{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"whatson","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/scottish-culture-put-at-risk-by-fees-for-music-lessons-industry-warns-1-4842842","id":"1.4842842","articleHeadline": "Scottish culture ‘put at risk’ by fees for music lessons, industry warns","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544594790000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s cultural identity is being put at risk by cuts to music education in schools, industry leaders have warned.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842841.1544566291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Campaigners are concerned the music scene may be dominated by the affluent."} ,"articleBody": "

The country faces having a music scene dominated by people from privileged backgrounds unless action is taken to halt the rising tide of tuition fees.

The Scottish Music Industry Association (SMIA) has warned of a “critical” situation across the country due to the widespread scrapping of free lessons.

Chairman Dougal Perman, an official advisor to the Scottish Government, said the introduction of fees was turning music into “a luxury that many people can’t afford”.

He has raised the prospect of the contenders for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, which the SMIA organises, being dominated by “an affluent demographic unless the current crisis is addressed”.

Mr Perman said the issue was one of the most serious threatening the viability of the Scottish music scene, along with the growing problems music venues are facing from property developers, licensing red tape and noise complaints from neighbours.

He raised concerns over the damage being done to music education at a creative industries conference in Edinburgh.

Mr Perman said: “We need to explore the impact of the decline in access to music education in Scotland. It becomes a real issue of equality and inclusivity when tuition is no longer free. Even introducing a modest free creates a barrier for many people. That’s become very real in Scotland in the last few years. Even if it stays how it is now, let alone gets any worse, we’ll be in a very difficult and dangerous position regarding our cultural identity.”

The Scottish Parliament was told in September that hundreds of parents have been handing back musical instruments due to the introduction of unaffordable fees. Some local authorities are now charging more than £500 for lessons, despite fierce opposition from teaching unions.

Mr Perman said: “The situation with music education is becoming critical. Free-at-the-point-of-access instrumental music tuition in schools is now scarce in Scotland, if it’s available anywhere at all. While there does seem to have been valiant attempts by some local authorities to subsidise provision where possible, charging for teaching makes music a luxury that many people can’t afford.

“The effects are already being felt by music teachers, who have less work. Many of them are performing musicians in orchestras, ensembles and bands for whom music tuition is an essential source of additional income.

“With less music students coming through schools, orchestras and music groups have a smaller talent pool to draw from. This will ripple through the entire music industry eco-system over the next five to ten years.

“I don’t think music talent in Scotland will dry up, but we’re concerned that the artists who make the records that make the Scottish Album of the Year Award long list in 20 years’ time may all come from an affluent demographic.

“Music education is a real concern if we’re to ensure to continue to have an abundance of creative talent in Scotland. Without that, we will lack our most valuable industry resource. Talent is the liquidity that flows through the creative economy.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4842841.1544566291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842841.1544566291!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Campaigners are concerned the music scene may be dominated by the affluent.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Campaigners are concerned the music scene may be dominated by the affluent.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4842841.1544566291!/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/glasgow-s-film-city-to-mount-bid-to-run-new-leith-docks-studio-1-4842770","id":"1.4842770","articleHeadline": "Glasgow’s ‘Film City’ to mount bid to run new Leith Docks studio","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544594431000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow’s biggest hub for the film and TV industries is set to mount a bid to run the vast new studio proposed for Edinburgh’s waterfront.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842768.1544552077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Avengers: Infinity War used the former Pelamis wave warehouse in Leith during filming in Edinburgh. Picture: PA Wire/Marvel"} ,"articleBody": "

Film City Glasgow has been used a base for some of the biggest Scottish movies in recent years, including Sunshine on Leith, Filth, Under the Skin and Red Road.

Now its operators have revealed they have spent more than two years pursuing plans for the former Pelamis wave power plant in Leith Docks.

It was interested in taking on the building even before it was deployed for the Avengers: Infinity War blockbuster, paving the way for it to be backed by the Scottish Government as the preferred site for a permanent “world class” facility.

READ MORE: Empty Leith Docks warehouse to become ‘world class’ film and TV studio

Director Tiernan Kelly said he had even accompanied Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle on a tour of the site when it was in the running to be used for T2 Trainspotting.

Around £3.5 million was spent converting the historic Govan Town Hall into a major industry hub after the idea of creating a “film city” in Glasgow was pursued by one of Scotland’s leading producers.

Gillian Berrie, whose credits include Outlaw King, Starred Up, Hallam Foe, Perfect Sense and Under the Skin, has already thrown her weight behind the transformation of the Leith warehouse complex.

Screen Scotland, the new government-funded industry body, has launched a worldwide search for an operator of the venture. It is hoped up to 160,000 sq ft of studio space will be available, including five sound stages up to 100 ft tall.

Kelly revealed Film City Glasgow’s interest in the building at a creative industries summit in Edinburgh, which heard concerns that the tender timetable proposed by Screen Scotland will be “almost impossible” for potential operators to meet. Finals bids must be lodged by 1 February.

Kelly said he had “renewed optimism” that Screen Scotland would help deliver new screen infrastructure.

READ MORE: Leith warehouse becomes film studio for Avengers movie

He added: “We’re very interested in it (the Pelamis building). We were working with Edinburgh City council in 2016, pre-Avengers, and spent a bit of money on scoping work on it. We walked around the site with Danny Boyle when he was looking to film T2 and couldn’t get it over the line.

“It’s a great asset and it’s got great potential. We’re going to look at it. We’d have liked a bit longer to work on it.

“From a selfish point of view, we’ve been all over it for two years, so we’ve perhaps got a head start in getting our heads around all the numbers and plans for the building.

“For someone coming in cold it’s a very quick turn-around. I know people have been working on it since last November. A hell of a lot of thought and work has gone into it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4842768.1544552077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842768.1544552077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Avengers: Infinity War used the former Pelamis wave warehouse in Leith during filming in Edinburgh. Picture: PA Wire/Marvel","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Avengers: Infinity War used the former Pelamis wave warehouse in Leith during filming in Edinburgh. Picture: PA Wire/Marvel","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4842768.1544552077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1488209945918"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/music/album-reviews-the-1975-willard-grant-conspiracy-jah-wobble-1-4842347","id":"1.4842347","articleHeadline": "Album reviews: The 1975 | Willard Grant Conspiracy | Jah Wobble","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544530588000 ,"articleLead": "

Digital life may fascinate The 1975, but this calculated collection of songs fails to spark much interest

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842346.1544530584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 1975"} ,"articleBody": "

The 1975: A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships (Dirty Hit/Polydor) **

Willard Grant Conspiracy: Untethered (Loose Music) ***

Jah Wobble: The Butterfly Effect (Jah Wobble Records) ***

In lean times for commercial guitar bands, The 1975 have emerged over the last few years as the Millennials’ choice. Like Bastille before them, this Manchester four-piece talk left but walk right…down the middle of the road.

Unlike Bastille, they have a mildly gothic dreamboat singer/songwriter in Matt Healy, who is so in thrall to the cult of the rock frontman that he landed himself a nasty drug addiction and follow-up sojourn in rehab, and it is through this ultimate rock’n’roll cliché prism that we are invited to regard the band’s third album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.

Having previously co-opted 80s pop stylings and then indie rock atmospherics, they now add manicured elements of hip-hop and R&B to their superficial smorgasbord, giving the impression of a band in search of an identity, while leaving the listener in search of a song.

Healy at least can pen a pithy lyric. “You learn a couple of things at my age,” he divulges on Give Yourself a Try, possibly idly swirling a glass of brandy as he reels off a checklist of the good, the bad and the quirky.

He picks at wounds over strings and guitar distortion on Inside Your Mind, reflects on the loneliness of the long distance touring musician and sad groupie encounters on breathy acoustic confessional Be My Mistake, tries to access his inner Chet Baker on Mine – a loungey jazz effort decorated with a few electronic baubles and a lovely muted trumpet solo – and addresses his addiction on lightweight pop ditty It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You), whose title, like the entire The 1975 package, promises greater depth than it delivers.

But a couple of moments stick. The Man Who Married A Robot is a droll cautionary fable about a life lived online, set against a romantic string arrangement and delivered in the halting digital tones of voice assistant Siri, while Healy waits until almost the last gasp to drop the pretention and deliver soft rock ballad I Couldn’t Be More In Love with a passion which is missing from the rest of this rather calculated album.

Untethered is the tenth and final testament of cult alt.country outfit Willard Grant Conspiracy following the death of frontman and founder member Robert Fisher in early 2017. The title track is Fisher’s rapid response to his cancer diagnosis, and there is beauty and sadness throughout the album in keeping with their lugubrious Americana peers Low, Red House Painters and Lambchop.

They recall a moody noir folk version of The Velvet Underground on the southern gothic instrumental All We Have Left, and the crooning softness to Fisher’s drawl on the spectral 26 Turns is reminiscent of Lou Reed in his more ruminative moments, a connection they make explicit with references to a “perfect day” on Chasing Rabbits.

Gentleman bassist Jah Wobble follows up his recent Invaders of the Heart album with a punkier solo offering. The Butterfly Effect started life as a series of poems written in response to the financial crash of 2008, and are now delivered as deceptively genial spoken word over a stormy rock backdrop.

