In Full

Culture in Full

44 Scotland Street: Distressed oatmeal

Pat handed Matthew the slush pile after he had hung up his lightweight summer scarf.

St Cecilia's Hall in Edinburgh is to reopen next month after a two-year, �6.5million redevelopment.
 Picture: Neil Hanna

Modern makeover for Scotland's oldest concert hall revealed

It has been only been home to a handful of shows every year - despite being Scotland’s oldest concert hall and once playing host to Hollywood superstar Grace Kelly.


Story of 92-year-old Serbian refugee to be told in animation

The story of a World War II refugee from Serbia who came to Scotland in 1947 is to be told in a new animation.

Richard Beard PIC: Gary Doak/Writer Pictures

Book review: The Day That Went Missing, by Richard Beard

Richard Beard is one of those infuriatingly unclassifiable writers. Not the least of the virtues of this immensely plangent memoir is that he has decided to classify himself. To recap his career: his first novels were influenced by the OuLiPo movement, which prized constraint as a means to develop expression. X20 was a novel in which the protagonist only wrote whenever the craving for one of the 20-a-day cigarettes he had given up came upon him – it is up there with Svevo’s Confessions Of Zeno as a great nicotine novel; and Damascus restricted itself (with a dozen exceptions) to nouns found in one day’s issue of the Times. The Cartoonist was more May 68 than OuLiPo, and featured a daemonic amusement park and possible terror. His next book was an elegy for rugby; he later wrote a brilliant book on cricket, Australia and failure. His next novel, Dry Bones, was a satirical look at relics and what we leave behind, and was followed by an early outlier, Becoming Drusilla about his friend Drew’s transition from male to female. His last two books, Lazarus Is Dead and Acts Of The Assassins were ingenious reimaginings of Biblical stories; one an essay-come-fictive reconstruction, the other a time-mash of contemporary espionage and the fates of the apostles. So where after that?

Victoria Whitworth

Book review: Swimming With Seals by Victoria Whitworth

There’s no shortage of books about wild swimming out this month and next, to the extent that some larger bookshops may soon need to think about making space for a dedicated wild swimming section. In Floating (Duckworth Overlook, out now), journalist Joe Minihane follows in the footsteps (breaststrokes?) of Roger Deakin and embarks on a wild swimming odyssey around the UK, while in Turning – A Swimming Memoir (Virago, 4 May), Jessica J Lee sets out to swim 52 of the lakes around Berlin, sometimes using a hammer to break the ice before taking the plunge. There’s some wild swimming history, too, in Swell by Jenny Landreth (Bloomsbury, 4 May), which tells the story of the “swimming suffragettes” who, in the early decades of the 20th century, made swimming – both in artificial pools (probably best not to say “man-made” in this context) and in lakes, rivers and seas – the egalitarian pastime it is today.

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect of the lot, however, and certainly of most interest to Scottish readers, is Swimming With Seals, by the academic and novelist Victoria Whitworth. Ostensibly, it’s a book about her experiences of swimming off the coast of Orkney (wetsuit-less, since you ask, and yes, all year round) where she lived for several years. But there’s so much more going on under the surface – so many interesting undercurrents pulling the reader in different directions – that to simply call it “a book about wild swimming” would be to miss the point.

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2. Picture: Film Frame. �Marvel Studios 2017

Film reviews: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 | The Promise | Lady Macbeth | Handsome Devil

The second outing for the Guardians of the Galaxy tips over from self-confident to self-indulgent, while Florence Pugh transfixes as a trapped young wife in Lady Macbeth

Author David Spaven. Picture: Contributed

Scottish author wins national ‘Railway Book of the Year’ award

AUTHOR David Spaven has won a prestigious Britain-wide transport award.

Ian McDiarmid had the pivotal role as the Emperor in the Star Wars films.

