The music icons captured by Scots amateur photographers

Image copyright
John Lindsay

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The Clash frontman Joe Strummer at Edinburgh’s Coasters, 1985

There’s a moment in the pseudo-documentary Rude Boy where leather-clad fans of The Clash are filmed queuing at the Glasgow Apollo – scruffy, grinning and making some questionable two-fingered gestures to the camera.

For Chris Brickley, this is the sort of material that transports him back to some of the most memorable gigs of his life in Scotland from the late 1970s and 80s.

Not professionally-shot images of artists enthralling fans on stage, but the messier snapshots of crowds, fashions and venues – many of which are no longer in operation.

It’s this side of Scottish music history the 52-year-old is attempting to preserve.

David BowieImage copyright
John Higney

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David Bowie at the Glasgow Apollo in 1978

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He intends to self-publish a book of some 2,000 amateur shots of concerts across Scotland from 1974 to 1990, from high profile artists to memorabilia, ticket stubs and backroom gigs.

“I wanted to do something that’s a lot of work, but that people would like,” he said. “It’s not just an exercise in navel gazing, it’s important to our culture.

“Music used to be so democratic – people could just pitch up and go to gigs. Things cost so much more these days.

“The other angle is that I love street fashion, what people actually looked like.

“The ones I like the most are the crowd shots where you’re right in front – you not only see the band, you see the backdrop. People’s hair, split ends and leather jackets.”

PixiesImage copyright
Calum Mackintosh

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Pixies at Aberdeen’s The Venue in 1989

Johnny YenImage copyright
Simon Clegg

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Johnny Yen, Paisley’s Bungalow Bar in 1980

Over the past year Chris has painstakingly sourced images through social media, all from amateur photographers who posted their old shots for nostalgia’s sake.

The collection includes shots of some of the biggest names of the era – David Bowie at the legendary Glasgow Apollo in 1978, The Clash in 1985 at Edinburgh’s Coasters and the Pixies at The Venue in Aberdeen in 1989.

But Chris also went to great lengths to feature towns and villages which he says are “rarely mentioned in Scottish music history”.

Close LobstersImage copyright
Jim Barr

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Close Lobsters, Rooftops club in Glasgow, 1987

Mo-dettesImage copyright
Simon Clegg

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Mo-dettes outside Valentino’s in Edinburgh, 1980

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He said: “I am a huge fan of The Cramps and The Fall – there is an infamous tour they did co-headlining in 1980 and they played the Stagecoach Hotel in a wee village outside Dumfries on a Monday night.

“I looked into it as a venue – it was just off the M74 and it was a great stop-off point and a lot of great bands played there, like Simple Minds and The Pretenders.

“There’s a great story there. That’s what it’s all about. Everyone knows the Apollo (in Glasgow) but when you dig down, that’s the nature of gig-going.”

RamonesImage copyright
Malcolm Anderson

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Ramones at the Barrowlands in Glasgow, 1985

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The 500-page photobook has secured £14,000 in sponsorship as well as £4,000 which was raised through crowdfunding.

Details of when it will be published have yet to be finalised, but Chris says he is working against the clock.

He added: “Some of the hardest pictures to source were places such as the Mars Bar and Zhivago’s – that’s where Simple Minds started playing their gigs. They achieved great success by playing every single toilet you’d go in.

“Most of these places are gone and we’re losing people as we go. That’s why this has to be done now.”

Simple MindsImage copyright
Rob Christie

All images are copyrighted.

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