ISSUE 05 LADYTRON SELF ESTEEM C DUNCAN FESTIVAL GUIDE FAT GAY VEGAN MUSIC FILM FOOD AND DRINK TRAVEL LGBT+ VISUAL ARTS WORDS
CONTENTS WHATâ€™S ON MUSIC FOOD & DRINK TRAVEL EVENTS | PAGE 07
LADYTRON, SELF ESTEEM, C DUNCAN . . . | PAGE 12
BAFFO, FAT GAY VEGAN | PAGE 31
DISCOVER SCOTLAND, EAST COAST | PAGE 35 Disclaimer: Snack Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine in part or in whole is forbidden without the explicit written consent of the publishers. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the content of this magazine but we cannot guarantee it is complete and up to date. Snack Publishing Ltd. is not responsible for your use of the information contained herein.
E: firstname.lastname@example.org Editor/Sales: Kenny Lavelle Food and Travel Editors: Emma Mykytyn and Mark Murphy LGBTQ Editor: Jonny Stone Designer/Illustrator: Fionnlagh Ballantine Spine Quote - Jenny Holzer Sales: Kiril Kirilov
LGBT+ FILM VISUAL ARTS WORDS NEWS AND FILMS: GIRL, JOSÉ | PAGE 40
CAROL MORLEY, THE NEW OLD WEST | PAGE 48
SENGA NENGUDI | PAGE 52
BROKEN SKIN | PAGE 54
MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR It wouldn’t feel right to let this issue pass without showing our respect to the late great Keith Flint. Back in the 90’s The Prodigy were everything, they were one of the first bands I felt I could call my own. There’s still no band that I’ve seen play live more and the first time I thought I might actually get seriously injured at a gig was down
the front at one of theirs. Keith had a way of welding the crowd and the beats together that made a Prodigy gig something more than the sum of its parts. He brought happiness to millions of us and helped change ideas of what popular music could look and sound like. Rest In Peace, Keith Flint. You’ll be missed. Kenny Lavelle
Tickets via www.thestand.co.uk
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WHAT’S ON GUIDE THE MUSIC OF JOHN WILLIAMS Caird Hall, Dundee, 25th April - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, 26th April - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 27th April No one writes a movie theme like John Williams: no wonder he’s the world’s most popular film composer. And no cinema in the world comes close to how good this music sounds when it’s played live in concert by the full RSNO. Join Hollywood maestro Richard Kaufman and cellist Johannes Moser for hit after hit after hit, from Schindler’s List, Jurassic Park and E.T. to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Memoirs of a Geisha – all in glorious 3D sound!
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LIVE MUSIC UNTIL 3AM EVERY NIGHT!
JAZZ//FUNK//SOUL//BLUES//ACOUSTIC @thejazzbar www.thejazzbar.co.uk
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DCA’S 20TH BIRTHDAY DCA, Dundee – Throughout March DCA’s year-long 20th Birthday celebrations kick off this month including an artists’ talk with Jane and Louise Wilson, a print symposium and an open weekend featuring activities from across all their programme areas: from drop-in print tasters to films (and prices!) from 1999 and free family activities to the interactive exhibition State of Print - an immersive exhibition featuring a makeshift newly formed state built upon the flow of ink and a constitutional raft of recycled cardboard. Sounds awesome.
GLASGOW COMEDY FESTIVAL AT THE STAND 14th-31st March The Whyte & Mackay Glasgow Comedy Festival kicks off on 14th March with shows in around 70 different venues across the city. As always The Stand is one of the main festival hubs with shows on almost constantly over the fortnight. Highlights include Gareth Waugh (hotly tipped to be Scotland’s next breakthrough star) with his ever evolving show about the Law of the Playground, travelling companions from hell and accidentally fulfilling your teenage bucket list, the always superb BBC Scotland’s Friday night host Ashley Storrie, Jamie Dalgleish - From Buckfast to Middle Class, improv from John Robertson (Creator of 2012’s live-action comedy video game The Dark Room) and Edinburgh Fringe 2018 Amused Moose People’s Champion Award winner Damian Clark.
RARE BOOKS EDINBURGH Various Venues Across Edinburgh – 20th-30th March Rare Books Edinburgh is a festival dedicated to rare, collectable, and important books and the history of the book. Edinburgh’s finest bookish institutions have arranged talks, exhibitions, and workshops for collectors, bibliophiles, and booklovers, the majority of them free to all. rarebooksedinburgh.com
WOMEN AND THE SMALL PRESS Scottish Poetry Library – 19th-30th March Part of Rare Books Edinburgh Festival. This exhibition celebrates some of the women of the small press movement, featuring work from the Scottish Poetry Library’s small press archive and pamphlet collections. ‘Women and The Small Press’ displays these pieces together for the first time, allowing them to converse with each other and with the SPL’s other collections and spaces. Artists featured include Laurie Clark, Margot Sandeman, Erica Van Horn, Autumn Richardson, Kathleen Lindsley and Jo Hincks. The exhibition is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays.
Featuring music from JURASSIC PARK • RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK • E.T. MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA • SCHINDLER’S LIST
FRIDAY 26 APRIL 2019: 7.30PM USHER HALL, EDINBURGH BOX OFFICE 0131 228 1155 SATURDAY 27 APRIL 2019: 3PM & 7.30PM GLASGOW ROYAL CONCERT HALL BOX OFFICE 0141 353 8000
Book online rsno.org.uk/film
What’s on Page 9
DRENGE WITH SUPPORT FROM THE WYTCHES
FENELLA ALBUM LAUNCH
King Tut’s – 27th March One of the most interesting and invigorating British bands of recent times are back with their new four-piece line up, playing tracks from early album of the year contender Strange Creatures. They say they love Glasgow and who’s to doubt them? With doom-drenched surf rockers The Wytches supporting the Derbyshire brothers, it’s destined to be a quality night out.
Glasgow – 29th March Do not miss Fenella as they launch their debut album A Gift From Midnight, the first joint release between Last Night From Glasgow and Busby’s Riverside Music College label, Little Tiger. Mairi Whittle’s voice is tremendous on record (think Martha Wainwright and Edith Piaf) and we’re more than excited to hear it live.
SAMA’S 2019 PAISLEY TAKEOVER Paisley Arts Centre and The Bungalow – 15th16th March Friday and Saturday in Paisley with Kathryn Joseph, C Duncan, Chris McQueer, Stuart Braithwaite, L-Space and Sweaty Palms - who could resist? There’s live gigs, music workshops, a panel discussion on ‘navigating the music industry minefield’, you might even land a wee free craft beer from Brewgooder.
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Whatâ€™s on Page 11
LADYTRON With the release of their self-titled album, their first in seven years, Ladytron are resoundingly back. We caught up with Helen Marnie [HM], Daniel Hunt [DH] and Reuben Wu [RW] to talk about the comeback, the record, the live shows and a more relaxed way of touring. Was there a big decision in pulling everything back together or was it natural? [DH]: It was basically a case of waiting for everyone to be ready to do it and that moment came in June 2016. We had been working on music before that, it wasn’t as if we were starting from zero at that point. How did the recording process go? [DH]: We were working remotely, which we always did, up to the point where you have the skeleton of the record and then you go into the studio. The studio was surprisingly easy, for me anyway, it felt easier than previous records. It was more relaxed, simpler. [RW]: It was a move back to how we worked in the past, it felt easy to click back into that. In that sense, was the break of benefit to the band? [RW]: Oh yeah, we felt fresh and that went on for the whole record. [DH]: We hadn’t really had a serious break since we started. There was an album every two years for ten years with a bunch of tours in between. I think every band reaches a point where it needs a break, but maybe we didn’t expect the break to be so long!
Music by Andy Reilly Page 13
At the time of the interview, the album has been out for a week, how has the feedback been for you?
With the evolution of the band’s sound – was this down to the passing of time or do you think it was shaped by the world today? [HM]: I think it’s both. The time away was good for us and the fact that we were concentrating on different things results in different inspirations. Coming back together at the time we did, the world is in a little bit of turmoil and that influenced our output too. [RW]: We were in a bubble for a while and then we left that bubble. We definitely feel as though we’ve had a lot more experiences and hopefully, we’re a bit wiser now.
[HM]: You never really know what to expect because you cannot judge that, we thought we had created something that was pretty special, that we all liked and which we were all happy with but you just don’t know how the public and your fans will respond. [DH]: It’s been very encouraging. One thing that I’ve liked is that some of the people who have written about it have made a real effort to understand it in a way that maybe wouldn’t have happened with previous records. There’s some quite detailed and insightful reviews, and that surprised me. Pleasantly surprised me. You made your live comeback at the QMU in November, how did you feel heading into the gig?
[HM]: It was nerve-wracking. For me, I’ve done more gigs than these guys in the space we’ve been away so going on stage isn’t necessarily a panic for me, but it is different when I’m on stage with the band. There was pressure, a lot of pressure. [DH]: For me, once we were four or five songs, it was okay, all downhill from there, in a good way. It was just three shows but there was a lot of preparation and it was a successful return. To be honest, it was easier than what we imagined it to be. I had this idea it was going to be really difficult but as soon as we rehearsed, I thought, we’re playing music we know, it’s not that hard. It had been so long and I had did very few live things, a couple of guest appearances, since our break, so I was really happy with how the tour went. [RW]: I was surprised at how good muscle memory is. It was like oh, I haven’t played this song in seven years and yet once we were playing, it all came together. In terms of trying to relearn things, I was suffering from anxiety about the thought of relearning all the parts. I was even getting anxiety dreams but as soon as I started running through everything, I knew the songs. At the end of the three gigs, were you keen to do more or was that enough for starters? [HM]: I think it was a nice intro. Three gigs, yeah, we can do this. [DH]: They were the biggest gigs we had done in the UK, it was enough. It was enough for us all to go back home and feel good about it.
