{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/creative-scotland-puts-off-crucial-funding-decisions-until-next-year-1-4618812","id":"1.4618812","articleHeadline": "Creative Scotland puts off crucial funding decisions until next year","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511211901494 ,"articleLead": "Crucial findings decisions affecting more than 180 of Scotland’s leading arts companies and organisations have put back until next year, it emerged today.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618811.1511211931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iain Munro, deputy chief executive of Creative Scotland, has told arts organisations they will now not know their fate until the end of January."} ,"articleBody": "


National arts agency Creative Scotland has revealed it will be unable to confirm funding deals for the next three years until the end of January - around a month later than envisaged.

The delay has been revealed weeks after the quango admitted it was likely to cut the number of organisations on regular funding deals despite a surge in demand for financial help.

Others are expected to face a cut in support between 2018 and 2021 under a shake-up which could affect events like the Edinburgh International Festival, Celtic Connections and the Wigtown Book Festival, as well as venues like Dundee Rep, the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Glasgow Film Theatre.

Creative Scotland has already blamed the prospect of looming cuts on dwindling National Lottery backing and pressure on the Scottish Government’s budget, which is not due to be set until 14 December.

Creative Scotland has now written to all 119 organisations which won a share of £100 million three years ago to alert them to the delay and warn that the eventual funding awards “may not be at the levels requested by organisations.”

The quango has already revealed it has received funding requests to the tune of £153 million from 184 separate organisations for the next three financial years.

However it has offered to help organisations cope with the expected upheaval by extending all current funding deals by two months, until the end of May.

Transitional funding support will also be offered to organisations which are stripped of their existing funding deals.

In a letter to all applicants for the next round of funding, Creative Scotland’s deputy chief executive, Iain Munro urges organisations to plan board meetings for “shortly after our announcement of decisions, to reflect on the outcome.”

Explaining the delay, he said: “The Scottish Government will publish its draft budget on 14 December 2017 and Creative Scotland will find out what its budget settlement is on, or shortly after, that date.

“At that point, we anticipate that further work will be required, regarding how the overall budget is allocated and the final profile of the proposed network of regularly funded organisations.

“We are committed to doing everything we can to announce these decisions as soon as possible after this but it is now clear that this will not be before Christmas.

“With this in mind, our planning now means we will announce decisions by the end of January 2018.

“As communicated previously, we expect funding for regularly funded organisations to reduce in future.

“This is in part because of the decline in income from the National Lottery and, as such, we still expect to fund fewer organisations than currently.

“It is likely to also mean that funding awards may not be at the levels requested by organisations, requiring time to negotiate revised plans and agree a funding contract.

“We therefore suggest that it may be helpful to consider planning a board meeting for your organisation shortly after our announcement of decisions, to reflect on the outcome.”

Lottery funding makes up around 40 per cent of Creative Scotland’s budget, but it slumped around 15 per cent between 2015-16 and 2016-17, and is said to have continued on a “downward trend” during the current financial year.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has warned jobs and projects are being put under threat in both the culture and sports sectors by the slump in lottery income and have urged the UK Government to bring forward a “recovery plan” to help offset its impact.

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618811.1511211931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618811.1511211931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Iain Munro, deputy chief executive of Creative Scotland, has told arts organisations they will now not know their fate until the end of January.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Iain Munro, deputy chief executive of Creative Scotland, has told arts organisations they will now not know their fate until the end of January.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618811.1511211931!/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/aidan-smith-why-kezia-dugdale-needs-to-out-purr-george-galloway-1-4618692","id":"1.4618692","articleHeadline": "Aidan Smith: Why Kezia Dugdale needs to out-purr George Galloway","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511244000000 ,"articleLead": "

Ex-Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has some tough acts to follow – like George Galloway and Ed Balls – in the world of political reality TV, writes Aidan Smith.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618691.1511202686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ex-Scottish Labour leader has some tough acts to follow in the world of political reality TV. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Well, she’s missed having to totter across a plank on top of a building 32 storeys high. She’s avoided being thrown from a helicopter into a pond. She’s skived having to fondle rats and eat kangaroo. But plenty of challenges still await Kezia Dugdale on I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!

Life in the jungle is going to get much tougher, even though Boris Johnson’s dad Stanley reckons all this organised group-jeopardy stuff will be “just like being back at boarding school”. For the former Scottish Labour leader, more than any of the other contestants, there will be the challenge of what they’ll be saying back at home.

She shouldn’t be there. She’s demeaning the office of MSP. What about all those vital parliamentary debates – shouldn’t she be in the chamber and making it look slightly less deserted and abandoned? What about her surgeries, her constituents and their pothole/overflowing bin/noisy swingers’ party complaints? What about Scottish Labour? Even if Dugdale eventually decides “Get me out of here!” and joins the SNP, shouldn’t she be around to clap her successor Richard Leonard into office or boot him up the bum or whatever is the age-old custom?

Here are her challenges as I see them: to be as entertaining as Ed Balls on Strictly Come Dancing; to be as endearing as the politico who was the subject of the TV show When Michael Portillo Became a Single Mum; to be as did-that-just-happen? outrageous as George Galloway on Celebrity Big Brother.

I don’t have a problem with politicians doing reality TV. Yes, politics is a serious business. And I get that Dugdale is different from Balls and Portillo and to some extent Galloway. The first two were no longer sitting MPs, having both suffered epochal trouncings in their careers, while Galloway was the one-man-band of the Respect Party. Dugdale on the other hand is a frontline Labour figure, there will be an election soon, Scotland will be a key battleground and her party doesn’t need the ridicule. But what is it we’re always saying about politicians? That they’re grey, faceless and boring? Here’s another chance for one to prove otherwise.

Take Balls. Who knew he had a personality before Strictly? Who knew he could dance, or dad-dance, or that he’d be willing to paint his face green or dress up as a mad professor or pretend to be a mincing cowboy. Or that when his partner contorted herself into a wobbly table or an excitable pony that he’d hitch a chubby leg and clamber aboard and post one of the all-time greatest light-entertainment moments, right up there with Morecambe & Wise singing There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame with a chorus of somersaulting newsreaders?

Suddenly “Were you still up for Ed?” from the night of his ballot-box demise had been trumped by “Did you see Ed go Gangnam-Style?” Suddenly this fairly unremarkable character from a non-vintage era in recent Labour history – a bruiser, everyone said, and that was just about all they said – had become Britain’s most popular politician. If there had been a leadership contest the day after he left the show, he’d have romped it. Given the opportunity, the public would have voted him prime minister. That’s the same public, by the way, whose instinctive reaction when told a politician has signed up for reality TV is to grumble: “Wrong, in so many ways.”

Portillo’s reality makeover may not have been such an assault on the senses but was possibly even more sensational as he assumed the responsibilities of a two-job, four-kid, £80-a-week single mum from Liverpool. Accustomed to the finer things in life, able to please himself, never having to worry where his next case of vintage wine was coming from, and with a maid who stored it at the correct temperature, Portillo was in receipt of even less sympathy than Balls for having played the politics game and lost. Immediately after his docusoap, however, people who would never have voted for him were proposing him for No 10. “Resourceful, intelligent, thoughtful, patient, kind and open-minded … I am not a Tory but the programme has changed my opinion of this man” was a typical reaction.

There was a cynical view: that he’d done the show to improve his public image. Well, it could still have backfired. Most politicians are risk-averse; they’d run a mile from the leering cameras of reality TV and their butchering editors. Submitting to the all-seeing gaze still takes balls, and Balls.

Dugdale has yet to explain her motives for wanting to hunker round the campfire in Australia and eat wombat testicles with a football WAG and yet another member of the defunct Saturdays girlband. The last contestant standing on I’m a Celebrity wins a tidy sum. Dugdale will pocket some of her fee for taking part while the rest, plus her MSP’s earnings, will go to charity. We could hope, though, that like Galloway before her, she’s aware the show pulls in marginally more viewers than Today in Parliament and therefore there’s an opportunity to speak to the politically disaffected, especially among the yoof.

Job done, Galloway told me later, although tragically most of his speechifying was left on the cutting-room floor. “I went into the Big Brother House fully intending to write an epic novel in my head about the Spanish Civil War but by the end I was falling out with Preston over the ownership of a bun,” he said. Preston? Another popster, apparently, but no one will ever forget Galloway puffing a cigar on the gym treadmill, donning a scarlet leotard for robotic dancing - and pretending to be a cat lapping imaginary milk from Rula Lenska’s hands then purring words into the actress’s ear which, she confessed later, made her “bottom jump and tighten excitedly”.

Follow that, Kezia.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Aidan Smith"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618691.1511202686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618691.1511202686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ex-Scottish Labour leader has some tough acts to follow in the world of political reality TV. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ex-Scottish Labour leader has some tough acts to follow in the world of political reality TV. Picture: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618691.1511202686!/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-preview-meow-meow-and-the-hebrides-ensemble-team-up-to-tackle-schubert-and-schumann-1-4618324","id":"1.4618324","articleHeadline": "Music preview: Meow Meow and the Hebrides Ensemble team up to tackle Schubert and Schumann","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511184076000 ,"articleLead": "

I must warn you that I’ve only partially finished a biscuit.” Melissa Madden Gray, better known as Meow Meow, is taking a nightcap when we speak over the phone – it’s morning in Scotland, but late evening Down Under. “Don’t worry – I’m used to working with time differences,” she explains. “I’m usually awake and over-excited at any time of the day or night.”

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What the Australian singer, actor, cabaret chanteuse and all-round diva has stayed up to enthuse about on this occasion is her new collaboration with the Hebrides Ensemble, which she brings to Glasgow and Edinburgh later this week. She’s been roundly adored at two Edinburgh International Festivals in recent years – first for provocative Berlin cabaret with Barry Humphries and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, then for her own postmodern take on The Little Mermaid. But this show is – well, very different.

“It’s not funny,” she explains. “It’s none of the comedy that Edinburgh audiences might be used to seeing me in. But it’s deeply passionate – the agony and ecstasy of love and loss, and a sense of existential crisis.”

Restless Love is the more user-friendly title that the Hebrides Ensemble has bestowed on Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, a wholesale recomposition of Schubert and Schumann songs by Dutch composer, pianist and conductor Reinbert de Leeuw. He recasts the songs’ original piano accompaniments across the broad canvas of a mini-orchestra, and merges them together in a show that’s closer to theatre or cabaret than it is to a traditional song recital.

And these are songs – including such treasured creations as Schubert’s Ständchen and Gretchen am Spinnrade, or Schumann’s Ich grolle nicht and the song the gives the work its title – that, in their original versions, are close to Gray’s heart. “One of my favourite ever pieces is Schubert’s Nacht und Träume sung by Kiri Te Kanawa. I’d bash away at that as a little girl – can you imagine, little Meow howling away at that at the piano?”

Does she feel a sense of responsibility to the originals? “Because I’m such a fan, I think I can only be loving in my research and performance. This certainly doesn’t feel like a trashing. For a classical audience, everything is recognisible, but it’s genius how Reinbert has pulled the entrails out of these songs and created such an intense journey.”

