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an aye on scotland

SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE : Prosperous or Pointless?

LET THE GAMES BEGIN Glasgow prepares for 2014

LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! Scotland goes to Hollywood


contents 4

museum tours


Scotland’s street art

24 Kill Surrrf

On the cover 4. Free Museum Tours Enjoy fun days out in Glasgow on a budget

8. Commonwealth Games Glasgow prepares for 2014

10. Scottish Independence An insight into the issue everyone’s talking about

16. Scotland as a Film Location How our country plays a part in Hollywood


Independence day




Scotland is easily one of the best wee countries in the world, and here at ‘Alba Life’ we intend to give our readers a taste of the best Scottish culture on offer. This month we jump on the independence bandwagon and discuss whether it will be a positive step for Scotland. We took trips to some of Glasgow’s many museums to help all the skint folk have a good day out and we dabbled in the underground music scene in Glasgow. There’s lots more inside but we’ll let you have a read and see for yourself - Enjoy!

d tlan Sco et s on

What’s inside...

3. Successful Scots around the World. 6. Olympic Flame Route Follow the fire through Scotland

14. Scottish Street Art Creativity and Controversy

18. Irvine Welsh A look into the life of the controversial Edinburgh author

19. Kill Surrrf Interview with the new band on the scene

21. Sectarianism A problem that runs deeper than football

THE DREAM WORKS Mark Donald moved to San Fransisco in 2003 to work for animation company Dreamworks. He talks to ‘Alba Life’ about living the American dream. By Carla Donald What made you move to America? “I used to be an animator for Tomb Raider games, but when the company was sold I didn’t have a job. There wasn’t any jobs in animation in the UK so I applied for Dreamworks and I got the job.” Was it hard to leave your family? “It was difficult at first to cope with the fact I was leaving for the other side of the world, but there was so much more over in America for me - so in the end i knew t would be worth it.” What do you enjoy most about living in America? “The weather is great compared to Scotland and i get to go to Hawaii on holiday but mostly I love my job. I never thought i would get a chance to do what I am doing now, and if I had stayed in Scotland I wouldn’t be doing what I am. My family love it here to so i think it was the best decision I ever made.”

What do you do in your job? “Basically i’m an animator and I get paid to draw cartoons! I have worked on films like Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda - which was amazing to think that people all over the world can see my work. It takes us weeks to work on just minutes of a film, which is frustrating because we need to make sure it comes across the way it should like all the facial expressions and body language of the characters.” Is there anything about your job you don’t like? “It is incredibly time consuming, and sometimes you feel like you’re getting nowhere fast and it can be hard to keep in mind that it will all be worth it. It’s also really hard to switch off. I’m constantly trying to think of ideas and ways to make it look better, even when i’m at home.” Would you ever come back to Scotland? “I don’t want to say never, but right now i’m happy where I am. Thanks to technology, I can keep in touch with my family all the time so it’s not like i’ll never hear from them again. It’s hard to miss birthdays and weddings though.”

Some of Mark’s characters.



free days out

GLASGOW has no shortage of museums on every topic from laundry to religion. The best part is that many of them are completely free! With everyone feeling the strain on their bank balance and finding themselves bored on their days off – museums are the place to go. All are short distance from one another so visitors can even take trips to more than one of them in a day out. We took a trip to a few of the museums the city has to offer to see what can be discovered on a free day out.


Kelvingrove Following a three year refurbishment, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum has become the most popular free museum in Scotland. With 22 themed galleries and over 8000 objects, seeing everything the museum has to offer can easily take up a full day out. If you’re interested in Ancient Egypt, the museum has a fantastic collection of artefacts from the era, including pottery, jewellery and even real mummies. A large selection of taxidermy

is on display, featuring wildlife such as birds and a brown bear. There’s plenty to keep kids entertained too, with educational games throughout the museum. More serious issues are also touched upon, such as an exhibit on violence against women. Fans of art can also venture into the extensive gallery, where a summer exhibition will showcase 500 years of Italian art. Visitor assistant Karen has worked at Kelvingrove for 22 years and believes it

provides an experience all kinds of people can enjoy. She adds: “We borrow paintings from other galleries that you wouldn’t always get to view unless you could afford to travel to different countries." "We have established fantastic relationships with these art galleries across the world, and we’re really lucky that we get the opportunity to get our hands on some of the paintings we do – such as Salvador Dali’s ‘Christ of St John on the Cross’.

