Hold up. I set out to write this blog to avoid just spinning out the same clichés of music writing worldwide. ‘Dark, broody, full of soul and body’ could describe anything from Oscar nominations, to craft beer, to a fucking Audi commercial. So let’s steer clear of that pish.
I’ve committed the blogger’s cardinal sin; not posting for a while. So many great blogs lie in stasis, or worse, in the hellish limbo of having no recognised domain. Derelict and directionless, these former fountains of opinion, ill-informed or otherwise, now lie at the mercy of the cruel Internet, an online society that devours content at an alarming rate.
Well, that’s a cheery picture of the future, but here at Scotland’s #586 most popular music blog I say:
There is a light on a Whiteinch library, G14. The gates are locked, and have been for over a year, but from time to time, there is a light on. There’s smoke from the chimney occasionally too, a wee hint of life on the corner of a Glasgow street that has been dead for a long time.
I (naively) always thought that in an age of such readily available technology, just throwing together a wee video would be ridiculously easy.
As a musician, plugging my trade in the modern music industry, the importance of a visual presence quickly became evident. Sadly for dinosaurs such as myself, the emphasis on aesthetics has some sort of relevance to most music in this day and age. With this in mind, I reluctantly signed up to Instagram about 3 years ago.
Nukular, by Gefahrgeist. A post-apocalyptic vision of live music (unless you live on the Isle of Man).
I like the way that music amplifies (no pun intended) and provides a window onto society, allowing future generations the opportunity to gauge the mood of times gone by. Should we make it to 30 years from now, no doubt future generations of android-children will look back on this period and think,
Why we study Orwell but not Burns. An ill-informed rant from an ill-informed ranter.
Note: The following is a personal take on Robert Burns’ work with reference to collective action and an egalitarian future. If you don’t agree with it, then please vent all frustrations towards your nearest haggis.
Around the 25th of January every year at school we would do a Burns poem, usually a last ditch effort of guilt-ridden tokenism for my Scottish school in which ‘English’ literature at exam level gave no mention to a man who is revered as a national bard. Though things may have changed, I assure you that back in the golden age of 2005, Burns was unavailable to us.
Is there for honest Poverty That hings his head, an’ a’ that; The coward-slave, we pass him by, We dare be poor for a’ that! For a’ that, an’ a’ that. Our toils obscure an’ a’ that, The rank is but the guinea’s stamp, The Man’s the gowd for a’ that.
In an age in which schooling has come to propagate the merits of capitalism and individualism, the idea of status as a result of money or possessions being inferior to the simple human existence, is downright subversive in the eyes of many for whom privilege is status. The line being that the superiority and inherent good in mankind won’t get you on any graduate trainee schemes and it certainly isn’t worth any UCAS points.
I’ve only been to Aberdeen once. It was a dose of the predictable and unpredictable in equal measure. Predictable as a gritty 0 – 0 scoreline was mercifully brought to a close at the permafrost, uncovered away end at Pittodrie, unpredictable in that the subsequent voracity of the night out resulted in me puking on the Scotrail service back south and getting out at Arbroath, 2 stops early, to avoid owning up to my heinous deeds. I feel pretty poor about it even today, the misery that it must have caused fellow travellers and staff that day, a day already marred by the slate grey sky and the prices of Scotland’s inefficient, privatised rail network.
Poetry in Scotland holds this sort of mythical status, mythical enough indeed for a bunch of geezers to get dressed up in the ‘Shortbread-tin/ Brigadoon Scottish’ way and recite lines to a piece of offal every January 25th ‘aw in the name eh the bard eh?‘
For an Ayrshire farming lad to elevate himself into the national consciousness through tricks of the tongue, observational humour, and still-relevant use of ‘how Scottish people actually talk’ shows how much we value poetry in this country. Got to say that these values were somewhat lost during the educational years, when Higher English resolutely missed the point about how poetry has extreme relevance, both in its observational qualities as well as its phenomenal use of ‘that which which sets us apart from the cat videos’, language.
So goes the refrain from The Who‘s seminal 1969 album, ‘Tommy‘. The track in question is simply titled ‘1921‘. Since the end of this guff year, this tune, or at least the main motif from it has been rattling round my head like the broken action of a stricken snare drum, carrying with it something that hasn’t been seen for a wee while in the world of independent music; hope. ‘It’s hope Jim, but not as we know it’.