The grungey title track contemplates science on a micro and macro level to a soundtrack of skittering drums, fluid bass and metallic guitar chords. The Iron Lady Got Rust is a suitably economical tale of fiscal woe from the deregulation of the banks (“only the fittest and sociopaths would prosper and survive”) through to ongoing austerity, and Wobble returns to his native east end of London to find it much changed on twinkling cocktail jazz-meets-math rock number I Love Your Accent. - Fiona Shepherd

CLASSICAL

Cecilia Bartoli Sings Vivaldi (Decca) *****

Some 30 years after signing for Decca, and 20 years since her landmark Vivaldi album, Cecilia Bartoli returns to the operatic arias of the fiery Venetian for her latest release. It’s a firebrand performance from start to finish. Bartoli’s programming alternates between the fast and furious and the languid and sensuous. That way, the excitement generated from such exuberant shows of virtuosity as Ah fuggi rapido (Orlando furioso) or the red hot martialism of Combatta un gentil cor (Tito Malio) is successively soothed by ravishing delicacies, including Se mai senti spirarti sul volto (Catone in Utica). But it is Bartoli’s unique blend of sensuality (those velvety deep notes) and her electrifying virtuosic precision, not to mention the sizzling sounds of Ensemble Matheus under Jean-Christophe Spinosi, that colours these performances with irresistible and unique charm. She oozes musicality. Every note tells a story of its own. - Ken Walton

JAZZ

Helena Kay’s KIM Trio: Moon Palace (Ubuntu Music) ****

Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year in 2015, two years later tenor saxophonist Helena Kay scooped the Peter Whittingham Jazz Award, the prize helping to fund this impressive debut, with fellow Guildhall student David Ingamells on drums and double bassist Ferg Ireland. Five of the seven tracks are composed by Kay, including the opening L and D, which establishes the lithe dynamic within the trio, as well as the Jobim-inspired and elegantly unhurried Feijão, the expansive saunter of Strawberry Terrace and the inexorable development of the title track, richly toned by Kay and with well-pointed bass work from Ireland over flickering cymbals and drums. The two covers are a tersely bustling account of Charlie Parker’s Kim, with sax and drums bickering energetically, while she forsakes her rhythm section for an affectionately considered solo deliberation on Hoagy Carmichael’s Stardust. - Jim Gilchrist

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd, Ken Walton and Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4842346.1544530584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842346.1544530584!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The 1975","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 1975","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4842346.1544530584!/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/panto-is-pure-magic-still-game-star-gavin-mitchell-on-playing-an-ugly-sister-in-cinderella-at-the-clyde-auditorium-1-4842345","id":"1.4842345","articleHeadline": "“Panto is pure magic” - Still Game star Gavin Mitchell on playing an Ugly Sister in Cinderella at the Clyde Auditorium","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544530273000 ,"articleLead": "

It was one of the saddest and most dramatic moments in the whole history of Scottish pantomime; the day in October 2010 when it was announced that Gerard Kelly, the legendary “daft laddie” in more than a dozen pantos at the King’s Theatre, Glasgow since the 1990s, had died suddenly of a brain aneurysm aged only 51, just five weeks before the opening night of that year’s King’s panto. Kelly was scheduled to play one of his favourite roles, as the jester Muddles in Sleeping Beauty; and over the years, he had also become one of the main upholders and tradition-bearers of the Scottish panto scene, using his television fame to add clout to his passionate defence of the Scottish panto tradition.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842344.1544530269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gavin Mitchell (back row, left) with the cast of Cinderella"} ,"articleBody": "

The loss was therefore huge, and stunning; and the man who stepped into the breach that year was television and stage actor Gavin Mitchell, who was already cast to appear in Sleeping Beauty as the wicked fairy Carabosse. Mitchell had watched and loved Kelly’s inimitable panto performances for many years; and although many in the business warned him against trying to reproduce Kelly’s style, in the end – with rehearsals set to start just 48 hours after Kelly’s funeral – Mitchell felt impelled to do just that.

“It was odd, but I just felt that I had to,” says Mitchell. “It was easily the most frightening thing I’ve ever done; but the strangest thing was that it worked. Audiences loved it, and ticket sales actually went up. I think, looking back, that it was the Glasgow audience coming to say goodbye, to make their tribute to Kelly. [The late actor’s real name was Paul, but nobody in the business called him that, or Gerard. Everyone called him Kelly].

“And although I’m not a great believer in anything, I did feel that Kelly was there, in some way. I could hear his voice, telling me to just get on with it.”

All of which makes a kind of sense, for an actor whose first experience of performing involved his uncannily accurate impressions of early-70s television stars, created to amuse his older brother’s friends after school. Now best known as the inimitable medallion-wearing Barman Boabby in the television series Still Game, Mitchell was born in Springburn in 1964, moved around Glasgow as a child, and felt drawn to a creative life from an early age, dreaming of becoming an artist; even today, he always carries a sketch pad with him during filming and rehearsals. When he left school in the 1980s, he eventually found casual work painting sets at the Citizens’ Theatre; and when a chance came up to appear as an extra in Philip Prowse’s 1988 production of ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Mitchell couldn’t wait to volunteer.

“That’s how it all began for me,” says Mitchell. “Within a couple of years, I was beginning to play speaking parts, and I think I actually got my Equity card when I appeared in the first revival of Giles Havergal’s Travels With My Aunt, around 1990. Then after I moved on from the Citz, I went straight into Robert Carlyle’s Raindog company, where all the guys had been to the RSAMD, yet sat around talking about football; until then, I didn’t realise you could be so Scottish, and still be in theatre.”

In his 30-year career so far, Mitchell has won his greatest fame on screen, appearing in Monarch Of The Glen (as PC Callum MacIntyre) and Still Game, and in many films, including the recently released Outlaw King and the forthcoming Netflix series The Last Czars. Yet he has also played some remarkable theatre roles, including the Humphrey Bogart character in Morag Fullarton’s smash-hit lunchtime version of Casablanca for A Play, A Pie And A Pint, which has just been voted by the audience their favourite Play, Pie And Pint show of all time, for next year’s 500-show celebration. He also, of course, plays Barman Boabby in the astonishing stadium stage versions of Still Game, which appear at the Hydro in Glasgow to audiences of 12,000 people.

And now, eight years on – after a year in which, out of a sense of responsibility to use his television fame to help fight the stigma attached to mental health problems, he has put himself through the sometimes daunting experience of talking publicly and on film about his own long-term problems with depression and anxiety – he is preparing to step onto the panto stage again, as an Ugly Sister in this year’s Cinderella at the SECC Clyde Auditorium, where he will appear alongside The Krankies, Keith Jack, and fellow Ugly Sister Jonathan Watson, of Only An Excuse.

“There are nine fantastically elaborate costume-changes,” says Mitchell, “most of them into costumes originally designed for people far smaller than me; and it’s just a matter of trying to make them all work, and give the audience a

good laugh. I don’t think I see myself as a pantomime tradition-bearer in the same sense as Kelly; I don’t want to do panto every year, or always play the same part – I like to mix it up.

“What I do believe in, though, is Kelly’s attitude to panto; the very high standards he set, the craftsmanship he brought to it, and the terrific sense of responsibility to the audience, particularly the children. Actors

keep coming back to panto for all sorts of reasons, including the money; but the relationship with the audience really is something else, and for the kids, this is really it. It’s possibly their first-ever experience of theatre; no matter how cynical you feel, you keep being reminded that they truly believe it. And that’s why panto, at its best, is such a true and honest form of theatre – the hardest to do, but when you get it right, pure magic.” - Joyce McMillan

Cinderella is at the Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, from 12-30 December. Casablana – The Lunchtime Cut is at Oran Mor, Glasgow and the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, in April 2019. The farewell Still Game Stadium Show is at the Hydro, Glasgow, in November 2019.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4842344.1544530269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842344.1544530269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gavin Mitchell (back row, left) with the cast of Cinderella","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gavin Mitchell (back row, left) with the cast of Cinderella","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4842344.1544530269!/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-ben-howard-hydro-glasgow-1-4842318","id":"1.4842318","articleHeadline": "Music review: Ben Howard, Hydro, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544528911000 ,"articleLead": "

For all his considerable commercial success since 2011 breakthrough debut Every Kingdom, Ben Howard remains a musician on the fringes of fashion. It’s hard to get a fix on his schtick – this modest, introverted performer was literally a shadowy figure, rarely directly lit and mostly to be found hunched over his guitar. Yet his coy voice and soothing reveries often left him musically exposed before his sonorous playing kicked in to fill the vast space of the Hydro.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842317.1544528908!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ben Howard"} ,"articleBody": "

Ben Howard, Hydro, Glasgow ***

The decision to dedicate his main set exclusively to a chronological rendition of his less familiar new album, Noonday Dream, was a single-minded sign of how much Howard cares for giving the audience what they want.

Despite a full muscular rock band backing, plus synths and strings for that arena- friendly celestial swell, there were moments when the carefully sculpting of sound tipped over into a navel-gazing exercise and the sound of crowd chatter could be heard over the band.

Touching, tender moments emerged from the ether. The mournful lament All Down the Mines dovetailed into a sombre cover of Cat Stevens’ Wild World. The folky melody of There’s Your Man was pepped up with a propulsive Krautrock-influenced rhythm and the mellow vocoder incantation of Murmurations was a lovely, if low-key, set-closer.

Finally Howard threw fans a couple of encore bones in Black Flies, his only offering from Every Kingdom, which was greeted like no other song, followed by the measured canter of In Dreams. - Fiona Shepherd

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4842317.1544528908!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842317.1544528908!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ben Howard","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ben Howard","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4842317.1544528908!/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/cher-to-perform-rare-scottish-show-in-2019-1-4842237","id":"1.4842237","articleHeadline": "Cher to perform rare Scottish show in 2019","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544523032000 ,"articleLead": "

American pop music legend Cher is to perform a rare show in Scotland, it was announced today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842236.1544522950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cher attending the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again held at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo, London."} ,"articleBody": "

The singer, whose career dates back more than five decades, will play at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on October 28, 2019.

Cher, who first found fame singing with her former husband Sonny Bono in the mid-1960s, has few peers in pop music when it comes to longevity.

Earlier this year she appeared as the mother of Meryl Streep in the Hollywood musical ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’ and released ‘Dancing Queen’, an album of Abba covers.

Her life is also now the subject of a Broadway musical, ‘The Cher Show’.

Cher previously announced in 2004 that she would retire from touring to concentrate on her film career. The star, who has been performing since the age of 20, said at the time that she was getting too old for life on the road.

But, like Frank Sinatra and many other musical legends, her ‘farewell tour’ proved to be far from her last.

Glasgow will be one of five dates she plays in the UK next year, with tickets going on sale on December 14.

Cher said: “I’m very excited to bring this show to the UK. It was the first country to embrace Sonny & Cher, and its where we created and had our first success with ‘Believe’. It’s really my second home.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AMY WATSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4842236.1544522950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4842236.1544522950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cher attending the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again held at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo, London.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cher attending the premiere of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again held at the Eventim Hammersmith Apollo, London.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4842236.1544522950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5792314078001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews-a-christmas-carol-tramway-the-wizard-of-oz-pitlochry-festival-theatre-1-4841827","id":"1.4841827","articleHeadline": "Theatre reviews: A Christmas Carol, Tramway | The Wizard Of Oz, Pitlochry Festival Theatre","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544446695000 ,"articleLead": "

The sheer variety and richness of the Scottish Christmas theatre scene is something of a marvel; and here are two glorious festive shows – not pantomimes, but much-loved stories for this time of year – that show off two of our finest companies at the height of their powers.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841826.1544446692!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Wizard of Oz at Pitlochry Festival Theatre"} ,"articleBody": "

Theatre reviews: A Christmas Carol, Tramway *****

The Wizard Of Oz, Pitlochry Festival Theatre *****

So at the Tramway, temporary home of the Citizens’ Theatre Company, there’s a strange scratching sound in the air of Scrooge’s office, as the company winds up our jolly pre-show carol-singing session and begins to unveil a version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, revived by public demand after its first outing in 2014, that is driven as much by Nikola Kodjabashia’s magnificent sound design – performed live by the actors on instruments and microphones around the stage – as by any other aspect of this terrific Dominic Hill production, which brings together music, design, lighting, puppetry and some superb ensemble acting in a world-class piece of Christmas entertainment.

