features for the defunct rock weekly Melody Maker, and produced and presented religious TV. Moving to the Shetland Islands in 1987, he was appointed news editor of The Shetland Times, and formed the islands' first freelance news agency. For four years he wasHighlands and Islands Reporter with The Scotsman before a return to Shetland and more freelance work. TV work includes the Discovery Home and Leisure series Village Green, about ecological housing, and three series of the STV motoring programme Wheelnutsin the 1990s. Around this time he wrote and presented the ITV Network productions The Rock that Doesn't Roll and The Rock That Rolled Away. A golf feature, The Old Course, is on DVD. He has written scripts for some TV and many radio programmes.
Morton began working in radio in 1992 on BBC Radio Scotland. In 2006, he released a CD of original musical material, mainly self-conscious meditations on the perils of being an ageing rock'n'roll fan. He blogs regularly.
Morton used ISDN digital telephone technology to broadcast on Radio Scotland from his home in the Shetland Islands. For several years his radio show came mostly from The Radiocroft, an ISDN-equipped crofthouse in the remote north of Shetland's Mainland. However, in December 2008, after months of unreliability, the local exchange was struck by lightning during a broadcast and his show went off air. After this, the station moved the show to the BBC local radio station BBC Radio Shetland in Lewrick. During frequent visits to the UK mainland, the show came from BBC studios in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen, Oban, Inverness, Wick, Ayr, Tunbridge Wells, Stranraer and other temporary ISDN linked studios.
Morton returned to live performance with the Malt and Barley Revue a musical show about whisky. He blogs about alcohol on Drinking for Scotland. A novel Serpentine, set in Palestine, Scotland and Northern Ireland, was published in June 2009 by Mainstream Publishing and co-wrote the privately published (2009) book Journey's Blend, about a charity motorcycle trip around Scotland's most geographically extreme distilleries.
Morton has done public relations and social media consultancy in Scotland, presented live debates, workshops and seminars, including the Belladrum "Tartan Heart" Festival. Working with Glasgow-based events and promotion company Fairpley, he set up a "Barnard Challenge" whisky tour and the "Mull to Muckle" long distance cycle ride, publicising the charities Spirit Aid and the Scottish Fair Trade Forum.
During 2011, Morton provided PR consultancy on developing a communications strategy for Shetland Islands Council. He also wrote the text for an acclaimed "Shetland – the brand" campaign and continues to provide social media and copywriting services to Promote Shetland. In November 2011 he took over from Malachy Tallack as editor of the magazine Shetland Life, resigning in January 2015.
His 2013 novel A Whisky in Monsterville claimed to be "The World's First Interactive Whisky Thriller", available as a paperback and Kindle e-book. He produced all the content for Promote Shetland's Power From the North promotional magazines, aimed at increasing awareness of Shetland's involvement for energy production and related fields, and ran the social media campaign. For a year from June 2016, he presented a weekly live internet music radio show to accompany Promote Shetland's live coastal webcam feeds, streamed on Facebook, Periscope and on the 60 North servers. The show in audio only is still available weekly via Mixcloud.
In June 2017 Morton published the book 'In Shetland: Tales from the Last Bookshop'.