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Tragicomedy masks on red velvet

James Robson: Comforting to know that comedians still take on the tough job of tackling taboos

As a scholar of humour, and a huge fan of stand-up, I always get a flutter of excitement when the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is in full flow. Gathered in Edinburgh this year are some of my must-see favourites such as Henning Wehn (‘The German comedy ambassador’) and Graham Fellows (aka John Shuttleworth). But the Fringe’s tagline ‘Into the Unknown’ provides a useful reminder for me to seek out fresh talent at the Festival in an effort to discover new comic perspectives on the world and novel ways of raising a laugh.

Opinion 1
Professor Fergus McNeill is Professor of Criminology and Social Work at the University of Glasgow

Music and songwriting shine a light on life after punishment, on coming home

Coming home can be a cause of delight and distress, of comfort and conflict. These dynamics are perhaps especially acute when the homecoming follows imprisonment. The penal system changes what home means and what it is – by taking people away or by returning them, and by making home a site of punishment, as in the case of some community sentences.

Andy Hardie is Head Therapist at Venture M�r

Andy Hardie: Nature, wild spaces and physical activity benefit both body and mind

Life for young people can be tough. The immediacy of digital media ensures that judgment is constant and unavoidable. This leads to pressures to conform; look good; have a great life; be your best you; succeed effortlessly! This often leads to the creation of a curated, adapted presentation of a self that may appear to be living ‘that’ life. A self that is constantly alert and fragile to being judged, evaluated and influenced by others.

Stuart Goodall is Chief Executive of Confor: promoting forestry and wood

Stuart Goodall: Trees are important for the economy – planting more is a no-brainer

I have the privilege of ­travelling across the UK and ­seeing how Government attitudes to ­forestry are developing and ­playing out – and it is clear to me that ­Scotland is well ahead. Scotland leads in its understanding of how ­important ­forestry and wood processing is to the economy and to the environment and it leads in implementing ­policies to deliver more forestry and the greater use of wood.

Opinion 1
New Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf (Picture: John Devlin)

John Sturrock: Time to make more of resolution option

We welcome a new Cabinet Secretary for Justice. Among many tasks, he faces the perennial challenge that a significant part of what is referred to as “dispute resolution” in a civil (ie, not criminal) context in Scotland still seems disproportionately costly, time-consuming and uncertain and is also often destructive of business, commercial, financial, community and personal relationships.  This inevitably causes losses in the economy and to society.

Opinion 2
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