brave new world. aldous Huxley.

I’ve just finished rereading this some 30+ years after my first open jawed appreciation. Reading it again it strikes me as a colossal school text in comparison to what kids read today. This book sets out to define religious, scientific, economic, political, cultural, sexual and moral guidelines under the cloak of novelistic freedom of speech.

In particular the religious and political views Huxley expresses are nothing short of challenging. How I, as a 16 year old, could have been expected to take them all in is absurd and indeed even now it’s a challenge.

This book is as full of insight as anything I’ve ever read. The scientific soothsaying alone is remarkable. But for me the core of the book is played on a religious axis. It’s strong stuff indeed.

Just amazing.

Scotland conquers the world. But inevitably we do it the hard way!

Martin Laird receives his trophy from Arnold Palmer

Orlando California Yesterday

All that stood between Martin Laird and victory at Bay Hill were two putts from just inside 90 feet on the 18th hole, which didn’t seem all that long considering what he already had been through Sunday.

First came a stunning collapse that took him from a three-shot lead to a three-shot deficit in a span of seven holes. He was three shots behind when he walked off the 14th green, two shots ahead as he headed to the 17th tee.

Laird knocked the first putt up to 3 feet, then jabbed his fist when he rolled in the par putt to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

After six runners up awards Lawrie finally breaks through again. Good man.

Malaga, Spain , Yesterday

The 42-year-old former British Open champion [Paul Lawrie] took the Andalucian Open by one over Sweden’s Johan Edfors.

With six runner-up finishes since his last victory, Lawrie must have feared it was going to be another near miss when, from one ahead overnight, he bogeyed the first two holes Sunday and England’s Mark Foster birdied them.

But, in a repeat of what happened at last year’s Spanish Open, Foster could not hold onto a three-shot lead.

Lawrie, despite dropping another stroke at the fifth, turned things round by starting the back nine with four birdies in five holes. And the Aberdeen golfer, whose world ranking has dropped from 29th in 2000 to 272nd, could even afford a closing bogey to win with a level-par 70 and 12-under total of 268.

“It’s been a long time — 2002 seems a hell of a time ago,” he said. “I’ve had a few second places in there, but all of a sudden we’re there again.

Hats off to the boys.

It must be the first time ever that Scots have triumphed in the European and US tours on the same day.

It should be noted that The Bay Hill is no Micky Mouse Tournament (even though it’s played in Orlando).  Tiger Woods has won it six times!

Bassett by The Lyceum Youth Theatre at The Traverse (until Saturday)

This is  Christie O’Carroll’s first, and stunningly, directed show for Lyceum youth and it is blessed with not only a cracking script by James Graham but also a gifted cast; in particular the quite mesmerising performance of Aaron Jones as the central and most troubled teen, Leo.

He’s not alone in deserving acting plaudits.  For a start it’s an excellent ensemble show and cleverly written to give all 14 young actors their moments to shine.  But inevitably there are stand outs.  For me they were the aforementioned Aaron Jones who, although slight of build, puts in a gargantuan performance.  In a smallish but rocket fuelled cameo (it’s much more than that really, but her spell in the limelight is a true short sharp shock) is Lucia D’Inverno as Lucy and throughout the laughs are provided by Hannah Joe Mackinlay as Zoe and on slightly more cerebral level by Tom Palmer as a quietly understated Amid.

The play delivers 40 minutes of changing mood and pace and centres on a school classroom in Wooton Bassett the day that a local hero is repatriated from Afghanistan in a wooden box.  The dead ‘hero’ is Charlie an ex pupil and idol (in different ways) to many of the classmates.  His death and the resulting ritual parade through Wooton Bassett are an incendiary device to the class who are inexplicably locked into their classroom by a particularly inept supply teacher just as the parade is about to happen.  This enrages Leo who gradually winds up his classmates as he himself becomes convulsed by the situation.

This ignites a classroom discussion which covers just about every subject a class of fifth formers would typically cover in their social life; sex, politics, slagging each other off, sex, toilet humour, being gay or not, sex, x box versus PS3, sex and swearing.  Oh, and sex.

It’s laugh out loud hilarious at times but gradually darkens as the mood swings from resentment at being excluded from the parade to bitter political ideological debate about the futility of war, nationalism (racism really), sexuality and religious belief.

It’s a tremendous script.  It’s expertly directed and it leaves the audience really quite shell shocked.  Although I have not yet seen Black Watch live I suspect it has that sort of visceral impact.

I strongly recommend that you see this.

The supporting performance consists of two one act dramas written by young writers on the Traverse’s Scribble initiative.  Tonight I saw “Is this it?” ( a thought provoking and very mature piece by Kiera McIntosh-Michaelis & Alex Porter-Smith) and Bang by Kelly Sinclair, a highly amusing insight into life in a detention class.  These pieces rotate on a performance by performance basis with four other, presumably very short, scripts.  Each are acted (with scripts) by members of Lyceum Youth and both were very enjoyable.

Marilyn at The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

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.
Marilyn Monroe

I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.
Marilyn Monroe

I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent.
Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe. Not just a dumb blonde.

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.

SFA logic?

“Lennon is currently serving a four game suspension imposed earlier in the season and will sit out the second of those games against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Wednesday night. It was widely believed that the fresh punishment would take effect when the current ban was completed but Celtic’s statement confirms that they do not believe that to be the case.

Taking into account the SFA’s rules and the date the most recent ban was imposed, Celtic are claiming that both suspensions will be served simultaneously from this point on, meaning their manager will be in the stands for four more matches including the Inverness game and not a further six as would be the case if suspensions were served consecutively.”

I am not jumping on the anti-Lennon bandwagon, I simply can’t be bothered and I do have sympathy for the way he is treated in his private life.  No, this is all about the SFA and their continuous bottling it.  If Lennon has erred his sentences should not be commuted, like the last one was or run simultaneously.  No wonder Celtic are not appealing.  If they did even a  commuted sentence would begin after the current one.

It’s a farce.

Get ahead. Get a hat. At Liz Duthie’s wedding.

This was the most drunken wedding in history.  We were at a free bar (as was the best man) for about 4 hours before we sat down to dinner.

The best man was so pissed that he lost all of his speech notes.  Which was just as well as he could barely speak.


Anyway, this wedding hat wasn’t too great on Jeana, looking back…

But it was even worse on Broony…

And “Tiger Townsley” clearly wasn’t too impressed when I had a shot.

Easy Tiger

Mike Donoghue

I will never, ever forget the night Mikey boy came to visit us in Royston Terrace just after we’d had Amy.  All was going swimmingly until Jeana said “i have to feed the baby.”

Well, you’ve never seen anyone move so fast.  Like a shot Mike was out of the room, in fact out of the flat at the top of the stairs, drawing heavily on a newly lit fag.

“Mark you know I love tits.  I’m a huge fan.  I could look at them for hours. But I couldnae bear to see my mate’s wife’s tits while she’s feeding the bairn.  So, I had to leave it would have been so embarrassing if I accidentally caught a sneak peek”

I paraphrase of course.

But what a gentleman.

(He was only saying what we all think though.)

So, Mike, after all these years, this is what you were missing.

The thirds law

The thirds law is one of the fundamental principals of photographic composition.  This piece of total jobby demonstrates it to perfection.

It is a master class of August Sander proportions composed by my dear wife to show not only the main protagonist of an event,  (her cousins dancing in the background) with her sister in law and husband beautifully framing the main focal point in the foreground; all in perfect thirds..

piece 'ae shit!