{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/classical-music-interview-ken-walton-talks-to-thomas-s-ndergard-new-musical-director-of-the-rsno-1-4456105","id":"1.4456105","articleHeadline": "Classical music interview: Ken Walton talks to Thomas Sndergrd, new musical director of the RSNO","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1496048400000 ,"articleLead": "

The RSNO is only going to get better with the brilliant appointment of Thomas Søndergård as its new musical director

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456104.1495645251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd will take up the music director post at the RSNO at the end of the 2017-18 season. Picture: Tom Finnie"} ,"articleBody": "

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra announced on Thursday that Thomas Søndergård is to be its new music director. This is fantastic news for the orchestra. The 46-year old Danish conductor is precisely the right man for the job.

How do we know this? Simple. Søndergård has been the RSNO’s principal guest conductor for the past five years. Almost any performance I’ve seen him direct has been a gem. Søndergård and the RSNO have a genuine connection. Sparks fly when they get together.

Who else can make this orchestra play Beethoven the way he did last month, a performance of the First Symphony so clean and articulate, so stylistically refreshing, it was as if the notes were jumping off the page for the very first time? It takes something special to extract such classical authenticity from an orchestra more naturally geared to the heftier palate of Romanticism.

It’s an essential part of training a symphony orchestra, says Søndergård who, as musical director will now have a greater influence on how the RSNO sounds and develops. “Classical repertoire is important in teaching an ensemble to articulate,” he explains. “It’s like taking them back to learning the alphabet.” There can be a certain fear factor, he admits, but get the fundamentals right and they’ll approach the meatier repertoire with fresh insight.

That’s something the RSNO really needs just now. Under its current music director Peter Oundjian, who steps aside to make way for Søndergård at the end of the 2017-18 season, it is trundling along. The former Tokyo Quartet lead violinist has spent five years in the hot seat, but performances under him have seldom set the heather on fire.

It’s all to do with that magical ingredient: “connection”. Watch Oundjian at work, and you’ll note that he micromanages to the point of near suffocation. It’s as if the orchestra switches to neutral, the music freewheels, and slackness sets in. If there was ever a mutual spark there, it has diminished. On the other hand, watch them play under Søndergård, and you hear a completely transformed orchestra. Indeed, it’s been mooted for some time that the RSNO should have snapped up Søndergård as music director in 2012, but of course the BBC National Orchestra of Wales got in first.

What a transformation he has overseen in Wales, the most recent evidence of which is an exhilarating new recording of Sibelius’ First and Sixth Symphonies, released last week on the Linn label (CKD 502). There was once a time when you could easily identify the BBC Welsh on Radio 3 simply because it sounded second rate. That’s no longer the case, and Søndergård is the reason.

So what plans does he have when he eventually settles into his new RSNO role? Not surprisingly, there will be plenty Scandinavian repertoire, which has, he acknowledges, been part of the RSNO’s DNA ever since the early golden era of Sir Alexander Gibson. Plenty of Sibelius and Nielsen then.

More surprisingly, there will be opera, he reveals, citing the success Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic have had in mounting concert performances in their home city. “It’s so important for the players, something I learnt myself as an orchestral timpanist in Copenhagen. You learn how to accompany; it’s about cooperating rather than dictating.”

Will he be here much? Søndergård says he will not dominate entire seasons. “Orchestras can get too much of the same face. I remember, as a player, when poor conductors could be too present. You need variation to keep developing. The same faces, the same gestures, might be good for continuity, but not always for creativity.”

“At BBC Wales I’m there six times a year plus two Proms. I expect to be here a little more than that with the RSNO. But equally, I want to help get other interesting conductors through the door too.”

Whether he’s physically present or not, Søndergård looks likely to have a profound influence on the fortunes of the RSNO.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ken Walton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456104.1495645251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456104.1495645251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd will take up the music director post at the RSNO at the end of the 2017-18 season. Picture: Tom Finnie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas S�nderg�rd will take up the music director post at the RSNO at the end of the 2017-18 season. Picture: Tom Finnie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456104.1495645251!/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-the-charlatans-tinderbox-orchestra-mitchell-museum-1-4456103","id":"1.4456103","articleHeadline": "Album reviews: The Charlatans | Tinderbox Orchestra | Mitchell Museum","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1496048400000 ,"articleLead": "

An impressive roster of contributing artists give The Charlatans’ new album extra heft, without diluting their distinctive sound or sunny outlook

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456102.1496049605!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Different Days by The Charlatans is one of their best albums for years"} ,"articleBody": "

POP

The Charlatans: Different Days BMG ***

Tinderbox Orchestra: Tinderbox self-released ****

Mitchell Museum: The Everett Trap Self-released ****

Nothing, it seems, can derail The Charlatans – not the departure, imprisonment or even death of various band members over the years has impeded their outwardly sunny disposition. Misfortunes which would have caused other acts to implode have failed to floor this lot.

What’s more, the band are enjoying something of a creative purple patch. Previous album Modern Nature, released in 2015, ranks as one of the best in their 27-year catalogue. Different Days is another offering which subtly shifts their goalposts without the fanfare or PR conceptualising of, say, the latest pop missive from Primal Scream.

It’s the first Charlatans album to bear the absence of original drummer Jon Brookes, who passed away in 2013. But Brookes’s legacy is honoured by a couple of esteemed guest drummers, The Verve’s Pete Salisbury and New Order’s Stephen Morris, who really is the man you want behind a kit in a crisis. Consequently, Different Days is driven, though not dominated, by its rhythms.

Morris is joined by his partner Gillian Gilbert on happy hippy mantra The Same House, and there are additional guest contributors all over the shop, including actress Sharon Horgan on backing vocals and spoken word interludes from Ian Rankin and Lambchop mainman Kurt Wagner, which slot in comfortably without cluttering its natural flow.

Like Modern Nature, it’s a mellow affair, inviting rather than demanding attention. Opener Hey Sunrise is a blissed-out salutation, blending their signature Hammond organ with starburst synthesizers on the middle eight. And so it goes in calmly propulsive psychedelic style.

Current single Plastic Machinery is closer to the conventional indie dance hooks of old, beefed up somewhat by guitar-for-hire Johnny Marr. Paul Weller, also singing from the same soothing psychedelia songsheet these days, co-wrote the gentle, expansive bookend Spinning Out. If anything on Different Days makes it on to the Charlatans must-playlist, it will be this blissful yet bittersweet analgesic.

For something altogether more invigorating, turn to Tinderbox Orchestra, a community music project on a different scale than most. Founded in 2010, this amateur orchestra emerged from workshops with thousands of young people in the Edinburgh area and crams over 200 performers onto their self-titled debut’s curtain-raiser Bethany Lane. As well as the orchestra, riding high on a wave of tremulous disco strings, an all-ages gospel choir and local rappers contribute to the rock’n’roll rawness of the performance.

Collaborating with professional musicians and composers, they summon the spirit of Alice Coltrane on space jazz odyssey Quetzalcoatl, with its sighing strings and siren vocals, twinkling percussion and apocalyptic bass sounds. Captain Beefheart’s Memorial Picnic is composer Richard Worth’s orchestral tribute to music’s experimental mavericks, featuring heavy funk rock guitar and impish woodwind. There are strong echoes of the chamber pop of David Axelrod throughout, plus the pastoral prettiness of Rimo, klezmer character of More and a spirited folk collaboration with Edinburgh Youth Gaithering, before the slowburn coda of Aftermath, written by one of their own players, Graham Coe. A trip on a grand, ambitious and stimulating scale.

Glasgow’s Mitchell Museum emerged from nowhere in 2010 with their dashing debut The Peters Port Memorial Service but went to ground before you could say “best new band in Scotland”. Seven years of break-ups, relocations and side projects later, belated follow-up The Everett Trap is another effervescent gem, recorded via transatlantic Skype sessions, and influenced by the finest of US indie, from the immersive, repetitive patterns of Animal Collective to psych pop elation of The Flaming Lips.

CLASSICAL

Ravel & Falla Hyperion ****

Ravel’s piano concertos are more than simply tuneful treats, a point strikingly made by pianist Steven Osborne and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in this fresh new disc. In both the popular jazz-infused G major Concerto and the hybrid and virtuosic Left Hand Concerto, Osborne’s enquiring mind captures every aspect of Ravel’s creative palette – its robust energy, lyricism, subtle wit and wistful colourings. Osborne is partnered by conductor Ludovic Morlot, whose control of the SSO is wholly empathetic. The gorgeous slow movement of the G major Concerto is deliciously tempered and shaped, the outer movements bristling with life. Deeper emotions are conjured up in the Left Hand Concerto.

Separating the Ravels, Osborne treats us to the exotic scents of Noches en los jardines de España, three Spanish musical portraits for piano and orchestra by Manuel de Falla. Debussy’s influence dominates.

Ken Walton

FOLK

Donald Black: Bho m’Chridhe Own Label ****

The album title means “From My Heart” and that’s just how it comes over. Donald Black, doyen of Highland harmonicists, returns and sounds in his element, drawing on Highland pipe repertoire to vivify the heel with crisp 2/4 marches, pipe reels and schottisches, or bringing unabashed sentiment to Gaelic waltzes and slow airs.

He’s in sterling company – regular accompanist Malcolm Jones as well as guest musicians from near and far, including Scottish country dance stalwart Addie Harper Jnr, Highland folk heroes Allan Henderson and Skerryvore’s Alec Dalglish, as well as Mario Collosimo from Cape Breton Island, who provides expansive piano for Mary K’s Waltz, while Nashville’s Charlie McCoy adds second harmonica to Blair Douglas’s country-ish New Island Waltz. The Irish air Bruach na Carraige Báine is truly lovely, while pipe reels collide entertainingly with blues harmonica in Highland Express.

Jim Gilchrist

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456102.1496049605!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456102.1496049605!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Different Days by The Charlatans is one of their best albums for years","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Different Days by The Charlatans is one of their best albums for years","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456102.1496049605!/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/celebrity/gregg-allman-rock-music-pioneer-dies-at-69-1-4459366","id":"1.4459366","articleHeadline": "Gregg Allman, rock music pioneer, dies at 69","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495967359000 ,"articleLead": "

Gregg Allman, the rock trailblazer and founder member of The Allman Brothers Band, has died at the age of 69.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4459364.1495967107!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gregg Allman performs during Mercer University's Commencement Saturday in Macon, GA in May 2016. Picture: Jason Vorhees/Macon Telegraph via AP"} ,"articleBody": "

Allman, whose bluesy vocals and Hammond organ skills helped the band pioneer Southern rock, died on Saturday, according to his manager Michael Lehman.

Lehman added that Allman had died peacefully and surrounded by loved ones at his home near Savannah, in Georgia. It is understood the father-of-five had been suffering from cancer.

“It’s a result of his reoccurrence of liver cancer that had come back five years ago,” Lehman said in an interview. “He kept it very private because he wanted to continue to play music until he couldn’t.”

Allman performed his last concert in October as health problems forced him to cancel other 2016 shows. He announced in August that he was ‘under his doctor’s care at the Mayo Clinic’ due to ‘serious health issues.

Later that year, he cancelled more dates, citing a throat injury. In March, he cancelled performances for the rest of 2017.

Lehman said Allman would be buried alongside his late brother Duane, at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, where the band got its start nearly five decades ago.

“He’ll be laid next to his brother, Duane,” Lehman added. “That’s in his wishes.”

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Allamn was raised in Florida by a single mother.

READ MORE - The latest celebrity news from The Scotsman

He idolised his older brother Duane, eventually joining a series of bands with him. Together they formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band.

In his 2012 memoir, My Cross to Bear, Allman said he spent years overindulging in women, drugs and alcohol before getting sober in the mid-1990s.

He said that after getting sober, he felt “brand new” at the age of 50.

“I never believed in God until this,” he said in an interview with in 1998. “I asked him to bring me out of this or let me die before all the innings have been played. Now I have started taking on some spiritualism.”

