{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/joy-for-iranian-artist-as-edinburgh-festival-visa-ban-is-overturned-1-4515546","id":"1.4515546","articleHeadline": "Joy for Iranian artist as Edinburgh Festival visa ban is overturned","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501173400286 ,"articleLead": "An Iranian illustrator denied a visa to appear at the Edinburgh Festival will be able to take part after the decision was overturned.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi was turned down for a visa to attend the Edinburgh Festival earlier this month."} ,"articleBody": "

Ehsan Abdollahi was forced to pull out of several events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival after being barred from entering the UK.

But the rejection of his visa by the British embassy in Dubai has been over-turned following an outcry on social media, protests by his publisher and organisers of the festival, and lobbying by the Scottish and UK governments.

Abdollahi said he was “lost for the words” by the Home Office u-turn, adding: “I experienced the solidarity and kindness of people who gave their support.”

Book festival director Nick Barley had warned that British culture would be damaged if event organisers were unable to bring international authors into the country. He had described Abdollahi, 37, a lecturer at the Tehran University of Art, as “a highly respected, award-winning Iranian illustrator of kids’ books.”

Abdollahi secured funding to cover the costs of his visit, but was told he had not shown he would be able support himself during his visit, or had shown “sufficient incentive” to return to Iran after the festival.

Delaram Ghanimifard, co-founder of Abdollahi’s publisher Tiny Owl, said: “We’re delighted that the embassy has overturned their decision to grant Ehsan Abdollahi’s visa.

“This is a real testament to the support Ehsan has received over the last week. We hope that for us, and for other publishers, this will set a precedent for artists wanting to come to the UK in the future.

“Stories help us understand different cultures and people as well as find our own similarities with them. Through meeting the artists that create these stories, children’s own literary and imaginative landscape grows and a greater understanding between cultures is developed.”

Mr Barley said: “I am absolutely thrilled for Ehsan Abdollahi and for all the people who will now be able to meet him in Edinburgh. But more fundamentally I’m relieved an artist has been granted permission to travel to the UK from Iran and talk about his work at the festival. Now, more than ever, we need to hear people like Ehsan talking about their ideas.”

Edinburgh MP Deidre Brock, who was among those to campaign for a rethink, called for a “root and branch review” of the visa system in the wake of the case.

She said: “People should not have to go through this kind of stressful process just to take part in our international festivals. The support for this campaign was heartwarming and the result sends a message that Edinburgh continues to welcome the world in August.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi was turned down for a visa to attend the Edinburgh Festival earlier this month.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iranian illustrator Ehsan Abdollahi was turned down for a visa to attend the Edinburgh Festival earlier this month.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515545.1501157136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/sir-david-attenborough-to-join-edinburgh-festival-line-up-1-4515185","id":"1.4515185","articleHeadline": "Sir David Attenborough to join Edinburgh Festival line-up","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501191628000 ,"articleLead": "

The veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is to discuss his illustrious career at the Edinburgh Festival.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515184.1501143477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir David Attenborough will join the lineup at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture; PA"} ,"articleBody": "

The 91-year-old will recall more than 60 years of working with the BBC during an appearance at the Edinburgh International Television Festival next month.

He joins the likes of Jon Snow, Russell Brand, Rory Bremner, Evan Davis and Sue Perkins in the line-up for the event.

The world-renowned naturalist will speaking at the EICC nearly 20 years after being honoured at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

Sir David, who began his career as a producer in 1950 after serving his national service in the navy, has been making nature programmes with the BBC since 1979.

Described by the BBC as “the godfather of natural history,” he has fronted acclaimed documentary programmes like Life on Earth, The Living Planet, Blue Planet and Planet Earth, as well as more than 250 episodes of Wildlife on One.

READ MORE: World’s smelliest flower produces offspring at Royal Botanic Gardens

However his career also includes a spell as controller of BBC2 in the 1960s and his commissioning of programmes like Call My Bluff, The Money Programme and Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and introducing televised snooker.

Sir David will be joined on staged at the TV festival by Julian Hector, head of the BBC Natural History Unit, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.

Sir David, pictured below, said: “I’m delighted to be at the TV festival to recall the history of what was the first natural history unit to be set up in the world and to celebrate some of its milestones.”

Mr Hector added: “I grew up with The Living World presented by Peter France on Radio 4 and was studying Zoology at university by the time Sir David Attenborough’s Life on Earth was first broadcast in 1979.

“The BBC Natural History Unit has been part of my life ever since, and I look forward to sharing with the TV Festival all of the astonishing work that goes on behind the scenes to make these incredible series.”

The “in conversation” event at the festival, which runs from 23-25 August, is expected to explore the evolution of the natural history genre, the impact this has had on public understanding and perception of the natural world, and the latest technology breaking new ground in documentary-making.

Festival director Lisa Campbell said: “Sir David Attenborough is a broadcasting legend, synonymous with the incredible programming made by the BBC’s natural history unit, and someone whose wisdom and knowledge is enjoyed across generations.

“It’s long been an ambition of mine to welcome Sir David to the festival and I have no doubt that it will be a remarkable and historic session.”

READ MORE: Is the Bass Rock a wonder of the world? I’m sure it is says Sir David Attenborough

The festival has announced that Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow will be delivering the keynote MacTaggart Lecture at the event – following in the footsteps of Dennis Potter, Rupert Murdoch, Kevin Spacey, Janet Street-Porter and Armando Iannucci.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is also lined up for an appearance at the event – two years after she delivered the “Alternative MacTaggart”, a role Russell Brand will be filling this year.

Television producer Russell T Davies, who was behind the revival of Doctor Who, as well as Torchwood, Queer as Folk, Bob & Rose, The Second Coming and Casanova, will receive an outstanding achievement award at the festival.

Leading industry executives due to appear include ITV’s director of television Kevin Lygo, Charlotte Moore, the BBC’s director of content, and Channel Four’s chief creative officer, Jay Hunt. Veteran Blue Peter presenters Valerie Singleton and Peter Purves will be appearing at a special event to mark the show’s 60th anniversary, while Rory Bremner will be leading a debate on “the apparent lack of British topical comedy on TV.”

Other special guests include actress Vicky McClure, comic Katherine Ryan and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the creator of the hit BBC comedy series Fleabag, which started life at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Anneka Rice, Gaby Roslin, Edith Bowman, Nick Grimshaw, Krishnan Guru-Murphy, Lauren Laverne, Aasmah Mir and Kirsty Wark are among the other broadcasters due to appear on stage.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515184.1501143477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515184.1501143477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir David Attenborough will join the lineup at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir David Attenborough will join the lineup at the Edinburgh Festival. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515184.1501143477!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-zz-top-o2-academy-glasgow-1-4515799","id":"1.4515799","articleHeadline": "Music review: ZZ Top, O2 Academy, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501170336000 ,"articleLead": "

For a band who come (mostly) shrouded in the most celebrated facial hair in rock’n’roll and wielding some hoary old blues riffs, there is a predictable purity to the tres hombres ZZ Top. The Texan trio are like a southern Ramones with their precision-honed sound and schtick, which guitarist Billy Gibbons succinctly summed up as “same three guys right here, same three chords right here.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515798.1501170315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top PIC: Frazer Harrison/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

ZZ Top ****

O2 Academy, Glasgow

For ZZ Top, this was just another opportunity in another town to do what they have been doing for nearly 50 years; for the audience, though, this was a rare visitation from a legendary – all but mythical – band. It could almost be anyone under those hats, shades and bushy beards, though it would take a lot of whisky to replicate Gibbons’ remarkable gruff tone, which contrasted with the (relatively) lighter rock’n’roll rasp of bassist Dusty Hill.

Behind their distinctive double act, taciturn drummer Frank Beard worked his enormous kit like a Trojan through a seamless set which began with the sound of a revving engine, fired into the tech boogie of Got Me Under Pressure and followed up with the opening one-two of their classic Tres Hombres album - Waitin’ For The Bus, their hilarious budget driving song with an irresistible groove which decelerated in the space of a beat to the slow lascivious blues swagger of Jesus Just Left Chicago.

The torrid Pincushion and taut, economical rock’n’roll of My Head’s In Mississippi were hard rocking highlights from their later albums, but much of their earlier material cheekily celebrates the simple pleasures and aspirations of the working man from the heavy psychedelic blues of Just Got Paid to the delightfully daft Cheap Sunglasses.

They also paid tribute to their rock’n’roll roots with passable covers of Foxy Lady and Jailhouse Rock and their country crushes on a rockabilly rattle through Merle Travis’s Sixteen Tons and a self-styled “redneck rock” rendition of Buck Owens’ Act Naturally.

Gibbons turned over his guitar to reveal his rider demands emblazoned on the back. Just one word: beer. But ZZ Top liked their bling too. Now that they are practically a brand in their own right, they have splashed out on shiny guitar straps, glittery detail on their matching jackets, gleaming keyboards and the matching fluffy guitars they saved up for Legs which formed a party tune troika with Gimme All Your Lovin and Sharp Dressed Man.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515798.1501170315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515798.1501170315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top PIC: Frazer Harrison/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top PIC: Frazer Harrison/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515798.1501170315!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/regions/inverness-highlands-islands/puppy-trains-to-be-ski-patrol-rescue-dog-in-highlands-1-4515473","id":"1.4515473","articleHeadline": "Puppy trains to be Ski Patrol rescue dog in Highlands","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501155263000 ,"articleLead": "

A BORDER Collie is training to become the first Ski Patrol rescue dog at a Highland ski resort.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515472.1501155227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will Davis with Jura. Picture: Duncan Davis/Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Jura is in training at the Nevis Range near Fort William - and is set to become a TV star at the same time.

Viewers can catch Jura and her owner Will Davis, on BBC2 tonight in the first episode of a new documentary series, “10 Puppies and Us”, produced by RDF Television.