What are the rest of your live plans for 2019? [DH]: We have got some other things already announced, a couple of gigs in Spain and then Moscow. We’re looking to do little pockets of show, playing in small bursts. That’s how we prefer to do it now. In the old days we would disappear for nine weeks and then go home for two days and none of us want to do that again. [HM]: The problem now is that the only way bands can make money is by touring their arses off. You get them on the road for three months and it’s probably not that healthy for anyone. You can also become oversaturated if you end up going back to the same places every four or six months. [DH]: It’s also the case when every single band is on the road simultaneously, it’s not the same. It used to be when we started and you would ask who else was in town and there’d be like one other band. Nowadays, you ask that and you hear answers like Pixies, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath, Depeche Mode! And aside from the touring, are there any plans or thoughts for the next record? (More laughter from the band) [DH]: I don’t anticipate another seven year break between records this time. [HM]: That would be weird. The extended version of this interview can be found online at snackmag.co.uk and the Ladytron album is out now. Music by Andy Reilly Page 15
Self Esteem is Rebecca Lucy Taylor, previously one half of indie folk pop duo Slow Club. With her new album Compliments Please her voice, once tender and diminutive has, since splitting from the band, been let loose to form a full on pop battle weapon. It’s an album with dozens of tricks up its sleeves, complete with some brilliantly funny neck twisting movements and a healthy dash of ‘piss off and annoy somebody else’.
“I’M STILL LAYING IN BED I’VE BEEN DOING A LOT OF GIGS AND A LOT OF PROMO. I’M JUST, TOO OLD FOR THIS SHIT!” It’s been going pretty well for you, you must be delighted with the album’s reception? Yeah, it’s been amazing and a bit overwhelming and also, I keep feeling like I also want to be going like ‘I told you so!’. I’m surprised but also not surprised as I knew it was great. The songs on the album, have they been written recently or is it material you’ve been writing over the years and come back to? Yeah I’ve been ready to do this for quite a while. In a way to check I wasn’t going crazy and I’m sorta sick of this kind of feeling of people saying that ‘you should be bigger’ or ‘more people should know who you are’ or stuff like that. It’s not that I want fame but I just want some sort of growth. I sort of realise how unhappy I was before by how happy I am now. Generally in my life I feel…. good...excited. There are a lot of tracks on the album, is this something you set out to do at the
start or was this because there was so much material and you couldn’t bear to lose it? Yeah, I think I’m quite lazy so if I’ve taken the time to do something then I will make sure it gets used. I can’t let go of anything. Everything that doesn’t make it in, I repurpose somewhere else as I can’t start from scratch again. So it’s a bit of that. Also I wanted to make everything to do with this sort of over-the-top and grand. The fact that it’s too long feeds into this as well. In my mind it made sense that it would epic. You’re obviously having fun in your videos as well, that definitely comes across Yeah I love it, I love making videos. It was always quite a difficult thing to do in the band as I wanted to do a lot more and express a lot more. But you just can’t make people do things you know so now I get to do what I feel I want to. The choreography in the video for The Best, is that something that comes naturally to you? Yes I always wanted to dance a lot more than I did in the band and it was something I did all
through my childhood and teenage years. I love it and nothing makes me happier than dancing. This whole project has just been me trying to make my life something that I enjoy more. All very selfish really. So now you’ve got Self Esteem as an alter ego and you’d spoken before about having a kind of alter ego in Slow Club as well. What do you think about those different personas? Self Esteem is an alter ego but it’s far closer to me than how I felt in Slow Club - it’s a reaction. It’s sort of like unbuttoning your trousers after a big meal. Ah I can breath finally. It feels like letting go of pretence. And also I like to joke my way around things. In the band, I was self deprecating constantly and trying to be apologetic about how I was. Self Esteem is no apologies and a very ‘I can’t help this, this is me’ kinda of moment. So you were working with Dave McLean from Django Django for the song Your Wife and then you did Surface to Air? Em…. We did a song called OMG and then we did Surface to Air just on a whim in the same sort of session. I loved that and then I went and toured them for a bit. I love Dave McLean he’s a fucking genius. But for the album you worked with Johan Karlberg right? Yeah I started to do some bits and bobs with him and it felt like he inspired quite a lot of stuff which I didn’t realise that I wanted to do. What about the album cover, where did the idea for that come from? Yeah, there was a painting I wanted to recreate, The Birth of Venus. We did that and everyone is on the wall naked and covered in baby oil when I thought it would be really funny if everyone was all around me but I would be on my phone. Surrounded by beauty and I’m still on my phone looking for something else which is the complete problem with my life now. It was just meant to represent that. I don’t think of it as sexy or provocative or anything. I thought it was funny.
A lot of strange men on Twitter have had a real problem with it. Because I speak publicly about feminism they then go ‘You’re naked on your cover you slag’. I’m not going to interact with that. I think of it as very funny. There’s all sorts of ideas and sounds on the album, it’s very hard to pin down. Who would you say are your greatest influences? Destiny’s Child. The Writing’s On The Wall, I listened to that 10,000 times when I was younger, very much the scope and the drama of that record. I think it’s a fucking masterpiece. Pop music like Rihanna, her album Anti no one really likes but I love it. And I love old Madonna and 80’s early 90’s pop all that. Sheffield has a long history of producing oddball pop, do you see yourself in that tradition? I don’t think I was directly inspired but now I am older and I know more about the heritage of where I am from musically, maybe it did. I didn’t quite realise it but I think one thing about growing up in Sheffield is you could be a weirdo. I was like a grungy skater girl who still went to drama club and cricket, and I did everything. There was this friendly acceptance that meant you could grow into who you are instead of being stuck into ‘I am a goth and I must only be that’. I don’t know if that was true for anyone else but that’s how I felt.
Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 17
C DUNCAN C Duncan is back and releasing his third album Health later this month. It’s a deeply personal, mesmerising and (a couple of tracks excepted) lush affair. On his search for clarity and more a spacious sound, he has let old habits fall aside with a move away from his DIY roots to collaborate with Elbow’s Craig Potter. With your new album coming out at the end of March you must be looking forward to seeing how it’s received? Yeah absolutely, it’s been a while since I last released one… I’d forgotten how nerve racking it all was.
up my game a bit and certainly, in terms in sound, there is only so much I can do at home. I thought the logical thing to do was to go into the studio and it just completely changed everything. The songs, I had already recorded demos before I went in. They were all there but it’s what we actually did with them, the sounds we chose. The bits we left out was the biggest thing for me. Whenever I record I kind of throw everything into a track and it becomes very blurred and very mushy but with this record I was quite adamant that I didn’t want that. To have someone to omit certain sounds and some parts that just aren’t needed and to have these sorts of discussions was really eye opening and really really helpful.
How has it been for you, the jump from DIY bedroom producer to working in a professional studio, with somebody else having a say in your work and how it progresses? Yeah it’s been great, slightly apprehensive at first as I’d only ever worked alone and it was a strange idea to go into a studio. I guess I kinda wanted to
How was it working with Craig Potter, how did that all come together? Did you approach him? I went on tour with Elbow around the UK about a year and a half ago and then out to the US about a year ago and got to know them really well. They’re such a friendly band and I became pally with them. I’d got talking to Craig about
production and we were both discussing what he does; it was there that I thought that actually he would be the correct person to work with. We have a lot in common musically and he could see what I wanted to do with the record, along with the skills to get the clarity I wanted. Most of the tracks, there’s a lot of space in there, definite headphone tracks. While others seem more geared towards being good for radio. Whenever we were listening to the tracks we switched between hundreds of different speakers and one of the ones we used was a little mono Bose one that you put your iphone in, we would listen to quite a lot of that. On the radio they get compressed so it was in the back of my mind that if it sounded good on that, it would make a good single and come across well on the radio. Having worked by yourself for so long I’d guess you would have developed routines and ways of getting yourself to work and keep progressing. How was it to break away from that? It was great, everything was kind of recorded at home and I’d demoed it to the same standard as the last few records. I had already got into my new routine of getting up in the morning picking up the guitar and hitting record. But then going down to the studio we re-recorded it and rejigged things around. I’d never been in a studio before so for an extended period of time I didn’t know how things would be structured or how much I would need to perform and re-learn tracks. But after the first couple of days Craig had already worked out exactly what we had to do and when.
DUNCAN I’d like to think it’s a step up sonically from the last one and much more direct lyrically. Previously I’ve hidden behind lots of effects and vocals and reverb and you can’t really hear what I’m singing about. But this time around, because it’s quite sparse, you can hear a lot more. Listeners can relate to it more I guess as you can hear what I’m singing about for once. I guess that’s the main goal and I hope people enjoy it. What about the narrative side of things? Is there anything in particular you want people to come away from it with? Well it’s a very personal record… love and loss and all these sorts of things… frustration and also joy. I guess that it’s quite vague and not just one thing throughout like the second album. Every track has its own little story going on.
Was it a comforting having that kind of guidance? Yeah totally, it put me at ease
You have your tour coming up as well. How are you going to translate the album to a live setting? This one is more translatable to live as there are more live elements on the record. There won’t be as much arranging or sorting things out as with previous records. It’s been quite exciting going to the rehearsal studios and just play it.
So, what would you like listeners to take away from the album?
