Scotland’s White paper on Independence


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It’s not difficult folks.  Here’s the argument in a nutshell.

(Taken from Salmond’s opening remarks in the White Paper published this morning.)

“At its heart independence is not about this Government or any political party. (THIS IS A FUNDAMENTAL AND VERY IMPORTANT POINT) It is about a fundamental democratic choice for the people of Scotland. It is about the power to choose who we should be governed by and the power to build a country that reflects our priorities as a society and our values as a people.

I believe in independence because I believe it will be better for all of us if decisions about Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland – the people who live and work here. It is my absolute conviction that Scotland’s future should be in Scotland’s hands.”  (Alex Salmond)

Read it here.

Please.

And before you get all angsty about the SNP, consider this.

Post Independence it’s perfectly conceivable that there won’t even BE an SNP.  They may become, let’s say, the Social Democrats.  Right of Labour (which would be a good thing in my view.  ie Proper Liberals)

Mum’s BBQ


Tom, Ria, Amy and Emma

Late Oclock

most of us...

Angelo.

My Mum turns 75 on Tuesday and she had a party last night to celebrate.  Absolutely great night and a little late.  I stayed over with her and had to help clear up the carnage this morning before rapidly driving home and taking Ria to a 4 hour rehearsal for the Chess Game.

I’m on my knees now…

 

Andy Murray


Andy Murray in his "Hibs Green" shirt

I have refrained from blogging about Andy’s exploits for fear of jinxing him.  All I can say is good luck.  Scotland would be a very proud nation were he to succeed in the morning.

2010. In hindsight.


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…

http://www.youtube.com/v/E5lc8c9EsXg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1

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.

fantastic series of horrific police brutality .

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.

My hopes?

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.

The Plain in Spain stays mainly in Rutherglen


Flamin' 'eck. We only lost 3 - 2. At home.

The headlines will proclaim Braveheart!

The truth is, in my view anyway,  Scotland huffed and puffed tonight.

Spain were not in top gear.  Need they be?  They were playing a team who had just lost to a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

They gradually worked out a way to get through against the great blue wall.

Two up.

Job done.

Tools down.

And then; oops.

A wee Spanish banana.

Could the worst happen?

Could they really lose to a team who had just lost to a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

Don’t be daft.

Supersub.

3 – 2.

Cue Lionheart.  Cue whatever.  It’s always like this.

Some good performances (Naismith, Fletcher, Bardsley) and a corker of a baddie.  Whittaker will want to erase tonight from his memory forever.  Run ragged, 100’s of mistakes, gave away the penalty just before halt time, got sent off.  Doh!)

This was not a new dawn for Scottish football.  It was just another close defeat to a huge team that nearly took their eye off the ball.  But it was at least exciting.

Last night I watched the death of Scottish football.


 

And this is before last night's results have been taken into account.

 

For a Jambo, Craig Levein is a nice bloke but that in no way exonerates him from open and outrightly hostile criticism in the wake of last night.  It was so embarrassing that I forsee no future at all for our ‘national game’.  We turned up to play a team ranked 37th in the world who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania and we failed to play with a striker.  In other words the limits of Levein’s ambitions was a 0 – 0 draw. To a team who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  The formation was 4 6.  have you ever hard of that?  Apparently Spain play 4 6, but that’s 4 defenders and 6 strikers! And this was to a team who just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

If we had a chance I do not recall it, and yet after we went 1 0 down with 20 minutes to play he reverted to a 4 4 2 formation that, whilst unsuccessful, at least put the Czechs under some pressure which is hardly surprising because they are a team who had  just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.

OK, Rangers have ground out two good results by playing ultra cautious tactics, but they played a striker at least.  The same striker that is in the form of his life and only came on as a sub to create the aforementioned formation to a team who had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  Rangers’ tactical decisions are fair enough.  They were playing one of Europe’s finest – not  a team that had just lost a European Qualifier at home to Lithuania.  (That said, the Turks they played had never made the Champion’s League before and had just been humped at home by Valencia – but it paid off).

Levein looked sheepish, but unapologetic, after the game.  I anticipate that the media will rightly go on a field day and, for once, I support them.

It’s very, very sad that our national game, one that only 30 years ago we were considered amongst the finest in the world at, has become a joke.  A laughing stock.

How anyone could forgive us taking 96 minutes to pip Leichtestein (a country with a population of 34,000) is beyond me.

This result and this formation in particular, sets out our position in stark relief.

Losers.

And unambitious ones at that.

God help us on Tuesday night.  Although.  Although.  Although. You can just see it can’t you.  A backs to the wall Braveheart performance.

