{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/head-of-new-bbc-scotland-channel-puts-audience-feedback-ahead-of-politics-1-4874492","id":"1.4874492","articleHeadline": "Head of new BBC Scotland channel puts audience feedback ahead of politics","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550489160000 ,"articleLead": "

The man in charge of BBC Scotland’s new channel has vowed that it will be serving audiences rather than politicians - as he pledged it would take risks, unearth the stars of the future and help revolutionise the broadcasting industry north of the border.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC Scotland will shortly unveil its new channel"} ,"articleBody": "

Steve Carson insisted political debate about the new channel was not on the BBC’s radar in the run-up to its launch on Sunday evening.

And he insisted that audience feedback was its “first, foremost and only” concern as it prepared to roll out more than 900 hours of new content over the next 12 months.

Mr Carson urged people who had decided to shun BBC Scotland in protest at its political coverage to give the channel a chance, insisting its programming was designed to appeal to “all parts of the audience.”

Mr Carson, previously head of content production at BBC Northern Ireland, was appointed in September 2017 to head up the new channel, which will have a £32m budget and broadcast its core content between 7pm and midnight.

It will herald the launch of a long-awaited Scottish “news hour,” show, which will go out each night at 9pm, a Scottish equivalent of Question Time, a weekly People’s News show, giving “ordinary Scots” drawn from around the country the chance to have their say on the latest burning issue,” and a topical news review hosted by Still Game star Sanjeev Kohli.

In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Carson insisted many of the channel’s key shows would either go out live or would be highly topical - despite fears it will have to rely heavily on repeats due to its budget.

But he expects much of its audience to come via catch-up services on the BBC iPlayer, watched on mobile phones and tablets rather than in living rooms and be fuelled by clips on social media, reflecting changing viewing habits.

The launch is being planned against a backdrop of controversy over the selection of audiences for Question Time when it is made in Scotland. Its production company, Mentorn, is also behind BBC Scotland’s new Debate Night show.

MP Hannah Bardell, the SNP’s media spokeswoman, who is among those to question whether the channel’s budget is too low, has warned the BBC must “regain the trust that it lost with so many people in Scotland in 2014,” adding that a “wider, outlward ooking view” was needed.

Mr Carson said: “My job, and the job my team have, is to listen the audience. We’re very receptive to audience feedback and research. That’s the first, foremost and only concern. Any noise or political stuff is not on our radar.

“We’re broadcasters, we’re here for the audience. That’s the only market we serve.

“There will be a range of programmes on the channel which will appeal to all parts of the audience. I would ask people to take another look at BBC Scotland and see what they think after a few months.”

BBC Scotland has pledged that the new channel will ensure that viewers across Scotland will be able to see more of their lives, tell more of their stories and explore more of their interests on screen.

Among the first shows to be confirmed are documentary going behind the scenes with Scotland’s biggest Asian wedding planners, a talent show following Emeli Sande as she tries to find stars of the future among street buskers, a show following Scottish make-up vlogger Jamie Genevieve and a gritty drama tackling gang culture and drugs in Edinburgh.

Mr Carson said: “It’s a significant moment for BBC Scotland. The channel will be super-charging the amount of original content made in Scotland for Scottish audiences.

“I’ve seen through my work in Northern Ireland how the power of local content and stories that relate to the lives of the audience can cut through a very cluttered market. We want to really focus on contemporary Scotland and the lives of people who live here.”

BBC Scotland has admitted as much as half of the content on the channel will be repeats.

However, Mr Carson said: “The channel should feel it is on now and is about now. A lot of the schedule will either be live or topical. We’re moving to a situation where everything we broadcast on the channel will exist on BBC Scotland’s iPlayer space. We can see audiences like other chances to see things; they don’t necessarily want to sit down to watch something when it’s on live.”

Mr Carson pledged that the channel would also be showcasing new writers and directors from the outset.

He said: “It’s a place to experiment. That’s in the interests of the audience as much as the creative sector. We’re all about trying new things. It’s a choice to take risks. There are safer versions of this channel we could have done.

“Properly done, a good format can bring audiences to the most unlikely subject. Who’d have thought shows about ballroom dancing or baking would’ve been big hits?”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BRIAN FERGUSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "BBC Scotland will shortly unveil its new channel","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC Scotland will shortly unveil its new channel","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874491.1550433518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874491.1550433518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steve Carson, Head of Multi-Platform Commissioning - BBC Scotland. Picture: Alan Peebles","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steve Carson, Head of Multi-Platform Commissioning - BBC Scotland. Picture: Alan Peebles","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874491.1550433518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790574618001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/just-what-the-doctor-ordered-marathon-signing-session-by-peter-capaldi-boosts-charity-1-4874537","id":"1.4874537","articleHeadline": "Just what the Doctor ordered: Marathon signing session by Peter Capaldi boosts charity","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550475265000 ,"articleLead": "

As a Time Lord capable of travelling through dimensions and across centuries, nine hours may not seem like much.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874535.1550475257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Capaldi signed autographs at a convention in Edinburgh for nine hours to raise funds for CHAS. Picture: Contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Peter Capaldi demonstrated the kind of unflappable spirit that made him a beloved Doctor Who to legions of science fiction fans as he undertook a marathon autograph signing session on Saturday – taking just one 15-minute break during the process.

The Scots actor was the main attraction at the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con, a three-day celebration of all things science fiction, held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh.

Around 500 people queued patiently for the chance to have a picture signed by the 12th incarnation of the Doctor. He was only scheduled to sign autographs for a couple of hours,

Onlookers were more than impressed. Fan Melissa Johnson, 31, from Newington in Edinburgh, said: “He was just a complete star, a real gentleman. I can’t believe he spent so much time with everyone. He was really kind and asking everyone about themselves, and if they had enjoyed the convention, and thanking them for waiting so long.”

Capaldi’s popularity is good news for Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), the charity which collects all proceeds made at the not-for-profit convention. His mammoth autograph signing session raised around £10,000.

Last year’s event raised more than £70,000 for the organisation, which provides hospice services to children, and organisers are confident they can surpass that total this time around.

It was a memorable afternoon for Doctor Who fans – known as Whovians – who were lucky enough to be present. In addition to answering numerous questions on the series from the eager masses, Capaldi borrowed a guitar to lead a group rendition of Starman – the 1972 David Bowie single which tells the story of an extraterrestrial.

It was a case of revisiting one of Capaldi’s earliest passions. Before he found success as an actor, the Glasgow-born performer was a member of a punk rock band in the early 1980s called The Dreamboys, alongside future US TV star Craig Ferguson.

Whovians were further delighted when Capaldi spent time chatting with fellow actor Peter Davison, who played the fifth incarnation of the Doctor.

One onlooker commented: “Historic Sci-Fi geekery here at the Capital Sci-Fi Con. There are two legendary Doctors in the house!”

Other stars of stage and screen to attend the Capital convention included Warwick Davis, best known for his roles in Willow, Star Wars, and the Harry Potter films, and Arie Dekker, the stuntman who played Chewbacca in Star Wars.

Laura Campbell, senior community fundraiser at CHAS, said: “Peter Capaldi went above and beyond yesterday at Edinburgh’s Capital Sci-Fi Con.

“He stayed an hour after the convention closed so he could continue to sign autographs and meet fans who had taken the time to queue to see him. And not only that, he has chosen to donate his whole autograph fee to CHAS.

“We’re so grateful for Peter’s incredible generosity, which will help us on our mission of reaching every family across Scotland who is facing the unimaginable, that their child is going to die.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874535.1550475257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874535.1550475257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Peter Capaldi signed autographs at a convention in Edinburgh for nine hours to raise funds for CHAS. Picture: Contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Capaldi signed autographs at a convention in Edinburgh for nine hours to raise funds for CHAS. Picture: Contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874535.1550475257!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874536.1550475262!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874536.1550475262!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Madison Birrall, Penny Moth, Elise Forrest, an unamed Stormtrooper, and Mitch Houston arrive ahead of the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Madison Birrall, Penny Moth, Elise Forrest, an unamed Stormtrooper, and Mitch Houston arrive ahead of the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874536.1550475262!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/edinburgh-festivals/don-t-parachute-in-major-events-fringe-society-chief-urges-politicians-1-4874497","id":"1.4874497","articleHeadline": "‘Don’t parachute in major events,’ Fringe Society chief urges politicians","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550473823000 ,"articleLead": "

The figurehead of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has spoken out against politicians “parachuting” in major events due to their profile and economic impact.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874496.1550473820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Hasselhoff at the MTV EMA's 2014 at The Hydro in Glasgow. Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV."} ,"articleBody": "

Shona McCarthy, Fringe Society chief executive, said supporting home-grown culture should be far more important for towns and cities.

A year after the society lost its £210,000 grant from Creative Scotland, she cited the example of the MTV Europe Music Awards, which have been staged in Edinburgh and Glasgow but with around £1 million in support from the public purse.

In a speech to European marketing experts, she insisted the Fringe would not have survived if it had not been “inextricably” woven into the city’s fabric and become as much a part of its story as its historic architecture. But Ms McCarthy admitted it was facing “major challenges,” including dealing with the “massive influx” of audiences into the city and the soaring cost of accommodation. She said it was reliant on the “enormous collective permission” of the city and stressed the importance of “robustly assessing the mood of the citizens to their festivals”.

Ms McCarthy was in charge of the reign of Londonderry as UK City of Culture before being appointed by the Fringe Society in 2016. She previously led Belfast’s bid to be crowned European Capital of Culure.

She said: “One of the things I’ve learned is that there is such a temptation to bring in events from the outside and parachute them in. It always seems to be what the politicians want.

“But in my experience the things that stick, the things that stay, the things that really engage civic pride and provide a platform for cultural practitioners are the things that are home-grown and speak to the DNA of a place. I genuinely think it’s why the Edinburgh festivals, 72 years on, have not just thrived, but deliver on all of those things that people want from a city of culture.

“I’d go as far as to say if the Fringe were not so rooted in the intrinsic values and fabric of the city of its birth it couldn’t have survived and grown to become the world’s biggest performing arts festival.

“Edinburgh has continued to embrace the Fringe and allowed it to give voice to performing artists from around the world. The Fringe has been instrumental in turning the city into a global stage.

“The Fringe is huge, it does completely transform this city, along with the other festivals, every August. It also has major challenges. How does a small city like Edinburgh deal with the massive influx of people every year?”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874496.1550473820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874496.1550473820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Hasselhoff at the MTV EMA's 2014 at The Hydro in Glasgow. Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Hasselhoff at the MTV EMA's 2014 at The Hydro in Glasgow. Picture: Ian Gavan/Getty Images for MTV.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874496.1550473820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/carlos-acosta-interview-the-dance-world-was-a-world-i-wasn-t-supposed-to-be-in-1-4874626","id":"1.4874626","articleHeadline": "Carlos Acosta interview: “the dance world was a world I wasn’t supposed to be in”","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550486712000 ,"articleLead": "

Carlos Acosta’s remarkable journey from the streets of Havana to Principal of the Royal Ballet is told in a film of his life, Yuli, which is premiering at the Glasgow Film Festival. The acclaimed dancer talks to Kelly Apter about the sacrifices he made to step up to the barre

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874625.1550486708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Carlos Acosta in Yuli"} ,"articleBody": "

During the opening credits of Yuli, a camera swoops through the streets of Havana, picking out the iconic 1950s cars driving by. But arriving at the city’s beautiful Gran Teatro to rehearse, Carlos Acosta himself parks a silver-grey Hyundai, complete with air conditioning and seatbelts – no colourful gas-guzzler for him.

It’s a small point, but one which sets the scene for what is to unfold in this fascinating, clever and poignant biopic about the man deemed the finest dancer of his generation. Despite being surrounded by people almost constantly during the film, Acosta often looks alone, other, separate. Taking ballet class with those more affluent than him, looking out of a school window at children playing, being attacked in his dorm for stealing – even as an adult arriving at English National Ballet speaking only Spanish, or lying in a hospital bed waiting for his ankle to heal – he feels apart.

At one point in the film, Acosta describes the abject loneliness of “the Wednesday feeling” – the day families used to visit their children at boarding school. Only his father was working, his mother was ill – so nobody ever came.

“When I arrived, I felt the world completely change,” says Acosta, talking to me in advance of Yuli’s premiere at the Glasgow Film Festival. “I was sent away from my family, it was like being in exile. I was the only kid whose family didn’t visit them.

“It was obvious to me that I was different, that this was a world I wasn’t supposed to be in. There was no one like me, with my ethnicity, doing ballet – so it was obvious this wasn’t for people like myself, and I also found that when I became a professional dancer in companies.”

Inspired by the life of Acosta and his 2007 autobiography, No Way Home, Yuli was created by writer Paul Laverty (My Name Is Joe, I, Daniel Blake) and Spanish director Icíar Bollaín. An incredible debut performance by 10-year-old Edilson Manuel Olbera as the young Acosta – nicknamed ‘Yuli’ by his father – takes us back to the dancer’s humble beginnings on the outskirts of Havana. Then, Cuban dancer Keyvin Martínez takes over as the 18-year-old leaving his homeland to dance in England.

