Just watched the three-part Rip it up on BBC, which looks at the history of pop music in Scotland. And a book, and an exhibition. A very ambitious undertaking and I genuinely liked it, but it has it’s flaws. Some minor, some serious. Here’s my run-trough/pointers. Aimed at my Scottish/U.K. friends, hence the English, hoping for feedback/comments. Icelandic friends also very welcome to partake in the discussion.

Tagging a lot of you Scots/Brits. C’mon and join the debate! Aye!!
The most serious omission is that the hometown heroes from the Highlands, Runrig, are not mentioned. A fine example of how you can indeed rewrite and shape history by omissions. And if repeated, this becomes THE story. Yes, I know. I certainly sensed that they are critically dismissed in the Lowlands but c’mon! That’s not the point, especially seeing the emphasis of the series (3 hours in all, and plenty of room). In the Highlands they have the status of U2, an important and beloved band, both musically and politically. Music wise, Recovery (1981) is a beautiful mediation on the cultural surroundings of the Highlands, one of the best of the SCOTTISH albums out there. Tastes aside, omitting Runrig from this story gives a skewed impression of it.
Big Country, I think it was a flash of Stuart Adamson playing. Or maybe not. Another weird omission. For many, they were the SCOTTISH band of the eighties, what with the tartans, bagpipe sounding guitars and the lyrics and imagery surrounding The Crossing. Omitted because the band was half-Scottish member wise? Doesn’t add up, because…
…The KLF a Scottish band? Since when? Yes, Bill Drummond is Scottish but born in South Africa and then lived in England from age 11, usually bound up with the Liverpool punk scene. A stretch that doesn’t make sense, a cultural robbery in a way. Tuck them in because they were so great. But Scottish ….
Yeah, let’s not mention Runrig but spend c.a. fifteen minutes dissecting the bloody Wet Wet Wet!!?? And The Proclaimers and Stuart Murdoch standing up for them. Argh!!
Stuart appears I think for c.a. 20 seconds. And using 14 of them, talking fondly about the aforementioned, atrocious Wet Wet Wet (yes I know, they are a part of the story nonetheless). But not a word about Belle and Sebastian. A formidable force in reviving the fey indie-pop of the 80s, a great band, Glaswegian to the core etc. WTF!
Ok, I’m getting agitated. The series are named after the great Orange Juice track but not a word is spent in positioning this most important band. The most important band of Glaswegian pop history!
Edinburgh get’s a short shrift compared to Glasgow. Yes, the latter has always had a more vibrant scene but the series could have mentioned the importance of Josef K and The Fire Engines, their experimental take on pop music second to none. Leading up to the greatness of Edinburghians/Fifers The Beta Band that aren’t mentioned as well.
Also weird that The Blue Nile and Aztec Camera, highly acclaimed bands and dear to the Scots were left out.
The elitist disregard from the Lowland Scots towards the Highlanders was then turned upside down, seeing how the Scots did succumb to the power of the English. Getting on Top of the Pops was seemingly crucial for the nations self-respect, an unhealthy interplay between the underdog and the overlord. Understandable and a historical fact, unlike the other omissions. And a thing we know all to well, the Icelanders.
Alba gu Brath!!!
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