Filed under: Arts, creativity, football, humour, life, Scotland, sports, stories, Uncategorized | Tags: arthur seat, celtic fc, Chips'n'cheese, easter Road stadium, Edinburgh, Edinburgh View, Edinburgh's Greatest Football Team, Hibees, Hibernian FC, Ian McAteer, Leith, Sunshine on Leith, The Bhouys, the hoops, the union
Advertising supremo, Iain McAteer, of The Union was climbing Arthur Seat on a chill but not Arctic New Year’s day.
The hike was an attempt to wash the bitter taste of the defeat (and too much red wine) of his beloved Chips’n'cheese-eating, potato picking, football team to the (ex) purveyors of the beautiful game, the mighty Hibernian FC from his mouth.
He turned to take in the glorious view and was rewarded with this stunning vision.
Filed under: creativity, cycling, Scotland, sports, stories | Tags: arthurs seat], cycling, Edinburgh, glasgow to edinburgh cycle race, old bike, pedal for scotland, south queensferry, vacation
I had an afternoon off and I had some stuff to pick up in Edinburgh so, between rain showers (well, when I say SHOWERS…), I jumped on the old bike to do a training run for the Pedal For Scotland ride that’s now only 8 weeks away. You can register here… http://ow.ly/c1Ssg
So, I cycled into Edinburgh (11 miles ) and then did two circuits of Arthur’s Seat (my second volcanic circumnavigation in a week given that I’d done Vesuvius last week).
The trip round Arthur’s Seat is 3.3 miles and I clocked 14 minutes or so both times. My memories of the ascent (just under a mile) to Dunsapie Loch were far more onerous than the reality.
After that a cycle back to South Queensferry and all 32 miles done and dusted in about 2hrs 15 minutes.
Cream crackered now like.
Filed under: life, photography | Tags: angels, christianity, Edinburgh, organs, religion, sacred edinburgh, sundays in church]
I played drums, as I most usually do at mass in South Queensferry. I’m not so anal about my religion that I HAVE to be there every Sunday, but I try.
Anyway, some good rhythms.
Then I headed up to St Giles Cathedral, on the Royal Mile, to see a friend of mine sing in the choir. If you know anything about Scottish history you’ll know that that’s not a Catholic worship place but it is very Christian.
I loved it and can recommend Sunday Service there at 11.30.
An extraordinary choir and an amazing location, set off by this stunning angel…
And a great organ…
Filed under: creativity, family, humour, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: beach, dancer, Edinburgh, gibberish, guardian in pictures, mark gorman, pictures, south queensferry, the guardian, weston super mare
One of these days I might get a mention.
This week I had two options.
This one is “Flash” Ken who I met on a beach in Weston Super Mare and is the one I entered…
…and this is one which I spotted in South Queensferry at the fair a fair few years ago; or rather the camera spotted it in a flash.
Filed under: Arts, theatre | Tags: Edinburgh, lyceum, Lyceum Edinburgh, marilyn, marilyn monroe, The Royal Lyceum, theatre
Fame will go by and, so long, I’ve had you, fame. If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle. So at least it’s something I experience, but that’s not where I live.
I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.
I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.
Marilyn Monroe, is perhaps the most famous woman in the world, ever!
OK, she may have been beaten to it by Mary, the mother of Christ, just as her son pipped John Lennon to the male crown.
Fame haunted Monroe all through her life and her complex personality, as demonstrated by the quotes above, confused not just the public and her biographers, but the lady herself. Just how dumb was she? It was hard totell at times. And the drugs didn’t help.
Her background as an abandoned orphan was a great driver but also a disturbing nightmare that she used rink and drugs to escape.
This lack of grounding no doubt contributed to her demons and dreadful lack of self worth.
So, put her in a hotel wing with Europe’s dazzling blonde intellectual arthouse love, Simone Signoret; the brainy blonde, on a trip to the US in March 1960 where she was about to win best actress Oscar for her role in Room at The Top, (the successful blonde) and what could possibly happen?
That’s the premise of this very interesting triple header directed by Philip Howard as a co production with the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.
But Signoret wasn’t there just to pick up her Oscar. She was accompanying her husband (the lucky blonde), Yves Montand (unseen) who was performing as male leade alongside Marilyn on the set of Let’s Make Love. (Not a career high, despite Cukor’s direction).
Meanwhile Monroe’s third Husband, Arthur Millar, types furiously away off stage as their marraige disintegrates (they divorced 10 months later).
Of course, Monroe gets the hots for Montand, which hardly helps matters as Signoret is deeply in love with Montand and remained married to him until her death in 1985.
Circling the cage is Monroe’s one real friend (it would seem, certainly in this context) her hairdresser and colourist Patti (played by Paulie Knowles). She acts as a compere of sorts in a similar way that Alfieri did in Millar’s View from the Bridge earlier this season.