Interspersed with this, the film blends archive footage (Acosta winning the Gold medal at the 1990 Prix de Lausanne, dancing at the Royal Ballet where he was a Principal for 17 years) with modern-day rehearsals at Acosta’s own company in Havana. Scenes of deep emotional resonance, such as a brutal beating from his father for missing ballet school, are played out through dance to great effect.

For unusually, it was Pedro Acosta, not his son Carlos, who wanted the young boy to study ballet. “He was born to dance – he just doesn’t know it yet,” says Pedro in the film; he has “natural talent, from his head to his toes,” say his teachers at ballet class. But young Acosta has other ideas –

he wants to be a footballer like Pelé and, above all, avoid being called a “faggot” by the boys in his neighbourhood.

“I battled against the will of my father,” recalls Acosta. “He wanted me to study ballet, and that was something I really didn’t want to do. And when I first became a dancer it was terrible – I left behind my home and family to go into a world I didn’t know, where I didn’t speak the language and had to find my own space in a metropolis that was completely foreign.

“I often thought at the beginning, that I was dancing so I could fulfil my father’s dream – and those dreams led me away from my family and the country that I love. Now, I see that it’s been the most incredible gift.”

That early agony of separation is felt keenly in Yuli, through the push and pull of Acosta’s parents. On the phone to London, his father urges his son to “forget about us, move on!”, before handing it to Acosta’s mother who wails, “when are you coming home?”.

It’s a dichotomy that followed Acosta to Houston Ballet in Texas, where he danced in the 1990s – another scene brilliantly depicted through ballet in the film.

“When I went back to Cuba with money, I wanted to dress well and have a fancy car – it’s a phase people have to go through,” says Acosta. “I would say to people ‘I’m still the same’ but they would say ‘we like the old one better’.

“And then the aggravation in Houston, with Americans asking if I’m going to defect and telling me I’m a Communist, all these things that bring you down. So you’re caught between two worlds – and all you want to do is dance.” And dance he did to enormous acclaim, before starting his own company, Acosta Danza in Cuba two years ago.

Next January, the 45-year-old great grandson of a slave (we see Pedro and his young son visit the Acosta plantation in Yuli) will become artistic director of one of the oldest dance institutions in Britain, Birmingham Royal Ballet – and take his vision for a more diverse world with him.

“I’d like to work with the local community,” he says, “and collaborate with artists and creative groups that are already there. Also to have a direction that is more in keeping with the times – I want the company to be relevant, to keep this artistry alive, while still embracing the traditions.

“Birmingham Royal Ballet has its own thing going, it’s different from the Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, and I want people to know that when they come to us, they will have a different experience.”

The UK premiere of Yuli is at the Glasgow Film Festival on 23 February, with screenings in selected cinemas on 3 April (visit www.acostafilm.com for venues in Scotland), before going on general release on 12 April. Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast is at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 13-16 March

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Kelly Apter"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874625.1550486708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874625.1550486708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Carlos Acosta in Yuli","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Carlos Acosta in Yuli","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874625.1550486708!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/film/film-reviews-a-private-war-the-kid-who-would-be-king-jellyfish-instant-family-1-4874602","id":"1.4874602","articleHeadline": "Film reviews: A Private War | The Kid Who Would Be King | Jellyfish | Instant Family","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550485264000 ,"articleLead": "

Rosamund Pike’s nuanced performance as war reporter Marie Colvin goes beyond the cliché of the damaged but determined foreign correspondent, while The Kid Who Would Be King is a fresh riff on Arthurian legend

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874601.1550485260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Private War"} ,"articleBody": "

A Private War (15) ***

The Kid Who Would Be King (PG) ***

Jellyfish (15) ****

Instant Family (12A) **

The late Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin gets a worthy tribute in A Private War, a biopic that transcends some of the clichés of its own conventional construction by rendering the last decade or so of her life (she’s played by Rosamund Pike) as a harrowing portrait of someone both traumatised by and addicted to the pain she’d committed herself to covering. Framed by her fateful decision to report on the bombing of civilians in Homs during the Syrian civil war in 2012, the film rewinds to 2001 and settles into an overly familiar story of a hard-living combat reporter who thrives in war zones but struggles at home. Even before sustaining an injury that would necessitate her wearing her distinctive eye-patch, Colvin’s home life is presented as a disaster zone of wrecked relationships, nightmare-plagued sleep, meaningless award ceremonies and daily battles with her editor (Tom Hollander) – the sort of empty existence meant to signify the personal cost of being so thoroughly and nobly committed to exposing the suffering of others. But the cumulative effect of repeatedly jumping between these sorts of scenes and the various hotspots Colvin reported from gradually ensures this is more than just The Hurt Locker for hacks. It has a raw and uneasy power, one that resists the clunky screenplay’s many attempts to reduce Colvin to a series of easy-to-understand psychoanalytic bullet points. Pike’s brusque, ravaged performance helps. She gets beyond the PTSD tropes to show how Colvin’s personal demons and contradictions were an indelible part of who she was and why she was so good at her job. Making his feature debut, acclaimed documentary maker Matthew Heineman (Cartel Land) also seems to understand the parameters he’s working within and uses them to his advantage to make trenchant points about the relentlessness of the job mirroring the one constant of combat: the unyielding suffering of those caught in the crossfire.

Joe Cornish makes a belated and welcome return to directing with The Kid Who Would Be King, an imaginative British children’s film that offers a fresh riff on Arthurian legend. Though far gentler than Cornish’s 2011 debut Attack the Block, the new film nevertheless uses our politically uncertain times as an amusing backdrop for a kid-friendly tale of bullied outsiders banding together to save Britain. The threat is an embittered sorceress-turned-dragon (Rebecca Ferguson) intent on exploiting the destabilising chaos of our times to escape the underworld. The only person who can stop her is 12-year-old Alex (Lewis Ashbourne Serkis), who discovers a sword on a building site, realises it’s Excalibur and convinces himself it’s a sign from the father he’s never met to embark on a quest to save the country. Helping him is his best friend Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) and an eccentric, shape-shifting Merlin (Angus Imrie), who arrives at Alex’s school to instruct him on the chivalric code and encourage him to work with his tormentors to prevent the looming catastrophe. Brexit isn’t mentioned directly, but it’s implicit in a narrative in which it falls upon the young to save the day by seeing through lies perpetuated by their fearful, spineless elders. Stylistically, the film has some of the wonky appeal of 1980s British fantasy films like Time Bandits, though Cornish also makes a play for kids weaned on The Lord of the Rings with some elaborate (and not always great) CGI-heavy set-pieces. That can make the film feel simultaneously under and over-cooked, but it’s also been made with a great deal of charm and the young cast are delightful.

Delight isn’t a word that could be applied to Jellyfish, but this fiercely independent British film about a 15-year-old girl forced to take on responsibility for her younger siblings does feature an incredible central performance from up-and-coming actress Liv Hill. Just 16 when she shot it, she carries a tough film about difficult subject matter– mental illness, sexual exploitation – with the sort of matter-of-fact authority that’s just right for a character forced to get on with a terrible situation. Debut writer/director James Gardner has plenty of empathy for his protagonist, especially when she’s encouraged by her well-meaning drama teacher to channel the defensive sarcasm she spits back at her classmates into a stand-up comedy routine for an upcoming high school showcase. Though the idea of finding self-worth in performance is a well-worn trajectory for British films about the marginalised and the dejected, Gardner eschews easy triumphalism by remaining true to his protagonist’s situation and using the film’s Margate setting to weave in a deft critique of the gentrification process turning a blind-eye to people like her.

Instant Family equals instant hell in this comedy about a childless couple’s decision to foster a trio of siblings. The “hell” part isn’t really a comment on the disruption that ensues when professional house renovators Pete and Ellie Wagner (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne) take on responsibilities for which they’re not entirely ready; it’s a reflection of the experience of watching a movie with a likeable cast being sabotaged by the tone-deaf ineptitude of the execution. Veering wildly between ribald jokes, serious discussions about child abuse and scenes of saccharine sentimentality, the whole thing falls flatter than a Joanna Lumley BAFTA monologue.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alistair Harkness"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874601.1550485260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874601.1550485260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A Private War","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A Private War","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874601.1550485260!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/scots-canadian-jazz-giant-jim-galloway-remembered-in-new-film-1-4874600","id":"1.4874600","articleHeadline": "Scots-Canadian jazz giant Jim Galloway remembered in new film","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550484997000 ,"articleLead": "

For the late Jim Galloway, every tune he played was an adventure, with live performance the very essence of what the Ayrshire-born, Toronto-domiciled saxophonist did. “I never know what I’m going to play,” he declares in a fine new documentary about his life. “Very often I find it’s like plunging into water.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874599.1550484994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jim Galloway"} ,"articleBody": "

However, director James Cullingham’s film about the charismatic saxophonist, Jim Galloway: A Journey in Jazz, which receives its UK premiere at Glasgow Film Festival next Thursday, is more than just a screen biog; it is a celebration of what Cullingham, who will attend the screening, describes as “jazz’s capacity to bring people together across cultures and oceans”.

Galloway, who died in Toronto in 2014, was an eloquent master of clarinet and particularly soprano sax (he favoured the dinky-looking but, in his hands, powerful, curved model), while his energy as a promoter, as well as an articulate and witty broadcaster and writer, made him an ambassador for Canadian jazz. As well as leading numerous bands, he was a co-founder and artistic director of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, his services to international jazz being recognised by the French Government, who made him a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

He was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, in 1936 and grew up in neighbouring Dalry, where he rigged up an old Philco radio and became hooked on the jazz he heard on American Forces and other international stations. Studying graphic design at Glasgow School of Art, he worked as a graphic artist and teacher, but all the while was developing his playing skills. In the film, he recalls the impact of hearing the great Sidney Bechet in Glasgow: “It was electric. I left that concert changed.”

He emigrated to Toronto in 1964, and Cullingham’s film is rich in Canadian archive footage and interviews with Galloway, colleagues and friends, and two of his wives – bassist and long-time collaborator Rosemary Galloway, and his third wife Anne Page Galloway.

Scots drummer Ken Mathieson, whose Classic Jazz Orchestra will celebrate Galloway at Glasgow’s Blue Arrow immediately after the screening, recalls: “Jim was a few years older than me and by the time I took my first tentative steps on to the Glasgow jazz scene, he was already established as one of the city’s finest reed players.

“He had progressed swiftly through the better trad jazz bands and his interest in other jazz styles, particularly the music of Duke Ellington, inevitably led to him setting up his own band, Jimmy Galloway’s Jazzmakers, with some of the best mainstream players around town. He and I knew each other to say hello, but we didn’t play together in the years before he emigrated to Canada.”

They became firm friends after the expat started returning to tour the UK and Europe in the Seventies, with Mathieson playing at his Scottish gigs: “Jim’s playing was always intelligently structured, full of invention, always swinging and lyrical, delivered with a rhythmic concept and glorious tone that derived from the playing of Johnny Hodges.”

The transcendent power of the music that Galloway loved is echoed in the film by drummer Leroy Williams, who states “We’re not just fooling around up here; we’re messengers.”

Galloway’s rapport with black musicians such as Williams and, from an older generation, fellow reedsman Buddy Tate and pianist Jay McShann, becomes evident in the film. As Cullingham says, “I think Galloway’s life is a tremendous lesson for us all in that he not only worked with but became close friends with people like Jay McShann and Buddy Tate.

“So, yes, the film is a contemplation, I hope, of the importance of jazz in world culture and how Jim Galloway is a prime example of how that operates.”

Jim Galloway: A Journey in Jazz is screening at the CCA, Glasgow on 21 February, as part of the Glasgow Film Festival. Ken Mathieson’s Classic Jazz Orchestra plays the Blue Arrow after the screening. For more information, see www.glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874599.1550484994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874599.1550484994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jim Galloway","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jim Galloway","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874599.1550484994!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/vanishing-point-celebrates-20-years-with-the-dark-carnival-1-4874596","id":"1.4874596","articleHeadline": "Vanishing Point celebrates 20 years with The Dark Carnival","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550484820000 ,"articleLead": "

A collaboration with the band A New International, Matthew Lenton’s The Dark Carnival is half theatre show, half gig

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874595.1550484817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Dark Carnival"} ,"articleBody": "

Imagine a cross-section view of a cemetery – the trees, the grass, the sky, the clouds, the earth; and then beneath the earth, the dead. Not the dead silent and lifeless, though; but instead a strange community of necropolitans, in their graves, but still complaining about their everyday problems, and delivering harsh judgments on us, the living.