Riverside The Riverside Museum of Transport and Travel at Glasgow Harbour opened in 2011, replacing the old Transport Museum at Kelvinhall. With 1700 more objects on display than at the previous location, the Riverside Museum has

People’s Palace The People’s Palace dates back to the late 19th century and is located in the historic Glasgow Green. Described as a social history museum, the People’s Palace covers every aspect of Glasgow life, from dancing to laundry. Sit in an Anderson shelter and see what it was like to be in the middle of an air raid during the Second World War. See a list of names of people who were hanged on Glasgow Green between 1814 and 1865.

taken everything visitors loved about the old museum and improved upon it. The museum has on display a vast array of vehicles, from the earliest motorcars, to Glasgow trams, to 80’s police cars. A massive wheel of bicycles from various times is suspended from the ceiling. A large collection of model ships are on display for nautical enthusiasts to enjoy. Other aspects of

Glasgow’s history are covered, including a room devoted to cinema in the 30s and 40s, where guests can watch a short film on the subject and see ushers’ uniforms and cinema brochures from the period. Another main feature of the museum, and probably its best loved, is the recreation of an old Glasgow street. Visitor assistant Callum thinks the street is the best thing in the museum. He says: "It ranges

Fans of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band can enjoy an exhibit of the group’s memorabilia and a collection of photographs by Janet Macoska. And when you’ve finished viewing the exhibits, why not admire the beautiful tropical plants in the Palace’s Winter Gardens? Pauline, a teacher at a Glasgow primary school, says the museum is great for her pupils. She adds: "We always have topics in school, and the

People’s Palace has so much to offer, we can come here to learn more about a lot of the things we cover. Visitor Assistant Fiona has worked at the People’s Palace for over two years and believes it plays an important part in educating people about the city. She says: "I think it gives people a connection with the history of Glasgow. "A lot of people from Glasgow, or people

from 1895 to 1930 so you’re getting experiences from different time periods." Among the streets attractions are a range of realistic shops which visitors can walk into, including a pawn shop and pub. And if that wasn’t enough, guests can also access some of the vehicles, like the trams, and a historical subway recreation where they can have a shot of ‘driving’ the subway by turning a wheel like in the old days.

whose ancestors are from Glasgow, come here and feel a connection with its past. "We also get a lot of tourists who want to know the real Glasgow when they are here, and this place is ideal." As far as most popular exhibits are concerned, Fiona says Billy Connelly’s iconic banana boots are a winner every time.


SCOTTISH ROUTES The Olympic Torch will light up over 1000 communities in Scotland on its way to London By Hannah Gibson The London 2012 games are fast approaching and the Olympic torchbearer’s route has been announced. The route will spend eight days travelling through towns in Scotland. There will be five celebrations in each of the major cities: Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen. Claire Bishop, press officer for the 2012 Games says: “The route development was a two year consultation process including every nation and region and local


authority across the UK. “LOCOG also worked with national bodies on tourism, heritage, sport, education, culture, sustainability and diversity and inclusion.” The Flame will travel through over 1,000 communities around the UK and will be transported by a variety of different method, including boat, cable car, hot air balloon, bicycle, motorbike and horseback. Additionally it will pass many monuments, historic venues and sites of regional, national and international interest, it will mean an international introduction for the tourists visiting Scotland. The flame will include many Scottish landmarks Claire says: “Highlights for the

Flame’s journey in Scotland include a visit to John O’Groats on 10th June, Scone Place on 12th June, and a trip to Falkirk Wheel on 13th June. “The Flame will also take a journey across Clickimin Loch on 10th June in a traditional Shetland Yoal boat.” There is still more to be confirmed as to where the flame will go and these will all be revealed in the run up to the relay. There will be 8,000 Torchbearers in total. These were selected through nominations made. Claire says: “We were looking for stories of personal achievement or contribution to the local community that demonstrated why individuals put forward deserved their moment to shine.” This advantage of the torch being carried through Scotland will create an international interest. It will then develop further when the Commonwealth Games visit in 2014. It will evidently be an experience not only for the Torchbearers who take part but also for the local people of Scotland.