The show is a mix of mirth (“The Communists ; they’re the poor people aren’t they” quips Monroe) and misery as Monroe’s grip on reality gradually unravels, thanks mainly to her terrible insomnia fuelled by endless bubbly and a cocktail of prescription drugs.
It’s sad to see, but subtly realised.
And realisation is the real strength of this show which is built around a startling performance by Frances Thorburn in the title role and ably abetted by French actress Dominique Hollier.
A knowledge of the period is useful for one’s enjoyment as the McCarthy Witch Trials provide subtle, but important, background noise to the events on stage.
The wardrobe of authentic period couture that Marilyn parades through several costume changes is a particular delight too.
Four stars. Boo boo bee doo.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: basking shark, Edinburgh, edinburgh photography, free events in edinburgh, great white shark, shark, shark photos, sharks, st andrew square, underwater photography, what's on in Edinburgh
Filed under: Arts, creativity, photography, Scotland | Tags: auld reekie, Edinburgh
Edinburgh and its many layers…
Filed under: Arts, creativity, humour, liberal, life, politics, Scotland, theatre | Tags: Edinburgh, Edinburgh Theatre, entrepreneurialism, female entrepreneurs, lesbian love, lesbian relationships, lesbians, Scottish Theatre, stellar quines, the age of arousal, the emancipation of women, The Lyceum, the remington typewritter, The Royal Lyceum, The royal lyceum theatre company, the sexual revolution, victorian britain, women and work, women's liberation
Just as Stanley Townsend playing Eddie Carbone frequently accused Rodolpho to be “not right, just not right” in the previous Lyceum production of A View From The Bridge, so a central plank of Muriel Romanes’ joint production with The Lyceum and Stellar Quines is the notion of homosexuality that cannot be said by it’s name; here Lesbian ladies are merely “odd”. But it amounts to the same.
In “A View” Rodolpho’s homosexuality was imagined by Eddie as a construct with which to castigate his foe; here it is a celebration of the two lead characters, Rhoda Nunn and Mary Barfoot who despite being a generation apart in age are Victorian entrepreneurs with a taste for each other as more than just business partners.
This could have made for a truly shocking dramatic premise but it’s shrugged off as “odd”, perhaps, but really nothing to get one’s knickers in a twist about.
Although I said previously ‘Our two leads’ this is in actual fact as ensemble a show as one could imagine, they are backed by a chorus of gaggling Macbethian sisters played outstandingly by Alexandra Mathie (truly amazing) and Molly Innes as the older, hopeless spinsters and Hannah Donaldson as the “pretty” sibling with a chance.
“Overbred” by 500,000, out of a population of two million, Victorian Britain needed women to look good if they were to have any chance in a male buyers’ market and the only two women in our cast of six that would have any chance are “pretty” Monica Madden and committed Dyke, Roda Dunn. The fact that they both fall for the same man makes for intriguing developments as the play unfolds, and surrounded by six women of exquisite talent Jamie Lee as Everard Barfoot has his work cut out to fly the flag for us blokes. That he succeeds with panache, wit and charm is testimony to his excellent performance.
This is a play that is richly and deeply textured; interestingly realised with beautifully subtle sound, video and lighting design and costumes (designed in a third year project by Edinburgh School of Art Students) that for me were the best I’ve seen on the Lyceum stage in a long time. Interestingly, my wife hated them. I’m so much more in touch with my feminine side it would seem.
This is an absorbing two hours of entertainment with a feisty and often hilarious script that batters along holding you firmly in its thrall throughout.
It’s a gem.
And it’s a real thought piece too; at its centre is the debate over the role that “work” played in liberating women from the shackles of domesticity. The arrival of the Remington typewriter to UK shores, and made centrepiece of this show, both physically and stylistically is a clear metaphor for women’s emancipation. But is it all good? Has it served its function. After all, by the 1960′s the typewriter was the focus for feminist ire as it had created exactly the opposite effect that this late 19th century passport to freedom so obviously delivered.
Motherhood and child rearing is examined too, suggesting that perhaps domesticity is not so bad. But in the play it’s wrapped up in sexuality and the power women (still) hold over hapless men who can’t see further than the end of that organ that so drives so many of us.
It’s complex indeed (just look at the number and variety of tags I’ve used in this post). And I’m not sure you’ll get all the answers or unravel all the themes in one sitting Certainly it’s more than worthy of second helpings. So, go, indulge yourself and maybe you’ll be back for more.
Filed under: football, Hibees, Rants | Tags: colin calderwood, Edinburgh, edinburgh finest, gibberish, Hibees, Hibernian, hibernian form, mark gorman, mark gorman gibberish, rod petrie, Scottish Football, SPL, the cabbage
After defeat to Motherwell yesterday this very odd man said…
“There are aspects of the game I enjoyed. Problems are there to be solved so that’s what I’m looking forward to doing.”
