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.
In an interview with Canadian current affairs publication, Maclean’s Magazine, the iconic British singer-songwriter, Kate Bush, expressed her admiration for the UK Prime Minister. In the process, Bush has angered much of her fan-base.
When asked in the interview whether “the fear [of women in power] is stronger than ever” in the wake of Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the US Presidential election, Bush spoke approvingly of UK leader Theresa May.
“We have a female prime minister here in the UK. I actually really like her and think she’s wonderful. I think it’s the best thing that’s happened to us in a long time. She’s a very intelligent woman but I don’t see much to fear. I will say it is great to have a woman in charge of the country. She’s very sensible and I think that’s a good thing at this point in time.”
With its immediate chart success, use of artistic music videos, and a recent single cover already making BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, The Weeknd’s latest album Starboy seems to have made a huge impression on the music industry.
Currently experiencing the yearly panic attack because you’re still trying to figure out what to give your loved ones for Christmas? We’ve got some tips for you that will also protect your wallet!
Give something that’s already been loved
Thrift shops offer a great variety of gifts that will make your loved ones happy. The best thing about it: The unique items have already been loved by their previous owners and can now make someone new happy. Plus: By buying gifts at thrift shops, you usually support a good cause as well. And, of course, bargains, bargains, bargains!
Home baked goods are the essence of Christmas, so get yourself some nice little cookie boxes (e.g. from Amazon) and start baking! Or why not try Allrecipes’ formula for the perfect ‘cinnamon stars’?
Help your loved ones take a break from reality
Books are always a great gift. What could be nicer than a quick escape into a fictional world – where all the Christmas panic can be forgotten quickly and easily?
Find these at Waterstones and Urban Outfitters.
Remind them of you even after Christmas is over
Give your dearest something that will remind them of you long after Christmas is over – be they very fancy disco cups, their new favourite pyjamas, some warmth from you in form of a very special hot water bottle, or the tape dispenser they always dreamt of…
Find these at Urban Outfitters, H&M, Primark, and New Look
And of course, you can always go for the classics
Some things never get old! Classics, such as cozy socks, shower gel sets, calendars, or Santa Claus in all possible shapes are always a safe bet.
Find these at Primark, The Body Shop, H&M, Superdrug, and Waterstones
I’m sorry to disappoint, but we’re looking at yet another week of freezing weather… Since it always helps to have a reason to leave the house, here’s our top 5 things to do in Edinburgh this week: Continue reading Top 5 things to do this week→
The stars of Allied, Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, are preposterously beautiful people. It’s not fair, to be honest.
Place these two actors in any scene, and their presence can be somewhat show-stealing.
Not so in director Robert Zemeckis’ Allied, a film that from the start has a decidedly old-fashioned feel – in the best possible way. Both Pitt and Cotillard are classic movie stars, of a kind that is too rare these days. The movie itself has a somewhat timeless aura to it, often feeling as though Allied could have been filmed at any time over the past 60 years, apart from the odd modern flourish that Zemeckis brings to the screen. Continue reading Film review: Allied→
Father John Misty released a new song this morning via soundcloud.
“Holy Hell” is another politically charged hymn by the American singer/songwriter (also see “Real Love Baby”, “This Is America”, and “Trump’s Pilot”, which he released earlier this year).
Whereas the new song lacks in musical originality and might be considered one of many piano ballads out there, it certainly does not when it comes to its lyrics.
Recognizing that “the future ain’t looking so bright…” and lamenting about the United States’ current political situation at first, Father John Misty ends the song stating “But all my friends, yeah, I’m talking to you. The world won’t end unless we want it to. There’s no one in control. And it’s our life to choose.”
The song thus shows a neat transition from complaining about what recently happened to finally, in the end, reassuring that the current situation does not have to be the very end.
“Holy Hell” is certainly a song worth listening to, even if it’s just for its critical, topical lyrics.
The Beach Boys have been announced as the closing act for the next Montrose Music Festival.
After more than half a century on the stage, the iconic Californian band will be playing their signature tunes to the festival audience on Sunday, 28 May.
For its 10th anniversary, the Montrose Music Festival chose to bring The Beach Boys’ ‘good vibrations’ and an assortment of their legendary pop songs to Scotland’s trademark beach resort.
In an official statement, singer and co-founding member Mike Love said: “It is great that 50 years plus we are still in a position to be touring and sharing our music with fans around the world.”
