The old converted chocolate factory in the Broughton area seems an unlikely place for the vibrant heart of many creative, independent businesses, but never the less, there they are. With another open weekend, they open the doors to the talent that lies within.
Edinburgh these days feels like strolling through Santa Claus’ winter wonderland. Blinking trees, gift ribbon decorated houses and sparkling light chains illuminate the town. Once again, Edinburgh’s Christmas market opens its doors, adding extra glow to Scotland’s capital.
The first instalment of Hings was published in July this year and was an immediate hit in the Scottish literary community.
Comparisons were made between McQueer, Irvine Welsh and Limmy for his surreal humour and focus on Glasgow’s working class community.
His publishers discovered McQueer when he submitted a short story to the first issue of their magazine in November last year.
They invited him to read at the launch party for the Error issue, where he read an extract from ‘The Dug’.
“We loved Chris from the moment his short story ‘The Universe Factory’ landed in our inbox,” said 404 Ink when they announced Hings in March. “After bringing down the house with his readings we knew 404 had to publish him,” his publishers commented.
Prior to submitting his work, McQueer was already publishing his work on the long-form writing platform, Medium.
He had generated thousands of followers on Twitter, a community that 404 Ink were able to tap into when promoting the book.
One of their tactics included encouraging Twitter users to Photoshop images of Hings into pop culture pictures.
404 Ink are known for their innovative approach to promoting books online, and were nominated for a Creative Edinburgh Award on Monday.
Deep within a third floor gallery on the outskirts of the city centre, hides the Grown Together Exhibition.
The Grown Together exhibition experiments with nature and beauty in unique and powerful ways, and includes the collaborative work of eighteen artists.
The sparse surroundings add extra atmosphere to stunning and original pieces that evoke real emotion from its audience.
With a vibrant mix of audio, visual and poetry, this display shows our various connections to nature, and the beauty of the world around us.
Artist Anne Gilchrist said: “I have grown steadily to understand the terrible consequences of human disconnect from nature and hope my work may speak for the non-human.”
And this is the reality of the pieces that are on display, a real examination of our impact on our surroundings.
The diversity of the artists shows a full and colourful approach that never repeats or bores, and each piece of work offers an insightful and mesmerising view into the creator’s mind-set.
Participating artist Isabell Buenz has always been inspired by the natural world, using paper and old books within her work quite regularly.
“I work with seconds, discarded paper and books. The books I use are second hand from charity shops, donations or discarded library books. When I create my book sculptures I use books and book pages that are relevant to the subject of the event,” Buenz said.
She goes on to describe her work with the gallery as:
“Probably one of the best exhibitions I have been part of. It deserves to be shown in a nationally acclaimed gallery.”
This is a comment reiterated by many, that this exhibition deserves more exposure due to the high level of talent that is on display.
The work was put together by artist and curator Tansy Lee Moir. It is situated in Gallery One, St Margaret’s House, and is free entry.
According to a press release by the Kings Theatre, “It’s just a scabby wee book, what the fuck is all the fuss about?” is the question Irvine Welsh asked himself before seeing the first rehearsals of the stage adaptation of Trainspotting back in 1994.
Director Gareth Nicholls brings the story back to the Kings Theatre 23 years after the wee book about the underbelly of Leith’s drug scene gained global notoriety through film and multiple stage productions.
Nicholls’ production however draws from the original book, play and film, combing them to make a new piece of theatre.
Even before the show started the crowd was drawn into Thatcher’s Britain with a well thought out pre-curtain soundtrack, building anticipation by rekindling fond memories of the film.
After the recent success of T2, revisiting the original story seemed to be a logical step.
The first scene dropped straight into the middle of the story and automatically gave any new viewers an insight into the characters and where the story was going to take us. Renton (Lorn Macdonald) and Spud (Gavin Jon Wright) sat in a spotlight discussing how not to get the job they were both applying for: “a wee dap ay speed just the ticket.”
The first thing that was very apparent was how accurate both of the young actors’ Edinburgh accents were, something that McGregor’s on screen Renton lacked. It was a set up for what was going to be a very enjoyable performance.
With a cast of just five and multiple characters to include, it was interesting to see how the actors were going to cope portraying such well known fictional personalities.
This was achieved seamlessly. The costume changes were so quick that sometimes it was hard to notice that they had been offstage at all. This was matched by the ability of the actors to move between their personas.
Although it was hard to fault a single performance, a special mention has to be given to Jon Wright’s portrayal of Spud. From comic timing allowing time for the laughter to settle between his jokes to his facial expressions and his movement, he had the character down to a tee.
The inclusion of long monologues for all of the characters helped to give the story real depth. The script also expanded the story to include a lot of important material which the film did not and the first hour flew by.
The dark humour of the book was masterfully delivered, giving light to the hopelessness of the time and occasionally making you question if you should be laughing at all.
Given the growing gap between the social classes and the rise in drug-related deaths in Scotland, the story is as relevant today as it was in 1994.
Whether you are a fan of the original or someone who is new to Trainspotting, this is a five star performance which should not be missed.