However, after all the years of unhealthy living he ended up with hepatitis C which severely damaged his liver. He underwent a liver transplant in 2010.

The statement on Allman’s website says that as he faced health problems, “Gregg considered being on the road playing music with his brothers and solo band for his beloved fans essential medicine for his soul.

“Playing music lifted him up and kept him going during the toughest of times.”

After the surgery, he turned music to help him recover and released his first solo album in 14 years “Low Country Blues” in 2011.

“I think it’s because you’re doing something you love,” Allman said in 2011. “I think it just creates a diversion from the pain itself. You’ve been swallowed up by something you love, you know, and you’re just totally engulfed.”

The band was honoured with a lifetime achievement Grammy in 2012.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4459364.1495967107!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4459364.1495967107!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gregg Allman performs during Mercer University's Commencement Saturday in Macon, GA in May 2016. Picture: Jason Vorhees/Macon Telegraph via AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gregg Allman performs during Mercer University's Commencement Saturday in Macon, GA in May 2016. Picture: Jason Vorhees/Macon Telegraph via AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4459364.1495967107!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4459365.1495967113!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4459365.1495967113!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gregg Allman, left, with brother Duane in October 1970. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gregg Allman, left, with brother Duane in October 1970. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4459365.1495967113!/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-review-glory-on-earth-war-in-america-1-4458306","id":"1.4458306","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Glory on Earth/War in America","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495872051000 ,"articleLead": "

I fear your fear more than I fear my own, says Rona Morrison’s glowing, brilliant young Mary Queen of Scots to John Knox, in one of their exhausting confrontations; and it’s a phrase that echoes ominously down the ages, in a week when we have been reminded again how much beautiful, powerful young dancing women have to fear from religious zealots, whose terror of them and their freedom overrides all pity or compassion.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458305.1495813121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rona Morrison as Mary Queen of Scots, in a story which reminds us that powerful women were always at risk from religious zealots"} ,"articleBody": "

Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh ****

Old Royal High School, Edinburgh ****

In Linda McLean’s strange and powerful stage poem Glory on Earth, Mary Queen Of Scots sails into Leith to take her place as Queen, in 1561, along with a team of six beautiful Maries who surround her like a dancing, quick-witted girl-group, glowing with young female energy.

They have grown up in France, and are full of style and song and sensuality; and their arrival is, of course, a red rag to the bully-pulpit preacher of Scotland’s raw and recent Presbyterian revolution, John Knox.

In contrast to Liz Lochhead’s great political cabaret Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, 30 years ago, McLean’s play does not tangle much with the wider politics of the Reformation; it focuses, in a fine poetry sometimes uncomfortably alternating with historical explanation, on the crushing weight of male disapproval, lust and hatred that finally destroyed Mary, ending her reign after only six troubled years.

What it achieves, though – in David Greig’s production and Karen Tennant’s design, lit by Simon Wilkinson – is a breathtakingly beautiful stage pageant in black, white and richly-coloured light, whose style effortlessly bridges the centuries between then and now; as does Michael John McCarthy’s sound design, full of laid-back French chanson from Edith Piaf to the disco moves of Christine And The Queens.

The message is about the timeless struggle for life, love, joy and young female energy, in a world that too often crushes them all; and it could hardly be presented with more beauty, resonance or passion.

Jo Clifford’s War In America – playing at the Old Royal High School in a fine production by Susan Worsfold – is the second production from the new young Attic Collective at the King’s Theatre, and another play full of historical resonances.

An apocalyptic vision of our time written in 1996, but quite astoundingly prescient in its vision of a decaying Europe which is sliding into chaos, while across the Atlantic, America is riven by a catastrophic war between liberalism and religious conservatism.

Europe’s new Prime Minister, superbly played by Saskia Ashdown, is a woman who once hoped to do good in politics, but now feels defeated by the corruption of the system; and around her swirls a series of brilliant, perfectly-focused performances by young Attic actors, reflecting all the morbid symptoms of civilisation in profound crisis. Europe’s dying parliament house, The Palace of Reason, is perfectly impersonated by the Old Royal High, Scotland’s lost parliamentary chamber since 1979, now threatened with redevelopment as a six-star hotel; and if the run of this show is brief, it still deserves the widest of audiences, and a memorable roar of applause.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

*Glory on Earth until 10 June; War In America, final performances today.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458305.1495813121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458305.1495813121!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rona Morrison as Mary Queen of Scots, in a story which reminds us that powerful women were always at risk from religious zealots","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rona Morrison as Mary Queen of Scots, in a story which reminds us that powerful women were always at risk from religious zealots","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458305.1495813121!/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-imelda-may-1-4458315","id":"1.4458315","articleHeadline": "Music review: Imelda May","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495872051000 ,"articleLead": "

According to Imelda May’s husky introduction to the song here, she wrote Black Tears after she had been crying, when she caught her reflection in the mirror and saw her mascara running.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458314.1495813240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Imelda Mays voice can be anything she wants: seductive, smooth, confident"} ,"articleBody": "

Usher Hall, Edinburgh ***

Taken from her recent fifth album Life Love Flesh Blood, this lonely electric waltz – which features Jeff Beck on record, firmly aligning Dubliner May with the classic rock canon – is the starkest evidence that she’s in a breakup record phase.

When she announced her split from Darrel Higham in 2015, May didn’t just break up with a partner but with her guitarist and songwriting collaborator as well. In the two years since, she’s undergone a complete reinvention – not least in terms of her image, which has changed from a bright, trademark rockabilly look to the sculpted black hair and dress of a jazz chanteuse.

The new music also manages to conjure the reflective sobriety of a relationship’s aftermath without resorting to demure pining; there were a couple of classic breakup songs here, including Should’ve Been You’s breezy waving away of regret and Leave Me Lonely’s yearning sense of sexual awakening.

Where Higham does appear to be missed, however, is in the songwriting and arrangement.

May is a fierce performer with a voice which is by turns seductive and righteous, moving from jazz bar smoothness with a heart-swelling confidence reminiscent of Chrissie Hynde, yet even the best of her new music doesn’t quite capture the invigorating, salacious novelty of key hits like Big Bad Handsome Man and Johnny Got a Boom Boom. Where these were the songs which had people dancing, however, a cover of the Shangri-Las’ Remember (Walking in the Sand) pointed to the musical ambition which will only serve her well in future.

DAVID POLLOCK

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458314.1495813240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458314.1495813240!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Imelda Mays voice can be anything she wants: seductive, smooth, confident","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Imelda Mays voice can be anything she wants: seductive, smooth, confident","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458314.1495813240!/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-scottish-opera-le-villi-1-4458328","id":"1.4458328","articleHeadline": "Music review: Scottish Opera: Le Villi","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495872045000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish Opera’s Opera in Concert series is an invaluable contribution to opera performance in Scotland. While economics has put constraints on the company’s full production tally, this initiative provides opportunities for music director Stuart Stratford to present lesser known works in concert that link into the main season, with a decent cast and the Scottish Opera Orchestra centre stage.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458327.1495814015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tenor Peter Auty played the wretched Roberto convincingly"} ,"articleBody": "

Theatre Royal, Glasgow ****

This week’s offering claimed to be the first ever Scottish performance of Puccini’s first stage work, the short opera-ballet Le Villi, a curious but satisfying footnote to the better known La bohème, which the company is currently touring.

Le Villi was the main attraction, though Stratford used its brevity to dangle before us three early Puccini instrumental works as well, as a scene-setting preface: the harmlessly tuneful Prelude Sinfonica in A; the evocative delicacy of Crisantemi; and the effervescent Capriccio Sinfonica, a thematic laboratory for material Puccini would later use in his later operas.

The music was informative, the performances perhaps more routine than inspired, but the mercury rose for the opera itself, a story of love and lives torn apart by temptation. The music is substantive and fertile, from echoes of Parsifal in the introduction to pre-echoes of the rich, expansive lyricism of Puccini’s maturer style.

Karen Slack’s Anna bore a contemplative radiance; Stephen Gadd presented an impassioned father; Peter Auty’s Roberto was convincingly wretched. Stratford’s pacing was both accommodating and fluid. A real treat.

KEN WALTON

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458327.1495814015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458327.1495814015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tenor Peter Auty played the wretched Roberto convincingly","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tenor Peter Auty played the wretched Roberto convincingly","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458327.1495814015!/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-celebrate-67-live-1-4458297","id":"1.4458297","articleHeadline": "Music review: Celebrate ‘67 Live","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495820504000 ,"articleLead": "

THE Hollywood script-worthy achievements of Celtic’s 1967 European Cup winning team, the so-called Lisbon Lions, demand to be admired by football fans of any persuasion even half a century on. Which was fortunate if you were a non-partisan attendee at this concert marking exactly 50 years since the immortal 11 beat Inter Milan 2-1 to become the first British club to lift the trophy. Not that there were many non-partisan attendees at The Hydro on Thursday night – as the surviving Lions and a procession of other assorted hoops legends and entertainer fans were rolled out in celebration of arguably Scotland’s greatest ever sporting achievement, with proceeds going to the Celtic FC Foundation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458292.1495819682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The biggest Bhoy of them all capped off the evening, as Rod Stewart flew in his full band at his own expense for a headline set"} ,"articleBody": "

Celebrate ‘67 Live ****

Hydro, Glasgow

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m a long-suffering Dunfermline Athletic supporter, meaning I could at least take some pride in the knowledge that we gifted the Lisbon Lions their towering figure of a manager the late Jock Stein – a fact that the evening’s most decorated footballing guest, Sir Alex Ferguson, a Dunfermline player in 1967, likewise took some pleasure in as he recounted his memories of the era and playing under Stein. Some mischievous booing aside whenever he mentioned “the other mob”, as he jokingly put it, Ferguson’s welcome reception, classy words and very presence – as a Govan man much more closely associated with the blue half of Glasgow – spoke volumes as to how loyalties seem to get left in the dressing room when it comes to that great Celtic team.

Emotions were high from the off. “I’m greetin’ already,” host Elaine C Smith joked through tears, after the evening began with a tribute to victims of the terrorist atrocity in Manchester (the knock-on effect of which was bulked-up security and searches and a much-delayed start time). Much of the spectacle was calibrated to tear-jerking effect, as period VT footage played on big screens showed the young Lions – all but one of whom famously hailed from within 10 miles of Celtic Park – banging in the goals and being mobbed by fans, while Susan Boyle powered out I Dreamed A Dream, tenor John Innes – replacement for a sick Russell Watson – blasted Nessun Dorma, and Les McKeown’s Legendaries sang Shang-A-Lang.

The pure entertainment value was negligible at times – Johnny Mac and the Faithful doing The Brendan Rodgers Song was plainly an entirely partisan pleasure – but that was beside the point. For his part, the current Celtic manager had probably the most unenviable task of the night as – following a Q&A with legendary ex-Celtic bosses Kenny Dalglish, Martin O’Neill and Neil Lennon (huge cheers in their honour all round) – Rodgers was paraded in front of an audience ripe with expectations for his tenure following an unbeaten title-winning season. But he handled it all with dignity, speaking modestly of the immense legacy he inherits.