It’s always marvellous and life-affirming, in these times, to rediscover the pinpoint moral accuracy and sheer passion with which Dickens skewers the attitudes of any age in which money is held to matter more than humanity; but here, with Benny Young acting up a storm as an irascible Scrooge, and a magnificnet Andy Clark as his poor clerk Bob Cratchit, gazing at his little sick son Tiny Tim – one of Rachael Cannning’s superb puppets – with an intensity of love that fairly rends the heart, the cold misery and cruelty of a creed that treats people as dispensable is exposed with such exhilarating clarity that the Glasgow audience seem set to storm the stage in agreement.

The singing is magnificent, the carols are heart-lifting, the sheer craftsmanship of the production astonishing, as it flows from scene to scene, ghost to ghost. And to see it all on the great thrust stage of Tramway 1, with the audience on three sides, is a bonus; in a show that celebrates community, solidarity and love, in a time when we could hardly need those values more.

And then it’s off on the yellow brick road to Pitlochry, where associate director Gemma Fairlie treats the audience to a delightful, spectacular and inventive version of The Wizard of Oz, full of wonderful dance, movement and aerial work (choreographer Rebecca Howell) and driven along by a flawless performance from musical director Dougie Flower and his fine ten-piece band. Like A Christmas Carol, The Wizard of Oz has plenty of contemporary resonances, not least in its take-down of a bombastic, autocratic leader who turns out to be nothing but a frightened man in a suit, and in its analysis of the qualities ordinary folks need – brains, heart, courage – in order genuinely to “take back control” of their lives.

In this gorgeous Christmas show, though, Fairlie lets Frank Baum’s book and Yip Harburg’s lyrics speak for themselves, as Rachel Flynn’s lovely Dorothy sets out with Toto – first an adorable real dog, then, in Oz, an equally adorable puppet – to conquer the wicked witch, and find her way home; and she’s surrounded by a 14-strong ensemble who fairly dazzle with the range of their singing, acting and movement skills, as well as by three teams of Perthshire youngsters who play various Munchkins with magnificent poise and flair.

Add some brilliantly effective design by Hannah Wolff, reaching its high point in a spectacular glowing-green ensemble version of The Merry Old Land of Oz that has the audience roaring its approval, and you have a musical production of real West End quality, and with added Perthshire warmth and heart, that seems set to give the theatre in the hills a Christmas season to remember. - JOYCE MCMILLAN

A Christmas Carol is at Tramway, Glasgow, until 6 January. The Wizard of Oz is at Pitlochry Festival Theatre until 23 December.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841826.1544446692!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841826.1544446692!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Wizard of Oz at Pitlochry Festival Theatre","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Wizard of Oz at Pitlochry Festival Theatre","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841826.1544446692!/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/comedy-review-stewart-francis-into-the-punset-paisley-town-hall-1-4841752","id":"1.4841752","articleHeadline": "Comedy review: Stewart Francis: Into the Punset, Paisley Town Hall","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544442922000 ,"articleLead": "

If this is to be Stewart Francis’ last tour, as he maintains, the Canadian deserves great credit for freshening up the one-liner genre in the UK. Often seen as the preserve of the deadpan, he brings big, performative silliness and sly invention to the craft of gag-telling, playing all sorts of tricks with callbacks, visual punchlines, alternative endings and sound cues, achieving variety, originality and an impressive density of solid gold jokes with his playful tweaking of conventions.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841751.1544442917!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stewart Francis, preparing to ride into the punset"} ,"articleBody": "

Stewart Francis: Into the Punset, Paisley Town Hall ***

Truth be told, though, this wasn’t vintage Francis. Paisley Town Hall’s high roof sucks up laughter too quickly for a performer like him to build the rhythm, rapport and looseness he seeks, with the chuckles dissipating swiftly into silence. As a result, he showed flashes of insecurity, asking the crowd if they’d understood certain jokes, over-explaining others. Certainly he wasn’t challenging the idea that he might have grown weary of live performance.

Nevertheless he repeatedly displayed the formidable wit that can make him such a savourable delight. Like Milton Jones, he has endless relatives, seemingly for any scenario. And by the end, he was smashing running jokes into one another – even if one, about his inappropriate conclusion of a therapy session, proved more satisfying than a famous newsreader’s recurring appearances.

Creaking under its contrivance as this show did, though, it’s worth recalling that it began with a couple of deliciously harsh, luridly brilliant lines about the Kennedy assassination. And somewhat touchingly, come the encore, Francis alluded to the signature routine that made his name when he broke through in this country. - JAY RICHARDSON

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841751.1544442917!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841751.1544442917!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stewart Francis, preparing to ride into the punset","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stewart Francis, preparing to ride into the punset","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841751.1544442917!/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-sco-daniele-rustioni-city-halls-glasgow-1-4841748","id":"1.4841748","articleHeadline": "Music review: SCO & Daniele Rustioni, City Halls, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544442613000 ,"articleLead": "

On paper, this Scottish Chamber Orchestra programme was a little lacking in meat. Apart from Rossini’s overture, The Italian Girl in Algiers, the ensuing cocktail of Respighi and Mendelssohn leaned towards the lightweight, which possibly explained the thin audience for Friday’s Glasgow performance.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4825177.1544442609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Chamber Orchestra"} ,"articleBody": "

SCO & Daniele Rustioni, City Halls, Glasgow ****

That said, there were musical delights aplenty. On the podium was the young principal conductor of Opéra National de Lyon Daniele Rustioni. His was an instantly vibrant presence, a chipper energy that elicited meticulous precision and sizzling clarity in the Rossini. He found new things to say by drawing out unexpected layers of texture, be it a fleetingly emphasised viola line or simply a spontaneous shift in dynamic extremes. In the wake of that, Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite I, acted as a moment of soft-spun respite, its romanticised recasting of the music of the Renaissance and Baroque like viewing the past through a misted lens. Rustioni once again injected respectable life into the performance.

But it took the front stage presence of clarinettists Maximiliano Martin and William Stafford to reset the opening temperature. With Stafford on basset horn, theirs was a sparkling duo performance with their orchestral colleagues of Mendelssohn’s two Concert Pieces. There was spontaneous theatre and undeniable virtuosity in a performance that revelled in rippling passagework and rhetorical dialogue. In relation to that, Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 1 failed to click. Not because of the performance, which was lithesome and crisp - it’s simply not one of Mendelssohn’s most inspiring pieces. - Ken Walton

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4825177.1544442609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4825177.1544442609!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scottish Chamber Orchestra","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scottish Chamber Orchestra","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4825177.1544442609!/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-songs-of-frightened-rabbit-sleep-in-the-park-kelvingrove-bandstand-glasgow-1-4841671","id":"1.4841671","articleHeadline": "Music review: Songs of Frightened Rabbit, Sleep in the Park @ Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544436346000 ,"articleLead": "

Somewhere behind their stoic facial expressions and the faint tremble in drummer Grant Hutchison’s voice, there was no mistaking just what an enormous challenge it was for the members of Frightened Rabbit to hold it together throughout this, their first performance since the death of their singer and songwriter Scott Hutchison.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841670.1544436342!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro performing with Frightened Rabbit at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow for the SocialBite 'Sleep in the Park'. PIC: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Songs of Frightened Rabbit, Sleep in the Park @ Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow ****

His suicide in May at the age of 36 was desperately sad. For all the fine tributes that have been made and shared in Hutchison’s memory since by family, friends, fans and fellow musicians alike, his bandmates – not least his brother Grant – would have been well entitled to lock their instruments away with the memories of their days as one of Scotland’s best-loved indie-rock bands and never access either again for fear of the emotional reckoning it would bring.

And yet here they were, performing a short set with a series of guest singers as part of Social Bite’s Sleep in the Park – one of four simultaneous charity events in cities across Scotland that saw thousands bed down in the open air on a wet and cold December night to help raise millions of pounds for the homeless.

Maybe not the most comforting of settings for their much anticipated return, but somehow still apt in its own resolute and compassionate way, especially considering how much Hutchison did to help good causes in his lifetime.

Credit to singer-songwriter Ross Clark, a long-time stalwart of the Glasgow music scene, for having the guts to open with faithful renditions of Old Old Fashioned and Good Arms vs Bad Arms. It fell to someone to be the first to prove that, while Frightened Rabbit’s music can never sound the same again, it can still sound supernaturally wonderful.

Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil subsequently went for raw power, tearing at the seams of The Modern Leper with his serrated voice and overdriven electric guitar, before puncturing the heavy atmosphere with some much-needed levity by leading a delightfully unlikely cover of one of Hutchison’s favourite songs, Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark.

Kathryn Joseph was the perfectly emotive choice to tend to what was always going to be a tearjerker in Head Rolls Off, Hutchison’s smilingly irreverent musing on faith and death, containing a lyric oft-quoted in his memory: “while I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to Earth”.

Courageous in his own right for conquering the vaulting vocal of Keep Yourself Warm, The Twilight Sad’s James Graham ended the show by hailing the Frightened Rabbit members as “f*****g heroes”, and he was right. Hutchison’s songs deserve to be sung forevermore, and what bravery and strength and integrity his bandmates showed in making sure that it be known. MALCOLM JACK

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841670.1544436342!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841670.1544436342!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro performing with Frightened Rabbit at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow for the SocialBite 'Sleep in the Park'. PIC: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Neil of Biffy Clyro performing with Frightened Rabbit at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow for the SocialBite 'Sleep in the Park'. PIC: Jeff Holmes/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841670.1544436342!/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-beauty-and-the-beast-snow-white-and-the-seven-dames-1-4841146","id":"1.4841146","articleHeadline": "Theatre reviews: Beauty and the Beast | Snow White and the Seven Dames","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544210361000 ,"articleLead": "

YOU can be as satirical and ironic as you like, around the Scottish panto scene; or venture far into the realms of Christmas children’s theatre, with varying results. When it comes to rollicking good night out for all the family, though, it’s difficult to beat a good old traditional pantomime, that strange festive mixture of fairytale magic, rude jokes, daft comedy routines and loud audience participation that can tolerate no end of variety and updating, without losing its essential sparkle; and here, this Christmas, are a couple of shows that perfectly demonstrate the sheer fun and flexibility of the genre.