On Tuesday night after Hibs went out to a team two leagues below the odd bod Calderwood commented…
“We had so many good opportunities, the goalkeeper’s had a number of good saves, we’ve had efforts cleared from the line and I think they defended their goal excellently.
He has so far won 2 out of 15 games.
Being, at best, an armchair fan I have not seen him in action but I am told he stands impassively, hands in pockets, barely involving himself in games and certainly not leaping about like the madman Yogi Hughes had become.
It all just seems like he’s going through the motions.
Remarkably he claims to be “really enjoying it” at Easter Road.
Inevitably, the fans’ ire tends to turn to the manager or the Chairman in these sorts of situation. And Rod Petrie’s extended honeymoon is certainly looking to be over at this moment in time.
The sale of Stokes and Bamba appears to be hitting home now and our lack of action in the transfer market is becoming notable. I’m a great admirer of what Petrie has acheived at Easter Road but it feels like he has made an extraordinarily bad appointment in Colin Calderwood and his earlier reputation for canniness is in danger of becoming one for penny pinching (for which I am told he has a strong internal reputation.)
Lastly, of course, there’s the team itself; some say it is a shadow of its former self, one of the worst to have played for Hibs in many years (if not ever), but I saw Zemamma, Miller, Riordan, Wotherspoon, Murray, Stack and McBride (all in the squad yesterday) play Dundee Utd on 3rd October 2009 and destroy them before drawing 1 -1.
At that point the table looked like this…
A month later it looked even better…
And even by mid January Hibs (with this team) were in touch with the top, so my contention is not that it is the players themselves that are poor but the way in which they are applying themselves.
It feels to me that there is a cancer somewhere in Easter Road that is permeating the team and turning good players into bad. Yogi lost them, and Calderwood has never had them bar one freak night against Rangers.
It needs sorted, and quick.
Filed under: family, life, politics, Rants, stories | Tags: 2010, 2011, 60 watt, Arcade fire, Band of joy, Belle and Sebastian, best books 2010, best music 2010, best of 2010, best theatre 2010, canon 450D, Cee Lo Green, Courage of others, david peace, Edinburgh, electronic music, fct, german music, Hibees, Hibs, I am Kloot, iPad, John Grant, john hughes, krautrock, lyceum, lyceum theatre, madmen, Midlake, Nick Clegg, nmp, pailgap, queen of denmark, red riding, red riding quadrilogy, Robert Plant, Rumer, Scotland, St Columba's hospice, stv, the apprentice, the red riding books, The suburbs, tories, tory idiots, usability lab
Not a bad vintage actually.
Work wise I was run off my feet once again and almost literally in December which proved to be extraordinarily challenging due to the shitness of the weather and the fact that I was researching all over the country. It was a real struggle, very stressful indeed.
Some great clients which include STV, Ampersand, Corporation Pop, 60 Watt, nmp and LA Media from last year. But added a few too including Gill’s Cruise Centre, Paligap, and The Usability Lab.
My golf stank pretty much from start to finish and I had a poor Arran and a poor St Andrews. However one highlight was an Eagle 3 on the par 5 second in the club championships first round. I won that but went out in round two. However Forty years of failing to Eagle were finally over. (Tom got about 6 last year alone).
Musically it was a big return to form after very poor shows in both 2008 and 2009.
I’ve already posted my tracks of the year elsewhere which will give you an idea of my top ten albums, but for the record, these are they…
I’m New Here by Gil Scott Heron
Band of Joy by Robert Plant
The Courage of Others by Midlake
Queen of Denmark by John Grant
The Suburbs by The Arcade Fire
Sky at Night by I am Kloot
Elektonische Music Experiment – German Rock and Electronic Music 1972 – 1983
Write About Love by Belle and Sebastian
The Lady Killer by Cee Lo Green
Seasons of my Soul by Rumer
My blog had a record year, just, with 340,000 hits, up 45,000 on last year and beating 2008 by only 1,000. As a result I hit the million mark last week and raised over £1,000 for St Columba’s Hospice in the process. Thanks to all who contributed.
I did two music quizzes (one in Edinburgh and one in Manchester) for NABS and these raised £3,500
The Hibees were a farce from year start to end and our Scottish cup hopes look less plausible than for a very long time. Looks like we’ll be going at least 110 years before winning it again.
Theatre again played a big part in my year.
My role as a director of The Lyceum developed and I thought Mark Thomson had a vintage year. Every show was a hit in some form or other and the highlights for me were The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Confessions of a Justified Sinner, The Price and The Importance of Being Earnest.
FCT had another good year, my first at the helm and I’d like to thank the fab committee for their support. Two great shows in Just So and Guys and Dolls and another ENDA award. Annie’s next but no decision yet on the festival. Our away day in October was deemed a great success.
Amy started at Uni and is working hard as she has done all year at Dakota. She bought a virtually new car herself ( a Toyota Yaris) and I was really proud of her for being so focussed to be able to do this. Ria is working hard at school and did really well in her standard grades. Tom isn’t and didn’t.
