The Homecoming Live event, which we mentioned the other day, seems to have been causing a fair amount of debate and discussion among the great and good of the Scottish music scene, as well as the media. My own comment in last weekend’s Scotland on Sunday mirrored that of Radio Scotland’s Bryan Burnett in questioning the lack of female acts in the initial promoted line-up. That doesn’t appear to be the only concern.
Radio Scotland’s Jim Gellatly has also expressed concerns in The Sun (http://bit.ly/XtqkW) about the line-ups revealed thus far, citing not the lack of female performers but the age range of the performers and expected audience. As well as the ages of some of the performers, most of whom are appearing on the 80s stage, The Sun have gone a bit over the top with their criticism of some of the artists concerned, particularly in terms of chart positions. In the 80s it was hard enough for many Scottish acts to get heard by the London-centric pop industry let alone make a dent on the Top 40. I don’t imagine for one moment that the charts were ever the gods of Kevin McDermott. The “retro” stage is all about celebrating the past achievements of some of these and that’s fair enough, that’s what nostalgia is all about. As Jim Gellatly said on Twitter, “That Petrol Emotion never even got in the Top 40, yet I was delighted to see them back for T In The Park”. I know that TPE aren’t Scottish but the point is very much a relevant one.
Scotland has a rich history of acts that could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve been contenders, acts who got away from an uncaring public. Singers like the aforementioned McDermott and James Grant may be acquired tastes to some, unheard of to others, but they deserve to be recognised for their contribution to Scottish musical history. It’s not always about hits. If it were the gigs would be all about the Bay City Rollers (what’s left of them), Marmalade and Lulu.
Talking of women, with the exception of Frances McKee (The Vaselines) and Lorraine McIntosh (Deacon Blue), the female representation thus far is non-existent. Where’s Amy MacDonald, Lulu, Annie Lennox, Sharleen Spiteri, or KT Tunstall? Let alone Eddi Reader, Horse, Jackie Storrar and Clare Grogan. I don’t even like the music of some of these ladies but I wouldn’t deny them their place in a Caledonian celebration. Hell, I’d even welcome Sheen Easton, although I might be on my own in that.
For The Sun to have a go at Hue and Cry for playing department stores is simply mean. Maybe they’re trying to recapture past glories and struggling as a result but they should be applauded for still “doing it”. Perhaps they just love making music and are happy to continue doing something they obviously enjoy. They should be applauded for that, not mocked.
There are going to be three Halls of the SECC used as three “stages”. My main concern is whether people be able to move between "stages2 or do you have to choose one and stick to it? This lack of flexibility, if that is indeed the case, will put off real music fans (not just those who like to go to big “events”), unless you’re rich enough to afford a ticket for each hall/stage.
We know that due to worldwide touring and recording commitments, a number of artists are unavailable and that’s only to be expected but the line-up so far seems rather unimaginative. Maybe this should be an annual event so that Scottish artists’ schedules can accommodate a yearly celebration of Jockanese rock and pop.
I’m sure we could all put together our own Fantasy Homecoming Live line-up. In fact here’s mine, which takes into account those artists who are no longer with us and would understandably be “unavailable”!
The Blue Nile
Belle and Sebastian
Lloyd Cole (WITH The Commotions to ensure nationalistic eligibility)
The Bay City Rollers
Roddy Hart (this is only artist I have edited this entry to add. No more I promise!)
The Cairn String Quartet
What do you think of the real line-up so far and who would you want to see?