Out of Gretchen am Spinnrade, for example, de Leeuw has created something far more raw and uncompromising than the original. “It’s really wild, the way he’s written it,” Gray explains. “I’m almost vomiting with the obsession of it all.” And Schubert’s famous shocker Erlkönig gets even scarier in de Leeuw’s ensemble rethink, she says. “It’s kind of like a jump-cut version, skipping beats and bars all over the place, where you get an even more frenetic ride to save the child.”

The conception, she explains, requires a singing actor rather than simply a singer. “Sometimes I play it as though I’ve just murdered by lover – that’s how I walk on stage, consumed by horror and remorse and at the same time such passion that I’m overwhelmed by it. Your voice is at its most extreme – it growls and rages and roars, and then there are these moments of intense beauty. I have a ridiculous voice, but it goes to lots of places.”

Indeed, Gray points to connections with repertoire that we’re perhaps more familiar hearing her sing. “Obviously I’ve performed lots of Brecht and Weill, and I do feel these songs mark the origins of all those 20th-century songs. There are stories within each of these songs, and you can feel the lineage right through cabaret and even into contemporary pop songs.”

She’s becoming a frequent visitor to Scotland, both to Edinburgh at festival time and now outside the August mayhem period. How does she feel about returning? “Tell Mr Bonnar at the antique shop that I’m on my way!” she says. “I think I’ll really enjoy coming outside the festival, to be honest – you’re so bonkers when you’re performing in August. It’ll be nice to walk calmly to the venue – although I’m expecting that I’ll be collected and carried there, won’t I?” ■

*Meow Meow performs Restless Love with the Hebrides Ensemble at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, 20 November, and Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall, 22 November, www.meowmeowrevolution.com / www.hebridesensemble.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Kettle"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618323.1511184092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618323.1511184092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Meow Meow PIC: Karl Giant","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Meow Meow PIC: Karl Giant","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618323.1511184092!/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/album-reviews-taylor-swift-paloma-faith-charlotte-gainsbourg-spinning-coin-1-4618321","id":"1.4618321","articleHeadline": "Album reviews: Taylor Swift | Paloma Faith | Charlotte Gainsbourg | Spinning Coin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511183824000 ,"articleLead": "

Pop princess Taylor Swift grows up, while Paloma Faith experiments with ideas, if not sound

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Taylor Swift: Reputation ***

Big Machine Records

Paloma Faith: The Architect ***

RCA

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Rest ****

Because Music

Spinning Coin: Permo ***

Geographic

The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now – why? because she’s dead.” And so Taylor Swift announces the completion of her Sandy-from-Grease-style makeover from wholesome country teen to worldly and moderately vampy elder pop sister on the hippest track she has ever put her name to – Reputation’s sardonic lead single Look What You Made Me Do, which borrows heavily from cool Noughties electro artists like Peaches, and uncool 90s novelty act Right Said Fred for its I’m Too Sexy-referencing chorus.

All that remains of her previous prom queen guise is the twee sentimentality of her sixth album’s only acoustic track, New Year’s Day, and the occasional cutesy conversational tic in her vocal phrasing. In its place, there is the rhythmic cheerleader sass of End Game and This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, the druggy allusions and gospel inflections of Don’t Blame Me, the brooding synth minimalism of Delicate and the mechanically dreamy Gorgeous.

As the breathy R&B of Dress suggests, it’s all about the veneer, as Swift chooses to slip into something seemingly more revealing but generally as opaque and generic as ever. Against the rent-a-rave backdrops of producers Max Martin and Shellback, she indulges in some playful roleplay on I Did Something Bad, which hints at the sexist hypocrisy she has encountered and countered (“they’re burning all the witches even if you aren’t one”) before reverting to pop cliché.

While Swift consummately stage manages her career to ever greater commercial returns, Paloma Faith projects a less manicured persona as an entertaining and outspoken soul pop diva.

Faith’s gutsy voice is made for heartbreak power ballads and defiant anthems. On her fourth album she turns that defiance outwards to world events. But as she uses her platform for political comment (inviting broadcaster and activist Owen Jones on tour as her support act, for example), her music is actually becoming safer and her numbers on Brexit (Guilty) and the refugee crisis (the Sia-penned Warrior) are universally worded pop psychodramas rather than crossover protest songs.

Faith has previously drawn inspiration from the jazz and soul greats but The Architect is more old-fashioned than old school. The slick 80s soul of Crybaby suggests a 21st century Lisa Stansfield, and Faith finds her Alexander O’Neal in John Legend, who guests on the hokey duet I’ll Be Gentle.

Charlotte Gainsbourg comes from a very different vocal tradition. She exudes the same breathy mix of demureness and devilment as her mother Jane Birkin, which sounds particularly effective floating over romantic strings or noir synth soundscapes.

Until now, her albums have been curated by collaborators such as Jarvis Cocker. On Rest, Gainsbourg knows what she wants and who to go to to get it – Songbird in a Cage was penned by Paul McCartney and reworked as a robotic tech funk number, while the title track was co-written with Daft Punk’s Guy Manuel de Homem-Christo.

She takes a leaf out of Daft Punk’s book on the cool and compelling Deadly Valentine where her vocal arpeggios complement the disco backing. The bewitching Ring A Ring O’ Roses sounds like Lana Del Rey walking through the set of Blade Runner and Lying With You is a spooky electro baroque requiem for her father Serge.

Meanwhile, in a parallel musical universe, rising Glasgow indie kids Spinning Coin invoke the spirit of the mid/late-80s DIY independent scene on their Edwyn Collins-produced debut album, Permo, which is divided evenly between Sean Armstrong’s bittersweet melodies and Jack Mellin’s lo-fi punky hurtles to create double dynamic trouble.

CLASSICAL

Max Reger: String Trios & Piano Quartet (Audite) ****

Max Reger was remarkably prolific, despite the relative brevity of his career. His music exudes the late Romantic spirit, leaning precariously towards modernism. That dichotomy regularly surfaces in his chamber music, which this disc of the string trios and piano quartet illustrates beautifully. The performers are the Trio Lirico and pianist Detlev Eisinger, whose performances elicit the rich complexities as well as the clarity of Reger’s writing. They open with the free-flowing second Trio, Op.141b, at the heart of which are the gorgeous variations of the Andante, achingly expressed here and instantly refreshed by the brisk ensuing fugue. Then there’s the ghostly opening of the first Trio, Op.77b, a mood quickly dispelled by the heated drama of movement proper and the expressive freedom these performers bestow on it. The Piano Quartet, altogether denser, brings Brahms to mind, but once again reveals a composer whose star deserves to shine more brightly.

Ken Walton

JAZZ

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams (ECM) ****

Anouar Brahem, Paris-based Tunisian virtuoso of the oud or Arabic lute, makes a welcome return to the jazz fold in inspired dialogue with three distinguished jazz practitioners – bassist Dave Holland, with whom he last collaborated on his 1997 Thimar album, pianist Django Bates and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The quartet engage in delicate and graceful colloquy – in the lyrical and gently progressing title track, for instance (“maqams” refers to the modality of classical Arabic music), Holland’s bass thrum and DeJohnette’s cymbal work couching the microtonal lines of the oud, while Bates invokes a dreamy combination of languor and suspense in pieces such as La Nuit or La Passante. In Bahia, Brahem returns to a number he recorded with Jan Garbarek some 25 years ago, a sinuous, flamenco-sounding oud meditation which takes up a hypnotic riff as Holland then DeJohnette sidle in stealthily, while Unexpected Outcome closes the album with an exhilarating tidal flow. ■

Jim Gilchrist

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618320.1511183840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618320.1511183840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Taylor Swift PIC: Kevin Winter/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Taylor Swift PIC: Kevin Winter/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618320.1511183840!/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-preview-mischief-la-bas-to-explore-the-dark-side-of-nursery-rhymes-1-4618305","id":"1.4618305","articleHeadline": "Theatre preview: Mischief La-Bas to explore the dark side of nursery rhymes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511183529000 ,"articleLead": "

The Trongate in Glasgow is a street full of history. Running west from the point where the old High Street winds down into the Saltmarket, it’s been a place associated for centuries with the teeming and sometimes violent street life of one of the world’s great industrial cities, where people of all nations surged up from the docks along the river in search of work and new lives, or just a drink, some company, and a chance to buy and sell in Paddy’s Market, a few yards to the south. Today, it’s the home of the Tron Theatre, based in an old church built over a plague-pit; but a century ago, its most famous place of entertainment was the Britannia Panopticon, an astonishing music hall with a basement menagerie of wild animals, scene of Stan Laurel’s first stand-up comedy act. And it’s in and around the magic, crumbling space of the Panopticon – still standing above the local amusement arcade, and cherished by a dedicated group of volunteers – that Scotland’s leading outdoor theatre company Mischief La-Bas is about to conjure up its latest show, an unsettling study of the dark side of the nursery rhymes we all learned as children, set in the Panopticon and in the dark lanes around it.

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“We looked at all sorts of possible locations for this show,” says Angie Dight of Mischief La-Bas, sitting among piles of costumes and pieces of set at the company’s base in the nearby Briggait building. “But this part of Glasgow just seemed perfect – particularly the area around the Panopticon, with its history of wild and strange entertainment.”

Mischief La-Bas have been planning a show along the lines of Nursery Crymes since before the tragic death, three years ago, of Ian Smith, the company’s co-founder and Dight’s lifelong partner; and the original concept was very much part of Smith’s obsession with the world of street entertainment as an ancient, magical running commentary on the absurdities of conventional life.

“The truth is,” says Dight, “that almost every one of our familiar nursery rhymes has an undertow of violence and darkness to it, from ‘Rockabye Baby’ to ‘Little Jack Horner’. Some are said to be political satires – ‘Mary, Mary Quite Contrary’ is supposed to be about Queen Mary of England and her instruments of torture – and others are maybe just tales to frighten children into good behaviour. And as part of the project, we’ve been gathering old children’s rhymes from around this part of Glasgow, some of them really horrifying.

“Ever since I was a child, though, I’ve been drawn to the idea of doing the exciting things that the rhymes tell you not to do; so the aim of this show is to question what these rhymes are trying to tell us, and the kind of values and conditioning implied in them. And also to have a lot of fun, of course.”

All of which means that despite its nursery theme, Nursery Crymes is emphatically not a show for children; the lower age limit is 14, and teenagers aged 14-17 should, says Dight, be accompanied by an adult. “It’s going to be dark, it might be wet or cold, and we’ll be going around back lanes in one of the grimier parts of the city,” she says, “so I hope people will wrap up warm, and won’t even think of bringing young children.”