Health will be released on FatCat Records, March 29th Music by Kenny Lavelle Page 19
BOB MOULD Sunshine Rock – Track by track. Jason Narducy and Jon Wurster have long been part of a varying group of musicians who have played with Bob Mould and post 2009 they’ve settled into a seemingly solid, old fashioned power trio which is now delivering its fourth straight album. Mould had described the previous 3 releases as a trilogy (Silver Age, Beauty & Ruin, Patch the Sky) and I’d love Sunshine Rock to amusingly be album 4 in a trilogy but it is more standalone than epilogue. Patch the Sky was a more sombre ride than the previous two releases following the loss of Mould’s mother. Sunshine Rock, as the title suggests is somewhat of an antidote to this. As a man facing his sixties and the recent passing of Grant Hart, his creative counterfoil from Husker Du days, Sunshine Rock bathes in the sunshine while still wearing rain-soaked clothes. Thankfully, the album doesn’t contain any metaphors quite as strained as the one you just struggled through in the previous sentence (except the Polar Bear one in ‘Sunny Love Song’). Written in Berlin, recorded in San Francisco, quite often the lyrical themes are at odds with the summery titles. Sunshine Rock is, in Ron Manager parlance, an album of two halves. Side one will blow away any residual cobwebs you have whilst side two still cranks the volume but is slightly less in your face. The title track and lead single opens the album and, at first, it’s a breezy heartfelt ride with the top down that brings to life a hopeful love, calling in imagery about being someone’s astronaut, but it belies a fear of loss. As is common with Mould’s lyrics, repeated listening reveals slightly less optimism than is first conveyed. For the last minute, strings which have been hiding amongst the arrangement come to the fore and lift the song
to its widescreen conclusion. ‘What Do You Want Me to Do?’ contains the sort of vocals-follow-the-riff chorus that makes it immediately bombastic - it seems a likely candidate as a live favourite. ‘Sunny Love Song’ brazenly contradicts its title and tone with some extreme wintry imagery before the cathartic nature of songwriting, and writing sunny songs in particular, becomes a reason for sunny celebration in itself. ‘Thirty Dozen Roses’ recalls Mould’s Sugar era in places with an emphasis on a fairly modal riff that opens out into a bawled tale of olive branches, apology chocolate boxes and being a “lousy prick to you”. Talking of Sugar (Mould’s 90s band), there’s a slight hark back to the era’s production of having vocals embedded in the mix with the guitars rather than dominating. ‘The Final Years’ is the first track not to open with loud six string chords – a synth string line starts as the main riff before it develops into an answer to the vocal melody. A melancholic meander that the endemically middle aged track listing benefits from. A hover of regret that looks to a mortal sunset. ‘Irrational Poison’ reintroduces sweeping flanged guitars that eventually fall into an outro battle with counter-melody strings. ‘I Fought’ is a familiar stomp of a song with a ballsy central riff that holds sway throughout and an combative arm-linking chorus that fades out in a swirl of descending, delayed cacophony. ‘Sin King’ is a jab; The lines “I know one thing about ya, babe / You’re sinking our democracy” could suggest it’s the current occupant of the White House but less barbed lines later in the song suggest it’s probably someone closer to Mould. The guitars drive a skipping rhythm which is buried in guitars, dipped in a guitar sauce and topped with a swampy guitar garnish. There’s a whole battalion of Bob’s guitar tracks on pretty much every song but, for whatever reason, on ‘Sin King’, the layering effect absolutely soars. Certain guitar lines steal your
“SUNSHINE ROCK COMES IN LIKE A LION AND GOES OUT LIKE A LAMB IF THE LION WAS UNCOMMONLY FRIENDLY AND THE LAMB WAS AN OLD, BENEVOLENT RAM.”
attention before disappearing back amongst their multi-tracked brethren. ‘Lost Faith’ has a mournful pace in the verses with a descending two string riff over the chord sequence that blossoms into a chorus featuring an almost Motown drum beat. The strings throughout become more funereal at the outro, making the transition into ‘Camp Sunshine’ all the more serious sounding in subtle juxtaposition. ‘Camp Sunshine’ includes the most childlike imagery on the album with song writing and jamming equated to a childhood summer camp where “we play all day and then / We get some sleep, do it all again”. Despite the main guitar track being obviously electric with hints of chorus and reverb, this was definitely a song written acoustically and the arrangement keeps it anchored in a world of virtual campfires without ever feeling like it’s going to burst into a refrain of ‘Kum Ba Yah’. ‘Send Me a Postcard’ is a cover of the Shocking
Blue song that maintains some of the loose drumming vibe of the original but ups the tempo slightly which suits the flow of the record at the cost of a little bit of the blissed out garage feelings of the original. The most well-known Shocking Blue song to be covered is Nirvana’s version of ‘Love Buzz’ – this version of ‘Send Me a Postcard’ is fairly thrilling but it isn’t going to burn into a mass of consciousness in quite the same way. Sunshine Rock bows out with ‘Western Sunset’ – a track with enough trebly guitars and a mid-paced wall of sound to keep any Mould aficionado happy. It finishes, similarly to the opening track, with the rest of the instruments peeling back to reveal a warm, optimistic orchestral section held together by a cello. In a flipping of the old adage about the month of March, Sunshine Rock comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb - here the lion’s roar is worse than its bite and the lamb is a benevolent old ram. Music by Stephen McColgan Page 21
SCOTTISH FESTIVAL GUIDE 2019 This year looks set to be a golden year for Scottish festivals, all the major players are back with a 2019 instalment and most can make a strong claim to have their best lineups yet. Whether you’re a true city slicker, a wilderness explorer or looking for something traditional and community based, we can safely say that whatever you’re into, there will be a festival for you. Take your pick, there’s everything from celtic and world music in the wilderness to the cutting edge of modern pop, big name acts to the tiniest DIY bands, good time funk to the deepest dub. It’s only March but we can’t wait for summer.
STAG AND DAGGER 5th May Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow Ah, the return of the annual day-long stagger around Sauchiehall Street way. Scotland’s biggest new music showcase is back this May Bank Holiday weekend with Honeyblood, Rat Boy, Dream Wife, Goat Girl, The Ninth Wave and Pip Blom topping the bill. With early May, you can never be sure if it will teem rain from the heavens or if you’ll end up melting in shock spring sunshine. Who cares, it’s an indoor festival, you’ll be inside most of the day anyway As always, it’s a great opportunity to broaden your musical horizons: Let’s Eat Grandma, Man of Moon, Royal Blood, Ezra Furman, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Mac DeMarco, White Denim, Warpaint, Courtney Barnett and Fat White Family have all played Stag & Dagger in previous years. Basically what we’re saying is there’s a more than decent chance you’ll find your future favourite band somewhere in this year’s lineup. It runs from 2pm until 3am. Clocking in at 13 hours of new music, it’s a long day, so if you’re wanting to make the most of it you’re going to want to pace yourself. Your ticket gets you a wristband, giving you access to see over 50 of the best up and coming artists from Scotland and beyond. Tickets £25
FESTIVALS KELBURN GARDEN PARTY 5th-8th July Kelburn Castle, Fairlie, North Ayrshire Kelburn Garden Party is celebrating its 10th anniversary and following on from its 3,000 ticket sell out in 2018, they’re back with an awesome line up and all the usual spontaneity, creativity, colour and madness in one of the most magical festival settings in the country; building on its reputation as one of Scotland’s favourite boutique music festivals. The first wave of this year’s acts has been announced with Leftfield and LTJ Bukem heading things up and a wildly varied undercard including Scottish favourites Bossy Love, Tom McGuire and The Brassholes, The Girobabies and Shooglenifty. Expect dub, funk, world, breaks, RnB pop and loads more besides. Of course, the spectacular setting will, as always, take things up that extra notch; where else can you enjoy eclectic beats next to a 17th century castle and 20ft waterfall? Adult camping weekend tickets start at £128.50 - 3 month payment scheme available kelburngardenparty.com
Dream wife (Stag and Dagger)
LTJ Bukem (Kelburn) Festival guide Page 23
6th-9th June Raehills meadows, Dumfries and Galloway Peaceful and gentle by day while riotous at night, Eden is the perfect Ying and Yang festival. The main campsite is not for the faint hearted. It’s fullon hedonistic fun and there’s no doubt it can take chunks off you but, if you have the energy, there’s nothing quite like it. This year they’ve Chinese Man, Irvine Welsh (DJ set), John Cooper Clarke, Optimo (Espacio), Trojan Sound System, Barely Legal and Auntie Flo providing the party tunes and This Is The Kit and (as always) Mr Motivator to ease the pain. Adult camping tickets are currently £125. edenfestival.co.uk
17th-20th July Stornoway, Isle of Lewis Picture a festival for all ages on a rugged Scottish island populated by warm friendly locals and abundant wildlife, peppered with standing stones, sandy dune-backed beaches and ancient churches and you’ll pretty much have Hebcelt. Now in its 24th year, Hebcelt is an old hand at this festival malarkey. This year they have lined up multi-million selling KT Tunstall, The Shires, Newton Faulkner, Tide Lines and loads more besides. Their focus is still firmly with celtic, traditional and contemporary music with Gaelic culture at its heart. Mixing local, national and international acts; established and emerging talent, Stornoway will be buzzing with visitors and locals alike. Demand for hotels and b&b’s on the island is high during the festival, you’re best to get your digs booked up soon. There’s no camping on the festival site but there are a few good quality campsites with shower facilities around the island - Laxdale Holiday Park is the one nearest to the festival site. A weekend arena ticket is £95, this allows entry to all arena shows, Thursday till Saturday. It’s a multi venue festival and some events outside the main arena are ticketed separately. Check the festival website for more details. hebceltfest.com
I n t he l u s h mo un t a i n s o f So u t h West Sco t l a n d
BENJAMIN ZEPHANIAH & THE REVOLUTIONARY MINDS MOONLIGHT BENJAMIN GRIOGAIR LABHRUIDH - DIZRAELI TALISK - MUGENKYO TAIKO DRUMMERS & MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
Tom McGuire and The Brassholes (Burnsfest!)
