Tom’s brilliant golf career

Amazingly Tom went round Ratho in Three over par (72) this morning and one under (68) this afternoon (both in Junior medals) which means his handicap has been cut over the course of this week from 10 to 6!  He’s been threatening this for weeks but hasn’t happened, however his recent lesson at the excellent driving range at Linlithgow must have played a part.

Very proud!

Lib Dem success through the back passage? Brokeback coalition is facing a rough ride.

I realise I am not overly qualified to comment on defence budgeting but I will nevertheless.  That’s what blogging’s all about after all.

So, I think it’s interesting that Gideon Osborne has decided that the Trident Project can continue (keeps Tory voters at bay) but the MOD must fund it through its own resources (Keeps Lib Dem supporters engaged).

The MOD has a £36bn resource budget (which is to be cut by 10 – 20% – thereby focussing our minds on pointless wars.  We all know what those are.)  It also has a £9bn capital budget which is currently earmarked primarily, I think, for 100 new jet fighters and two new aircraft carriers.  That now has to include Trident.  So, what would you do?

Certainly I was with the Lib Dems, in policy terms, in that I believe money on defence could be spent more effectively in other areas than Trident and that’s looking like the outcome now.

But I very much doubt that one can put this down to brilliant negotiation by Nick Clegg;  just pure pragmatism by Gideon (who continues to surprise me with his apparent lack of total shitness).

Meanwhile the LIb Dem’s referendum looks like being derailed in the Lords. (And in Scotland.)

So, will this effectively derail the coalition too?

Depends if it becomes a lovers tiff (a la Brokeback Coalition) or a deal breaking divorce.

The Lyceum Youth Theatre; Summer on Stage

For the second year running I found myself at the opening night of Summer on Stage, an extraordinary theatrical venture that gives young people a truly great experience.  As it happens I was sat next to a lovely lady from Cairn Energy who was one of the founders of the whole thing and I have to say she was as blown away as I was.

The evening consisted of two productions, one for younger children (up to about 16 I’d say) and one for older youths.  The former was a charming tale called The Musicians in which a “shite” school orchestra arrived in Russia to perform as part of a cultural exchange, only to find that their instruments had been impounded at the airport because a spliff had been found in one of the cases.  The spliff had been secreted there because the doting flautists in the orchestra had hoped to use it medicinally to calm down the highly excitable conducter played excellently by Louis Plummer.

In the end the performance was mimed to Tchiakovsky’s 4th Symphony but inspired by the supportive (eventually) intervention of two hilarious stage hands/cleaners who stole the show (Keir Aitken and Samuel Adams).

The second performance, A Vampire Story, is a highly complex meeting of 19th Century vampirism with contemporary mental health issues and is quite stunning.  Both shows shared basically the same simple but highly effective set but in this one the set was used to meld two very different eras very effectively.  Although dark in content it is also hilarious in parts; it deals with the story of a teenage girl who clearly has become delusional and is creating a fantasy world of vampires as she seeks (with the help of her sister ) to escape the grasp of the authorities by constantly moving on.  On her journey she encounters another lost soul in the form of a home taught kid who is similarly trying to escape the attentions of his eccentric parents.  I can’t tell from the programme who played what parts but all of the principles were phenomenal and a special word has to go to the dotty teacher, Mint, played by Blair Grandison.  (The Home Economics teacher, Filet, who was played by Emma Mckenna was a class character part and I recognise the girl who played the part from previous Lyceum Youth performances – a real talent).

Director Steve Mann made a considerable impression on me with this show because the content was complex, the movement difficult and the pace very important.  All were delivered perfectly in a great technical set up so that what emerged was a highly professional production that replicated the sort of conditions that professional rep actors and technicians have to (and most certainly had to) work under;   short time scales to learn and perfect the the performances.  In this case A Vampire Story was created in under three weeks and The Musicians in under two.

As a kid, I’d have loved to have had this opportunity and so hats off to The Lyceum for making this happen and also to Cairn Energy for supporting it financially.

Mercury Prize shortlist announced in the morning

It’s been a great year for music.  Even British music. Here’s what I’d predict to see on it.

Field Music

Tracey Thorn

Paul Weller (not that great though)

Massive attack

Hot Chip

Bombay Bicycle Club

British Sea Power

Four Tet

Frightened Rabbit

Corrine Bailey Rae (not great but has a sympathy vote)

Laura Marling

Potico Quartet

Wild Beasts

Oh, and Mumford and Sons for the Pop vote

(I have no real insight into Jazz, classical and folk to predict what reps they will have but that Polar Bear chappie is quite productive so might see him.)

And my predicted winner from that?

Laura Marling, (or Feild Music or Wild Beasts or Hot Chip)

Let’s see in the morning eh!