That was the image that came fully-fledged into the mind of Matthew Lenton, artistic director of Scotland’s internationally acclaimed Vanishing Point company almost half a decade ago; he drew a sketch of it, and knew that one day he would try to make it into a show. He had been spending a lot of time visiting a cemetery following a profound bereavement of his own; he was surprised, as a non-believer in any kind of afterlife, how much comfort he found in being there, and in the idea that a cemetery contains a kind community of the dead. And those ideas will finally reach fruition, later this month, when Vanishing Point and the thrilling Glasgow-based band A New International launch their show-with-songs The Dark Carnival, a tale of heaven, earth, and the strange limbo between them, presented as something Lenton describes as “a good night out – not a musical, but something between a theatre show and a gig, with great songs.”

The show represents a major change of tone for Lenton and Vanishing Point, although not of subject-matter. For the last decade, the company has been exploring themes of death, mortality and loss through shows ranging from their acclaimed international 2009 production Interiors – in which a dead woman looks in on a poignant and absurd Christmas gathering in a little house in some northern landscape – to Tabula Rasa, created with the Scottish Ensemble, in 2017, to explore the idea that the music of Arvo Pärt can bring particular comfort to the dying.

In The Dark Carnival, though, Lenton feels that he is moving on, at last, from what has been an intense decade of brilliant, sombre work around the most serious themes. “It not that my interests or preoccupations have changed,” says Lenton, “but it’s like a train journey. It’s always the same train; but the landscape outside changes as you move along, and I feel as if I’ve moved from a dark place to somewhere lighter, more open.” For Dark Carnival, he knew he needed to work with a band; and he knew the band had to be quite bold and absurdist, with a heightened, striking style. At first, he explored the possibility of working with Tom Waits; but then one day, driving through the Cairngorms towards Inverness, he heard the sound of A New International’s song Valentino on his car radio, and knew that he had found the “perfect match” for his show.

“The band’s leader Biff Smith and I met up in the Griffin in Glasgow, and talked about the idea,” says Lenton, “and he just went away and started to write songs – so quickly, and so many of them, that I actually began to panic slightly. So the songs were completed very early in the process; and then when I was asked to write a blurb for the show, a few months later, I found that what came out was this scene written in a kind of rhyming doggerel – clever doggerel, I hope. And now, the whole script is entirely in rhyme.”

For Smith, too, the journey to The Dark Carnival has been a long and winding one; for more than 20 years, he was part of a Glasgow band called The Starlets, which, he says, was inspired by Sixties American groups like the Shirelles, and tried to sound like a girl guitar band, or to fit in to the Glasgow indy scene.

“Then seven or eight years ago we started to go to Europe more, particularly to Holland,” says Smith. “They have a lot of house gigs there, and we began to enjoy that intimacy and immediacy, and to get into different genres – folk music, Jacques Brel, other forms. It’s all about telling stories through song; and I don’t think we should be choosy about which genre we steal from. So there was a shift of focus, and a new style developing; but it took us a long time, even to work out that A New International really sounded like our name.” The band’s acclaimed first album, Come To The Fabulon, was released in 2015; and today, the band’s style – a visionary 21st century Gothic tinged with 1930s cabaret, with Smith almost in white face – seems to have found a natural home in The Dark Carnival.

Apart from an eight-strong version of A New International, who will be on stage throughout the show, Lenton has assembled an astonishing company for The Dark Carnival, including long-time Vanishing Point artists Elicia Daly and Peter Kelly, the legendary Ann Louise Ross of Dundee Rep, and the award-winning d/deaf theatre-maker Ramesh Meyyappan. And after its initial tour to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee, The Dark Carnival will be reimagined in a small-scale “unplugged” version, featuring just Smith and a single narrator, which will tour the Highlands and Islands.

“Being involved in Dark Carnival has been a great and really interesting experience for me,” says Smith, “writing in a different way, to someone else’s concept, and exploring this whole new world of theatre. And yes, we just love the dark cabaret aspect of it; above all the idea that you can go into a rehearsal room and create something new, and witty, and beautiful, at a time when outside the door, everything is going to hell.” n

The Dark Carnival at the Tramway, Glasgow, 21 February-2 March; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 6-9 March; and Dundee Rep, 13-16 March. The Dark Carnival (Unplugged) on tour, 13-31 May.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874595.1550484817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874595.1550484817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Dark Carnival","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Dark Carnival","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874595.1550484817!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/video-peter-capaldi-proves-he-s-a-starman-at-edinburgh-sci-fi-con-1-4874387","id":"1.4874387","articleHeadline": "Video: Peter Capaldi proves he’s a Starman at Edinburgh sci-fi con","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550413829000 ,"articleLead": "

Peter Capaldi was the Starman in Edinburgh yesterday as he signed autographs for a full nine hours - stopping only once to take a 15 minute break.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874386.1550405890!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Capaldi spent hours signing autographs for fans at the Capital Sci-fi Con"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scots actor also entertained the hundreds of fans gathered to see him with a rendition of the classic David Bowie pop hit.

The 12th Doctor Who was appearing at the 2019 Capital Sci-Fi Con held at the Corn Exchange when he delighted onlookers by showing off his musical talent.

Before he found success as an actor, Capaldi performed in a punk rock band in the early 1980s called The Dreamboys alongside future US TV star Craig Ferguson.

And he showed he’s lost none of his chops by borrowing a guitar and leading a mass rendition of Starman - the 1972 single which famously tells the story of an extraterrestrial.

The Glasgow-born actor raised thousands of pounds for CHAS, the Scottish organisation which provides hospice services to children, in the process.

All profits from the three-day event are donated to the charity, with last year’s bash raising an impressive £74,740.

Capaldi spent nine hours signing pictures for around 500 fans who had patiently queued to meet him.

Dr Who fan Melissa Johnson, 31, of Newington, said: “He was just a complete star, a real gentleman. I can’t believe he spent so much time with everyone. He was really kind and asking everyone about themselves, and if they had enjoyed the convention, and thanking them for waiting so long.”

Laura Campbell, senior community fundraiser at CHAS, said: “Peter Capaldi went above and beyond yesterday at Edinburgh’s Capital Sci-Fi Con, which donates all profits to CHAS.

“He stayed an hour after the convention closed so he could continue to sign autographs and meet fans who had taken the time to queue to see him. And not only that, he has chosen to donate his whole autograph fee to CHAS.

“We’re so grateful for Peter’s incredible generosity, which will help us on our mission of reaching every family across Scotland who is facing the unimaginable, that their child is going to die.”

Children’s Hospices Across Scotland – better known as CHAS - cares for families via its two hospices, Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch and via its CHAS at Home service, which reaches families living across the whole of Scotland to deliver palliative and respite care in homes and hospitals.

Whovians were further delighted when Capaldi spent time chatting with fellow actor Peter Davison, who played the fifth incarnation of the Doctor.

As one on-looker commented: “Historic Sci-Fi geekery here at the Capital Sci-Fi Con. There are two legendary Doctors in the house!”

Other stars of stage and screen to attend the Capital convention included Warwick Davis and Arie Dekker, the stuntman who played Chewbacca in Star Wars.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CHRIS McCALL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874386.1550405890!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874386.1550405890!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Peter Capaldi spent hours signing autographs for fans at the Capital Sci-fi Con","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Capaldi spent hours signing autographs for fans at the Capital Sci-fi Con","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874386.1550405890!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/still-game-ford-kiernan-and-greg-hemphill-talk-about-the-final-series-1-4873734","id":"1.4873734","articleHeadline": "Still Game: Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill talk about the final series","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550309004000 ,"articleLead": "

Why Jack and Victor are hanging up the cardigans

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873729.1550308977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan announce the final series of Still Game, debuting on the new BBC Scotland Channel, next Sunday, 24 February, 9-9.30pm. Picture: John Devlin. Thanks to the Everyman Cinema, Glasgow"} ,"articleBody": "

Relaxing on a teal velveteen banquette in the bar of Glasgow’s boutique Everyman cinema, Still Game creators and actors Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill look right at home. Divested of their bunnet and cardie combos the pair obviously look decades younger than their curmudgeonly Jack and Victor counterparts, Hemphill in a blue open-necked shirt and jeans and Kiernan in mustard jumper and cords, gold jewellery at neck, wrists and fingers, and they’re way more cheery than their characters. We’re not in The Clansman anymore.

While Jack and Victor haven’t aged beyond their 70s because of Still Game’s floating timeline, despite appearances Kiernan and Hemphill are pointing out that they have. After 21 years playing Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade, fictional pensioners in the Glasgow suburb of Craiglang, from stage version through sketch show Chewin’ the Fat, to BBC Scotland sitcom, they’ve announced that the current series of the pair’s Bafta award winning show will be the last.

Osprey Heights, the corner shop, the pub, have been a fixture in our sitting rooms since 2002 as the nation came to love not just Jack and Victor, but Navid, Isa, Tam, Winston, Boaby and the rest of the ensemble cast. And not just this nation – the last series went global thanks to an international audience of expats and non expats alike who appreciate the patter. This time it’s going out on the new BBC Scotland digital channel which launches on Sunday 24 February, a fitting swan song for the nation’s best loved sitcom.

So, nine series, 17 years on TV and three live Hydro shows, is it really a case of “That’s plenty” (to quote Victor when Jack’s in danger of running away at the mouth).

“We couldn’t have done another four or five years,” says Kiernan.

“No, we couldn’t,” echoes Hemphill.

“Ford was in his early thirties and I was in my late twenties at the start and one of the most important elements was that we were young people playing old people, so as we get closer to their age…”

“Yeah, but they’re still 20 years aulder than us at the minute,” points out Kiernan.

“I’m looking forward to 20 years’ time, somebody asks us to do a Jack and Victor photoshoot and we don’t require make-up. And we both have to lose five stone each,” says Hemphill, and laughs.

Like the best double acts, they answer questions in tandem, comedy timing honed.

Although sometimes it’s derailed by laughter because Hemphill and Kiernan don’t just WRITE comedy, in person they are funny, with a gift of the gab that makes everyone around laugh, not least themselves. Hemphill in particular has an infectious, wheezy Muttley laugh that is abetted by Kiernan’s rubber-faced gurning. Growlier of voice, Kiernan sneaks out his vape for the occasional puff, while Hemphill, a Scot who grew up in Canada, has a barely discernible transatlantic breeze drifting over certain vowels.

It’s not that they couldn’t have written more, “you go oh, I had a good idea for Jack and Victor, but we’re no’ doing it.

“We were determined we didn’t want to outstay our welcome,” says Hemphill. “You want to ‘leave on a parrrdee’, you don’t want to be the last person there, steaming, going ‘where’s everybody GOIN’?’”

“Oh, I don’t know what that’s like,” says Ford, prompting Hemphill’s laugh.

“Oh, the shudder,” he says.

“The shudder of recognition,” says Kiernan.

Their method is to meet up every day when they’re writing, and they’ve stuck with it over the years and 62 episodes, because it works.

“One of the things we DON’T do is re-write what the other’s written. Every single line of dialogue we’ve ever written, we’ve written...

“Together,” they say simultaneously.

“Physically sitting together over a laptop, that’s how it works.”

Back in 2007 the pair took a nine year hiatus from Still Game, after the strains of writing back-to-back series became too much, returning in 2014 with a live stage show at the Hydro, then another TV series in 2016. Today they don’t regret the gap.

“It was kismet,” says Kiernan. “One thing wouldnae exist without the other if that hadn’t happened.”

“Exactly,” says Hemphill. “We wouldn’t have had the Hydro if we hadn’t had the gap.”

OK, Still Game is ending, it’s time to get the details on its demise. Are Jack, Victor, Isa, Tam, Winston, Boaby, any of the ensemble cast, about to be killed off? Will there be a Tarantino-style bloodbath in The Clansman? A lachrymose sobfest as one of the regulars moves into a home, or a lottery win that sees the Osprey Heights residents skip off to enjoy an even higher life? And will Isa finally get to grips with Winston?

“Can’t say. Nope,” says Kiernan, tight lipped.

“Can’t say,” says Hemphill. “Too much of a spoiler.”

OK, what can they say?

“We’ll be tying up loose ends and when you’ve watched it there will be an end point in your head,” says Hemphill carefully.

Will there be any deaths?

“Can’t tell you. There was a lot of speculation about that last series and it’s no coincidence that [Iain Duncan] Sheathing the undertaker arrived. And there are other things you want to tie up,” says Hemphill.

“LOVE to tell you, but naw, you just need to sit and wait like everybody else.”

They laugh.

There’s no air of sadness or of pulling the plug today, as the pair explain it was always the plan to end after the last two series, despite the fact its viewing figures of 1.4m last year was the biggest TV audience in Scotland, ahead of the likes of The Bodyguard, Strictly Come Dancing and the World Cup.

Hemphill says: “The BBC spoke to us about doing more and we said we’ll do it if these can be the last. We’ve been doing these characters since the mid ‘90s.”

“We felt the time was right,” says Kiernan. “The BBC would rather we stayed because of the ratings, but we said no, that’s how we’d like to do it. And the great thing is you know you’re heading towards the end, and can wind stories up.”

“So it’s not coming as so much of a crash,” says Hemphill. “It wasn’t emotional on set because we shot them out of sync. We have to finish it in theatre too – that’s why we’re doing the Hydro in September, and that’s the last time you’ll see Victor and Jack in character. That’s when we’ll be saying goodbye and getting that buzz.”