Some of the Torchbearers

Mary Finlay Age: 66 Hometown: East Kilbride Carrying Torch: 8th June

Craig Hannah Age: 48 Hometown: Bo’ness Carrying torch: 8th June

Anita (Neet) Nilson Age: 47 Hometown: Glasgow Carrying Torch: 9th June

Adam Airlie Age: 13 Hometown: Glasgow Carrying torch: 9th June

ON THE TRAC Five years after being announced as the host city for the 2014 Common Wealth Games, the hard work for Glasgow begins now. By Hannah Gibson IN JULY 2014 the profile of Glasgow will be raised internationally as it hosts the Common Wealth Games. Since it was decided that Glasgow would host the games between the 23rd of July and 3rd of August 2014, the governing body Commonwealth Games Federation has employed members to organise and deal with marketing and campaigns. Matthew Moir, one of the team in Legacy and Engagement for Glasgow, says marketing for the games has already begun but it is very subtle and is going at a steady pace. He explains: “When the Olympics are complete the marketing campaign will be ramped up and we will connect with media sources, engage with schools and


there will be a massive campaign to get the country ready for the games.” Matthew says: “We are looking for sponsors just now to help with funding, at the moment we have sponsors like Glasgow City Council, The Scottish Executive, a Glasgow Law firm and more. “We’re hoping that once

the Olympics finish we will be able to gain the sponsors of Visa and Coca cola.” Bringing the Games to Glasgow not only boosts the country internationally but allows the people of the city to benefit too. The legacy of these games compares to that of the Commonwealth Games in Manchester

2002. For Manchester the games brought employment prospects, education and skills to the local people. This will be the same for Glasgow as there are apprenticeships available to help with the building of the arenas. Matthew believes that it will give the people an opportunity of a lifetime


to have this experience. He says: “Due to the capacity of the games there will be plenty of opportunities to get involved. They will be looking to recruit 15000 volunteers. “The volunteers will be set into two tiers, firstly a group of 500 people to work out any errors within the new buildings or the games

themselves. “Then the second group of 14500 will be game time volunteers. These will include a range of organisations and will be promoted by working with partnership charities such as The Scouts, Brownies, Boys and Girls Brigade.” The Games are creating enhanced opportunities because when the

Athlete’s village is no longer required after the eleven days of games, they will be will used for social housing. The city will also embrace the rise in profit it will receive from the high number of tourists visiting giving a more prosperous outlook for the city. There are long term benefits for the people

of the city as the railway lines and stations are to be updated. This to cope with the large number of tourists that it will being holding host to. With these games being held in Glasgow it will have a positive effect. The Glasgow City Council Legacy team are hoping it also has a healthy affect as they will be encouraging improved club development and provide more opportunities to allow coach education. It will encourage an increase in participation in sports and physical activities by reaching out to schools and promoting the Games in a positive way to children ensuring they embrace them. Many facilities will be updated in order to allow this, for example Kelvin Hall, which will host the boxing competition after being refurbished. The Scotstoun Stadium will also have a major upgrade to improve the facility. The team at legacy are working to improve the city of Glasgow to ensure that the high standard will be maintained once the Games are over. Although it has been a slow process so far it will surely be worth the wait.


scotland the brave By Niall Feighan IN THE 2011 Scottish general election the Scottish Ntional Party claimed a landslide victory up and down the country. By winning 69 of 129 seats in Scotland the Scottish National Party had the majority amount of seats in the Scottish Parliament. The SNP ran riot over a poorly lead Scottish Labour Party, left the Scottish Liberal Democrats blushing and pushed a nearly non-existent Scottish Conservative Party even closer to the brink. So why did the Nationalists do so well? Was it a backlash against Labour? Was it all down to Alex Salmond or was this a more serious reflection that the people of Scotland were ready for independence? Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Jamie Hepburn shares his views on independence with Alba Life. He says: “In any election there is going to be a multitude of factors in play, so I wouldn’t t underestimate any of these factors. "What I would suggest though is that I do think that people are ready for the argument and debate on Scottish independence. "It was a clear part of the


Scottish National Parties platform to have a referendum on Scotland s future, to have a referendum on Scottish independence. "So clearly people are not alarmed by independence, it would at least hint at a readiness of the people to embrace the debate and dare I say it independ-

tion I agree with necessarily, but in a debate as important as this you must respect everyone s side of the argument. It would be foolish to shut down the devolved powers argument straight away; lets hear what they have to say first. If when the time comes in 2014