It fell to the biggest Bhoy of them all to stylishly cap off the evening, as Rod Stewart flew in his full band at his own expense for a compressed headline set. In his role as maximum lad among lads – punting footballs into the crowd, attractive girls in mini-kilts variously playing fiddles and performing drum solos and tap-dance jigs all around him – he could not lose, especially not with squad of songs including Maggie May, You Wear It Well, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? and more at his inimitably gravelly-voiced disposal.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Malcolm Jack"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458292.1495819682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458292.1495819682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The biggest Bhoy of them all capped off the evening, as Rod Stewart flew in his full band at his own expense for a headline set","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The biggest Bhoy of them all capped off the evening, as Rod Stewart flew in his full band at his own expense for a headline set","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458292.1495819682!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458294.1495817224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458294.1495817224!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Les McKeown and Co performed a spirited Shang-A-Lang","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Les McKeown and Co performed a spirited Shang-A-Lang","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458294.1495817224!/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/theatre-review-small-world-1-4458344","id":"1.4458344","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Small World","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495872031000 ,"articleLead": "

The small world of the title is a run-down flat off Glasgow’s Dumbarton Road, in Sean Hardie’s latest comedy for A Play, A Pie, And A Pint. In it, reside King Max of Octavia – deposed as a baby, but still full of kingly mannerisms and pretensions – and his long-suffering son Crown Prince Pauli, a suave Glasgow youth who tries to give the impression of enjoying a successful online career as an international financier, while in fact working as kitchen porter in a Partick kebab joint.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458343.1495814449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jimmy Chisholm as Max, a deposed royal, and Daniel Cahill as his son Pauli"} ,"articleBody": "

Oran Mor, Glasgow ***

The question hovering around the drama is whether they should try to go back, to a country Pauli has never even seen; knowing that in order to do so, Max would have to give up his kingly aspirations, and accept a humble state-pensioned retirement.

In the main, though, the play seems designed to provide a memorable star vehicle for Jimmy Chisholm, who plays Max with a memorable mixture of old-regime melancholy, hypochondriac guile and sheer devilment; there is a genuinely hilarious sequence in which, with the help of a battered family tree on the wall, Max tries to talk Pauli through all their bonkers antecedents, with names like Vaclav the Unhinged and Ivan the Inexcusable.

Daniel Cahill, though, also makes a fine Crown Prince Pauli, fond of his old dad but not quite defeated by him; and the result is a gentle 55 minutes of lightweight comedy that finally stays in its own small world, and takes us hardly anywhere at all.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Final performance today.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458343.1495814449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458343.1495814449!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jimmy Chisholm as Max, a deposed royal, and Daniel Cahill as his son Pauli","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jimmy Chisholm as Max, a deposed royal, and Daniel Cahill as his son Pauli","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458343.1495814449!/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-dunedin-consort-1-4458363","id":"1.4458363","articleHeadline": "Music review: Dunedin Consort","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495872020000 ,"articleLead": "

Monteverdi’s Madrigals are provocative and intensely 
visceral explorations of what it is to be human through music.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458362.1495815211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Dunedin Consort, directed by tenor Nicholas Mulroy, was both technically astounding and profoundly moving"} ,"articleBody": "

Methodist Church, Edinburgh *****

Written more than 400 years ago, over the course 
of 40-plus years of the composer’s life, these secular works vary hugely in style and scale.

This performance of a selection of steamy, love-related madrigals from Books 2 -8 by the Dunedin Consort, directed by tenor Nicholas Mulroy, was both technically astounding and profoundly moving.

With it’s rich textures and restless vocal parts, the unaccompanied Sfogava con le stelle from Book 4 brilliantly captures the plight of a lovesick man gazing at the stars. Accompanied by the theorbo, Mulroy almost made torment sound pleasurable in the jaunty triple-time Si dolce è ‘l tormento, which could easily pass for a pop song today.

Monteverdi constantly pushes his singers out of their comfort zones, well beyond the ranges we would recognise today, and these outstanding singers delivered every note with aplomb.

In the dazzling Parlo, misero, o taccio? for bass, two sopranos, theorbo and organ, Jimmy Holliday impressed as he moved with ease between growling low notes and those in the higher registers.

By Book 8, Monteverdi is really pushing the boat out, not only with crunchy dissonances but radical structures to further dramatise the music.

Lamento della Ninfa has the three male voices singing a ground bass while a nymph tells of her lost love, and the phenomenal Hanna Bayodi, as the nymph, was in thrilling form.

SUSAN NICKALLS

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4458362.1495815211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4458362.1495815211!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Dunedin Consort, directed by tenor Nicholas Mulroy, was both technically astounding and profoundly moving","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Dunedin Consort, directed by tenor Nicholas Mulroy, was both technically astounding and profoundly moving","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4458362.1495815211!/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-joe-thomas-1-4457875","id":"1.4457875","articleHeadline": "Interview: Joe Thomas","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495864800000 ,"articleLead": "

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457873.1495795277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inbetweeners and Fresh Meat star Joe Thomas. Picture by Debra Hurford Brown"} ,"articleBody": "

Imagine Simon from The Inbetweeners at the till in Bhs sometime in the 1990s, ringing up your sale and asking if you want a store card. With a Britpop tune running along in his head, torn between diffidence, disinterest and politeness, his sales patter would have run like this:

“Do you want one of our store cards? I mean you can only spend it in this shop, so I don’t know why you would, but... you know…”

“I was really, really terrible at selling,” says Joe Thomas, who played schoolboy Simon Cooper in the sixth form sitcom, and once worked part time in the now defunct high street store. We’re talking salesmanship because the actor who is best known for the E4 school years sitcom and Channel 4 comedy drama series Fresh Meat is starring in White Gold, the BBC2 comedy about double glazing salesmen in 1983 Essex. Its launch this week sees Thomas recalling the only time he ever tried his hand at sales.

“A salesman should be able to make himself believe it’s a good product, or at least motivate himself so successfully he gets the job done, but it was a product I didn’t believe in. Basically, I didn’t make any alterations to my personality before trying to sell it, so it was just me, Joe. I wasn’t very good at my job, but I don’t think I was responsible for the collapse of the business.” He laughs.

A six-part series, White Gold was written by The Inbetweeners co-creator Damon Beesley, and sees Thomas reunite with Rudge Park Comprehensive’s James Buckley, who played Jay as well as Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick.

Thomas is one of a trio of salesmen riding the double glazing boom of the 1980s, sparked by Margaret Thatcher’s championing of home ownership and council tenants’ right to buy. Westwick plays Vincent Swan, attractive and ambitious, who will do anything to get a sale, while Buckley plays Fitzpatrick, not so attractive but also willing to do anything to get a sale, and Thomas is Lavender, a failed musician who will do anything to get a sale as long as it doesn’t contradict his moral code.

“Honest, decent, well-educated... qualities which in our line of business are as much use as an aerated condom” is what team leader Vincent has to says of Lavender, while Fitzpatrick is “a wheezy f***er with terrible BO who can charm the life savings out of anyone”. Himself he describes as “the kind of wanker who is a show off, an I’m-better-than-you-type-of-f**k-everything-twice kind of wanker”, although he prefers “ambitious”.

After missing out on the big time as a musician, Lavender’s life hasn’t gone how he wanted and although he thinks the job is a bit immoral, he needs it. An everyman character, he’s the moral compass of the show, the one with whom viewers will identify as his colleagues charm and con their way to a bonus.

“He’s basically a fairly normal guy, but within this office, he’s like the outlier. He’s also not very good at it. He shouldn’t be a double glazing salesman but hasn’t quite found the thing he should do instead. He’s in limbo,” says Thomas.

“He’s a humorous character but there’s a poignancy because he doesn’t know what he wants to do with his life. He needs someone to grab him and take him out of there, but no-one’s going to do that.

“You’ve got characters who are absolutely driven by their ego and use that to justify the things they want, do and say ‘I should have this because I want it’ whereas he thinks ‘there are things I’d really like and I’d like to be successful but not at any cost’. He’s the character in the back of a car as Vincent and Fitzpatrick belt it down a road, looking out the rear window saying, ‘I think we just ran someone over’.”

Being born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1983, the year the show is set, makes Thomas perfectly cast for the role. But while he shares some of Lavender’s schoolboy and student characteristics, there’s a lot more to him – he’s 33, apart from anything else, and more thoughtful and interesting to talk to than a diffident teenager or student.

The child of teachers and the eldest of four boys he left school to study history at Pembroke College, Cambridge where he joined the Footlights which took him into acting as a career.

Of his parents he says, “They’re quite critical really. If they don’t think I’ve done a good job they’ll say. But I hope they like this one because it’s an era they remember.”

And no, his parents don’t have double glazing. “They definitely won’t be getting it now,” he laughs.

“I’m from Essex but I’m a child of the 1990s so 1980s Essex was kind of in the rearview mirror. The 1980s were interesting because they saw the emergence of Essex man, which had become a trope by the time I was alive.”

Although Thomas shares Lavender’s pleasant nature and ready laugh, he’s a little more thoughtful than the roles he’s played. Being a history graduate, he researched for the part by reaching for Graham Stewart’s Bang! A History of Britain in the 1980s.

“I was struck by how long ago 1979 seemed; a different country with large nationalised industries. The centre ground of politics has moved so much that things that weren’t massively radical then, are now. For example the Labour Party manifesto of 1979, the party that had been in power, would be extremely radical now.

“There’s been a big cultural, political shift and the 1980s was the engine of that to a large extent. That’s borne out by this show, with the sense that things are happening really quickly, people are really getting on with it no matter what.

“I think it was a period where in the south east of England there was quite a bit of optimism, a sense that why shouldn’t your life be really good, you sort of deserved it and if you worked for it, you shouldn’t feel guilty about having it. Because Lavender says maybe you shouldn’t have literally everything you want no matter what the consequences, he’s seen as basically a communist by the others.

“Graham Stewart’s book was good with a lot of the politics, but after a while I thought, well, actually, the show is really more about the culture of that time, the music and television, so I started watching things like Miami Vice and listening to 1980s music, thinking what would these guys be watching and listening to? I thought 1980s music was uncool growing up, soulless synth, the kind of thing with a driving beat I imagined stockbrokers fist pumping to, fitting with the drugs of the time, a lot of cocaine. Whereas I was of the Britpop era, the 1990s where things were a lot more baggy and about being more inward looking. But the music turned out to be a much broader church than I’d thought, and there’s some really good music in the show.”

While Thomas was forged in the crucible of Thatcher’s 1980s Essex, he remembers very little of it himself, turning to his parents for experience.

“They were formed by the 1980s and remembered Thatcherism. I would say that broadly speaking [he giggles at this point] they were not fans of what happened. They probably felt Thatcherism was a bit destructive and tore up some of the fabric of society, taking away a lot without necessarily putting much back in its place. Essex was in a bit of a bubble in some ways as things were quite good there, but elsewhere in the country, Thatcherism caused quite a bit of suffering.

“Nowadays we’ve kept some of the cruelty of that era, without the hope. That prevailing belief that the future is going to be better than the present has gone and that means people batten down the hatches and there’s nothing for anybody else until we’ve taken care of ourselves. So we’ve kept the bad elements, without the general optimism and opportunity of social mobility. I think that’s worrying.”

Serious stuff, but Thomas delivers his opinions with pleasant good humour, throwing in a laugh every now and then. He’s someone who’s interested in the world and how it works, that’s why he studied history.

“I wanted to do something that would allow me to think and read and … all of this sounds so self-indulgent, given that education is so expensive now, such a privilege, but I thought yeah, that’ll be fun, I’ll read some stuff I like and meet some people and do well enough so I don’t get kicked out.

“I think I was a frustrated English student so I ended up in the political thought area, writing a dissertation on George Orwell, one of my favourite writers ever – I would say 1984 is potentially the most important book of the 20th century – and I was very much an acolyte. I also did some stuff on Hobbes and had an amazing lecturer, the historian Quentin Skinner.

“Some of the teaching at Cambridge blew your mind, changed the way you saw yourself and your behaviour. But I reacted to this amazing teaching with just total flip, undergraduate arrogance, an annoying undergraduate attitude: ‘aw, this is boring, I’d rather do… comedy!”

And so Thomas joined the Footlights, met Simon Bird (Will McKenzie in The Inbetweeners) and his writing partner Jonny Sweet. Together with Sweet and Bird, he later wrote Chickens, a First World War TV satire about conscientious objectors, which aired in 2011.

Back when they were students, they trod the well-worn thespian path to the Edinburgh Fringe with All’s Well That Ends Well, and later with Sweet and their The Jonny and Joe Show.

“Yes, damn Edinburgh! Because it was so beautiful and it made it impossible to be in a bad mood, which I wanted to be because I was so stressed – I hated the performing a lot of the time, and didn’t want to flyer. But it’s such an evocative place with the optics and lighting and architecture, that it cheered me up.”

