Filed under: advertising, creativity, life, Scotland | Tags: billy strathdee, gareth Howells, newhaven communications, Poppyscotland, prosthetic leg sportsman, swimming channel, war hero
I am auctioning around 35 incredible lots tomorrow night at Newhaven Communications’ fabulous Ambulance House, prompted by the one and only Gareth Howells.
It’s for a guy called Billy Strathdee who had his right leg blown off as an acting soldier in Ulster.
He is fitter than a butcher’s dog and is about to set off on an incredible adventure wherein he swims the English channel then cycles to Grangemouth before running to John O’Groats.
On a prosthetic leg.
All funds go to a charity close to my heart; Poppyscotland.
Please support this, either by coming along for what will be a fantastic evening. Drinks at 6 and the auction starts at 8.
All of the details can be found here.
And if you can’t make it you can put in an advance bid.
We are probably talking bargains for a lot of photography and jewellery and designer breaks and stuff.
Filed under: creativity | Tags: best horror movies, cheap horror movies, hollywood, horror, paranormal activity 2
There’s a fair bit of sequel snobbery being talked about PA 2.
“The original was made for £20 – this was £2 million and what’s the difference?” That sort of stuff. When really the answer is quite simple. The original was what it was; a super-creepy, lo fi masterpiece that was low on special effects and relatively high on fear, but not that much in the way of real jumps.
PA 2 whilst it cost more (but hey, £2m? hardly a fortune in cinema terms) also has very few special effects but has a lot more in the way of jumps. But much more significantly than this PA2 is unbelievably clever in the way that it takes the storyline of PA 1 and weaves around it a story that elucidates both parts 1 AND 2.
The jumps are largely stock in trade but they are played out beautifully and the movie is paced brilliantly. Once again Katie Featherstone and Micah Sloat convince with their unHolywood looks and performances and the introduction of Katie’s sister’s family is mostly convincing.
This is turning into a really great franchise. If PA3 (in theatres in October 2011) keeps it up (a big ask) it could even challenge the Godfather for consistency because Godfather 3 was naff.
Now before any of you think I am mad I am not saying PA1 and 2 compare to Godfather 1 and 2.
But let’s be honest few horror franchises to date have delivered their first two outings as consistently as this. Fingers crossed for part 3.
Filed under: business, creativity, humour | Tags: facebook, new facebook page, tech buzz
Filed under: creativity, music | Tags: emeli sande, emeli snde heaven, heaven
This is Emeli Sande from Aberdeen who studied medicine at Glasgow University before signing for Virgin (she’s performed with Chipmunk and Leona). This song taken from a BBC One Extra Sound session is her debut single. Shows real talent (a number one I’d imagine) can come from outside of X Factor.
Filed under: movies | Tags: benedict cumberbatch, British movies, Colin Firth, Gary oldman, john Hurt, kathy Bates, Mark Strong, The Brits are coming, tinker tailor soldier spy, toby Jones, Tom Hardy
Even though I did not gawp as Sir Alec Guinness enthralled the great British middle classes in the late 1970′s in the famous BBC adaptation of John Le Carre’s celebrated novel, and indeed not having read the book, I nevertheless approached this much trumpeted British “classic” with enthusiasm.
My anticipation was grossly misplaced. It is a tedious and turgid celebration of Britain’s Cold War spying fraternity that is so badly plotted that to the uninitiated it has the transparency of a potato.
If anyone can tell me what the hell was going on in this self indulgent nonsense I’d be grateful. On second thoughts, don’t bother, I don’t really care.
We Brits do get so chipper about our occassional foray into big news cinema and so the arrival of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy has been trumpeted loudly and uncriticaly in the British (mainly broadsheet) press.
The King’s Speech too was credited with far greater quality than it actually delivered.
This is just a mess.
There is little to fault about the acting from a fine ensemble of British character actors who all carry out their duties perfectly well, generally in a half light that occasionally works cinematographically and sometimes just makes the action plain gloomy.
The art department excells however with excellent period details from start to finish.