“Tickets are still available for that by the way,” says Kiernan.

“Although, when we finished writing it and closed the laptop for the last time, we did both reflect. We were like ‘oooh!’” says Hemphill.

“Yeah, ‘there we go, that was that’,” says Kiernan.

“And it was a nice moment... a nice moment,” continues Hemphill. “You wanted to mark it with a dram or something.”

And did they?

“Probably. We mark most moments with drams!” he says.

Integral to Still Game’s success is authenticity and the way it engenders recognition. Poverty, loneliness, illness aren’t given house room, though we know they’re there. Instead the comedy majors on making the most of it, celebrating the positives of community and having a laugh.

Craiglang might not exist, but in the collective consciousness the world of beefy bakes and dial-a-buses is familiar; Navid’s shop, Osprey Heights with Isa’s bird-print wallpaper, The Clansman with its sticky red and yellow abstract ‘70s carpet, puggy machine, £2 toasties and pints of Fusilier, or if you’re pushing the boat out, a Cointreau for £1.85.

Speaking of the tangible details, did they take mementos from the set?

“Yes, I took Victor’s nameplate from his flat,” says Hemphill, “oh, and a lighthouse jigsaw.”

“I took the accounts,” says Kiernan.

Despite turning down other jobs because of the demands of Still Game – opportunities they can now explore – there were compensations in writing everyman characters.

“While part of you wants to go off and do other things, you don’t need to, because these characters can speak about anything; they’re a vehicle. We didn’t dwell on things like Brexit or Scottish independence, but they could have,” says Hemphill.

“We avoided religion, football and politics,” says Kiernan “only because of the opportunities for sub-division in the audience. If it’s football, unfortunately it’s a divided support, politics the same, religion too. We thought we’ll just avoid them. Some people might say ‘that’s madness, what are ye gonna write aboot?’ but look at the amount we’ve done and never got near them. Just proves if you want a good laugh you don’t need to go into those areas to get it.”

“The show isn’t about the differences people have, it’s about their commonalities,” Hemphill emphasises and talks about one of the new episodes where Victor and Jack get mobile phones. Needless to say, Isa is already all over social media while Navid’s wife has her own special interest too.

“There was just the sheer joy of these two people having a conversation with each other from the landing to the living room. Anybody who has a phone has done that. What’s funny is how much they’re enjoying it, rather than slagging them off because they don’t know how to work one,” says Hemphill.

“It’s the keenness of spirit, the not letting age or physicalities get you down, having comrades and pals you can rely on,” says Kiernan. “Because it doesn’t really exist, and it SHOULD exist. Craiglang’s no’ a Disney World, but it’s almost like Disney, 20 pensioners all rooting for one another. It’s an ideal we’d LIKE to exist,” says Kiernan.

“Jack and Victor never talk about what’s in their medicine cabinet, their ailments, because basically they are the BEST versions of themselves in terms of their positivity. And I think that’s one of the messages of the show: be positive,” says Hemphill.

Kiernan loves the physical side of the humour, “the slapstick, trying to get over a park fence on a ladder. And locations – I loved one we filmed at this big castle that was exactly how we imagined.”

Hemphill zones in on the show’s handling of the central role of The Clansman. “We were always conscious of the show’s relationship to drink – because in Scotland everyone knows someone that’s maybe had a problem with it – and wanted to portray the pub in a positive light, a thing that brings people together. We never did an episode where someone was struggling with it, because that would have been a downer.”

“It would have been a sad reflection,” says Kiernan, “because most of the cast are struggling with alcohol, like ‘I’ve got to learn THESE lines?’

“Yes, just to get through the day. I’ve got to say this garbage? No, there were so many elements I feel proud of.”

Namely the ensemble cast, Paul Riley as Winston, Mark Cox as Tam, Jane McCarry as Isa, Sanjeev Kohli 
as Navid and Gavin Mitchell as Boaby The Barman, as well as the recurring characters. Kiernan and Hemphill are full of praise for the supporting cast.

“Every single one of them you could put in a spin-off,” says Kiernan, “just amazing. You can give them material that’s full of pathos or comedy and know they’re able to handle it.”

“You give them the ball and they run with it,” says Hemphill.

“Yeah, you’ll be out and people come up for a photograph and you talk about the show, and then they go ‘my favourite character’s Isa’. Thank you! We wrote that! And WE’RE not your favourites!” says Kiernan, mock bridling.

Speaking of Isa, she’s looking slimmer this season, is there anything they want to tell us about her health?

“No! Scotland’s the only place in the world where when somebody loses weight people worry about them. The only place in the world! The opposite to California. ‘I’m only taking the two fried scones in the morning…’” says Hemphill.

“Exactly, whit are you daein cuttin’ doon on yer tottie scones an’ black puddin’, are ye ill?” says Kiernan.

“You’ve changed.”

“Your clothes are hanging aff ye!”

“You don’t know your roots!”

This season guest actors are there too. Following a long list from Craig Ferguson to Celia Imrie to Robbie Coltrane as Davy the crazy bus driver triggered by the word ‘doughnuts” and Kevin Whately as a dodgy dentist attempting to give Methadone Mick a job-winning smile, we’ll see Midge Ure, Amy Macdonald, Clare Grogan and Des Clarke all make cameos, while Martin Compston pops up selling mobile phones. Luckily he doesn’t suffer the fate of Dorothy Paul who was shoved in the luggage hold of a bus due to a plot hiccup.

“Filming the last scene, we realised she couldn’t be on the bus, so ... ‘Dorothy, would you mind… ‘That sounds funny’ she said and in she went,” says Hemphill, “she was great.”

“She was in a hell of a good mood later when we opened the flap!” agrees Kiernan.

So that’s definitely the end of Still Game then. It really is a case of ‘That’s plenty’ for the Craiglang gang?

“Did we mention the Hydro show?” says Kiernan.

The live SSE Hydro show in September, Still Game: The Final Farewell, sees the cast in an all-singing, all-dancing specially written show, after which Jack and Victor will be retired.

“Give me an H,” sings Kiernan.

That’s plenty.

So if that’s the end of Still Game, what’s next for the comedy duo?

Kiernan would like to do some straight acting, having an appreciation for action drama and crime, “historical crime. I’ve always had a fantasy about playing a cop,” he says.

And Hemphill is “hoping to do more directing. And we will be writing together, and individually. But we won’t talk about it because we’ll curse it. In a year’s time you’ll say ‘what happened to that horror movie you were writing?’”

They’re not saying there IS a horror movie, but there may be change of genre, maybe a change of scene, although authenticity will still be key from a pair of writers who are true to their inspiration, whatever the audience.

“People criticised Still Game for the bad language,” says Hemphill, “but to me that’s hypocritical. They’re OK with certain shows and certain people swearing, but when Scots characters swear, people are hard on it.”

Kiernan agrees: “It’s not hard edged, it’s in the parlance, fluid, so it doesn’t jar. And Greg and I are fairly fluent swearers.”

“It wouldn’t be honest if those characters didn’t swear,” says Hemphill. “It would be phoney.”

“Yeah,” says Kiernan. “That’s why we’re working on a new sitcom just now called ‘F*** This’. It’s about pensioners...”

No they’re not. And that is plenty.

Still Game starts on BBC Scotland on Sunday 24 February at 9pm.

Still Game: The Final Farewell, 27 September-12 October, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow, thessehydro.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873729.1550308977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873729.1550308977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan announce the final series of Still Game, debuting on the new BBC Scotland Channel, next Sunday, 24 February, 9-9.30pm. Picture: John Devlin. Thanks to the Everyman Cinema, Glasgow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan announce the final series of Still Game, debuting on the new BBC Scotland Channel, next Sunday, 24 February, 9-9.30pm. Picture: John Devlin. Thanks to the Everyman Cinema, Glasgow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873729.1550308977!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873730.1550308983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873730.1550308983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan celebrate the retirement of Jack and Victor after the final series of Still Game. Picture: John Devlin. Thanks to the Everyman Cinema, Glasgow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Hemphill and Ford Kiernan celebrate the retirement of Jack and Victor after the final series of Still Game. Picture: John Devlin. Thanks to the Everyman Cinema, Glasgow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873730.1550308983!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873731.1550308989!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873731.1550308989!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Craiglang Gang: Boaby (Gavin Mitchell), Winston (Paul Riley), Jack (Ford Kiernan), Navid (Sanjeev Kohli), Victor (Greg Hemphill), Isa (Jane McCarry), Tam (Mark Cox). Picture: Alan Peebles, (C) BBC","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Craiglang Gang: Boaby (Gavin Mitchell), Winston (Paul Riley), Jack (Ford Kiernan), Navid (Sanjeev Kohli), Victor (Greg Hemphill), Isa (Jane McCarry), Tam (Mark Cox). Picture: Alan Peebles, (C) BBC","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873731.1550308989!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873732.1550308995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873732.1550308995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "All singing, all dancing at the Hydro, Still Game: Live 2 Bon Voyage, 2017. Picture: � Graeme Hunter'publicity","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "All singing, all dancing at the Hydro, Still Game: Live 2 Bon Voyage, 2017. Picture: � Graeme Hunter'publicity","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873732.1550308995!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873733.1550309001!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873733.1550309001!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Victor and Jack look forward to retirement. Picture: Alan Peebles (C) BBC Studios","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Victor and Jack look forward to retirement. Picture: Alan Peebles (C) BBC Studios","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873733.1550309001!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/still-game-stars-say-there-s-no-plans-for-a-movie-as-fringe-return-calls-1-4874156","id":"1.4874156","articleHeadline": "Still Game stars say there’s no plans for a movie as Fringe return calls","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550296804000 ,"articleLead": "

Still Game stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill have ruled out trying to turn Jack and Victor into movie stars – but have said they would return to their Edinburgh Festival Fringe roots “in a heartbeat” to test out brand new characters.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874155.1550266227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill), Scotland's most-loved pensioners, pictured above with their Still Game co-stars, have decided to give movie fame a miss, saying the big screen is not for them. Picture: Alan Peebles"} ,"articleBody": "

The creators of the hit sitcom have vowed they would turn down big-money offers to revive the much-loved pensioners for a feature film due to the “track records of failure” of classic comedies like Rising Damp, Porridge and Steptoe and Son.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the final season of the sitcom on 24 February, as part of the launch night of BBC Scotland’s new channel, the revealed they had explored the idea of a Still Game movie several years ago, but jettisoned it as it “didn’t feel right”.

Kiernan said The Inbetweeners was the only “anomaly” he could think of where a hit film comedy had become a bigger success than a TV comedy.

However, Kiernan and Hemphill have vowed to keep working together and hinted about a return to the Fringe, where the first Still Game show attracted an audience of just eight at the Gilded Balloon in 1997.

They revealed they had been unable to pursue “other opportunities” in recent years due to their commitment to Still Game since reviving the characters in 2014 for a live show at the Hydro in Glasgow.

They have insisted there will be no way back for Jack and Victor on TV after the final episode airs next month, although the Craiglang pensioners and the other regulars at The Clansman will be back at the Hydro for a final farewell in the autumn.

Still Game’s worldwide appeal is growing all the time thanks to repeats on Netflix, but Kiernan and Hemphill insisted they would even resist any big-money offers from the entertainment giants to bring Jack and Victor back in future.

Kiernan said: “If you look at sitcoms Rising Damp, Porridge, Till Death Us Do Part and Steptoe and Son, they all became movies, but they very rarely made money.

“Apart from all the gambles involved with making a film, there are all the other track records of failure with sitcoms. The Inbetweeners movie was an anomaly. That really did the business. But the odds are stacked against turning ­sitcoms into films.”

Hemphill said: “For our tastes, sitcoms just don’t make good films. We investigated it a few years ago and it didn’t feel right.”

Kiernan added: “We’ve been on a mouse wheel for a long time. It was part of the reason we would down [tools] in the first place. It was non-stop.

“We’ve been really tied up with Still Game, but we’re still relatively young enough in the business to be doing other things. Now we’ve got time to examine what those other opportunities are.

“We make each other laugh and our minds work the same way. You don’t want to put that to bed because it can always be applied somewhere else, whether it is in comedy, drama or whatever.”

Jack and Victor made their TV debut in BBC Scotland’s comedy sketch show Pulp Video in 1996. The characters were turned into a full Fringe show after being offered a slot by Gilded Balloon founder Karen Koren.

By the end of the run, which also featured Paul Riley playing the character Winston, it was a sell-out success and the pair thought they were onto something when the pattern was repeated in Canada.

Kiernan said: “The Edinburgh Festival is a great thing. We’ve got nothing but fond memories of it, even though we only got eight people on our first night. We’d go back in a heartbeat.”

Hemphill said: “If you come from that environment, it’s very comfortable for the performer. Karen Koren was actually the one that came up with the title of the show. We were going to call it The Bunker. It feels like yesterday.

“You can explore different things in the theatre that you wouldn’t explore on TV. You can do things differently. You can maybe be more risky.”