Beauty and the Beast, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh ****

Snow White and the Seven Dames, Perth Theatre ****

At the King’s in Edinburgh things are inevitably not quite the same, this year, with the theatre’s much-loved pantomime daftie Andy Gray out of the show because of illness; but still, it’s hard not to admire the panto’s remaining two stars – Allan Stewart and Grant Stott–- for the flair and energy with which they make their Edinburgh-accented version of Beauty And The Beast work anyway, in his absence.

What they produce, in essence, is a #metoo (or #meanaw) version of the story, which foregrounds Grant Stott’s performance as nasty villain Flash Boaby – the wide-boy villager who takes a fancy to Belle, and is determined to do away with the Beast who has stolen her heart – alongside Stewart’s pretty and feisty Dame, castle cook May Potty, who has a feeling that Belle may be the right girl for the Beast.

With Flash Boaby not above a bit of sexual harassment and hate speech, the show sometimes takes on a strikingly contemporary tone, despite the lushly traditional sets in this production by UK-wide panto-makers Qdos. Yet it’s all delivered with lashings of good humour, plenty of music, a touch of romantic magic, and – courtesy of Stott – layer upon layer of Hearts and Hibs jokes, made to delight an Edinburgh audience, and send them happily out into the night.

Perth Theatre’s version of the Snow White story, written by the fine Glasgow playwright Frances Poet, also has a contemporary twist, as it dispenses with the seven dwarves, and replaces them with one single actor who somehow - opposite Barrie Hunter’s magnificent Dame Sassy - manages to play all six of her sisters. It’s a feat that’s not so much about suspension of disbelief, more about a happy acceptance of total absurdity; and even more boldly, Poet’s script has the Dames working not in a goldmine, but in a pit owned by the Dunfrackin Corporation, which has caused massive environmental damage to the kingdom of Perthfect, and is now being shaken by earthquakes.

For all that, though – or perhaps because of it – Snow White And The Seven Dames is mostly a traditional happy family show, with far fewer rude jokes than its Edinburgh cousin (although there are some), and plenty of classic panto wickedness from Helen Logan as the wicked queen who wants Snow White wiped off the Perthfect map.

The script is sometimes a little too verbally clever for its own theatrical good, but Emma Mullen’s Snow White is a fine 21st century heroine, in search of friendship rather than love; and with a rich playlist of current hits, and three teams of local youngsters providing terrific support as a chorus of friendly dancing moles, Barrie Hunter’s first show as director of the Perth panto emerges as a joyful Christmas treat, bright, witty, goodhearted, and full of fun.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Beauty And The Beast is at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, until 20 January; Snow White And The Seven Dames is at Perth Theatre until 5 January.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841145.1544210717!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Beauty and The Beast''at the King's, Edinburgh"} ,"articleBody": "

Beauty and the Beast, King’s Theatre, Edinburgh ****

Snow White and the Seven Dames, Perth Theatre ****

At the King’s in Edinburgh things are inevitably not quite the same, this year, with the theatre’s much-loved pantomime daftie Andy Gray out of the show because of illness; but still, it’s hard not to admire the panto’s remaining two stars – Allan Stewart and Grant Stott–- for the flair and energy with which they make their Edinburgh-accented version of Beauty And The Beast work anyway, in his absence.

What they produce, in essence, is a #metoo (or #meanaw) version of the story, which foregrounds Grant Stott’s performance as nasty villain Flash Boaby – the wide-boy villager who takes a fancy to Belle, and is determined to do away with the Beast who has stolen her heart – alongside Stewart’s pretty and feisty Dame, castle cook May Potty, who has a feeling that Belle may be the right girl for the Beast.

With Flash Boaby not above a bit of sexual harassment and hate speech, the show sometimes takes on a strikingly contemporary tone, despite the lushly traditional sets in this production by UK-wide panto-makers Qdos. Yet it’s all delivered with lashings of good humour, plenty of music, a touch of romantic magic, and – courtesy of Stott – layer upon layer of Hearts and Hibs jokes, made to delight an Edinburgh audience, and send them happily out into the night.

Perth Theatre’s version of the Snow White story, written by the fine Glasgow playwright Frances Poet, also has a contemporary twist, as it dispenses with the seven dwarves, and replaces them with one single actor who somehow - opposite Barrie Hunter’s magnificent Dame Sassy - manages to play all six of her sisters. It’s a feat that’s not so much about suspension of disbelief, more about a happy acceptance of total absurdity; and even more boldly, Poet’s script has the Dames working not in a goldmine, but in a pit owned by the Dunfrackin Corporation, which has caused massive environmental damage to the kingdom of Perthfect, and is now being shaken by earthquakes.

For all that, though – or perhaps because of it – Snow White And The Seven Dames is mostly a traditional happy family show, with far fewer rude jokes than its Edinburgh cousin (although there are some), and plenty of classic panto wickedness from Helen Logan as the wicked queen who wants Snow White wiped off the Perthfect map.

The script is sometimes a little too verbally clever for its own theatrical good, but Emma Mullen’s Snow White is a fine 21st century heroine, in search of friendship rather than love; and with a rich playlist of current hits, and three teams of local youngsters providing terrific support as a chorus of friendly dancing moles, Barrie Hunter’s first show as director of the Perth panto emerges as a joyful Christmas treat, bright, witty, goodhearted, and full of fun.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Beauty And The Beast is at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, until 20 January; Snow White And The Seven Dames is at Perth Theatre until 5 January.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841145.1544210717!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841145.1544210717!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Beauty and The Beast''at the King's, Edinburgh","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Beauty and The Beast''at the King's, Edinburgh","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841145.1544210717!/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-mouthpiece-traverse-edinburgh-1-4841087","id":"1.4841087","articleHeadline": "Theatre review: Mouthpiece, Traverse, Edinburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544206680000 ,"articleLead": "

IT’S an opening night at the Traverse; and the great and good of Scottish theatre gather to see a new work by one of the leaders of the latest generation of Scottish playwrights.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841086.1544445493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neve Mackintosh's meticulous performance is topped by Lorn McDonald's inspired portrayal of Declan"} ,"articleBody": "

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh ****

In Kieran Hurley’s new play Mouthpiece, though, that’s not only what’s happening in real life, as Orla O’Loughlin delivers her final production as artistic director of the Traverse; it’s also what’s happening on stage, as this astonishing 90-minute two-handed drama powers to its riveting and challenging climax.

In a sense, the story of Hurley’s play is a simple one: forty-something writer Libby has returned home to live with her uncaring mother in Edinburgh, after her playwriting career in London dwindles and fails.

On Salisbury Crags, contemplating suicide, she encounters Declan, a 17-year-old refugee from a deprived city housing estate, who pulls her back from the brink, and is soon showing her his remarkable drawings. A strange friendship blossoms, and Libby begins to write again; but since Declan is her subject, and her new play composed largely of his words, an increasingly tense and desperate struggle ensues over this middle-class appropriation of working-class experience, culminating in a devastating showdown at the Traverse.

The main problem here is that Libby fails to emerge –in Neve Mackintosh’s meticulous performance – as much more than a self-absorbed middle-class woman of limited talent, grievously disappointed by life; her presence and language, as she treats us to her workshop wisdom about the rules of dramatic structure, sometimes make the play feel more like a sharp therapy session for those engaged in the arts, than a real play for today, for Scotland or the world.

The character of Declan, though, is a different matter, a powerhouse of linguistic and emotional energy whose words light up the theatre, in Lorn McDonald’s inspired performance; and whose plight exposes not only the danger of exploitation by bourgeois art-forms in search of “authenticity,” but a whole raft of vital questions to do with class, poverty and deepening social division in Edinburgh and Britain today.

There is a lingering sense that his story might have worked better as a monologue, tightly focused on the anger and potential of Declan’s journey from naivety to disillusion and beyond.

Yet Mouthpiece remains a play that wrestles fiercely and brilliantly with the dilemmas faced by serious artists in a bitterly divided society; and a magnificent farewell to the Traverse from an artistic director whose superb stagecraft, and quiet determination to foreground some of the key issues of our time, has left Scotland’s new writing theatre in a strong position to face the questions so powerfully raised, in this tense and unforgettable winter drama.

JOYCE MCMILLAN

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, until 22 December.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841086.1544445493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841086.1544445493!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neve Mackintosh's meticulous performance is topped by Lorn McDonald's inspired portrayal of Declan","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neve Mackintosh's meticulous performance is topped by Lorn McDonald's inspired portrayal of Declan","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841086.1544445493!/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-the-good-the-bad-the-queen-swg3-glasgow-1-4841083","id":"1.4841083","articleHeadline": "Music review: The Good, the Bad & the Queen, SWG3, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544206099000 ,"articleLead": "

IT WAS inevitable that Damon Albarn would eventually write a concept album inspired by Brexit. He’s been chronicling the vicissitudes of The British Experience since Blur’s Modern Life is Rubbish album in 1993, so he was never going to ignore such a calamitously nation-changing event.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841082.1544206096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Damon Albarn and co put on a spirited performance"} ,"articleBody": "

The Good, the Bad & The Queen, SWG3, Glasgow ****

With Blur on extended hiatus, it made sense to reunite his alt-pop supergroup The Good, The Bad & the Queen. Released in 2007, their self-titled debut album was a song cycle about London. Their belated follow-up, Merrie Land, encompasses the fragile fate of Britain as a whole.

Albarn’s accomplices are bassist Paul Simonon, formerly of the Clash, ex-Verve guitarist Simon Tong, and virtuoso drummer and Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen. An eclectic line-up, but the music they make basically sounds like Blur in their Kinks, Madness and Specials-influenced phase.

That’s no bad thing. They excel at stirring a sinister fog of minor-key drama and weary tenderness. One minute they sound like a seedy Soho brothel – an atmosphere abetted by the old-fashioned red-bulb table lamps which adorned the stage – the next a lonely seaside carousel.

They performed Merrie Land in its entirety, followed by an encore of songs from their debut. Despite the sombre subject matter, Albarn – a natural showman – was in high-kicking spirits. Who says the end of Britain as we know it has to be depressing?

I left feeling pessimistic yet entertained and defiant. You can’t ask for a more British inner conflict than that.