“We’re really looking forward to performing outdoors in Montrose, and being part of this popular festival.”
“It’s going to be a great night.”
The festival’s organisers are ecstatic about having the pop legends from the 60s lined up as well. David Paton, Chairman of the Montrose Music Festival, said: “We’re delighted that The Beach Boys are joining us for a special Sunday night show to bring our tenth annual live music festival to a close.”
“The Beach Boys are renowned as one of the biggest selling bands of all time, and we just can’t believe that they’re joining us for MoFest 2017. This is a really exciting time for MoFest and we promise an exceptional festival.”
Tickets for the show go on sale at 09:00 a.m. on Friday 25 November.
The Australian music sensation is back, and just in time to spread more holiday cheer. However, this friendly neighbour isn’t singing the traditional carols. Ms Minogue debuted her brand new track ‘At Christmas’ on BBC Radio 2 this morning.
The cheerful tune kicks off with a keyboard-riff, not dissimilar to The Foundations’ ‘Build Me Up, Buttercup’, and accompanying sleigh bells. It’s not long before the ‘Can’t Get You out of My Head’ hit-maker chimes in with lyrics taking you through all four seasons.
She leads us into a chorus of musical cheer juxtaposed with winter blue words that fits right onto our playlist of classic Christmas pop songs.
The jingle may not be ‘Santa Baby’ but there’s a good chance Kylie will once again be the star at the top of this year’s Christmas charts.
That’s not to say Bobby Gillespie and Co. have ever been content just to keep things the way they are. Over the course of 11 albums and almost three decades, the Glaswegian band has been defined by a willingness to reach out and experiment with new and exciting sounds. Even so, it’s just nice to think that Primal Scream will always be Primal Scream, regardless of what new or exciting sounds they choose to explore.
Stuck in the capital this week with nothing to do?
Follow our guide to find the best events Edinburgh has to offer.
5. Cinderella – Australian Ballet
STARRING: Leanne Stojmenov, Kevin Jackson, Ako Kondo
Released: 23rd November
Picture Credit: The Australian Ballet
The classic fairy-tale returns in beautiful ballet form. If you can’t catch it on stage, you can watch it at your local cinema.
The award-winning, critically acclaimed production, created by Alexei Ratmansky, one of the world’s most sought after choreographers, puts a twist on the story of Cinderella, her wicked step-mother and sisters and of course the glass slipper.
After sell-out seasons in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide the show makes its way to London, and various Vue cinemas, including Edinburgh. Be sure not to miss the ball.
4. Book Week Scotland
Scotland’s Book Week
Book Week Scotland, beginning yesterday (Monday 21st) and is running until Sunday 27th November, is a week-long event organised by the Scottish Book Trust that aims to celebrate reading and writing amongst the young and the old alike.
Featuring talks and events across the country, speakers like Tony Robinson and Val McDermid will be appearing to discuss their work and love of literature face to face with readers. For any lover of books, this one is not to be missed!
3. Edinburgh Christmas Market
Edinburgh Christmas Market began this week with Sunday’s Light Night which officially launched Christmas in Edinburgh.
From Five Guys Named Moe on the West End stage to the European Christmas Market in Princes Street Gardens.
Get yourself in the Christmas mood and visit the event website for more information.
2. Ghost The Musical starts run at Edinburgh Playhouse
Ghost the musical starts its six day run tonight at Edinburgh Playhouse.
Ghost starts it’s run at Edinburgh Playhouse
Produced by Bill Kenwright, the musical presents a re-imagined, unchained version of the classic film.
Sarah Harding, the Girls Aloud singer and actress, makes her stage debut as Molly, opposite Hollyoaks star Rhys Ashworth as ‘Sam’.
The musical is based on the Academy Award winning movie and starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg.
The plot sees Sam tragically murdered in front of his girlfriend, Molly. Sam finds himself trapped between this world and the next. Assisted by a psychic Sam attempts to communicate with Molly and protect her from imminent danger.
With such a popular film to live up to, fans have been promised the iconic scene in which Molly sculpts a pot to the Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody will also feature in the musical version.
Ghost The Musical premieres tonight at the Edinburgh Playhouse at 7.30pm and runs till Saturday and then tours to Nottingham.