In the series Jura hits the mid point of her specialist training programme with the Search and Rescue Dog Association Scotland (Highland).

The training is taking place just in time for the 2017/18 snow sports season.

READ MORE: Fantastic osprey photos inspired by hunting background

“10 Puppies and Us”, narrated by the actor Neil Morrissey, follows young dogs and their new owners over the course of their all-important first six months together.

The first episode features Jura and owner Will as they progress through the stringent search and rescue training process, plus three other puppies and their new owners.

Will Davis said: “Jura is a cracking pup with an awesome character.

“The training is going extremely well and she is picking up on the ever more demanding commands and adapting to her new life in the hills.

“She is well on the way to becoming a very effective search and rescue dog. I am looking forward to working with her full time this winter.

“Working with the production team for “10 Puppies and Us” has also been a great experience. Jura is a natural in front of the camera.”

Dogs are trained to use their acute sense of smell to detect human scent in the air.

Together, the dog and its handler form a highly efficient team.

Dogs can work in all weathers, day or night, without loss of speed and they can cover huge areas quickly.

Jeff Starkey, head of Ski Patrol at Nevis Range, said: “Having a dog as part of the Ski Patrol team at Nevis Range is an immense asset.

“Rescue dogs are another valuable ‘tool in the box’ of an Avalanche rescue, alongside transceivers and Recco, especially if the casualties have no transceivers on them.

READ MORE: Scottish ski industry optimistic despute poor season

“Having Jura in the team will give the casualties in the Nevis Range ski area a much better chance of being found quickly.

“She is at the mid point of her training programme with the Search and Rescue Dog Association of Scotland (Highland), who are supporting the innovation of having dogs in Scottish ski patrol teams.

“Over and above the rescue potential Jura is good for everyone at Nevis Range and can provide a simple distraction and comfort to any one in need of a cuddle, public or staff.”

“10 Puppies and Us” broadcasts tonight at 8pm.

Radio Times: 10 Puppies and Us

Nevis Range Website

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515472.1501155227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515472.1501155227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Will Davis with Jura. Picture: Duncan Davis/Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will Davis with Jura. Picture: Duncan Davis/Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515472.1501155227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515491.1501155237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515491.1501155237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jura and Will on the mountain. Picture: BBC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jura and Will on the mountain. Picture: BBC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515491.1501155237!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515492.1501155243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515492.1501155243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jura and Will on Nevis Range. Picture: Nevis Range","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jura and Will on Nevis Range. Picture: Nevis Range","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515492.1501155243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/film/film-reviews-the-big-sick-the-wall-captain-underpants-1-4514861","id":"1.4514861","articleHeadline": "Film reviews: The Big Sick | The Wall | Captain Underpants","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501146000000 ,"articleLead": "

The Big Sick finds humour and heart in the travails of dating in a way that feels fresh, while Doug Liman’s Iraq-set thriller The Wall is a nerve-jangling affair

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514860.1501087804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan in The Big Sick. Picture: Nicole Rivelli."} ,"articleBody": "

The Big Sick (15) ****

The Wall (15) ***

Captain Underpants (U) ***

One of the most delightful things about The Big Sick is how casually it reinvigorates the romantic comedy. Based on star Kumail Nanjiani’s own relationship with his screenwriter wife Emily V Gordon (they wrote the movie together), it’s a film that feels so true to the realities of modern relationships that even though it’s filled with the sort of bizarre true life scenarios that sound contrived in a movie, it’s easy to relate to the complications and dilemmas they generate.

Playing a lightly fictionalised version of himself, Nanjiani (who’s probably best known for his role in the TV show Silicon Valley) plays “Kumail”, a 30-ish Pakistani-American stand-up comic who’s trying to negotiate the Chicago dating scene while simultaneously trying to deflect the efforts of his Muslim family to coerce him into an arranged marriage. For the sake of an easy life, Kumail dutifully goes on dates with the women his mother sets 
him up with, but this gets complicated when he falls for a white woman called Emily (Zoe Kazan) after she affectionately heckles him at a show. Too meek to stand-up to his family, he keeps their relationship a secret, not quite realising how unfair he’s being to Emily or his potential suitors.

As schematic as that sounds, it unfurls organically on screen thanks to Nanjiani and Kazan, who are great here at tapping into the playfully deceptive dance that new couples undertake in their desperation not to blow the relationship early on. Director Michael Showalter (who was one of the creators of this year’s hipster TV hit Search Party) also has a nice loose style, his camera frequently hanging back to give the characters room to develop.

Indeed, nothing feels forced here. Even when the film plays on our expectations of the romcom formula, it does so to upend them. Early on, 
for instance, Emily dumps Kumail when she realises his family know nothing about her, thus setting us 
up for the traditional redemptive ending where the not-yet-mature protagonist realises he’s made a mess of things and has to embark on a journey of self-discovery to fix them. Yet in The Big Sick, Kumail’s determination to win Emily back is complicated by a swift and sudden illness that leaves her in an induced coma and the film in an interesting place. Not only does Kumail have to process his own suddenly complicated feelings about Emily, which are bound up in the now potentially problematic fact that he’s trying to remain part of her life when she has no say in the matter, he also has to deal with her distraught parents (played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), whose faltering marriage seems like it’s being held together by their shared love for their daughter.

That’s a lot for a comedy to juggle, but The Big Sick invests so much in its characters that the messiness of its real life inspiration finds a compelling parallel in the film’s refusal to transform Emily’s coma into some kind of cutesy While You Were Sleeping-style plot device. Instead Showalter – taking cues from producer Judd Apatow’s own free-flowing comedies – takes The Big Sick to some dark and uncomfortable places, fully confident that humour can be found there too. This is a film that confronts casual racism, gender politics and cultural insensitivity with the kind of sophistication not really seen outside of short-form prestige TV shows such as Master of None and Louie. But while it brings the romcom up to date by changing the surrounding landscape, it remains true to the spirit of genre in the most fundamental way: you can’t help rooting for its protagonists to get together.

Sandwiched between two Tom Cruise blockbusters – The Edge of Tomorrow and the forthcoming American Made – Doug Liman’s latest feels like something of a cinematic palate cleanser. Set in Iraq in late 2007, just as American involvement is supposedly winding down, real-time thriller The Wall homes in on Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s marine as he’s pinned down by an Iraqi sniper in the baking heat of a bombed-out settlement.

With his fellow marine (played by John Cena) bleeding out and his radio damaged, Isaac (Taylor-Johnson) is soon embroiled in a battle of wits with a hyper-intelligent Iraqi sniper whose insights into the war rattle the secret-bearing American. Essentially a two-hander between Taylor-Johnson and the disembodied voice of his adversary (played by Laith Nakli), what follows is a solid example of the sort of single-location thriller – Locke, Buried, Phone Booth – that often ends up being more intriguing as a concept than a movie. Here, though, Liman keeps everything tightly wound and over the course of its brief 90-minute running time Dwain Worrell’s script presents a compelling look at how conflict is repeatedly escalated by underestimating the enemy.

Parents confronted with a movie entitled Captain Underpants might not relish the prospect of sitting through it with their kids, but this CG animated adventure – about a couple of best friends who manage (via a spot of hypnosis) to transform their mean headmaster into their own titular comic book creation – is more inventive than most animated fare this summer. Though self-aware toilet humour is its default position, there are also some surprisingly pointed gags about cuts to arts education worked into a plot that sees its ethnically diverse heroes taking on a super-villain intent on robbing the world of laughter. In some respects it’s a bit too pleased with itself, but it breezes by fast enough to make those summer holiday trips to the movies a little more bearable.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alistair Harkness"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514860.1501087804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514860.1501087804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan in The Big Sick. Picture: Nicole Rivelli.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan in The Big Sick. Picture: Nicole Rivelli.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514860.1501087804!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/edinburgh-festivals/giant-dragon-to-tour-royal-mile-in-festival-curtain-raiser-1-4515117","id":"1.4515117","articleHeadline": "Giant dragon to tour Royal Mile in Festival curtain-raiser","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501140069000 ,"articleLead": "

A giant dragon representing “corporate greed” is to be paraded down the Royal Mile today as a curtain-raiser to the city’s 70th season of festivals.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515116.1501134038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich will stage a performance with actor Tam Dean Burn in the heart of the High Street today."} ,"articleBody": "

Two leading artists are to stage a performance with the inflatable creature in the heart of the High Street, which will be thronged from street performers from next week.

Around 40 primary schoolchildren will join the parade between the thoroughfare and the remains of a 15th century church building, where the dragon will be on display throughout August.

Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich’s project has been inspired by the 100th anniversary of a manifesto by town planner Sir Patrick Geddes, who led efforts to revive the Old Town as a place to live.

Walker and Bromwich , who are renowned for their large-scale sculptural works, say they want to raise questions on how to “slay the dragon of profit and private ownership.” Their event will be staged just weeks after heritage experts warned that “commercial over-exploitation” of the city centre was posing a serious threat to the “authenticity” of the Edinburgh World Heritage site.

Actor Tam Dean Burn will be joining the two artists on the High Street from 2pm today to perform a show inspired by pageants staged by Geddes himself. The dragon will then be on display inside Trinity Apse, part of a gothic kirk which was relocated to Chalmers Close, off the High Street, to make way for the expansion of Waverley Station in the 19th century.

It is one of several corners of the Old Town being opened up to the public for the Edinburgh Art Festival. Others include an urban wildlife reserve on Johnston Terrace, the former home of Geddes in Ramsay Garden, and Gladstone Court, the site of an asylum for “young girls or fallen women who have deviated from the path of virtue and peace.”