PAUL WHITELAW

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841082.1544206096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841082.1544206096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Damon Albarn and co put on a spirited performance","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Damon Albarn and co put on a spirited performance","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841082.1544206096!/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-james-the-charlatans-hydro-glasgow-1-4841089","id":"1.4841089","articleHeadline": "Music review: James/The Charlatans, Hydro, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544205641000 ,"articleLead": "

THIS smart double bill of Mancunian indie veterans comprised one band who pre-date the Madchester scene of the early 90s and another who outlived it, the former in their comfort zone and the latter in a supporting role which didn’t suit them.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841088.1544209631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James frontman Tim Booth was happy hugging, head-rubbing and crowd-surfing"} ,"articleBody": "

James / The Charlatans, Hydro, Glasgow ***

The Charlatans have un-locked a new creative lease of life over their last couple of albums, moving away from the kind of indie anthems that would work in such an arena setting towards a more subtle folk and country-influenced set of trippy pop tunes.

Their opening set honoured past and present with the attendant peaks and dips in audience engagement. Singer Tim Burgess has barely aged over the last three decades but his laidback charm was unable to extend as far as his reedy voice which jarred throughout a performance which only really got into its groove with freewheeling rootsy rocker Impossible and epic set-closer Sproston Green.

James, however, embrace the arena experience, frontman Tim Booth in particular, who was fond of a foray into the front rows where there was head rubbing and hugs to be had. The band hit their stride a few songs in with Waltzing Along’s winning combination of insidious melody and sentiment and Sit Down, their Sermon on the Mount, which still has that galvanising power.

Not all of the set had such impact but tightly wound tribal maelstrom Stutter was a treat from their back pages and they stored up some empathetic gems for the encore, including a new anthem Many Faces and the ever-lovely, cathartic Sometimes with Booth drinking in the joy.

FIONA SHEPHERD

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841088.1544209631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841088.1544209631!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James frontman Tim Booth was happy hugging, head-rubbing and crowd-surfing","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James frontman Tim Booth was happy hugging, head-rubbing and crowd-surfing","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841088.1544209631!/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-bbc-sso-city-halls-glasgow-1-4841085","id":"1.4841085","articleHeadline": "Music review: BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544205639000 ,"articleLead": "

IN HIS debut with the BBC SSO, the young American conductor James Feddeck effected a dynamic influence on the orchestra. His programme complemented the tip-toeing 1940s modernism of Barber and Britten with the bombastic might of Holst’s suite The Planets, eliciting rich and rousing results.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841084.1544209651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC SSO guest conductor James Feddeck"} ,"articleBody": "

BBC SSO, City Halls, Glasgow ****

Barber’s Second Essay for Orchestra opens wistfully before changing gear with a Hindemith-like pragmatism offset by Barber’s fondness for fresh-faced lyrical lines. The textures conjured up in this performance captured that intoxicating ambivalence.

Britten’s Violin Concerto dates from his short stay in America around 1940, and besides the consequent musical freedom and stylistic experimentation evident in its three movements are significant influences from the likes of Prokofiev and Stravinsky.

With the unshakeable James Ehnes as soloist, this performance combined pinpoint accuracy with searing musicality, from the solo timpani’s dark opening gambit (so like Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in concept) to the perkiness of the scherzo and the intellectual thrill of the closing passacaglia with its folksy infusions. Ehnes’ solo Bach encore, yet again, revealed the Canadian’s supreme and polished artistry.

Then The Planets, which straight away conveyed the juiciness of Holst’s glorious technicolour scoring, rich in nuance and rhythmically seething. Occasionally, Feddeck fell into the trap of over-encouraging the brass and other general issues of balance sneaked in. The offstage female singers of Les Sirènes added a rich seraphic cream to the final moments. A pity that the hall door, acting as a swell box, creaked so noisily in the process.

KEN WALTON

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4841084.1544209651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4841084.1544209651!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "BBC SSO guest conductor James Feddeck","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "BBC SSO guest conductor James Feddeck","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4841084.1544209651!/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-sorry-to-bother-you-the-old-man-the-gun-1-4840524","id":"1.4840524","articleHeadline": "Film reviews: Sorry To Bother You | The Old Man & the Gun","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544120353000 ,"articleLead": "

Boots Riley wraps a devastating critique of capitalism and racism in the US in a funny and entertaining cautionary tale, while Robert Redford bows out in style in his final screen role

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4840523.1544120349!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sorry To Bother You"} ,"articleBody": "

Sorry To Bother You (15) *****

The Old Man & the Gun (12A) ****

Released in the US without too much fanfare this past summer, musician-turned-filmmaker Boots Riley’s debut feature Sorry To Bother You has become a genuine phenomenon; a punky Sundance outlier transformed by word-of-mouth into the buzziest movie of the year. That’s appropriate given one of the many interlinked themes in this wild and audacious satirical side-swipe at racial politics and unfettered capitalism in 21st century America is the power of grassroots movements. But it’s also a mark of Riley’s sheer narrative chutzpah that the film never feels didactic as it crams a semester’s worth of radical politics into its swift 100-minute running time.

Starting as a wry take-down of prejudice in the work place, the film introduces us to its broke black protagonist, Cassius “Cash” Green (Lakeith Stanfield), as he’s living in his uncle’s garage with his artist/activist girlfriend Detroit (Creed’s Tessa Thompson). Politically aware, but not politically active, he’s the sort of feckless millennial who’ll push back against demands for rent with half-hearted rhetoric about greedy landlords, even though the person demanding it is a charitable family member going above and beyond the call of duty by tolerating his post-adolescent existential funk. But with said uncle (played by Terry Crews) also facing eviction, Cash is soon forced to get a job. This being a heightened alternate version of contemporary Oakland – where opportunities for non-coders are thin on the ground and gentrification is making it too expensive to live – he ends up working in a call centre that will literally hire anyone who can operate a phone and stick to the script.

Metaphorically speaking, sticking to the script is the last thing Riley is interested in doing as he comes up with inventive visual ways to convey the intrusive nature of Cash’s new job while upping the ante further by having Cash learn from a veteran colleague (a sly turn from Danny Glover) that he has a better chance of rising through the corporate ranks if he uses his “white voice” to make sales. That voice turns out to be a ludicrously exaggerated nasal twang, one that riffs on comedy routines dating back to Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. It’s a gag that also a featured in the recent BlacKkKlansman, but Riley takes it further by having white comedian and actor David Cross supply the voice while Stanfield imperfectly lip-synchs his lines. Not only does this exaggerate its performative aspect, it seeds ideas about what constitutes an authentic voice that the film returns to as Cash finds himself quickly climbing the corporate ladder while his left-behind colleagues (led by Steven Yeun) start agitating for change.

But it’s when the film expands its scope to explore the dehumanising cost of a tech-dominated, profit-driven society (represented by a supremely odious turn from Armie Hammer) that it gets more surreal, more outrageous, more disturbing and more imaginative. Originally published in screenplay form by Dave Eggers in McSweeney’s Quarterly back in 2014 (when Riley was struggling to get it made), the film does have stylistic echoes of Spike Lee and Spike Jonze. (It also has an amusing homage to Michel Gondry that plays like Riley’s own meta-critique of what the filmmaking equivalent of his own “white voice” might be like). There are thematic parallels too with Jordan Peele’s social horror film Get Out and Paul Beatty’s Man Booker-winning novel The Sellout. But Riley’s willingness to be true to the ideas he’s exploring ensures it transcends any influences to become a singular work of gonzo brilliance in its own right.

As one new cinematic voice emerges with Sorry to Bother You, another retreats with The Old Man & the Gun, which marks the final screen appearance of Robert Redford, who, at 80, confirmed in August he was retiring from acting, if not from movies (he’s still got Sundance to oversee, documentaries to make and, potentially more features to direct). Unlike peers Jack Nicholson and Gene Hackman, though, he’s opted to go out on a thoughtfully considered high with an impish performance as real life gentleman bank robber Forrest Tucker, whose crime spree at the grand-old age of 76 beguiled the police and the FBI back in 1980.

Adapted from David Grann’s New Yorker article by A Ghost Story writer/director David Lowery, the resulting film is flat-out charming, a movie stripped of the usual clichés about ageing (it’s a world away from the recent Michael Caine dud King of Thieves) and shot with the retro feel of a New Hollywood classic. That means Lowery gives over plenty of time to his actors, starting with Redford and Sissy Spacek, cast here as a rancher called Jewel who meets Forrest when her car breaks down and he stops to help. What follows as they get to know one other over coffee in a diner is so outrageously flirty it rivals Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga for screen chemistry. Lowery keeps this going through much of the film, which cuts between Forrest’s illegal pursuits and the police investigation into who this man really is. The latter is led by appropriately monikered detective John Hunt (nicely played by Lowery regular Casey Affleck) whose obsession with Forrest is fuelled by the indignity of not realising he was

in one of the banks at the exact moment Forrest was robbing it. But far from this being a typical destructive journey, he finds himself slowly dragged out of his own midlife crisis by Forrest’s irrepressible joie de vivre – something this film has in spades. ■

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Alistair Harkness"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4840523.1544120349!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4840523.1544120349!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sorry To Bother You","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sorry To Bother You","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4840523.1544120349!/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/under-the-radar-barrie-james-1-4840510","id":"1.4840510","articleHeadline": "Under the Radar: Barrie-James","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544119242000 ,"articleLead": "

Barrie-James O’Neill (simply using Barrie-James at present) was the frontman for the hugely successful Kassidy, and co-wrote Lana Del Rey’s hit song Brooklyn Baby when he was living in Los Angeles. Now back in his native Glasgow, he returns with his second solo album, Psychedelic Soup, which will be released via Glasgow imprint Holy Smokes Records early next year.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4840509.1544119238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barrie-James"} ,"articleBody": "

The lead single Free Like A Bird is out now and signals a more electric direction from his introspective solo debut Cold Coffee, which was released in 2016. With some grunge, rock, stop-start guitar riffs and psychedelia, it’s a tantalising taste of what’s to come. Watch the video at https://youtu.be/57Ma7guOLoE and see Barrie-James play an intimate show in Glasgow at The Old Hairdressers on Friday. For more information and tickets visit https://www.facebook.com/BarrieJamesONeillOfficial/

Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run the Born To Be Wide music seminar and social night Born To Be Wide. Their next events take place in Dundee on Thursday and Edinburgh on 13 December, borntobewide.co.uk

AIM is a trade body established in 1999 to provide a collective voice for the UK’s independent music industry. The sector produces some of the most exciting and popular music in the world, and makes a huge contribution to the country’s economy. AIM’s 800+ members include the largest labels in the world, small start-ups and individual artists releasing their own music. For more information visit www.musicindie.com

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4840509.1544119238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4840509.1544119238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Barrie-James","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Barrie-James","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4840509.1544119238!/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/regions/dundee-tayside/national-geographic-names-dundee-one-of-the-world-s-must-see-destinations-1-4839047","id":"1.4839047","articleHeadline": "National Geographic names Dundee one of the world's 'must-see destinations'","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544102608098 ,"articleLead": "The travel bible National Geographic has rated Dundee alongside Antarctica, Cambodia, Hong Kong and Indonesia in a list of the world's \"must-see\" destinations for next year.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839046.1543933996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee's new V&A museum attracted more than 250,000 visitors in its first two months."} ,"articleBody": "

Dundonians are said to have developed "a new kind of swagger" thanks to the opening of its V&A museum, which is hailed as "the crown jewel" of its £1 billion waterfront regeneration.

