When I was in my early teens, I used to ponder how life might change in the future. I imagined someone would finally invent a bath that kept water at a fixed temperature; I was convinced dogs would evolve into creatures that permanently walked on their hind legs.
When I launched The Pop Cop on June 13, 2007, I didn’t have a clue where it would take me. All I knew was that the source of my favourite musical discoveries at that time – Jack’s Mannequin, The National, Arcade Fire, The Shins, Hello Saferide – was blogs, and predominantly North American-based at that.
Starting up my own one in a country as music-obsessed as Scotland seemed a fairly logical step, particularly as I had dabbled in freelance music writing for a few years and had some decent contacts.
Initially, my posts focused mainly on foreign acts heading here on tour, but as the number of blogs exploded it soon became apparent that everyone was writing about the same bands, and that’s when I realised the importance of trying to carve out my own niche for The Pop Cop.
I decided to abandon artist-led features and just let the blog evolve in whichever direction my ideas went, from serious investigations into booking fees to quirky Valentine’s Day guides, as well as recurring and regularly-updated features such as The Goss news feed at the top of the homepage, the A-Z of Scottish musicians on Twitter, the annual live music photography competition and, of course, the Music Alliance Pact, which I’m probably most proud of even though it takes an obscene amount of time to put together each month.
Working on The Pop Cop never feels like a chore for long, though, since Scotland’s music scene is awash with motivated young people with talent, creativity and enthusiasm, both on and off the stage. If you take a close look at this country’s many music bloggers, you’ll discover that these girls and guys are doing all sorts of useful extracurricular activities in the Real World, such as running record labels, DJing in clubs, putting on gigs and hosting radio shows.
Right, that’s enough sentimentality for one day – since it’s The Pop Cop’s 5th birthday here are some top 5 things…
Most viewed posts
1. Why SOPA + PIPA spell trouble
2. When winners are losers
3. The first (and hopefully last) Scottish New Music Awards
4. Scottish songs covered: who gets your vote?
5. T Break 2011: The chosen ones
My favourite interviews
1. Stuart Murdoch (Belle & Sebastian/God Help The Girl): “We just had to stand there taking envelopes of money. It was like The Godfather. If you marry a Sicilian, you do OK”
2. Louis Abbott (Admiral Fallow): “I was battered unconscious. They only stopped because a woman came round the corner and saw it happening”
3. Larry Reid (The Cinematics): The Cinematics (2003-2011) – “Basically everything we did had to be acceptable to American girls”
4. Lewis Gale (Make Model): “The whole experience was stealing my love of music”
5. Geoff Ellis (DF Concerts): “Neds are not welcome at T in the Park” – Geoff Ellis: the Facebook interview
Most random posts
1. Are we human or are we Panda?
2. Piss artists: Toilet graffiti in Glasgow gig venues
3. Family tree of Scottish musicians
4. Scottish Musicians’ Cookbook
5. The dos and don’ts of band T-shirts
My favourite campaigns
1. Save BBC Introducing in Scotland
2. Get The Pop Cop back online
3. Get Withered Hand to SXSW
4. Can this ticketless fan get into a gig that sold out five months ago?
5. Stop the “Here we… here we… here we fucking go” chant
Most commented-on posts
1. T Break 2011: The chosen ones
2. Will Haddow Fest stumble and fall?
3. Pay to play – three little words, one big problem
4. The first (and hopefully last) Scottish New Music Awards
5. Live review: T in the Park 2011
Album of the Year awards
1. The National – Boxer (2007)
2. Sigur Rós – Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust (2008)
3. The Sounds – Crossing The Rubicon (2009)
4. Admiral Fallow – Boots Met My Face (2010)
5. Cold War Kids – Mine Is Yours (2011)
Most common search term (other than variations of “the pop cop”) used to find blog
1. “music alliance pact”
2. “how much money do mumford and sons make?”
3. “rachel sermanni”
4. “live and unsigned scam”
5. “dot jr”