Tom’s golf continued to improve and his handicap went from 11 to 7.
Sadly Jeana’s blossoming work at Suntrap came to an end when the funding was pulled. She was devastated and I suspect still is.
We holidayed in California and it was a tram smash of a holiday from start to finish, summed up by this video…
In books I didn’t read much. I am enjoying Freedom by Jonathon Franzen but the best of the year was the Red Riding Quadrilogy by David Peace.
And my movie of the year? Well, I saw over 20 movies at the flicks this year and a lot of real quality. But I plump for The Social Network. A Prophet was great as was Monsters and The Road, but David Fincher surpassed himself with an amazing script by Aoron Sorkin.
TV show of the year? No Question. Mad Men (we’re playing catch up and only nearing end of season two but it’s fabulous).
In reality TV The Apprentice continues to kick ass.
Digital gizmo of the year? My iPad… but also my Canon 450 D. An up and down year on the camera front but happy with my lot and looking for a Canon 5D Mk 1 and a new 28mm prime lens to move on a level in 2011.
Idiot of the Year? Won hands down by Nick Clegg. Only cos he sold his soul to the devil. But he was run close by those fools that lead our government. You know who they are. Tony Blair continued to make a right fucking dick of himself and the legacy of Kenny Macaskill is not away yet with Magrahi in the rudest of health.
Sadly I lost a number of friends during the year; Myles, Kathy and Jim, I’ll miss you all. God bless and love to all of your families.
Wife of the year? Jeana Gorman. 21st year running. How can she bear it?
Put it this way. I couldn’t live with me. Still.
And so to 2011.
Hibees win the Scottish Cup. (That’s just stupid. Ed.)
Tom gets down to a 4 handicap.
I win something, anything, at Golf.
The kids do well at school and uni.
I am healthy throughout. (And lose rather a lot of weight.)
Both Cath and Jean stay healthy too
The credit crunch doesn’t get worse again.
Filed under: Arts, movies, theatre | Tags: 1920s, cinema, classic horror, classic movies, Edinburgh, fear, horror, jeckyl and hyde, john barrymore, original horror, paramount moves, silent movie, usher hall
To celebrate Halloween Jeana and I went to see the 1920′s original production of Jeckyl and Hyde made by Paramount and starring John Barrymore.
It showed at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall foer one night only and was accompanied by the collosal Usher Hall organ.
To be honest it was hilarious in places and certainly bnot scary but some nice special effects, mainly achieved through double exposure. Here’s a few stills from the movie that I managed to capture on my G11. It was kinda dark as you can imagine so they could be better but you’ll get the general idea.
Filed under: Arts, creativity, Scotland, theatre | Tags: craig armstrong, Edinburgh, lyceum, Philip Pinsky, romeo and juliet, Royal Lyceum, Royal Lyceum theatre, shakespeare, theatre, Tony Cownie
It’s the thing these days to reinvent Shakespeare to the point that the Shakespeare inside is barely recognisable. The Lyceum don’t do this. Two year’s ago the Lyceum’s Macbeth was heavily criticised for this but I really enjoyed it. This year’s Romeo and Juliet by contrast has been lauded by the critics, partly for its lack of denial. Again I really enjoyed it.
What this production does is, for the most part, let Shakespeare’s language wash over you like a spa treatment. Enveloping you in a warm bath of language that’s part familiar, part alien. It’s a very compelling and quite riveting experience.
Blessed with a cast of great quality, director, Tony Cownie makes them sing from the off. Liam Brennan stands out as a monumentally great actor and Will Featherstone is superb as Romeo. Others I cared for to slightly lesser degrees and sadly Juliet was, for me, a bit of a disappointment – not that Kirsty Mackay didn’t put her heart and soul into the performance, she just didn’t engage me. It’s a difficult call as act two is an endless lament on her part and so it’s very easy to overstep the mark to the point that Juliet wails once too often.
Aside from that, this is a truly beguiling theatrical experience. Pjhilip Pinsky’s music was, as ever fantastic , and I thought I recognised the central motif which I’m sure was a nod to Craig Armstrong. Like I said earlier, one feels drawn into a different world that doesn’t need a “message for today”. And it hasn’t got a great deal to say metaphorically, politically, socially; it’s just a great piece of theatre deftly and engagingly handled.
Filed under: Arts | Tags: All my sons, arthur miller, Dunsinane, Edinburgh, lyceum, Marlyn, romeo and juliet, royal lyceum theatre edinburgh, Scottish thatre, The importance of being earnest, theatre
It was the first board meeting of the new term today and I’m immensely proud of the season we are about to put out in the next 9 months. Shakespeare opens on Saturday with Romeo and Juliet, followed by The Importance of Being Earnest (a very rare 4 act performance) and then The Snow Queen for Christmas.
There after the season opens up with a mix of classics (another Miller – the last in John Dove’s immense series) and premieres.
And to end?