Bromwich said: “The dragon motif is inspired by an image from a banner carried by Northumberland mine workers in the 1920s, which was basically a call for mines to be nationalised, and Geddes’s quote about ‘by leaves we live.’

“They will be fused together in the procession of green-leaves and eco-inspired pageantry, inspired by Geddes’s own eco-anarchism and love of pageants. We’ll perform right outside the Fringe box office, where the buskers normally perform. A lot of visionary ideas have been assimilated by corporate money. There are monolithic corporations that kind of control everything. I think there is a real reawakening at the moment, with people asking how we can live in better ways as a society.”

Walker added: “There are very important debates happening about the distribution of wealth in Britain. Edinburgh is becoming a really expensive place to live, particularly in the city centre, so it’s very relevant here.

“But we’re also really interested in the original vision for the Edinburgh International Festival that it could rebuild the human spirit after the war.”

Other special commissions lined up for the art festival, which runs until 27 August, include the installation of a pop-up studio workshop in a wildlife garden in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.

Artist Bobby Niven’s “reimagined palm house,” which is said to have been inspired by the famous glasshouses in Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden, will play host to four artists - Neil Bickerton, Alison Scott, Daisy Lafarge and Deirdre Nelson - who will be creating new work inspired by the location and the ideas of Geddes. Toby Paterson has created a new architectural installation in the form of a modern shelter for Chessels Court, one of a network of open spaces in the Old Town which Geddes helped inspire.

Gladstone Court, which was also once home to the Edinburgh Gaslight Company, is playing host to a new video installation by the New Zealand artist Shannon Te Ao, which will explore “the emotional depths of love, grief and healing.”

This year’s art festival programme has been inspired by both the 70th anniversary of the city’s cultural celebration and the Geddes manifesto, The Making of the Future.

Festival director Sorcha Carey said: “This year seemed like a really good moment to go back and cast a spotlight on Geddes and his contribution to Edinburgh. The artists we’ve commissioned this year are looking at this ideas, but are also largely working in spaces associated with him. He was a critical figure in the preservation of the Old Town as we see it today.”


The Edinburgh Art Festival, which is being staged for the 14th time, features 45 major exbibitions staged across 35 different venues.

Highlights include a display of images captured during the Crimean War by the 19th century photographer Roger Fenton, which will be staged at Holyrood Palace.

Douglas Gordon has created a new black marble work of Robert Burns, which will lie in pieces in the great hall of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, in front of the celebrated statue of the poet by John Flaxman.

The same gallery is featuring a revival of The Slave’s Lament, a show inspired by Burns’ poem, which reflected on his plans to leave Scotland to work overseeing slave labour on a plantation in the West Indies.

Inverleith House, the art gallery controversial closed down at the Royal Botanic Garden last year just months after its 30th anniversary, will be temporarily reopened for a major exhibition of work inspired by the 50th anniversary of the attraction’s modernist glasshouses.

The Dovecot Gallery will feature a celebration of female textile artists and the role of women in the textile industry, including showcases of work by Claire Barclay, Elizabeth Blackadder, Christine Borland, Hanna Tuulikki and Maureen Hodge.

The multi-media Age of Oil exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland is a showcase of work by Sue Jane Taylor drawn from more than 30 years recording the lives of workers in the North Sea oil and gas industries.

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515116.1501134038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515116.1501134038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich will stage a performance with actor Tam Dean Burn in the heart of the High Street today.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Artists Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich will stage a performance with actor Tam Dean Burn in the heart of the High Street today.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515116.1501134038!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/transport/video-burke-and-hare-come-to-life-in-falkirk-canal-tunnel-1-4515024","id":"1.4515024","articleHeadline": "Video: Burke and Hare come to life in Falkirk canal tunnel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501106090000 ,"articleLead": "

The grisly tale of navvies-turned-murderers Burke and Hare will be dramatised with a “pop-up” Canal Theatre production in a Falkirk tunnel from next week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515255.1501146282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "William Burke, played by James Barrie, is among the characters based on the real-life 19th century serial killers who worked on the Union canal through Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

Audiences will be led into the 630m-long tunnel on the Union Canal by Hare’s wife Margaret, in new play The Resurrection.

Inside they will encounter some of the men’s 16 victims - and then the chilling Burke himself.

Burke and Hare moved from Ireland to help dig the canal in the early 1800s before going on to provide bodies for medical experimentation by luring victims to Hare’s guesthouse in Edinburgh.

Public performances run from Friday to Sunday for four weeks from 4 August, which may be extended further.

BACKGROUND Falkirk canal tunnel to host Burke and Hare play

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALASTAIR DALTON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4515255.1501146282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4515255.1501146282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "William Burke, played by James Barrie, is among the characters based on the real-life 19th century serial killers who worked on the Union canal through Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "William Burke, played by James Barrie, is among the characters based on the real-life 19th century serial killers who worked on the Union canal through Falkirk. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4515255.1501146282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1501093037027"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/future-scotland/tech/dr-google-will-see-you-now-how-data-can-revolutionise-healthcare-1-4514465","id":"1.4514465","articleHeadline": "Dr Google will see you now: How data can revolutionise healthcare","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501071912000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s a Fringe show billed as both funny and informative. Doctor Google Will See You Now, which takes place as part of the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, addresses the important issue of how shared data could help our health prospects - while still trying to entertain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514464.1501072072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sharing data between public bodies and private sector tech giants has the potential to revolutionise health provision the world over. Picture: Tony Marsh/TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Dr Mhairi Aitken, a research fellow at the centre for population health sciences at the University of Edinburgh, is not your typical festival performer. She is speaking as part of a programme of Fringe shows that recruits academics to debate previously “off-limits” subjects in an accessible style.

The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas was first held in 2013 and has gradually expanded since. This year’s line-up includes shows arguing why we should bring back child labour and asking whether we should colonise space.

Dr Aitken was buoyed by success of her previous Cabaret shows to produce this year’s performance on how much data is too much data to share when it comes to our health.

The academic will challenge her audience on why they willingly give up some data to commercial interest - but then baulk at allowing that data to be shared between the public and private spheres in a way that could potentially benefit millions.

She told The Scotsman: “The Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas puts out a call for university researchers in Edinburgh to suggest shows - preferably those that are provocative or controversial.

“It’s a fun thing to do. A lot of presentations on academic research try to avoid being controversial and want to water down the riskier elements.”

The show is split down the middle to ensure a thorough debate, with half an hour of Dr Aitken’s presentation, and another half hour of discussion.

She added: “The audience can often go in tangents, its unpredictable, there’s always new insights in that second segment, it makes things much more fun.

Comedian Susan Morrison, is the resident compere for the Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas, and is a key part of the second act of the Doctor Google show, keeping the debate moving and injecting levity.

Dr Aitken says Morrison’s contribution is partly there to ensure that the show meets her stated aim of being both fun and interesting.

She said: “I’m there to be the expert and provoke ideas and debate, but Susan is there to be entertaining.

“I’ll do my best to be interesting. I have done comedy shows in the past.”

The show takes on the dichotomy that research in the public and private sectors are carried out separately, and asks whether the data from the NHS could be linked with the research taken on by Silicon Valley giants like Facebook and Google for the public good.

Dr Aitken said: “The possibilities of what we could uncover if we look at patterns (especially around consumption habits and lifestyle choices) from private sector research and raw data from the NHS and similar bodies are huge and could be beneficial.

“But there a lot of questions around what is ethical to and who we (the public) trust to handle our data responsibly.

“There is more and more private sector involvement in research, from funding to their own data, and we possibly need to re-evaluate who we trust.”

Dr Aitken believes that these are legitimate concerns but remains a proponent of collaboration.

She said: “The primary motive has to be generating public benefit, and if profit comes along with that, that’s ok, but if it is all about profit at the expense of the public good, that’s unacceptable.”

Doctor Google Will See You Now takes place on August 6 at the New Town Theatre at 8.20pm

READ MORE: Aberdeen university leads global project to battle cyber-attacks

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ROSS McCAFFERTY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514464.1501072072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514464.1501072072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sharing data between public bodies and private sector tech giants has the potential to revolutionise health provision the world over. Picture: Tony Marsh/TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sharing data between public bodies and private sector tech giants has the potential to revolutionise health provision the world over. Picture: Tony Marsh/TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514464.1501072072!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/regions/glasgow-strathclyde/outdoor-cinema-returns-to-glasgow-botanic-gardens-this-august-1-4514373","id":"1.4514373","articleHeadline": "Outdoor cinema returns to Glasgow Botanic Gardens this August","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501067980000 ,"articleLead": "

Plan a night under the stars and enjoy Bill in The Botanics from the 17th August

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514372.1501068118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Glasgow Botanic Gardens, courtesy of Robert Perry"} ,"articleBody": "

The Glasgow Botanic Gardens is set to be the backdrop for four nights of classic outdoor cinema screenings, celebrating the work of Glasgow’s very own Bill Forsyth.

Following a successful pilot outdoor cinema last summer, ‘Bill in The Botanics’ will run from 17th to 20th August showcasing four films by Glasgow’s most-famous director. That Sinking Feeling, Comfort and Joy, Gregory’s Girl and Local Hero, will be shown on a massive screen for all to enjoy.

The screening events are the latest in the series of programming that connect the community with the vibrant businesses and people of Glasgow. Organised by the Byres Road & Lanes Business Improvement District, the outdoor cinema screenings are set to celebrate independent culture and provide an alternative night out with family or friends.

David Howat, Chairman of Visit West End, said:“If ever there was a film that could make you laugh and cry, it’s the iconic ‘Local Hero’. Being a native of the West End, we thought it was a great opportunity to pay homage to one of Glasgow’s best directors.

“After the phenomenal demand from last year’s Botanic screenings, we can’t wait to bring these movies to the big screen, that were directed by one of Glasgow’s own and filmed across the city. They really are a celebration of Glasgow and Glaswegians.

