Published on 7 February 2023 at 12:33

By Paul Laird

Author of "The Birth And Impact Of Britpop: Mis-Shapes, Scenesters And Insatiable Ones"


A merry heart taketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13, King James Version) 


In the beginning God said “Let there be light” and, incredibly, there was, indeed, light. The  darkness of the void was illuminated. Where there was nothing, there was now something.  Matter unorganised was brought together to bring life to the universe. 


Neat trick. 


In my own life there have often been moments when the matter of my life has been strewn around  the galaxy of my existence in a fashion which can only be called chaos. Even when the sun has  been shining, I have found myself trapped in a darkness which seems impenetrable, physical,  tangible, and terrible. At those moments when God has been notable by His absence, it has been the power of music, the voices of strangers, that have brought calm and introduced light. 


In 1990 I was facing up to the reality of leaving home to serve as a missionary for the Mormon Church. I was seventeen, in my final year of school, and I had just submitted my papers to Church headquarters for their consideration. In a few short months I would find out which part of  God's creation He had chosen for me to labour in. I had dreams of exotic climes, far away places, foreign tongues. I ended up in Bury St Edmunds. Let’s not dwell. I had doubts even then about God, missions, and life after death. But I did what all good boys are meant to do, I pushed all  those doubts and fears deep down inside of myself where they couldn’t do me any harm… 


I was a lonely sort of kid at this point, a bit peculiar, awkward, not unpopular, but certainly not popular. If you were being kind you would see me as a bit eccentric. Nobody felt like being kind at my school, so “weird” was the title bestowed upon me. I had discovered indie music, I was  already obsessed with Morrissey, and I was never without a copy of some Oscar Wilde or other… unless I was (re) reading “Forever” by Judy Blume. My tastes were…a bit beige. If the boys, and  they usually were boys, in the band had an overcoat and a fringe, I was in. 


One day I heard something very different. 

I’m Free” by The Soup Dragons


It was a bit scuzzy, wonky, sexy…I didn’t know what to make of it. I loved it. I taped it off of the radio. I listened to it on a loop for about a week. Then I discovered that there was an album, “Lovegod” and that they were from Scotland. At this point in time loving things because they were Scottish didn’t come with the baggage that it carries now…it wasn’t a political statement, it  was just a way of showing support for people from the same place as you. Postcode adoration. Thankfully most of the music coming out of Scotland at this point was ace.  


When Britpop arrived I already knew the voice of David McAlmont. In a better world than this  one, I could just say I already knew The Voice and everyone would know I meant David McAlmont. His work with Thieves had found its way to me before his era defining partnership with Bernard Butler and the greatest single in British popular music, “Yes”. Don’t write to me telling me how this thing, or that thing, by some other band is better. You’re wrong. I’m right.  Let’s leave it at that. 


Time passed. 

We all moved on. 

David did this and that. 

I did some of this and very little of that. 


Sean Dickson left the world of overcoats and fringes behind him and became a DJ, composer,  writer, producer, music making maestro…who knows how best to define someone like Sean?


Now they are together. 


Two talents, two souls for whom it is, for whom it always was, the music that matters. They have  recorded, and released an album, “Happy Ending”. It is a grand, epic, soaring, swooping,  orchestral manoeuvre in the dark of the modern world. This is soul music for an age when people  have lost their ability to behave as if they have a soul, dance music for a jilted generation, pop music for those of us who have yearned for its return from the clutches of post-Britpop guitar  wankery, and soulless, factory produced, reality TV “talents”. In short, it is fucking wonderful. 


Better than any of us deserve. 


As I have listened, over and over, I have been struggling with fatigue, physical pain, declining  mental health, and I have found myself wallowing, languishing, somewhere very short of the  somewhere I want to be. It has been cold outside, and freezingly so inside. But slowly, almost  imperceptibly, “Happy Ending” has dragged my heart up from the floor, opened the curtains, let  the light in, started the healing. 


Hope is important. 

This is a special record. 

Made by two special people. 

Special people will understand. 



Here is a list of our scheduled gigs including dates with Hurricane #1 and Dermo