“I do think that people are ready for the argument and debate on Scottish independence.” ence itself. “ Although the Scottish people may be ready to discuss independence, the burning questions that will have to wait until the 2014 referendum will be are the Scottish people ready to declare Scotland as sovereign and independent nation or will the mass public decide to keep calm and carry on being a part of the United Kingdom? Why exactly has Alex Salmond decided to wait until 2014 to hold a referendum on Scottish independence? Well, my party is relaxed at the thought of having that second question in the ballot paper, there is a body of opinion out there that say we want to ensure more devolved powers without being an independent nation is the way forward, its not posi-

that the Scottish people do decide to become an independent state and there s a majority Yes vote in the referendum, then the Scottish Parliament and Alex Salmond should have the power to be able to put the wheels in motion for Scottish Independence, but there is an opinion that if the first referendum is a majority Yes vote that this should only pave the way for another independence question this time put forward by the Westminster Government. Councillor Hepburn added: "I think that it is the case already that the Scottish Parliament has the power to hold the independence referendum that would result in an unambiguous answer. "However, there are others who say that we should have more

clarity on the matter. "I don t think it requires another question, it clearly states that the people have said this is where we want to go. "I cant think of many

we want to ask, for the referendum and we think it is very clear. "I dispute the body of thought that claims the question is leading, where in it is the leading question? "Our opponents clear and unam-

"I don t think you are going to get a clearer of fairer question than the one that the Scottish National Party are proposing.” constittional referendums that require the question to be asked, then if it s a positive outcome for it to be asked again. "We will be asking a very clear a straightforward question.” The questioning of the independence referendum is one that has come under some severe criticism and Alex Salmond has come under severe scrutiny for suggesting such a move. Do you think Scotland should be an independent country? Is some what biased and in fact would lead voters to vote yes because of the wording? Jamie Hepburn had this gives his opinion on the questioning: “One of the criticisms and we still hear now, yet it is patiently ludicrous that the question is unclear enough, what can be come simpler than asking do you think Scotland should be independent? I think Mr. Salmond was absolutely right to lay out well in advance this is the question


biguous question would be: Do you want Scotland to be torn kicking and screaming from the warm embrace of the glorious British Union that has sustained us for millennia and cast us asunder to float off towards the arctic circle. "I don t think you are going to get a clearer of fairer question than the one that the Scottish National Party are proposing.” Official Scottish independence is still a long time away and even for the most avid supporters of independence it will not be a smooth ride, but what if Scotland does become truly independent? Will the Scottish Nationalist Party try and distance Scotland even more further away from Britain and break

free altogether? Jamie Hepburn believes that even an independent Scotland could have a massive part to play in the United Kingdom as he says: “We clearly have a number of bonds which tie Scotland and the United Kingdom together, ties that have been built up over decades. "If Scotland does become independent we can retain these things, but we would still have all the advantages of political independence. I don t see Scotland floating away from the United Kingdom. Often people will claim that an independent Scotland will have a smaller voice in the world, but if our interests are merged with the United Kingdoms, which they often will be, it will be the case that instead of having one voice on the opinion, there will be two voices in the international arena.” One thing is clear, Salmond has a fight on his hands convincing the Scottish people that an independent Scotland would be a prosperous nation with a bright future.

STreet life Scotland has new type of artist who has swapped paint brushes and palette knives for spray paint and stencils. By Carla Donald Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso – all are known distinctly for the same thing – painting some of the most beautiful and well known paintings in the world. When we think of the skill of painting, many of us stereotypically think of the work by these artists; but the growth of art in the 21st century has seen an emergence of a new artistic movement, Street Art - that is taking the world by storm by using it as its canvas. Street artists push the boundaries and use their talent as a platform to share views and personal work with the world. The underground culture of street art in Glasgow is thriving for those who are involved in it, but for those on the outside, it has no impact what-so-ever on their lives, other than scrawlings on a wall as they pass by. The real world of street art brings people together, with artists creating pieces together and sharing their work. But from the outside, it may be viewed as mere vandalism and graffiti. 21-year-old Sean Mooney from Glasgow, has been involved in street art for 4 years. He is talking whilst putting the finishing touches to his latest piece - a black and white cartoon montage of young men and women. The piece has strong youth culture influences and oozes the kind of ‘street cred’ you would see in modern street art.