1. The Heavy
Good news for all Edinburgh-based fans of indie rock, as ‘The Heavy’ are playing at Liquid Room tonight.
The band from Bath will be presenting their new Album ‘Hurt & The Merciless’, which is in line with what makes The Heavy’s style so unique: powerful arrangements, rough guitar sounds and, of course, Kelvin Swaby’s haunting voice – all topped up with drums that promise to make an audience go wild.
Edinburgh’s Christmas Market has opened to the public this weekend.
The market, one of the most popular Christmas celebrations in the UK, will run for six weeks until the 7th January.
Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens will be transformed into a veritable winter wonderland by a rich array fairground attractions, lights, buskers, artists and street-chefs.
The market has grown its reputation as one of Europe’s largest Christmas attractions.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said to Edinburgh Evening News, “Edinburgh’s Christmas promises to wow once again, and the Christmas Market alongside with the Street of Light is a spectacular and mesmerising addition to what is already a brilliant line-up.”
Around 900,000 unique visitors from all over Europe are expected to fill St. Andrews Square in the coming weeks.
Hundreds of chefs and artisans are expected to open their shutters, offering nibbles, trinkets and a more magical Christmas experience.
Shopkeeper Judies, owner of ChristmasWorld, sells traditional German wooden ornaments. She said, “Me and my brother have been here in Edinburgh for the Christmas markets even before they became a huge event. This is our fifteenth year in this street, and I wouldn’t like to be anywhere else.”
Norwegian shopkeeper Kari Ittervel claims that she comes to Edinburgh just for the market. A resident of Amsterdam, she flies over for just two months a year to sell her handmade pottery.
“I’ve been here for two years now, I was in London’s Christmas Market before, but it’s not even a tenth as nice as in Edinburgh’s. One day I heard that there was a beautiful market here and I resolved: ‘let’s make Edinburgh’s ladies happy with my items!’”
“The markets are amazing. Beautiful people, beautiful city, it’s just fantastic!”
It’s not just the shopkeepers who love the atmosphere. Jasmine – a tourist from Newcastle – said, “I came a long way from Newcastle, just because I think the Christmas markets are great. They bring a bit of European culture to the cities in the UK.”
“I think it is really nice, the smell is nice in the air, the sites and there are really a lot of lights and we are looking forward to go around, it is a great thing.”
The experience is certainly rich – families peer into the Gardens from the terrace of the Scottish National Gallery as the smell of burned wood and the sound of buskers fill the air.
The Edinburgh Christmas Market will stay vibrant with music, sounds, sights and smells until early 2017.
The Grand Tour opens with a woeful scene as Jeremy Clarkson makes his way to a London Airport. News reports are conveniently edited together with the grey British weather in an attempt to create a sense of misery regarding the BBC’s decision to drop Clarkson and his band of merry men.
As Clarkson finds himself in LA, he switches from the modest black cab to an extravagant Mustang. Much of the episode is spent giving the middle finger to his former employer and this switch from gloom to sunshine, whilst being serenaded by the dulcet tones of Hothouse Flowers, serves as overkill.
This opening sequence alone is said to have cost over three million pounds to produce and while overly lavish, does set a tone for the new series.
A story of three middle class, white, British men freed from the shackles of the BBC and free to be as racist, sexist and politically incoherent as they like. The three men drive off into the sunset and are joined by armies of fans on a variety of vehicles in the open desert.
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ premiered worldwide last weekend to the delight of Potter Heads.
The Harry Potter spin-off that is set in 1920s New York has already had huge box office success, taking a total of £15.3m over the weekend. The film has enjoyed the most profitable UK box office opening weekend of the year.
The film, written by JK Rowling, is set 70 years before the tales of Harry Potter and follows another English wizard and ‘Magizoologist’, namely Newt Scamander and his fantastic suitcase as they meander around New York City.
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ wonderfully merges two dimensions, bringing together the nostalgia of the 1920s and the world of magic. Both these dimensions and the various beasts and creatures are brought to life through stunning digital effects.
The quirky yet strong cast created memorable scenes. Especially Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne brought his unique and captivating charm onscreen, which perfectly matched the nerdy character of Newt. However, the characters themselves seemed to lack in depth a little bit.
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them’ is the first of a five-part series circling around the dark wizard Grindelwald – a name that is likely to ring bells among Harry Potter fans.