“Make sure your reserve your ticket, organise your friends and family and get set to revel in the splendour of the Botanics and a spot of cinema gold.”

All films will be shown at 9pm each evening and tickets, which cost £3, can be bought now from Visit Westend.

The screenings are as follows:

That Sinking Feeling 1979 - 21.00, Thursday 17 August

Comfort and Joy 1984 – 21.00, Friday 18 August

Gregory’s Girl 1981 - 21.00 Saturday 19 August

Local Hero 1983 - 21.00, Sunday 20 August

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4514372.1501068118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4514372.1501068118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: Glasgow Botanic Gardens, courtesy of Robert Perry","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: Glasgow Botanic Gardens, courtesy of Robert Perry","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4514372.1501068118!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/euan-mccolm-spared-purgatory-in-a-darlington-flat-by-mogwai-1-4513970","id":"1.4513970","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: Spared purgatory in a Darlington flat - by Mogwai","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501045200000 ,"articleLead": "

A dreary former life was lit up by the irresistible sound of what became a great success story, writes Euan McColm

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513969.1501015083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mogwai are about to mark amost two decades of recordings with a new studio album - yet few would recognise any of the band in the street. Picture: Valerio Berdini/REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

I lived in a converted attic in Darlington for around 20 years between 1995 and ’97. There was a birdshit-covered fire escape outside the kitchen and 
spiders in the bedroom cupboards. Working for a regional Sunday newspaper - and, therefore, almost always broke - I found life moved impossibly slowly. The working day was long and exhausting and would generally involve interviewing people about tragedies which had befallen them. What passed for a social life consisted of sitting miserably in the corner of my local pub, talking to a retired history teacher and a sales rep with a pencil moustache.

Most nights, I’d get home at ten o’clock and slump on the sofa for a supper of cider and Revels, which were always on special offer at the service station across the road.

Occasionally, to break the monotony, rather than going to the pub, I’d take an evening drive, usually south through North Yorkshire. If I had a couple of quid, I might sweep east across the moors to Whitby for a bag of chips.

If the illuminations were up, I might carry on to Scarborough, there to wonder at the faded grandeur of the place and to ask myself how in God’s name I had come to be living in Darlington. I had friends working for newspapers in London; even now they’d probably be at impossibly exciting parties and here I was, standing in the drizzle in a Next suit, gazing at a winking neon clown.

An occasional treat in those days was the arrival in the post of a cassette from a friend in Glasgow. He’d make compilations from whatever he’d been picking up in the record shops we’d spent our teenage years frequenting together.

The odd misfire aside - the appeal of Placebo continues to elude me - these tapes were goldmines, packed with music I carry with me to this day. It was on one of these lifesaving cassettes that I first heard Mogwai, then a group of 19-year-olds from Lanarkshire and Glasgow whose music I’d read about in Melody Maker. The track was called “New Paths to Helicon (Pt. 1)” and I’d play it over and over as I drove through the North Yorkshire countryside. When the music ended, I’d click rewind and round we’d go again.

I recognised elements of this instrumental music - the droning guitars echoing sounds from records by Sonic Youth, the sudden shift from quiet to loud, as perfected by Pixies and purloined by Nirvana - but Mogwai had a sound that was identifiably their own. This is, and has always been, a rare feat for any band to achieve.

But who wanted to listen to eardrum-splittingly loud instrumental music? If there was a band likely to break free from the underground scene that centred around the 13th Note pub in Glasgow, it was the Delgados, whose more conventional, radio-friendly guitar pop was getting a bit of mainstream interest.

Mogwai, it seemed to me, were destined to remain the sort of band worshipped by listeners to the late John Peel’s radio show.

On 1 September, a little short of 20 years after their debut “Mogwai Young Team”, the band will realise their ninth studio album, Every Country’s Sun. It turns out that quite a lot of people want to listen to eardrum splittingly loud instrumental music.

Mogwai’s is a great success story. Far from creating a sound that was to remain underground, they’ve quietly and assuredly become one of Scotland’s most successful bands. They’ve managed - in a way that contemporaries such as, say Franz Ferdinand haven’t - to keep hold of their original fans while adding new ones along the way. The effect has been that each of their albums has climbed higher in the charts. It’s a curiously old-fashioned phenomenon in a business where new bands struggle to be heard in a swamped marketplace.

The quality of the music is central to the band’s success but they work at it, too. Along with those studio albums, there have been soundtracks, collaborations with the artist Douglas Gordon and the film-maker Mark Cousins, and the establishment and management of a record label, Rock Action, that released the duo Sacred Paws’ Strike a Match, which was recently named Scottish album of the year (defeating Mogwai’s own “Atomic” in the process).

Those early Mogwai gigs may have been in Glasgow basements but now the band is more likely to be playing Sydney Opera House or headlining some international festival or other. What a pleasure it is for me to watch these clever, gobby (the members of the band have strident views in favour of Scottish independence which they express with what I am going to call enthusiasm), talented musicians achieve even greater success.

The forthcoming album has accompanied me during hours of train journeys these past few weeks and it is, I think, the band’s finest work to date.

You probably wouldn’t recognise Dominic Aitchison, Stuart Braithwaite, Martin Bulloch, or Barry Burns in the street but they stand among Scotland’s pre-eminent artists. Mogwai are echoes across a highland glen, wide and desolate, they’re the disorientating noise of Sauchiehall Street on a Friday night in July, they’re the thunder of lorries on the M8 in the middle of the night.

Mogwai are magnificent and we should treasure them.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EUAN McCOLM"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513969.1501015083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513969.1501015083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mogwai are about to mark amost two decades of recordings with a new studio album - yet few would recognise any of the band in the street. Picture: Valerio Berdini/REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mogwai are about to mark amost two decades of recordings with a new studio album - yet few would recognise any of the band in the street. Picture: Valerio Berdini/REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513969.1501015083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/under-the-radar-smitten-1-4513850","id":"1.4513850","articleHeadline": "Under the Radar: Smitten","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501002016000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh band Smitten have a novel approach to release dates – they are bringing out an EP on Thursday, as they do each year on 26 July, to celebrate the joint birthday of founding members Nicole Smit (vocals) and Charlie Wild (guitar/bass). Next year they plan to release an album on that date.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513849.1501002511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Smitten"} ,"articleBody": "

The band recently returned from Germany, where they performed their Queen Of The Blues show, and this year’s anniversary launch takes place in Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s. The lead track on their latest EP, Sun Rises, is accompanied by a video (http://bit.ly/smittvid) and shows off the edgier side of the band’s repertoire. With the addition of drummer Alex Palmer, Smitten will be playing at the Jazz Bar during the Fringe (10 and 17 August) and plan a European tour in November. We wish them a happy birthday on Thursday, and all the best for a release worth celebrating.

*Under the Radar is in association with the Electric Fields Festival, which returns to Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway this September. Headline acts Frightened Rabbit and Dizzee Rascal are joined by Band Of Horses, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Glass Animals, Arab Strap, Kate Tempest and many more. www.electricfieldsfestival.com

*Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run the music industry seminar, Born To Be Wide. Their next event, in partnership with Made In Adelaide, at Edinburgh’s Summerhall on 9 August, includes a discussion of how the Edinburgh festivals can provide a platform for Scottish talent.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513849.1501002511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513849.1501002511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Smitten","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Smitten","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513849.1501002511!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/love-island-finale-brings-in-itv2-s-biggest-ever-audience-1-4513844","id":"1.4513844","articleHeadline": "Love Island finale brings in ITV2’s biggest ever audience","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1501001766000 ,"articleLead": "

The finale to the popular reality show Love Island on Monday evening saw ITV2 reach its biggest ever audience.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513843.1501001745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Love Island winners Kem and Amber. Picture: ITVplc"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Aidan Smith: How a sarky Scot and a Fettes girl made Love Island a hit

An average of 2.43 million viewers witnessed Kem Cetinay and Amber Davies crowned the winning couple, with the figure only growing as 150,000 people watched on ITV2+1 while the figures don’t include those still to watch via catch-up services.

It is a significant rise on previous years’ figures with last year’s final attracting 1.3 million viewers and 2015 bringing in only 737,000.

The show has built an avid following over the course of the series, with viewers gripped as Kem and Amber were announced victors by host Caroline Flack, ahead of Scotland’s Camilla Thurlow, formerly of Fettes College in Edinburgh, and Jamie Jewitt. They picked up £50,000 prize money.

ITV2 have already confirmed the show will return for another series in 2018.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS HOWARTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513843.1501001745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513843.1501001745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Love Island winners Kem and Amber. Picture: ITVplc","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Love Island winners Kem and Amber. Picture: ITVplc","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513843.1501001745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/film/james-bond-to-return-to-screens-in-november-2019-1-4513744","id":"1.4513744","articleHeadline": "James Bond to return to screens in November 2019","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500996037000 ,"articleLead": "

James Bond will return to screens in November 2019 for the 25th official film of the franchise, however the identify of who will play 007 has not been confirmed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513743.1500996020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Bond is to return to screens next year but who will play 007? Picture: Adam Berry/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Still without a name and lead, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer announced the movie will be written by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have scripted the last six editions, while Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli will return as producers.

The film’s official Twitter account shared: “James Bond will return to US cinemas on November 8, 2019 with a traditional earlier release in the UK and the rest of the world.”

Daniel Craig has played Bond for the last four films and speculation surrounds whether he will return for a fith time. If he does he will become the second oldest actor to perform the role, turning 51 by the time the movie is released. He would take over from Pierce Bronsan, while being six years younger than Roger Moore who starred in A View to a Kill in 1985.

Idris Elba, Tom Hardy and Tom Hiddleston have all been linked to the role, although the New York Times have reported that Craig’s return is a “done deal”.