Star Wars villain Ian McDiarmid to play Enoch Powell on Edinburgh stage

He is known to millions of movie fans as the man behind the villainous Emperor Palpatine in the Star Wars blockbusters.
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44 Scotland Street: The slush pile

44 Scotland Street: The slush pile

At the very time that Stuart was waiting outside that fateful promotion board door, Matthew was crossing Dundas Street to open up his gallery. It was already nine forty-five, the later opening hour being an inevitable concomitant of his having moved out of town to Nine Mile Burn. Matthew had explored the various ways of getting into work and had opted for what he described as the semi-green option. This involved a car journey into Fairmilehead, where he could park well beyond the limits of the controlled parking zone. Then he would wait to catch a bus that would take him all the way into the city centre, dropping him off a mere five minutes from Dundas Street. The entire journey took forty-five minutes, which meant that he had to leave the house at nine if he were to open the gallery before ten.

Loch Hakel. Picture: Contributed

Project launched to celebrate the Gaelic bard, Rob Dunn

HE is arguably as important to Gaelic poetry as his contemporary Robert Burns is to poetry in Scots.

Franz Ferdinand's selt-titled debut album sold more than two million copies. Picture: Toby Williams/TSPL

Star of Franz Ferdinand song Jacqueline stands for the SNP

It’s the opening track on one of the best-selling debut albums ever released by a Scottish band.

Music 32
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, 1829, by 
John Constable at the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh

Art review: Constable & McTaggart: A Meeting of Two Masterpieces | The Tomb: Ancient Egyptian Burial

The Scottish National Gallery’s pairing of two masterpieces – a ‘new’ Constable and McTaggart’s The Storm – is inspired and impressive

Author Mark O'Connell. Picture: Rich Gilligan

Book review: To Be A Machine, by Mark O’Connell

This exploration of the transhumanist dream of defeating death by turning into machines is riveting, comic, fascinating – and appalling

Was Ernest Hemingway really a spy?

Book review: Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, by Nicholas Reynolds

Was America’s Nobel laureate also a Soviet spy? asks Vin Arthey

Eugene Kelly

Music review: Eugene Kelly

“I usually have someone standing next to me for this one,” indicated Eugene Kelly; literally, his right arm raised almost as though it were around an invisible partner. Of course he’s talking about Frances McKee, his partner for three years in the late 1980s and for nearly the last decade in the Vaselines, to not inconsiderable cult success. “Francis and Eugene,” he sighed, “like Ant and Dec. She’s always there.”

The RSNO's Principal Guest Conductor Thomas S�nderg�rd PIC: Andy Buchanan

Classical review: The RSNO and Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård exercises a magic touch with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Of all its regular conductors – he is principal guest – he is the one who makes this orchestra really live, responding to his un-showy authority with tangible passion and corporate vitality.

A specially-branded open top bus was unveiled today to coincide with the World Fringe Day launch.

Global festivals celebration to mark Edinburgh Fringe's 70th birthday

A global celebration of festivals is to be staged for 24 hours in the run-up to the 70th anniversary Edinburgh Fringe - in a bit to emulate the worldwide buzz generated by St Patrick’s Day and Burns Night.
Edinburgh, Fife & Lothians 5
John Byrne with Lennox Dunbar and David McCracken. Picture: Aberdeen City Council

Renowned artist John Byrne unveils new artwork in Aberdeen

JOHN Byrne has revealed a striking new limited edition print to support the fundraising campaign for the redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Kirsty Stevens, who uses scans of her brain in her designs, with her Brain Moth Necklaces

Fashion: Kirsty Stevens, Charcot

Do the designs pictured on these pages make you think of impossibly delicate and intricately beautiful moths? They’re actually inspired by MRI scans of the lesions multiple sclerosis (MS) has caused in Kirsty Stevens’ brain, taken in the lead-up to her diagnosis in 2007. She incorporates the designs into jewellery, scarves, cushion covers and framed prints to raise awareness about MS and has been picked as the first V&A Dundee Design Champion. Inspirational designers creating quality work and helping to enhance people’s lives, or champions of the power of design to improve the world, will be announced weekly until the museum opens in 2018.

Piping Live! is launched in Glasgow with massive 23ft mural. Picture: Contributed

Colossal clansman launches piping hot summer in Glasgow

THE world’s biggest week of piping – Piping Live! and The Worlds – to return to Glasgow

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