With a can of spray paint in hand, he says: "It amazed me when I got involved at how much people don't know about street art because I didn't really know it myself until I started. "I was just really into art at school and wasn't that good at much else, so I concentrated on that most of the time. “Once I left school and got a job, I kept on drawing in my spare time and got quite interested in street art style. “I’ve always had a thing for drawing, but never used to have a lot of confidence, but the more I practiced, the better I got and I find it crazy that now I’m confident enough to put my work on a wall

“I like the fact that my work is there for everyone to see.” for it to be judged by anyone and everyone. "It took a lot of practice for me to get as good as I am now, so my work was probably more like horrible graffiti in the beginning, but it is much better now thankfully. “I don’t really remember how it all started, I was just quite good at art and one of my friends knew someone who done it. “So I started drawing up some ideas and got in touch with the guy and it kind of went from there.” He says: “But anything inspires me to be honest, I like to use music as an inspiration as music is a big part of my life and people in general give me some good ideas. “I like to study different cultures and trends in Glasgow and base my work on that – a bit like this piece I’m doing just now.” Sean talks of his run-ins with the police, and says how his work is not always viewed as art, and has received many fines and warnings. He adds: “It doesn’t stop me at all even though I know technically sometimes my work is classed as illegal as it on public walls, but if it’s not offending anyone, I don’t understand why I should get in trouble.


World War G The Scottish Film Industry is enjoying a sudden boom as Glasgow doubles for zombie apocalypse ravaged Philidelphia and Scotland plays host to some of the world’s biggest movie stars. by Heather Drummond


Summer 2011 saw George the Glasgow Film Office, says Square in Glasgow turned into a some disruption was caused by post apocalyptic Philadelphia, World War Z’s filming, with 14 complete with star-spangled city centre streets being closed, banners, US street names and traffic re-routed and parking wrecked American vehicles. The suspensions put in place. Howreason for this transformation ever, the inconveniences faced was the city being chosen as a during the filming time ended up location for the filming of World being well worth it, with War Z, the upcoming zombie World War Z bringing horror film starring Brad Pitt. £3.33million to The decision to use Glasgow’s economy. Glasgow as a Films being wholly location in a or partially shot in major Hollywood or Scotland have f n movie may come aso the amassed a great e r s as a surprise to amount of e cipl sgow i ity n i some, but Scotland revenue for r e p to Gla t the c ” h T is a popular the country “ a g rs h n e i t k destination for many over the com lcome lmma fi e filmmakers. years, with w to s e Our country has long Glasgow alone v gi been renowned for its bringing in £150million beautiful scenery, and film from the film and television producers have flocked here production industry in the last for the breathtaking lochs and decade. mountains. World War Z is not the only Louise Harris, Locations Officer large production to recently visit for Creative Scotland, says the Glasgow - other titles filmed in makers of World War Z thought the city over the last eighteen Glasgow was the perfect place to months include Cloud Atlas with film part of their movie: Halle Berry and Under the Skin “The location scout remembered with Scarlett Johansson. David Glasgow from a visit many years Brown, Cloud Atlas’ Scottish Line previously and thought that the Producer, credited Glasgow’s city centre grid structure would famously friendly reputation as work as Philadelphia. Glasgow a reason for its use as a location: Film Office worked really hard to “The principle reason for coming persuade the city and city to Glasgow is the welcome that businesses that filming on that the city gives to filmmakers. We scale in the middle of the city are overwhelmed by the support centre could work.” and encouragement we have Beverley Murray, Marketing and received from everyone in the Communications Executive at city.”

Countless other films over the years have had scenes created in Scotland’s varied landscape, some of the best known being the Harry Potter movies, Braveheart, and 2001: A Space Odyssey. As well as bringing money to the country, the use of Scotland as a film location has more direct benefits for Scottish people. The film industry provides permanent jobs to many and filming in the country by international producers provides temporary work to Scottish actors and crew. World War Z employed 94 crew and over 500 extras for their scenes in Glasgow. For one of these extras, 34-year-old Stephen Pearson from Lenzie, it was his first foray into the world of acting. “I went to the open audition in the city centre and a few weeks later I got a phone call telling me I’d been selected to play a looter in a New York scene,” Stephen says. “Getting to be part of a big-budget Hollywood film isn’t something I ever thought I’d get a chance to do in Glasgow, and because so many extras were cast, it was a fantastic opportunity for a lot of locals.” For some actors, Starring in a Scottish film has been to be a stepping stone that launched their careers to international fame. Ewan McGregor, who gained worldwide recognition in 1996 for his role in the film adaption of Irvine Welsh’s novel Trainspotting, is a notable example. And the popularity of Trainspotting across the globe seems to be a testament to the