While there was only a minor focus on Grindelwald in this film, the ambiguous ending suggests the audience will be seeing more of him in the next four films.
In true Potter style, audiences have been left craving more.
‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is out in cinemas now.
With the new album’s release on Friday, the Hawaiian harmoniser is out with yet another funky single that is sure to get you grooving. Following suit from the previous jams such as, ‘24K Magic’ and ‘Versace on the Floor’, the new song indulges us into a romanticised old-skool aura with classic R&B sounds. The only thing that mattered back then was the size of your girls’ backside. Opening with a short synth-solo, we are instantly greeted by the classic Mars voice and a nostalgic, Rapper’s Delight-esque bassline. As the tune increases in party-rhythm, we are led into a chorus melody not dissimilar from past-hit ‘Treasure’. The song may not make it to party-anthem territory, but it is definitely one to tap your toes and cruise with your crew to.
John Mayer- Love on the Weekend
Mayer the Player has been toying with his social media followers all week with the repeated announcement of this song dropping. This single is the first we’ve heard of the mega-guitarist since his acclaimed stab at Country in 2013 (not counting his cover of Beyonce’s ‘XO’). The ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ singer is back to his usual ways with his new single, well almost. The drum-tempo and guitar-strumming sounds like classic Mayer, however his vocal melody and production have remnants of his Country-exploration. Mixing the two genres is far from a bad thing as the romance song is a tranquil piece that reminds you that after 15 years of making music, Mayer has still got it. His seventh album is definitely one to look out for.
Scotland has seen a 5.5% increase in visitor numbers in 2015, with Edinburgh Castle leading the surge of major attractions.
The castle has overtaken the National Museum of Scotland as the country’s leading tourist hub for the first time, with over 1.5 million visitors, according to figures released by the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).
The National Museum was also the UK’s most popular museum outside of London, and Scotland’s most popular free attraction.
For the first time, the National Galleries of Scotland welcomed a combined total of more than 2.1 million visitors – thought to be a result of The Amazing World of M.C. Escher and Artist Rooms: Roy Lichtenstein exhibitions, with a 35% and 47% rise respectively.
Edinburgh’s Royal Botanic Gardens saw a 10% increase, which they credited to their Lights programme in the winter months.
Glasgow’s nine civic museums continue to be a draw for citizens and visitors to the city alike, with almost 4 million recorded visits – up 5% on 2014. The city’s Riverside Museum has seen a year on year rise since it opened in 2011.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum also saw a rise of 12.4%.
Tourism bosses have attributed the Scottish success to the current weakness of the pound to the euro and dollar, in making UK attractions more popular.
Bernard Donoghue, Director of ALVA, commented: “2015 continued to be a record year mainly due to our members continuing to show how diverse the UK is to both domestic and overseas visitors.
“More people visited Edinburgh Castle, the National Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery of Scotland, the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, combined, than visited Jamaica, Barbados and Cuba.
“More people visited Stirling Castle, Kelvingrove, the Riverside Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Glasgow, combined, than visited New Zealand. Together more people visited these 9 Scottish attractions than visited Australia and New Zealand combined.”
Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, also praised the findings.
“It’s great to see Edinburgh Castle at the top of the table in Scotland after another record breaking year for the castle.
“We’ve seen particular growth in online and travel trade at the castle in 2015, and following a refresh of the castle website towards the end of the year I’m sure this will continue.”
Three ‘quirky’ Christmas markets will open this Sunday (13th December) in Edinburgh, according to events magazine Time Out.
In addition to the regular festive market, Edinburgh Printmakers will have a Christmas Market at their shop on Union Street, near Leith Walk.
The half-centennial fine art shop will offer a variety of jewellery in addition to prints, books and textiles from local artisans.
Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, Britain’s largest vintage fair, will host their Christmas Market in the Assembly Rooms on George Street.
In addition to vintage fashion, they also offer accessories, menswear, home wares and beauty products.
A spokesperson from the vintage shop said: ‘We’re going all out, bringing even more affordable vintage traders from our troupe to get you stocked-up with vintage. Traders will be showcasing some of their best new season stock.’
The Summerhall Christmas Market, to be set up near The Meadows, has promised more stalls than ever before.
In addition to gifts and treats, there will be food from guest vendors, traditional mulled wine from the venue’s bar and Zoom club activities for children. The Summerhall Singers will provide live entertainment with festive songs.