Because in the end that's what music critics are.....
That photo shows Runrig's 2018 farewell concert performed in the shadow of Stirling Castle. When I lived with my family in Stirling in the 1980s Runrig, together with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, were the soundtrack of our lives. Margaret Thatcher was using Scotland as a 'poll tax guineau pig', and Runrig was a catalyst of a revitalised Scottish identity that led to the establishment of a Scottish Parliament in 1999, and which may lead even further in the future.
Runrig was more than a rock group: they were musicians with that very rare attribute, engaged integrity. Over the 45 year life span of the band, two of its original members left to enter politics, Donnie Munro with Labour and Pete Wishart with the SNP (Scottish National Party), the latter being elected to Parliament in 2001. (Can you imagine Simon Rattle entering politics? Presumably Sir Simon would demand a new acoustically-perfect Parliament building.)
That engaged integrity also pervades Tom Morton's 1991 book Going Home: The Runrig Story. In this book Tom Morton dwells on the music press' ambivalence towards Runrig. He puts that ambivalence down to a lack of engaged integrity among rock critics, and goes on to paint a deadly accurate portrait of the critics, which, of course, included himself. Typewriters may have been switched for laptops, but little else has changed in 2021. This characterisation by Tom Morton particularly applies to the current generation of classical critics.
'Perhaps the greatest failure in the way so-called rock journalists have dealt with Runrig lies in the nature of the genre - assuming the semi-literate scribbling of we incoherent fans justifies such a high flown appellation. Because in the end that's what rock hacks are - fans with typewriters, laden with prejudices, inconsistencies, insecurities and bias. Sometimes we are bent on revenge, motivated not by any objective search for truth but by the desire to impress or destroy for our own private reason. Sometimes we're just chipping away at the word face for cash. Mostly we are more interested in the qualities of our own writing than in the objects of our attention.'
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