Despite Thomas’s preference for acting over academia at the time, he values his university education as something that was an enriching experience, and says he wouldn’t mind doing it all over again.

“Oh god yeah, but I would work harder. I actually wouldn’t do comedy at all because I feel terribly guilty about squandering that amazing teaching,” he says.

He goes on to elucidate on this bombshell by explaining that he didn’t see himself going into comedy as a child.

“I thought I was very serious when I was at school and I think my inclinations are quite serious. But then I realised how much I liked laughing and how much I liked people who were funny.

Childhood comedy favourites included Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer on Shooting Stars and Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s The Office.

The Office was probably my formative show. Something that feels incredibly recognisable, that somebody could watch and think, ‘oh my god, other people think like I do’, and feel like you’re in the company of the personality who’s behind it. I watch a lot of American comedy now, but I think that moment in adolescence when things are fixed means that for me it’s a bit of Shooting Stars surrealism giving away to naturalistic, emotion-led comedy.”

Sometimes Thomas gets to combine the history and comedy themes, as in Drunk Histories, an American series that airs on Comedy Central UK. It’s the bits you missed at school, as recounted and embellished by drunk comedians such as Johnny Vegas, Russell Kane, and Thomas, who plays Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of yes, the telephone, but also the metal detector.

“He invented a machine to try and save the life of American president Andrew Garfield, who had been shot and still had the bullet stuck in him. The metal detector worked, but Garfield died. So... I can’t work out what the moral is, but the president being shot got Alexander Graham Bell off his arse, so in that sense it was justified…”

Had Thomas forsaken acting for more serious study, academia’s gain would be comedy’s loss as Thomas and co gave us The Inbetweeners, with its school years japes, sexual longing and gaucheness. Aired on E4 from 2008-2010, it was created and written by Damon Beesley and Iain Morris and won a BAFTA and a British Comedy Award in 2010 and another in 2011, leading to two successful big screen versions in 2011 and 2014. The first The Inbetweeners movie overtook Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in terms of the most successful opening weekend for a comedy in the UK, 
and the second was the highest grossing British film in 2011. However, the socially awkward spotty teen formula was lost in translation crossing the pond and the show’s success wasn’t repeated in the US, with the MTV version running for one season and going down like a pair of jeans your mum had run up on her sewing machine for the sixth form rave.

After The Inbetweeners, which Thomas says is unlikely to have another outing, there was Fresh Meat, in which he moved on from playing a schoolboy to playing Kingsley Owen, a geology and former drama student, coincidently also from Essex.

Set in a shared flat, the Channel 4 series that also starred Greg McHugh (Gary Tank Commander) and Jack Whitehall ran from 2011-16 and followed the lives of six students throughout their years at the fictional Manchester Medlock University. Likeable and left of centre, Owen is another regular guy character who manages to mess up.

“I think my comedy does go in the direction of social awkwardness but you also need transgression and profanity, characters with a twinkle in their eye. Rudeness and naughtiness are attractive qualities as well. At school the kids you laughed at were the naughty ones. So it’s important to keep comedy not just about embarrassment but about unashamed profanity and transgression too.”

Thomas is likeable, polite, slightly better spoken than his various onscreen characters but still Essex, and a bit like his onscreen schoolboy/student counterpart, a sort of reasonable, reasonably moral good guy. He’s even just got engaged to fellow Inbetweener Hannah Tointon, who played Simon’s love interest in the show. They’ve dated since 2010 and moved into a flat in central London together in 2012.

“Yes, we’re engaged. Things are in train. Watch this space… Yeah, OK,” he stops, sounding slightly sheepish.

Next up for Thomas is another film, that he can’t talk about, but he reveals it’s with “some of The Inbetweeners people, the production side”, and he hopes there will be more White Gold.

“I very much hope there will be another series. And that I’ll be in it. As long as I’ve done well enough in this one,” he laughs. “I’m not on a zero hours contract or anything, so… hopefully I’ll get a call…”

And he’d like to play a villain somewhere down the line.

“I would really like to play somebody evil; they’re the more interesting characters if I’m honest. But I have a bit of a problem where sometimes when I try to be serious I end up looking more silly. But I’d like to do somebody bad, someone really, really bad...”

I’m waiting for the evil laugh, but he spoils it with a very courteous, “Well, it’s been very nice to talk to you, thank you very much.”

Joe Thomas, not someone who’s ever likely to try and sell you double glazing. Well, not unless you really want him to.

White Gold, episode 1 is repeated tomorrow on BBC2 at 10pm, then continues on Wednesdays, BBC2, 10pm, repeated Sundays.

It is available on the BBC iPlayer. The DVD will be released on 3 July

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Janet Christie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457873.1495795277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457873.1495795277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Inbetweeners and Fresh Meat star Joe Thomas. Picture by Debra Hurford Brown","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Inbetweeners and Fresh Meat star Joe Thomas. Picture by Debra Hurford Brown","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457873.1495795277!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457874.1495795281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457874.1495795281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "White Gold, BBC's new comedy set in the 1980s world of dodgy double glazing salesmen, stars, l-r James Buckley, Ed Westwick and Joe Thomas. Picture: Fudge Park - Nicola Dove","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "White Gold, BBC's new comedy set in the 1980s world of dodgy double glazing salesmen, stars, l-r James Buckley, Ed Westwick and Joe Thomas. Picture: Fudge Park - Nicola Dove","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457874.1495795281!/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-celebrate-67-live-1-4458433","id":"1.4458433","articleHeadline": "Music review: Celebrate ‘67 Live","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495821334000 ,"articleLead": "

THE Hollywood script-worthy achievements of Celtic’s 1967 European Cup winning team, the so-called Lisbon Lions, demand to be admired by football fans of any persuasion even half a century on. Which was fortunate if you were a non-partisan attendee at this concert marking exactly 50 years since the immortal 11 beat Inter Milan 2-1 to become the first British club to lift the trophy. Not that there were many non-partisan attendees at The Hydro on Thursday night – as the surviving Lions and a procession of other assorted hoops legends and entertainer fans were rolled out in celebration of arguably Scotland’s greatest ever sporting achievement, with proceeds going to the Celtic FC Foundation.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4406763.1495821329!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rod Stewart"} ,"articleBody": "

Celebrate ‘67 Live ****

Hydro, Glasgow

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m a long-suffering Dunfermline Athletic supporter, meaning I could at least take some pride in the knowledge that we gifted the Lisbon Lions their towering figure of a manager the late Jock Stein – a fact that the evening’s most decorated footballing guest, Sir Alex Ferguson, a Dunfermline player in 1967, likewise took some pleasure in as he recounted his memories of the era and playing under Stein. Some mischievous booing aside whenever he mentioned “the other mob”, as he jokingly put it, Ferguson’s welcome reception, classy words and very presence – as a Govan man much more closely associated with the blue half of Glasgow – spoke volumes as to how loyalties seem to get left in the dressing room when it comes to that great Celtic team.

Emotions were high from the off. “I’m greetin’ already,” host Elaine C Smith joked through tears, after the evening began with a tribute to victims of the terrorist atrocity in Manchester (the knock-on effect of which was bulked-up security and searches and a much-delayed start time). Much of the spectacle was calibrated to tear-jerking effect, as period VT footage played on big screens showed the young Lions – all but one of whom famously hailed from within 10 miles of Celtic Park – banging in the goals and being mobbed by fans, while Susan Boyle powered out I Dreamed A Dream, tenor John Innes – replacement for a sick Russell Watson – blasted Nessun Dorma, and Les McKeown’s Legendaries sang Shang-A-Lang.

The pure entertainment value was negligible at times – Johnny Mac and the Faithful doing The Brendan Rodgers Song was plainly an entirely partisan pleasure – but that was beside the point. For his part, the current Celtic manager had probably the most unenviable task of the night as – following a Q&A with legendary ex-Celtic bosses Kenny Dalglish, Martin O’Neill and Neil Lennon (huge cheers in their honour all round) – Rodgers was paraded in front of an audience ripe with expectations for his tenure following an unbeaten title-winning season. But he handled it all with dignity, speaking modestly of the immense legacy he inherits.

It fell to the biggest Bhoy of them all to stylishly cap off the evening, as Rod Stewart flew in his full band at his own expense for a compressed headline set. In his role as maximum lad among lads – punting footballs into the crowd, attractive girls in mini-kilts variously playing fiddles and performing drum solos and tap-dance jigs all around him – he could not lose, especially not with squad of songs including Maggie May, You Wear It Well, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy? and more at his inimitably gravelly-voiced disposal.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Malcolm Jack"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4406763.1495821329!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4406763.1495821329!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rod Stewart","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rod Stewart","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4406763.1495821329!/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/derelict-leith-theatre-to-open-up-for-edinburgh-festival-1-4457600","id":"1.4457600","articleHeadline": "Derelict Leith theatre to open up for Edinburgh Festival","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495790797000 ,"articleLead": "

A THEATRE which has stood empty for nearly three decades is to receive a new lease of life thanks to the imminent arrival of a multi-arts festival.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457597.1495790789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leith Theatre has stood abandoned in the Capital for some 28 years. Picture; Jon Savage"} ,"articleBody": "

More than 130 artists, bands, poets and theatre companies will take to the stage at Leith Theatre to take part in the Hidden Door Festival, which gets under way tomorrow.

The not-for-profit festival is returning for its fourth outing with a host of live theatre, music, cinema and poetry for audiences to enjoy.

And while the evening programme is ticketed, the festival venue will be free to explore from noon every day.

David Martin, Hidden Door creative director, said: “Edinburgh is a city busy with festivals but Hidden Door opens up new spaces for artists and creative talent to bring something new to the mix, celebrating innovation and experimentation in the arts.

“People may think that Edinburgh doesn’t have a lot of disused buildings, but they would be amazed at the secrets that are still there to be discovered.

“This year we have access to one of Edinburgh’s best kept secrets – the old Leith Theatre. Many people think they have been to the Leith Theatre, but have in fact only been to the adjoining hall.

“The actual theatre is breathtaking, and we will fill every nook and cranny, backstage room, under the stage and even the roof space with exciting art installations, theatre shows and film from some of Scotland’s most promising new artists.

“And then of course we have the fantastic main auditorium which we will bring to life in a spectacular way – with music from the likes of Hidden Orchestra and new enfant terrible Anna Meredith, plus fantastic new site-specific theatre productions by Grid Iron, Ludens Ensemble and Surge.

“This will be our most ambitious festival yet, and will reflect a dynamic emerging cultural scene in Scotland.”

The festival, which will run until June 4, comes after a high-profile fundraising campaign endorsed by author Irvine Welsh and film director Danny Boyle helped bring in more than £21,000.

Earlier this year Welsh agreed to become patron of the abandoned theatre and launch a £250,000 drive to get the facility fully up and running again.

He said: “Hidden Door has once again produced an excitingly ambitious programme and we can’t wait to see the historic Leith Theatre provide the perfect backdrop for this year’s festival.”

Jason Rust, chair of Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, said: “We’re thrilled about our collaboration with Hidden Door Festival.

“This is a great opportunity to present four exciting groups in a new context, and to a new audience.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457597.1495790789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457597.1495790789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Leith Theatre has stood abandoned in the Capital for some 28 years. Picture; Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leith Theatre has stood abandoned in the Capital for some 28 years. Picture; Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457597.1495790789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457598.1495790791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457598.1495790791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457598.1495790791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457599.1495790794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457599.1495790794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture; Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture; Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457599.1495790794!/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/edinburgh-festivals/line-up-revealed-for-scottish-showcase-at-edinburgh-fringe-1-4456461","id":"1.4456461","articleHeadline": "Line-up revealed for Scottish showcase at Edinburgh Fringe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495728841000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh Festival Fringe shows inspired by the African-American civil rights struggle, the brutal regime of Ugandan president Idi Amin and a soldier’s love letters written from the front line during the Second World War will be part of the official showcase of Scottish work at this year’s event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456458.1495728833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam, the story of an Egypt-born "boy trapped in a girl's body," will be part of the Made in Scotland showcase at the Fringe."} ,"articleBody": "

Work drawn from the music of controversial indie music figurehead Morrissey and troubled Hollywood icon Judy Garland will feature in the £560,000 celebration of home-grown of music, theatre and dance.

