Let’s hear it for the girls

I’m often on the receiving end of ‘humorous’ comments and rude slurs about my weight, sex life and driving skills from my male counterparts. I have learnt to give as good as I get, but sometimes it really pisses me off and makes me question just how much our society has actually moved on from 1928.

Now, don’t get me wrong – call me a hypocrite if you want – despite my gender equality fight I still welcome a bit of chivalry. Manners cost nothing so, yes, I’d be very grateful if you hold the door open for me, and if you are bigger and stronger then, yes, I’d very much appreciate it if you carry the heavy shit. Of course, these actions apply to both men and women, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little respect and a little less sexism.

I’ll leave the rest of my feminist rant for another day – however, instances of gender imbalance are too important to be ignored. Not so long ago, this was a great cause for concern when discussing the music industry, but things are moving in the right direction, particularly in relation to Scotland.

While male writers still significantly outnumber female ones when it comes to blogs, the ratio seems to have improved in the arts sector as a whole, and in positions of real authority – The List recently promoted Gail Tolley to the position of editor, The Skinny’s publisher (Sophie Kyle) and editor (Rosamund West) are both young ladies with flair, while Nicola Meighan is arguably the most readable and clued-up professional music journalist in the land.

In the live circuit, the divide is more stark in terms of backstage employment, with the majority of tour managers, production managers, instrument techs, sound engineers, lighting designers and stagehands being men. But, again, there are very notable exceptions – Twin Atlantic, Frightened Rabbit and We Were Promised Jetpacks all have female managers, highly-respected Scottish tour manager Cara McDaniel works for Gossip, Emeli Sandé and Imogen Heap (indeed, the latter two sang at Cara’s wedding at Loch Lomond this year), while the directors of Glasgow promoters Synergy Concerts are Grainne Braithwaite, Isla Angus and Ailidh Lennon.

Dundee-based label/management company Jagged Roots Music is another inspirational success story. Run by Kerry Fleming, she has handpicked the cream of east coast girl power since 2007, with Plum the latest addition to a roll call that also includes Panda Su and Bombay Bicycle Club jetsetter Amber Wilson. Panda Su, in fact, was one of four female-fronted Scottish acts to be profiled last year on an STV mini-segment called A Portrait Of, alongside Katie Sutherland, Kitty The Lion and Julia And The Doogans.

These are all part of a new generation of young Scottish women who are making great strides for equality in music and – allied to the commercial success of Emeli Sandé, Amy MacdonaldKT Tunstall and Isobel Campbell – they give confidence to younger women looking to forge careers as recording artists.

The Pop Cop has picked out a handful of up-and-coming musicians to look out for. Talent and personality very much come first with these ladies – it’s that which makes them so darn sexy.

Lauren Mayberry, CHVRCHES
Lauren wrote her Masters’ dissertation on the subject of femininity in women’s magazines before becoming part of electro-pop darlings CHVRCHES. Not only is she super-talented and obviously very smart, but she is also absolutely gorgeous. Earlier this month she spoke to The Skinny about the importance of how she comes across to other young women and her responsibility as a performer.

Janine Shilstone, Vukovi
Big hair and big voice – you’d struggle to miss the lead singer of rockers Vukovi. Just like Hayley Williams from Paramore, you say? Wrong. Vukovi’s shows aren’t full of teenyboppers and Janine has way more interesting things to say between songs. I get the impression she wouldn’t be afraid to tell you exactly what she thinks of you – it’s good to see a frontwoman with a bit of attitude. Janine recently teamed up with Fatherson for a fantastic cover of Jimmy Eat World anthem Sweetness in aid of the charity Runaway.

Rachel Sermanni
I defy you to find anyone with a bad word to say about Rachel Sermanni. Accomplished, pretty and just so bloody nice, she also receives extra brownie points for having an entirely female band (most of the time). Likely to be found writing song lyrics on the back of a fox then Instagramming the hell out of it.

October 10, The Arches, Glasgow (tickets)
October 13, Cairngorm Ptarmigan Restaurant, Aviemore (tickets)
October 15, Pleasance Bar, Edinburgh (tickets)

Stina Tweeddale & Shona McVicar, Honeyblood
This duo, who were brought together by a mutual love of Star Trek, have been around for only a year. If they’re coming to a venue near you, girls (and boys, if you like), why not look out that Impulse body spray, blue hair mascara and platform trainers and head down for a 90s girl power love-in? Viva forever.