(And an unlucky 1 – 0 defeat.)

Bertie's back!

The Briggers


I went along to the book launch of this, this morning at the Hawes Inn.  It’s written by Elspeth Wills, founder of Scotinform and my old boss.

It looks like a very interesting read and sheds a whole new light on the building of the bridge.

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Note.  Whilst this is an excellently written post, Jeana (who wrote it) seems to forget that “I’ means Mark Gorman, not ‘she’ as in Jeana Gorman.  It’s a borderline case of unacceptable blog hijacking but you would think that ‘she’ would want her own blog (which she has, as it happens.  Here in fact.)

Anyway, good luck to Elspeth (a good pal of mine) on her latest book.

The best of 2008


OK

It’s that time of year again. The wrap. After a great deal of deliberation I have arrived at my Albums of the year and my best of 2008 CD.

You’ll not be surprised to see my usual heavy inclusion of female singer songwriters, although in percentage terms they are rather lower than usual – only about 25%. There’s more Rock ‘n ‘roll than previous years. Don’t know why. Just a good year for rock I suppose.

In no particular order my albums of the year were.

Dig Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Reviewed here. A total classic that is full of cracking and totally unique songs. I absolutely adore this record.

dig-lazarus

Third by Portishead. Ten years in gestation it was worth every second of the wait. Eerie, disconcerting. Unique. I reviewed it here.

portishead-third

22 Dreams by Paul Weller. I’m not a fan usually, but this record is wonderful. Reviewed here.

paul-weller-22-dreams-4337311

The Very Best of Ethiopiques by various artists. What a wonderful discovery. In a classic year for world music, in particular african stuff this blew me away as I explained here.

ethiopiques

Welcome to Mali by Amadou and Mariam. Just in. Just Wonderful. This Malian couple make stunning fresh pop music. Not had time to review it yet.

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The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow. Deserved winners of The Mercury Prize. This album came from nowhere and was a hot contender for my album of the year. I reviewed it here.

elbow_-_the_seldom_seen_kid

Only by the Night by Kings of Leon. They just keep getting better. This is a fine record with great grinding melodies.

kings-of-leon

Stay Positive by The Hold Steady. What a wonderful, opoetic record. The other big contender for album of the year. Reviewed here.

hold_steady-stay_positive

Glasvegas by Glasvegas. Yikes. Scotland’s best this year. Huge sound great lyrics and Geraldine is a gem of a song. Reviewed here.

glasvegas

A Piece of What You Need by Teddy Thomson. This is a great underground folky, rocky album by the son of Richard and Linda Thomson that has been on heavy rotation this year. I suspect Jeana would have it as her album of the year. Very good. Reviewed here.

tedthompson

Juno Soundtrack by Various Artists. One of the movies of the year and a cracking soundtrack to go with it. Another one that received heavy rotation in the spring and summer. Reviewed here.

juno

Aman Iwan by Tinariwen. Last but certainly not least it was actually released in 2007 but it only came to my attention this year. The third of my much loved African albums on the list. Reviewed here.

tinariwen

I have to say in conclusion that Dig Lazarus Dig!!! wins my overall album of the year.

And so, to my best of the year CD…

As usual, if you want a copy you need only ask.

Probably the hardest decision of all was to leave off One day Like This by Elbow in favour of Starlings, but my rules only allow one song per artist.

Overall I thought 2008 was a vintage year and I think this might be my best ‘best of’ yet…

Here’s how it pans out.

1. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
2. That’s not my name by The Ting Tings
3. Cler Achel by Tinariwen
4. The Rip by Portishead
5. Come On Over (Turn Me On) by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
6. Have You Made Up Your Mind by Paul Weller
7. Freeway by Aimee Mann
8. Family Tree by TV On The Radio
9. Lights Out by Santogold
10. In My Arms by Teddy Thompson
11. You Cheated Me by Martha Wainwright
12. Geraldine by Glasvegas
13. Starlings by Elbow
14. Daydreamer by Adele
15. The Age Of The Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets
16. Crawl by Kings Of Leon
17. Lord, I’m Discouraged by The Hold Steady
18. 5 Years Time by Noah And The Whale
19. Sabali by Amadou and Mariam

So good was this year’s stock that I’m strongly considering a ‘B sides best of”.

What do you think?

The aforementioned One Day Like This would feature, as would a couple of tracks from the Very Best Of Ethiopiques, and a great Karine Polwart song called Sorry are among the contenders…

365 by the national Theatre of Scotland


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?)