The 2012 hit Skyfall and Spectre, released three years later, are Britain’s second and third highest grossing movies respectively in cinematic history in Britain.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANGUS HOWARTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513743.1500996020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513743.1500996020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Bond is to return to screens next year but who will play 007? Picture: Adam Berry/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Bond is to return to screens next year but who will play 007? Picture: Adam Berry/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513743.1500996020!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/axe-falls-on-loopallu-music-festival-after-13-years-1-4513700","id":"1.4513700","articleHeadline": "Axe falls on Loopallu music festival after 13 years","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500993833312 ,"articleLead": "

One of the biggest festivals in the Highlands and Islands is to be axed after this year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513699.1500994015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Singer songwriter Newton Faulkner has been among the acts to appear at the Loopallu festival since it was launched in 2005."} ,"articleBody": "

Organisers of Loopallu, which has brought the likes of Paolo Nutini, Franz Ferdinand, Mumford and Sons and Twin Atlantic to Ullapool, will be staged for the last time this September.

The announcement cane after the event was forced to relocate from the Broomfield Holiday Park, on the banks of Loch Broom, after a dispute with its owners.

The View, Glasvegas, Hunter and the Bear, Turin Brakes, The Rezillos and The Vatersay Boys will be among the acts to perform at the event's swansong, which will be staged at Ullapool harbour.

Loopallu was founded by Ullapool-based promoter Rob Hicks in 2005, with the American band Hayseed Dixie helping to get the event off the groud by headlining the first two festivals.

The event, championed by BBC DJs Janice Long, Mark Radcliffe and Vic Galloway, is believed to the most lucrative of the year for the local economy.

However the relocation to the harbour meant the event's capacity was forced to be cut.

A statement on the Loopallu Facebook page said: \"With a heavy heart,

we’ve decided that our 13th outing is going to be our last. There’s no time to be sad, it’s time to celebrate what has made Loopallu so special over the years.

\"Time to celebrate how the little event with a big heart transformed a small west coast village at the end of the season, bringing millions of pounds into the economy over the years, and not to mention the priceless friendships established.

\"It’s time to bring back some of our favourite acts over the years, but also introduce some new ones too; some established household names and some stars of the future.

\"The whole team would like to say a big thank you to all who have come over the years, your support and enthusiasm made the event what it was and what it is.

\"Loopallu may come back in the future in a different guise, but for now let's have a party one last time.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513699.1500994015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513699.1500994015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Singer songwriter Newton Faulkner has been among the acts to appear at the Loopallu festival since it was launched in 2005.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Singer songwriter Newton Faulkner has been among the acts to appear at the Loopallu festival since it was launched in 2005.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513699.1500994015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/fringe-interview-paul-foot-on-the-european-fringe-circuit-1-4513562","id":"1.4513562","articleHeadline": "Fringe interview: Paul Foot on the European Fringe Circuit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500987487000 ,"articleLead": "

In a series of interviews to mark World Fringe Day, acts performing at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe share their experiences of other fringes around the world. This week: Paul Foot tells Jay Richardson about playing festivals in Europe

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513561.1500987469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Foot"} ,"articleBody": "

Paul Foot’s stand-up doesn’t have fans but rather a Guild of Connoisseurs. And increasingly, they’re an international cadre. “Yes, there are people all over who come up and say they are Connoisseurs, which is always lovely,” he says. Fulfilling expectations of the dandified, eccentric Englishman, the comic reflects that “I’m seen as rather exotic and quite strange”.

He recalls performing a segment he calls ‘Madness’ in Stockholm, “where I say all these words, phrases that don’t make sense but are inexplicably funny because they’re just on the edge of meaning. And I explained ‘look, this doesn’t make any more sense to people in Britain’ and they laughed. It doesn’t make sense to anyone. It’s peculiar everywhere.”

In Aarhaus in Denmark, “they had a big banner which said ‘Paul Foot – eccentric British comedian’. Except that the Danish for eccentric is ‘excentrisk’. Which I think sums me up rather well – a mixture of eccentric and risk”.

Foot has performed at fringe festivals across Europe, citing Copenhagen, Berlin, Budapest and Gibraltar as favourites. “Oslo is always a nice place to go, even if it’s a battle for survival because it’s so cold” he adds. “It’s very well organised and [the performers] are all looked after very nicely. In Tallinn, we’re taken out for meals and you get everything done for you from the moment you arrive, which is fun.

“Every festival is organised in a different way,” he adds. “It ranges from ones where I’m treated like royalty and accommodated like a spoiled child, given everything I want, to ones that are utterly disorganised. I have to fend for myself, and it’s a complete shambles in a rather hilarious way. That constantly keeps me amused and enjoying myself.”

He doesn’t anticipate the Edinburgh Fringe following some of the smaller festivals’ lead “and meeting us at the airport. I don’t see them rolling out the red carpet anytime soon.”

Whilst suggesting that fringes are a good place to develop shows for Edinburgh, because “they tend to attract a lot of people who are really into their comedy and thus more likely sympathetic to a preview,” Foot feels his shows “evolve” as he travels regardless.

His current show, ‘Tis Pity She’s A Piglet, is his longest ever tour, as he performs in cities he’s never visited before.

“When I opened in Edinburgh last year, I thought it was my most ‘formed’ show ever on the first night,” he says. “But changes happen. And they seem to happen if you go to new places. When I went to Australia, it changed quite a lot, just because of different cultural references and so forth.

“When one comes back, you end up incorporating some of the changes, just because, inevitably, it’s improved. The more places it goes, the more it improves.”

After performing at the Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Canberra fringes, as well as Auckland and Wellington, Foot suggests that Britain probably has a crueller sense of humour than the Antipodes. For example, a routine he has about a guava salesman who shoots himself, “in Britain, people just laugh.

“But in Australia, and America as well, they tend to take things slightly more literally sometimes and be more squeamish. Not about rude things but about people coming to harm. So in Australia, they were much more like, ‘oh, that’s a shame, how sad’ with that bit. Much more sympathetic basically.”

He seldom needs to change too much “because the weirdness and surreality means it’s strange and weird anyway”. But after going through the show “with a fine-toothed comb” he’s still come unstuck with phenomenon like Linda McCartney sausages and Shire horses, which one Australian punter asked him to explain post-gig.

“And he started asking about all sorts of other references. It soon became clear that he hadn’t understood anything in the show at all. He’d laughed all the way through but didn’t have the slightest idea what I was talking about. I tend to get that in Europe a bit as well. There are people who just find what I do funny, laugh away and have no clue what it’s about.”

*Paul Foot: ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Piglet, Underbelly Cowgate, 3-27 August, www.edfringe.com

*The Edinburgh Festival Fringe was the world’s first Fringe back in 1947. Seventy years later, there are now more than 200 Fringes worldwide. World Fringe Day, on 11 July, marks 70 years since the birth of the Fringe concept, www.worldfringeday.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jay Richardson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513561.1500987469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513561.1500987469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paul Foot","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Foot","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513561.1500987469!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/edinburgh-jazz-festival-the-blind-boys-of-alabama-1-4513554","id":"1.4513554","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh Jazz Festival: The Blind Boys of Alabama","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500987078000 ,"articleLead": "

Singing in one incarnation or another over the past seven decades, the Blind Boys of Alabama are a phenomenon, epitomising for many the sound of the American south, from the iniquitous days of segregation onwards.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4491110.1500987060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Blind Boys of Alabama. Picture: contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The Blind Boys of Alabama ***

Festival Theatre

From their opening People Get Ready, the four singers’ heady gospel harmonising was supercharged by the R&B kick of their accompanying guitar, keyboard, bass guitar and drums, particularly in the rolling boogie of Spirit in the Sky and the vintage blues confessin’ of Nobody’s Fault But Mine.

Now in his late 80s, irrepressible lead-singer and co-founder Jimmy Carter sounds surprisingly forceful, while Paul Beasley’s at times alarmingly spectacular falsetto continues to raise the roof.

They are steeped in their music, but there was a sense of going through the motions with their repeated good-time exhortations, not to mention merchandising spiels. Arguably their most powerful number was a dark-toned interpretation of Amazing Grace, sung to the tune popularly associated with House of the Rising Sun, before they went into a crowd-working finale, with Carter insisting that his much-put-upon minder (and cheer-leader) guide him off stage and into the audience for much flesh-pressing while the band rocked on.

In support, Mississippi’s Como Mamas were the real deal, three a cappella gospel singers with an uncompromising, faith-fuelled holler. There was a moment of great charm when Della Daniels, talking about unsought celebrity status, declared in an astonished southern drawl: “I’m an old lady… and I am on YewTube!”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4491110.1500987060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4491110.1500987060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Blind Boys of Alabama. Picture: contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Blind Boys of Alabama. Picture: contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4491110.1500987060!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/edinburgh-jazz-festival-jools-holland-his-rhythm-blues-orchestra-1-4513547","id":"1.4513547","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh Jazz Festival: Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500986874000 ,"articleLead": "

It feels as though in millennia to come, only two things will be certain: the ants will still be walking the Earth, and Jools Holland will be back to play a gig at the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival. That’s an exaggeration, but his continued appearances are as like-clockwork as the fact that his show is still devised with such precision that there’s no way his audience can be left unhappy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513546.1500986853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jools Holland"} ,"articleBody": "

Jools Holland & His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra ****

Festival Theatre

Pianist Holland and his 15-strong accompaniment (11 of whom were an orchestra of horn players) galloped through blues, soul, pop and Holland’s beloved boogie-woogie with an energy and versatility that belied the safeness of the ground which the Later… show’s host enjoys. There was one very pleasant surprise, however, especially for anyone who hadn’t read advance publicity for this tour: with Chris Difford appearing for a four-song suite including Take Me, I’m Yours and Cool For Cats, and Gilson Lavis already installed as Holland’s thundering drummer, three-fifths of Squeeze were briefly reunited onstage.