Hemphill admitted he was aware of criticism of the two new series of Still Game, which were made in the wake of demand for the first live show at the Hydro.

He said: “Our audience has grown and grown. When that happens you get more dissenting voices. We’ve never let that influence us. We’ve had people saying to us that series four, five and six weren’t as good as series one, two and three.

“We knew that they were and that we were putting as much effort into those shows as we did the early ones.

“There’s been a fair amount of criticism of the last two series. Some people have outgrown it. But we’ve only ever tried to make ourselves laugh and hope that that will make the audience laugh. I remember like it was yesterday when the show wasn’t on, people coming up to me and saying, ‘When are you bringing it back?’ We’ve done that now.

“When you bring a show back you’re never going to have the same shelf life with it. Not outstaying your welcome is a good policy.”

Kiernan revealed the BBC had wanted the pair to sign up to three more series in the wake of the popularity of the show’s TV comeback in 2016.

He said: “We’ve been at it a long time. We just thought there’s no point in getting shoved or pushed and for them not to commission it.

“There wasn’t really a conscious decision to quit while we were ahead. We wanted to quit while we still had plenty of ideas.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874155.1550266227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874155.1550266227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill), Scotland's most-loved pensioners, pictured above with their Still Game co-stars, have decided to give movie fame a miss, saying the big screen is not for them. Picture: Alan Peebles","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack (Ford Kiernan) and Victor (Greg Hemphill), Scotland's most-loved pensioners, pictured above with their Still Game co-stars, have decided to give movie fame a miss, saying the big screen is not for them. Picture: Alan Peebles","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874155.1550266227!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/stephen-jardine-named-presenter-of-question-time-style-show-on-new-bbc-scotland-channel-1-4874048","id":"1.4874048","articleHeadline": "Stephen Jardine named presenter of Question Time-style show on new BBC Scotland channel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550255497931 ,"articleLead": "BBC Scotland has named the broadcaster and journalist Stephen Jardine as the host of the Question Time-style programme it will launch on its new channel this month.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874047.1550250725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephen Jardine will launch Debate Night during the first week of the new BBC Scotland channel."} ,"articleBody": "

The Scotsman columnist, who is currently a regular presenter on BBC Radio Scotland, will be at the helm of Debate Night, an hour-long show which will go on air each Wednesday at 10.45pm.

The BBC has also revealed that the show, which will launch on 27 February, will initially be broadcast from Edinburgh before going out on the road to towns and cities across Scotland.

Channel chiefs have given the green light for an initial run of 24 episodes of Debate Night - which is being launched against a background of controversy over the selection of audiences for Question Time when it is made in Scotland.

Debate Night is being made by the same production company, Mentorn Media, which said it was looking forward to working with Jardine to "get Scotland talking" about the new programme.

Jardine, who has previously worked as a reporter and presenter for GMTV and STV, said he hoped the new show would be "a great forum for Scotland to share views and opinions in an open and civilised way."

He added: "At this time in particular, Scotland should have a programme bringing politicians and the people together and that is what I want this to be. It is a privilege and a responsibility to be tasked with such a big show."

Tony Nellany, manager of the new BBC Scotland channel, said: "One of the key aims of the channel is to produce content that will engage our audiences and give them a say on the big issues of the day.

"Debate Night will do just that under the expert stewardship of Stephen whose authoritative and inclusive presenting style is ideally suited to this format."

Nicolai Gentchev, director of current affairs at Mentorn Media, said: "“At a time when opinion is everywhere, especially on social media, the best way to test ideas is through debate.

"This is such an exciting time to launch a national debate series. We look forward to working with Stephen to make Debate Night the programme that gets Scotland talking."

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874047.1550250725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874047.1550250725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stephen Jardine will launch Debate Night during the first week of the new BBC Scotland channel.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephen Jardine will launch Debate Night during the first week of the new BBC Scotland channel.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874047.1550250725!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews-the-good-boy-the-dark-the-twelve-pound-look-1-4874057","id":"1.4874057","articleHeadline": "Theatre reviews: The Good Boy | The Dark | The Twelve Pound Look","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550253276000 ,"articleLead": "

IF MONOLOGUE is often the defining theatrical form of our time, then with Good Dog, playing at the Traverse this week, the young British writer and actor Arinze Kene proves himself a master of it. Based on his own experience of growing up in the early 2000s on a housing estate in Hackney, Good Dog is a full-length solo play – almost two and a half hours, with an interval – in which Kene tells the story of a young black boy who has internalised all the messages he has ever received, from school, from church and from his absent father, about how good things come to good people who stick to the rules and stay out of trouble. The boy is mercilessly bullied at school, and his community is full of people behaving badly and getting away with it.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874055.1550253265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry as the boy and his mother fleeing Idi Amin's rule in Uganda. Picture: Helen Murray"} ,"articleBody": "

Traverse Theatre **** | *** | Eastgate Theatre, Peebles ***

Yet for a long while, he clings to his creed, explaining it to the audience, and building up a vivid, empathetic and sometimes frightening vision of the place and people around him. It’s only when puberty kicks in, and with it a growing rage at the injustice around him, that his belief-system begins to crumble. He starts to fight back; and although this is in some ways a tragic development, what Kene achieves, with a real radical brilliance, is to make us see how change – both personal and political – can sometimes only come through that kind of violent or disruptive reaction to too much pain. The play is lifted throughout by an enthralling performance from Kwaku Mills as the boy; and if its rich, unstoppable flow of language and metaphor sometimes seems almost overwhelming, it is so well handled – in Natalie Ibu’s fine production for her own company Tiata Fahodzi – that the story powers on magnificently, to an ending that allows for more than a glimmer of hope.

There’s an equally powerful story afoot in Nick Makoha’s The Dark, appearing at the Traverse and Tron this week in a touring production by London-based producers Fuel and Ovalhouse. Set in 1970s East Africa, during Idi Amin’s murderous Ugandan regime, Makoha’s 80-minute play tells the story of a little boy who flees with his mother from Kampala across the border into Kenya, travelling in a matatu – an unofficial mini-bus – with a jumbled cross-section of Ugandan society, and risking arrest at every checkpoint.

Unlike Kene, though, Makoha, who is best known for his award-winning poetry, presents his story not as a monologue, but through a combination of monologue and live action – featuring Michael Balogun as the narrator and various male characters, and Akiya Henry as his mother and other female travellers – that never quite settles into a convincing dramatic rhythm; and it’s perhaps significant that the best of the writing and acting comes in the narrator’s monologue sequences, which are often full of a rich and frightening lyricism.

JM Barrie, too, made the writing transition from page to stage; but it was more than 25 years after his first stage success that he penned his memorably witty and assured one-act play The Twelve Pound Look, first seen in 1918, and now revived by Scotland’s Rapture Theatre as part of a spring season of three lunchtime plays touring to non-big-city venues from Irvine to St. Andrews.

Although Barrie always showed a strong interest in “the woman question”, The Twelve Pound Look is perhaps the most straightforwardly feminist piece he ever wrote, featuring a pompous ass of a man who, at his supreme moment of worldly triumph, has a disconcerting encounter with the woman who left him 14 years before, because she preferred an independent life as a freelance typist to a future as his little wife and helpmeet.

There’s nothing adventurous about Michael Emans’s straightforward production, which features three skilful performances from Julia Watson, Tom Hodgkins and Jo Freer. What’s striking, though, is how timely this 100-year-old play still seems, in its assertion of the empowerment – not only to live as we please, but to define our lives as we please – that comes with economic independence. And if the response in Peebles is any guide, Rapture Theatre’s season of plays-with-lunch seems set for a resounding success, as it moves on to Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version, and Harold Pinter’s A Kind Of Alaska.


Good Dog and The Dark have final performances at the Traverse and the Tron respectively, tonight. The Twelve Pound Look is at Eastwood Park Theatre, Giffnock, today, and East Kilbride Arts Centre tomorrow.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874055.1550253265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874055.1550253265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry as the boy and his mother fleeing Idi Amin's rule in Uganda. Picture: Helen Murray","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry as the boy and his mother fleeing Idi Amin's rule in Uganda. Picture: Helen Murray","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874055.1550253265!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874056.1550253272!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874056.1550253272!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kwaku Mills puts in an enthralling performance as the boy","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kwaku Mills puts in an enthralling performance as the boy","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874056.1550253272!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-boyzone-1-4874065","id":"1.4874065","articleHeadline": "Music review: Boyzone","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550250144000 ,"articleLead": "

For their final ever Scottish performance, this cleanest-cut of Irish boybands delivered a show that was sentimental but unquestionably engaging, with the surviving quartet seeming to have an awful lot of fun as they prepared to call time on their collective 25-year career. With no great stage trappings beyond a selection of costume changes and a couple of backing singers, Ronan Keating, Keith Duffy, Mikey Graham and Shane Lynch hoofed their way through a series of relatively restrained dance routines and the cheesy hits that made them one of Europe’s most successful boy groups.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874064.1550250139!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch, Mickey Graham and Ronan Keating of Boyzone. Picture: REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

SSE Hydro, Glasgow ***

Heavy on nostalgia, with videos of their fresh-faced youth playing almost constantly behind them, the songs were interspersed with documentary footage of the group in reflective mood. One of these served as distraction for the four to suddenly appear on a small, island stage in the midst of the audience. Paying tribute with affectionate tales of their lost member, Stephen Gately, who died in 2009 of a congenital heart defect, they sang Dream, a new number featuring demo tracks of his voice, which proved well-judged and genuinely affecting.

Elsewhere, tracks like their by-the-numbers cover of Cat Stevens’ Father and Son and insipid ballads like Words drove the audience to what must still be gratifying shrieks of excitement. Their rendition of Billy Ocean’s When The Going Gets Tough was bouncy, playing to their puppyish harmlessness. And they put plenty of doe-eyed sincerity into No Matter What. Such is the lingering bond between Boyzone and their fans, it’ll be a surprise if this actually was their swansong.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874064.1550250139!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874064.1550250139!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch, Mickey Graham and Ronan Keating of Boyzone. Picture: REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch, Mickey Graham and Ronan Keating of Boyzone. Picture: REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874064.1550250139!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-review-tartuffe-1-4874063","id":"1.4874063","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Tartuffe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550249834000 ,"articleLead": "

PATRIARCHY, religious hypocrisy, and the desperate need for women to work together against the madness sometimes perpetrated by men in power; it’s all there, in Moliere’s 1664 masterpiece Tartuffe, and never brought to the stage with more brilliant irreverence than in Liz Lochhead’s famous 1986 Scots version, bursting with sharp-tongued street wisdom (mainly from the maid Dorine) that cuts straight through the pompous blustering of the master of the house Orgon, and the sly pieties of his overweening house chaplain, the terrible Calvinist hypocrite Tartuffe.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874062.1550249831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Clarke , Gabriel Quigley, Grant O'Rourke and Nicola Roy in Tartuffe"} ,"articleBody": "

Oran Mor, Glasgow ****

Lochhead’s Tartuffe – in a 55-minute four-handed version first created for a Play, Pie And Pint Classic Cuts season, and directed by superb Lochhead veteran Tony Cownie – therefore makes an ideal opening show for this spring’s celebratory Play, Pie And Pint lunchtime season, marking 15 years and 500 plays since the late and much-loved David MacLennan launched the idea of a new lunchtime play every week, at the then newly-opened Oran Mor on Great Western Road. And with the brilliant Gabriel Quigley as Dorine, and Nicola Roy as lady of the house Elmire, making common cause against the equally hilarious Grant O’Rourke as Orgon and Andy Clark as Tartuffe, Moliere’s timeless comedy never misses a beat, in a version that dispenses with several of Moliere’s key characters, but somehow survives to tell its tale in an instantly recognisable form, and one that Moliere himself might well have relished, for its pace, its flair, and its pure earthy hilarity.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874062.1550249831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874062.1550249831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Clarke , Gabriel Quigley, Grant O'Rourke and Nicola Roy in Tartuffe","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Clarke , Gabriel Quigley, Grant O'Rourke and Nicola Roy in Tartuffe","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874062.1550249831!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-tears-for-fears-alison-moyet-1-4874061","id":"1.4874061","articleHeadline": "Music review: Tears for Fears/Alison Moyet","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550249483000 ,"articleLead": "

Tears for Fears, formed in Bath at a time when you could call your band after primal therapy practise and get away with it, are not the most prolific band to take their place on the 80s nostalgic circuit. No touring and recording treadmill for them – they last played Glasgow in the mid-2000s, around the release of their most recent album, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, and have been working on a sequel ever since.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874060.1550249480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tears for Fears' Kurt Smith was less flashy than Roland Orzabal but both were the picture of stars with a healthy near 40 year success rate. Picture: Dan Reid/REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

Hydro, Glasgow ****

No works in progress tonight though; rather, a sense of tight, sometimes slick perfectionism and also a blatant (and warranted) confidence in dispensing with two of their best known anthems, Everybody Wants to Rule the World and the epic Sowing the Seeds of Love, at the start of their set. Whether despite or because of its blatant Beatles influence, the latter was a particularly fine, sophisticated production, allowing both co-frontmen Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith to flaunt their falsettos.

