Musical chairs at the end of blogging’s first decade

Duncan isn’t the only member of the Scottish Roundup team who’s been a little introspective recently. 2009 has been a bit of a milestone for me in many ways, so even if it hadn’t been for a good few changes in my own life (some positive, some negative, some negatives I’m determined to turn into positives) the fact that it has been ten years since I left school, started blogging, met my best friend and all sorts of other things would still have struck a chord.

As we head into the year’s final stretch, many bloggers find themselves getting a little reflective. “List Season” tends to be a big deal for the music blogs I read a lot of in particular – it seems that, no matter how many times we tell ourselves we don’t see the point, we just can’t help it. With it being the end of the “noughties”, as well as the end of another year, thoughts are turning to the best albums of the decade – as well as the best albums of the year. For Matthew at Song by Toad though, it isn’t really possible:

[W]hat a task. I mean, I was a totally different person back in 2000. And again in about 2002, and 2004. I moved up here halfway through the decade and suddenly became not just a fan but a reviewer and a promoter as well – my whole relationship with music has been completely changed over the course of the decade… Imagine comparing Withered Hand’s superb Good News, which has been in existence for a mere handful of months, to a record like And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out by Yo La Tengo, which I have listened to in good times and bad for the last ten years.

It’s a post which has generated some interesting comments, as well as this riposte from Euan at The Steinberg Principle:

I fear that in dismissing end of year lists you might as well dismiss the whole exercise of reviewing music and having an opinion on music full stop.

Incidentally, I wouldn’t be taking full advantage of this week’s guest editing slot if I didn’t point out that my own Best of the Decade series reaches its conclusion this Thursday. Alternatively, two of my favourite London-based Scots Lolie Smith and slideintomyhand are ahead of the curve; and Under the Radar’s Nick Mitchell has contributed his own Top 5 to Scrawls and Bawls.

Our own Duncan has taken a slightly different tack, concluding his fantastic series on twenty years of Warp Records.

It’s been a while since I’ve contributed one of these Roundups, but I believe I commented at the time on the launch of Glasgow PodcART as a team of passionate local scene enthusiasts. Now on their 40th podcast, and with an impressive lineup of gigs and showcases already behind them (the most recent being at the 13th Note last week featuring Beerjacket and the Kays Lavelle, the team continues to grow and to support Scottish independent music.

Beerjacket in session for Glasgow PodcART at the 13th Note

[Incidentally, if you are looking for a quick primer on all things Scottish music blogosphere, The Pop Cop has a conveniently-timed primer.]

On the political side of things, Amused Cynicism discusses Highland and Islands MSP David Thompson’s call for drink-drive laws to be devolved to Scotland as recommended by the Calman commission:

Overall Calman has been very timid and unambitious in recommending more powers be devolved. If Scotland is going to re-visit the devolution settlement, and devolve more powers to the Scottish Parliament, then it must be realised that changing the settlement isn’t something that happens often, so each time Scotland seeks to change the settlement, it might as well have a big shopping list of new powers, rather than just a few. Just as if going to the supermarket was a long journey, you wouldn’t just buy one item.

On a day when the SNP have once again been urged to drop the independence debate and concentrate on getting the country out of recession, Three Thousand Versts of Lonliness points out that Scottish support for the Union is actually on the rise, according to YouGov.

Jonathan Calder of Liberal England recounts a trip to Edinburgh on the Caledonian Sleeper, with accompanying photography:

Sometimes with the rocking and lurching you feel that you are on board a ship rather than a train. Sometimes, as you feel every bolt in the train straining, it is like being on board a jet as it comes in to land. All this is compounded by the anonymity of election traction: you never hear the locomotive straining as you would with a diesel.

“Belle de Jour is the new Pretty Woman,” claims Nine, in a brilliantly-written riposte to tabloid handwringing following the “outing” of Dr Brooke Magnanti as the pseudonymous London call girl turned blogger, for The Rumpus.

Do Some Damage is a collaborative crime fiction blog by seven writers, one of whom is Scottish and one of whom isn’t Scottish, but who’s sitting on the sofa opposite me just now. Full disclosure, that.

…waves in Warsaw is musician, photographer and DJ Neil Milton’s blog on his upcoming move from Glasgow to Poland.

And that’s it for this week! John Ault’s up next Sunday, and I know he’ll appreciate your suggestions for what we feature. Get in touch either by using the handy form on the top-right of this webpage, or by emailing us at You can also follow us on Twitter @ScottishRoundup.

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