If it’s designed for adults, though, the show seems set to offer a typical Mischief La-Bas fairground of unearthly delights, through which audiences will move in groups of 30, at intervals of 20 minutes, from 6pm onwards. The physical aspects of the production are being co-ordinated by Glasgow designer Bill Breckinridge, whose work mainly focusses on community projects around Glasgow, involving organisations like the Scottish Refugee Council and Fair Deal in Castlemilk, as well as GoMA and the National Theatre of Scotland; and they will involve an initial journey through a Mother Goose Forest in a dark city lane, as well as a final encounter with a game-filled street-market known as the F***ed-Up Fairground.

“My recent work has always been very much about responding to specific places and locations,”says Breckinridge, “and this project fits brilliantly with that. It’s very much about this part of Glasgow, and its energy; and the combination of that with the theme of this show is just really exciting to work with.”

In addition, five artists or groups of artists have been invited to create their own events or installations along the way, ranging from a sound piece by Glasgow’s own youth theatre company Junction 25, to work by the Radiator Collective of Hastings, and artists Dav Bernard, Fiona Robertson and Liz Aggiss; Aggiss’s work, involving film and choreography, will appear in the Panopticon itself. And thanks to Mischief La-Bas’ membership of the international street theatre network In Situ, Nursery Crymes has not only already inspired workshops in Belgium and Kosovo, but has a chance, after Glasgow, of enjoying a further life in other cities, across the UK and Europe.

“This is a big show for us,” says Dight. “It involves 19 performers, including ten Mischief La-Bas artists, seven volunteers, and – we hope, visas permitting – two young Kosovans we met during our workshops there. I’ll be there as nanny, making sure that everything runs smoothly. And what we hope is that this will be an ideal entertainment for this strange time of year, just before the real Christmas season; dark but vivid, full of disturbing questions and weird night-time fun – and of course a chance to look again at these rhymes all of us take for granted, at the strange, ambiguous values they represent, and at whether we are still passing them on to the next generation of children.” ■

*Nursery Crymes is at the Britannia Panopticon, Glasgow, 24-25 November, www.mischieflabas.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618304.1511183542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618304.1511183542!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nursery Crymes is a promenade performance taking place in Glasgow on 24 and 25 November, exploring the dark themes behind well-known children's stories.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nursery Crymes is a promenade performance taking place in Glasgow on 24 and 25 November, exploring the dark themes behind well-known children's stories.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618304.1511183542!/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-review-chrysalis-festival-traverse-edinburgh-1-4618292","id":"1.4618292","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Chrysalis festival, Traverse, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511182816000 ,"articleLead": "

We are in a land like ours in all respects but one: it is the duty of every citizen to hold onto a string that rises – who knows where? – into the sky. It’s a bit of a chore, but the people have always put up with it. Until now, that is. In a virus-like wave of civil disobedience, they have started letting go of their strings and carrying on their lives unencumbered.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618291.1511182831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "How To Save The World... Ish"} ,"articleBody": "

Chrysalis festival, Traverse, Edinburgh ****

This is the scenario of How To Save The World… Ish, a compelling piece of storytelling drama by Beacon Young Company. It is staged as part of Chrysalis, a festival that brings together the finest examples of youth theatre from around the UK with a view to entertain, provoke and inspire. In a rich and rewarding weekend of shows, the Greenock company demonstrates the power of a good story colourfully told.

In the fluid ensemble production, directed by Nicholas Barton-Wines and devised by the company, it’s down to the teenage Sophie to alert the world of the catastrophic consequences of letting go of the strings. She faces an enormous challenge. Not even her father takes her seriously, let alone the bullying girls at school. The easier option would be to give in.

For a while the play threatens to become a conservative fable about upholding tradition for no better reason than blind faith. But it’s not that at all. Sophie is driven not by superstition or habit, but by wisdom passed down to her. She knows the strings really do have a purpose. What emerges is a life-affirming allegory about fighting for what you believe and about resistance in the face of mass selfishness.

Like all the shows, it is rigorously performed, the actors’ personalities shining through even as they operate as a tightly drilled ensemble. It is not the weekend’s most theatrically adventurous show – that prize would go to the apocalyptic dance-theatre cabaret of Dark Mechanics by Livingston’s Firefly Arts – but it is the most coherently structured and therefore the most gripping.

Nor is Beacon the only company taking on the weight of the world, although its response is the most positive. On the one hand, Dark Mechanics offers a nihilistic view of a population of lab rats buckling under the pressures of 21st-century life. On the other, Reading Rep’s Queer Fish is a raw, vulgar and vulnerable vision of hedonistic escape. Sitting somewhere between Sarah Kane, Irvine Welsh and Jean Genet, it is a beat-driven, pill-popping three-hander that makes up for its narrative uncertainty with the grimy, impressionistic texture of abusive relationships, sexual dysfunction and desperate excess. It is thrilling and disturbing.

Tackling a delicate subject with wit and flare is There Is A Light: Brightlight, staged by Manchester’s Contact Young Company under the direction of Glasgow’s Adura Onashile. Plays about medical conditions are in vogue, but the experiences of teenage cancer patients have been little heard, not to mention the awkward issues, from sex to survival, that the play tackles with brash humour and sensitivity.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Mark Fisher"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618291.1511182831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618291.1511182831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "How To Save The World... Ish","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "How To Save The World... Ish","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618291.1511182831!/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-the-rsno-thomas-s-ndergard-1-4618284","id":"1.4618284","articleHeadline": "Music review: the RSNO & Thomas Sndergrd","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511182510000 ,"articleLead": "

You know that moment, buying a new car, when you fire up the ignition, press your foot on the accelerator and the connection is immediate, the steering instantly responsive, the decision made? The experience was similar on Saturday when music director designate Thomas Søndergård took the RSNO, and us, on a thrill-a-minute journey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618283.1511182525!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Martin Bubandt"} ,"articleBody": "

The RSNO & Thomas Søndergård, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall *****

First up, Poulenc’s edgy Suite from Les Biches: a bad-ass dance score in the mode of neo-classical Stravinsky, oozing saucy energy, softened by those typically gauche Poulenc melodies and peppered harmonies, which – under Søndergård’s precise baton – had the RSNO playingat the top of its game. No awkward starts; no rolling bends; just a natural momentum that let the music’s inner fire ebb and flow.

Then it was the turn of Aleksei Kiseliov, the orchestra’s principal cellist, to take over the driving seat as soloist in Saint-Saëns’ flamboyant Cello Concerto No 1. What a natural performer he is.

In a concerto that fires on all cylinders from the offset, Kiseliov’s opening flourish set the mood and direction with compelling character and assurance: a dizzy technical display par excellence, from which his innate musicality – not least those moments of golden lyricism – took easeful flight. An encore was demanded. Kiseliov obliged with another Saint-Saëns’ favourite, the Swan.

The concert ended on another high, the sensuous, multi-coloured masterpiece that is Rimsky Korsakov’s Sheherezade. Again, Søndergård’s panoramic vision was instantly embraced by the orchestra, gratifyingly cohesive, yet effervescent at every turn.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ken Walton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618283.1511182525!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618283.1511182525!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Martin Bubandt","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Martin Bubandt","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618283.1511182525!/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-ricky-ross-queen-s-hall-edinburgh-1-4618270","id":"1.4618270","articleHeadline": "Music review: Ricky Ross, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511181721000 ,"articleLead": "

Like Deacon Blue, the band which he founded more than three decades ago, and which fostered the extensive career in music and broadcast he’s enjoyed ever since, Ricky Ross’ solo work enjoys a particular popularity amid Scottish audiences. His new record under his own name, Short Stories Vol.1, is a very distinctive take on his back catalogue and on his muse as it stands at the moment, and its stripped-back use of just Ross’s voice and piano or guitar was mirrored here.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618269.1511181735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ricky Ross"} ,"articleBody": "

Ricky Ross, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh ***

The music, of course, was rich and evocative, but the real pleasure was in hearing Ross’ stories and reminiscences unfold. He’s a natural storyteller in person as well as in song, his Dundonian baritone both wistful at and amused by his own memories.

Not unexpectedly, the songs also sounded great, with Ross’ voice treading a familiar tightrope between the beautifully soulful and the wearily blues-laden. He drew comparisons between the Tivoli in Hamburg, the city in which the new record was recorded, and the Tivoli in Aberdeen, where he used to see his favourite comedian Lex McLean perform, and looked back at memories of sharp-suited young guys coming from the west of Fife – “from Cowdenbeath or Kelty” – to Dundee to spend their pay before Wages Day.

He spoke of his only son before Boys Break the Things They Love and his pet dog before Only God and Dogs, and included a sparkling Chocolate Girl and his own take on Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly With His Song.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "David Pollock"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618269.1511181735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618269.1511181735!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ricky Ross","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ricky Ross","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618269.1511181735!/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-basel-chamber-orchestra-stephen-hough-1-4618194","id":"1.4618194","articleHeadline": "Music review: Basel Chamber Orchestra & Stephen Hough","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511178029000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s an evergreen favourite, but Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture always manages to retain an enduring freshness, especially when heard in the understated, at times almost muted, style of the Basel Chamber Orchestra with conductor Heinz Holliger. Setting sail on millpond-calm waters, the voyage to Fingal’s Cave was one of gentle, measured flow. A genial warmth permeated the BCO’s sound, gently punctuated by the sea bird calls of brass and wind.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618193.1511178044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephen Hough PIC: Robert Torres"} ,"articleBody": "

Basel Chamber Orchestra & Stephen Hough, Usher Hall, Edinburgh ****

Holliger is mainly recognised as an oboist and conductor, with his composition skills less well known. Meta Arca for solo violin and string ensemble served not only as a palate-cleanser before Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No 1, written the same year as the Hebrides Overture, but as a touching tribute – in the form of six musical portraits – to Camerata Bern concertmasters.

Of these, the angular lyricism of leader Daniel Bard’s solo violin and the bittersweet, swaying waltz were more persuasive than sections where players were required to strum as if guitars or strike their instruments like percussion.

Returning to Mendelssohn, British pianist Stephen Hough was a spot-on match for the Swiss sound. In a fast-moving first movement, balance took a moment or two to settle, Hough’s agile, delicate playing not always heard with complete clarity. However, as with Schubert’s Symphony No 9, which finished the concert, there is an inherently cheerful spirit to this music, one which Holliger brought out in both pieces with precise, no-fuss conducting that was rhythmically tight and expertly paced.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Carol Main"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618193.1511178044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618193.1511178044!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stephen Hough PIC: Robert Torres","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephen Hough PIC: Robert Torres","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618193.1511178044!/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-steps-hydro-glasgow-1-4618164","id":"1.4618164","articleHeadline": "Music review: Steps, Hydro, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511177088000 ,"articleLead": "

“Songs are more serious than life,” quoth writer/producer Pete Waterman in a nod to Bill Shankly. You may underestimate Steps, the Waterman-steered wind-up hit machine of the late 1990s, but two decades on their songs – cheesy dilutions of the Abba/Bee Gees disco pop gold standard – have sold out a 20th anniversary arena tour with grown-up kids keyed up at the prospect of executing the elaborate handjive routines which accompany every other song.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618163.1511177104!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steps in concert at the Hydro PIC: Duncan Bryceland/REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

Steps, Hydro, Glasgow ***

Pop shows have also grown up in the last 20 years and a certain level of theatrical conceptualisation is anticipated. Steps opted for a portentous Da Vinci Code build-up with hooded masked figures emerging from the dry ice to complement the hokey drama of Scared of the Dark, a bizarre hospital routine, like a fetish Carry On sequence, for their tinny cover of the actual Bee Gees-penned Chain Reaction, mirrorball helmets for the Chic-referencing Stomp and a knowingly naff hoedown theme for their line-dancing debut hit 5,6,7,8 - who would have thought a career could be built on that?