The RSC come to town with Dunsinane! Bring it on!
Filed under: Arts, family, jokes, life, politics, Rants, Scotland, stories, theatre, videos, Youtube | Tags: Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival, edinburgh festival fring, fct, festival cavalcade, forth childrens theatre, holyrood park
WPC McBulldog dumped all 70 of us FCT members off the back of our float at the end of last Sunday’s Festival Cavalcade, leaving us transportless and facing the long walk back to Bangholm which, in fact Izzie and nine intrepid explorers embarked upon. The rest of us were left to ponder the demise of a tradition of 30 years where we all travel to Holyrood Park (or Princes Street in the old days) on the back of a 40 ft Artic.
So, for those of you who’ve shared the fun, have one last nostalgic look at Cavalcade 2010 starting at Bangholm as we left our spiritual home and later as we took the second of two wrong routes to the start.
It was a hoot.
Filed under: Arts, movies, Scotland | Tags: animation, animation in scotland, belleville renderz-vous, bob last, Edinburgh, french animation, scottish animation, sylvain chomet, the illusionist
It was my great privelege to be invited to the world premiere of Sylvain Chomet’s follow up to Belleville Rendez-Vous.
Set in Edinburgh and produced by an old pal of mine, Bob Last, I had very high expectations indeed. Not least because it is not every day that one of the world’s most beautiful cities (my own) would be caught in artful majesty for years to come. And indeed it was. Edinburgh is a eal star of this charming but very slight movie.
The city shimmers throughout, but the story sadly does not. It reminded me of a novel by Irish writer, William Trevor, called Felicia’s Journey in which a young girl is taken into the trust of an older man. In that book (and subsequent film starring Bob Hoskins) and this, there is a slight air of seediness. (That’s maybe going too far in the case of The Illusionist but the comparison was palpable for me.)
Why the protection? What are the man’s motives? I found it mildly uncomfortable. The fact is, in neither case are the intentions, apparently, anything more than protective; but somehow the feeling persists in both that all may not be as it seems.
Belleville Rendez-Vous arrived on the film scene like a bolt from the blue. This, sadly, suffers from that difficult second film syndrome. It oozes class and charm from every pore. It looks sublime. But the story (a Jaques Tati cast off) fails to deliver. It simply does not have the muscle to sustain 90 minutes of screen time.
A real shame because it has a great deal of merit.
Filed under: Arts, food, humour, jokes, life, Scotland | Tags: Aleksandra Mir, collective, collective gallery, cookery, cooking, Edinburgh, Recipes, The how not to cookbook
I wrote a story that was accepted for this book that arived in the ‘post’ today.
So, if you want to know how not to cook, give me a ring… I’ll pass you on to Jeana.
(Actually, the book is a lot of fun and you can buy it here…)
Here’s what the Collective Gallery, that supported the idea had to say about the concept…
While the typical cookbook format gives you a recipe for obvious success it does not take into account the many ways in which its execution can fail due to the cook’s lack of experience. Based on Aleksandra’s personal history of cooking disasters, the project invites 1000 people from all around the world to give their advice of how NOT to cook. With this volume, any reader will be more than well equipped to avoid making the same mistakes in their kitchen.
Aleksandra is interested in how we are taught or teach ourselves through trial and error. By making our guilty failures public we may even be creating an original and subversive form of art, rather than simply be aspiring to obvious and repetitive results.
Filed under: advertising, business, photography, stories, work | Tags: advertising in Scotland, Digital agency, Edinburgh, mark waites, Mike Coulter, mother london, Rufus Wedderburn, stv, think hard
I was extraordinarily priveleged to host an event for STV last night in which we had Mark Waites, founder and creative director of Mother London, speak.
By 3 am, as the grappa had flowed ceaselessly at Rufus Wedderburn’s gaff, I was quite tired.
But Mark was wonderful and if you follow this link you’ll find a fantastic photographic capture of the event thanks to my dear friend, Mike Coulter. He likes a grappa or two, too.
Filed under: gardening, Jeana's Gardening, photography, Suntrap Garden Centre for Lifelong Learning | Tags: Edinburgh, garden advice, gardening, gardening scotland, perennial, suntrap garden open day, visit scotland
It’s been a very busy month getting ready for the Open Day. It’s this Sunday, 24 May, from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.
We’re donating to Perennial, Gardeners’ Royal Benevolent Society.
It’s always a good day out with gardening demonstrations, advice, plant sales, children’s games and this year there will be a beautiful 18 month old snowy owl called Eubee. For more information check out the Suntrap blog.
There’s an added bonus this year, Mark and I are volunteering in the garden centre.
Why not come along and enjoy a great day out.
Filed under: Arts, humour, jokes, life, Scotland, stories, theatre | Tags: Edinburgh, Gagarin Way, gregory burke, Hoors, Scottish Theatre, the black watch, The Traverse, traverse theatre
A Scottish word meaning ladies of the night. Not particularly a term of affection and one used frequently in Fife where people refer to one another as “ya hoor ye.”
