Documentary about the Glasgow music scene of the ‘90s

Feel free to reply

Hi there Avalanche,

 I’m writing from Still Films in Dublin.

 We’re an independent film production company making a documentary about the Glasgow music scene of the ‘90s.

 More specifically, we’re bringing Mogwai and some of that crew, Chemikal Underground etc, down memory lane and tracing the steps of some of their earlier shows etc.

We’d love to connect with you about your experiences and get some genuine insight into Scottish indie in the mid ‘90s. Or perhaps you can point us in the direction of some people who were ‘on the scene’ a lot back then and might have some interesting material or contacts?

We’re looking for material such as videos, photos, flyers, posters, ticket stubs etc, from that era. We want to use as much authentic material as possible to make sure we capture the spirit and feeling of those days as best we can.

We’re hoping to find pics of bands, live shows, parties (after parties, gaff parties, club nights, DJs, record shops etc), any material about the scene including posters and tickets, but also pics of Glasgow in the ‘90s.

 We are also particularly interested in a small music festival in Mauron, France, in 1997 where Mogwai, The Delgados, and Arab Strap played. It was called ‘Ils ne Mauron Pas’, if you happen to know anything about that, or know anyone that might, we would love to know.

 Thank you very much for your time and help.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.



Avalanche Recommends

While more and more people use the Avalanche site and our social media platforms as a resource to discover Scottish bands they may not have heard of we now sell less and less for the very obvious reason that music is now so easily available for free online. Visitors to the shop will often comment how much they have enjoyed an artist we have recommended or indeed say they regularly check to see what we are saying but rarely will they have bought from us. For a while we lost out quite heavily to the artists selling online but it is clear from talking to people now that these days mostly people just stream and don’t buy from Avalanche or the artist.

There are of course still those folk who do buy from Avalanche both in the shop and online and I thank them for that. However now is the time I think to move on and accept that the financial rewards for supporting Scottish artists will be minimal. It is a regular occurrence that we are asked in the shop to recommend bands, not necessarily even always Scottish ones, and people frantically type all the names into their phone to listen to later. If I’m lucky they will buy an Avalanche t-shirt  and possibly one album as a memento.

I think what brought it home recently was when a young girl from Zurich had me play a whole bunch of Scottish stuff and then bought all the albums she had liked something that would have happened regularly a decade ago but now happens so rarely. Clearly there is now so much music available all of which social media says is brilliant when of course it is not that people still struggle to find new music or even older bands they have missed. It isn’t just Scottish bands we are asked about. We are of course well known for selling Bright Eyes, Neutral Milk Hotel, Godspeed and many other bands but for now this new Avalanche Recommends section will concentrate mostly but not exclusively on current Scottish artists that are not so well known. Who knows we may even occasionally sell something !

You will find the drop down list of artists as one of the headings on the blog. For now I’ll simply compile a list and then as time permits will add content.

Avalanche @ St Mary’s Street

Avalanche St Mary's StreetNew location – 21, St Mary’s Street, Edinburgh
Never fear while we leave the Tron for a while after Sunday due to the Jazz + Fringe Festivals we reappear just down the road at St Mary’s Street.
This is a new project, not just a pop up while we wait to return to the Tron in September.
We’ll occupy a large space at the back of the shop next to Carson Clark Gallery. Initially you won’t notice any difference from the Tron but by August ..
Will say more once we’re settled in as currently very much a work in progress but expect to see some old and new friends !

In the All-Night Café competition

In the All-Night Cafex

Thanks to the very generous people at Little, Brown Book and Mute we are able to offer a fantastic selection of goodies relating to the Stuard David book on the formative years of Belle & Sebastian (actually the blurb says Scottish indie sensation Belle & Sebastian) “In the All-Night Cafe”.

For the winner

Signed hardback

Signed cover poster

Exclusive tote bag

Looper 5CD box set “These Things” + badge 

Signed sleeve notes 

For 3 runners-up

A signed hardback copy of the book

As I’ve said before there will be none of this follow. like or retweet nonsense but proper questions. There is only one problem I myself do not know the answer to the question ! So here it is –

What letter was hidden in Avalanche in the Belle & Sebastian treasure hunt many, many years ago and what word was it part of  ?

Answers should be accompanied by a convincing argument as to why the answer is correct.