The Steps fivesome were good sports throughout as their troupe of young hoofers literally danced rings around them. There may not be an original thought behind their musical and cultural appropriation but the cheery tuneage was undeniable.

A cover of Luis Fonsi’s summer smash Despacito was a timely reminder that there is always a place for feelgood pop as a vehicle for accord – Steps unveiled a rainbow-coloured neon message Love Wins to mark the Australian same sex marriage vote and the celebrations continued with the high camp wedding encore of Tragedy.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4618163.1511177104!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4618163.1511177104!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steps in concert at the Hydro PIC: Duncan Bryceland/REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steps in concert at the Hydro PIC: Duncan Bryceland/REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4618163.1511177104!/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-scots-fiddle-festival-1-4618160","id":"1.4618160","articleHeadline": "Music review: Scots Fiddle Festival","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511176830000 ,"articleLead": "

As part of a festival celebrating the glories of Scots fiddle music, Saturday’s recitals at Summerhall couldn’t have kicked off in more apposite and bar-raising form than the performance by the renowned Campbeltown fiddler Archie McAllister. Accompanied expertly by guitarist Ron Pirrie, McAllister was an imposing presence, hunched over his fiddle with serious intent as strathspeys, reels, jigs and pipe marches emerged with dart and fire, but also with affection and respect, as he scrupulously credited not only their composers but often their dedicatees, invoking generations. There was a wonderful moment when Pirrie dramatically broke off, allowing the solo fiddler to release G S MacLennan’s classic Little Cascade like a greyhound out of a trap.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4600330.1511176845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Kittel flanked by Josh Pinkham, left, and Quinn Bachand"} ,"articleBody": "

Scots Fiddle Festival, Summerhall & Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh ****

Subsequent recitals included the muscular and frequently droll trio OBT, comprising fiddlers Daniel Thorpe and Jon Bews and guitarist Tom Oakes, who worked up quite a stomp in what might be termed the heidbangin’ school of strathspey-playing, while, from Kelso, Carly Blain, after some initial nerves (she and accompanist Harris Playfair had got lost in the bewildering warren that is Summerhall), gave a vivacious recital combining compositions from her newly published tune book with some skeely hornpipes from her native Border country. Given Playfair’s exuberant accompaniment, it was no surprise when they broke into ragtime, which metamorphosed into a manic reel.

A group from the festival’s Outreach Project opened the evening’s Queen’s Hall concert with impressive youthful panache. Patsy Reid’s set which followed, with Alistair Paterson on keyboards, guitarist Ewan MacPherson and percussionist Signy Jakobsdóttir, took in lissome strathspey and reel sets from her native Perthshire, as well as her own compositions and one by Scandinavian mandocello player Marit Fält, who joined them for some elegant cascades of bowed and plucked strings – although whether it really requires a percussion undertow may be debatable.

Bringing migratory Scots music and much else back across the Atlantic, the Jeremy Kittel Trio played a mercurial set, the Brooklyn-based fiddler, guitarist Quinn Bachand and mandolinist Joshua Pinkham ranging though some “strange” strathspeys and reels, as they termed them, and flitted fleetly from a Bach prelude to the appropriately punchy Boxing Reels.

In contrast, At Home in the World was a tender slow strathspey in memory of the murdered US journalist (and fiddle player) Daniel Pearl, before Reid joined them for a fiery, twin-fiddle strathspey and reel set, bringing the day nicely full circle.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4600330.1511176845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4600330.1511176845!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jeremy Kittel flanked by Josh Pinkham, left, and Quinn Bachand","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jeremy Kittel flanked by Josh Pinkham, left, and Quinn Bachand","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4600330.1511176845!/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/interview-timothy-west-1-4616073","id":"1.4616073","articleHeadline": "Interview: Timothy West","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511174164000 ,"articleLead": "

Why Timothy West and Prunella Scales are still making waves with their Great Canal Journeys

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616071.1511173934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Timothy West back on dry land near his home in London. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown"} ,"articleBody": "

Actors Timothy West and Prunella Scales have a sailaway success story on their hands with their TV series for Channel 4, Great Canal Journeys. Married for 52 years and known for many roles from Sybil in Fawlty Towers (Scales) to Edward VII and EastEnders (West), as they say at the start of each episode, approaching the final curtain there are still a couple of parts they like returning to, captain and his mate. West is every bit the salty old sea dog while Scales remains his jaunty companion in her floppy denim hat, whatever the weather, occasionally quoting relevant classics, like The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

For the past eight series and 26 episodes the pair of veteran thesps have boarded canal barges and narrowboats in the United Kingdom and Europe, and in season seven India, exploring waterways from the Kennet & Avon Canal to the Forth & Clyde, Sweden’s Göta Canal, Venice and Kerala and back to the Norfolk Broads. As they go they discover and describe the places and people they meet, with a cheery shipshape-and-Bristol-fashion spirit of adventure.

“All of our journeys appeal in different ways, but we did enjoy our Scottish adventures around the Union and Crinan canals,” says West obligingly, when I ask about their Caledonian journeys.

“We were blessed, or cursed, with some rather frightful weather which was exciting. Corryvreckan was VERY exciting,” he says. Given that he’s referring to the world’s third largest whirlpool, the most notorious stretch of water in the British Isles, where they met 30 foot waves as they island hopped their way towards the Crinan canal, his understatement is impressive.

“Is it safe?” Scales asks him as they pass the whirlpool.

“Very safe,” he replies, confidently.

“What?” she shouts into the wind.

“Very safe, yes.”

“Well you could have fooled me. Bloody ‘ell!” she says as the boat bobs around like a cork.

On this occasion the viewer is relieved to see they are passengers on another boat, but do people ever tell them they should be taking it easy now that they’re in their eighties?

“Not to my face!” booms West and laughs.

West and Scales’ journeys, often down memory lane, are given an extra poignancy owing to the fact that Scales, now 85, has dementia. In 2014 West, who is 83, revealed that Scales had been suffering a form of Alzheimer’s that had developed over the past 15 years. It’s something they have been open about and at the start of each show West says kindly, “Pru’s memory is not what it was,” to which Scales concurs with a jokey, “it’s true. Some days I don’t know whether it’s Monday or Lewisham!” With memory adrift, they embrace living in the moment, and sailing is something they have always done, and can still share.

Despite having been in some of TV’s biggest hits, the pair are more likely to be recognised for Great Canal Journeys nowadays, most recently in Sri Lanka where they were on holiday.

“It was a local too, not a tourist, who thanked us for the show,” says West. “I’ve no idea why it’s so popular, but I think it’s a combination of something which is slow and peaceful, and also a bit interesting. It’s a journey by two people who people sort of recognise, which makes it slightly different from the usual travelogue where there’s one person explaining things. I don’t know,” he says, mystified, but delighted anyway.

“When we made the first four programmes I thought this is going to be shown on More4 on a Tuesday and a few old ladies will be watching it, but I was quite wrong.” He laughs, a hearty chuckle as he celebrates launching the book of their travels, Our Great Canal Journeys, this month.

“We’re really pleased with the book. It’s got beautiful pictures and looks exciting. It’s a little bit more than a coffee table book, I think. We included some stills from the programme and included various photographs, many of them from my daughter.”

Sailing was something West and Scales always did with their two sons, Sam and Joe, and Timothy’s daughter Juliet from his first marriage to actor Jacqueline Boyer.

“There are lots of things I’d forgotten in there; it’s a lifetime of memories, pictures of our sons Sam and Joe when they were 10 and eight on our first canal holiday – they’re 50 and 47 now and my daughter is just over 60 which is unbelievable. I can’t believe it’s gone on so long, but it has.”

West recalls his son Joe falling into the water when he was about eight or nine, and as his anxious parents watched, failing to reappear. “We realised he’d had a heavy windlass in each hand when he went in and we’d said never, ever let go of them because we can’t get through locks without them.” He laughs a big, hearty, booming laugh. “So we shouted, ‘it’s all right, we’d rather have you!’, and he let go and came up. We had to retrieve the windlasses,” he says and chuckles some more at the memory.

“Our life together is a journey we’re still making,” he says. “We go to new places and meet new people. And Pru’s condition could very easily… So I say, ‘come on, there are not very many things we can do now, let’s just do it.’ We could say we’ve had a good time and sit down and watch the television and go to sleep. We could do that – although I couldn’t because I’m not that sort of person – but I think it has been very good for Pru to still feel she can actually do and be part of something which is important and popular and works, and also have some fun and do interesting things and meet interesting people.”

West first noticed a change in Scales when he watched her performing in a play and realised she was having to think about the next line.

“She didn’t seem to be doing it quite in her usual way and I thought ‘there’s something wrong here’. She had a brain scan and it was diagnosed. That’s a good 15 years ago,” he says.

West and Scales debated whether to mention her illness on Great Canal Journeys but as West says, “you’ve got to, because lots of people in the business know about it, and members of the public too, and to deny it or avoid it is just dishonest and wrong.”

When I suggest that West gives hope to other people facing this situation, he gently clarifies for me. “I think what I give them is encouragement. Not hope. Because you can’t do anything about it in the end. But it takes place at different speeds and we’ve been terribly lucky in that it’s progressed very slowly, so that you adjust day by day. You don’t wake up in the morning and think ‘Oh my God, where is this person?’ because you’ve already become accustomed to it. And you just think ‘what can we do to make the most of things?’

“There aren’t any positive things to say about dementia, except you’ve got to keep it at bay if you can. We all know people who have it and people who look after people who have it and have their different solutions. But the fact I seem to have given some public encouragement to keep people going is good.

“You can get terribly, terribly depressed and think the future doesn’t hold any brightness for you… you can’t think ‘oh we’ll get through this and it will be all right’, because it won’t be.

So you just have to manage from day to day, to make life as pleasant and bearable and interesting as it can be.”

Apart from dealing with dementia, the couple, who met on a “really awful television play” that was cancelled due to an electricians’ strike, have managed to plot a successful course through 52 years of marriage. To what does West attribute their success in these often choppy waters?

“Humour is vital,” he says “and respect for what people do and what people think. Kindness is important, and we’ve always had the same humour, laughed at the same things, been interested in the same things, got cross about the same things. And been in the same business. We have often been away from each other work-wise and therefore we’re always very glad to see each other again.