idea that people are interested in Scotland and want to watch films produced here. Although Scotland seems to be an increasingly popular destination for filmmakers, it is still crucial for organisations like Creative Scotland to play an active role in encouraging them

of organisations such as the Guild of Locations Managers. When people overseas think of Scotland, many of them seem to think of clichés like bagpipes and tartan. However, the use of Scotland as a film location, particularly for major Hollywood films like World War Z,

to film in the country, and some factors may prevent a production from coming here. “For international productions the exchange rate can make a great deal of difference on how far the budget of a production will stretch. Similarly tax breaks and other financial incentives have a strong influence on the decision making process. The success of a production, though, is a strong influence in persuading other filmmakers that Scotland is a good place to locate a production. And every production increases the experience level of the local crew and makes Scotland a more desirable destination for filmmakers,” says Louise. Scotland is promoted as a film location in a variety of ways, such as presence at trade fairs and festivals like the AFCI Locations Trade Show in Los Angeles; in directory listings like local production guide Film Bang; and through membership

undoubtedly has an impact on the way the country is viewed. Louise continues: “I feel that recent city centre filming, such as World War Z and Cloud Atlas, has presented a different image of Scotland as a modern country than perhaps would have been seen on screen in the past. For example, Rob Roy and Braveheart made good use of the landscape to tell historic stories.” She also adds that Scotland’s use in film boosts the tourism industry. “There is a trend for "set-jetting" - it’s well documented that tourists will continue to visit a location for many years after a film has shot, such as the red phone box in the village of Pennan which was used in Local Hero.” It seems that large productions filming in Scotland, as well as the increased tourism this results in, will continue really putting Scotland on the map.


THE BENEFITS OF BEING WELSH With a new book and two film adaptations in the works Irvine Welsh is at the top of his game. By Dawn Barker Irvine Welsh revisits the characters first made famous by his 1993 debut Trainspotting in new book Skag Boys and two of his books are currently being made into films. Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance, first published in 1996, is a collection of short stories by the author, the last of which, The Undefeated, has been made into a feature film. The film is the directorial debut of Rob Heydon and stars Adam Sinclair as Lloyd Buist, a small time chancer and ecstasy enthusiast and Kristin Kreuk as Heather Thompson, a bored housewife who falls for Lloyd. The film follows the couple’s realisation that the love they feel for each other could be nothing more than a chemical haze. The second film, which is currently under production, is filth. The book is about


misanthropic, cocaine addled, racist Edinburgh copper called Bruce Robertson and his talking tape worm. The production boasts a best of British cast with James McAvoy playing the central character. It also stars Jim Broadbent and Jamie Bell. Bell’s character Inspector Ray Lennox is also the main protagonist in Welsh’s 2008 book Crime which could lead to a sequel if Filth is successful. Both film productions make use of Scottish cities as film locations including Welsh’s native Edinburgh. Since Trainspotting become the cool read of the 1990s Welsh has enjoyed continued success as an author but has never been able to recreate the critical

acclaim that his debut brought him. The critic Kevin Williamson even said that Trainspotting deserved “to sell more copies than the Bible.” It is a classic slice of British culture telling the tale of broken friendship, Scottish identity and heroin addiction. Welsh was studying for an MBA at Herriot Watt University and writing in his spare time for the novel. He had written so much background material for each of the characters and had to cut so much from the original book that he has gathered all those pieces together and released them as a prequel – Skag Boys. This is not the first time the Welsh has revisited the characters of Renton, Spud and Sick Boy et al.

In 2006 he released Porno a sequel showing them as older men staring down the barrel of middle age. Skag Boys goes right back to the beginning. Showing the family life of all the characters. Sick Boys indulgent mother, Renton’s severely disabled brother, and Spud’s dissatisfaction at being on the scrap heap at 21 in Thatcher’s Britain. Irvine Welsh has become an inspiration for many young Scottish writers hoping to emulate the blistering debut of their hero. With Skag Boys looking set to be another best seller and the cream of British acting talent lining up to star in an Irvine Welsh adaptation, it seems the gadge fae Leith has done good.

