new exhibit rip it up tells the story of scottish pop.
You’ve maybe never been to Scotland, but the chances are you’ve had more than a taste of it in your groove box.
Scotland: it has its own tender, its own healthcare system, education, judicial system, its own art and its own music. Tracing the country’s rich musical output, Rip It Up at the National Museum of Scotland is the first exhibition dedicated entirely to Scottish pop and it’s expansive influence over the last half a century.
From a Runrig CD that was blasted into space with the ill-fated Columbia space mission in 2003 (NASA found an intact CD player with the band’s The Cutter and The Clan in it amongst 83,000 pieces of debris), to Lulu’s early outfits -- plus a later one from her joyous Relight My Fire video with Take That -- to bands that might have otherwise slipped under your radar like The Skids, The Rezillos and The Associates, the exhibition showcases the scope of music that Scottish musicians have produced.
“I grew up listening to a lot of these bands,” said Shirley Manson of Garbage, who herself donated the floral Rodarte two piece outfit she wore on the inside of 2012’s Not Your Kind of People, a wee orange puffer jacket by Agnés B from 2.0, a disk commemorating 7 million sales of #1 Crush (from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack) and various magazine covers, including one of this very publication. “It made me emotional going round, but also it made me realise how influential the music of Scotland is; from folk music onwards, there is something enduring about the appeal of artists like The Jesus and Mary Chain, or Teenage Fanclub, or The Vaselines. All of who, in their own way, have had influence on contemporary rock and roll.”
It’s easy to isolate music and musicians -- by genre, or time, or place, or forget their heritage all together, like Lulu singing in an American accent -- but seeing everything gathered together, from the Proclaimers’ 500 miles that they would walk, to Franz Ferdinand’s giant lady-bots, to Billy MacKenzie’s black beret and Fay Fife from the Rezillos PVC futuristic stagegear and Annie Lennox’s tartan suit, gives you a birds eye view on how diverse and brilliant Scotland’s rich culture is. As Edinburgh’s own Bay City Rollers might say, “shang a bloody lang”.
Why not get your tap off, crack open a cold Irn Bru and listen to some music from the exhibition below?