The pair were the picture of healthy (wealthy?) rock stars. Orzabal, the one constant in the band across almost forty years, was the showier of the two, vocally and as a stage presence. Early single Pale Shelter proved a good vehicle for Smith’s lighter tones, while the melodramatic synth pop of Change showcased their capacity for marrying strong melodies with ambitious arrangements from their earliest days.

A number of other tracks were harvested from their 1983 debut album The Hurting (the first ever purchased by this writer), whose moments of gauche pretension Smith tried to characterise it as good old-fashioned teen angst. The best of these was gothic pop classic Mad World with its synth counterpoints and percussive hooks still sounding rather exotic.

Songs from their later catalogue were blander and more bloated. Backing vocalist Carina Round, a recording artist in her own right, stepped forward to lead capably on the sub-Roxy Music MOR snooze of Woman in Chains, but they needed the indulgent goodwill of the crowd to sustain them through the cosmetic country blues of Badman’s Song before pulling it back with two hits of prime pop bombast, Head Over Heels and Shout.

There was value added support from special guest Alison Moyet, a cherished peer, making the most of her synth pop heritage not just across Yazoo hits such as Situation, Only You and Don’t Go but also in new retro electro pop renditions of her solo soul pop numbers.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874060.1550249480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874060.1550249480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tears for Fears' Kurt Smith was less flashy than Roland Orzabal but both were the picture of stars with a healthy near 40 year success rate. Picture: Dan Reid/REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tears for Fears' Kurt Smith was less flashy than Roland Orzabal but both were the picture of stars with a healthy near 40 year success rate. Picture: Dan Reid/REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874060.1550249480!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-holy-holy-1-4874050","id":"1.4874050","articleHeadline": "Music review: Holy Holy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550249174000 ,"articleLead": "

If none of us watching could quite believe we were in the presence of greatness, vocalist Glenn Gregory was on hand to vocalise our joy at this turn of events. “Just to let you know, he was in the Spider from Mars,” he gasped, pointing back over his shoulder at David Bowie’s stalwart drummer from the early ‘70s Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874049.1550249170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tony Visconti was just one of the the band in this first rate showcase of David Bowie's music. Picture: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock"} ,"articleBody": "

Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow ***

“So you don’t forget, this is real!” he later declared breathlessly, indicating the unassuming bassist on his left. “That is Tony Visconti.” For Gregory – himself a British musical innovator as co-founder and lead singer of Heaven 17 – to be gushing fanboyishly about those sharing a stage with him told us what any Bowie aficionado knew; that these guys really were a big deal at various stages of the singer’s musical life.

Alongside a full band featuring Visconti and singer Mary Hopkin’s daughter Jessica Lee Morgan on guitar and saxophone, and sometime Gen X guitarist James Stevenson on electric lead, Holy Holy opened with an in-order run-through of the single Bowie album on which Woodmansey and Visconti played as rhythm section, 1970’s The Man Who Sold the World. Much like the reasoning behind this gig, this section was for the deep-dive fans predominantly, given that only the title track was a widely-known hit.

What followed was the purest of crowd-pleasing sequences, however, with another full reading, this time of 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – an album awash with signature Bowie tracks, including Starman and Suffragette City – and an encore featuring Changes and Life On Mars. Only Woodmansey played on all of these originally, but Visconti’s influence was inarguably greater, as evidenced by the appearance of 2013’s latterday Bowie classic Where Are We Now?. A first-rate covers show was enhanced by the presence of those who helped birth this music.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874049.1550249170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874049.1550249170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tony Visconti was just one of the the band in this first rate showcase of David Bowie's music. Picture: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tony Visconti was just one of the the band in this first rate showcase of David Bowie's music. Picture: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874049.1550249170!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/music-review-bill-ryder-jones-1-4874035","id":"1.4874035","articleHeadline": "Music review: Bill Ryder-Jones","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550248167000 ,"articleLead": "

Flourishing as a singer-songwriter of considerable craft since leaving The Coral, Bill Ryder-Jones on stage belies his unfair reputation for gloomy introspection. Though he’s not an obvious frontman, he’s grimly funny and determined to engage the audience, even wading into the crowd towards the end of his set to quell a confrontation between two of them.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874034.1550248163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bill Ryder-Jones on stage belies his reputation for gloomy introspection"} ,"articleBody": "

Summerhall, Edinburgh ****

Backed by his four-piece band, opener There’s Something On Your Mind makes full use of the quartet, beginning as languid folk-pop before erupting into a maelstrom of guitars. It’s a beautiful wave of sound that signals what is to come. Quietly anthemic, Don’t Be Scared, I Love You takes its naggingly persistent refrain to an almighty crescendo, while the meandering Wild Swans wrings its elegiac pathos dry before yet another storming conclusion.

There’s a raw lack of affectation to Ryder-Jones’ often rambling spoken interludes. And his admission of making a bad taste joke before delivering Daniel the previous night has the band worriedly exchanging glances. Yet this beguilingly poignant treatment of parental loss, about his dead older brother, achingly eclipses its tragic inspiration. A solo section, in which Ryder-Jones asks for requests, affords an insight into his feelings towards his back catalogue, a highlight the stripped-back, crystalline melody of By Morning I.

Dismissing regressive laddishness with wit and a nod to Rizo in Grease 2, There Are Worse Things I Could Do was followed by a fragile cover of Lightships’ Two Lines. And he closed with the chugging Satellites, building to a Pixies-like rocking climax.


" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4874034.1550248163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4874034.1550248163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bill Ryder-Jones on stage belies his reputation for gloomy introspection","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bill Ryder-Jones on stage belies his reputation for gloomy introspection","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4874034.1550248163!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/scottish-singer-nina-nesbitt-calls-out-inappropriate-male-behaviour-in-music-industry-1-4873848","id":"1.4873848","articleHeadline": "Scottish singer Nina Nesbitt calls out inappropriate male behaviour in music industry","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550243499000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish singer Nina Nesbitt has expressed her frustration at the inappropriate behaviour of some men in the music industry on social media.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873846.1550243495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nina Nesbitt has expressed her frustration at the inappropriate behaviour of some men in the music industry on social media"} ,"articleBody": "

The 24 year old took to social media to comment on male performers using their status in the industry to abuse young artists, stating the behaviour is something many women have been subjected to.

'It sickens me'

Nesbitt, who is best known for her single 'Stay Out', stated that she has experienced inappropriate behaviour from men herself and implied it is a common occurrence for most female artists.

She wrote on Twitter:

\"It's mad to see two music industry men that have been inappropriate towards me be publicly outed in the past month.

\"Can't help but wonder how many other incidents have gone on and it sickens me that almost every female artist I know has had to experience these things.

\"Literally f*** off anyone who uses their powerful position to abuse, pressure or make young artists feel uncomfortable.\"

We contacted Nina Nesbitt for further information regarding her tweets, but she declined to comment.

Highlighting abuse

The comment from Nesbitt comes on the back of recent revelations regarding the sexual misconduct of several powerful figures within the music and film industries.

This week, singer Ryan Adams was accused by numerous women of emotionally abusive behaviour, with claims he used his status in the music industry to manipulate young artists for sex.

The report, published in the New York Times, claimed Adams dangled career opportunities in front of women while also making sexual pursuits. His activities included messages to one fan who was only 15.

Adams has since responded to the report and described the claims as “upsettingly inaccurate”.

Singer R Kelly and film producer Harvey Weinstein are among the other high profile men who have had repeated cases of inappropriate sexual conduct revealed within the last year.

" ,"byline": {"email": "claire.schofield@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Claire Schofield"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873846.1550243495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873846.1550243495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nina Nesbitt has expressed her frustration at the inappropriate behaviour of some men in the music industry on social media","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nina Nesbitt has expressed her frustration at the inappropriate behaviour of some men in the music industry on social media","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873846.1550243495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873847.1550243496!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873847.1550243496!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Photo: Twitter","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Photo: Twitter","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873847.1550243496!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/edinburgh-festivals/edinburgh-s-festivals-at-real-risk-amid-fears-less-friendly-uk-will-repel-artists-1-4873508","id":"1.4873508","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh’s festivals at ‘real risk’ amid fears ‘less friendly’ UK will repel artists","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550210401000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh’s festivals are at “real risk” due to artists being put off coming to the UK over fears it is becoming a less friendly country that wants to close its borders, according to one of their leading figures.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873507.1550170461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "L-R: French drumming duo S�bastien Rambaud and Yann Coste get some practice in, on Edinburgh's Calton Hill, ahead of their hotly anticipated Edinburgh Festival show. Pic: Jane Barlow"} ,"articleBody": "

Julia Amour, director of Festivals Edinburgh, the body charged with promoting the city’s main events to the rest of the world, said their international ambitions were in danger of being held back by growing red tape wrangles.

Speaking at a summit of European marketing experts in Edinburgh, she admitted to fears of the city’s festivals being “cut off” from parts of the world due to increasing problems in securing visas for performers and companies.

Ms Amour said the “rise of populist politics” could have a significant long-term effect on Edinburgh’s festivals and to Scotland’s global reputation.

She has spoken out weeks after Edinburgh MP Deidre Brock warned urgent action was needed to protect the city’s festivals due to growing numbers of musicians, writers and performers becoming “collateral damage” under a “hostile” approach to immigration.

Edinburgh International Book Festival director Nick Barley warned earlier this month that “irretrievable damage” was being done by the visa system which he said will be the same this year despite extensive lobbying of civil servants and politicians.

Ms Amour said: “All of our festivals came out of the creative communities of the city but were born international and are seen as leaders in their field. At the same time as we’re seeing more international interest in them than ever there’s also a risk that the UK is being seen as a less friendly place and one that wants to close its borders.

“A lot of us are dealing with that now with the rise of populist politics across the world. It’s a real risk for the festivals in terms of our global offer - particular for people coming from countries of conflict or from people of colour.

“It could have a major effect on us, and on the reputation of our city, and our country, and on in-bound tourism. Several of our festivals and our artists have already spoken out to ensure we’re able to remain an open, culture and curious nation, and build on that as never before.”

Interviewed later, Ms Amour said the city was “very proud” to currently attract artists from more than 80 countries.

She added: “Any risk to that would obviously make our products all the poorer. Many of our festivals have ambitions to become even more global, looking to Africa, the Middle East and South America.

“If the visa system is working only on questions on salary and people who are in established jobs that’s a huge risk to our artists who exist in a very different way. It’s going to cut off our ability to hear from them.”

The Home Office insists the UK still welcomes artists coming into the country to perform and “appreciates the important contribution they make to the creative sector.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873507.1550170461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873507.1550170461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "L-R: French drumming duo S�bastien Rambaud and Yann Coste get some practice in, on Edinburgh's Calton Hill, ahead of their hotly anticipated Edinburgh Festival show. Pic: Jane Barlow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "L-R: French drumming duo S�bastien Rambaud and Yann Coste get some practice in, on Edinburgh's Calton Hill, ahead of their hotly anticipated Edinburgh Festival show. Pic: Jane Barlow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873507.1550170461!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/new-bbc-channel-launches-with-scotland-s-question-time-and-scots-stars-1-4873203","id":"1.4873203","articleHeadline": "New BBC channel launches with ‘Scotland’s Question Time’ and Scots stars","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550163554000 ,"articleLead": "

Singing stars Lewis Capaldi and Nina Nesbitt will launch BBC Scotland's new TV channel - as part of an opening night line-up featuring comedy favourites Still Game and Burnistoun and a documentary on Scotland's biggest Asian wedding planners.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873222.1550158564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nina Nesbitt will help launch the new channel"} ,"articleBody": "

The opening night will also feature a “People’s News” programme giving which will give ordinary Scots the chance to have their say on burning issues - the night before BBC Scotland launches The Nine - the new “nightly news hour” show fronted by Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler.

And the BBC has confirmed that Scotland’s answer to Question Time, to be known as Debate Night, will launch in the opening week.

The BBC said The People’s News will shun the “usual media commentators” in favour of letting members of the public “speak their minds on the subject of the week’s news, events and gossip.” Although its host and format have yet to be revealed, the hour-long Debate Night, which will launch at 10.45pm on 27 February, will explore “the big issues affecting Scotland and beyond.”

The line-up includes documentaries following fashion vlogger Jamie Genevieve, going behind the scenes at Scotland’s famous stone skimming championships on the west coast island of Easdale, and showcasing the experts who treat animals injured across the country.

The Grey Area, a gritty Edinburgh-set drama on the consequences of gang violence and drugs, which has been made by - and will star - Garry Anthony Fraser, a former heroin addict who has been mentored by Danny Boyle and Irvine Welsh, will also be shown in the first week.

Two episodes of the final series of Still Game will be premiered in the channel’s first week. A one-off special of Burnistoun, the sketch show created by comic Robert Florence, will be going after Still Game on the opening night.