Some may say this favours the older, Edinburgh based Belle & Sebastian fan so here are two easier questions. Answer both for a chance to win the signed book and of course the winners bag of goodies should nobody come up with a valid answer for the letter and word.

1. Where did Belle & Sebastian get their name from ?

2. Which of the band’s albums is Avalanche’s best selling album of all time from a Scottish band ?

Answers to


Twilight Sad / Robert Smith white vinyl limited 7″ single

twilight sad robert smith singlex

Now on sale for a bargain £6. Distributor says it is limited to 1,500 and will probably run out early next week.

Track Listing

1. It Never Was The Same – The Twilight Sad
2. There’s A Girl In The Corner – Robert Smith

You can buy a copy online here from the Avalanche shop

Big Gold Dream: The story of Scotland’s post-punk music scene

By Alastair McKay | 19 June 2015

Orange Juice at Regent's Canal, Near Camden (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

Orange Juice at Regent’s Canal, Near Camden (Photo by David Corio/Redferns)

As that great punk rocker, Marcel Proust noted, remembrance of things past is not necessarily a remembrance of things as they were. Big Gold Dream, a documentary by Grant McPhee, re-imagines the musical history of the post-punk period as it unfolded in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and makes a persuasive argument that something great was happening in the years which followed The Clash’s appearance at the Edinburgh Playhouse on 7 May, 1977.

In the myth, which may be true, that show inspired Orange Juice and Fire Engines, though with typical perversity it was the performance of support act, Subway Sect, which fired their imaginations.

Postcard Records was run from a wardrobe in the bedroom of a flat in Glasgow

“It was,” Fire Engines’ singer Davy Henderson told me, “a monochromatic image of otherworldliness, but rooted completely in the now. These people looked exactly like you. They had what looked like their school greys on; grey breeks, and white shirts, and the v-necks. They looked exactly like where you’d just been – at school. It was as if they’d just landed from nowhere. They were unidentifiable.”

Read more here


The Cas Rock

Cas Rock

Edinburgh’s historic West Port: Most notable for Burke & Hare, strip bars and… The Cas Rock.

When seminal West Port punk bar The Lord Darnley was taken over in 1992, a name change followed. The bar was refurbished and changed to The Cas Rock Café – the café part swiftly dropped following a few legal noises from the new Hard Rock on George Street.

Devoted to a mix of punk, rock, metal and indie music, the Cas was a tooth-cutting shop for aspiring local talent, as well as attracting a string of household names: UK Subs; Snow Patrol; Idlewild; Annie Christian (signed by Virgin records the night they played); Mogwai; The Fall; Teenage Fanclub; New Bomb Turks; The Meteors; Cornershop; Arab Strap; BMX Bandits; The Vaselines, to name but a few… Today’s Bannerman’s Bar residents, the Rab Howat Band, played to a crammed Cas audience each Saturday afternoon.

Read the full article here

Lots of short updates !

tron kirkAs some of you will know the Tron Church was already booked out this year for mid July and August but we have not one but two excellent alternatives to cover so we will continue to be open seven days a week. Will make a decision on that soon but neither are far away and will give us more space for the busy Festival period. Plan is to return at the beginning of September permanently and I will be looking to tweak a few things and maybe more ! 


victoria street

A couple of you have spotted that Espionage has only now just been bought out of administration which explains why the shop next door we were asked to look at was a problem but does not explain why we were told it had been taken out of administration in September of last year. Annoying to say the least and wasted a lot of time but at least there is finally an explanation of sorts. A real pity as it would have made a great temporary home.


You will find a recent update on the King’s Stables Road site onking's stables road outline the blog and there has been no further news since. It looks like it could end up being a massive lost opportunity not just for the arts but in the long term aim to bring people to the castle end of the Grassmarket and continue either along the West Port or King’s Stables Road. While the current plans to turn the Grassmarket into the new Covent Garden look good on paper I’m not sure the public really care about the ideals espoused.

city-art-centre-exteriorAs for the City Art Centre the new exhibition is in and still there is a vast amount of unused space on the ground floor. I have been asked by several people not to give up on this one including a customer who thought the Scottish Music Centre was a fantastic idea and he should know as he had been part of the plans to extend the centre into the gap site before they were scrapped. I’ve had one informal meeting with the council since and the idea has not been completely forgotten however I really don’t have time to keep chasing this up no matter how well received.

