“This is the dangerous time. The moment of transition where, in sporting terms, the boy must become a man. There is bound to be hype as well as expectation. It will not be long now before people note that Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski aren’t as young as they were, and somebody will need to succeed them. British tennis is on a high but, if it is to be sustained, something of substance will have to be manufactured from its raw material. Andrew Murray is in pole position. What comes next, as much as anything else, is a test of his drive. The growing suspicion is that Andrew is the future of Scottish tennis.”
So wrote Simon Buckland in the Sunday Times on June 9, 2002 – less than four weeks after Andrew Murray had turned 15. It would be a further three years before he’d become familiar enough to be called “Andy”.
Buckland must have a huge sense of satisfaction looking back as the first national newspaper journalist to not just spot the potential for greatness in a kid so young, but stake his professional reputation on it. The Sunday Times doesn’t make a habit of printing 1000-word features on complete unknowns in their third year of high school. The article exists in the British Library as an undeletable piece of history that documents the earliest known mainstream reference to one of the most talented sportsmen Scotland has ever produced.
While I can’t lay claim to having published any predictions in The Pop Cop which have come to fruition quite so spectacularly, I did take just as much pride in trying to do what Buckland did, albeit in the field of music rather than tennis. Days upon days were spent scouring the underbelly of the Scottish music scene, trawling through MySpace links, frequenting obscure, dingy venues in the off-chance that mythical ‘next big thing’ would be tuning up.
If you look through the many Scottish music blogs (and there seems to be a new one springing up every month), you’d probably come to the conclusion that, in comparison, The Pop Cop wasn’t exactly overflowing with such recommendations and tip-offs – and you’d be right. When you have spent three years building up a blog to the point where people are actually paying close attention to what you write (and, believe me, it took at least two years to feel that was the case), a certain responsibility comes with it. There’s nothing more tempting than publicly declaring “this band will blow you away/change your life”, but the moment you do so, you dangle a very dangerous carrot. If it proves to be false hope (yes, I know taste is subjective, but still…) and a reader loses faith in your judgement, you are screwed, because judgement is the single most important quality in your control as a music blogger.
However, last week’s crushing turn of events made me realise that the one thing that was not in my control was history. All it took were a few anonymous, unjustified complaint letters for 35 months of work to disappear into an internet black hole. Unlike Simon Buckland, if any of my predictions for stardom prove accurate, there will be no record of it. All I can hope for now is that The Pop Cop blog will be remembered. And if just one reader discovered a love for an artist they’d never heard because I wrote about them… well, I’d be pretty fucking gutted. Just one?!
Seriously, though, it was a blast.
* The full explanation of The Pop Cop’s demise and the campaign to recover its work from Google can be found here.
* A Facebook group called ‘Get The Pop Cop back online’ can be found here.
* The Pop Cop is on Twitter here.