Other highlights of the first week include Test Drive, a new “car-based game show” fronted by Scottish wrestling star Graeme “Grado” Stevely, which will see teams of competitors answer questions via a specially-adapted sat-nav to determine their route to a well-known tourist destination.

Steve Carson, BBC Scotland’s head of multi-platform commissioning, said: “We’ve been working with more than 70 suppliers across the creative sector to help fulfil our vision for the new BBC Scotland channel – a channel for modern Scotland with quality, compelling content.”

BBC Scotland said A Night at the Theatre will be a pre-recorded show made by the same producers as the comedy talk show All Round to Mrs Brown’s and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

Gavin Smith, BBC Scotland commissioning executive for entertainment, said: “We’re thrilled that Iain will be hosting this entertainment extravaganza to kick off our new channel. We want it to bring the fun, warmth and feel-good factor of a big comedy night out at the theatre to living rooms across Scotland.

Iain Stirling said: “I can’t wait to be part of the launch of the new BBC Scotland channel with a big night out at the prestigious Theatre Royal in Glasgow.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873222.1550158564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873222.1550158564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nina Nesbitt will help launch the new channel","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nina Nesbitt will help launch the new channel","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873222.1550158564!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "BBC Scotland will shortly unveil its new channel","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC Scotland will shortly unveil its new channel","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4860325.1550476041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/10-pictures-of-oasis-legend-noel-gallagher-in-edinburgh-as-new-scotland-gig-announced-1-4873340","id":"1.4873340","articleHeadline": "10 pictures of Oasis legend Noel Gallagher in Edinburgh as new Scotland gig announced","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550155129000 ,"articleLead": "

Oasis legend Noel Gallagher has announced an intimate gig in Scotland this year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873327.1550156183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds performing at Edinburgh Castle in July 2018. Pic: Calum Buchan Photography"} ,"articleBody": "

The Mancunian music legend will be performing at The Playhouse in Edinburgh on May 5th with his group the High Flying Birds. Gallagher’s band will be joined once again by ex-Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, and a poster suggests fans can look forward to yet-to-be released material alongside familiar tunes from his Oasis and solo career.

Here are some shots from Gallagher’s previous appearances in the Capital...

Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873327.1550156183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873327.1550156183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds performing at Edinburgh Castle in July 2018. Pic: Calum Buchan Photography","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds performing at Edinburgh Castle in July 2018. Pic: Calum Buchan Photography","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873327.1550156183!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873328.1550156186!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873328.1550156186!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher's High flying birds perform at Edinburgh Castle in 2018. Pic: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher's High flying birds perform at Edinburgh Castle in 2018. Pic: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873328.1550156186!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873329.1550156190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873329.1550156190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kasabian front man Tom Meighan on the Princes St Gardens stage with special guest Noel Gallagher from Oasis during the Hogmanay 2008 celebrations. Pic: Kenny Smith.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kasabian front man Tom Meighan on the Princes St Gardens stage with special guest Noel Gallagher from Oasis during the Hogmanay 2008 celebrations. Pic: Kenny Smith.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873329.1550156190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873330.1550156192!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873330.1550156192!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher at a Murrayfield Stadium open air concert with Oasis in 2009. Pic: Paul Chappells","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher at a Murrayfield Stadium open air concert with Oasis in 2009. Pic: Paul Chappells","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873330.1550156192!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873331.1550156194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873331.1550156194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher attended the Edinburgh Reivers v Ebbw Vale rugby match at Myreside in 2000.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher attended the Edinburgh Reivers v Ebbw Vale rugby match at Myreside in 2000.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873331.1550156194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873332.1550156198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873332.1550156198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher's High flying birds perform to a big crowd at Edinburgh Castle. Pic: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher's High flying birds perform to a big crowd at Edinburgh Castle. Pic: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873332.1550156198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873334.1550156199!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873334.1550156199!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel on guitar during an Oasis gig at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh in 2005. Pic: Kenny Smith","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel on guitar during an Oasis gig at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh in 2005. Pic: Kenny Smith","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873334.1550156199!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873335.1550156202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873335.1550156202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher of Oasis having a walk down Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, in 2002. He played at T in the Park that year. Pic: Justin Spittle TSPL.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher of Oasis having a walk down Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, in 2002. He played at T in the Park that year. Pic: Justin Spittle TSPL.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873335.1550156202!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873337.1550156203!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873337.1550156203!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Noel Gallagher's High flying birds performing at Edinburgh Castle last year. Pic: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Noel Gallagher's High flying birds performing at Edinburgh Castle last year. Pic: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873337.1550156203!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873338.1550156205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873338.1550156205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A close-up of Noel Gallagher as he performs with his band, High flying birds, at Edinburgh Castle. Pic: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A close-up of Noel Gallagher as he performs with his band, High flying birds, at Edinburgh Castle. Pic: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873338.1550156205!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873339.1550156207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873339.1550156207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam and Noel performing as Oasis at the Corn Exchange in 2002. Pic: Esme Allen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam and Noel performing as Oasis at the Corn Exchange in 2002. Pic: Esme Allen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873339.1550156207!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/special-features-2-8786/10-signs-of-community-in-local-hero-and-their-message-for-us-today-1-4873124","id":"1.4873124","articleHeadline": "10 signs of community in Local Hero and their message for us today","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550144618000 ,"articleLead": "The movie Local Hero by Scottish director Bill Forsyth feels as relevant now as it did when it was first released more than 35 years ago.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873122.1550145883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mac and Victor. Picture: REX"} ,"articleBody": "

Depicting a small Highland community’s battle with the will of a giant American oil company to buy over their village, Ferness, and build an oil refinery in its place.

It’s a special film about a special place and as the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh prepares to stage the world premiere of a major new stage musical based on the 1983 film, we take a look at 10 signs of community spirit played out in Local Hero - and the message they have for us today.

Local Hero at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh 14 March – 4 May 2019. To book tickets: https://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/local-hero

1. Be trusting

The village pub in the fictional Ferness is closed when local Knox Oil and Gas representative Oldsen, played by Peter Capaldi, and American colleague Mac arrive in the early morning after being trapped in their car overnight. However, after a gentle standoff, landlord Gordon Urquhart is happy to accommodate the curious arrivals.

Urquhart invites the pair into the hotel kitchen to help themselves to coffee and toast while he disappears back up stairs to tend to some pressing personal business.

“We can take care of the formalities later,” says the landlord, before offering his guests some lettuce for the rabbit they picked up on the road.

2. Go the extra mile

When Mac walks into the packed pub to look for a phone to call his HQ back in Houston, the oilman is told of the now-famous red telephone box over the road.

“You can make a call anywhere in the world from there,” says barman Roddy.

The bar is heaving, drams are flowing, fags are smoking and conversation runs deep at the MacAskill Arms, but Roddy’s appeal for 10p pieces, so that Mac can make his “very important phone call”, has the whole pub clamouring to empty their pockets of what they have.

A customer even escorts Mac across the road to the public telephone - and cleans the mouthpiece for him. It is not long before villagers are talking of giving the telephone box a fresh lick of paint for Mac - and even asking what colour he would like it in.

3. Appoint a leader you trust

The stakes are high in Ferness as Knox negotiates to buy over the village in order to build its oil refinery.

As villagers gather in the church to get a measure of events, Gordon Urquhart is up there on the pulpit commandeering his people. “All I ask for is your patience and your trust,” the landlord turned community leader says.

Urquhart proves he is the man for the occasion, going on to deploy his natural charm, business head and ample stash of whisky in order to get a good deal for the village.

4. Do your bit

There is little room for airs, graces and ego in Ferness. On a break from work, Mac wanders down to the harbour where Roddy, the barman from the MacAskill Arms, is fixing a lobster creel, much to the American’s curiosity.

“We all muck in together, any job that needs doing,” says Roddy.

There is a raised eyebrow or two when the men at the harbour learn that oil industry executive Mac only has “one job”.

5. Pick your fights wisely

As negotiations get underway, Urquhart does his best to disarm Mac and charm him into appreciating the ways of the village.

After pouring the oilman a large 42-year-old malt, the landlord takes Mac for a walk by the beach. The American visitor can barely argue when Urquhart tells him: “It’s not a matter of buying up someone’s feelings, it’s not as crude as that. It’s a massive disturbance to a way of life”.

As the whisky works its magic, Urquhart proposes that Knox pays the villagers a lump sum of £20 million in addition to setting up a trust fund to share out profits from the refinery. Mac, disarmed by the big dram and the sheer beauty of the Highland evening, barely argues.

6. Show respect

There is a clash of cultures down at the beach when Urquhart and Mac drop in for a visit to local eccentric Ben’s ramshackle hut. The beachcomber has a rare fire going and is relaxing with a smoke when the two appear. Ben wants to offer them a cup of tea, but there is only one cup. Urquhart assures Ben that the pair can share a cup and begins to prepare the drink, at which point Mac jumps in to say: “No sugar though.”

Ben’s face falls to the sand at this jarring show of entitlement from the American - and the seeming disrespect for Highland hospitality. The encounter sets the tone for a somewhat tricky relationship between the highly decent Ben - who it transpires will have a pivotal role in whether Knox is successful - and the bullish American businessman.

7. Come together

As negotiations drag on in Ferness, all eyes are on the end of the week and the Friday night ceilidh. There is something special about these music-driven social gatherings that gives everyone a place to celebrate - whether young or old, rich or poor. In Ferness, even the local punk joins in as the community effortlessly gels and excels. The night is full of surprises with Urquhart regaling the throng with a waltz on the accordion and visiting Soviet fishing boat captain Viktor’s song setting the night on fire. Who wouldn’t want to be there?

8. Know your past

There is a lot of talk about the future in Ferness as locals grapple with the promise of great riches from the proposed oil refinery. But, is the future so different from the past? Beachcomber Ben, whose reluctance to sell his stretch of beach - which we learn has been in his family for 400 years - is told that dozens of people could make a living from his property if he sells to Knox. Ben deftly points out that history would then just be repeating itself, as the beach was once central to the village’s thriving kelp industry.

9. Look after your own

There is a baby in a buggy that keeps popping up as Local Hero unfolds. The only thing is that none of the villagers seem to know who the intermittently appearing infant belongs to. However, the sense of community in Ferness is so strong, there is no shortage of locals who are only too happy to look after the baby.

10. Money doesn't always talk

The value of money is questioned throughout the film, with community and the environment given a higher status than anything a dollar bill could acquire. Ben teases Mac for being “great at talking the big numbers”, and for the American wanting to “buy a comet”.

Eventually the whole refinery deal falls through when the billionaire oil baron boss of Knox - played by Hollywood legend Burt Lancaster - hears of the amazing astronomical spectacle of the night skies over Ferness and comes over to Scotland to see for himself.

Subsequently, when Mac gets ready to leave the village, he writes a personal cheque made out to Urquhart to cover his stay at the MacAskill Arms. The oilman does not want to put it on company expenses, but would rather foot the bill himself. It seems that it has been quite a journey for Mac.

Urquhart does not appear too worried over whether his bank will accept the American cheque, telling Mac: "It's been fun having you...we'll pin it on the wall as a souvenir."

Mac says “toodle-oo” to his friend and wishes him well. Urquhart says: “It’s always the same. The big boys always want the playground to themselves. We can handle them.”

There is absolutely no doubt about that.

Local Hero at the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh 14 March – 4 May. To book tickets: https://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/local-hero

" ,"byline": {"email": "alison.campsie@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Alison Campsie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873122.1550145883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873122.1550145883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mac and Victor. Picture: REX","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mac and Victor. Picture: REX","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873122.1550145883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4873123.1550145884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4873123.1550145884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: REX","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: REX","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4873123.1550145884!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/edinburgh-science-festival-to-probe-donald-trump-s-sanity-thanks-to-his-tweets-1-4872580","id":"1.4872580","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh Science Festival to probe Donald Trump's sanity - thanks to his tweets","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550084134380 ,"articleLead": "DonaldTrump's sanity is to be explored on stage at an Edinburgh festival - using his notorious Twitter feed.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4872579.1550057576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump's use of Twitter will be explored at the Edinburgh Science Festival in April."} ,"articleBody": "

Experts will explore what can be read into the American President’s use of the network at an Edinburgh Science Festival event in April.

Psychiatrist Dr Raj Persaud and psychologist Rebecca McGuire Snieckus, who will host the event, will “test how the public make decisions about a politician’s mental health.

Organisers say the talk, On the Frontiers of Sanity, will be a “fun audience experiment” inspired by the questions raised by experts about Mr Trump’s mental health.

The festival will also look at the worldwide rise and impact of “Twitterbots,” fake Twitter accounts controlled by software systems, and examine how Tweets are being used to map public health and monitor responses to natural disasters.

The two-week event will reveal some of the regular phrases used by online predators in an exploration of the dangers of the online world, while also tackling the future risks artificial intelligence could pose.

Meanwhile the festival has announced it will honour one of the world’s leading climate change experts as well as bring together scientists and industry figures to look at the latest plans to battle soaring temperatures around the world.