Elsewhere, the set very much traded on faithful – if enthusiastically played – standards, coupled with a few of Holland’s own compositions. With vocal backing from Beth Rowley and Louise Marshall where appropriate, they rattled through Leadbelly’s Midnight Special, Louis Armstrong’s The Back O’Town Blues and an upbeat arrangement of French standard Plaisir D’amour (“a song from the ‘80s… the 1780s,” joked Holland), and were joined towards the end by the dazzlingly powerful Ruby Turner, who took the lead on Let the Good Times Roll and Peggy Lee’s Alright, Okay, You Win, among others. If it was in any way predictable, it was also predictably crowd-pleasing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Pollock"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513546.1500986853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513546.1500986853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jools Holland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jools Holland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513546.1500986853!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-interview-optimo-s-evolution-from-cult-glasgow-club-to-global-phenomenon-1-4508630","id":"1.4508630","articleHeadline": "Music interview: Optimo’s evolution from cult Glasgow club to global phenomenon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500973200000 ,"articleLead": "

Iconic club Optimo was born in Glasgow 20 years ago. Ahead of an anniversary celebration, JD Twitch and JG Wilkes talk to Fiona Shepherd about the anything-goes ethos which they now recreate around the world

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508629.1500483432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "JD Twitch (Keith McIvor, left) and JG Wilkes (Jonnie Wilkes) at an Optimo nigh. Picture: David Moffatt"} ,"articleBody": "

In the pantheon of legendary nightclubbing anecdotes, it’s pretty hard to beat Bianca Jagger riding through New York’s Studio 54 disco on a white horse (even if, as the animal rights campaigner has subsequently claimed, she merely perched on a pony which was already provided).

But Glasgow’s Optimo can boast its own lo-fi equivalent. As the internationally renowned club is poised to celebrate its 20th birthday with a day-long fiesta of live acts and DJs, founders JD Twitch and JG Wilkes, aka Keith McIvor and Jonnie Wilkes, recall hiring a white horse prop from the BBC for one of their early Hallowe’en extravaganzas. “No Bianca Jagger – she wasn’t available,” notes McIvor.

On another occasion, they ran an Apocalypse Now-themed night, teased with a poster claiming “I love the smell of napalm on a Monday morning”, complete with jungle vegetation, door staff dressed as GIs, orange smoke and sampled artillery, helicopters and explosions between tracks.

But Optimo is no novelty night. Founded in 1997 as a reaction to a stale clubbing scene, the mischief and irreverence has always taken place against a backdrop of inspiring, eclectic music and an inclusive, often euphoric atmosphere.

“Clubbing doesn’t have to be this ephemeral thing,” says McIvor. “It had become so much about hedonism but it was more than that.”

For its first 13 years, McIvor and Wilkes ran Optimo as a Sunday night residency in The Sub Club (decanting to other spaces following a fire in 1999), gradually attracting an Optimo family of devoted, open-minded regulars who didn’t have school in the morning.

“I think people came along week in week out because something was going to happen there or they might meet someone who was a bit like them or they might get what they need there,” says Wilkes.

Friendships and relationships were forged and plans and projects were hatched against this carefree backdrop. A couple who met at Optimo – or Optimo (Espacio) to give it its Sunday name – even chose to stage a mock wedding in the club following their actual nuptials, with the bride arriving to the strains of Billy Idol’s White Wedding.

From the beginning there has been no fixed music policy beyond McIvor and Wilkes playing an enlightened mix of what they want to hear, be it techno or electro rubbing up against post-punk, new wave, northern soul and assorted oddities from across the decades. But that very eclecticism quickly gave Optimo its idiosyncratic character – the club motto is “we love your ears”.

“I’m deadly serious about music, but music doesn’t have to be taken too seriously,” says McIvor. “But you’ve got to take a crowd to a certain place before you can drop Duelling Banjos or Zorba the Greek!” says Wilkes.

Live music has also been a distinguishing feature of an Optimo night from its earliest days and again the booking policy has ranged widely from indie rock to hardcore noise to local choirs. McIvor remembers an early appearance by feminist electronica trio Chicks on Speed as a turning point in the club’s fortunes, though not necessarily for righteous reasons: “there was a massive queue to get in and they were just very shambolic so there was actually a queue to get out of the club at the same time…”

Over the years, Optimo has welcomed a roll call of 21st century greats, including a fledgling Franz Ferdinand, Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, to their basement home. Guest DJs were a rarity but an exception was made for Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey of Pulp – “Jarvis mucked in, he didn’t get any special treatment,” says Wilkes.

A number of veterans have also made their mark, including Grace Jones, who exercised her diva prerogative at an Optimo-hosted Barrowland party with demands of Cristal champagne and oysters before taking to the stage two hours late, and no-wave saxophonist James Chance, who staged a remarkable recovery before playing a blinder in The Sub Club. “Five minutes before he went on his wife was holding him up, we don’t know what prescription medication he’s taken, there’s no way this guy’s going to be able to perform,” says McIvor. “He was looking in his saxophone case for his reeds,” adds Wilkes, “and his false teeth fall out into the case, there was saliva everywhere.”

But an emotional highlight for both was hosting New York punk-funk veterans Liquid Liquid, purveyors of a certain cowbell-touting number called Optimo. “I think they were expecting it to be 25 middle-aged men in a room stroking their chins,” says McIvor, “rather than 500 young people who knew every single chord of all their songs going absolutely crazy.”

However, as the duo’s international touring commitments blossomed along with a desire to spend more time building up their roster of record releases, they decided to end their Sub Club residency in 2010 while it was still on a high. Sunday nights would never quite be the same again for the Optimo family.

“People will tell us what a formative part of their life that was,” says McIvor. “When it finished, they thought ‘what are we going to do now?’ They were so committed to it, but now they were free to move on to the next stage in their life.”

As has Optimo. Twitch and Wilkes continue to take the party all over the world but always bring it back home. To mark their 20th birthday, they welcome the Optimo diaspora to a Sunday blowout on a larger scale, featuring performances by industrial noise veteran Nurse With Wound, Finnish electro rockers K-X-P, 2016 DJ of the Year The Black Madonna, Ghanaian kologo player King Ayisoba and local artpop outfit Happy Meals – in many ways direct descendents of the original residency.

“The thing that really made Optimo more than anything was Glasgow,” says McIvor. “People in Glasgow are more open, they’re not so worried about ‘is this cool?’ and we were so lucky we had all sorts of people with perhaps a certain outlook on life and we managed to capture that community. It really did feel like it was everyone’s club.”

Optimo 20, SWG3 Galvanizers Yard, Glasgow, 6 August, www.optimo.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4508629.1500483432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4508629.1500483432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "JD Twitch (Keith McIvor, left) and JG Wilkes (Jonnie Wilkes) at an Optimo nigh. Picture: David Moffatt","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "JD Twitch (Keith McIvor, left) and JG Wilkes (Jonnie Wilkes) at an Optimo nigh. Picture: David Moffatt","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4508629.1500483432!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-from-drill-halls-to-swimming-pools-how-mundane-places-become-vibrant-edinburgh-fringe-venues-1-4509193","id":"1.4509193","articleHeadline": "Theatre: From drill halls to swimming pools, how mundane places become vibrant Edinburgh Fringe venues","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500973200000 ,"articleLead": "

With hundreds of places preparing to become temporary theatres for the Fringe, making sure they are safe for the public is a mamoth task

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509192.1500542702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs football ground on Easter Road is one of the more unusual venues for a Fringe show. Picture: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

It’s an annual miracle the city has come to take for granted, and even – in some cases – to resent; but all the same, there’s something unique and utterly remarkable about what happens in Edinburgh at this time of year, as hundreds of spaces not normally used for performance throw open their doors, take on a new character, and for a brief three weeks become theatres, full of the bright lights, laughter and tears associated with show business.

This year’s Fringe programme lists 505 venues, across the city; and although a few – like the Traverse Theatre, Summerhall and Dance Base – are year-round arts venues, and some are pubs and bars which host events throughout the year, the majority are spaces that are normally used for quite different purposes, or perhaps not used at all. Among this year’s new venues are the disused St James’s Church in Constitution Street, Leith, which is set to be flooded for a show inspired by Chekhov’s The Seagull, a function suite at Hibernian Football Club in Easter Road, and the Army Reserve Centre in East Claremont Street – a range of buildings that’s not untypical of the Edinburgh spaces pressed into service for theatre, comedy and music during the Fringe.

Since every one of these spaces will be open to the public, each one has to meet the kinds of safety standards that are common in theatre buildings across the country – hence the taped-down power cables, white markings on the edges of steps, and careful fire precautions that audiences will see even in the most temporary of venues. And ensuring that this vast archipelago of pop-up spaces comes up to the mark requires a huge amount of work, both from the Festival Fringe Society’s own participant services team, and from Edinburgh City Council’s public safety team, and its small group of technical officers.

One of the key players in this process is the Fringe’s venues and companies manager Kevin Kimber, whose job involves advising Fringe companies on everything from visa applications to venue safety. “The Fringe Society’s remit is to offer support, guidance and advice to Fringe participants, but we don’t have responsibility for their operation and programming. In that sense, every venue is acting under its own auspices; and through its system of performing licences, Edinburgh City Council is responsible for ensuring that all venues are operating within the law. In my experience, the council is very supportive of the Fringe and all the festivals, and tries to ensure that a balance is maintained between a venue trying to be what it wants to be, and keeping the safety of the public at the forefront.”