4th May Rozelle Park, Alloway, Ayr Celebrate the 260th Year since Rabbie Burns’ birth in Ayrshire’s pretty Rozelle Park complete with live music, Burns Wine Bar and a cracking Beer Garden. They’ve also A-Coo-Stick Tipi (acoustic gigs in a tipi tent), The Mercat (Burns merchandise, retro gifts, crafts and more), Performance Pokey (storytelling, comedy, songs and Burns poetry recitals), Bairns Bunnet (children’s entertainment tent - featuring fun, interactive and educational games with Cassius Crab), a Burns Fair and more! On the music side they’ve lined up some top quality music for your ears and feet: with the superb Tom McGuire and The Brassholes serving up top quality slabs of funk (pack your dancing shoes) and Glasgow’s The Pearlfishers bringing their smooth pop tunes to the party. Free, no tickets required burnsfestival.com/burnsfest Festival guide Page 25
ADAM SMITH FESTIVAL OF IDEAS 15th-17th March Adam Smith Theatre, Bennochy Road, Kirkcaldy, Fife, KY1 1ET The Adam Smith Festival of Ideas in Kirkcaldy seeks to build on the philanthropic and academic theories of Adam Smith, inviting a prestigious guest each year to deliver its annual lecture. Sir Tim Berners Lee, the man who invented the internet, will deliver the 2019 Adam Smith Lecture, along with Rosemary Leith, to mark the 30th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web. Eddie Izzard was announced as the festival’s main headliner and quickly sold out the main auditorium. The good news is that they will now live-stream the Audience with Eddie Izzard event in their Beveridge Studio - best get in there quick for that. The hugely popular Adam Smith Food Festival will be making a comeback and loads of great family activities will take place throughout the weekend. Tickets can be purchased via www.onfife.com and from the Adam Smith Theatre Box Office.
DUNFERMLINE COMIC-CON 30th March Pittencreiff Park, Dunfermline, KY12 8AP Comic book artists and writers from across
the globe will be showcasing their work at Dunfermline Comic Con, which is fast becoming one of the highlights of the UK comic convention calendar. The event will feature special panel events, signings, interactive attractions, displays, comic drawing classes and a cosplay competition. A fantastic event for comic-book lovers and families alike! Adult tickets £10, 12-16 year olds £5, free entry for under 11’s. Tickets available from littleshopofheroes.co.uk
SCOTLAND’S DAFFODIL FESTIVAL 13th-14th April Backhouse Rossie Estate, Past Collessie, off A91, KY15 7UZ Celebrate Springtime by browsing through hundreds of different types of daffodil and other spring flowers at Scotland’s Daffodil Festival. Enjoy a woodland daffodil walk, come along for some talks and tours or have a wander around some of the stalls which will be selling some of the best local food, drink and plants. A blooming fantastic day out! Open 10.00 – 5.00pm. Tickets available from Eventbrite; Adults £5.50, children £3.50 family £14.00, under 5’s entry free.
LINKS MARKET 17th-22nd April Kirkcaldy Waterfront, KY1 1RF
Attention thrill-seekers! Europe’s largest street fair will return again to Kirkcaldy Waterfront. Bring the family along for a fantastic day out and enjoy a huge selection of rides, funhouses, attractions, trampolines, street food and much more. Why not challenge your friends to a round on the dodgems, enjoy candyfloss on the hobbyhorses or enjoy some amazing food from one of many catering stalls? You might even be brave enough to check out the amazing panoramic views of the Firth of Forth on top of one of the market’s huge fairground rides! A thrilling day out for all the family.
OPEN STUDIOS NORTH FIFE 4th-6th May Various venues, North Fife Fife-based artists, designers, jewellery makers and photographers will be opening the doors of their homes and studios to offer an opportunity for visitors to find out more about their creative processes and browse through work which is available for purchase. The event offers a fantastic opportunity to speak to the artists and explore their workspaces while discovering a very picturesque, rural area of Fife! Studios are open daily from 10am-6pm. For full artist listings, visit openstudiosfife.co.uk
ARTLINE FIFE 4th-5th May Various venues, Fife Eleven venues along the coastal railway mainline in Fife are opening their doors this May in an expanded line up of art, poetry and heritage for Artline Open Doors Weekend. Inside all of these unique buildings the visitor will find an interesting mixture of art and heritage, including; paintings, jewellery, poetry, and artifacts.
CUPAR ARTS EDEN 15th-23rd June Various, Cupar Cupar Arts Eden returns to various venues in Cupar to showcase an excellent selection of events including art, music, opera and even some opera!
EAST NEUK FESTIVAL 26th-30th June Now in its 15th year, The East Neuk Festival showcases a wide range of classical, jazz, roots and traditional music across various picturesque coastal villages, often in unusual and interesting venues. This year’s festival also features a large-scale art installation in the grounds of the National Trust for Scotland’s Kellie Castle celebrating the communal Drying Greens of yesteryear and culminating in an afternoon of family activities and pop up performances from the Tullis Russell Mills Band.
ANSTRUTHER HARBOUR FESTIVAL 19th-21st June Come along and enjoy three days of fun and entertainment at the Anstruther Harbour Festival which will once again host the Anster Fair, craft stalls, live music, street theatre and much more. This year the Dunedin International Folk Dance Festival will take place on the Friday and the Anstruther Muster and Classic Boat Rally will be brightening up the waterfront. For more information about these events and to find out what’s on, visit welcometofife.com/events
Supported feature Page 27
KNOCKENGORROCH 23rd-26th May Carsphairn, Dumfries and Galloway, DG7 3TJ Knockengorroch do things a bit differently. Who’s up for a world ceilidh in the hills? Officially the longest running camping music festival in Scotland, they’re yet again sticking to their roots: presenting some of the best music from around the globe alongside Scottish trad. This year’s main headliner is poet, author and political activist Benjamin Zephaniah who’ll be bringing dub-reggae juggernaut sounds and delivering his message of compassion and love with his band The Revolutionary Minds. Other highlights include Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers, Scotland’s own authentic taiko drumming outfit complete with after dark UV show, Glasgow dub heavyweights Mungo’s HiFi (they’re bringing their complete system) and voodoo blues rock priestess, Moonlight Benjamin. It’s not just about the music, the weekend will also feature comedy and theatre shows, arts, crafts, nature and heritage workshops. It’s one of the most family friendly festivals on the circuit, open to all ages with a dedicated quiet family camping area plus a children’s tent and procession. Soothe your weary soul with real ales, good food and a visit to their healing area. Adult camping weekend tickets start at £105 - monthly payment scheme available. Knockengorroch.org.uk
ELECTRIC FIELDS 4th-6th July Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfries and Galloway Now in its 5th year, Electric Fields is a relative newcomer to the Scottish festival circuit. In this short time, they’ve become one of the big hitters mostly thanks to their stellar lineups, superb food and mini T in the Park without the bother atmosphere. This year they have the mighty Metronomy plus Sleaford Mods, Friendly Fires, Fat White Family, Malcolm Middleton, Heavy Rapids and one of your last chances to catch The Spook School again before they break up. Adult camping tickets are currently £132 - Deposit scheme allows you to pay £20 now and the remainder before 31st May. electricfieldsfestival.com
Metronomy (Electric Fields)
DOUNE THE RABBIT HOLE 19th-21st July Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire DTRH consistently put together some of the best festival lineups in Scotland and this year is no different. Their focus is on celebrating the very best of Scotland’s independent/DIY arts scene alongside top notch international guests. For 2019 they’ve put together a bill that puts many bigger festivals to shame with The Wailers, Battles, John Grant, Lee Scratch Perry, BEAK>, John Cooper Clarke, Shonen Knife, PAWS, Free Love and a tonne more besides. When you’re needing a break from the party there’s also storytelling, slam poetry, yoga classes, art and craft workshops and (usually) friendly dogs to pat. There’s an ethereal and magical quality to DTRH that’s hard to put your finger on. Maybe it’s camping amongst ancient oak trees and going
for a morning swim in the river? Maybe it’s the bramble wine? Adult camping tickets are currently £95 - 3 month payment plan available dounetherabbithole.co.uk
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (Doune the rabbit hole)
KT TUNSTALL THE SHIRES NEWTON FAULKNER
TIDE LINES / HUDSON TAYLOR ELEPHANT SESSIONS / MÀNRAN BREABACH / FERRIS & SYLVESTER KRIS DREVER / TALISK FARA / JIGJAM / FACE THE WEST / KIM CARNIE JOSIE DUNCAN & THE DUSK / SIAN / BEINN LEE EABHAL / BENEDICT MORRIS / AWKWARD FAMILY PORTRAITS / JAKE MORRELL / KEIR GIBSON ROSEANNE REID / THE YOUTH AND YOUNG FINN PAUL / DONALD & PEIGI BARKER
FÈIS CHEILTEACH INNSE GALL
STORNOWAY, ISLE OF LEWIS
MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED
17-20 JULY 2019
HEBCELTFEST.COM 01851 702333 #HEBCELT2019
Festival guide Knockengorroch photos by Recompose Page 29
BAFFO Not Pizza again? Hold on, there is but... there’s pasta as well! Don’t leave yet! With the explosion of Neapolitan pizza restaurants in Glasgow over the past few years, the pizza bar has been raised. We’ve been Paesano and Mozza adherents for a while now but we had yet to have a meal together at Baffo in the west end. A visit to see Dippy at Kelvingrove art gallery and museum, just across the road, gave us the perfect excuse to visit Baffo, which is easily recognised thanks to the brightly lit red neon moustache. You see ‘baffo’ means ‘moustache’ in Italian but interestingly it seems that it can also mean a cat’s whiskers, lips or just splendid, and we guarantee that you’ll be licking your lips after reading about the splendid food (and our cats will be too)! Proponents of eye-catching half-metre rectangular pizzas for sharing, they also do regular 12 inch round pizzas. They source their
flour from Italy and their dough proves for at least 36 hours. The single large oven at the back is also from Italy but uses gas rather than wood and in true Neapolitan-style, pizzas go into the super hot oven for a mere 60 - 90 seconds. The light and airy base is one of the best in the city and there’s a choice of 15 regular toppings to be had, from the classic Margherita to the oh so nearly ordered Incazzata. The special of salmon, mashed potato, rocket and scarmozza (smoked mozzarella) on sale during our visit was a combo worthy of further investigation, and surprisingly good it was too. The salmon was not overly oily or fishy, the potatoes cooked just right and smoked mozzarella always works for us. But it’s not all about pizza here. The menu has a wide selection of antipasto, bruschetta, sides and pasta too. The Baffo antipasto was ordered for sharing, with just the right amount of meat and cheese to get the meal started. Pasta-
FOOD AND DRINK
wise, gnocchi and rigatoni feature. Coated with toppings such as Pomodoro sauce, fennel sausage. We went back to basics with al dente rigatoni and Pomodoro sauce with a sprinkling of Parmesan. Large tubes of pasta, evenly coated in a tart tomato sauce. Just what was needed on a chilly evening. The remaining sauce in the bowl was soon scooped up with a stolen piece of pizza crust, bliss. Alongside this, we quaffed a bottle of Baladin Isaac, a fruity and herby Italian witbier, which we followed with the Baladin Rock’n’roll, a pale ale brewed with pepper of all things! The Baladin beers come in huge, wine-sized bottles in a variety of styles so are ideal for sharing. Service was very Italian, friendly and relaxed. The restaurant was busy with a steady stream of dinners and takeaway orders. Toilets were clean and tidy. • Get a window seat. • Don’t be ashamed to order a big huge pizza. • Don’t ignore the pasta. • Be sure to order a bottle of Baladin beer. Baffo 1377 Argyle Street Glasgow G3 8AF T: 0141 583 0000 Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, foodieexplorers.co.uk Page 31
FAT GAY VEGAN Sean O’Callaghan is one of the world’s best known vegan spokespersons, his book Eat, Drink and Live Like You Give a Shit is a funny and compassionate look into his personal politics of veganism and how he got there. What were your aims when you set out to write the book? Well when I was first approached about doing a book my publisher really wanted an idiot’s guide to veganism, vegan 101. To me that was too simple, I wanted it to be more well-rounded, more about compassion. So we jokingly, or maybe not so jokingly, described it as a manifesto for compassion. Being vegan or adopting a vegan lifestyle isn’t enough, we have to think of all the ways we can be kind. Thinking about social justice and workers’ rights and fighting other forms oppression whilst fighting to improve outcomes for animals. OK, how do you think that went down, now that the book has been out for a while? We just celebrated its one year anniversary. I think the reaction it’s had has been really good considering we are still doing back to back interviews for it. So there’s still a lot of interest. But that’s a lot to do with how interested the public are in veganism. It’s a topic which is growing month by month and it’s not going away. If you look how interested people are and talking about and if you look at how much newspapers write about it and if you look at how much mainstream businesses such as supermarkets are pushing vegan products we can see there is clearly a lot of interest. Why do you think this growth in interest has come around? Why all of a sudden?