The 24 shows in the Made in Scotland programme, unveiled ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Fringe in August, will include a live performance of the soundtrack of an acclaimed BBC Scotland wildlilfe, as well as new music inspired by a 900-year-old celebration of St Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint, and new “Gaelictronica” versions of 17th and 18th century Gaelic songs.

The line-up will also provide a platform for a drama based on a former police officer’s experiences of dealing with domestic disputes, a show featuring more than 120 trans performers from around the world and a play which one of Syria’s leading artists is working on.

Made in Scotland was instigated by the Scottish Government in 2008 to help raise the profile of home-grown work on the Fringe and help shows secure a life after the festival, with 65 shows going on to tour 35 countries to date.

This year Dundee-based writer Jaimini Jethwa’s play The Last Queen of Scotland will see her explore her family’s expulsion from Uganda in 1972 and her return to the country after realising she had grown up knowing of her homeland.

Theatre-maker Cora Bissett, whose previous work includes Fringe hits Glasgow Girls and Roadkill, will focus on the story of an Egypt-born “boy trapped in a girl’s body” who embarks on an epic journey to Scotland for the right to change his body.

Award-winning Syrian artist Nihad Al Turk, who recently donated some of his work at to an art school that helped him settle in Scotland after fleeing his home country, is one of the team working on The Sky Is Safe, which explores the relationship between a Syrian refugee and a privileged westerner who meet on the streets of Istanbul.

Woke, which is billed as “a new story about the 20th-century African-American experience,” will focus on two female activists who become involved in the civil rights struggle some 42 years apart.

The Last Post is inspired by the real-life letters written by Second World War signaller Dennis Marshall to his fiancee.

Gary McNair’s Letters to Morrissey recalls a teenage obsession with the former frontman of The Smiths while (I Could Go on Singing) Over the Rainbow will see performer FK Alexander performing to a recording of the last time Judy Garland sang her career-defining song for the last time in public.

Adam McNamara’s Stand By, which promises to “show the modern-day police service laid bare,” revolves around four officers sitting in riot van waiting to enter a flat where a man is wielding a samurai sword.

Musical highlights are expected to include a new audio visual experience created by Gaelic electronica duo Whyte and composer Donald Shaw leading a live creation of the soundtrack to the BBC series Scotland’s Wild Heart, accompanied by footage of the programme, which was shot extensively around the Highlands.

Fringe chief executive Shona McCarthy said: “This is an auspicious year for the Fringe as it celebrates its 70th anniversary.

“A festival which started because eight companies, six of whom were Scottish, simply wanted to present their work to audiences.

“Seventy years on and the Made in Scotland showcase provides an incredible opportunity for Scottish based artists across dance, theatre and music to highlight their work at the Fringe, supporting them to take advantage of the opportunities presented by a festival of this scale and internationalism taking place in Scotland.

“As well as providing a platform to raise their profile and connect with local and international industry and media, Made in Scotland opens up opportunities for onward international touring, giving shows a life beyond the Fringe.”

Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Made in Scotland is an integral part of the Fringe, showcasing excellent, bold and innovative work from Scotland to local, national and international audiences.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456458.1495728833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456458.1495728833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Adam, the story of an Egypt-born "boy trapped in a girl's body," will be part of the Made in Scotland showcase at the Fringe.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam, the story of an Egypt-born "boy trapped in a girl's body," will be part of the Made in Scotland showcase at the Fringe.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456458.1495728833!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456459.1495728835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456459.1495728835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former officer Adam McNamara has written the police drama Stand By.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former officer Adam McNamara has written the police drama Stand By.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456459.1495728835!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456460.1495728837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456460.1495728837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Composer and musician Donald Shaw will be leading a live recreation of the soundtrack for TV series Scotland's Wild Heart.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Composer and musician Donald Shaw will be leading a live recreation of the soundtrack for TV series Scotland's Wild Heart.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456460.1495728837!/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/regions/inverness-highlands-islands/oban-teen-internet-piping-sensation-lands-oban-live-slot-1-4455738","id":"1.4455738","articleHeadline": "Oban teen internet piping sensation lands Oban Live slot","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495715825000 ,"articleLead": "

A 13-year-old who became an online hit after performing live on a transatlantic flight to New York is to be a special guest artist to open Oban Live, Argyll’s biggest music event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455735.1495698064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gregor MacDonald. Picture: Kevin McGlynn/Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Gregor MacDonald was en-route to take part in New York’s Tartan Week with his school’s pipe band when he performed a couple of solo piping tunes to passengers.

A recording of the event was later posted by the school on social media and the video was a hit, achieving over 150,000 hits.

Gregor will take to the stage for a solo piping performance which will open Oban Live on 2 June. He will also return on the second day of Oban Live alongside his band mates in Oban High School’s Novice Juvenile A Pipe Band to play with headliners and Celtic rock band Skerryvore.

READ MORE: Outlander author Diana Gabaldon to appear at national museum

Gregor said: “I knew I would be playing with Oban High School Pipe Band but to be asked to play solo is quite a privilege.

“I am looking forward to it. I’ve never played at anything like Oban Live before so it will be a great experience.

“I’ve still not decided what I’m playing yet but I am practicing a bit more than usual in preparation for the event.

“My family and friends will all be coming to watch. It’s a great local event and we have all been to it in the past.”

The event has also announced that the talented 23 year-old Gaelic singer, Kim Carnie, from Oban, will open the event on 3 June.

The BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2017 finalist is also a TV Presenter for BBC ALBA.

Kim has performed at festivals and prestigious events across the UK, including Orkney Folk Festival, Hebridean Celtic Festival, Celtic Connections and Cambridge Folk Festival.

Kim is a current member of ‘Air Falbh Leis na h-Eòin/Away with the Birds’, a vocal piece exploring the relationship between Gaelic and bird song.

At Oban Live 2017, Kim will be joined by Euan Burton on stage, an award-winning composer, bassist, producer and one of the leading musicians to emerge from Scotland in the last decade.

Signed to Whirlwind Recordings, he has released two internationally acclaimed albums with them: “Occurrences” (2012) and “Too Much Love” (2014).

Performing constantly with the UK’s foremost musicians he’s played with an endless list of acclaimed musicians such as Julian Arguelles, Martin Kershaw, Kit Downes and Tom Gibbs.

Currently, Kim and Euan are working on Kim’s debut EP, alongside Megan Henderson and Innes White, to be released later this summer.

Daniel Gillespie, Managing Director of Oban Live said: “We are excited that two young rising stars, who both hail from Oban, will be our special guest artists to open each day of Oban Live this year.

“With Gregor at the beginning of his music journey and Kim who is thriving on the Gaelic scene, both artists are a true reflection of how influential Oban’s traditional music culture is for young aspiring musicians.

“We can’t wait to see them on the Oban Live stage this year.”

READ MORE: Sir Sean Connery pays tribute to Sir Roger Moore

Held at Oban’s famous shinty ground, Mossfield Stadium, Oban Live is the biggest live music event in the region of Argyll & Bute.

Last year’s inaugural event attracted 7,800 people to Oban, a pretty coastal town in the West Coast of Scotland.

The line-up this year includes legendary household names Hue And Cry and Toploader as well as a number of Scottish and Irish traditional music stars and Celtic rockers such as Skerryvore, Skipinnish, Tide Lines, We Banjo 3, Trail West and more.

Tickets are available at www.obanlive.com.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455735.1495698064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455735.1495698064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gregor MacDonald. Picture: Kevin McGlynn/Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gregor MacDonald. Picture: Kevin McGlynn/Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455735.1495698064!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455736.1495698068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455736.1495698068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Teenage piper Gregor MacDonald. Picture: Kevin McGlynn/Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Teenage piper Gregor MacDonald. Picture: Kevin McGlynn/Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455736.1495698068!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455737.1495698071!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455737.1495698071!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kim Carnie. Picture: ObanLive/Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kim Carnie. Picture: ObanLive/Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455737.1495698071!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/film/war-machine-the-other-side-of-hope-pirates-of-the-caribbean-salazar-s-revenge-the-red-turtle-spark-1-4456111","id":"1.4456111","articleHeadline": "War Machine | The Other Side of Hope | Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge | The Red Turtle | Spark","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495702800000 ,"articleLead": "

War Machine, Netflix’s assault on mainstream cinema, is a disappointingly muddled satire, while the fun disembarked from the Pirates of the Caribbean series long before this voyage

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456110.1495645327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brad Pitt and Ben Kingsley in War Machine"} ,"articleBody": "

War Machine (15) **

The Other Side of Hope (12A) ****

Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (12A) *

The Red Turtle (PG) ****

Spark (PG) *

Since Netflix began challenging traditional cinematic distribution with Beasts of No Nation, the streaming platform has been consolidating its position by steadily buying up indie movies and funding modestly budgeted star vehicles to premiere on its site. Theatrical distribution is no longer the Holy Grail it once was and to prove the point, Netflix is starting to bring out the big guns. Already in Cannes this past week it has premiered – not without controversy – Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories and Bong Joon-ho’s Okja. But before those films become generally available, subscribers will have full access to Brad Pitt’s new movie War Machine, which is being launched online globally this week, with a token release on a handful of UK and US screens as well.

With such a high-profile A-list star involved, it feels very much like Netflix is throwing down the gauntlet, so it’s too bad it’s not a better film. An alleged satire of the egotistical nature of leadership in wartime, it stars Pitt as Glen McMahon, a four-star General sent to Afghanistan to bring the war to an end at the start of the Obama administration. A decent man confronting his own obsolescence, he soon finds his plan to effect a decisive victory bumping up against the new administration’s determination to withdraw troops without any further American casualties.

Written and directed by Australian auteur David Michôd (Animal Kindgom, The Rover), the film is a fictionalised take on Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings’ non-fiction book The Operators. Unfortunately Michôd doesn’t seem to have the temperament for what he’s attempting and, somewhat disastrously, takes a lazy approach to the material by filling the film with reams of explain-all voiceover delivered by a journalist (played by Scoot McNairy) who isn’t even introduced until midway through.

The result is a passive film that completely undermines its big star performance. Not that Pitt feels particularly right for the role. Making literal McMahon’s cock-eyed view of the situation by spending the movie contorting his face into a distracting Popeye squint, he ends up writing a comedy cheque the rest of the film can’t cash, especially as it lurches into a serious-minded combat movie in the final 30 minutes. The big guns might be out in force, but for the moment they’re misfiring.

Relentlessly deadpan Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki’s new film The Other Side of Hope is his best since 2002’s The Man Without a Past. Like that film it’s about a stranger arriving in Helsinki with a shaky sense of his own identity, only this time Kaurismäki gives the film an added political dimension by making it about a Syrian refugee who’s been separated from his sister while fleeing their war-torn home. As is the way with Kaurismäki, he mines deeper truths about humanity by giving all his characters inscrutable poker faces. Here, though, he makes the joke even funnier by having the potential saviour of his most vulnerable character, Khaled (Sherwan Haji), an actual poker player: a travelling salesman turned restaurateur called Waldemar Wikström, wonderfully played by Sakari Kuosmanen. The two characters’ stories converge in hilarious ways, but it’s the empathy the film generates – accomplished without speechifying or sentimentality – that lingers longest.

