Public Service Announcement 26 of 2019: Big Gold Dream

If producer-director Grant McPhee is correct – and presumably he would know – tonight offers the final chance for TV viewers to watch Big Gold Dream, his account of the development of the Scottish post-punk music scene between 1977 and the early 80s. It’s a heady, irresistible combination of archive footage and new interviews with many of the key players, telling the story of how Scottish independent music got from The Clash at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1977 to Postcard Records and its ‘Sound of Young Scotland’. Although Postcard’s story has been told before – and for someone like me, who owns a couple of those early Aztec Camera 7” singles, it can’t be told often enough – Big Gold Dream does an admirable job of emphasising that the movement had its roots in Edinburgh at least as much as in Glasgow.

There isn’t a bad interview in the whole film, but two stars emerge. Bob Last, who with then-partner Hilary Morrison established Edinburgh’s Fast Product and Pop Aural labels, is delightfully deadpan. And Davy Henderson, of The Fire Engines, Win, The Nectarine No. 9, and The Sexual Objects, is such a brilliant interviewee that he even gets away with wearing shades indoors. If you have any interest at all in the music – or indeed the social circumstances – of this era, Big Gold Dream is unmissable (tonight, BBC Scotland, 9pm).

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