The city was rated number 15 in National Geographic's 2019 "Cool List," which it says are the destinations set to "hit the headlines" next year.

Other locations to make the top 19 included Oslo, Guyana, Bhutan, Corsica, Eritrea and Uganda.

More than 250,000 visitors flocked to V&A Dundee in the space of just months after it opened its doors in September.

An article posted on the National Geographic Traveler website says the £80 million museum has led to the opening of a string of new restaurants, bars and even a railway station.

The neighbouring attraction to the design museum, the Dundee-built Antarctic exploration vessel Discovery, has also been singled out for praise.

Pat Riddell, editor of National Geographic Traveler said: "Our team of editors, writers and industry experts have compiled the 19 destinations set to hit the headlines, with key openings, new routes and rising-star destinations firmly in the spotlight."

The Wall Street Journal, Lonely Planet and Bloomberg had already rated Dundee one of the world's coolest cities even before the V&A museum opened its doors.

Caroline Warburton, regional director of VisitScotland, said: “To be named on this list marks another incredible accolade for the city in what has been an unforgettable year for Dundee. It was the year that the world learn what we have always known - Dundee is a must-visit destination, representing the very best of contemporary Scotland.

"Buoyed by this excellent news we look forward to continuing to work closely with the industry to capitalise on the global interest in the city, encouraging visitors to stay longer and discover Dundee’s world-class tourism offering.”

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: "This is another piece of prestigious global recognition for our city.

"We are delighted at the number of visitors V&A Dundee has received in such a short time and they are seeing for themselves that Dundee has so much to offer.

"The city itself still face many challenges and we are determined that V&A Dundee can help create new jobs and opportunities."

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4839046.1543933996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839046.1543933996!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dundee's new V&A museum attracted more than 250,000 visitors in its first two months.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dundee's new V&A museum attracted more than 250,000 visitors in its first two months.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4839046.1543933996!/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/sleep-in-the-park-2018-what-to-bring-and-what-not-to-bring-1-4840169","id":"1.4840169","articleHeadline": "Sleep in the Park 2018: what to bring and what not to bring","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544094676268 ,"articleLead": "

This Saturday (8 Dec), singing stars Amy Macdonald and KT Tunstall will perform to thousands of campers in four Scottish cities during a mass-sponsored sleep-out to raise money for the homeless.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4840168.1544094790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Sleep in the Park event will see around 12,000 people sleeping rough in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee (Photo: JPIMedia)"} ,"articleBody": "

The Sleep in the Park event, which aims to end homelessness in Scotland, will see around 12,000 people sleeping rough in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.

It is organised by the social enterprise, Social Bite, who are hoping to raise over £6 million to help tackle the blight of homelessness in Scotland.

All-star line up

Macdonald and Tunstall will join the likes of Kathryn Joseph and Frightened Rabbit in Glasgow, Eddi Reader and Kris Drever in Aberdeen, Kyle Falconer and Withered Hand in Dundee, and Lulu and Admiral Fallow in Edinburgh, where last year 8,000 people slept out in Princes Street Gardens to raise £4 million.

Where is it?

Princes Street Gardens will once again host the event in Edinburgh, Slessor Gardens and Duthie Park are the venues line up in Dundee and Aberdeen respectively, while Kelvingrove Park is Glasgow's nominated space.

For those taking part in this year's Sleep in the Park, here's all the information you'll need about what to take and what to leave at home.

What to bring

- Your e-ticket

- Rollmat

- Warm/thermal sleeping bag, ideally a four seasons sleeping bag, suitable for winter conditions

- Waterproof outer clothing (jacket, trousers)

- Outdoor waterproof shoes, boots or wellies

- Spare waterproof clothing

- Thermal under layers

- Hat

- Gloves

- Scarf

- Umbrella

- A torch

- A unique identifier to help you find your belongings after the concert

What not to bring

Alcohol - Sleep in the Park is a dry event. Due to the dangers of consuming alcohol and being exposed to cold winter conditions overnight, there will be no bar facilities at the event and strictly no alcohol can be brought into the event arena. Hot drinks and food villages will be available throughout the night.

Pets - Strictly no dogs or other pets are permitted into the Sleep in the Park event.

Tents - There are no tents allowed at the event - it is an under the stars experience.

Valuables

For more event information, visit sleepinthepark.co.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "Gary.Flockhart@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Gary Flockhart"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4840168.1544094790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4840168.1544094790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Sleep in the Park event will see around 12,000 people sleeping rough in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee (Photo: JPIMedia)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Sleep in the Park event will see around 12,000 people sleeping rough in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee (Photo: JPIMedia)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4840168.1544094790!/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/edinburgh-festivals/new-robert-burns-festival-to-feature-speed-whisky-tasting-and-silent-disco-1-4839960","id":"1.4839960","articleHeadline": "New Robert Burns festival to feature speed whisky tasting and silent disco","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544076043000 ,"articleLead": "

Speed whisky tasting, an outdoor silent disco under a giant glitterball, a Hebridean village hall ceilidh and Tam O’Shanter recital accompanied by dance performances will transform some of Edinburgh’s most historic spaces as part of a new Robert Burns-inspired festival.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839959.1544037342!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Burns & Beyond festival will take over some of Edinburgh's most historic spaces at the end of January. Picture: contributed"} ,"articleBody": "

Organisers of the new Burns & Beyond festival will also recreate an 18th century Enlightenment-era tavern, stage a club night with an all-female line-up of DJs and run an underground comedy club.

Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh University’s New College Quad and St Giles Cathedral will host one-off events, along with a century-old masonic hall on George Street, a 19th century merchants hall on Frederick Street and a former church on Rose Street.

They will be transformed as part of a £25-a-head Burns & Beyond Culture Trail, which will be staged for four hours on Saturday 26 January.

It is hoped up to 3000 people will take part in the centrepiece of the new £250,000 festival, which is being funded by the Scottish Government and Edinburgh City Council.

• READ MORE: Video: On the trail of Robert Burns in Edinburgh

It is hoped the event, which will extend the city’s winter festival season to 10 weeks, will become an annual fixture at one of the quietest times in the city’s tourism calendar.

Unique Events, the firm which founded Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, has revived the format of its hugely-popular Scot:Lands event, which was staged on New Year’s Day for several years.

Ticket-holders for the new event will be sent to one of eight different venues to start their own trail around Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns. Audiences will be encouraged to keep moving on during the night to ensure they experience each venue and its line-up of performers.

Key collaborators with Unique Events include the Isle of Eigg based musician Johnny Lynch, better known as The Pictish Trail, the Edinburgh arts collective Neu! Reekie!, Musicians from the award-winning folk trio Lau, Fringe promoters Gilded Balloon and silent disco firm Silent Adventures.

A spokeswoman for Burns & Beyond, which will run from 22-27 January, said: “Audiences will embark on a cultural journey, discovering hidden performances on a trail leading them to eight landmark buildings and secret spaces spread across the city centre.

“Venues will be transformed, providing surprises throughout the night, as audiences will only find out who is performing in each venue when they get there.”

Other in the Burns & Beyond line-up include a free family ceilidh, pop-up appearances by the Nevis Ensemble street orchestra and an alternative Burns Supper.

Unique Events director Alan Thomson said: “We love our rich cultural landscape, and are proud of our heritage and notoriously warm hospitality. What better way to bring it all together than around Burns Night?”

Roddy Smith, chief executive of city centre business group Essential Edinburgh, said: “We have such a rich cultural heritage it is fitting that the city centre is hosting much of the celebration of the life of our national Bard.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4839959.1544037342!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839959.1544037342!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Burns & Beyond festival will take over some of Edinburgh's most historic spaces at the end of January. Picture: contributed","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Burns & Beyond festival will take over some of Edinburgh's most historic spaces at the end of January. Picture: contributed","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4839959.1544037342!/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/john-swinney-music-tuition-charges-show-some-councils-do-not-recognise-its-value-1-4839894","id":"1.4839894","articleHeadline": "John Swinney: Music tuition charges show some councils do not recognise its value","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544029012000 ,"articleLead": "

The Education Secretary has suggested some councils do not “recognise the value” of teaching children to play musical instruments, during questioning about charges for the service by MSPs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839893.1544029008!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Swinney revealed he was not considering direct funding grants from central government for music tuition to allow councils to stop charging families. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Giving evidence at an inquiry into music tuition in schools by Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee, John Swinney argued the charges - set by individual local authorities - risked creating barriers for children wanting to play an instrument.

However, Mr Swinney revealed he was not considering direct funding grants from central government for music tuition to allow councils to stop charging families.

The former Finance Secretary said: “Some local authorities, despite all the issues that are raised generally about local authority finance, attach the priority to this that they make the eligibility for access to instrumental music tuition free.

“Some local authorities recognise the value of instrumental music tuition and want to put in place no barriers to the access of instrumental music tuition as a consequence of the decisions that they’ve made.”

He listed Dundee, Edinburgh, the Western Isles, Glasgow, Orkney, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire as authorities that had not introduced charges.

Iain Gray MSP asked whether he was content or concerned by the variation in costs of musical tuition, as in one part of the country it may be free while “in another it cost a family quite a few hundreds of pounds”.

Mr Swinney replied: “There is quite clearly a risk that the cost is an inhibitor to the participation of young people within instrumental music tuition.”

• READ MORE: Free music lessons face ‘death by 1,000 cuts’

Asked whether local authorities were living up to a 2013 commitment they would not be charging for music tuition that led up to an SQA qualification, he said: “I can see no evidence of that happening, with the exception that I am concerned by what I am seeing in Midlothian Council which I don’t think is consistent with the spirit of that commitment.

“It may be just-about passable by the letter of it, but I don’t think it’s consistent with the spirit.”

Also giving evidence were Cosla leaders representing Scotland’s 32 councils.

Children and Young People spokesman Councillor Stephen McCabe blasted local government cuts.

He said: “The fundamental issue is not about ringfencing one area or protecting services, it is the chronic underfunding of local government over the last 10 years which this Parliament has presided over.