I of course happy to see veganism to be more accessible and affordable but the change has been slow and organic. I’ve been vegan for 20 years and I’ve seen the changes slowly. But in the last two years, even in the last six months there has been a seismic shift in even how non vegan companies relate to veganism. I think it really just took one or two big named companies to come on board and invest money in it for everybody else to think OK yes this is viable. We saw a lot of big change with someone like Tesco bringing out their Wicked Kitchen range with celebrity vegan chefs Chad and Derek. You know they really tipped the scales. It really made people, the public and businesses sit up and think this is a viable option and invest time in it. Previously the general attitude had been quite sneery, the whole mung beans and hippy fringe angle. That old story was holding it back. Perhaps part of it is to do with a new generation of writers who are happy to embrace it? Yeah. If you choose to live a vegan lifestyle it isn’t a lifestyle of suffering. You can feel celebrated in your choice to go and stay vegan or you can even just dip into vegan now and again if that’s your thing. But going back a little further in time it wasn’t like that it. It did feel that there was bacon joke at
every corner and all you had to eat was a baked potato. Now that there are so many more choices the joke isn’t there anymore. So you know you’re not going to get ridiculed at dinner with friends, you know it’s not going to be an uphill struggle every time you want to go out for a family meal. You can go to almost any high street restaurant or high street chain in the UK now and eat very well as a vegan. It doesn’t feel like a compromise anymore. I think a lot has be said for the vegan cafes and restaurants that have worked tirelessly over the years to present a different option, to come up with imaginative dishes and to support local vegan communities. There’s so many that have been doing that for a long long time and now it seems a little unfair that the big guys are getting the attention. I’m sure that they are getting a lot from it, but what do you think about the small independents and the role they play? Yeah it’s great to have the convenience but nothing is cheap and easy in this world without it costing something. Whether it’s workers not being paid enough by a high street restaurant or somebody sells something for £1 and its vegan, someone along the supply chain is paying for it whether its environmental or low wages. We have to remember that our best option for creating healthy communities is to support local independent business. Don’t forget that we can be vegan and we can make small inroads into capitalism and the effects these big multinationals have on our communities. They take the money and it doesn’t come back. Whereas if we invest in and spend our money with local businesses it stays in our local communities. Yeah it may be that you spend £2.20 instead of £1.20 for a sausage roll. That’s right but long term your community is going to be healthier and wealthier because of that. Eat, Drink and Live Like You Give a Shit is out now via Nourish Books
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Vegan by Kenny Lavelle Page 33
SCOTLAND TRAVEL The East Coast
Travel by Mark & Emma, foodieexplorers.co.uk Page 35
Continuing on our travels around Scotland. This time we focus on the east coast of the country, beginning where many journeys originate out of Edinburgh and across to Fife, the Forth Rail Bridge. We’ve crossed here countless times; if you’re travelling by car rather than by train it makes for an iconic photo op stop. There are plenty of spots to park in South Queensferry, but our advice is to stop at North Queensferry on the Fife-side and head down to the end of Main Street where you’ll not only get a cracking view of the bridge but you will also find the world’s smallest operational light tower! The Harbour Light Tower (KY11 1JG). It’s a mere 24 step climb to the top and only one person can fit in at a time! It’s free to visit, though you can pay for the privilege of lighting the lamp; making you an actual honorary Keeper of the Light! If you plan to eat well in North Queensferry then book a table at The Wee Restaurant (KY11 1JG) as it does fill up fast.
Moving eastwards along the Fife coast we come to Aberdour Castle (KY3 0SL). It’s mostly ruined but parts of it date from 1200 making it one of the two oldest castles in the whole of Scotland! It’s open all year and costs £6 to enter (Young Scot card holders £1). Head past most of the following towns to our next stop Lower Largo, the birthplace of Alexander Selkirk; the inspiration for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Selkirk spent 4 years living as a castaway on the Juan Fernandez islands off the coast of Chile. There’s a statue and memorial dedicated to him located at the house where he was born (KY8 6BP). If you’re looking for a beach holiday you’ll find one here, though you’ll find it a little different to the beaches of Juan Fernandez! East Neuk is full of pretty fishing towns. Take your pick of places to stop from Earlsferry, Elie, St Monans, Pittenweem and Crail - or visit them all if you have time. Earlsferry has an accommodating pub with food in The 19th Hole
Golf Tavern (KY9 1AW), Elie has The Ship Inn (KY9 1DT), one of the few pubs in Scotland where you can get Pimms on draught. There’s a sandy beach, a small lighthouse and a ruined tower along the coast here. At the eastern end of St Monans there’s an unexpected windmill (KY10 2DN) which makes for a good photo op. Pittenweem has St Fillan’s Cave (KY10 2LE), another unexpected but tiny attraction - it only costs £1 to enter! Crail has one of the most photogenic harbours (KY10 3SU) in the whole of the British Isles. Looking for somewhere unusual to stay? Catchpenny Safari Lodges (KY9 1EU) between Ellie and St Monans is a little different. It’s half canvas and half lodge, providing some home comforts with the ruggedness of camping and right beside the sea. It’s also walking distance to Bowhouse Market (KY10 2DB), a food & drink market showcasing the best that Fife has to offer. Open every
“YOU CAN PAY FOR THE PRIVILEGE OF LIGHTING THE LAMP; MAKING YOU AN ACTUAL HONORARY KEEPER OF THE LIGHT! ”
Saturday and Sunday from 10 am - 4 pm. Anstruther is a must stop if you love fish & chips. At the Anstruther Fish Bar (KY10 3AQ) we have queued for a full hour for a fish supper and it’s worth the wait. Kingsbarns Distillery (KY16 8QE) is just north of Crail. It only opened on St Andrews Day 2014. Four and a bit years on and they have released their first whisky, ‘Dream to Dram’. The distillery is open all year round with 4 different tours on offer plus a cafe if you just want somewhere to stop for lunch. Continue along the road and you will soon come to St Andrews, made famous, of course, by golf but if that’s not your thing there is much more to recommend the town. The ruined cathedral for instance - you can actually climb up the steep and narrow staircase of St Rule’s Tower (£5). A £9 ticket lets you visit both the cathedral and nearby castle. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about taxidermy there is the slightly odd Bell Pettigrew Museum (KY16 9TS) which belongs to the university and is completely free to visit. In the summer months you can pick strawberries just outside town but if that sounds like too much hard work, perhaps picking some flavours from the choice of 54 ice creams at Jannettas Gelateria (KY16 9QR) sounds more fun? For drink stops, St Andrews Brewing now have two bars in town (KY16 9EE and KY16 9AD). Before leaving Fife, a recommended food stop is The Newport Restaurant (DD6 8AB) with chef patron and Masterchef winner Jamie Scott at the helm. Pause here for some stylish dishes made with fresh ingredients and views across the River Tay. Time to travel over the Tay Bridge into resurgent Dundee. You can’t miss the V&A. The city is becoming a seriously great place to eat thanks to the likes of Bridgeview Station restaurant (DD1 4DB), Castlehill restaurant (DD1 3DL) and Tayberry restaurant (DD5 2EA) in Broughty Ferry. Here you’ll also find some great historic harbour town pubs like The Ship Inn (DD5 2BR) and The Fisherman’s Tavern (DD5 2AD).