“We met when we were cast with small parts in that really boring play, so had both brought the crossword to stop us going mad. We saw each other across the rehearsal room doing it, so decided to sit together. Then we couldn’t record because of the strike one day so we went to the cinema, Pru and I, to see The Grass is Greener with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The show was cancelled, but a bit later Pru sent me a card saying ‘they’re reviving that terrible play, are you in it?’ I wasn’t but we started writing to each other then.”

Since the keen cruciverbalists also enjoyed letter writing, missives criss-crossed the country from Aberdeen to Brighton, Norwich to Bristol, as the pair corresponded while touring with respective theatre companies.

“Then we started getting night trains from various places so we could spend a day together. We finally we finished up in the same town when she was doing a play in Oxford and I was on tour with a farce that went there, and we had a proper Sunday together.”

And where did they go? To the river of course. West’s love affair with boats had begun when his father took him boating on the Thames as a child and Scales’ when she was evacuated to the Lake District during the Second World War.

“We sat by the river and both realised we loved the water, being by it, on it, not so much in it from my point of view because I’m a really awful swimmer, dreadful, dreadful…” he says. “And then we went to a hotel, and the rest is history!”

Both West and Scales hail from acting families, with West being born on the road when his father was appearing in a play in Bradford. Scales’ one-time actor mother encouraged her daughter, but West’s parents were less keen that he enter the family business.

“My mother’s father was an actor too, so it was in the blood, but they thought it was very precarious. They hadn’t had an easy life and it was a long time before my father started working regularly in London and we were able to buy a small house. He thought I could do better than that. And also, they came to see me in amateur shows, and I think they thought I wasn’t very good,” at this he breaks out into laughter again.

So West became an office furniture salesman, which he paid no attention to whatsoever, his attention on the many am-dram societies of which he was a member, and admits to being “completely hopeless at it.”

After landing a job as assistant stage manager in a London theatre, the acting roles increased and his career took off. Sixty years on he can look back at a career that spans theatre, TV and film. He’s played Macbeth twice and Lear four times, but there are still roles he’d like to take on. “I wouldn’t mind having a go at Prospero,” he says.

Big screen roles have included The Day of the Jackal, The Thirty Nine Steps and Cry Freedom (1987) and his big TV break came with his portrayal of Edward VII when he was 40. Later he showed his flair for comedy as Bradley Hardacre in Granada TV’s satirical Northern super-soap Brass, and he has appeared in both Coronation Street and EastEnders. As the Carter family patriarch and former Billingsgate fishmonger Stan, an armchair manipulator and curmudgeon who died onscreen in 2015, he lent gravitas and complexity. “EastEnders deals with universal stories, modern problems, but universal themes, that’s what I liked about it,” he says.

“I love the variety of my career very much, and I think as actors we have a mission to show that we can do different things because there is a tendency now among the management and casting directors to categorise you, to say ‘oh, he’s more of a classical actor, will he be able to do the accent?’ Of course you can, if you’re an actor you’ve learnt to do everything.”

Most recently, when he wasn’t on a canal boat he was filming a part in a “sort of thriller for the BBC”. As yet unnamed, it’s one of a series.

“It’s not a large part, but I play a man who may be very devious, or may be doing things for the right reason. But it’s been difficult fitting it round the canal series, because that takes quite a bit of time. This last one to Alsace was very interesting.”

Highlights include Strasbourg Cathedral and the United Nations building, mention of which prompts West to an outburst on Brexit.

“Being a dedicated Remainer I thought ‘this is all so wonderful…’ Brexit? It’s crazy, crazy... don’t get me started… I think it’s going to be very difficult to undo it, but I think people are beginning to realise they were conned, and given all sorts of reasons for it, none of which makes any sense in how it’s turned out. I think a lot of people had one idea in their mind that immigration was going to be a global problem and we were going to get flooded with all sorts of people that took our jobs and were a danger to the community. It isn’t like that at all. Various people made promises then walked away, ran away, like rats from a sinking ship…” he says.

“It’s a critical issue, a social issue, and in our business – entertainment – we owe so much to and are so involved with Europe. I mean you couldn’t suddenly say, ‘oh, I don’t think we’re going to play any European music!’ ”

As for the future and whether there will be any further Great Canal Journeys, West is circumspect.

“I think we may have said goodbye to the canal programmes now; that Alsace might be the last. They are trying to get us to do more and we’re thinking seriously about it, but it will depend on Pru’s condition, and whether we want to go on.

“We love it, and there are so many places to go, but we have to think about it quite hard. I think we’ve had a pretty wonderful life. It’s been a learning curve, but we’ve got quite good at it. And to get on a boat and go off somewhere, that’s always been exciting. It does sort of restart the clock in one’s head. The world is still our oyster really…”

@JanetChristie2

Timothy West and Prunella Scales’ meander along the waterways of Europe and beyond in Great Canal Journeys has been delighting audiences since 2014. With a book of the series now out, Timothy West talks to Janet Christie about his devotion to Pru, how they cope with her Alzheimer’s disease and the importance of seizing every moment of their autumn years. Portrait by Debra Hurford Brown

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616071.1511173934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616071.1511173934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Timothy West back on dry land near his home in London. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Timothy West back on dry land near his home in London. Picture: Debra Hurford Brown","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616071.1511173934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616072.1511173936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616072.1511173936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Timothy West and Prunella Scales on one of their Great Canal Journeys","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Timothy West and Prunella Scales on one of their Great Canal Journeys","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616072.1511173936!/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/art/japanese-fan-of-glasgow-band-camera-obscura-creates-artwork-for-cancer-charity-1-4617021","id":"1.4617021","articleHeadline": "Japanese fan of Glasgow band Camera Obscura creates artwork for cancer charity","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511049083000 ,"articleLead": "

It promises to be a coming together of one of Scotland’s most revered bands and one of its most distant fans, all for a good cause.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617020.1511028517!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Above: Carey Lander. Right: the artwork by Chop Pop inspired by Camera Obscuras video for Lets Get Out Of This Country"} ,"articleBody": "

A new exhibition will showcase the work of a Japanese visual artist who has painstakingly recreated one of Camera Obscura’s best known music videos using nearly 200 sheets of posterboard.

The alternative, stop-motion video to the indie pop group’s 2006 single, Let’s Get Out Of This Country, has proved a hit online with other fans of the Glasgow band after it was shared on their official YouTube channel.

The technique, which makes use of brightly coloured card which is then fused together, creates a stained glass effect. It took the artist, Chop Pop, more than five years to complete.

Now, the original materials she used in the labour of love will take pride of place at a charity exhibition in the city.

The event will allow fans to buy one of the 196 original pieces of posterboard in exchange for a donation to Sarcoma UK, the bone and soft tissue cancer charity. It comes two years after Carey Lander, the group’s keyboard player, died from osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, at the age of just 33.

Before her death, Lander set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the charity. The fund-raising appeal is still active, with more than £100,000 donated to date. It is hoped that the sale of Chop Pop’s arresting artworks will further bolster that total.

The artist, whose real name is Tomoe Ishida, lives and works in the port city of Osaka, located on the Japanese island of Honshu.

However, like many music fans, her cultural horizons were expanded by listening to the late John Peel, the Radio 1 DJ who was a tireless champion of new bands.

Through listening to his show online, Ishida developed a love of Scottish groups such as Belle & Sebastian, The Delgados, Arab Strab, and BMX Bandits.

But it was hearing Camera Obscura’s 2001 debut album, Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi, which “changed her life completely.”

She saved up and bought an airline ticket to Glasgow in 2003, spending six months in the city, during which time she visited some of its celebrated live music venues to watch the bands she listened to via internet radio. Two years later, she returned to the city for an even longer trip, learning English and reacquainting herself with its music scene.

A few years ago, Ishida decided to combine her love of Scottish pop with her paper-cutting technique, recreating one of Camera Obscura’s videos as part of a project she called ‘Love Letters To Glasgow’.

She explained: “I started to make a paper cover version of Let’s Get Out Of This Country in 2012, but I worried about the copyright and quit it. However, when I heard the sad news about Carey Lander I wanted to help Carey’s campaign for Sarcoma UK, so I restarted the video in October 2015 and now have finally completed it.”

The result recreates the original video – directed by Blair Young – scene for scene, with the multi-coloured postboard being cut and assembled to depict the various band members.

Ishida’s love affair with Glasgow has also seen her create paper artworks commemorating some of its best known sites, such as Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the University of Glasgow, the Botanic Gardens, Bell’s Bridge and Oran Mor.

Sarcoma UK said it was “enthralled with the intricate video” made by Ishida.

The charity exhibition, which has the support of the group and their record label, Elefant Records, is being held at Hillhead Library in Glasgow’s West End on 2 December. www.sarcoma.org.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTYN McLAUGHLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4617020.1511028517!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617020.1511028517!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Above: Carey Lander. Right: the artwork by Chop Pop inspired by Camera Obscuras video for Lets Get Out Of This Country","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Above: Carey Lander. Right: the artwork by Chop Pop inspired by Camera Obscuras video for Lets Get Out Of This Country","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4617020.1511028517!/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/skye-band-to-create-score-for-choreographed-edinburgh-hogmanay-fireworks-1-4617201","id":"1.4617201","articleHeadline": "Skye band to create score for choreographed Edinburgh Hogmanay fireworks","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511046298000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay fireworks will be choreographed to a specially commissioned score for the first time – created by an electronica band from the Isle of Skye.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617199.1511081069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Skye electronica Niteworks have been commissioned to come up with a nine-minute sequence to be matched to pyrotechnics at Hogmanay in Edinburgh."} ,"articleBody": "

Niteworks, who have wowed crowds around Scotland with their fusion of club beats, traditional instruments and Gaelic song, have been commissioned to come up with a nine-minute sequence to be matched to pyrotechnics.

The band, who cite Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers and Radiohead as major influences, will have their music broadcast throughout the entire Hogmanay street party arena to more than 75,000 revellers.

Niteworks, who have already been confirmed to perform live at the event, are working with an award-winning film composer and sound designer, Dan Jones, and the event’s long-time pyrotechnicians, Titanium, on what organisers pledge will be an “epic soundscape”.

The band, formed by a group of high school friends on Skye in 2008, has won the commission ahead of an appearance at the Hydro in Glasgow in January with the Skye-born stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill as part of the Celtic Connections festival.

The group will be deploying excerpts from several tracks from their debut album, including two Gaelic songs, “Maraiche” and “Eilean”, sung by Kathleen MacInnes and Deirdre Graham.

It emerged earlier this year that Edinburgh would have a specially-extended fireworks display this year – running for an extra three minutes – as part of a bid by new organisers to “reboot” the city’s festivities to help step up competition with rival displays in London, Sydney, Hong Kong and New York.

A carnival-style street party, which will get the festivities underway two hours earlier than previously, will feature street performers, dancers, acrobats and fire-eaters.

Allan MacDonald, piper with Niteworks, said: “We were thrilled to be asked to perform live for the street party, but to be asked to put the music together with Dan for the fireworks has just been something else entirely.

