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The Crack Magazine

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Hungry Beat (The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement 1977-1984)

When I was at polytechnic in the early eighties someone from the rugby club came up to me and said, “The trouble with you lot is that you sit around with your dyed hair, debating who’s more Marxist than who, thinking you’re the real people”. Well, he was nearly right, but we’d be more likely debating the merits of The Scars or Josef K than the boring, and self-evident, merits of Marxism. (We’d also have been debating the merits of the Au-Pairs and Black Uhuru too, but that’s another story). Which is a long way of saying that I’m hardly an objective voice when it comes to reviewing the warm, spiky hug of a tome that is Hungry Beat (The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement 1977-1984) - an oral history, partly based on the interviews conducted for the magnificent doc Big Gold Dream. A two-hour film can’t cover the ground that a four-hundred-page book can cover so this is even more detailed and revelatory about the Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement than any Big Gold Dream fan has a right to expect. To my mind the stars of Hungry Beat are still Hilary Morrison, Bob Last and Davy Henderson, although unlike most music scenes, where tbh musicians are normally as dull as Alex Turner, almost everyone interviewed has something pertinent and pithy to impart. It’s the kind of book that should be taught in music academies up and down the land, so you can, as my rugby foe suggested, dye your hair, debate the merits of The Scars and Josef K and think, that, yes, you really are one of the real people.

Hungry Beat (The Scottish Independent Pop Underground Movement 1977-1984) – Douglas Macintyre & Grant McPhee with Neil Cooper – publ. White Rabbit - £20.00

Steven Long

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