And over at the council, senior public safety officer, John McNeill, echoes that sense of positive engagement with Fringe venues, talking enthusiastically about some of the more unusual venues he has inspected over the years. “I’ve worked with buses, cars, bikes, phone boxes, flats, caravans and campers, the public toilet in Cathedral Lane, and the swimming pool at the Apex International Hotel; and I would say that the main priority when working with Fringe venues is always crowd safety. This is no different from what happens in permanent venues, but it can be more complicated in Fringe venues due to their short life. These premises often don’t enjoy the same facilities as permanent venues, and things like temporary toilets, lighting and power all have to be shipped in, and tested.”

It’s no secret, of course, that there is some resentment and even anger in Edinburgh over the “can-do” attitude that surrounds the annual emergence of hundreds of Fringe venues, at a time when many year-round venues are struggling to survive, or closing their doors because of licensing difficulties. The loss of Studio 24 in Calton Road, now surrounded by executive flats, is only the latest in a litany of sad stories of venerable city-centre venues forced to shut up shop because of licensing issues which seemed impossible to resolve.

It is possible, though, to transform that ongoing argument from a negative to a positive, in the sense that the impressive annual effort made to support the Fringe suggests that Edinburgh could easily develop a much more positive year-round policy towards small local arts and music venues, given the political will. McNeill’s sheer enjoyment of his work, in the run-up to the Fringe, suggests that everyone gains from a positive approach to small, ambitious arts venues. “Everything about this job is a pleasure,” he says, “especially the huge mix of people wanting to put on a show – it’s always the only thing on their minds. The biggest challenge we face is just getting round them all with the small team we have.”

Kimber expresses the same sense of satisfaction, even though one of his visits to advise a Fringe venue with a problem ended abruptly when he realised that he had been meeting not with the venue boss but with the catering manager, and had accidentally been appointed head barman. “It is just so heartening to see venues start small on the Fringe and then blossom into larger operations, making their own mark, with their own style and their own following. The more kinds of venues there are to choose from, the better the chance a performing company has of finding a venue that suits them perfectly.

And if the Edinburgh Fringe often seems to run surprisingly smoothly for such a vast Festival – well, that’s because the talent on stage is often equalled by the unseen talent backstage, and front of house; all focused on making sure that companies can show their work to the best possible effect.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe runs from 4-28 August, in venues all over Edinburgh, www.edfringe.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4509192.1500542702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509192.1500542702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs football ground on Easter Road is one of the more unusual venues for a Fringe show. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs football ground on Easter Road is one of the more unusual venues for a Fringe show. Picture: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4509192.1500542702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/filming-begins-for-new-series-of-still-game-1-4513018","id":"1.4513018","articleHeadline": "Filming begins for new series of Still Game","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500925208000 ,"articleLead": "

The Still Game cast has started filming for another series of the hit comedy show.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513017.1500925190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Still Game will be back on air later this year. Picture: BBC Scotland"} ,"articleBody": "

Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill) along with Methadone Mick (Scott Reid) and Isa (Jane McCarry) were pictured on Monday for the first day of filming.

The show will be back on air later this year after returning in 2016 following a nine year hiatus.

READ MORE: VisitScotland reveals tourism spin-off from Still Game

In Scotland, the last series of Still Game was the most watched non-sporting programme in more than a decade with weekly episodes regularly attracting over half of the total audience.

The original run of the sitcom, starring and written by Kiernan and Hemphill, aired for six series between 2002 and 2007, transferring from BBC Scotland to BBC Two.

The forthcoming series, which will air on BBC One, is being filmed in the Dumbarton studios and on location around Glasgow during the summer.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CONOR RIORDHAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4513017.1500925190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4513017.1500925190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Still Game will be back on air later this year. Picture: BBC Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Still Game will be back on air later this year. Picture: BBC Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4513017.1500925190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/bbc-announces-one-off-uk-wide-festival-to-fill-glastonbury-gap-1-4512628","id":"1.4512628","articleHeadline": "BBC announces one-off UK-wide festival to fill Glastonbury gap","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500898693000 ,"articleLead": "

The BBC has announced a one-off music festival - The Biggest Weekend - will be staged next year as Glastonbury takes its traditional year off.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512626.1500898671!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Glastonbury is taking a year off in 2018. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The four-day festival, held from May 25-28, will be held at four sites in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

No suggestions for possible venues have been made at the time of writing, but the festival will be held over the late May bank holiday.

The last time Glastonbury took a year off - to prevent excessive damage to the Worthy farm site, and to allow locals and organisers a break - the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend festival was held in Hackney, to coincide with the London Olympics.

More than 175,000 tickets are expected to go on sale, while the BBC has promised to bring ‘the biggest artists in the world’ to the event.

However, headliners aren’t due to be unveiled for some time.

Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music will all broadcast live sets over the weekend, while TV coverage will be led by BBC Two and BBC Four.

The BBC iPlayer will also carry coverage in the days after the event.

Bob Shennan, director of BBC radio and music, said: “[The BBC] has a strong history of bringing the nation together for some special moments, and this is the biggest single music event ever attempted by the BBC.

“We will be celebrating the diversity of music from four different corners of the country, bringing the best UK music to the world and the best global music to the UK.”

The festival will be held in 2018 only, and it is not expected to become an annual event.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4512626.1500898671!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512626.1500898671!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Glastonbury is taking a year off in 2018. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Glastonbury is taking a year off in 2018. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4512626.1500898671!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4512627.1500898674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512627.1500898674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Glastonbury festival takes a 'gap year' every 5 or 6 years to prevent excessive damage to the site. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Glastonbury festival takes a 'gap year' every 5 or 6 years to prevent excessive damage to the site. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4512627.1500898674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/edinburgh-jazz-festival-reviews-alison-affleck-new-focus-remembering-chet-and-gerry-1-4512363","id":"1.4512363","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh Jazz Festival reviews: Alison Affleck / New Focus / Remembering Chet – and Gerry","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500888155000 ,"articleLead": "

Alison Kerr and Jim Gilchrist report from the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512362.1500888137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alison Affleck"} ,"articleBody": "

Alison Affleck’s Copper Cats ****

George Square Spiegeltent

“And Now For Something Completely Different” could have been the title of the early evening concert given by Alison Affleck’s Copper Cats on Friday. Unlike any other gig in the jazz festival programme, this hour-long show drew almost exclusively from the early jazz and blues era – and did so from a woman’s point of view, giving a rare airing to songs by such pioneering women as Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey. Edinburgh-based American singer Alison Affleck’s informative and sassy introductions to the songs ensured the audience was receptive and entertained even before she began singing.

Despite her fairly stylised, slightly theatrical mannerisms, Affleck brought an authenticity to such ancient numbers as Downhearted Blues and A Good Man is Hard To Find. But where she particularly excelled was as a musical storyteller. St James Infirmary and The Black-Eyed Blues were stand-outs because Affleck didn’t just churn out the lyrics; she used them to bring the characters mentioned in these songs to life, and to create atmosphere and drama.

Of course, she couldn’t have done all this as enjoyably without a good band playing with her; her piano-less quintet – boasting the crack team of Colin Steele (trumpet) and Dick Lee (clarinet) – did a terrific job of keeping the music swinging in suitably hot style.


New Focus ****

Rose Theatre

Formed a few years ago by established Scots jazzers, saxophonist Konrad Wiszniewski and pianist Euan Stevenson, to recreate the classic sax’n’strings Focus album by Stan Getz and Eddie Sauter, New Focus have since released two acclaimed albums of their own compositions, drawing on material from both for this concert, in the company of bassist Mario Caribe, drummer Alyn Cosker and the Glasgow String Quartet, as well as harp and flute.

They opened with a nod to their inspiration, the frenetic I’m Late from Getz’s 1961 album. In contrast, much of Wiszniewski and Stevenson’s own material was beguilingly mellow, such as the pastoral-sounding ballad Braeside, with its avian flute and richly pulsing piano and strings, and the impressionistic, Satie-esque perambulations of Ascension. Stevenson’s El Paraiso, from the first New Focus album, was one of several cinematic-sounding excursions, led off by Caribe’s stalking bass and similarly stealthy strings before tenor sax sighed in, while harp and piano ripples introduced the delicate ruminations of Parson’s Green before the piece accelerated, allowing Wiszniewski to let rip and Cosker to embark on a lengthy drum break.

There was scope for demonstrative drumming, too, in the apparently Bartok-inspired, no-nonsense hustle of Corea Change, which showcased Stevenson’s playing as well as a vigorous soprano sax break from Wiszniewski. This was a rewarding vindication of the sometimes uneasy amalgam of jazz and classical forces.


Remembering Chet – and Gerry ****

Rose Theatre

The deservedly popular tribute group Remembering Chet – a swinging trio with Iain Ewing (vocals) and Colin Steele (trumpet) reflecting the twin facets of the late, great Chet Baker’s music-making, and Euan Stevenson (piano) accompanying them – has been a staple of the last few Edinburgh Jazz Festivals.

For this year’s event, on Saturday lunchtime, the band added a new dimension by bringing baritone saxophonist Billy Fleming into the mix, thus allowing them to broaden the programme out to include some of the classic numbers Baker recorded with Gerry Mulligan in the 1950s.

It certainly gave the group – which, Ewing explained, he had been about to retire – a new lease of life; Fleming’s graceful baritone forming a formidable front line with the ever-eloquent Steele trumpet, notably in their unaccompanied climax to Bernie’s Tune, one of the compositions famously recorded by Baker and Mulligan’s radical piano-less quartet but here benefitting also from Euan Stevenson’s elegant keyboard skills.

