Pop-up exhibition launched to celebrate Scottish music

The Beatles at the ABC cinema on Lothian Road in 1964. Picture: TSPL

The Beatles at the ABC cinema on Lothian Road in 1964. Picture: TSPL

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CAPITAL music lovers, young and old, are in for a treat if they take up the invite to embark on ‘a journey through the 60s, post-punk and indie bands of the 1980s, right up to the modern day’, at The Fruitmarket Gallery on Market Street next month.

The latest project from Avalanche records, The Only Fun In Town is a pop-up exhibition encapsulating a history of Scottish pop music, as told by musicians, record labels and fans.

The event, which will run from 16-18 June, will showcase rarities, memorabilia and music from Scotland’s musical past.

It is the brainchild of Evening News columnist and Avalanche Records owner Kevin Buckle, who is leading a campaign to see the founding of a permanent History of Scottish Music Centre.

He explains, “Avalanche has always been known for supporting and stocking Scottish music.

“Customers loved to talk about the different periods in the history of Scottish music; from Josef K to The Shop Assistants, Mogwai to Belle and Sebastian, and more recently Withered Hand and Meursault.

“It had been clear for some time that there was no one resource people could turn to if they were interested in Scottish music.

“About three years ago, it just seemed the right time to do something about that.”

That was when Buckle came up with the idea of founding the History of Scottish Music Centre (HoSMC), of which The Only Fun In Town is a precursor.

With a rich vein of talent dating back to the 60s, when the Capital’s live music scene was at its height, the Centre will be a one stop place to learn about the role Scottish bands have played in the wider pop world and how our tastes have changed through the decades.

The Capital itself has birthed many popular bands including Pilot and, perhaps the biggest Scottish musical export of all time, the Bay City Rollers.

Other musicians you can expect to see featured in any Scottish Pop Music Hall of Fame include Gerry Rafferty, Lulu, Simple Minds, and even Lonnie Donegan.

And let’s not forget Midge Ure, The Skids, Nazareth, Marmalade and so many more.

Kevin explains, “The aim of the HoSMC is to provide a single place where people can visit both physically and online to learn more about, not just the music, but also the artwork featured on sleeves, posters and badges, about the venues, the clubs, labels, and even shops that have played their part in the Scottish pop scene over the years.

“At the same time, introducing them to the current crop of artists that Scotland has to offer.”

Curiosities on show at The Fruitmarket Gallery in June include an original Louis Wain book, the artist Scottish label Postcard Records got their ‘drumming kitten’ logo from.

Also on display will be one of only six copies of a 12” by Scottish electronic music duo Boards of Canada that was used to announce their last album.

For the exhibition, David Keegan of 80’s Edinburgh indie band The Shop Assistants has also “dug out lots of his posters and stuff” says Buckle, adding that record label Chemikal Underground are “sending over the original paintings for the Arab Strap album Philophobia, and the original photos for the Mogwai album Come On Die Young.”

He continues, “As you can imagine, most of the bands are happy to provide something and we’ll be covering the scene right up to the present day with the Gerry Gapinski’s artwork for the Filthy Tongues album Jacob’s Ladder.”

A gallery of photos not seen for more than 30 years will also take pride of place, chosen from the thousands of shots donated to the HoSMC by gig photographers..

“We won’t be forgetting earlier times either,” assures Buckle.

“We have an original membership card for Edinburgh’s famous Gamp Club and we will cover the Beatles visit to the ABC, including an advert from the Evening News.

“We also cover other early gigs by bands like The Who and Bowie that were held in small venues... like the time The Who turned up to play McGoos on the High Street - no tickets were issued.”

The pop-up exhibition, which is part of Open Out, a week a week of performance, film and music at The Fruitmarket Gallery, running from 13-18 June, will give people a taste of what to expect from the permanent History of Scottish Music Centre, promises Buckle, who has also received live, never released archive recordings - at the time known as ‘Bootlegs’ - which will also be a feature of the HoSMC.

And while the search for a permanent home continues, talks with a number of venues and organisations are ongoing, the aim is to be open in time for the Festival in August.

In the meantime, he is always looking for more curios and you can help, “We are always looking for items to display, so if you have anything you think might be of interest get in touch or bring them along to the Fruitmarket Gallery.”

The Only Fun In Town, Fruitmarket Gallery, Market Street, 16-18 June, free