Jun

18

Creative Scotland

  Is it possible to have a creative career and earn a good living unless you’re a star? Or does the average artist, like the country’s culture itself, depend on the support of organisations like Creative Scotland? Pete Martin ponders the bind in which many creative folk find themselves. He said he was going to […]

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Jul

12

The financial and emotional cost of cancer

Outside, the wind blasted through the trees, raging and rustling through the branches as it wound its way up from the mouth of the Tay. Inside the hospice, like a fading echo of the living world, the storm seemed all but over. Hushed tones; the sound of impossible kindness. Flowers in still life; the scent […]

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May

13

Man Smart, Woman Smarter

Have you ever seen the cover for Robert Palmer’s classic album ‘Pressure Drop’? The sleeve features a shapely woman – naked except for a pair of high heels – staring out of the hotel room window while the be-suited singer changes the TV channel. In the famous video for his big hit ‘Addicted to Love’, […]

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Mar

15

Hats off to you!

“ONCE I BUILT A RAILROAD…” my Uncle Chic sort of bellowed the song rather than sang it. At family parties, fuelled by a few sherbets, his rendition of the 1931 Bing Crosby classic was always a bravura performance. He’d throw an arm wide, gesturing towards the vast dustbowls of America’s Great Depression and the vanishing […]

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Feb

13

A SOBERING TRAIN OF THOUGHT

It was a journey of two halves and the contrast couldn’t have been more startling. I was on the London-Glasgow train on a Sunday afternoon. Having stood on my headphones, I couldn’t listen to music or watch a movie – so the other passengers passed for entertainment. On the first half of the journey, a […]

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Apr

15

Are you what you wear?

I’ve been watching too much Sherlock Holmes lately. In the BBC’s faithful modern makeover, Benedict Cumberbatch plays the latest denizen of 221B Baker Street. He can reel off your entire biography and what you had for breakfast just by glancing at the egg-stain on your old Etonian tie. My own efforts at deduction have been […]

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Sep
06

Vanishing Scotland

Vanishing Scotland It’s a big question. Is Scotland becoming less Scottish? Answer, yes. Bigger question – does it matter? Nationalistically, no. Economically, yes. (I think.) The above illustration depicts the demise of (perhaps superficial) ‘Scottishness’ in Scotland’s culture: from the deep seriousness of Burns and the global caricature that Harry Lauder helped to coin… to […]

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Mar
15

Seconds Out

Boxing in the Depression era. Fairground boxing, also known as booth boxing. The memoir of Johnny Kelly of his life as a professional fighting man in 1930s Scotland.

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Feb
21

The Castrol GTX of love and friendship

Or how people go mental Your brain is like a little motor.  Most of the time, it purrs away under the bonnet of your ‘bunnet’, baseball cap, hat or hairdo. Life, on the other hand, is like a bucket of grit and grief that fate pours into your petrol tank, (usually just as you’re going […]

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Jan
08

Marlowe meets Tarantino

Just been re-reading ‘The Reckoning’ – Charles Nicholls’ brilliant account of the murder of Christopher Marlowe. (So titled since the playwright’s final reckoning came about when he was stabbed above the eye in an alleged bar brawl over ‘the recknyng’ – ie who was paying the bill). What strikes you about the real story isn’t […]

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