Travel by Mark & Emma, foodieexplorers.co.uk Page 37
Further up the coast you can visit Carnoustie, home to another famous golf course but we want to carry on to Arbroath. The Declaration of Arbroath was actually written for the pope and signed by Scottish noblemen in 1320 to declare Scottish independence from England. It’s believed to have been written in Arbroath Abbey (DD11 1EG), just a ruin nowadays but worth a visit for the history. It’s open all year round and costs £6 to enter (Young Scot card holders £1). We’ve talked a bit about lighthouses already and in Arbroath you will also find the Signal Tower Museum (DD11 1PU). Learn about Arbroath’s connection to the sea through the stories of locals. It’s free to enter and open all year (excluding Sundays, Mondays and some public holidays). We’re suckers for miniature railways and if you are too,
look out for Kerr’s Miniature Railway (DD11 1QD). It re-opens for the season in April. A little up the coast is the village of Auchmithie, said to be the origin of Arbroath Smokies. There’s a small restaurant called The But ‘n’ Ben (DD11 5SQ) where you can enjoy smokies on their own, in soup, or on pancakes. Thankfully their ice cream is smokie-free! Continuing northwards and the largest inland saltwater basin in the UK is the Montrose Basin. Now a designated nature reserve; it’s home to over 80,000 migratory birds. Want to learn more? The Montrose Basin Visitor Centre (DD10 9TA) has binoculars for visitor use, interactive games and regular events. Open all year, entry is £4.50 but events cost extra. Further along the coast is Dunnottar Castle (AB39 2TL). One of the most recognisable castles in Scotland and the spectacular start of the Scottish Castle Trail. Get into castle bagging and discover Aberdeenshire at the same time. There are over 300 miles and 19 castles to explore on this scenic and historic route. Look for the fold out map in tourist information offices. Dunnottar is open all year and entry is £7. Soon you’ll be hitting the city of Aberdeen, which has a wealth of great places to eat. Melt (AB10 6BX) specialises in massive melted grilled cheese sandwiches, while The Ashvale (AB10 6PY) is a fish & chip shop offering up much more than just haddock. If you’re feeling brave, take on ‘The Ashvale Whale’, a one pound haddock fillet for £15.95 (fillets are usually just over half a pound). Eat it all to win another on the house along with a certificate of completion. Carmines (AB10 1NN) is an old school Italian restaurant. It’s been here for decades and is more often filled with locals than tourists. In the same vein is The Grill (AB11 6BA) a classic whisky pub with nearly 600 single malts from Scotland, France, Sweden, India... If beer is more your thing, Six Degrees North (AB10 1FF) have an impressive tap list and selection of Belgian bottles. They brew their own
beer too and the food menu includes such delights as beer soup, Camembert baked in bread and carbonade (Flemish stew). Leave the city behind briefly and head out to Footdee, pronounced ‘Fittie’, to find a hidden fishing village! To the north of the city, Old Aberdeen has the impressive St Machar Cathedral (AB24 1RQ) and the 11 acre Cruickshank Botanic Garden (AB24 3UU). Seaton Park has tranquil riverside walks along the River Don you towards Bridge of Don. Aberdeen is an ideal spot to take a budgetfriendly ferry up to Orkney and Shetland. Both islands famous for their stunning, rugged coastlines, azure coloured seas and wildlife to keep any nature lover happy. Find the latest designs from Jeweler Sheila Fleet at her Kirkwall Gallery (KW15 1HR) or pop into Judith Glue (KW15 1DH), a mixture of clothing, gifts, accessories just across from St Magnus Cathedral. At the rear of the shop there’s The Real Food Cafe which aims to use as much Orcadian produce as possible. Then head North to Shetland. A short journey from Lerwick is Scalloway, which was, until 1708, the capital of the Shetland Islands. Here you will find Scalloway Castle, built in 1600 (Pick up the key to get in from the nearby Scalloway Hotel (ZE1 0TR). If the weather isn’t kind there is always the Scalloway Museum next door (ZE1 0TP). Here you can find out about The Shetland Bus; part of the Norwegian resistance against the occupation of Norway by Germany. It would be rude when visiting Shetland not to visit Shetland Reel (ZE2 9TN), surely the more remote distillery ever? The former RAF site at Saxa Vord, Unst has self-catering accommodation a seasonal hostel and bar/restaurant to keep you occupied on those long summer nights. Back to the mainland - a little north of Aberdeen is Newburgh, where, at the aptly named Newburgh Seal Beach you can watch seals from a relatively close distance. Bring a camera with a zoom lens if you have one. The Newburgh Inn
(AB41 6BP) is a comfortable place to spend the night within walking distance of the seals. Just a few more miles north is Slains Castle (AB42 0NE), considered a possible inspiration for the one in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. He spent a night in Cruden Bay and visited the castle before writing his most famous work. Travelling northwest, all along the northern Grampian coast are quaint villages like Pennan (AB43 6HY), which featured in the movie ‘Local Hero’. Crovie and Gardenstown are also worth seeing. Follow the coast further west and just past Portsoy is Glenglassaugh Distillery (AB45 2SQ), another ‘new’ distillery. It’s actually been there since 1875 but only reopened in 2008. It’s one of the few Speyside distilleries to produce peated whiskies. Continue this way past the town of Cullen, made famous by the soup of smoked haddock, potato, onion and cream which originates from around these parts. Nairn is definitely worth a stop to admire the beach and get some air about you before journeying on to Inverness. Just before reaching Inverness there’s Culloden Battlefield (IV2 5EU). The site of bloody last battle of the Jacobite Rising, with a visitor centre and interactive exhibition. visitscotland.com
Travel by Mark & Emma, foodieexplorers.co.uk Page 39
LGBT+ NEWS MANCHESTER PRIDE Manchester Pride has announced what may be the biggest, gayest line-up to have ever graced the billboard of any event. Headlined by Ariana Grande and Years and Years, the line-up boasts my current pop obsession Kim Petras, Liberty X, Freemasons and, perhaps my personal highlight, Bananarama. The revelation, however, has sparked a huge outcry, namely the acquisition of Ariana as the headliner, given that she is a straight cisgender woman. The price – £75 for the weekend – has also come under fire, with critics contending that Pride should be a free, political event and not an overpriced pop show for straight people. There are arguments on both sides: yes, Pride in its bones should be a protest, and everyone should have access to make a statement regardless of their income. And yes, Pride is a statement. However, Ariana, apart from being the world’s biggest pop star at the moment, has cut her teeth as a pretty reliable straight ally, and in times like these shouldn’t we be keeping our allies on-side rather than creating more division? Where do I stand? Pride should be for everyone, and to be honest, as long as there is a march, floats, positivity and 1000 drag queens and Kylie impersonators, I don’t need an insane line-up to make Pride amazing.
“EVEN DURING AWARDS SEASON, HE RARELY, IF EVER, TOUCHED ON MERCURY’S SEXUALITY OR AIDS DIAGNOSIS” RAMI MALEK Rami Malek won an Oscar for playing Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, which is nice because he is the first Egyptian actor to win the award, but he’s still a straight man playing a bisexual man who died of AIDS. Even during awards season, he rarely, if ever, touched on Mercury’s sexuality or AIDS diagnosis, which is very Jared Leto, but he did make an attempt to do so in his speech; but even then, it wasn’t ideal. Malek stated that “We made a film about a gay man, an immigrant, who lived his life just unapologetically himself. The fact that I’m celebrating him and
this story with you tonight is proof that we’re longing for stories like this.” Neglecting to do his research and confirm that Mercury was actually bisexual, not gay. And yes, Olivia Coleman winning an Oscar for playing a bisexual woman is also frustrating. And yes, Mahershala Ali won his second Oscar for playing a queer character. Maybe I’m just crabbit and splitting hairs because I resent seeing another straight actor play the role of an LGBT+ character at the expense of someone actually in the community, accepting awards and adulation for taking such a big risk. Maybe things will get better in terms of LGBT+ actors being cast for the appropriate role or even playing straight cisgender roles. Imagine!
“undermining of parental rights and aggressively promoting homosexuality”, according to Alum Rock Community Forum. The parents’ main criticism seems to have been how openly LGBT+ “lifestyles” are being addressed and taught in school, seemingly against their values and rights as parents to do decide on whether or not they learn about LGBT+ issues. This comes as a result of head teacher Andrew Moffat’s “No Outsiders” programme to promote equality and discourage homophobia. Ofsted released a statement contending that “It’s about making sure that children who do happen to realise that they themselves may not fit a conventional pattern know that they’re not bad, they’re not ill. And, at the end of the day, it’s something that the vast majority of faith schools, even those which clearly teach that homosexuality is not right in their faith, still manage to do in a sensitive and careful way that absolutely does fulfil the law and we report on that very regularly in our inspection reports.” We’re very fortunate in Scotland that LGBT+ history and issues must be taught in schools, following the tireless work of organisations like the TIE Campaign.