Ewing – like Steele on trumpet – did his usual terrific job of stylishly channelling the Baker hallmarks – wistfulness, a soft, gentle tone, simplicity and vulnerability – while avoiding sounding like an impersonator. The many highlights included I Get Along Without You Very Well, which featured an exquisite, Satie-esque accompaniment from Euan Stevenson.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alison Kerr and Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4512362.1500888137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512362.1500888137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alison Affleck","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alison Affleck","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4512362.1500888137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-deacon-blue-gary-clark-at-edinburgh-castle-1-4512357","id":"1.4512357","articleHeadline": "Music review: Deacon Blue & Gary Clark at Edinburgh Castle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500887767000 ,"articleLead": "

With many of his 80s peers already back on the campaign trail, it was a pleasure to witness Danny Wilson frontman Gary Clark’s first live performance in 20 years, even if it was a miserable night for a comeback, with much of Deacon Blue’s audience sensibly sheltering in local hostelries before the main event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512356.1500887749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue performing at Edinburgh Castle PIC: Calum Buchan Photography"} ,"articleBody": "

Deacon Blue/Gary Clark ***

Edinburgh Castle Esplanade

Nevertheless, there were various cries of appreciation from around the esplanade for a musician who has spent the last couple of decades writing songs for others but still sounded in supple shape as he delivered earnest piano melodrama, a lovely plangent guitar tone and acoustic versions of the soaring Mary’s Prayer and The Second Summer of Love (in decidedly non-summery conditions) shorn of their shiny production.

Were Clark planning on making this a more regular occurrence, it would be great to see him in an intimate club next time, all the better to appreciate his blue-eyed soul balladry.

This year, Deacon Blue are marking the 30th anniversary of their debut album Raintown and the elemental irony was not lost on the assembly, as footage of splashing water played on the big screens and the audience donned their disposable ponchos in preparation for a damp but uncowed celebration. Their best-loved album was inspired by Glasgow but Edinburgh couldn’t have set the scene better.

An ebullient Wages Day and Queen of the New Year were dispatched to warm up the crowd with the band attacking the set, metaphorically dragging their pals up on the dancefloor for the time of their lives. Ricky Ross, in particular, has honed his pop preacher persona to slick perfection and there was a fair bit of ham theatrics along the way, which could be forgiven in the overall scheme of keeping the party going through the rain.

In addition to the swelling title track, Raintown produced many of the band’s most enduring songs, from the blushing serenade of Loaded to the rallying cry of Dignity. Chocolate Girl was sweetened by a snippet of the Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham number I’m Your Puppet and Clark joined the band for a brooding When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring), with additional gospel flourishes from James Prime on the organ.

The likes of Real Gone Kid and Fergus Sings The Blues would have made a natural conclusion to their set but there was a closing cover version treat especially for Edinburgh – a last waltz to The Proclaimer’s Sunshine on Leith.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4512356.1500887749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512356.1500887749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue performing at Edinburgh Castle PIC: Calum Buchan Photography","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue performing at Edinburgh Castle PIC: Calum Buchan Photography","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4512356.1500887749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/homeless-to-get-1-tickets-for-edinburgh-fringe-show-1-4512316","id":"1.4512316","articleHeadline": "Homeless to get £1 tickets for Edinburgh Fringe show","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500887349000 ,"articleLead": "

A theatre company has teamed up with a homeless charity to offer cut price tickets to a stage production of Ken Loach’s ground breaking movie Cathy Come Home.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512315.1500887331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cardboard Citizens production of homeless stage show "Cathy" at Edinburgh Fringe."} ,"articleBody": "

The film, which first screened in 1966, caused national public outrage and inspired the Housing Act and the creation of charity Shelter later that year.

Now Cardboard Citizens and Shelter Scotland have reimagined the movie for the stage and “Cathy” will make its Edinburgh Fringe debut next month following a sell-out UK tour.

During last year’s tour more than 20 percent of tickets from an audience of more than 5,500 people were sold at £1.

These tickets primarily are booked by organisations, hostels or charities working with vulnerable people and they then distribute them to their service users to attend the show.

A Cardboard Citizen’s spokeswoman said: “This will be how the system is run in Edinburgh too.

“We are reaching out to local homeless organisations and charities in Edinburgh and areas close by to promote the £1 ticket offer, which is available for a number of performances across the run.

“Shelter Scotland are very kindly spreading the word with their many existing networks to help reach as wide an audience as possible.

“In addition we are always keen to hear from homeless or ex-homeless individuals who are keen to see the show. They can call us directly on 020 7377 8948 or mail@cardboardcitizens.org.uk to enquire about the scheme.”

Shelter Scotland will help raise awareness of Cathy and encourage and support as many people as possible to see the show, have their say and take action.

Directed by Adrian Jackson, the new play explores the state of housing and homelessness and looks at how life might be for a Cathy today.

The show was researched in partnership with Shelter and is based on true stories, providing a reflection of the social and personal impact of spiralling housing costs, gentrification and the challenges of a lack of truly affordable housing.

In Scotland, there are currently, over 10,500 homeless households in temporary accommodation, 142,500 on council waiting lists for a home and a homelessness application was made every 19 minutes in Scotland last year.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: “For Shelter Scotland the original Cathy Come Home depicts all too clearly the human tragedy and suffering caused by bad housing and homelessness that was – and still is – being faced by thousands of people in Scotland.”

“Great progress has been made in terms of legislation, support services and the quality of housing since it was first screened, but the stark reality is that we still have a long way to go.

“This is a stark reminder of the tragedy of homelessness and that, as the impact of low wages, the high cost of housing and harsh welfare reforms hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our society today, we should not be complacent about what still needs to be done.”


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4512315.1500887331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4512315.1500887331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cardboard Citizens production of homeless stage show "Cathy" at Edinburgh Fringe.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cardboard Citizens production of homeless stage show "Cathy" at Edinburgh Fringe.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4512315.1500887331!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-interview-rab-noakes-on-celebrating-50-years-at-the-forefront-of-scottish-folk-1-4509189","id":"1.4509189","articleHeadline": "Music interview: Rab Noakes on celebrating 50 years at the forefront of Scottish folk","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1500886800000 ,"articleLead": "

A half century since his debut gig Rab Noakes remains vital … like vinyl, writes Jim Gilchrist

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509188.1500543528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The anniversary of his debut gig coincided nicely with Noakess 70th birthday. Picture: Carol Ann Peacock"} ,"articleBody": "

Fifty years ago last May, an unknown youngster took the stage of Glasgow Folk Centre in duet with a banjo player, Robin McKidd. For the singer, one Rab Noakes, it was his first properly billed and paid gig. He would go on to carve out a distinguished career as a solo singer-songwriter as well as collaborating with the likes of Gerry Rafferty (in an early incarnation of Stealer’s Wheel), Barbara Dickson, Lindisfarne and, in recent years, has played key roles in such major Celtic Connections productions as the orchestration of Martyn Bennett’s Grit and commemorative concerts for Rafferty and Michael Marra.

The half-century of that debut gig coincided nicely with Noakes’s 70th birthday, also in May, and, having ridden out a worrying brush with cancer, he has been marking the anniversaries with a series of appearances, the next of which is at Leith Folk Club on 1 August. “I’d done plenty of floor spots and all of that,” the Fife-born, Glasgow-based singer recalls of his debut, “but this was it all formalising itself. So, 50 years on it seemed worth sticking the two together – 70/50.”

Songwriting – maintained in tandem with a career as a radio producer – first kicked in as far back as his schooldays in Cupar, when he and a pal concocted a parody of Jimmy Dean’s 1961 hit Big John, which became Big Jane, to the embarrassment of a hapless classmate.

Returning to his folk club roots for the solo Leith gig, he reckons that songs are coming into their own again, following a period when the folk scene was instrumentally-weighted. “It’s always been songs for me; I’ve loved pop songs since I was a wee boy and the Scottish song thing has always been a part of that, from Robert Wilson on the radio to Robin and Jimmie [Hall and Macgregor] on the telly.

“When I first got interested during the 1960s, songwriting started to become a bit more serious, with Bob Dylan pointing the way. But then the whole scene became much more instrumentally based. Now it’s good to see songs and songwriting enjoying a resurgence.”

The stuff of life is grist to the song composer’s mill, and Noakes’s diagnosis in 2015 with tonsillar cancer was no exception. Two years on from a rigorous course of radio and chemotherapy, he seems in the clear, pending further checks. “When something like this happens to the likes of me at least I know I’ll probably get a couple of songs out of it,” he muses wryly, agreeing that state of mind is all-important in such circumstances – “but I always couch it in the plural. This was something that came into the household and Stephy [his wife] and I tackled it together. If anything it gives you a wee bit of focus and reminds you that life doesn’t last very long, so just get on with it.”

Sure enough, his songwriter’s response came at the beginning of this year with an EP, piquantly titled The Treatment Tapes, featuring six life-affirming numbers written during the post-treatment period, such as Fade (to shades of black), or the defiantly finger-picked blues That Won’t Stop Me. Then there’s an unabashed love song to his wife, support and organiser, Stephy Pordage, who often has input into his lyrics – not least the neat line in Mindful, “Stay vital / like vinyl.”

Noakes’s 70/50 schedule includes Perth’s Southern Fried festival next weekend, an “in conversation” session during the Edinburgh Fringe and a concert at Pitlochry Festival Theatre with his auld acquaintance Barbara Dickson. A recording with his eight-piece band from January’s Celtic Connections will appear next year; in the meantime, October sees the re-release of three of his albums from the Seventies and Eighties on a double CD titled Bridging the Gaps. No vinyl, but inarguably vital.

Rab Noakes plays Leith Folk Club on 1 August. In Conversation with Rab Noakes is at the New Town Theatre on 10 August. See www.rabnoakes.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4509188.1500543528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4509188.1500543528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The anniversary of his debut gig coincided nicely with Noakess 70th birthday. Picture: Carol Ann Peacock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The anniversary of his debut gig coincided nicely with Noakess 70th birthday. Picture: Carol Ann Peacock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4509188.1500543528!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}