It came as a shock to be reminded that the last Pirates of the Caribbean movie, 2011’s instantly forgettable On Stranger Tides, grossed more than a billion dollars at the global box office. That explains why Disney have opted to revive the series six years on with Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge. Alas, this latest in the saga isn’t so much a reboot as a regurgitation, one that brings back Orlando Bloom and – briefly – Keira Knightley and gives them an adult son who weirdly looks the same age as them (he’s played by Brendan Thwaites, who at 27 is only five years Knightley’s junior). Johnny Depp is back too, of course, replenishing the coffers as Cap’n Jack Sparrow, the drunken pirate whose Keith Richards-meets-Buster Keaton swagger was funny and innovative first time round but now resembles a turn from a particularly self-indulgent street performer. Elsewhere, Paul McCartney provides the obligatory pop star cameo as one of Jack’s relatives, Javier Bardem is the cursed villain with magical powers, Geoffrey Rush’s once villainous Barbossa comes out of retirement for nebulous narrative reasons, and the patchwork mythology continues to make no sense. But if you’re willing to pay to see the fifth instalment of a movie that began as a theme park attraction you can’t really complain about being taken for a ride.

Teaming up with Studio Ghibli, Dutch animator Michaël Dudok de Wit makes an auspicious debut after years of shorts with The Red Turtle – a lovingly crafted animation film about a shipwrecked man stranded on a desert island. In the Ghibli style, the film’s wordless story exists at the intersection between dreams and reality and boasts plenty of fantastical twists as the nameless protagonist discovers his escape attempts are being thwarted by a giant red turtle with an agenda all its own. It’s a film about loneliness and the steps we take to overcome it, wrapped up in a delightfully simple story for all ages.

Spark on the other hand is only for the very young. Even then, its bright colours and celebrity voice cast (which includes Hilary Swank and a Scottish-accented Patrick Stewart) can’t really disguise how cheap-looking and muddled this animated film about a teenage space chimp embarking on a galactic adventure to save his home really is. Avoid.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alistair Harkness"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456110.1495645327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456110.1495645327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brad Pitt and Ben Kingsley in War Machine","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brad Pitt and Ben Kingsley in War Machine","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456110.1495645327!/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/jackie-brambles-scammers-were-raking-in-fortunes-long-before-cybercrime-1-4456207","id":"1.4456207","articleHeadline": "Jackie Brambles: Scammers were raking in fortunes long before cybercrime","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

The biggest con in UK history was to sell people a new life in a foreign country - which didn’t exist, writes Jackie Brambles

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456206.1495654197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The advent of the online world has offered scammers a chance to greatly expand their activities."} ,"articleBody": "

If I asked you to guess what the biggest scam in UK history was, you might understandably assume it was a cybercrime, especially in light of last week’s ransomware attacks on the NHS, not to mention several thousand other organisations in 60 other countries. After all cybercrime figures are rising 55 per cent year on year. But actually the truth is so much more interesting than that and it was home-grown. This spectacular scam took place almost 200 years ago.

In 1822, Gregor McGregor of Loch Katrine began an extraordinary con that netted him the equivalent of £3.1 billion in today’s economy. Now to put that into context, last year’s total cybercrime figure was £1.1 billion, that’s the sum total for all the cybercrimes in the UK, so the tale of Gregor McGregor, raking in nearly three times as much with one scam - and eight years before the telephone had been invented, let alone the internet - certainly piqued my professional interest, having just finished filming the third series of Stopping Scotland’s Scammers. I was fascinated to learn that diabolical scams didn’t start with the advent of technology.

Returning from military service overseas, McGregor claimed that a king in South America had been so impressed with his swashbuckling heroics, he had gifted him a small neighbouring country near the Bay of Honduras, called Poyais. McGregor depicted Poyais as an undeveloped promised land, rich in natural resources with a mild climate, fertile soils and rivers literally running with chunks of gold, he claimed. At a time when emigrating to America meant an arduous sea voyage with no guarantees of what lay beyond that, eager investors, the majority of which were his countrymen from Scotland, sunk their savings into McGregor’s bonds for a stake in Poyais. Not only that, but many of them paid for a one-way ticket on one of seven ships that McGregor packed with wide-eyed adventurers looking to settle and prosper in a new country.

There was just one tiny problem. That country didn’t exist. Poyais was entirely fictional, McGregor had made the whole thing up. It was a spectacular scam that netted him a fortune and a couple of months in a French jail when he tried it out across the channel. He ended up fleeing to Venezuela but the victims of his scam were not so lucky. Within months of arriving in an uninhabitable South American jungle, 75 per cent of the 240 investors who set sail for a new life had died of tropical diseases and malnutrition.

Thankfully, the ringleader behind Scotland’s biggest ever cybercrime did not successfully flee to a far off land. Feezan Choudary and his associates are currently serving 11 years in prison having netted £113 million by posing as banks, and scamming people out of their life savings. One of those fleeced was Keith, a jovial B&B owner from Fife who I met in the course of filming. He’d been saving up to pay for his daughter’s wedding but Choudary, utilising phone-number spoofing technology, was able to make it appear that he was calling from the phone number on the back of Keith’s bank card, thus convincing him that he was indeed from the bank’s fraud department and helped himself to £10,000.

Technology has also enabled fraudsters to imitate text numbers too, so if you get a text from your bank with an unusual request, call your bank directly - not from a supplied link - and double check.

The standout takeaway that I have, from filming this series, is that scams leave their victims with a unique emotional scar.

There is a misplaced sense of shame that somehow, those who have been duped are to blame for their own misfortune. It’s something that bothers me greatly and something I wanted to explore further. Although time constraints on the TV programme didn’t allow for that to happen, this year I am producing a series of four podcasts to supplement the television show that have been a fantastic vehicle to go deeper into issues such as the residual effects of being scammed. I was able to bring on board Dr David Modic, a research associate in the Computer Lab at Cambridge University who specialises in online deception and the psychology of persuasion. His research revealed that IQ has no bearing on the likelihood of an individual falling for a scam. That was good to hear, and supplied me with good ammunition the next time I interview a victim of fraud who tells me how “stupid” they are. So, why then do people fall for these cons? Apparently, it’s all down to five key personality traits … but you’ll have to tune into Episode 2 of the podcast to find out what they are!

Stopping Scotland’s Scammers: Friday at 8pm on STV. Stopping Scotland’s Scammers - the Podcast: now available on iTunes and on Royal Bank of Scotland’s online security centre: personal.rbs.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JACKIE BRAMBLES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456206.1495654197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456206.1495654197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The advent of the online world has offered scammers a chance to greatly expand their activities.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The advent of the online world has offered scammers a chance to greatly expand their activities.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456206.1495654197!/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/2017-say-award-longlist-unveiled-ahead-of-public-vote-1-4455724","id":"1.4455724","articleHeadline": "2017 SAY Award longlist unveiled ahead of public vote","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495659600000 ,"articleLead": "

They formed in an East Kilbride bedroom more than three decades ago, enjoyed a critically acclaimed career that took them around the world, before splitting in acrimonious circumstances on stage in Miami in 1998.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455722.1495632949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jim and William Reid formed The Jesus and Mary Chain in East Kilbride in 1983. Their first album in 19 years, Damage and Joy, was released in March. Picture: Steve Gullick"} ,"articleBody": "

Now, The Jesus and Mary Chain are among the nominees for the most prestigious contemporary music prize in Scotland for Damage and Joy, their first album in 19 years.

The alternative rock band, fronted by brothers Jim and William Reid, are among 20 artists to make the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award longlist.

Among the other nominees revealed at an event at the ABC venue in Glasgow were indie veterans Teenage Fanclub, post-rock titans Mogwai and respected folk singer and harpist Rachel Newton.

Newer artists have also been given a chance to shine, with debut albums from Sacred Paws and TeenCanteen among those on the longlist.

Fans of electronic music will welcome with the inclusion of Konx-om-Pax, the recording name of Glasgow-based producer Tom Scholefield, whose second album Caramel was released last year.

READ MORE: Seven of the most influental Scottish albums of all time

But it is the return of the famously unsmiling Reid brothers that will attract most attention. The Jesus and Mary Chain first made headlines in 1985 on the back of their abrasive-yet-melodic debut LP, Psychocandy, and continued to regularly tour and record until falling out 13 years later.

Although they reunited for shows in 2006 it has taken more than a decade for Damage and Joy to surface.

The public will now have a chance to vote online to decide one of the 10 albums that will make the final shortlist, with the remaining nine chosen by judges.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Paisley Town Hall on June 28 and collect a cheque for £10,000.

Now in its sixth year, the SAY Award was started by the Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) with support from Creative Scotland to promote the nation’s recording industry at home and abroad.

The competition is open to Scottish artists as well those who have chosen to make Scotland their home.

“This year’s SAY Award ranges from acts who burst onto the scene in the 1980s such as The Jesus And Mary Chain to TeenCanteen,” said Alan Morrison, head of music at Creative Scotland.

“And that’s one of the wonderful things about this prize – emerging artists such as Vukovi, Sacred Paws and Fatherson find themselves standing shoulder to shoulder with Scottish icons.”

Robert Kilpatrick, projects and operations manager, at SMIA, said the longlist was “an incredibly strong, diverse and important list of contemporary Scottish records”.

The 2017 SAY Award longlist:

Adam Holmes and The Embers - Brighter Still

C Duncan - The Midnight Sun

Ela Orleans - Circles of Upper and Lower Hell

Fatherson - Open Book

Frightened Rabbit - Painting of a Panic Attack

Honeyblood - Babes Never Die

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy

King Creosote - Astronaut Meets Appleman

Konx-om-Pax - Caramel

Meursault - I Will Kill Again

Modern Studies - Swell to Great

Mogwai - Atomic

Pictish Trail - Future Echoes

Rachel Newton - Here’s My Heart Come Take It

RM Hubbert - Telling The Trees

Sacred Paws - Strike A Match

Starless - Starless

Teenage Fanclub - Here

TeenCanteen - Say It All With A Kiss

Vukovi - Vukovi

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455722.1495632949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455722.1495632949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jim and William Reid formed The Jesus and Mary Chain in East Kilbride in 1983. Their first album in 19 years, Damage and Joy, was released in March. Picture: Steve Gullick","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jim and William Reid formed The Jesus and Mary Chain in East Kilbride in 1983. Their first album in 19 years, Damage and Joy, was released in March. Picture: Steve Gullick","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455722.1495632949!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455723.1495632952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455723.1495632952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mogwai are among the bands on the 2017 SAY Award longlist. Picture: Brian Sweeney","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mogwai are among the bands on the 2017 SAY Award longlist. Picture: Brian Sweeney","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455723.1495632952!/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/amazon-launches-expanded-tv-package-1-4455444","id":"1.4455444","articleHeadline": "Amazon launches expanded TV package","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495622677000 ,"articleLead": "

MORE than 40 subscription TV channels including Discovery and ITV Hub+ are now available to watch for Amazon Prime members as part of the new Channels service.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amazon is going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitior Sky. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The new TV subscription service will offer reality television like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, hundreds of shows for kids and the upcoming French open Tennis 2017 on Eurosport Player.

There are also top movie channels like BFI Player+, MGM and Heera – Amazon’s own, curated Bollywood channel, offering more than 500 movies.

Amazon Prime is already enjoyed by tens of millions of people around the world for a subscription service starts at £1.49 per month with anytime cancellation. It’s now going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitor, Sky.

Power back to customers

“For the first time, Prime members in the UK and Germany will be able to choose to watch premium TV channels without having to sign up to a bundle or a contract, giving them the freedom to pay for only what they want to watch,” says Alex Green, MD, Europe, Amazon Channels.

“From live sport to Bollywood, art-house cinema to reality TV, and award-winning TV shows from popular channels like Discovery and ITV, Amazon Channels gives power back to customers to choose exactly what they want to watch.”

The Amazon Channels service is also the first time that some of the channels, such as Discovery, have been made available independently of any ‘bundle’, enabling customers to only pay for the premium TV they want to watch.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AIMEE STANTON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Amazon is going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitior Sky. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Amazon is going head to head with streaming rival Netflix and pay-TV competitior Sky. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455443.1495622840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/euan-mccolm-the-rite-of-passage-of-attending-a-first-gig-1-4455048","id":"1.4455048","articleHeadline": "Euan McColm: the rite of passage of attending a first gig","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495621338000 ,"articleLead": "

In the wake of the terror attack in Manchester, Euan McColm reflects on the rite of passage of attending a first concert.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455047.1495606205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Apollo in Glasgow - more likely the Hydro now - was the scene of a rite of passage for Euan McColm and many others."} ,"articleBody": "

Suddenly, my life was to be defined by two distinct phases. The first comprised the 13 years and 44 days leading up to 8 March, 1983. The second? Well, who knew? All I could be sure of was that life would never be same again. The prospect made me giddy with excitement.