It’s an appropriate title then for Gregory Burke’s latest play which is currently premièring at he Traverse because Burke is fiercely proud of his Fife-ness. His first play ‘Gagarin Way’ is named after a street in Fife which, in turn, is rather randomly named after the famous cosmonaut who has, to my knowledge, as much Fife Blood in him as I have Russian.
The Black Watch, the regiment that inspired Burke’s tour de force, are largely recruited from Fife, and Hoors is set in Fife in the aftermath of a calamitous stag night where the bridegroom to be only goes and dies.
We open in the bride to be’s living room as she prepares for the following day’s funeral with her sister; pishing it up.
They’re waiting on a couple of lads. The ‘brides’ bit on the side and his mate; a right Jack the lad (in his shady past).
The play, literally, rotates between the bride’s bedroom and living room where various debates and revelations unravel themselves over the next hour and a half.
Sex and death. Or shagging and copping it are the main themes in a show that is peppered with hilarious one-liners and foul-mouthed observations. But great insights and depth of meaning seemed pretty thin on the ground. That’s fine by me, as not everything has to carry the burden of enlightenment with it. But I gather Mr Burke is a bit hacked off with the post-Black Watch expectations which mark this, to some, as a weak follow up.
I can’t comment. I’ve read Gagarin Way which I liked very much but I didn’t see the Black Watch.
Both Jeana and I enjoyed this. But it’s a Chinese meal of a play. Good at the time but you’re still craving a chippy at midnight.
Filed under: Arts, humour, life, Scotland, sports | Tags: cycling, cycling stunts, danny mcaskill, Edinburgh, freecyccling, stunts
Filed under: business, family, life, Rants, Scotland, stories, work | Tags: bathroom fitting, bathrooms, Edinburgh, good guys, good workmen, plumbers, plumbing, radiators, service, the radiator studio, workmanship
You know me. You know I will mercilessly lambast any company that takes the piss out of its customers , and me in particular. Previous posts have ripped apart Mondial Insurance, Nationwide Insurance, Sky, Baxters, Tesco. The list is long. The misdemeanors multifarious.
So it’s good to report the opposite once in a while, so please come to the stage to take your deserved applause…
The Radiator studio.
Based in Bonar Place in Edinburgh the owner, Big John, went so far out of the way that it is impossible to record, in the confines of mere blogging, how much he helped my mother when he put in her new bathroom suite. Having discovered that the walls were absolutely shot to bits he took everything back to the brick and physically rebuilt her entire bathroom.
How much extra did he charge her for this monumental task?
Nowt. Not a penny.
I salute you Big John. Cheers Mate. Anyone looking for new radiators. Get on down to The Radiator Studio.
Filed under: Arts, family, life, Scotland, stories, theatre | Tags: cs lewis, Edinburgh, finitribe, Lyceum Edinburgh, Mark Thomson, meg fraser, narnia, owain rhys davies, Philip Pinsky, sound design, The lion the witch and the wardrobe, the lyceum. the royal lyceum. lyceum theatre
I took the whole family to see this on Saturaday. A rare occurance that we were all engaged in the same activity for any more than five minutes. I wasn’t entirely expecting willing compliance but was surprisingly proved wrong as we all set out with an open mind and eager anticipation.
It’s a major challenge to mount a stage adaptation of a well known (and loved; although I never read it) book that has just been through the Holywood special effects machine. On the one hand it can never reach the pyrotechnics of movieland and on the other it’s a big ask to reach the heights of children’s imagination that reading inspires. I am glad to say it rose to the not inconsiderable challenge. Director Mark Thomson refers, in his programme notes, to the central theme of good versus evil being eternally relevant and, of course, this is true.
The show is a visual spectacle. The flyman has had a bit of work to do in recent Lyceum shows, but not that much. I think he’ll have lost a couple of stones by the end of this run because the magical world of Narnia is revealed and hidden regularly by way of flown in scenery and quite a few trucks too (that’s theatre techy speak. If you don’t understand it try Google.)
I’m constantly amazed by the Lyceum’s sound/music man, Philip Pinsky, who is an ex member of Finitribe, and who brings a huge amount to this production, not least the electric opening scene that reminded me in some way of the Atonement soundtrack. It’s absolutely brilliant.
The acting is universally good although there are two undoubted standouts, the White Witch, played by Meg Fraser who is quite astounding. Her mix of evilness, oddness, weirdness and clowning is a rare thing indeed, and Owain Rhys Davies as the Dwarf is hilarious.
If I have one criticism it sagged a little in the second act but overall this is a really wonderful Christmas treat that you might be lucky enough to get a ticket for. But you better get a move on.
Filed under: advertising, Arts, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: Edinburgh, sky, sunset
It looks much better on Flickr. Click on the pic to see how much better.