The Edinburgh Festival


3 - 27 August 2012 Original artwork by Morven Donald Park Marina High School Erskine Festival Fringe Society Ltd


Unsigned band Kill Surrrf speak to Hannah Gibson about the Glasgow music scene GLASGOW is named a UNESCO City of Music and it holds up to 130 music events a week making it unique to any other. It is also according to Time Magazine “Europe’s Secret Capital of Music”.


So it would be rude to say that Glasgow is not encouraging and appreciative of new music. It is especially welcoming to new upcoming bands or musicians but this doesn’t mean it makes it any easier for these acts to be signed. Kill Surrrf, a local Coatbridge band have been one band who found it difficult to get signed but they aren’t

giving up hopes. Michael Sheridan, the drummer/vocalist, said “In this day and age its very hard to get signed as such. There are thousands of bands alone in Scotland, not to mention the UK. “If you do the right promo work with your band then you will get recognition for it in good time.” Michael is joined by Johnny Lynn, who sings the vocals and plays

guitar, Aaron McIntosh, guitarist and Steven Selkirk, bassist. The band began in 2011and have a new wave/ punk sound to their music. They have released their first music video “Girrrl” and have the single launching in May along with their B-side single “I’m addicted”. Although they have played most local venues, Michael said,

“Our biggest achievement so far is supporting the band Dog is Dead in King Tuts Glasgow. “To play King Tuts was amazing. Some of the worlds biggest stars have played there and been signed at that very place.” Local unsigned acts have also been getting a boost from a brand new online radio station. The new website Loud in Lanarkshire is a focal point for artists and anyone who likes to listen to new music such as Kill Surrrf. John Boulton, creator of the station said, “The current music industry climate has pushed so many artists to market and sell their own brand. “The idea of a record contract where someone else takes care of all your business may still be the goal although the DIY attitude would be one that’s on the increase.” He believes the music

industry Glasgow offers to bands now has a positive future. He said, “I think the music scene here is overall in a good way. “There is a trap that some bands fall into by repeatedly playing the same venues; this is where more acts should travel to play for better exposure.” Both Michael and John believe there is much hope to what unsigned acts can do for the industry especially being within a radius of Coatbridge’s own Soundwave Studios. Michael, who has worked with them, said “Glasgow it’s a great place for an up and coming band. “The recordings we have just now are from Soundwave Studios in Coatbridge. They offer great deals to young and older bands looking to record.” Soundwave Studios have done a lot for local music through financing releases to opening their own “Room 4” live venue.

This has been successful for acts like “Pronto Mama” who appeared on “BBC1 introducing” and “Feet of Clay” who play at the “Eden Festival” this summer. Foundry Music Lab are another studio that have done a lot for the local scene having initially pushed “The Lafontaines” to the “FML” tent at “B in Belhaven” every year. To unsigned acts there is a competition that promises credibility. The UK competition, Live and Unsigned has over 10,000

entrees a year. It was founded in 2007 and the winners are offered a chance to a record deal and a tour. Competitions like these help create new opportunities and to gain recognition. Time is the music industry’s worst enemy as a market for a genre can open and close very quickly. But bands should remember effort goes along way and Michael believes that not only is there a place for Kill Surrrf there is a place for anyone, he said, “There is a market out there for any band. It just takes a lot of time and good hard work to get it.”



Niall Feighan talks to charity ‘Nil by Mouth’ about sectarianisms grip on Scotland. SECTARIANISM in Scotland has always been an issue, it could be claimed that it stems from football allegiances. To blame Scotland’s sectarian issue on football would be foolish, yes some football grounds are a dark breeding ground for this vile hatred but unfortunately sectarianism branches out in to other parts of Scottish society. The Scottish National

agers and resulted in Neil Lennon and Ally McCoist clashing with each other. Although this could be seen as a positive step in trying to combat this problem, what support mechanisms were in place before 2011? It took the sectarian murder of Mark Scott in the late 1990’s for Scotland’s first ever antisectarian charity ‘Nil By Mouth’ to be set up. “Nil By Mouth” was founded by Glasgow teenager Cara Henderson, after the brutal murder of her friend Mark Scott as he was coming back from a football match. Dave Scott, the Campaign Di-

