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‘Global interest’ in book recounting gigs in Scotland

After two years working on 16 Years: Gigs In Scotland 1974-1990, Chris Brickley is celebrating the book’s publication.

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Adam and the Ants playing the Glasgow Tiffany’s venue in 1980 (@crumbstick/PA)

Adam and the Ants playing the Glasgow Tiffany’s venue in 1980 (@crumbstick/PA)

Adam and the Ants playing the Glasgow Tiffany’s venue in 1980 (@crumbstick/PA)

A new book marking an era of live music in Scotland has gained global interest, its author says, ahead of its publication and release to the public on Monday.

Chris Brickley came up with the idea for 16 Years: Gigs In Scotland 1974-1990 after collating some of his own concert pictures, ticket stubs and posters.

For about two years he gathered material for an A4-size book – “the best part of 600 pages” – and raised about £18,000 through donations, co-sponsors and a crowdfunder in February.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the country in the months since gaining the final funding needed, Mr Brickley has managed to get the book published, with interest from around the world.

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Posted by Scottish club gigs - relived on Thursday, July 30, 2020

Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of the book’s release, he said: “Anyone who’s seen it so far is excited and I’ve had a lot of interest, even just since the recent posts on social media, which obviously is such a big part of promoting something like this.

“I knew early on it was going to be good – I could tell from what I was getting – but what you can’t do is fling out all your best photos to show people because once they’re out they’re out. The freshness is really important.

“People are emailing from all over the globe wanting copies and I’m quite amazed because obviously it’s gigs in Scotland, but not just Scottish bands, so there is that broader appeal.

“You hope for that but I thought it would have taken time to filter out. I was expecting that once I had a copy in hand then it’s easier for folk to visualise but I think it’s a combination of factors.

“I think the lockdown has meant that folk are at home more and on their computers more, they’re not spending so much money – if they’ve got any money at all and not going out socialising and doing the usual things – so they are buying music books and other things online.

“People have been going through the shoeboxes and digging out old photos and posting memories but to be quite honest I’m really happy with the material I’ve got.”

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David Bowie at the Glasgow Apollo in 1978 (John Higney/PA)

David Bowie at the Glasgow Apollo in 1978 (John Higney/PA)

David Bowie at the Glasgow Apollo in 1978 (John Higney/PA)

Mr Brickley focused on the 1974 to 1990 era not just because of his own love of the music from that period but also the availability of photographs from gigs.

Bands and artists featured in the book include David Bowie, The Clash, Motorhead, Ultravox and the Sex Pistols – who only made one appearance in Scotland – with 32 venues ranging far and wide.

As well as covering musicians, the book includes photographs of the fans – highlighting the hair and fashion trends of the years – with 2,000 pictures, tickets, posters and autographs.

The book also includes a foreword by Ian Rankin as well as photographs from Harry Papadopoulos and Chalkie Davies.

Despite restrictions on venues as a result of Covid-19, Mr Brickley still hopes to have launch events to celebrate the book’s publication, with information to be posted on the Scottish clubs gigs – relived social media channels.

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A picture of The Clash performing at Dunfermline Kinema in 1978 (@hughjeers/PA)

A picture of The Clash performing at Dunfermline Kinema in 1978 (@hughjeers/PA)

A picture of The Clash performing at Dunfermline Kinema in 1978 (@hughjeers/PA)

As well as having online events, he added: “I have got stuff arranged – obviously it has been difficult to organise. We have got two willing venues that have been fantastic.

“It’ll sort of be as demand requires, obviously events if you can have them are all seated and table service and you can’t even play music because last Friday they changed the regulations.

“I and everyone else will just have to go with the flow and be responsible and that’s fine.

“I would like to take it around the country but it depends on how it goes in the cities. Horses for courses a wee bit. But they’re relatively straightforward to arrange.”

When asked if he had enough material for a follow-up, Mr Brickley told PA: “Somebody I know has rustled up some fantastic pictures, he’d already given me stuff for this book but he knew he had more, so people are saying ‘you’ve got to do a second’.

“That would be really nice but I’m not getting ahead of myself.”

PA