September 29, Art School, Glasgow
October 5, Teviot, Edinburgh
October 11, Art School, Glasgow (tickets)
October 12, Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh (tickets)
October 26, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh (tickets)

Just turned 18, the frighteningly gifted Eilidh Lawrence hails from Anstruther in Fife. Geography isn’t the only trait that makes her a potential Fence protégé, given that her songs are full of thoughtful lyrics and wistful acoustic loveliness. The quality of forthcoming debut single Wasting Away has made her one of the finds of 2012.

October 13, AIA Hall, Anstruther

11 Responses to “Let’s hear it for the girls”

  1. Chris Says:

    September 29th, 2012 at 12:28

    Great article, what about Nina Nesbitt though?

  2. boab Says:

    September 29th, 2012 at 15:23

    Love these roundups of your pals

  3. Jon Says:

    September 29th, 2012 at 22:17

    “While male writers still significantly outnumber female ones when it comes to blogs”

    Where is this information sourced from?

  4. Jon Says:

    October 4th, 2012 at 22:41

    Great article but obviously researched by a woman. Wee line up change missed up there somewhere. Leave it to the guys eh 😉

  5. The Pop Cop Says:

    October 5th, 2012 at 00:14

    Hey Jon,

    Although this article was written by a woman, most of the research was done by a man (there are two of us at The Pop Cop now and we share the workload) so if there is a “line-up change” that was missed – and by all means do enlighten us – then it would have been the male half who messed up.

    But it’s good to have it on record that you believe that having a vagina is a symbol of incompetence. I’m sure anyone thinking of taking their custom to Dixon Street Studios in Glasgow (very good of you to link to your website) is just delighted to know that.

  6. last year's girl Says:

    October 5th, 2012 at 13:30

    And this is why I meant to come back and read the comments under this piece after it had been up for a while…

  7. Jon Says:

    October 5th, 2012 at 20:42

    Hello! It’s Jon here, not the second ‘Jon’ with the strange vaginal incompetancy remark.

    I think the article is good at promoting female talent in Scottish music journalism and music management. But! I’d still like to know where the info comes from to be able to say that there are more male bloggers than female. Also, what does that actually mean? Are you specifically talking about Scottish music blogs?

    Also, while I get the feeling that there are more males in the backstage industry, how do you know this? Have you read it somewhere? I think it would be interesting to see the stats and it would also be great to know if there has been research done to find out why!

  8. last year's girl Says:

    October 7th, 2012 at 15:18

    Jon – I’d love to do the research, but in the meantime I’m pretty sure what’s in the post is anecdotal. I’d argue it’s probably fair though – although if anybody DOES want to draw my attention to great female Scottosh music bloggers, I’d love to be introduced!

  9. last year's girl Says:

    October 7th, 2012 at 15:19

    Also, Vaginal Competency is my new riot grrl band name.

  10. The Pop Cop Says:

    October 8th, 2012 at 19:27

    Hi Jon

    (the first Jon, not the sexist one)

    The “male writers still significantly outnumber female ones when it comes to blogs” comment is based on our knowledge of other music blogs (definitive statistics are non-existent given the very fluid/temporary/anonymous nature of blogging).

    Of the Scottish-based blogs listed in the Music Sites section on the right-hand sidebar of The Pop Cop, 25 are run by males and 5 are run by females.

    In a more global context, of the 40 music blogs throughout the world who make up the Music Alliance Pact, only 6 of the primary contacts are female.

    Granted, it’s only a snapshot, but I’d be confident in stating that it’s a fairly accurate one in terms of the wider picture.

    Hopefully this answers your question.

  11. Jon Says:

    October 12th, 2012 at 16:14

    Sexist!! Tut tut Nothing could be further from the truth you rabble rouser you. At best, misguided but I thought my attempted joke whilst actually complimenting the article would be welcome relief from all the usual ‘ Nice Article On Yer Mates ‘ that I regularly see on yours and other blog sites.

    The line up change I alluded to actually ARE customers of mine who would realise my tongue in cheek remark is one of my regular poor attempts at humour. You would need to know me to understand that though.

    I also think this would be clear to all who read the comment, wink and all, especially my female customers who are plenty and who are infinitely more intelligent than I.

    Since humour now seems to be distinctly lacking from the pop cop(s) repertoire (strange after the side splitting entry I read about the SNMA recently) and since name calling and futile attempts to harm your readers business’s appears to be your default, I don’t think I’ll bother enlightening you about your mistake. Knowing that a smart arse like you, who always claims the intellectual and moral high ground is capable of such poor research more than makes up for the personal insult.

    Shame, this site was a regular on my list of must reads but having witnessed such up-your-own arsery at first hand, I don’t think I’ll be back, even to post a rebuttal to whatever you want to accuse me of next.

    Congrats on your expansion. Have a nice day.

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