I kept the ticket safe inside the sleeve of their third album, “7”; every day, after school, I’d take it out and read “Apollo Theatre, Renfield Street, Glasgow”, then “M.C.P. Presents MADNESS”.

I would lie on my bed studying it; the slip of blue paper I held in my hand was a protector against whatever else life might throw at me. Because whatever else that was, I was going to see Madness and that was all that mattered.

Schoolwork didn’t matter; I would try to understand maths after I’d been to the Madness gig. My family? Maybe I would think about joining them at the table for dinner but until the Madness gig, I would be eating crispy pancakes in my bedroom and listening to “Benny Bullfrog”.

READ MORE: Barra teenager found alive in hospital after Manchester attack

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It might never have happened. It took time and effort to persuade my mother to permit my attendance.

She was, initially, dead against letting me loose into a crowd of skinhead “bovver boys” (a term, it may please you to learn, that she uses to this day). An intervention on my behalf by my father caught her at a vulnerable moment and tickets were bought.

Four of us would be going. We would would be dropped off at the door and met at the door on our departure. There was to be no drinking and if we saw any “bovver boys” we were to avoid them.

My mother had only recently passed her test and had little experience of driving in Glasgow and so, on the Sunday before the concert, my sister and I joined her as she made a dry run from our home in the suburban south side to the Apollo.

It was better to be safe than sorry, she reasoned. On Bridge Street, she ran a red light and a Ford Granada, driven by a middle aged man, ploughed into the side of her Honda Civic. It was written off.

We walked away unscathed. Everything was fine. Of course everything was fine because I was going to see Madness in just two days. I sort of had the gear.

My jeans were flappy Wranglers rather than skintight Lees or Levis, but I had the monkey boots, the white Fred Perry, the entirely unnecessary skinny black braces and a blue blouson that, from a distance at least, looked a bit like a Harrington. My hair was in a style directed by my mother.

Going to ‘Dee of Trongate’ - a Glasgow menswear shop that remains defiantly in business, selling bowling shoes and parkas to the well-dressed man about town - to get those monkey boots was a step into the adult world. I wasn’t in Clarks with my mother, being measured for Polyveldts, I was with my mates making my own decision, up to the value of the money my parents had given me.

Loving a band was about more than music. It was about who I was and how I wanted others to see me. Madness weren’t just my favourite band, they were my world.

Inside the Apollo, we climbed the stairs to the upper circle. A decision was made to chip in for a packet of cigarettes from the machine on the landing. I 
volunteered to get them. I made the unpopular but, I maintain, aesthetically correct decision to buy Woodbine.

Madness came on and the roar of the crowd was an energising as it was deafening. I danced and jumped and shrieked and hollered for two hours.

And, after that, I wanted more of those thrills because once you’ve experienced the euphoria of being a teenager at a concert by your heroes, why wouldn’t you want another hit of it?

It may be impossible to recapture that first rush of excitement but it’s worth trying. As a seen-it-all 34-year-old I enjoyed a Franz Ferdinand gig at Glasgow Uni. It was, you know, pretty good.

When the gig finished, a kid in front of me turned round. I’d have put him at about 14 but, here we were, peers. “That was f***ing brilliant, mate.” he said.

I loved it. The man-of-the-world swearing, the one-of-the-guys “mate”. This kid’s face was illuminated. “Yeah, man,” I replied, “that was amazing.”

The band was great but what made that night special was the energy coming off this kid and his mates. They were buzzing with the thrill of it all.

I remembered the feeling. As I danced harder at the Apollo, I grew more ecstatic. As each song ended, we cheered louder, and then we danced harder, still, and the upper circle bounced up and down like a ruler boinged on the edge of a desk.

And then we went home, driven safely in a Saab and set down at our front doors.

I have a photo somewhere, taken when I got back. My hair’s slicked with sweat, my cheeks are flushed. What I can see in the picture is something others can’t: It shows a version of me different from the one who had previously existed.

When you’re a teenage fan, going to a gig can mean the world. It can change your life.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EUAN McCOLM"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455047.1495606205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455047.1495606205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Apollo in Glasgow - more likely the Hydro now - was the scene of a rite of passage for Euan McColm and many others.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Apollo in Glasgow - more likely the Hydro now - was the scene of a rite of passage for Euan McColm and many others.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455047.1495606205!/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/uk/sir-sean-connery-pays-tribute-to-sir-roger-moore-1-4455307","id":"1.4455307","articleHeadline": "Sir Sean Connery pays tribute to Sir Roger Moore","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495617065000 ,"articleLead": "

Sir Sean Connery has paid tribute to fellow James Bond star Sir Roger Moore, following his death aged 89.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455304.1495617061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Roger Moore, left, with friend and fellow Bond Sean Connery. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

The original big screen 007 said he will “miss” Sir Roger, with whom he enjoyed a long friendship “filled with jokes and laughter”.

The longest reigning James Bond died in Switzerland on Monday after a “short but brave battle with cancer”, his family said.

Sir Sean joined Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan in mourning their fellow 007 star.

• READ MORE - Tributes paid to Sir Roger Moore after actor dies of cancer at 89

The Scottish actor, 86, said in a statement: “I was very sad to hear of Roger’s passing, we had an unusually long relationship by Hollywood standards, that was filled with jokes and laughter.

“I will miss him.”

In a reference to the theme of Sir Roger’s The Spy Who Loved Me, Craig wrote: “Nobody Does It Better - love Daniel.”

Brosnan, who like Craig has starred as Bond four times, described Sir Roger as “magnificent” as he shared a photograph on Instagram of the pair together.

He wrote: “It is indeed with a heavy heart that I hear the news of your passing this morning.

• READ MORE - Roger Moore remembered: 5 of his most memorable quotes

“You were a magnificent James Bond and one that lead the way for me, the world will miss you and your unique sense of humour for years to come.”

Sir Michael Caine, who enjoyed a close friendship with Sir Roger, posted on Twitter: “I am devastated today at loosing (sic) one of my oldest and closest friends ROGER MOORE, my world will never be the same again.”

The actor’s three children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian confirmed the actor’s death.

In a statement, they said: “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer.”

They said they would focus their attentions on supporting his wife, Kristina, and added that there will be a private funeral held in Monaco in “accordance with our father’s wishes”.

• READ MORE - Obituary: Sir Roger Moore, actor best known for playing James Bond

The debonair star added a light-hearted touch to the 007 role during his seven performances.

He wi ll also be remembered for the 1960s TV series The Saint and for his early 1970s show The Persuaders! in which he starred alongside Tony Curtis.

Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson said Sir Roger’s “legacy shall live on through his films and the millions of lives he touched”.

Jane Seymour, who starred with Sir Roger in 1973’s Live And Let Die, remembered him as being “funny, kind and thoughtful to everyone around him”.

• READ MORE - Sir Roger Moore: Sean Connery was obviously the greatest Bond

Among Sir Roger’s Bond films were Moonraker, A View To A Kill and The Man With The Golden Gun.

Off-screen, he was respected for his charity work.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1999 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2003.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455304.1495617061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455304.1495617061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Roger Moore, left, with friend and fellow Bond Sean Connery. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Roger Moore, left, with friend and fellow Bond Sean Connery. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455304.1495617061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4455305.1495617062!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4455305.1495617062!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Roger Moore in 'The Saint'. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Roger Moore in 'The Saint'. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4455305.1495617062!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495557347545"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/tributes-as-sir-roger-moore-dies-of-cancer-aged-89-1-4454590","id":"1.4454590","articleHeadline": "Tributes as Sir Roger Moore dies of cancer aged 89","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495546229000 ,"articleLead": "

Tributes have flooded in to former James Bond star Sir Roger Moore who has died following a short battle with cancer. He was 89.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454950.1495557659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Roger Moore was the longest-serving Bond."} ,"articleBody": "

Former Bond girl Jane Seymour led the tributes to Sir Roger, whom she fondly described as “my Bond”.

The 007 actor died in Switzerland on Tuesday at the age of 89 after a short battle with cancer.

Seymour starred with Sir Roger in 1973’s Live and Let Die, his first as the M16 agent, and she spoke of her devastation upon learning of his death.

Along with a picture of the two of them together, the actress wrote on Instagram: “I am devastated to learn of Roger Moore’s passing.

“The first leading role I ever had as a Bond girl was such a new and frightening world and Roger held my hand and guided me through every process.”

She said he taught her “about work ethic and humility”, adding that he was “funny, kind and thoughtful to everyone around him”.

“In that Roger taught me what a movie star really was and should be,” she added.

“Through his lifelong work with Unicef he showed me the true meaning of being a humanitarian and giving back.

“He was my Bond.”

Adding to the tributes was TV star and ChildLine founder Dame Esther Rantzen, a friend of Sir Roger, who told the Press Association that she will remember him “with a smile”.

She said: “I think the smile, particularly because humour was his trademark, not that he was bland. He was very bright, but it was always such a pleasure to meet him and see him in action films.

“You just remember him and his smile.

“I think the extraordinary thing about him was that he seemed to be without vanity and was always relaxed, funny and charming.”

Sir Roger’s three children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian confirmed the actor’s death in a post shared on his official Twitter account.

The statement read: “It is with a heavy heart that we must announce our loving father, Sir Roger Moore, has passed away today in Switzerland after a short but brave battle with cancer.

“The love with which he was surrounded in his final days was so great it cannot be quantified in words alone.”

They said they would focus their attentions on supporting his wife, Kristina, and added that there will be a private funeral held in Monaco in “accordance with our father’s wishes”.

Sir Roger was the longest-serving actor to play the womanising spy, having portrayed 007 in seven films.

Last year, during a question-and-answer session at London’s Southbank Centre, he admitted that, despite winning the coveted role of the martini-swirling secret agent, one part he wished he had landed was Lawrence of Arabia.

The debonair star, who added a distinct light-hearted touch to the 007 role, also admitted that, while he thought Sir Sean Connery had been the greatest Bond, fans were “lucky” to have the current star of the franchise, Daniel Craig.

While arguably best-known for his role as 007, Sir Roger will also be remembered for his work in TV’s The Saint in the 1960s.

Despite having been criticised somewhat throughout his decades-long career for having a lack of depth, Sir Roger remained self-deprecating.

He once said he could not act “in the Olivier sense”, although he described himself as a good technician.

Along with Bond films including Moonraker, A View To A Kill and The Man With The Golden Gun, Sir Roger appeared in movies such as The Cannonball Run, Spice World, The Boat That Rocked and The Man Who Wouldn’t Die.

Off-screen, he was respected for his charity work. He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1999 and a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2003.

His knighthood was given for his humanitarian work, his main focus for many of his final years.

At the time, he said the citation “meant far more to me than if I had got it for acting ... I was proud because I received it on behalf of Unicef as a whole and for all it has achieved over the years”.

Tributes to Sir Roger have been led by The James Bond International Fan Club, which has said “nobody did Bond better”.

Film organisations such as the British Film Institute and Bafta also remembered him fondly on their social media accounts,

Pinewood Studios described Moore as a “force of nature”, adding that “his humour and spirit will be missed by all of us”.

Unicef paid tribute to Sir Roger, a long-term supporter and goodwill ambassador for the charity, in which they said the “world has lost one of its great champions for children”.

A statement from Unicef’s executive director Anthony Lake said: “In his most famous roles as an actor, Sir Roger was the epitome of cool sophistication, but in his work as a Unicef goodwill ambassador he was a passionate - and highly persuasive - advocate for children.