Director Tomas Alfredson’s first movie, Let The Right One in, is as tight as a drum and is beautifully realised – in stark contrast to this nonsense.
I can’t honestly remember the last time I was quite so bored in a cinema and I blame, principally, the screenplay for this because it assumes its audience knows the detailed storyline and makes no effort to introduce novices to the basic premises of what the story is actually about.
How a film with so many twists and turns, flahbacks (way too many) and references can be boring beats me. But it is.
Unless you know the book or the TV series well, avoid like the plague.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, movies | Tags: alberto iglesias, almodovar, antonio banderas, creepy, elena amaya, horror, pedro Almodovar, spanish movies, tinker tailor soldier spy, twisted
I’ve long admired Almodovar and it was with interest that I went to his his latest “horror” film. To describe it thus is most certainly to misappropriate a psychological study of sexuality because it is most certainly not a horror movie. Instead we see Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya develop the most unlikely relationship you’ll see in a very long time.
Banderas is electric as the cool and calculated surgeon using Anaya (wow) as his human guinea pig to develop a new kind of indestructible skin as he grieves the death of his wife as a consequance of a car fire.
It’s pretty hard to cover much more of the plot for fear of spoiling what is a tremendous film with perhaps the best twist I’ve ever seen in a cinema. Almodovar is at his very best hear with an excellent supporting cameraman, Jose Luis Alcaine who makes the pictures zing from the digital screening that I was at.
Interestingly I saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy today as well and both were sound tracked by Alberto Iglesias. This one brilliantly, Tinker, Tailor lamentably.
Filed under: Scotland, sports | Tags: dan parks, rugby, rugby worl cup, scotland v argentina, sctittish rugby union
The match against Argentina this morning was rugby at its most attritional and exciting despite the fact Scotland lost and there was only one try. However Scotland’s curse raises its head once again and we look likely to fail to reach the quarter finals. It makes next Saturday’s match against England truly unmissable. Horrific missed drop goal by Dan Parks right at the death and I suspect a lack of concentration after we’d eked out that six point lead only to concede a converted try less than a minute later.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, theatre | Tags: communicado, Dundee rep, Emily Winter, lyceum, lyceum theatre edinburgh, mary queen of scots got her head chopped off, myra mcFadzean, Tony Cownie
OK. Before I write anything I have to declare my interest as a director on the Lyceum board. If that invalidates my thoughts in your mind dear reader then I understand. So be it. I speak with honesty not nepotism. Take it or leave it.
So, the opening of The Lyceum’s new season (in collaboration with the wonderful Dundee Rep) has been highly anticipated in this particular household having seen the original production of this fabulous play in the 1987 when it was premiered by Communicado, and performed at The Lyceum.
The first and most important reason that we were so excited about it is that Liz Lochhead wrote it. And boy can our Makar write. I was in tears of laughter at Educating Agnes which the Lyceum staged in the spring, and although this production has many moments of humour it’s not a comedy.
Instead it is a breathtaking ensemble piece which firmly nails Lochhead’s views on the union between Scotland and England through the insanely close relationship between two cousins, both queens, one a virgin, one almost a floozie.
The queens in question dominate the action and of course we all have to have favourites, mine was Mary played with a beautiful gaelic/french lilt by Shauna Macdonald. Flame haired and feisty she was nevertheless in the thrall of the more dominant but deeply self absorbed Elizabeth played by Emily Winter. Whilst MacDonald has a steady and absorbing presence that grows with the play Winters’ is more stacatto, punctuating the play with many of its high points, especially when she brainwashes Darnley before his trip north to seduce and ultimately marry Mary.
The play, both modern and historical in one, is directed with real verve and gusto by Tony Cownie and the design by Neil Murray is well observed and funny.
It’s great. Not just because of the fantastic script, but in the performances of the whole cast in particular the aforementioned queens and Liam Brennan who really is at the top of his game as a snarling, spitting John Knox that makes many a Catholic squirm uncomfortably in their seat.