“The original brief we got was to try to recreate the sound of Scotland, tomorrow. We felt it was important to include songs in both Gaelic and in English, and also to have a tune on the pipes for immediately when the bells come in.

“Straight away we spent a whole day just watching New Year’s Eve fireworks displays from around the world.

“It’s interesting to see the different styles – London and Melbourne are quite pop and contemporary, whereas Tokyo or Dubai are more traditional and classic. We’re aiming for a vibe something in-between these styles that people will hopefully enjoy bringing the bells in to.”

Jones said: “I’ve been working with Niteworks’ very beautiful music to create even more light and shade and really draw out the drama for Titanium to work with on the visual front. It’s been a fantastic collaboration and they’ve been very generous. There’s a huge energy in their music.”

Toby Alloway, director of Titanium, said: “Edinburgh is a city like no other with a massive overseas influx yet it manages to retain an extraordinary intimacy.

“The soundtrack is the backbone of any pyromusical display, so it’s as critical to get this right as the fireworks design itself.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4617199.1511081069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617199.1511081069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Skye electronica Niteworks have been commissioned to come up with a nine-minute sequence to be matched to pyrotechnics at Hogmanay in Edinburgh.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Skye electronica Niteworks have been commissioned to come up with a nine-minute sequence to be matched to pyrotechnics at Hogmanay in Edinburgh.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4617199.1511081069!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4617200.1511081077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4617200.1511081077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hogmanay organisers promise an epic soundscape to match the pyrotechnics","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hogmanay organisers promise an epic soundscape to match the pyrotechnics","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4617200.1511081077!/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/news/ac-dc-co-founder-malcolm-young-dies-aged-64-1-4616883","id":"1.4616883","articleHeadline": "AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dies aged 64","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1511014871000 ,"articleLead": "

AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young has died aged 64, the band has announced.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616881.1511014864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young who has died aged 64, the band has announced."} ,"articleBody": "

A statement on the band’s website said: “Today it is with deep heartfelt sadness that AC/DC has to announce the passing of Malcolm Young.

“Malcolm, along with Angus, was the founder and creator of AC/DC.

“With enormous dedication and commitment he was the driving force behind the band.

READ MORE: How escape from Glasgow inspired AC/DC

“As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man.

“He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted.

“He took great pride in all that he endeavored.

READ MORE: Insight: Scotland’s greatest ever rock band – we salute you

“His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed.

“As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special.

“He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever.

“Malcolm, job well done.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616881.1511014864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616881.1511014864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young who has died aged 64, the band has announced.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young who has died aged 64, the band has announced.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616881.1511014864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616882.1511014866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616882.1511014866!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams from AC/DC pose for photographers at Carling Apollo Hammersmith in London. Picture; PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Malcolm Young, Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams from AC/DC pose for photographers at Carling Apollo Hammersmith in London. Picture; PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616882.1511014866!/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/theatre/theatre-reviews-cabaret-kind-stranger-love-and-information-1-4616451","id":"1.4616451","articleHeadline": "Theatre reviews: Cabaret | Kind Stranger | Love and Information","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510995600000 ,"articleLead": "

WHEN Rufus Norris’s production of Cabaret first opened in London in 2012, it caused something of a sensation. Not only did it star Pop Idol celebrity Will Young in the key role of the master of ceremonies, famously played by Joel Gray in Bob Fosse’s great 1972 film, but it seized the politics of the story by the throat, offering a final scene in which we see the happy party people who once –in early-1930s Berlin – used to hang out in the Kit Kat Club, now being stripped naked, and herded into the gas chambers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616449.1511172450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will Young plays the MC with Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles"} ,"articleBody": "

Cabaret, Playhouse, Edinburgh ****

Kind Stranger, Oran Mor, Glasgow ***

Love and Information, Scottish Youth Theatre, Glasgow ***

There’s therefore no happy singalong finale for audiences at the Playhouse this week, as Norris’s production visits Edinburgh on its UK tour; but there is a superb and gripping piece of musical theatre, given a slightly uneven but still persuasive performance by a cast that includes not only Will Young, but Strictly star Louise Redknapp as cabaret singer Sally Bowles, and a wonderful Susan Penhaligon as the landlady Fraulein Schneider, whose budding late-life romance with the local greengrocer, Herr Schultz – beautifully played by Linal Haft – is cruelly crushed when the local Nazis discover that Herr Schultz is Jewish.

Young turns in a decent, sometimes chilling performance as the Emcee who both satirises Nazism and seems strangely complicit with it, although he sometimes overdoes the simpering, self-conscious understatement; Redknapp rarely delves beneath the surface of Sally’s lines, but gives a storming performance of her big final number, Cabaret, capturing the moment when even those oblivious to politics could no longer ignore the Nazis. And with a tremendous 18-strong ensemble driving the show through some of the greatest songs in the musical playbook, this Cabaret delivers a night to remember; although – in these times – an unavoidably sombre one.

“There was a city called Berlin, in a country called Germany. It was the end of the world; I was dancing with Sally Bowles, and we were both fast asleep.” So runs the most famous quote from Cabaret; and a flight from horror into unconsciousness also features strongly in Matthew McVarish’s new show for A Play, A Pie And A Pint, given a powerful solo performance at Oran Mor this week by River City star Tom Urie.

Set in a hospital room in Glasgow where a figure lies motionless in bed, McVarish’s 55-minute play features a series of five or six short monologues by a cheerful-looking chap who apparently volunteers as a hospital visitor, sitting by the beds of coma-bound patients reading snippets from the world’s great books of wisdom, from the Koran and the Bible to his personal favourite, Dickens’s great redemptive story A Christmas Carol.

Appearances can be deceptive, though; and towards the end, the play wrenches itself through a couple of hugely emotional plot-twists that make sustained character-building difficult, and seem to leave Maggie Kinloch’s production slightly out of balance; although not before Tom Urie has demonstrated his full understanding of the issues the play explores, not only about the pain and the joy of life lived as a gay man in Glasgow, but about grief and loss, and how all of us can become both carers and the ones in need of care, as life takes its toll.

There’s also plenty of pain, joy, humour and loss entwined in Cary Churchill’s remarkable 2012 text Love And Information, a series of 50 short playlets about the way we live now – in a kind of anxious comfort, perched on the edge of horrors we hardly dare contemplate. Now, the play is given a beautiful, sharp and funny touring production by Jonathan Lloyd of Solar Bear, Scotland’s company working with deaf or partly deaf performers, and by the remarkable group of students studying for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s BA in Performance In British Sign Language And English, the first-ever degree course of its kind in Scotland.

And if this fierce two-hour avalanche of tiny, telling scenes loses some momentum towards the end, there’s still a fantastic display of energy and talent on view from the ten-strong company, effortlessly switching between BSL and English, gesture, silence and surtitles, in a style that perfectly matches Churchill’s vision of an information-driven world hurtling through rapid change – and sometimes, definitely for the better.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Cabaret and Kind Stranger, runs ended. Love And Information is at Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, 20 November; Eden Court, Inverness 22 November and Woodend Barn, Banchory, 23 November.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616449.1511172450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616449.1511172450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Will Young plays the MC with Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Will Young plays the MC with Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616449.1511172450!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616450.1511172452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616450.1511172452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tom Urie plays the hospital visitor, a kind stranger","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tom Urie plays the hospital visitor, a kind stranger","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616450.1511172452!/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/music-review-bbc-sso-city-halls-glasgow-1-4616325","id":"1.4616325","articleHeadline": "Music review: BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510995600000 ,"articleLead": "

IF EVER there was proof that putting the right person in front of an orchestra can make all the difference, this was it. Over recent months, the BBC SSO has too often sounded second rate. On Thursday, under its former chief conductor, now principal guest Ilan Volkov, the old hunger, the old confidence, the basic togetherness, the SSO we know and love, was back in action.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616323.1511172602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ilan Volkov has brought the BBC SSO back to brilliance"} ,"articleBody": "

BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow ****

It was a challenging programme, but typically Volkovian, with its juxtaposition of the trusted old (Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony) and the weird and often wonderful new (Cassandra Miller’s brainteasing Round for orchestra and Salvatore Sciarrino’s wacky violin concerto Allegoria della notte).

The hypnotic loop effects in Miller’s Round sounded at times like a stuck record, but given such a generous performance by the SSO, its magical aural qualities eventually made their point.

And what on earth is Sciarrino’s “Allegory of the night” all about? He writes about taking us to “the dark side of planet Mendelssohn”, and sure enough, miniscule snatches of the older composer’s famous violin concerto short circuit this work like periodic lightning flashes. Elsewhere the music possesses the chaotic spontaneity of a Jackson Pollock canvas. Violinist Iklya Gringolts played little below the stratosphere.

Back to earth for the Eroica, and a compelling performance that matched punch and grit with overarching poetry and purpose. Volkov had the SSO eating out of his hand. More conductors of his ilk, please, for the long-lasting good of the band.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ken Walton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616323.1511172602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616323.1511172602!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ilan Volkov has brought the BBC SSO back to brilliance","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ilan Volkov has brought the BBC SSO back to brilliance","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616323.1511172602!/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/edinburgh-fife-lothians/scottish-architecture-chief-quits-days-after-revolt-was-revealed-1-4616360","id":"1.4616360","articleHeadline": "Scottish architecture chief quits days after revolt was revealed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510935892782 ,"articleLead": "The figurehead for the architectural profession in Scotland has quit his job suddenly - days after a damning open letter calling for an overhaul of his historic organisation.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616359.1510935893!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Baxter has led the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland for the last 10 years."} ,"articleBody": "

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland has announced that Neil Baxter, its secretary and treasurer, has stepped down with immediate effect.

He was appointed 10 years ago by the Edinburgh-based body, which was set up in 1916.

More than 150 of the country’s leading architects last week raised concerns about “a lack of effectiveness, poor governance and insufficient accountability in Scottish architecture’s professional body.”

They launched a campaign, entitled A New Chapter, demanding an independent review of RIAS to ensure “transparency, accountability and a new progressive future.”

The campaign’s open letter was critical of the “self-satisfied torpor and bunkered closed-up-ness that afflicts the RIAS” and called for a new “culture of openness and inclusivity” within the body.

It added: “We would like to see much of the old establishment give way to a more representative group, with a better balance

of younger and female members, and a new commitment to our responsibilities to society to better face the challenges in front of us.”

Stewart Henderson, the president of RIAS, had earlier rejected claims that the body was operating in a “secretive and autocratic” manner and calls for it to publish the results of a series of internal reviews.

He told the campaigners: “There has been no attempt to cover up investigations, however there are legal reasons why information has not yet been shared in full.”

However a statement from RIAS today said: “The Royal Incorporation has agreed to the request from Neil Baxter to leave the organisation after 10 years of service.

“Neil will be standing down as of today and the senior management team at the RIAS will continue to deal with all matters relating to the business of the Incorporation.”

A statement from A New Chapter said Mr Baxter's announcement "raises more questions than answers" over the governance, finance, strategy and relevance of RIAS.