Christiana Figueres, the United Nations’ former chief climate diplomat who was one of the chief architects of the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, will follow Sir David Attenborough and Professor Peter Higgs in receiving the prestigious Edinburgh Medal.

The honour is awarded annually to men and women of science and technology who have made “a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity.”

The festival, which will run from 6-21 April, has lined up an outdoor photography exhibition outside the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood looking at the impact of human activity on the planet and the “urgency of environmental degradation.

It will also stage events exploring what is needed to halt the prospect of catastrophic climate change, whether overpopulation is the biggest threat to the world’s future and the “silent problem” of air pollution.

The festival, which will have a Frontiers theme to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, will showcase some of the firms helping to make Scotland Europe’s “space technology capital.”

It will honour the “Edinburgh Seven,” the young women who made history in the city when they became Britain’s first undergraduate female students in 1869, by celebrating the modern-day women breaking through barriers in the medical profession.

Stand Comedy Club compere and historian Susan Morrison will lead a revival of the Oyster Club for 18th century scientists and philosophers which was formed by Adam Smith, James Hutton and Joseph Black.

Special guests lined up for festival appearances include Benedict Allen, the British explorer who went missing while on an expedition in Papua New Guinea two years ago, sustainable fashion designer Aurelia Fontan, who will be discussing how her work is influenced by science and biodesign.

The festival will explore the science behind fake news and conspiracy theories, the growing trend for cold water swimming in the UK, and what prompts people to have murder fantasies.

The Science of the Sesh, which is billed as an evening of delicious drinks, boozy but responsible experiments and the history of cocktails.

Amanda Tyndall, creative director of the festival, said: “With new venues and partners and a programme packed full of events and ideas our Frontiers theme sees us explore the research horizons of everything from the depths of the oceans to the furthest reaches of space and the intricate pathways of the human brain.

“We celebrate the spirit of adventure and enquiry that drives science and the ideas and individuals that are expanding the Frontiers of our collective knowledge and have aplenty of fun on our journey.

“At the heart of all science lies an unquenchable curiosity; a deep urge to explore and explain the unknown and to push the Frontiers of our knowledge about ourselves, the world around us and our place in the wider universe.

“We know more and more each day, yet the unknown still outweighs the known. It is the desire to redress this balance that sits at the heart of science.”

Festival venues include the National Museum of Scotland, the Royal Botanic Garden, Summerhall, the City Art Centre, Dynamic Earth, Jupiter Artland and the new home for the Collective Gallery on Calton Hill, while the Pleasance complex at Edinburgh University will become the festival hub for the first time.

Donald Wilson, culture leader at the city council, one of the festival’s main funders, said: “There is something for everyone in the extensive programme from fascinating talks with Professors and pioneers, to experiments and events to entertain and educate all ages.”


On the Frontiers of Sanity: A test of how the public make decisions about a politician’s mental health - using Donald Trump’s tweets.

Accept/Decline:An expert panel discuss the dangers the online world poses and demonstrate new software being developed to identify predators.

The Future of Cyber Security, Data and AI: An exploration of the risks and the new opportunities that the information age is set to brin.

Digital Therapist: Could virtual reality treat depression or could a robot companion make you feel better? Experts look at how technology can be used to help improve mental health.

Fake Moon Landings and Other Persistent Conspiracies: Join conspiracy theory experts Prof Peter Knight and Prof Robbie Sutton at to find out where these intrigues come from, how they take root and what makes people believe them.

Here Comes the Sun: Leading geneticist Professor Steve Jones explores the good, the bad and the possibly deadly results of Scotland’s grey weather and discusses whether we should increase our exposure to sunlight when we can.

Science of the sesh: An adults-only exploration of alcohol, including what factors and senses affect how we taste.

Spice of Life: Sorting the fake claims from the real ones and chewing over the so-called superfoods. Could a turmeric latte be the cure for cancer? Does red wine really prevent dementia?

Are We Too Clean?: A look at the emergence of the compulsion to clean and how obsessive cleanliness might be harmful.

Where the Hell is My Hoverboard?: A panel of experts discuss where technology is at and what hurdles still have to be overcome before we can live out our sci-fi dreams inspired by films like Back to the Future or Blade Runner.

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4872579.1550057576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4872579.1550057576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Donald Trump's use of Twitter will be explored at the Edinburgh Science Festival in April.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Donald Trump's use of Twitter will be explored at the Edinburgh Science Festival in April.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4872579.1550057576!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/ex-razorlight-drummer-andy-burrows-and-author-matt-haig-on-teaming-up-for-musical-collaboration-1-4872436","id":"1.4872436","articleHeadline": "Ex-Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows and author Matt Haig on teaming up for musical collaboration","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1550037640000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows and novelist Matt Haig have teamed up for a musical collaboration based on Haig’s autobiographical book, Reasons To Stay Alive, writes Lucy Mapstone

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4872435.1550008589!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Burrows and Matt Haig. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Andy Burrows is musing over how much he really just loves a drink, particularly a pint in a pub.

We’re sitting in a slightly musty, dark, wood-panelled boozer in central London, and he’s loving it.

“I love a pint in a pub,” he sighs, cradling a glass of something amber.

The former Razorlight drummer is reminiscing about his days in the band in the mid-noughties, and how he’s glad to have had that time in his life because it was wonderfully “textbook rock and roll”, fuelled with plenty of drink and experiences that he now can’t quite remember.

But he does recall one time that he did quit the sauce. For a short while, anyway.

“When I left the band I stopped drinking for like, four months, but that’s the only time I’ve ever done it,” he says.

“I don’t get paralytic, I just like the fuzzy feeling. On the whole my relationship with it is quite good.

“My only thing that I get annoyed about with drinking is that if I’m really anxious, I’ll go to it.”

Burrows is open about both his fondness for drink and his experiences with mental health issues, both of which conspired to kick start his latest project – a collaborative album with author Matt Haig.

The pair have channelled their complementary talents into an album loosely based on Haig’s best-selling 2015 memoir about his battle with depression, Reasons To Stay Alive.

“I’d started reading Reasons To Stay Alive and I found Matt quite fascinating on Twitter,” Burrows explains of their thoroughly modern meeting.

“He’s quite annoying but also really brilliant and quite feisty, not scared about getting into a bit of a spat.

“So one night when I was touring with Tom Odell, after a show, I was a bit tiddly and I plucked up the courage to send Matt a message – I noticed that he followed me.

“I sent a message saying, ‘would you be up for meeting me and, I don’t know if you know my music or like it, but I wondered if you wanted to work together?’”

The duo met and bonded over their love of music and other things, and initially discussed doing something for children, as Haig has written children’s books and Burrows composed the music for The Snowman And The Snowdog in 2012.

But it wasn’t quite the right fit, and they swiftly settled on creating some “straight up pop songs” together, with lyrics by Haig and music by Burrows.

Haig had never written songs before, which he reveals via email as he’s unable to make the lunchtime pub rendezvous.

“I’d written some poems but songs and poems aren’t the same thing. But I find myself getting more inspired when I do new things,” he says.

“That’s why I have written so many different types of books – kids’ books, adult books, fiction, non-fiction. It’s all writing. It’s all expression.

“It’s easy to overthink the differences between art forms but it’s all just articulating an emotion. The emotion is the important thing.”

The novelist and journalist adds that “working with Andy was a breeze” as they are on the “same page”, a sentiment matched by his collaborator.

“We’ve got quite similar neurotic, anxious, slightly depressive tendencies, and a real hankering and love for pop music,” Burrows notes.

Haig would write lyrics and send them to Burrows, who brought them to life with new compositions.

Burrows jokes he’s the Elton John to Haig’s Bernie Taupin.

On title track Reasons To Stay Alive, Burrows knew immediately that he “wanted it to be quite widescreen, quite epic”, but on others, he had to work on them a little bit to get the sound he wanted. Other tracks on the melodic, pop rock-esque album include the Radio 2 A-listed song Barcelona – penned by Haig from the point of view of someone having a panic attack but that Burrows made sound “up and happy” – and How To Stop Time, named after another of Haig’s books.

There were no disagreements between the pair (“I know that’s the boring answer,” Burrows jokes), and the working process was rather fluid.

However, Haig does admit to doubting himself in writing songs for the first time, because “that’s what having anxiety does to you”.

The collaboration is the latest in a long line of projects for busy Burrows, who has been the drummer for Razorlight and We Are Scientists, and has also worked with Editors’ frontman Tom Smith and singer-songwriter Odell.

He’s also written the music for a new Ricky Gervais Netflix series and, perhaps most famously, the Bafta-nominated soundtrack to Channel 4’s sequel to beloved festive cartoon The Snowman.

“What I’ve learnt about myself over the years is that I clearly like it like that, I feel calmer if there’s lots of stuff going on and I’m quite erratic – I don’t do anything for very long,” Burrows says.

“After I left Razorlight, I made it my mission to make sure I did as much stuff as possible.

“If you’re going to leave a band that’s doing really well, everyone’s going to call you silly, which they did.”

Burrows left the indie rock band, known for hits including America and Wire To Wire, in 2009 after five years.

“I think it was very necessary to leave, because it was a very unhealthy band to be in,” he discloses, adding that, while he gained a lot of confidence from being in the band at first, it became “detrimental” and “very toxic”.

Burrows’ relationship with Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell was known to be fraught back in their hey-day, and still is now.

“I saw Johnny on Denmark Street in London about three or four years ago, and it really affected me because I hadn’t seen him for like, five years,” Burrows recalls.

“He acted like I was a stranger, it was the weirdest thing. I think I went off and got extremely drunk, but felt very weird for a couple of days... it was almost like seeing a ghost.

“And when you’ve been that close to someone, because me and him were really close – like close enemies but close friends, it was all a bit complicated – it was so weird running into him and him acting like he didn’t care.”

For now, at least, he’s nailed a working partnership that is genuinely a bit of a dream, and as easy and satisfying as they come.

“It’s a very open album, and it’s about not letting depression debilitate you completely, and knowing that you can get through,” Burrows says, by way of summing up the record.

He adds: “I found it immensely elating and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

“It’s better than going to any counselling. I can recommend it to anybody to write a record with Matt Haig... it might be a tough gig to land, but I recommend it.

“Try tweeting him! Learn the guitar or the drums and tweet him. Hit him up!”

• Reasons To Stay Alive by Andy Burrows and Matt Haig is available now. Andy Burrows will be touring the album across the UK until 21 February, with a show at Glasgow’s King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut tonight, www.kingtuts.co.uk, tickets from £14

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4872435.1550008589!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4872435.1550008589!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Burrows and Matt Haig. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Burrows and Matt Haig. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4872435.1550008589!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/tv-radio/bbc-unveil-nine-team-ahead-of-new-channel-1-4871648","id":"1.4871648","articleHeadline": "BBC unveil Nine team ahead of new channel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1549929660000 ,"articleLead": "

BBC Scotland has revealed the core reporting team who will front the flagship news programme on the corporation’s new dedicated Scottish channel.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4871647.1549920406!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The reporting and presenting teamfor The Nine, BBC Scotland's new flagship news programme. Picture: Alan Peebles"} ,"articleBody": "

Launching later this month, The Nine will focus on national as well as international stories from the broadcaster’s Glasgow headquarters.

The channel has now unveiled the specialists and correspondents who will form the bedrock of the show. Out of the 15 members of staff announced, more than half are existing BBC employees.

The hour-long programme, which will air at 9pm on weeknights, will be co-anchored by Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissley on Mondays to Thursdays.

A Friday evening edition of the programme will be presented by John Beattie and Laura Miller.

James Cook, a former Scotland and North America correspondent with the BBC, will return from the US as the programme’s chief news correspondent.

Hayley Valentine, editor of The Nine, said: “I’m delighted with the team of presenters and reporters we’ve put together.

“It has a great mix of experienced correspondents and new talent, all of whom are working on a raft of original stories for The Nine.

“Our viewers will get some of the best analysis of Scottish, UK and international news from this team.

“And I’m confident viewers will enjoy a very different approach to news presenting and storytelling.”

A four-strong team will report on politics from Holyrood, comsisting of Lynsey Bews, a political correspondent, David Lockhart, a political reporter, Rajdeep Sandhu, the programme’s Westminster correspondent, and Jean MacKenzie, who will be based in Brussels.

The show will also have a sports presence with Amy Irons joining from Capital Radio as sports presenter, Laura McGhie as sports news presenter, and Chris McLaughlin as sports news correspondent.

Other appointments for the programme include Laura Goodwin as innovation correspondent, based in Dundee, Chris Clements as social affairs correspondent, and David Farrell as the programme’s entertainment reporter.

As well as presenting on Fridays, Miller will also be the programme’s consumer affairs correspondent.

On Saturdays, there will be a 15 minute bulletin at 7pm, followed by a review programme presented by Fiona Stalker and Nick Sheridan. On Sundays, the 15 minute 7pm bulletin will be presented by Lucy Whyte.

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