“The first person to tackle sectarianism in Scotland wasn’t an academic, it wasn’t the first minister, it wasn’t a police officer, it was a teenage girl.” Party has recently brought in new legislation that punishes offensive behaviour at football grounds. This was brought in after last seasons Old Firm game that was dubbed “The Shame Game” as tensions boiled over between players and man-

rector for ‘Nil By Mouth’ said: “Its quite something to think about the first person to tackle sectarianism in Scotland wasn’t an academic, it wasn’t the first minister, it wasn’t a police officer, it was a teenage girl.” So what exactly is

sectarianism? In its purest form sectarianism is the discrimination of one group due to a perceived difference, whether it be religious, political or class. Dave Scott explained how ‘Nil By Mouth‘ define sectarianism: “ For us we would describe it as a fusion of religion, cultural identity and ignorance, ignorance being the key ingredient of sectarianism.” If sectarianism is to ever banish from Scottish culture it will not be because of tougher legislation or making an example of those who commit offences, it will be through the education of people and challenging their way of thinking. “We try to work in schools, work places, community groups and church groups and tackle the issues surrounding sectarianism. We don’t go in with a list of answers we go with a list of questions. We ask people to start questioning their own thoughts and beliefs and we start to encourage to not point the finger but to start looking in the mirror.” No longer is sectarian-

ism only committed on the terraces of a football ground or outside a pub late on a Saturday evening. The internet with the rise of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook can be used to chat with your favourite celebrities, football players, football coaches and even politicians. Used in the right context, easy access to your idols could be a dream come true as you can view the comments from other well-wishers, but this is not always the case, especially in the west of Scotland. If it is easy enough for you to send a positive message to someone over the internet, it is just as easy for someone else to send a negative message and often these messages are not merely negative but are in fact highly sectarian. Dave Scott comments on the rise of sectarian hatred being communicated over the internet, he said: “The tragic thing is that the Internet can be a wonderful thing, it allows you to link up with people you wouldn’t always have access to, but of course there is a group of people that


have decided to drag bigotry into the 21st century through the use of the internet.” There is a school of thought that think because you are sitting in front of a key board and a computer screen that you are not responsible for your words, this in fact is not the case. In the twenty first century it has become easier to monitor the internet and with a simple check of an IP address anonymous surfing isn’t so anonymous anymore. It is naïve to think that the internet is just a playground for young people to stay in contact with each other, the internet is more of platform for mindless thugs to spew their narrow-minded views into the public domain. As recently as a March this year a 24 year old thug was jailed for threatening behaviour towards Celtic manger Neil Lennon. Dave Scott had this to say about online hatred: “We had some concern with the Scottish National Parties new legislation, but one thing we had broad support for is stiffer sentences for posting hatred on the internet. The idea that if you say something on a message board or forum that you somehow aren’t responsible for that, we find totally unacceptable.” To blame football as the sole cause for sectarian-


ism in Scotland cannot say: be justified as recent “Many people eat, figures have shown that breath and sleep their under section 74 of the football club. The maCriminal Justice Act jority of football fans do nearly 2000 people not have a racist or sechave been convicted of tarian element to them, sectarian behaviour but for far to long we since 2003. The most have let the tail wag the recent statistical data dog, where small shows that two thirds groups of fans have sulof these convictions are lied the reputation of m a d e a w a y “I think football clubs are f r o m doing enough, but I do not football grounds. think governing bodies are” On the other hand though, to their whole team. A think that sectarianism real deterrent would be and football are in way the 60,000 fans who related is absurd as are not taking part in often it is a small minorthe sectarian singing to ity of fans that spoil a boo the small minority club good name, this is who are, they would what Dave Scott had to soon get the message.”

There has been claims that football clubs are not doing enough to punish their own fans who engage in sectarian behaviour. Dave Scott, however disagrees, he said: “I think football clubs are doing enough, but I do not think governing bodies are doing enough, have the SFA ever deducted a point for sectarian conduct of fans? Have the SFA ever deducted a pound? No, UEFA have had to step in. The SFA have been unfit for purpose, the SPL have been unfit for purpose in dealing with this issue.” It would be a lot easier to claim that Scotland’s sectarian problems are getting better and in the future they will be just a distant nightmare, but this is not exactly the case as the trial continues against the two men accused of sending bombs to Trish Godman, the late Paul McBride and Celtic coach Neil Lennon. Dave Scott had this to say on the subject: “It just reconfirms that there is this sort of sinister underbelly that thinks its ok to send these packages. I think it says something about the people that want to send these packages whether or not they knew they were viable or not, it says something about the problem that Scotland has.”

Alba Life  

A Scottish culture magazine featuring the most interesting aspects of Scottish life.