Whilst Ann Louise Ross has been pulling rave reviews as Corbie (the Crow) narrator I preferred Myra McFadzean’s performance in Communicado’s original production. I also thought her performance in Age of Arousal trumped this.
A resounding yes for this production although for all of our group its resolution was probably the weakest point.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: adele, bee gees, default and picassio
Stay Rolling mixes Adele’s Rolling in the Deep with the Bee Ge”s Staying Alive in a quite incredible synergy.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, creativity, stories | Tags: child poverty, child poverty in sCotland, fct, forth childrens theatre, stv, stv creative, TV commercials
I introduced one of the FCT cast to the production team at STV when they wre casting for their recent STV Appeal commercials and wee Emma Simpson got the job…
So far the appeal has raised over £1.2m.
Filed under: creativity | Tags: apple, apple infographic, apple mac, history of apple
Filed under: Arts, creativity, gigs, music | Tags: adele, chasing pavements, npr music, someone like you, tiny desk concert
From our friends at NPR Music.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music, The Scotsman | Tags: diamond mine, East Neuk of Fife Music scene, fife music, Kenny Anderson, king creosote, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins, npr music
This is a great concept and nobody could be better suited than King Creosote with Jon Hopkins showcasing the two best songs from Diamond Mine.
I couldn’t agree more with NPR’s point of view…
At the risk of serving up a spoiler three months in advance, King Creosote and Jon Hopkins‘ Diamond Mine is going to turn up near the top of many Best Albums of 2011 lists on this website. The breathless love isn’t unanimous across the NPR Music staff, but it’s widespread and intense, and rightfully so. For all its brevity — just seven songs in 32 minutes — Diamond Mine is an absolutely spectacular record, as plainspoken and charming as it is breathtaking in its cinematic sweep.
This is too long to cut and paste. Instead click through and enjoy this fantastic post…
Here’s a wee taste…
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: bon iver, Fall Creek Boys Choir., james blake
It’s an astonishing collaboration between James Blake, Bon Iver and, ehhh, a wolf.
Filed under: creativity, gardening, science, Scotland, stories | Tags: Amorphophallus titanium, botany, Corpse flower, Royal botanic Gardens Edinburgh, scottish botany, titus arum
Have you been following the progress of this beauty?
You can keep up to date with it here.
I’ve had my eye on it all summer.
It’s called Amorphophallus titanium which roughly translated means absolutely ginormous penis. And it’s growing right here in Edinburgh in the Royal Botanic Gardens’ greenhouse. Currently it is progressing by 10cm a day and when and if it flowers it will have been the first to do so in Scotland and is a very rare happening when cultivated.
Have a freaking look at this. (A specimen cultivated in Stuttgart)
It has the largest “unbranched” inflorescance of any plant in the world which roughly translated means it has humungous flowers.
And the best thing is…it smells like a rotting animal. Hence its common name “the Corpse Flower”.
Best get your ass down there for a look.
God, I’m really sick of this.
We are in the hole we are in for one reason. Craig Levein’s tactics.
We could easily have beaten the Czech Republic home and away, after all since 2005 they have steadily slid down the rankings from 2nd to 42nd. We’re 47th and incidentally sit 5 places behind Lithuania.
However, we played in the Czech Republic with no striker, gambling on a 0-0 scoreline that failed to materialise.
On Saturday, forget the refereeing shenanigans (the Czechs had a stone wall penalty denied too after all), let’s focus on how Scotland set up. They were crap in the first half and sat back both at 1-0 and 2-1. Every time we had to push forward we threatened, including in the 92nd minute. But had we played the way we ought to the game would have been done and dusted. So that would be 5 more points than we have and 4 less for the Czechs. We’d pretty much have qualified by now.
One hard luck story (3 – 2 defeat to Spain) when the game was to all intents and purpose over (so the Spanish went to sleep) does not make us a great team and don’t forget we very nearly lost to Lichtenstein – a country with a population smaller than Falkirk and a football reputation worse that Fred West’s.
Levien contradicts himself more than the House of Commons. He says he won’t play players that are out of form or not playing for their teams and then he does.
