Scots Or Not?

Lynne Kiesling

OK, I said toodle pip, but this is too good … the Scotsman had an article today about Scottish bands that aren’t really Scottish (registration required), including two of my favorite bands:

Lloyd Cole

In so many ways, he is the archetypal Glaswegian. Rattlesnakes was the perfect west-end Glasgow record, and not just because it was recorded there. Part student, part urban-sophisticate. The cultural references from Eva Marie-Saint to Norman Mailer. And Lloyd’s Commotions (his band, rather than a medical complaint) were very Scottish. Lloyd, of course, went on to live in New York – a dream of many Glaswegians. Scots actors Robbie Coltrane and Katy Murphy even popped up on Lloyd Cole & the Commotions’ third album Mainstream. The man himself is not from the Empire’s second city … or Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen. He’s from Buxton, home of the mineral water, and (are you ready to be heartbroken?) he speaks in a very polite English Home Counties accent. His dad is the greenskeeper at Western Gales Golf Club and is Scottish. Lloyd, unfortunately, is not.

Snow Patrol

When this lot were deservedly nominated for a Mercury Music Prize alongside the mighty Glaswegian force of Franz Ferdinand and Belle & Sebastian in 2004, they were presented as a triumvirate of Caledonian clout. Even the Sun’s Bizarre column regularly raves about “this great Scots band Snow Patrol”. This great Scots band are actually from Northern Ireland even though, similar to 911, they honed their craft in Glasgow, and singer Gary Lightbody met bandmate Mark McLelland at Dundee University. The three bands (Franz, B&S and Patrol) are drinking buddies, contemporaries, making Glasgow miles better. But only two are Scottish. Trying to claim Lightbody & Co as ours just because they suddenly hit the big time after five years’ hard graft is cheeky.

In fact, my argument for thinking that Snow Patrol can be considered a Scottish band is that the Highland clearances relocated enough Scots to Northern Ireland in the 18th century that even those band members from Northern Ireland are probably mostly Scottish anyway. But the KP Spouse told me that I’m a geek.

They’re still an awesome band.

One thought on “Scots Or Not?

  1. Mmmmm…Western Gailes…

    Hey, Lynne (can I call you that? Or is it still Professor Kiesling?)…great blog. I often wish issues in professional life were as, um, unapplied as those which you discuss here.

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