Tuesday, June 01, 2010

It was 20 years ago todaythe day after tomorrow

The Daily Record had a nice piece yesterday on the Big Day Out in Glasgow back in 1990.

You have to tip your hat to the organisers - they did get every big name in the nation who were operating at the time:

Wet Wet Wet, Hue And Cry, Texas, Big Country and Deacon Blue were enjoying massive success in the charts.

Okay, however much horror that line-up might strike in our cold hearts now, you've got to be impressed by the sheer heft there, right?
Their blue-eyed Scottish soul, along with chart fodder from the likes of fellow Big Day acts Goodbye Mister McKenzie, Kevin McDermott Orchestra, The Silencers and Love And Money, briefly defined an era in British music history, Scottish culture and even politics.

I'm not sure by any stretch of the imagination the Kevin McDermott Orchestra or the Silencers defined anything, but you know what they mean.

Pat Kane, though, suggests there was more going on than simply the bringing together of Lorraine McIntosh and Paul McGeechan onto the same stage:
"People were thinking, 'This might matter in some way'. It was consciousness-raising, like an alternative media, almost the way Gospel music was used during the Civil Rights movement. I know from one of Tony Blair's former researchers that he didn't want to give Scotland its own parliament in 1997.

"This guy said that if it wasn't for the evidence that Scotland was culturally militant, that they wouldn't have been able to point to anything in support of a Scottish government."

I suspect even Kane would accept he's slightly over-selling this, but perhaps not by much - it was a key part of Glasgow's City Of Culture celebration, and the success of that year helped shift UK-wide perceptions of Scotland. Nobody would give you a government simply because you had the power to deploy former members of Hipsway at a moment's notice, but you can believe it was a step towards something much bigger.