He falls out with his players (shame our best striker is watching from home for no good reason) and he has the worst competitive record (including Bertie Vogts) over his opening 5 game tenure than any manager in the last 25 years; to Andy Roxburgh to be precise.
Yes, we have a bunch of talented players exposed to the Premiership, better than for a considerable time I’d say.
So why not believe in them and let them express themselves properly.
Me, I’m going to watch the Mercury Prize. (We’ve got a chance of winning that – Come on King Creosote!)
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, jokes, motors | Tags: fanny magnet, penis extention, Porsche
Filed under: business, creativity, humour | Tags: microsoft, microsoft windows, Windows, Windows logo
Filed under: family, humour, life, Scotland, sports, stories | Tags: Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award
Tom and Ria are all set for their 45 mile walk from Aviemore to Blair Atholl.
Tom in particular with his white pumps and new hat.
“So as I can talk to farmers.”
Amy’s attempt ended in a wrecked knee half way through so fingers crossed the white pumps cope with the rigours of the Scottish Highlands.
(Apparently the minibus got lost on its way to the start point so not a great omen.)
Filed under: Arts, creativity, gigs, music, Scotland | Tags: Arcade fire, arcade fire at edinburgh castle, edinburgh castle, edinburgh castle music, edinburgh gigs, The suburbs, win butler
OK. This is going to sound like a moan but the bottom line is that Arcade Fire performed extremely well in Edinburgh last night. The question is; why was I so unenthused.
They played 18 songs in total.
8 from the suburbs, 3 from Neon Bible including the monumental No Cars Go (which was strangely un-monumental), 6 from their classic debut, Funeral, and a new song; Speaking in Tongues which I really liked.
So, the plus points. Note perfect. Great mix of songs spanning their career. Lovely weather. Fabulous setting. Excellent acoustics. Very interesting use of video throuhgout. Like this…
The downside however was much more intangible.
I was expecting an “experience”. It wasn’t.
I felt totally detached and that’s because even though we had good seats we seemed miles away from the action.
And there were no big screens picking up action on stage. OK, the video screen behind the band did, from time to time, blend them into the footage but this was more art than entertainment.
Looked good expansively though.
It all seemed very calculated and clinical almost. And yet, they played a different set at the MEN on Wednesday night and hadn’t played for a month before that, so it’s not as if they are in a tour rut.
Also, I expected Win Butler to have a winning personality and to engage heavily with the crowd.
Sure, he had a few brief “Edinburoe is such a beautiful city” moments but no more than that sort of staple, pretty bland rhetoric.
The rest of them, apart from a bit of streamer work by Regine Chassagne and some climbing up the scaffolding by the percussionist, just got on with the task at hand. On a take of around half a million quid (calm down. Ed. Ok £200k) for what is still an indie band (the Suburbs has only sold 400,000 copies) I’d have expected a little more of an effort.
Set highlights were Suburban War, Neighbourhood Number 1, We used to Wait, Wake Up (which had the whole crowd going pretty mad), Keep the Car Running and Rebellion (Lies).
I hated Month of May and Sprawl II (looked as if Win was keeping the Mrs sweet by allowing her to close the show with the worst song of the night).
Filed under: Arts, creativity, family, humour, life, music | Tags: cute kid singing, cute kid video, cute kid video on youtube, cute kids, edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Jorge and Alexa Narvaez
Don’t you absolutely detest them?
They make me want to lose my lunch to be perfectly honest.
They make me think that the human race has lost its entire sense of purpose.
I saw this.
I stuck up a video of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes playing Home in a tiny gig yesterday.
But this morning one of the viewers of that magnificent clip sent me THIS.
(Thank you Michael Farrell.)
Now this is why we were meant to propogate.
Filed under: Arts, creativity | Tags: edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, gig in an office, gigs, Home, Tiny desk concerts
By Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, whom I heard recently on BBC 6 Music. They have a certain charm. The second song they play “Home” is magic.
I’m left wondering if any of these people have ever tried drugs in their lives.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, music | Tags: Arcade fire, edinburgh castle
…the rest of you can make do with this…