A spokeswoman said: "Over the past few months A New Chapter has seen a surge in positive thoughts and ideas about what a progressive, 21st century organisation for architects in Scotland might look like, how it might behave and what it might do.

"We now look to our president and representatives on the RIAS council to answer our ongoing questions and now, to clarify why the secretary and treasurer has tendered a sudden resignation."’

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616359.1510935893!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616359.1510935893!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Baxter has led the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland for the last 10 years.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Baxter has led the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland for the last 10 years.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616359.1510935893!/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/new-spitting-image-series-to-target-donald-trump-1-4615867","id":"1.4615867","articleHeadline": "New Spitting Image series to target Donald Trump","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510909276000 ,"articleLead": "

Hit satirical TV series Spitting Image is to take on US President Donald Trump in a rebooted version of the show, co-creator Roger Law has revealed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615866.1510909272!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump . Picture: AP"} ,"articleBody": "

The artist was approached by US network NBC, which has since been in talks with production company Avalon, Law said.

The American spin-off is expected to be written by US writers, although current plans will see it filmed in the UK, where the puppets will also be made.

Law has already created a puppet of President Trump for the potential show makers which is to go on display at Norwich’s Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts as part of a 
retrospective of the artist’s work.

He said he did not want to reboot the series in the UK but was tempted by the US approach “because of Trump”.

He said: “Quite what you do I’m not sure because he satirises his f****** self… They seem to be quite serious, we’ve had a puppet made.”

Asked if he thought the US leader and prolific Twitter user would post a critique about his puppet parody, Law said: “That’ll get a few more viewers … He spends six hours a day watching television so of course he’ll watch it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615866.1510909272!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615866.1510909272!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "President Donald Trump . Picture: AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "President Donald Trump . Picture: AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615866.1510909272!/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/joyce-mcmillan-the-rise-of-the-far-right-in-europe-is-no-cabaret-old-chum-1-4615677","id":"1.4615677","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: The rise of the far-right in Europe is no Cabaret, old chum","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510898400000 ,"articleLead": "

It seemed like a pretty ordinary reviewing job, when I headed for the Edinburgh Playhouse on Tuesday to see the current production of Cabaret. The show won a nomination at the 2013 Olivier Awards for Pop Idol star Will Young, who plays the key role of Emcee at the iconic 1930s Berlin dive, the Kit Kat Club; and this week in Edinburgh, he’s joined by Louise Redknapp playing the English cabaret singer Sally Bowles, and Susan Penhaligon as their Berlin landlady, Fraulein Schneider. It’s a thrilling piece of musical theatre, driven by those legendary Kander & Ebb songs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615676.1510914983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A stark warning from history, delivered by Will Young and Louise Rednapp, in the musical Cabaret"} ,"articleBody": "

The truth is, though, that at this point in European history, the show is becoming harder and harder to watch; and not only because of director Rufus Norris’s intensely political conclusion. Ever since I first encountered Cabaret, in Bob Fosse’s great 1972 film version starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Gray, I’ve been aware of the warning against the rise of Nazism that lies behind its gorgeous, sleazy showbiz glitter.

Set in 1931, shortly before the Nazis became Germany’s governing party, it’s based on Christopher Isherwood’s thoughtful 1930s Berlin Stories, and shows a social scene gradually darkening and narrowing as Nazi thugs roam the streets in uniform, beating up Jews, homosexuals and foreigners. And back in 1972 – when Britain was about to join the European Union – the film seemed like a celebration of the defeat of the Nazism, as well as a warning against it; vital, brilliant, and unanswerable.

So it is hard, 45 years on, to watch this show now, in the week when an army of 60,000 far-right activists from across Europe and beyond, some of them proudly proclaiming their Nazi credentials and chanting “Sieg Heil”, celebrated Polish National Day by marching through Warsaw carrying banners with messages that read “White Europe” and “Clean Blood”. The right-wing Law & Justice Party, the government in Poland, refused to condemn this obscene parade of racism, prejudice, and extreme Islamophobia, with one minister reportedly calling the march “a beautiful sight”.

A few hundred miles to the south, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, once a human rights activist, routinely shores up his popularity by engaging in fear-mongering and hate-speech on the subject of Islam and refugees. Asked by the EU to accept a tiny total of 1,200 Syrian refugees for resettlement, Hungary flatly refused. Meanwhile, independent newspapers have been closed down under debatable circumstances, arts funding has been withdrawn from writers who “lack the genetic feeling of nationalism”, and Orban’s government is conducting a bizarre vendetta against everything associated with the Hungarian-born American financier and philanthropist George Soros, whose supposedly evil, immigration-friendly face has become a main subject of its campaign posters. All of this, of course, would be distressing enough in any country that once, so recently, seemed set on a path towards liberal democracy and freedom; but what is truly frightening is the absolute failure of the EU to take any effective steps at all to counter these plainly illiberal and authoritarian measures taken by member governments. It has taken the Catalan crisis, perhaps, to make more of us in western Europe aware of how little the present group of EU governments care for the principles of international law on which their association is supposed to be founded.

In truth, though, the weakness of the EU in confronting flagrant abuses of rights by member governments, combined in some cases with open official racism and hate-mongering, is beginning to cause concern bordering on panic among those who have seen the EU, until now, as a bureaucratic but broadly reliable bulwark of peace and democracy on our continent; not least because its indecisive behaviour increasingly conjures the ghost of the old League of Nations, the precursor to the UN, which crumbled and failed so spectacularly under the pressures of the 1930s.

The word “democracy” is part of the problem, of course. Our postwar institutions were founded on an assumption that democracy is a complex process, involving minority rights and freedoms, as well as respect for majority opinion; people were well aware that Hitler’s due election to power, in 1933, did not, and could not, legitimise his subsequent actions.

Today, though, it seems that crude majoritarianism rules, not only in Hungary and Poland, but in Trump’s America and here in the UK, where the 48 per cent who voted against Brexit are apparently to be completely ignored, if not denounced as “mutineers” on the front pages of leading newspapers. The Europe of 1945 knew that democracy was not the same thing as crude populism based on rank disinformation, just as it knew that plebiscites were one of the tools of dangerous demagogy; and it was to provide a safeguard against that kind of politics that the UN Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights were written, as bulwarks against authoritarianism, oppression, thuggery and exclusion, whatever government is in office.

Now, though, those bulwarks are beginning to crack, under the pressure of 20 years of neoliberal economics and the consequent financial crash, compounded by the shock of a massive refugee crisis. And of course you do not have to go to the Playhouse this week, and watch Cabaret, to be reminded of what happens next, if this process continues unchecked.

If you do, though, you will see, in all its vivid theatrical truth, the licensed thuggery on the streets, the gradual closing-down of thought and dissent, state-approved social conservatism eroding the rights of women and gay people, the breaking of once amiable community relations, and the sudden vanishing of ‘unpopular’ minorities. Back in 1966, when Cabaret first appeared on Broadway, people remembered all this from their own experience, and knew how to celebrate the victory of liberal democracy that made it all seem like a long-gone nightmare. In 2017, the very future of peace in Europe may depend on whether we still remember it now; and have the presence of mind to fight vicious right-wing populism through the political institutions we built for the task, instead of waiting until we have to fight them on the beaches.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615676.1510914983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615676.1510914983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A stark warning from history, delivered by Will Young and Louise Rednapp, in the musical Cabaret","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A stark warning from history, delivered by Will Young and Louise Rednapp, in the musical Cabaret","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615676.1510914983!/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/fergus-linehan-to-remain-edinburgh-international-festival-director-until-2022-1-4615329","id":"1.4615329","articleHeadline": "Fergus Linehan to remain Edinburgh International Festival director until 2022","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510856603912 ,"articleLead": "THE figurehead of the Edinburgh International Festival is to stay in the role for an extra three years, organisers have revealed.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615328.1510845873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fergus Linehan has been at the helm of the Edinburgh International Festival since the 2015 event."} ,"articleBody": "


Fergus Linehan will be at the helm unil at least 2022 - the event’s 75th anniversary - after being offered an extention on his contract.

The Irishman, a former artistic director of the Sydney Festival and head of music at Sydney Opera House, was appointed director for five festivals, from 2015-2019, in the spring of 2013.

However the festival’s board of trustees has reached agreement with Mr Linehan to stay on for at least another three festivals after steady growth at the box office since he replaced Sir Jonathan Mills.

A record £4.3 million was generated in ticket sales during the recent 70th anniversary season.

Mr Linehan said: “I’m very grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to lead this extraordinary institution for a further three years.

“The commitment and creativity of the festival team has made the past three years the most professionally exhilarating period of my career.

‘We have tried, over this time, to broaden the festival’s appeal while safeguarding our commitment to quality and virtuosity.

“Over the next five years we look forward to developing new initiatives that will support the continued growth and development of this remarkable event.

“I’d like to thank our stakeholders, donors, fellow festivals and, most particularly, the people of Edinburgh for their ongoing support and enthusiasm.”

Niall Lothian, chairman of the EIF board of trustees, said: “We’re delighted that Fergus has accepted the board’s invitation to extend his contract as festival director to 2022.

“His first three festivals revealed his in-depth knowledge of all cultural genres and his extensive contact book of artists and performers.

“Future festivals will, I’m sure, continue to reveal his creativity and innovation.”

Mr Linehan's tenure has seen the EIF stage a series of spectacular free opening events as well as embace contemporary music acts like Young Fathers, King Creosote, Franz Ferdinand, Jarvis Cocker, Mogwai and PJ Harvey.

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Edinburgh International Festival has a worldwide reputation for excellence and innovation.

“In bringing together exceptionally talented artists from nations across the globe, it helps to celebrate and promote Scotland’s rich culture and heritage on the world stage and strengthen our links with other countries.

“Fergus has brought great success to recent Festivals and his programmes have been dynamic and diverse. I wish him every success in the role for the next five years.”

Donald Wilson, culture leader at Edinburgh City Council, said: “During his tenure as director, Fergus Linehan has steered the Edinburgh International Festival through a spectacular 70th anniversary programme.

“His belief that culture and the arts should bring people and communities together has been demonstrated by the Festival’s successful collaboration with Castlebrae Community High School, and his commitment to bring the Festival outdoors.

“Who can forget \\the Harmonium Project as it lit up the whole exterior of the Usher Hall, or Edinburgh Castle and St Andrew Square illuminated with great projections?

“As the festival’s principal funding partner, we hope to see these free public gatherings continue to celebrate the start of each Festival season, and for the world to continue to be drawn to Edinburgh to be enthralled under his programmes.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615328.1510845873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615328.1510845873!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fergus Linehan has been at the helm of the Edinburgh International Festival since the 2015 event.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fergus Linehan has been at the helm of the Edinburgh International Festival since the 2015 event.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615328.1510845873!/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/tv-choice-what-to-download-or-stream-this-week-1-4615369","id":"1.4615369","articleHeadline": "TV Choice: What to download or stream this week","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510846817516 ,"articleLead": "

The best being beamed to your telly, tablet, laptop or phone...