My time at the Tron has shown the wider interest there is in Scottish music from Orange Juice and Josef K through to Frightened Rabbit and Biffy Clyro and visitors who I mention the idea to always think it would be great to see more of the history of Scottish music be that the bands or indeed the old labels and venues. A trial of sorts may happen in the not too distant future.

witheredhandnewgodscoverFinding a viable niche for Avalanche is not proving easy. People really love the posters and there is still huge interest in Scottish bands if not the same sales. More and more customers are happy just to accept my recommendations after describing the sort of thing they are looking for. A surprising number simply want my favourite album which is good news for There Will Be Fireworks, Withered Hand and a few others. However this is not enough. The second hand vinyl helps a lot and a core of supportive bands, labels and record companies make a big difference but generally shops are expected to live off crumbs.

There is always interest in the old Avalanche label and Snapper’sSnapper+-+Shotgun+Blossom “Shotgun Blossom” will be the first to be reissued probably later this year. I’m currently looking at an offer to start a new label financed by a major local company and have offers to associate the Avalanche “brand” with other events and projects though as ever the problem is how this can bring in revenue rather than credibility. I’m very hopeful there will be something to announce very soon. It would be great to get more local band albums on vinyl and widely distributed while acknowledging that new vinyl sales are not all they are cracked up to be.

While HMV and FOPP’s vinyl stocks have improved immeasurably, which of course is easy to do when you are not paying for it, offers of help from both individuals and those in the music industry may mean we will be able to stock a far wider range in the future that gives a genuine alternative to the “look how cheap we have the first Stone Roses album concept”. More on that in the next couple of weeks.

avalanche-logo-use NMERealistically I’ll need to see how all these possibilities pan out and choose to go with as many as I have the time for. It never ceases to amaze me how fondly Avalanche is remembered. Just recently it was a guy from Dresden who hadn’t been in for 17 years but whose first thought back in Edinburgh was to search us out and get a t-shirt to replace his rather worn bag. I can only say as I’ve said many times before thank you to everybody for their kind words.

We are in need of more used vinyl

Modern TossWe are in need of more used vinyl so do get in touch if having a clear out. We are happy to buy whole collections.

Lots of exciting news and updates to come but first more used vinyl please !

0131 260 9971 or

King’s Stables Road update – public consultation plans

KSR courtyardI went along to the public presentation of the developer’s plans for King’s Stables Road on Wednesday (17th June) and to be fair the model they had on display showed very clearly what was intended. Unfortunately however that was 250 student flats, a 130 bed hotel that they are hoping will be better than a budget hotel, an “arts cafe” and some artisan studios with more flats above. The courtyard previously assigned to the hotel in an article I’d read is up for discussion.

So where have Peveril the developers found that extra 5 million pounds they offered more than anybody else. Well the two storey building at the back of the courtyard will be an extension of the hotel whereas in other plans all the ground floor was dedicated to the arts. The arts cafe which others sensibly allocated as an arts/retail/cafe space with no commercial rent due will now be run commercially. Other than that is is hard to see were they are finding all the extra value.

Expert advice I received said that the space allocated for studios was really too small and better uses could be found though “artisan studios” of course makes things sound better. Arts organisations have been asked to submit ideas and I’ve no doubt some will sell their souls to the developers rather than explain what could have been. The developers would certainly be better off trying to identify a really good arts leaning cafe than turn to arts organisations but off course that wouldn’t look good with the council. As for making the place an attraction outwith the “arts complex” that seems to have gone completely out of the window.

Given the council’s constant message to me that credibility and deliverability were all important what is most surprising is every element of the developer’s plan simply consists of them asking somebody else to identify what to do. Their plans consist of nothing but blank pieces of paper with headlines written on. “Student Flats”, “Hotel”, “Arts Complex”.

KSR tunnel

Certainly the idea that this site would be part of an arts hub spreading out to the Usher Hall, Filmhouse, Art College etc has gone. It is a huge blow to the Grassmarket with its well documented footfall problems and a lost opportunity that only makes sense financially and in the very short term. Even then that assumes the developers can get through planning and that seems impossible if they are held to the original brief by the council’s planners.

Make no mistake Peveril have simply done their job securing the site for student flats and a hotel, it was up to Edinburgh Council to make the correct decision given their own brief which so clearly understood the problems faced and what was needed.

There were hopes that the car park in King’s Stables Road would be demolished one day and the transformation of the road complete but for now with the current plans for King’s Stables Road I can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.