“Since 2011/12, core funding to local authorities has been reduced by £1.64 billion in real terms.

“No local authority makes the decision to introduce or indeed increase charges for any service lightly.

“However, the financial situation for local authorities continues to be very difficult and as a consequence councils have faced difficult decisions about funding.”

Questioned on Cosla’s submission ahead of the next week’s Budget, Mr McCabe said: “We’re looking for a fair settlement overall, there’s no specific ask on music.

• READ MORE: Music interview: RCS principal Jeffrey Sharkey on the decline in music tuition in Scottish schools

“But if we were were to get the settlement we are seeking, that would make it far easier for councils to protect services like music.”

When the hypothetical option of more central government funding specifically for music tuition was suggested, Cllr McCabe described such a measure as a temporary “sticking plaster”.

“It costs, we’ve estimated, £28 million a year to provide music tuition. Fees and charges, which aren’t applied by every council, raise in the region of £4 million.

“Next year it will cost more than £28 million, it will cost more than £28 million the year after that because of inflation and wages going up.

“So we think simply saying ‘find £4 million’ to wipe out the charges is a very simplistic solution.”

Lauren Bruce, Local Government Finance chief officer, explained cuts to local government disproportionately affect certain areas due to ringfencing around issues such as teacher numbers.

She said: “The savings that Local Government have to make from core budgets can only be taken from 42% of the budget that comes to a local authority.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4839893.1544029008!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839893.1544029008!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mr Swinney revealed he was not considering direct funding grants from central government for music tuition to allow councils to stop charging families. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mr Swinney revealed he was not considering direct funding grants from central government for music tuition to allow councils to stop charging families. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4839893.1544029008!/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-interview-jo-clifford-on-jesus-queen-of-heaven-and-fighting-bigotry-in-brazil-1-4839527","id":"1.4839527","articleHeadline": "Theatre interview: Jo Clifford on Jesus, Queen Of Heaven and fighting bigotry in Brazil","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1544005056000 ,"articleLead": "

When Jo Clifford’s The Gospel According To Jesus, Queen Of Heaven opens at the Traverse Theatre later this month, it will mark the latest stage in one of the most remarkable journeys in recent Scottish theatre. Since the success of her autobiographical show Eve, first staged by the National Theatre of Scotland during the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Jo Clifford’s own story is now well known to Scottish theatregoers; how she began her writing career back in the 1980s as John Clifford, with Traverse hits such as Losing Venice and Ines De Castro, then entered a long period of personal and professional struggle, before deciding – after the death of her wife Sue Innes, in 2005 – that she could simply no longer live as a man.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839526.1544005053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jo ''Clifford in The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven"} ,"articleBody": "

In the last dozen years, Jo has seen huge interest in her work, in Scotland and elsewhere; but of all her recent projects, the one that has changed her life most profoundly is a quiet one-hour monologue that first appeared in Glasgow in 2009, with the help of a £2,000 grant from the city’s now largely defunct Glasgay! festival. The Gospel According To Jesus, Queen Of Heaven, usually performed by Clifford herself, is a kind of communion service which imagines that Jesus might have been not a man, but a trans woman; and although it is the gentlest of shows, driven by Christian values of love, tolerance, and reverence for creation, it has outraged those who take a traditional patriarchal view of Christianity.

“I was really taken aback by the reaction to Jesus Queen of Heaven,” says Clifford, “because a few years earlier I had written a much angrier and possibly more ‘blasphemous’ play about gender and religion called God’s New Frock, and no-one seemed to bat an eyelid.

“After that, I began to read the New Testament, and found myself increasingly moved by the way Jesus embraced all kinds of social outcasts. I felt increasingly sure that he would also have embraced trans people; and for me, it became a way back towards the strong Christian faith I now have.

“When Jesus Queen of Heaven opened at the Tron in 2009, though, there was a big demonstration outside every night of the run, with traditional Christians holding a vigil and singing hymns, and placards denouncing the play. It was all over the popular papers, it was denounced by the Archbishop of Glasgow, and I received a lot of hateful messages, as well as some wonderful support.

“And the impact on me was to make me think, ‘Well, I must be on to something.’ So I stuck with the project, largely using my own money; and in 2014 we staged the show at St Mark’s, during the Fringe. At the end of the run, a wonderful Brazilian woman called Natalia Mallo came to see it, and said right away that she would translate it into Portuguese, so that it could be seen in Brazil.

“She translated it in a single night, we took it to Belo Horizonte in 2016 to massive positive media coverage, and her theatre company began to look for a Brazilian actress who could perform the show all over the country. They found the amazing Renata Carvalho, a trans woman with an astonishing life story; and as the show began to appear across Brazil, it became a real phenomenon.”

Over the last two years, the Brazilian production has become the subject of fierce battles, as local mayors and public authorities have tried to ban it. Brazil’s new right-wing president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, denounced it on Twitter; and Clifford is now writing a radio play about the extraordinary events in the city of Garanhuns earlier this year, when police arrived and officials started to dismantle the performance around the company – who then led their hundreds-strong audience to an outdoor site nearby, to complete the show in pouring rain.

“I think the reason Jesus Queen Of Heaven has struck such a chord in Brazil is because it’s a country with such a strong tradition of machismo, and that produces resistance. Brazil has the highest murder rate for gay and trans people in the world, but it also has one of the richest and most amazing transsexual cultures. And then there’s the role of religion – both the Catholic Church and the US-style right-wing evangelism with which Bolsonaro allies himself – in trying to impose very strict sexual norms.

“So all of these factors make the play a rallying point not only for LGBT people, but for everyone who rebels against traditional patriarchal authoritarianism. And I’m very worried about the safety of my friends and colleagues in Brazil now, once Bolsonaro empowers the police to do pretty much as they please, as he has said he will.”

Clifford is also conscious of the backlash against trans rights here at home, where feminist groups are now joining gender traditionalists in arguing against the right of trans people to self-define their gender without going through the current lengthy official process.

“Well of course, it’s very hurtful to hear some people arguing that someone who was born physically male can never be a woman, and should not be allowed to claim a place among women; that is hard. And it is characteristic of dark political times that it’s in some people’s interest to set traditionally oppressed groups against each other.

“But it seems obvious to me that women and transgender people are on the same side, in the struggle against the traditional patriarchal system embraced by leaders like Trump and Bolsonaro. We need to recognise how much we all stand to lose, with the emergence of a new wave of authoritarian leaders across the world; and we need to work together to resist that, with all our strength.” - Joyce McMillan

The Gospel According To Jesus, Queen of Heaven is at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 13-22 December.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Joyce McMillan"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4839526.1544005053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839526.1544005053!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jo ''Clifford in The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jo ''Clifford in The Gospel According to Jesus, Queen of Heaven","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4839526.1544005053!/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/boss-of-edinburgh-s-king-s-theatre-quits-job-ahead-of-revamp-1-4839424","id":"1.4839424","articleHeadline": "Boss of Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre quits job ahead of revamp","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1543989682000 ,"articleLead": "

The boss of Edinburgh’s historic King’s Theatre has announced he is to quit his job just weeks after launching a multi-million pound appeal aimed at preventing the venue from having to suddenly close.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839423.1543953306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Duncan Hendry has announced plans to quit his job as chief excecutive of the King's Theatre. Picture: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

Duncan Hendry has cited the demands of the job for his decision to step aside, pointing out he would be 72 if he decided to stay on until the planned reopening of the theatre in 2023.

Mr Hendry, who also runs the Festival Theatre, will hand over the reins of the 112-year-old venue next summer, more than two years before the £25 million project is due to start.

He has also announced his departure before final costings and designs are in place for the long-awaited overhaul.

It is the second major blow for the King’s development in the space of a few weeks after a bid for almost £5m of lottery funding was rejected.

Mr Hendry said he hoped to still be involved in the King’s campaign, which has an £11m funding gap to fill. The project involves the creation of a new street level cafe-bar and a rooftop hospitality space. It is hoped a new stage will help attract world-class opera and drama productions.

Mr Hendry insisted the project was in “a good place,” after the fundraising campaign launch, agreeing £4m worth of support and a loan agreement with the city council, and unveiling the first image of the revamped venue, which will close for two years while work is carried out.

Mr Hendry, chief executive of the Capital Theatres Trust, has overeen a doubling of turnover to £14m. Audiences have risen to 430,000 after the Festival Theatre secured National Theatre shows like The War Horse and Macbeth, as well as the Cameron Mackintosh musicals like Mary Poppins and Miss Saigon.

Mr Hendry said: “The King’s was in a pretty poor state when I started. I inherited the first phase of a refurbishment, but that was really just about getting it wind and watertight, and installing new seating.

“We spent a lot of time looking at what needed to be done to make the King’s as it should be. It’ll be another five years before the project is completed, by which time I will be in my early seventies.

“It’s an exhausting and demanding job, which probably needs someone with renewed energy to see it through to the end. It can be a 60 hour week job and the King’s project has added another dimension to it.

“There’s never a good time to go, but we now have the design team in place, a fair chunk of the funding in place and a very good team in place who can raise the balance. It feels a natural time to step down.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4839423.1543953306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4839423.1543953306!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Duncan Hendry has announced plans to quit his job as chief excecutive of the King's Theatre. Picture: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Duncan Hendry has announced plans to quit his job as chief excecutive of the King's Theatre. Picture: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4839423.1543953306!/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/album-reviews-van-morrison-amy-rigby-laibach-strike-the-colours-1-4838947","id":"1.4838947","articleHeadline": "Album reviews: Van Morrison | Amy Rigby | Laibach | Strike the Colours","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1543928768000 ,"articleLead": "

Van Morrison and guests mix covers and fresh material so carefully and lovingly you can barely see the joins

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838946.1543928765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Van Morrison PIC: Exile Productions"} ,"articleBody": "

Van Morrison: The Prophet Speaks (Caroline International) ***

Amy Rigby: The Old Guys (Southern Domestic Records) ****

Laibach: The Sound of Music (Mute) ****

Strike the Colours: Flock (Deadlight Records) ****

Sir Van Morrison rounds off a productive year with a fourth album release in 14 months to follow Roll With The Punches, Versatile and You’re Driving Me Crazy. The Prophet Speaks likewise celebrates Morrison’s musical roots in jazz and rhythm’n’blues with a number of cap-doffing covers alongside six new Van tracks.