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615368.1510846912!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Big Sick."} ,"articleBody": "

BBC iPlayer: Harry Styles At the BBC

In a BBC Music exclusive, Harry Styles performs new tracks from his number one debut album as a solo artist, alongside covers of classic songs. He’s accompanied by his band and performs in front of a live studio audience. Nick Grimshaw talks to Harry about his extraordinary career.

BBC Three: Love And Drugs On The Street

The eye-opening daily life story of women sleeping rough on Brighton’s streets continues.Paige has had a fresh start in a hostel, but her daughter is being put up for adoption. Meanwhile, Maria is in the grip of heroin addiction. Can these women break the vicious cycle?

Sky Box Sets: Stella: Series 1-6

Ruth Jones’s much-loved comedy drama may have just concluded, but fear not as all six series are here. Stella follows the ups and downs of a single mum of three from the Welsh Valleys, who attempts to juggle motherhood, a career and a rather complicated love life.

Amazon Video: 4 Blocks

Toni Hamady wants to leave behind his life of crime, as a police sting with devastating consequences crosses his plans. Toni has to step up as leader of his clan once more, since he doesn’t want to hand over control to his hot-headed brother Abbas. When an old friend shows up, Toni’s dream feels tangible again.

Netflix: Mudbound

It took Hillary Jordan seven years to write the novel on which this period drama film is based, but it was worth all the effort. She’s currently penning a sequel, so we can look forward to a follow-up in the coming years, but for now, here’s a chance to throw yourself into the world of Second World War veterans Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson.

Sky Cinema: The Big Sick (2017, Sky 15)

Real-life courtship translates brilliantly to the silver screen as Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani stars as a fictionalised version of himself – a Pakistan-born stand-up who meets and quickly falls head over heels for grad student Emily (Zoe Kazan).

Their blossoming cross-cultural romance is cut short, though, when it emerges that Kumail is under family pressure to find a nice Muslim bride. Still, when Emily suddenly slips into a medically-induced coma, the most unlikely of second chances presents itself, as Kumail at last finds himself getting to know Emily’s parents in the hospital waiting room. From Monday.

" ,"byline": {"email": "stuart.chandler@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Stuart Chandler"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615368.1510846912!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615368.1510846912!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Big Sick.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Big Sick.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615368.1510846912!/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-sun-rose-1-4615363","id":"1.4615363","articleHeadline": "Under the Radar: Sun Rose","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510846727000 ,"articleLead": "

Long-standing readers of this column might recall our enthusiasm for electronic outfit Nevada Base, whose track Love In My Mind was a firm favourite of 2011. So we were pleased to discover a musical phoenix had risen from the band’s ashes in the form of Sun Rose (not to be confused with Swiss duo SunRose or Australian outfit Sunrose).

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615362.1510846723!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sun Rose"} ,"articleBody": "

Earlier this year their debut track, Smirk, was named single of the week on Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth show and the follow-up, Minima, is equally promising. Boasting a more atmospheric feel with dreamy vocals and attractive piano interludes, it also appears on the album The Essential Luxury, mixed by Miaoux Miaoux and released on vinyl by the discerning Last Night From Glasgow Records. Anyone ordering a copy from the label’s online shop gets a free ticket for a launch gig at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on Friday. See www.lastnightfromglasgow.com

*Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run the Born To Be Wide music industry events and seminars, www.borntobewide.co.uk

*Under the Radar is in association with Off Axis, a free to use touring and gig swapping network enabling artists to play successful shows and festivals to guaranteed audiences in over 75 towns and cities across the UK. Off Axis enables artists to build fanbases nationwide – be part of it https://whatisoffaxis.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615362.1510846723!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615362.1510846723!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sun Rose","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sun Rose","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615362.1510846723!/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-blondie-hydro-glasgow-1-4614895","id":"1.4614895","articleHeadline": "Music review: Blondie, Hydro, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510827903000 ,"articleLead": "

Blondie were – and still are to some degree – the band who brought the musical tribes of their native New York together. They were the most successful crossover band from the CBGBs punk scene – drummer Clem Burke still wears the venue t-shirt – but, across a formidable run of hits in the late 70s and early 80s, they also celebrated the city’s disco and club culture and the nascent hip-hop scene, and all strands were hanging out at this show, some sounding more frayed than others.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614894.1510827899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Blondie"} ,"articleBody": "

Blondie, Hydro, Glasgow ***

Indomitable frontwoman Debbie Harry rivalled her fellow New York icon Grace Jones for eccentricity, clad in a hat that looked like a deformed bee and a cape which suggested we “stop f***ing the planet” (both in reference to Blondie’s latest album, Pollinator). “Hello Glasgow - guess who? This is a party calling,” she teased as the audience hung on for Hanging On The Telephone.

Harry delivered its sensual, insistent plea more as a conversation than a song, and kept the punk faith on a chaotic One Way Or Another. She took a cavalier approach to several of the older hits, from Picture This to proto-rap odyssey Rapture, one suspects because she cannot hit the high notes nor keep up the hectic pace anymore. No matter - her performance of the new songs demonstrated her continuing vocal agility and there was a livewire edge to the rest, powered along by Burke’s athletic fills.

They paid fitting tribute to another great New York band with a rampant cover of Beastie Boys’ You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party, which was properly punk and wholly unexpected, and evoked the spirit of Studio 54 on mirrorball classic Heart of Glass, with an I Feel Love coda. And although no one was in the room for the new songs, they continue to champion the city’s musicians – the pick of a pretty strong crop from Pollinator was Long Time by London expat Dev Hynes.

The inclusion of Maria, their last UK Number One single, was a sobering reminder that Blondie have been touring in their reformed incarnation for longer than they were ever together in the first place but the combination of pop strength and punk attitude in their encore selections of Dreaming, Union City Blue and Parallel Lines album treat Fade Away and Radiate prevails across the years.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614894.1510827899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614894.1510827899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Blondie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Blondie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614894.1510827899!/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/joyce-mcmillan-theatre-in-schools-scotland-project-is-now-reaching-children-from-shetland-to-the-borders-1-4613890","id":"1.4613890","articleHeadline": "Joyce McMillan: Theatre in Schools Scotland project is now reaching children from Shetland to the Borders","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510745532000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s eleven in the morning at Pinkie St Peter’s School in Musselburgh; the sun is shining on the playing fields outside, and Primary 3 are filing into the school hall for a performance of Rosalind Sydney’s show Up To Speed, by Catherine Wheels Theatre company. The two performers, Amy McGregor and Patrick Wallace, are already circling the space, warming up, chatting to the audience as they settle cross-legged on the floor mats; and then the story begins, a far from simple yarn about a girl called Jade and her friend Barney, Primary 6 class-mates who have to give a presentation together about a science subject.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613889.1510745893!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amy McGregor as Jade and Patrick Wallace as Barnaby in Up To Speed at Burnbrae Primary School, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian - a Catherine Wheels production for Theatre In Schools Scotland (TiSS). PIC: Colin Hattersley Photography"} ,"articleBody": "

The problem, though, is that for reasons that gradually become apparent, Jade’s mind is not really on the job, as she bulldozes Barney into working on a Doctor Who-inspired presentation about time travel that begins to upset the fragile emotional balance he has achieved after a family tragedy.

The play’s theme, in other words, is the close connection between home and school life, and the ways in which problems in one can affect the other, particularly when we try to keep them hidden; and this class of seven-year-olds seem completely absorbed by it, laughing, pointing things out, responding enthusiastically but gently to the performers, as if they understand that both characters are in a slightly fragile place.

Then after the show, P3 head back to their classroom for a good long discussion of what it meant to them, while a detachment from P7 arrive with clipboards to interview the actors about their work.

To watch Up To Speed is to understand something of what 21st century children’s theatre has to offer to young audiences, in the way of complexity, relevance, and sheer fun; and this is just one of three shows that has been out on tour this year as part of the second year of the Theatre In Schools Scotland project, supported by the National Theatre of Scotland, by Imaginate – the organisation that both organises the annual Edinburgh International Children’s Festival and seeks to promote theatre for children in Scotland all year round – and by three of Scotland’s top children’s companies, Catherine Wheels, Visible Fictions, and Starcatchers. Also on tour this autumn was Visible Fictions’ Jason And The Argonauts, a classic adventure story for older primary school children, and The Story of the Little Gentleman by Catherine Wheels.

“We are really delighted at the response so far,” says Paul Fitzpatrick, chief executive of Imaginate, who helps co-ordinate TISS along with producer Anna Derricourt, and representatives from all the companies involved. “The whole process is quite a learning-curve, and it really is a matter of finding the best way of working with teachers who really want to do this, whether we work through local authorities or individual schools or existing theatres or touring networks.

“One thing we’ve learned this autumn, for example, is that in some areas it works particularly well if we use the secondary school where the children will soon be going as a hub for our performances – so we’re hoping that in that way theatre in schools can also perhaps help children during that really important transition from primary to secondary.”

TISS is a highly ambitious project in terms of geographical reach. This year, it has involved pupils from 153 schools across more than half of Scotland’s local authority areas, from Shetland to the Borders. It also aims eventually to provide theatre for all age groups, from nursery to secondary school; and this summer’s TISS callout for a tried-and-tested Scottish-made production to form part of next year’s programme attracted more than 40 applications.

“I’m proud of what’s happening with TISS,” says Gill Robertson, the award-winning artistic director of Catherine Wheels, “because it’s a partnership that works – it gets more theatre into schools, and it gives Scottish-based companies more opportunities to develop their work with schools audiences. And schools audiences really are the best, in many ways. They’re big, they’re the right age, they really want to be there, and they represent a complete cross-section of society. Who wouldn’t want to reach an audience like that? I find it really rewarding, and sometimes quite transformational.” And if the idea of taking theatre to audiences in the communities where they live has an honourable history in Scotland, going back to 7:84 and beyond, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the recent rapid development of TISS has become possible because today Scotland has not one but two nation-wide theatre organisations, in the National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate, which are more than happy to co-operate in continuing that tradition, and transforming the landscape for theatre in schools.

“TISS is a project that fits perfectly with our values of being a theatre without walls, that tries to reach into communities all over Scotland,” says NTS artistic director Jackie Wylie. “It’s a really flexible project – we keep changing the model slightly to respond to feedback – and the idea of partnership is right at the core of it. And above all, for all the organisations involved, there’s this generosity of spirit, a real passion for bringing theatre into children’s lives at the very start of their lives, and making it part of their world.”

Robertson agrees: “The long-term impact of a project like this is hard to measure, of course. But if you believe that theatre, and storytelling through theatre, are vital ways of understanding the world and its problems, and imagining new ways of being and seeing, then making sure that children have access to that from an early age has to be a hugely significant thing; maybe one of the most important things any theatre company can do.” ■

For more information about Theatre In Schools Scotland, visit www.theatreinschoolsscotland.com

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