Filed under: Arts, family, humour, life, politics, Scotland, stories | Tags: aetheism, alcoholism, belief, Edinburgh, gary lewis, god, gregory burke, national theatre of Scotland, paul higgins, religion, Scottish Theatre, scottishness, susan vidler, theatre, traverse theatre
Here’s a one.
I have to declare two interests from the outset.
I am a Catholic.
My cousin (Susan Vidler) is in this play.
So I’m biased.
Paul Higgins, may be the most remarkable new stage-writing talent since Gregory Burke. It really is written brilliantly, flowing along at 100 miles an hour packed with hilarious one liners, and I believe it’s autobiographical. (Actually it’s very unfair of me to heap this comparative praise on Paul Higgins given my lack of comparative insight; but if he isn’t the best then Scottish Theatre is absolutely booming.)
I urge you to see this play before it is too late. (It was pretty much sold out on a dreich Tuesday in late November.)
It’s a fantastic smorgasbord of Scottishness. As the nation of doom we like to dwell on the dark side and this does it magnificently. I honestly have never encountered a script, in film or on stage, that leaps like Bambi on steroids, between bleak nihilism and outrageous humour, line by line, quite as well as this.
It is remarkable.
The main theme centres on belief 9or lack of it). I suppose the key character in the five person cast is the youngest son who has opted out of the seminary (or is that safe haven?) that he has studied at for seven years because he has become atheistic. Is there a God? Is there a Catholic God (OMG)? Is there a point? Why should I coexist with you? Have I a future?
But, at the gleaming, glowing, pulsating, dangerous centre of it all is the horrific patriarch, Gary Lewis. What a performance. The drunk, child-beating, wife-hating (but actually not particularly misogynistic) husband engulfs the stage with his presence.
It is massive.
The audience howled with tears and laughter and, for me, it was another triumphant National Theatre of Scotland performance. I’ve seen three this year in three different theatres.
They all demonstrated our brilliance.
Filed under: Arts, life, stories, theatre | Tags: Allison McKenzie, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Grand Opera, Edinburgh Theatre, Jimmy Chisholm, Joyce Macmillan, Liam Brennan, Lucy Pitman-Wallace, macbeth, Mark Thomson, Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company, reertory theatre, Rep, Roylal Lyceum Theatre Company, shakespeare, Shakespeare's macbeth, The Lyceum, william shakespeare
If you’ve been thinking of going to see this but haven’t quite got round to it you better get your finger out because it ends on Saturday.
And extracting the digit would be a very good idea.
I approached this with no real qualifications and indeed comment on it as a Shakespearean no mark. I have not studied even a page of Shakespeare in my life. I don’t understand the politics (and boy there’s plenty here) the language, the context or the history. Apart from that I am scholarly.
So Joyce Macmillan’s two star review in The Scotsman alarmed me. What was I letting myself in for?
I’ll tell you what. A bloody good night’s entertainment (with the emphasis on bloody).
The staging was magnificent, the lighting, sound design and music; all terrific.
The acting was top notch. Liam Brennan as Macbeth looks like he’s put his heart, soul and every ounce of his being into this role. He looks and sounds exhausted, but that’s because his passion for the part and command of the stage and the role are quite remarkable. Allison McKenzie, as his complicent wife (complicent in the lust for power that is) belies the fact that she has made her name in River City – a soap that I have thankfully managed to avoid totally, and Jimmy Chisholm in a number of roles is great; particularly in the one comedy scene as the drunken Porter in which he brought the house down.
It’s an intense and very involving theatrical experience and hugely rewarding.
In recalling MacMillan’s review the thing that stood out was her dismissal of the period setting (is modern necessarily good I ask myself?) and her strong criticism of the role of the witches which she, from memory, saw as overly indulgent, overpowering and ham fisted. Me? I thought they were an imaginative and thrilling part of the whole.
Please see it if you have the chance.
It brought back memories of my one and only Shakespearean involvement, in the chorus of Verdi’s Macbeth by Edinburgh Grand Opera in the late 80′s. Another superb production featuring one of opera’s least talented practitioners. Moi. But boy did I enjoy it.
So that’s two Macbeth’s and two stonkers. I am lucky indeed.
Filed under: Arts, life, politics, Scotland | Tags: 365, David Harrower, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival, Festival 08, national theatre of Scotland, Scotland, theatre, Vicky Featherstone
I was privileged to be among the audience at the opening night of The National Theatre of Scotland’s Festival production of 365 -a new play by David Harrower (appropriate name) and directed by Vicky Featherstone, at The Playhouse in Edinburgh last night.
The show was sold out and for good reason.
It’s a polemic piece about the plight of young people entering society after life in care. The show explores, through a cast of about 16, mostly in their teens, what the reality of life is in such a friendless, hostile and downright scary environment.
It’s performed by an ensemble, so no one particular actor stood out. But the technical achievements were noteworthy. Set, sound design, lighting and choreography were all outstanding. Paul Buchanan’s specially commissioned song that forms a central part of the denouement is spine tingling.