ANTI LGBT+ SCHOOL PROTEST Hundreds of school children have been withdrawn by their parents from school in protest of their LGBT-inclusive curriculum. Around 600 pupils are missing class in response to the LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 41
GARETH THOMAS LGBT+ EQUALITY PLAN Theresa May has announced an LGBT+ equality plan that pledges to rid of “the abhorrent act” of conversion therapy. This follows the news that the practice is more prevalent than initially thought, with upwards of 108,000 LGBT+ citizens thought to have undergone a “gay cure.” The focus on conversion therapy forms one of 75 commitments in the action plan – alongside a £4.5m fund – to tackle issues raised by the LGBT+ community in a survey taken last summer. May claims that she “was struck by just how many respondents said they cannot be open about their sexual orientation or avoid holding hands with their partner in public for fear of a negative reaction. No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love. We can be proud that the UK is a world leader in advancing LGBT+ rights, but the overwhelming response to our survey has shone a light on the many areas where we can improve the lives of LGBT+ people.” Which is funny, because I am in turn struck by how she fails to see the irony of crowning herself a champion of LGBT+ equality while actively relying on the DUP, arguably the most hateful and homophobic organisation in UK politics, to maintain any power. LGBT campaigner Peter Tatchell also points out that in regards to this new plan, “the biggest fail is the lack of any pledge to end the detention and deportation of LGBT+ refugees fleeing persecution in violently homophobic countries like Uganda, Iran, Russia, Egypt and Jamaica,” which is something our community finds deeply disturbing and people in power should act on. I particularly enjoy the small print of the plan, which specifies that the act will see “varying levels of effect across the four nations of the UK, owing to existing devolution arrangements.” Hmm…
Gareth Thomas is a handsome darling. What a fine specimen in every sense. He has carved out for himself an amazing legacy of rugby and stuff but more importantly championing LGBT+ rights in sports. His latest campaign sees him work to ensure that homophobic language at football matches is outlawed; supporting discussions to revise the 1991 Football Offenses Act which made indecent or racist remarks illegal at sports matches. Amending the act will make indecent chanting or gesturing with reference to sexual orientation or gender identity illegal. According to The Independent, a 2016 report from Stonewall found nearly three-quarters of football fans - 72 per cent - claimed to have heard homophobic abuse while watching live sports. As if watching football isn’t bad enough. Fun fact: FIFA served the Mexican Football Federation with a $10,000 fine as a result of “discriminatory and insulting” homophobic chants at a Mexico v. Germany game. The Mexican fans thoroughly enjoy chanting the word “puta,” which means male prostitute, to distract players trying to score goals by attempting to humiliate or emasculate them. Ah, the beautiful game.
GIRL Showcased at Glasgow Film Festival 2019, Belgian newcomer Lukas Dhont presents his debut Girl, a coming of age story exploring the journey of a transgender teenager as she navigates her transition while training at the country’s most prestigious ballet academy. We follow Lara, a 15 year old ballerina in the making, as she begins hormone treatment, looks after her little brother and struggles with the physical and emotional demands of her gender identity. The relationship between Lara and her progressive, supportive father is quite compelling. It’s heart-warming to see Lara’s father so involved and actively progressive. Their barriers in communication are naturalistic and genuine – no doubt representative of conversations between parents and children across the globe, regardless of gender – and add an additional layer of frustration and poignancy to the film. Girl’s ballet sequences are brilliantly executed; frantic and closed in on Lara’s face, the film’s most intense and dramatic moments appear in rehearsal. The handheld camera creates a sense of intimacy with Lara, which is certainly effective given how isolated by others she seems to be. We see Lara physically endure a great amount of physical pain and her repeated sequences begin to read as torturous; at no point did I ever feel like Lara adored and consumed ballet the way one should when training to be a ballerina, but perhaps this was intentional. Lara is unhealthily obsessed with her transition, which in itself is troubling. It is disappointing and somewhat counterintuitive to accept the protagonist is played, albeit capably, by a cisgender male
actor. Why insist on depicting and investing so emotionally in a transgender journey only to overlook the artists capable of bringing the story to life? Polster delivers a stellar, naturalistic performance regardless; particularly impressive given this is his first feature film. He encapsulates the tenderness and awkwardness of a vulnerable teenager succinctly, nailing particularly the flushfaced frustration when things for Lara seem at their most bleak. Incredibly subtle and poignant, Polster’s performance is a far cry from the mainstream actors oh-so-bravely taking on trans roles and humbly accepting the accolades for their efforts. But casting feels like the least of the film’s issues. Girl feels tone deaf when it comes to addressing the story of a transgender teenage girl. Granted there is no one transgender story and the film may well be an authentic portrayal of someone’s own journey. However, I feel the film focuses too much on the physical nature of transitioning, for one. The camera fixates on bodies, often from the waist down, and it feels unnecessary to see LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 43
Lara’s naked, vulnerable body on display quite so frequently. The film’s most graphic scene feels gratuitous and unnecessary, an unsurprising development that robs the film of any credibility. The director’s intention feels unclear, but it reads as crass and dangerous. Her doctors and father insist on telling her she looks like a beautiful girl and tell her it’s “such a shame” she can’t see that herself, which feels like a clumsy misstep. The aggressions Lara faces are difficult to endure; between clumsy misgendering and cruel, almost-unwatchable peer bullying, the film intersperses the warm embrace of Lara’s trans journey with shards of uncomfortable transphobia, as a blunt reminder that even in a supportive environment such mircoagressions are commonplace. It’s hard to stomach the way some characters humiliate Lara; what is harder to endure is the way in which the film itself often treats her. Overall, Girl is a complex film. Beautifully shot, it attempts to offer a physically and emotionally demanding portrayal of a young trans girl’s journey. Whether or not this film achieves this is not easily surmised; I feel in 2019 we no longer should expect to see trans stories – especially in relation to trans youth – so vigorously violent and almost cautionary. While an ambitious and often poignant film debut, Girl misses the mark in its exploration of a journey so rarely explored well on the big screen. The casting is frustrating, but the clumsy mishandling of Lara’s story feels like the bigger crime.
“GIRL MISSES THE MARK IN ITS EXPLORATION OF A JOURNEY SO RARELY EXPLORED WELL ON THE BIG SCREEN.”
GCRC – CONNECT LIVE Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis patron, Lauren Mayberry launches ‘Connect Live’ In 1976 a group of women opened the first rape crisis centre in Scotland, giving up their time for free to ensure that survivors of sexual violence could get support over the phone. The ‘helpline’ was one phone and an answering machine. A lot has changed in the Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis Centre in the 43 years since, but one thing remains the same; their service is still staffed by an amazing group of women who donate their time and specialised skills for free. In February, Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis patron Lauren Mayberry of CVRCHES, launched GCRC’s newly rebranded helpline, Connect Live at the band’s homecoming gig at the Glasgow Hydro. Connect Live offers survivors of rape, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation a range of ways to get access to support from Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis. The experience GCRC has gained working with survivors of sexual violence has shown the centre the difficulty many survivors have taking that first step towards making their first contact. Connect Live co-ordinator, Angie Hawk says, “We talk to the survivors who use our service, we ask them how we can improve it and we respond to their suggestions where we can. We understand the barriers many survivors face when they seek support and as a support organisation, it’s our job to make sure our service is accessible to any survivor who needs support. That’s our responsibility” ... “Survivors using our service can connect with a ‘live’ worker during our opening hours – a worker who is a specially trained, trauma informed practitioner.” You can donate now to help GCRC train new volunteers & purchase tech that helps them innovate to improve access to support. glasgowclyderapecrisis.org.uk/content/ donate/ Freephone helpline 08088 00 00 14
LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 45
JOSÉ Glasgow Film Festival 2019 presented USChinese director Li Cheng’s second feature film José, a romantic drama that won the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival. José (played by Enrique Salanic) lives in a tiny, run-down house with his mother in Guatemala, working in a sandwich deli and finding ways to hide his sexuality and engage in promiscuity. One encounter with a man called Luis results in a meaningful relationship that causes José to contemplate what matters the most to him: being the supportive, dedicated son he is expected to be or the possibility of true love, escaping his oppressive city life and starting again.
“JOSÉ SUCCEEDS IN PORTRAYING THE COMPLEX LIFE OF A TYPICAL GAY MAN”
Life for LGBT+ people is complicated in Central and South America: we only have to search the name Jair Bolsnoaro to gauge how dire times are for the Brazilian LGBT+ community. In Guatemala, for example, same-sex marriage is still not recognised, there are no laws protecting the rights or lives of transgender citizens and the law only prohibits some forms of anti-discrimination. In the late 1990s, there were several reports by the United Nations and some NGOs that LGBT people in Guatemala were being systematically targeted for death as part of a “social cleansing campaign,” while in a 2014 poll, 61% of those surveyed opposed same-sex marriage. Of course, over time attitudes towards LGBT+ people have evolved for the better in Guatemala, but the discrimination faced by people in reality serves as an important context for the film, clarifying the confines of José’s life. The tragedy of the story comes in its depiction of José’s loyalty to his mother. He is forever tethered to her, confined by a sense of duty to protect and serve her. His mother may be a pleasant, good enough person but she possesses the power to emotionally manipulate him, most likely without realising it. The family adheres to firm religious values and exemplify the unfaltering significance of dedication to your parents at the expense of José’s happiness. Depicting any other alternative to this co-dependent relationship would feel inauthentic and instead invites the audience to understand a little more the complexities of LGBT+ life in Central American countries like Guatemala. José and Luis convey an authentic chemistry at the start of their relationship; their intimate, vulnerable examination of each other’s scars is a beautiful moment, and the trajectory of their relationship does have an emotional impact on the audience. Their day trip on the motorbike provides the film with its most earnst, pure moment as Luis caresses José’s ears and face as he drives, and for a brief moment we see José at his happiest and most content: a rare glimmer of joy in a pretty dismal state of affairs. I also appreciate the scenes
in which José’s straight colleagues and friends are openly amorous, contrasting the freedom and liberty to love that José does not possess, and inquisitive as to his romantic life, oblivious to his clandestine promiscuity behind their backs. It is in the film’s more dramatic moments, however, that the leads’ performances come off as a little wooden. The fight between José and Luis falls flat, which is frustrating given the palpable chemistry on display earlier. And the film’s sequencing is a double edge sword: the film follows no distinct plot, instead offering a series of moments of varying significance. This functions well when exploring José’s promiscuity and various sexual encounters – brief, largely meaningless, void of authentic intimacy – but there are few scenes that let the story breathe. A quiet, contemplative film, José succeeds in portraying the complex life of a typical gay man balancing the tethered pressure of family loyalty with his own quest for love and fulfilment. There are a host of intimate, subtle moments throughout the film to explore this balance at great length, perhaps to a fault: a little more tension and meaningful dialogue, delivered with passion and intensity, would elevate the film. But José is a reflective, sensual drama that offers a little insight into an often overlooked segment of our global community.
LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 47
CAROL MORLEY Director Carol Morley has long been making a name for herself in the film world, from her first feature length documentary, the zeitgeist capturing The Alcohol Years where an unseen Morley interviews (mostly) men about the time when they knew her in 80’s Manchester (this is a great place to start if you wish to understand Carol and her work), to her 2011 study of modern loneliness, Dreams Of A Life, about a woman who died in her flat but was not discovered until three years after the fact. In 2015 she was awarded the Wellcome Trust Screenwriting Fellowship by the BFI and Film4, giving her access to the most advanced scientific and humanities research available in the world. These points have informed her new film Out Of Blue, an elliptical and powerful neo-noir concerning a murder case and its investigator Mike Hoolihan played by the ever great Patricia Clarkson. At the 2019 Glasgow Film Festival with Out of Blue, we caught up with Morley to discuss her work. How did you get started in film? I left school at 16 and went to study A levels in film and photography. I started to explore film and what it could do. Because It was film then, using super 8, cutting it up yourself, editing it. How was the transition to features? I started to make documentaries, for me it was all about telling a story. As I carried on I wanted to work on different things on a larger scale because it’s exciting and challenging. I love cinema. It is comparable to writing novels and short stories. It’s like, you can have loads of ideas in short stories that are really exciting but when you write a novel you can really expand on those ideas. You adapted the book Night Train by Martin Amis for Out of Blue, how was that process?
I didn’t know what it would be like, I had never adapted anything before. I’d heard some stories about how difficult it was, but I actually found it quite freeing. I read the book, decided I wanted to do it, read it again and let it percolate. Then I began to own the characters. I added characters such as Ian Strammi (played by Toby Jones), which is an anagram of Martin Amis! There was one point when I read Martin Amis great memoir
Experience, he mentioned Night Train and the protagonist Mike, and I thought ‘How does he know Mike?’ I’d forgotten he’d written it! I think my version is very different from the book but honours the themes of the book. The cast you assembled for this film is extraordinary. Can you talk about casting, especially Patricia Clarkson and James Caan? I wrote Ian Strammi for Toby Jones, I had to ‘ave him! With American casting it was more difficult because people can go do a series for 7 years and so on. With Patricia, I really love her from stuff like The Station Agent and High Art. We sent her the script, and within a week she said yes, so I went to meet her. She really became Mike and she really holds the film, you can’t take your eyes off her. We sent James Caan the screenplay and went to the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is his haunt, to meet him. I got him to try avocado on toast which he thought was the most bizarre thing ever! He told brilliant anecdotes about working on movies, about Marlon Brando. He was very challenging, exciting to work with. I didn’t feel
intimidated by him. I loved working with him, he’s a real character. Aesthetically were there any specific influences you had? Obviously a lot of the noir and neo-noir stuff. I was very influenced by Chinatown because it’s from the protagonist Jake Gittes point of view, he’s always there. I love Douglas Sirk’s work. Hitchcock. I really loved Brian De Palma’s Sisters. He plays around with the nature of an investigation. Also Donnie Darko because of the parallel universes idea and the fact you can read that film in so many different ways. What’s your next project? I came across this archive of Audrey Amiss, when she died in 2013 her son and daughter found sketches and diaries she had kept. She studied fine art in the 50’s, and had what she described as her original breakdown. She became a paranoid schizophrenic and spent her whole life in psychiatric wards. It’s going to challenge the nature of a biopic and tell her story without demonising her illness. Out of Blue will be released on 29th March
Film by Martin Sandison Page 49
THE NEW OLD WEST ‘It’s the wild wild west, when I roll into the wild wild west, when I stroll into the wild wild west, when I bounce into the wild wild wild west.....’ - A Will Smith proverb. Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) was released 6 months ago, October 2018. It was the first time I’d ever attended a game launch. Having pre-ordered the game, I’d taken the following day off work and was ready to submerge myself in the Old West. I arrived at the shop experiencing the excitement of Jason Robards finding water in Sam Peckinpah’s The Ballad Of Cable Hogue. Alas, when I get home I put in the disc only to be greeted
“A FORSAKEN LANDSCAPE DESTINED TO BECOME THE ULTIMATE CINEMATIC CANVAS.”
with the now ubiquitous install screen telling me to wait several hours. I went to sleep, ready to begin my western adventure in the morning. The Old West, a vast plain of suffering, strife, life, death and change. A forsaken landscape destined to become the ultimate cinematic canvas. The Western genre is a celebrated fantasy regardless of age. My love of the genre began while watching High Noon with my Dad, as a child. The moment I heard Gary Cooper say ‘They’re making me run, I’ve never run from anybody before’ to his new Bride (played by Grace Kelly) I was smitten. Cooper can escape,
he is moving to another town to enjoy a different vocation with his new bride; but he’s never run, and he won’t start now. The film is depicted in real time and the beautiful scenes involving the town clock and the countdown to the inevitable violence are still some of the finest examples of film making I’ve experienced. In the Wild West there are two choices. There is Good and there is Evil. I always loved that it’s so clear cut. It was beyond any child’s dream that there would be a video game that allowed you to BE a cowboy in the old west. RDR2 allows you to be that cowboy: robbing a train, duelling with an enemy at sunset, saving a town from outlaws or simply taking care of cattle. It steeps you in the morality of the West. On occasion you will be faced with a choice; do you return the money or steal it? Does the person live or die? Do you stop the robbery or participate? Whatever you decide, be you Good or Evil, the definitive experience of the West is here. The game strives to put you into the western, and into some of the film genre’s most iconic moments. The story resembles The Wild Bunch: the changing times are forcing outlaws to run and no matter how far you get, the law, and the modernisation the law represents, is coming. The stylised violence with intricate cuts between action and slow motion is still unnerving. It is very rare for a film to capture the chaos of battle in such a beautiful way. Almost every action film, from John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow to Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, all show influences. In RDR2 you and your posse somehow have to get the money you need to get out of the West escape your almost certain fate while you still can and. Even the gun battles in RDR2 are often interrupted to show the bullets hitting in slow motion from various angles, simulating the spectacle of the film. The game adopts a ‘dead eye’ system allowing you to slow down time and target your enemies. Few games can deliver the satisfaction of gunning down 4 bank robbers in ultra slow motion.
The game is set in an expansive world, that covers both the driest desert and the snowiest mountains. These settings immerse you in a world reminiscent of Sergio Corbucci’s Django or his masterpiece, often dubbed ‘The Snowy Western’, The Great Silence. RDR2 is the most immersive game I have ever played. At times I would deliberately ignore passers by just to enjoy the simple act of riding a horse; this everyday act can be transformed into a cinematic experience with crane shots and various other angles, all achieved with the touch of a button. After one of those lengthy horse rides, someone grabs me and throws me off my horse. I stumble, get up and find myself confronted by 4 bandits, hell-bent on robbing me of my possessions and my horse. I hear a chime, a delicate sound in the background and recognise it from Sergio Leone’s For A Few Dollars More. They are facing me. I relax, slow the world down, draw my pistol and take all of them out with a single draw. I finally felt, if only for a moment, like Gary Cooper.
Film by Chris Grant Page 51
16 March â€“ 26 May 2019
This Spring The Fruitmarket Gallery are showing the first solo institutional exhibition of the work of Senga Nengudi outside the United States. Originally organised by the Henry Moore Institute, the exhibition brings together pioneering sculpture, photography and documentation of performance from 1969 to the present, including recreations of work not seen since the 1970s and a major new installation. Born in Chicago in 1943, Senga Nengudi has been a trailblazer in sculpture for fifty years. A vital figure in the avantgarde scenes of Los Angeles and New York in the 1960s and 1970s, her work is characterised by a persistently radical experimentation with material and form. Free. fruitmarket.co.uk
Senga Nengudi Performance with ‘Inside/ Outside Winter 1977’, 1977. Courtesy the artist; Lévy Gorvy, New York, London; and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York Photo: Ken Peterson above Senga Nengudi Performance Piece, 1978 Courtesy the artist; Lévy Gorvy, New York, London; and Thomas Erben Gallery, New York. Photo: Harmon Outlaw left
Visual Arts Page 53
BROKEN SKIN Pepper and cinnamon scented the farmhouse kitchen, warmed by the blazing coal fire. There was a telly no one but the grandfather was allowed to turn on in one corner, faced by the plastic covered settee. The table was set for the next meal. Always the sugar bowl and milk jug covered against flies—ready in case any of the men arrive in demanding to be fed and watered. Sometimes there’d be cake. That day there was none. ‘Watch the new dog,’ the grandmother said as she’d thrust her feet into her wellie boots and marched out to feed the hens. The flowery pinny she wore over her polyester breeks and shirt, whapped against her legs as she went. She wheezed when she spoke, as if she’d been running. The grandmother couldn’t have been much past forty, but her hands were already twisted by arthritis and her lungs damaged from the chaff and dust of the harvests. They’d looked at each other— the dirty white mongrel and the child with rats’ tails of hair and hand-me-down clothes. The child, a solitary creature their self, was at an age when they still tried to make friends with all the creatures they met. This was the first time she and the new dog had been alone together since her grandfather had brought it back with him late one night. When they’d asked where it came from he’d said, ‘It fell af the back o’ a lorry.’ This was his set answer for any such question. The child scratched at their neck where the woollen jumper prickled. The dog watched them. It was down on its haunches, cowering a little, trembling. It hadn’t been given a name yet. In the end it got a human type name like Glen or Bob or Ian—no one remembers exactly. The grandmother turned the electric light off on her way out to the hens. The windows had lacy screens on their bottom halves. There were shadows in the corners. The floor was black and white like a draughts board. The child sat down on the rug, raising dust that floated up into the sunlight. The dog jumped, made a noise in its throat and looked away. There was a dead bee on the rug. The child sat and stared at it. Finally they pushed it with their foot. When there was no response, they picked it up by a transparent wing, held it to the sun—inspected it. The dog shuffled further away. ‘Look. It’s dead. It can’t hurt us,’ they said, holding the bee carcass out to the shaking dog. He looked away. They held it closer. ‘Look!’ Dog-teeth connected with child-skin. F. E. Clark
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