National Pop League
Woodside Social Club, Glasgow, Fri 25 Jul
‘The Woodside’s such a strange place,’ says John Hunt, promoter of the soon-to-be-no-more National Pop League, of the venue which has housed his indie club for seven years. ‘There’s no air conditioning, and it’s so hot that, at about one o’clock in the morning, it almost starts to feel like a dream. I’m glad I can look back on every single one in that way, rather than with any glass shards of reality in there.’
It’s hard to emphasise just how important NPL has been to Glasgow’s West End scene for almost this entire decade. As Hunt says non-boastfully, the club regularly welcomes members of Belle & Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Camera Obscura, Teenage Fanclub and The Pastels through its doors, yet an atmosphere of friendly inclusion to all prevails. His biggest pride in NPL has been inspiring others to form similar nights around the city.
Yet this, the 80th numbered edition of NPL (each has its own number, and Hunt distributes a little personal email reminiscence after every club, harking back to a culture of fanzines and limited-release vinyl rarities) will be the last. The decision was inspired by a mixture of concern for the future of the Woodside – sited in a residential area, its owners are known to have had developers looking round – and new legislation which states doorstaff must be employed, which has a subtle effect on the mood of the place.
‘I’m glad I made the decision to finish NPL while it’s still really special,’ says Hunt. ‘I would just hate to let it tail off.’ Hopefully the club’s many fans will also agree that this was the best way.