The acting is universally good and at times excellent.
But the greatness of the play is all about the writing.
This is very modern theatre and, as such, doesn’t follow a plotline or typical narrative structure and although it’s fairly bleak it’s by no means humourless. Fundamentally though it touches on the very darkest side of society – misogyny, neglect, class, prejudice, sexual orientation, fear and lack of confidence. Essentially it is about loneliness because most of the relationships we witness are a veneer.
Life as a kid with no familial network is not a good place to be and David Harrower brings this into sharp relief quickly and consistently.
I think it could do with a touch of editing but overall this is an important, thought-provoking and engaging piece of work.
I notice it’s playing at the Lyric, Hammersmith from 9 – 29 September. Not knowing the theatre I suspect it will be rather less spectacular than in The Playhouse which, as a stage, offers wide open spaces (and which contributed to the theme of isolation by its very brooding presence).
It’s distinctly Scottish, but the points it makes are universal and you lot in Englandshire shouldn’t struggle too much with the dialect. (You might not like the language though. My god, the National Theatre of Scotland like a fucking swearword do they not?)
Filed under: family, Jeana's Gardening, life, photography, Scotland | Tags: day out, Edinburgh, Edinburgh gardens, flowers, garden, Garden visits, gardening, National trust, open day, open garden, planting, plants, Scotland's garden scheme, Scottish Gardens, suntrap, Suntrap Garden, visit gardens, what's on in Edinburgh, Whaty's on in Scotland
Jeana works at Suntrap Garden near Ratho.
So, I’d like to suggest that you make a date in your diary for a trip out for its Open Day on 25th May, 10.30 am – 4.30 pm. If the weather stays like it is just now it’ll be a fantastic day out in a beautiful spot with money going to charity.
Here’s the link.
These shots were taken last year at the Open day.
Filed under: football, Hibees, humour, jokes, life, politics, Scotland, sports, stories, work | Tags: beslija, Edinburgh, heart of midlothian, Hearts, hearts fc, Hearts financial services, jambos, life cover, life insurance, lithuania, Scottish Football
Are you worried about the future?
Let’s face it, we’re not getting any younger and we all have to think about our lavish lifestyles after our careers are over.
- Are you well past your best?
- Are you looking for an easy life?
- Are you looking for an easy way to enter Britain?
Then you are eligible for the Hearts Life-Plan!
WE PAY YOU over £10,000 a week, there’s a pointless medical and no salesperson will call (you might even get a shot at being manager).
There’s a FREE house, car and limitless golf at some of Scotland’s finest courses.
Don’t take our word for it, read these recommendations from some very satisfied clients….
“When I’m no longer playing, I know my family will be financially secure”
Mr Beslija, Belgium
“I recommended the Hearts plan to all my friends back home.”
Mr Saulious, Edinburgh
“The Hearts plan supplemented my pension, just when I thought it was too late.”
Mr Pressley, Glasgow
“The generosity of the Hearts plan is unmatched in the world of pension finance. It was the best move I have ever made.”
Mr E Kurkis, Lithuania
“Even when everyone said I was too old, Hearts were prepared to supplement my pension with an outrageous offer.”
Mr Neil, Edinburgh
“Despite being permanently injured I was still eligible for the Hearts Life-plan – year after year!”
Mr Pinilla, Chile
So don’t sit there worrying about the future – relax – that phone will ring!
Hearts Life-Plan is regulated by V Romanov and his pals at the bank and is funded by the 10,000 who have invested in the “HMFC Season Ticket” pyramid scam over the last 3 years.
Filed under: Arts, humour, jokes, life, motors, photography, politics, Rants, Scotland, stories, work | Tags: chaos, city centres, congestion, Edinburgh, edinburgh trams, new trams, roads, roadworks, traffic, trams, tramworks
Anyone having the misfortune to have to get around Edinburgh at any point between now and 2011 will find this image particularly resonant. Because the brilliant tram system (I’m told) that was ripped out a couple of generations ago is being put back in again. In a modern and congested city centre that means upheval.
A bit like this.
The description that goes with it is as follows…
Laying tram lines, Leith Walk
Labourers work at laying tramlines in the cobblestone road down Leith Walk, Edinburgh. Many of the men’s tools can be seen, these include wheelbarrows, pickaxes and shovels. Some of the workers are sitting amongst piles of loose stones which have yet to be replaced around the tramlines. In the background are tenement buildings, a hotel, and some shops, above one there is a clock tower.
Filed under: Arts, life, photography, Scotland, stories | Tags: arthur seat, Edinburgh, flickr, landscapes, photos, Scotland
I am a published photographer.
It’s not quite Magnum but it’s better than nowt.
For those of you who can’t be bothered with links this is my moment of fame. And you can see more on my Flickr site which is easily accessed in the sidebar to the left.