heard on the wire

He wonders if she scores


There’s not a lot to do in Scotland on New Year’s Day, save nurse a hangover. And where better to nurse a hangover than at the football?

Thus on January 1 2014, Andy, Suzi and I set off from Andy’s flat in Edinburgh, headed for the nearest top-flight game, Motherwell versus St Johnstone. Fir Park is a proper football ground with proper pies. And the entertainment befitted the stage, Motherwell, riding high in the league, ran out 4–0 winners.

This remains my only encounter with the town that stands both physically and metaphorically in the shadow of the Ravenscraig steel works, which closed in 1992. The city now has a thriving call centre industry.

For a decade Motherwell’s musical torch, if such a thing exists, was carried by the mighty Delgados, the best band (only band?) named after a Tour de France winner. They released their final LP in 2004, though singer Emma Pollock has since released a couple of solo LPs.

But last year the torch — I’ve got a metaphor and I’m going to use it — was passed on to A Sudden Burst of Colour, whose post rock is as ambitious and accomplished as that of post rock pioneers Mogwai.

This track was originally a 2014 single, then reappeared on the band’s next release, 2015’s Waves Will Rise On Silent Water EP. That qualifies it for the best record of both years, eight minutes of bliss that soars over the contemporary musical landscape, torch firmly in hand.

A Sudden Burst of Colour // Yume

Such was the Delgados’ passion for cycling that their first two took their titles from the sport’s unique vernacular. The first, Domestiques, suggests that a good band has arrived; the second, Peloton, confirms it.

The Delgados // The Actress // iTunes

Audio MP3


Emma Pollock released her solo debut in 2007. Watch the Fireworks might best be described as a grower, perhaps because the highlights appear in the second half of the LP. This is track six.

Emma Pollock // If Silence Means That Much to You// iTunes

Audio MP3


As I mentioned, I went to that Motherwell game with Andy and Suzi. The latter, being a Blackburn Rovers fan and long-time season ticket holder, was most amused by Well’s centre forward, John Sutton, brother of Rovers championship winner Chris. John might not have enjoyed the same success, but he certainly has Chris’s running style off to a tee: Motherwell v Sy Johnstone, 1 January 2014

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