The tasty Hammond organ of guest Joey DeFrancesco features throughout, including in conversation with his own trumpet parts and Dan Stuart’s dexterous jazz guitar on a light and peppy medley of JD Harris’s Worried Blues/Rollin’ and Tumblin’. It can be hard to spot the joins between the covers and the Morrison originals, but Got to Go Where the Love Is has that light, freewheeling spirit often found in his music, and there are further goodies in the shape of the strutting 5am Greenwich Mean Time – complete with a joyous outburst of Van scat – and the gentle Celtic soul saunter of Spirit Will Provide.

The languorous Latin jazz of the title track is positively luxurious, with space carved out for bluesy harmonica and soulful trumpet solos, concluding an album series which has honoured Morrison’s roots with integrity and a fresh energy.

Amy Rigby also pays homage on her first solo album in 12 years, produced with a light touch by her partner, Wreckless Eric. She confronts her ambivalent relationship with her hometown on Playing Pittsburgh, celebrates her musical inspirations on a jangling rootsy rocker title track which is part Byrds, part Velvet Underground, and blends girl group melody with acoustic rock’n’roll attitude on her grungey 90s tribute Are We Still There Yet? with a dry wit and a timeless tunefulness.

Slovenian renegades Laibach have made a career out of retooling tradition and subverting nationalism. They’ve already put their Teutonic rock spin on an album of national anthems called Volk, now they’ve come for the cherished musical theatre tunes of The Sound Of Music, which was deemed appropriate performance material by the North Korean authorities when Laibach became the first western rock band to play Pyongyang in 2015.

There are many layers of irony in this most bizarre meeting of cultures – Wham! in China this ain’t. The sincere screwing kicks off with Boris Benko’s dreamy torch vocals on a slow jam version of the title song. But don’t get too comfortable, as the subsonic rumble of frontman Milan Fras is just over that hill, ready for his panoramic panning shot.

The hitherto epic Climb Ev’ry Mountain is given a sultry electro pop treatment and Do Re Mi is rendered as a sad-eyed, sonorous piano ballad, until Fras weighs in again with his leather boots on. But this is a blithe run around Salzburg next to his creepy crooner take on Edelweiss.

They break out the children’s choir for a haunted waltz version of Favourite Things, while Sixteen Going On Seventeen is predictably the stuff of nightmares. But in a disturbed world, the real conundrum, as identified by the band, is “how do you solve a problem like Korea?”

Cleanse the palette with the new album from Strike the Colours, a Glasgow-based four-piece led by singer/multi-instrumentalist Jenny Reeve, who is the go-to violinist for Arab Strap and one half of Bdy_Prts with Jill O’Sullivan.

Reeve’s sweet voice is complemented by guest turns from Admiral Fallow frontman Louis Abbott and Emma Pollock, who adds to the dramatic maelstrom of Branches. The shifting time signatures and heady whirl of Final Eyes contrasts with the more direct muscularity of Beginning Middle End and Reeve delivers her most evocative vocal performance against the suitably soaring string arrangement of In Fifths. - Fiona Shepherd

FOLK

Siobhan Miller: Mercury (Songprint Recordings) ****

Steeped in tradition yet embracing the contemporary with equal panache, Siobhan Miller’s third album demonstrates her ability as a songsmith with an ear for an eminently catchy melody as well as an elegant lyric. Her voice combines seemingly effortless lightness with poise, captivatingly maintained amid a squad including bassist, producer (and occasional co-writer) Euan Burton, guitarist Innes White, Admiral Fallow drummer Louis Abbot, John Lowrie on keyboards and others. They deftly embrace folk and pop elements, ranging from reverberating electric guitars to the string drift of Losing.

The flowing tide of Western Edge and hanging eloquence of The Growing Dawn are inspired by the poetry of Kenneth Steven and James Robertson respectively. A real standout is the glorious build-up of Sorrow When the Day Is Done, with its rolling blues piano, horns and jubilant mass chorus. - Jim Gilchrist

CLASSICAL

Chopin: Nocturnes (Linn) ****

Ingrid Fliter’s fondness for Chopin is implicit in the highly personalised poeticism of her recordings to date, and in this intriguing survey of the Nocturnes – ordered in such a way as to create an organic sequence in which key relations and mood swings hold you in thrall to the end – the Argentine-born pianist applies the same affectionate originality that marks her out as an inspired performer.

There is finesse and a natural flexibility that allows every phrase to sing, but there is also a thankful lack of superficiality. Fliter applies robust tone quality in every quarter, which could so easily tip the balance towards heavy-handedness, but which actually imbues every single moment with shapeliness and self-belief.

More than anything, though, these are a series of performances governed by an eager sense of wondrous exploration. There is both fresh naivety and mature authority.

Ken Walton

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Fiona Shepherd, Ken Walton and Jim Gilchrist"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4838946.1543928765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838946.1543928765!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Van Morrison PIC: Exile Productions","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Van Morrison PIC: Exile Productions","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4838946.1543928765!/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/interview-david-lowery-on-directing-robert-redford-in-his-last-ever-film-the-old-man-and-the-gun-1-4838804","id":"1.4838804","articleHeadline": "Interview: David Lowery on directing Robert Redford in his last ever film, The Old Man and the Gun","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1543921147000 ,"articleLead": "

Just as he was about to start shooting The Old Man and the Gun, director David Lowery discovered that it was to be the final film for his star, Robert Redford. He tells Alistair Harkness how he dealt with the pressure

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4838803.1543921145!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robert Redford and Director David Lowery on the set of The Old Man and the Gun PIC: Eric Zachanowich. � 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved"} ,"articleBody": "

When Robert Redford confirmed in August that his new film, The Old Man and the Gun, would be his last acting role, it felt like the end of an era. With Gene Hackman and Jack Nicholson having long since retired, Dustin Hoffman becoming pickier and Warren Beatty so fussy as to have effectively ruled himself out of ever making another movie again, Redford felt like the last male hold-out of that original band of New Hollywood superstars whose rise coincided with the collapse of the studio system in the late 1960s. The recent passing of William Goldman, screenwriter of Redford’s breakthrough movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, might have made the timing even more poignant, but the good news here is that Redford, like the Sundance Kid himself, is going out in a blaze of glory.

Based on the irresistible true story of Forrest Tucker, a small time bank-robber who went on a cross-country crime spree at the tender age of 76, The Old Man and the Gun is infused with an outlaw spirit that has coursed through the entirety of Redford’s iconoclastic career. Not that Redford thinks of it in those terms. In fact, he recently expressed regret about the retirement announcement, fearing it might overshadow everyone else’s work on the film. Writer/director David Lowery, hot off the critical success of last year’s A Ghost Story, doesn’t seem unduly worried either way. “Bob’s a good subject to talk about,” he grins.

Of course Lowery has had plenty of time to get used to the weight of expectation conferred upon the film, although even he only found out just as he was about to start shooting. “It certainly added a tremendous amount of pressure. We were getting ready to put the film into motion and suddenly it had a significance it didn’t have five minutes earlier.”

Having already worked with Redford on his 2016 remake of Disney film Pete’s Dragon (Redford played the wizened surrogate grandfather), Lowery had to put all thoughts of The Old Man and the Gun’s swansong status out of his head. “I didn’t want to turn it into a love letter to Robert Redford to such a degree that he wasn’t able to watch the movie and enjoy it,” he says.

Nevertheless, he did want it to “lean into his legacy”, hence why he set about trying to capture the spirit of his early work, even including a brief clip from Redford’s 1966 jailbreak movie The Chase. The end result is both nostalgic yet totally in the moment and were this any other veteran actor, one might be tempted to put money on him being in the running for a best actor Oscar next year. But Redford — who won best director for Ordinary People in 1980, but has never been nominated for any of his lead performances — has a complicated relationship with the industry.

When I expressed surprise to All is Lost director JC Chandor a few years ago that Redford wasn’t nominated for that film, he reminded me that he’s never really played the system in that way, effectively exiling himself from Hollywood as soon as he could. “He started an entire festival and education programme in order to show there were other ways to make movies besides the studio system,” Chandor said, referring to the Sundance Film Festival, “so he’s not exactly an insider.”

Still, it’s one of the more curious aspects of Redford’s career that while he’s supported the independent film scene through Sundance, until he made All is Lost, he’d never done an indie film.

“It is surprising,” says Lowery, himself a Sundance kid, having premiered breakthrough feature Ain’t The Bodies Saints there in 2013. “I didn’t realise that I’m the first person to come through the writing labs to have worked with him as a director. All is Lost was the first time he’d worked with a director who’d made a film that had come directly out of Sundance. There are so many talented filmmakers who are legendary at this point in their own right who emerged from his incubator, so to speak. I don’t know why he never partook in that before. I remember around the time of All Is Lost he said no-one had ever asked him. It could have been as simple as that. It strikes me as insane that no-one had ever asked him.”

Though frustrating for fans who might have preferred him to stretch himself, he doesn’t really need to worry about his legacy as an actor. That was pretty much secured with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, its famous final freeze-frame shot becoming symbolic of the way he would forever be fixed in the consciousness of any self-respecting fan of American cinema.

Anyone needing further proof can take their pick from The Candidate, Jeremiah Johnson, The Sting, Three Days of the Conor, All the President’s Men or The Natural – though plenty also have admiration for his more straightforward matinee idol roles, including Lowery, who’s not too cool to admit that, as a teenager, The Horse Whisperer was his quintessential Redford movie, largely because it was the first Redford film he saw that he both directed and starred in.

“I got to know him as a director before I learned who he was as an actor,” he elaborates (A River Runs Through It and Quiz Show were the first Redford films he saw). “It was a more round-about approach to discovering his work, but I grew to love it all the same.”

Indeed, there are all kinds of ways in. Joe and Anthony Russo, the filmmaking siblings behind Avengers: Infinity War, came through Sundance the generation before Lowery, catching the tail-end of the credit card funded indie-film boom of the 1990s when their self-financed debut, Pieces, was selected to play the 1997 festival.

Almost 20 years later they paid tribute to Redford by casting him as the villain in Captain America: Civil War, their own riff on the paranoid thrillers of the 1970s for which Redford became a bit of a poster boy after Three Days of the Condor.

“Captain America: The Winter Soldier was essentially Three Days of the Condor,” confirmed Joe Russo when I interviewed him earlier this year. “It has a very similar structure. We talk a lot about our influences on each film we make, mostly to encourage young people to go watch them.”

That’s also something Lowery has loved about working with Redford. “It was so funny doing Pete’s Dragon and having him around all these kids,” he says. “There’s an entire generation of young movie-goers now for whom he is just the bad guy from Captain America. They’ve got a lot exciting discoveries ahead of them.” ■

The Old Man and the Gun is in cinemas from 7 December

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