“He once said that it was up to all of us to give children a more peaceful future. Together with (his wife) Lady Kristina, he worked very hard to do so.

“All of us at Unicef extend our deepest sympathies to the Moore family, and join his many friends and admirers from around the world in paying tribute to his life and mourning his loss. He will be deeply missed.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LUCY MAPSTONE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454950.1495557659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454950.1495557659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Roger Moore was the longest-serving Bond.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Roger Moore was the longest-serving Bond.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454950.1495557659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454589.1495546745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454589.1495546745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir Roger Moore has died after a short battle with cancer.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Roger Moore has died after a short battle with cancer.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454589.1495546745!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1495557347545"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-review-music-is-torture-1-4454493","id":"1.4454493","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Music is Torture","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495542001000 ,"articleLead": "

The scene is a run-down recording studio, where the sound desk keeps blowing up in a shower of sparks. Behind the glass is a band called Dawnings; pensive, slightly mournful indy types, played with relish by A Band Called Quinn, who have been trying to finish the same album for 15 years. And in front of the desk sits Jake, their producer; once a member of a top band of the late 1990s, but now doomed to a life of penury, living on his lumpy, pizza-stained studio sofa because he can no longer afford his flat, watching while former bandmates pick up awards for their glittering new careers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454492.1495621884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Band Called Quinn in Music is Torture"} ,"articleBody": "

Music is Torture ****

Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Until, that is, the night when his streetwise friend Nick gets him and the band shouting along to a few artificially generated beats – they’re yelling “Kill Them All”, the slogan of Jake’s old band – and likes what he hears. In no time, Kill Them All is going viral on the internet; and then Jake receives a lawyer’s letter saying that the track is being used for “enhanced interrogation” – ie. torture – by the US security forces, and that there might be some royalty money in it.

This is the set-up for Louise Quinn’s intriguing new drama for her band’s own Tromolo Productions, presented as part of the Tron Theatre’s Mayfesto exploration of theatre and music; and it has to be said that it takes an absurd amount of time – almost two thirds of its 75 minutes – to reach the point where the letter arrives, and the story really begins. The result is a rushed conclusion, and an underwritten exploration of Jake’s gradual recognition of the moral dilemma he faces.

Everything else about the show, though, is completely alluring, from Andy Clark’s superb performance as Jake, through the gentle, incisive quality of Quinn’s dialogue, to some truly mind-blowing video, lighting and sound design by Tim Reid, Kate Bonney and Bal Cooke. The music is sweet, witty and often powerful. And Ben Harrison directs with real artistry, in a show which – particularly through Harry Ward’s fine performance as Nick – makes us feel in its very body-language how the system comes for us all; whether it’s standing over us at Guantanamo threatening more waterboarding, or forcing us to sign a dodgy contract out of sheer financial desperation, or just demanding that we bare our souls on the internet, on the off-chance of redemption by celebrity, when all else has failed.

*Music Is Torture is at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 25-27 May and at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, 1 June.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454492.1495621884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454492.1495621884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Band Called Quinn in Music is Torture","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Band Called Quinn in Music is Torture","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454492.1495621884!/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-kt-tunstall-1-4454460","id":"1.4454460","articleHeadline": "Music review: KT Tunstall","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495541454000 ,"articleLead": "

Seeing KT Tunstall back onstage, in her element, charming a sold out Queens Hall, it was hard to credit that two years ago she almost left pop music for dust. But a certain animal instinct called her back to produce new album KIN and return to touring solo, in the form we first fell in love with her.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454459.1495541452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "KT Tunstall PIC: Tom Oxley"} ,"articleBody": "

KT Tunstall ****

Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh

Tunstall was wrangling loop pedals to build up her one-woman band when Ed Sheeran was in short trousers. On this outing, she has expanded on that set-up, to incorporate a whole mechanical and digital band of gizmos, including temperamental drum machine Pete the Beat, which she chastised with good humour.

Revelling in the freedom and flexibility of playing solo, she revisited some of her earliest songs, including an ambient electro treatment of Heal Over and a twinkling synth gamelan take on The Other Side of the World.

Tunstall is a consummate entertainer, dovetailing the earthy Hold On into The Bangles’ Walk Like An Egyptian but equally captivating without all the ephemera on Invisible Empire and piano ballad Crescent Moon. Still, if any song benefitted from the loop treatment then it was Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, complete with Seven Nation Army kazoo solo.

KT’s Cover Challenge kept her on her toes – with only a chord chart and lyric sheet, she launched into an unrehearsed, appropriately gritty audience request for Ziggy Stardust. Even better, her bluesy rendition of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun, in tribute to the late Chris Cornell, confirmed that Tunstall is a true all-rounder.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4454459.1495541452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4454459.1495541452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "KT Tunstall PIC: Tom Oxley","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "KT Tunstall PIC: Tom Oxley","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4454459.1495541452!/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-hidden-door-festival-is-helping-to-bring-leith-theatre-back-to-life-1-4448717","id":"1.4448717","articleHeadline": "Theatre: Hidden Door festival is helping to bring Leith Theatre back to life","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495530000000 ,"articleLead": "

Grand, old and neglected, Leith Theatre is being resuscitated by the energy and vision of this year’s Hidden Door festival

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448715.1495457192!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Creative Scotland funding is helping Hidden Door put on an impressive programme of shows, gigs, events and exhibitions at Leith Theatre"} ,"articleBody": "

Last year and in 2015, it was in the old municipal lighting depot, in a hidden courtyard off King’s Stables Road; before that, in 2014, it made an astonishing job of bringing to life the old arches in Market Street, beside Waverley Station.

Now, though, the Hidden Door Festival’s quest for unused spaces across Edinburgh has led it to Leith, and to the great sleeping giant that is Leith Theatre, first opened in 1932 as Leith Town Hall. Hidden Door was founded five years ago in response to the feeling that, for all its international excitement, the Edinburgh Fringe doesn’t really provide an effective gathering place and showcase for young artists who want to make their lives in Edinburgh and across Scotland, and to create work here. The life of a young Edinburgh artist also involves the endless quest for usable space, in a city beset by waves of commercial property development; and so Hidden Door’s founder, Edinburgh College of Art graduate David Martin, found himself creating a pop-up festival which is dedicated to remaining on the move, reinventing itself each year in whatever space becomes available.

Which is why, this week – if you walk through the grand iron gates to the left of Leith Library, and slip through one of the side doors into Leith Theatre – you will find one of the city’s great hidden spaces, unused for the past 25 years despite a star-studded history as a venue for rock concerts and the Edinburgh International Festival, but now under the management of the independent Leith Theatre Trust, and shuddering back into life, as Hidden Door’s year-round team of more than 70 volunteers start to clear and reshape the great central space of the theatre, and all the the small spaces around it, for the 2017 Hidden Door Festival.

As ever, Hidden Door is mainly a free festival of visual art and installations – in spaces all round the huge building – funded and supported both by Creative Scotland and an impressive evening music programme, as well as Hidden Door’s many inventively-styled bars; one of which is being built at the back of the main theatre out of the remains of the old Usher Hall organ, which had been lying around in Leith Theatre along with 25 years’ worth of other municipal debris.

In the nooks and crevices of the festival, though, there’s still plenty of room for other art-forms, notably theatre and spoken word; and this year’s theatre programme features a range of 15 events over ten days, many of them solo pieces occupying the borderland between performance and installation, others larger in scale.

“I feel as if we’ve bitten off quite a big challenge, this year,” says Martin, emerging from a day’s teaching to check how this year’s build is progressing. “It’s a much bigger programme and budget – about 30 per cent or 40 per cent bigger than last year; so we really need to get audiences in, and to reach out to everyone in Leith and beyond who wants this place to come back to life. It really is strange, given Leith’s rise and rise over the last 25 years as a desirable place to live, that it doesn’t have any sizeable entertainment venue of its own; so we’re excited to be here, and to see what we can do to help bring the place back to life.”

In the quest for audiences, Hidden Door’s theatre team have invited back the popular Edinburgh-based Ludens Ensemble, who will perform a multi-media show called Love, based on Shakespeare’s Sonnets; and, for the first time, the Leith-based Grid Iron company, Scotland’s leading site-specific theatre specialists, who will present three work-in-progress performances of South Bend, a new play by Martin McCormick about the different faces of America.

“I’ve always been such a fan of Hidden Door,” says the show’s director Ben Harrison. “Just like Grid Iron when we were starting out in the 1990s, they share that passion for finding spaces around Edinburgh that need to be opened up, and bringing them alive. And it’s quite a thrill to think of working on that Leith Theatre stage, with that history – all the way from bands like AC/DC to the great Japanese director Ninagawa.”

Alongside these two invited groups, there are more than a dozen other theatre-makers and companies involved, including the actor Tam Dean Burn and the Edinburgh-based theatre-maker Heather Marshall, of Creative Electric. Hidden Door favourite Annie Lord will present a show called Graft, which may touch on the uneasy union between Leith and Edinburgh, back in 1920 – the union that led to Leith Theatre being built, as a consolation gift to the people of Leith. Edinburgh-based Tragic Carpet Visual Theatre present a show about rendition, the secret transfer of terrorism suspects to sites where they can be interrogated and tortured; and the Glasgow-based group Surge, specialising in circus and physical theatre, will be popping up everywhere, over the first weekend of the festival, with their new site-responsive work The Mash Collective.

“This really is a new experience for us,” says Martin. “Often in the past, we’ve been working in spaces that were about to be bulldozed, or radically rebuilt; so we could have a very free hand. Here, though, we’re dealing with this beautiful art deco listed building – people are often quite awe-struck when they first walk in here – and so we have to work with the building, and try to give people a sense of what it could be. It’s a big challenge; but as you can see, we’re giving it our best shot; and we hope we’ll create something really memorable, to help set this building on its way again.”

*Hidden Door is at Leith Theatre from 26 May until 4 June

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4448715.1495457192!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4448715.1495457192!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Creative Scotland funding is helping Hidden Door put on an impressive programme of shows, gigs, events and exhibitions at Leith Theatre","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Creative Scotland funding is helping Hidden Door put on an impressive programme of shows, gigs, events and exhibitions at Leith Theatre","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4448715.1495457192!/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-bbc-sso-thomas-dausgaard-1-4453244","id":"1.4453244","articleHeadline": "Music review: BBC SSO & Thomas Dausgaard","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495447154000 ,"articleLead": "

The BBC SSO ended its first season under new music director Thomas Dausgaard with a symphonic litmus test. Mahler’s Seventh Symphony is the composer’s most challenging and troublesome, but equally his most modern and radical. It divided opinion when it was unleashed in 1908. Schoenberg loved every minute. The Mahler-loving theorist and composer, Theodor Adorno, noted “disproportion between the splendid exterior and the meagre content of the whole”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4421449.1492427586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The BBC SSO PIC: John Wood"} ,"articleBody": "

BBC SSO & Thomas Dausgaard ***

City Halls, Glasgow

A century on, performances can still be hit or miss, but there have been plenty of examples over the years – both live and on CD – to prove the difficulties are surmountable. For me, Thursday’s performance in Glasgow resurrected Adorno’s questions rather than endorsed Schoenberg’s infatuation. The devil was in the lack of detail.

Dausgaard expressed his own potent view on the shape and flavour of this epic symphony: the vying restless complexities that ignite the opening movement; the unflinching jollity of the finale; and in between, the succulent diversions of the two nocturnes and illusory scherzo. Fine, so far as it goes.

But in truth, the SSO did not sound comfortable in its task. Where was the laser precision and searing electricity? Why such unchecked tuning, even nervousness, from the brass and wind? In short, where was the red-hot Mahler we’ve been used to from past great SSO performances?

Haydn’s Symphony No 88 fared better, not least its sprightliness and the rustic bassoon growls that titillate the Trio. Dausgaard inspired a more immediate response here, the ragged opening aside.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ken Walton"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4421449.1492427586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4421449.1492427586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The BBC SSO PIC: John Wood","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The BBC SSO PIC: John Wood","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4421449.1492427586!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}