Thursday, 13 September 2018

Gina Miller Edinburgh book festival 2018

Miller received a standing ovation! Clearly there was huge support and powerful emotions for her standing up for Parliament having a say in the shambolic Brexit process. 
This is ‘no time for silence, time to rise’ Miller claimed.  
If you fail to make your voice heard, it will be drowned out by those who shout the loudest. Miller is a very articulate, forthright and determined lady! 

There was a petition online against her book, Rise, and a threat of mass burning, even before she had written it! She warned she felt there were throw backs in history that we cannot ignore today. She hoped change is happening – against the fringes not getting their way and that determined ideological voices of reason are rising up.  

She spoke of her case being fourth on the day and that it purely focused on the letter of the Law of the UK, and not on the politics. She was shocked by the language and vitriol that followed - when she was subjected to violence and not only by individuals online. The abusive mail was even worse and the premeditated nature of posting a letter. She didn’t know that we lived in a country like this. 

“Its important to understand the other point of view – to reach out and engage. But there was no reasoning behind it all, only pure hatred. Their hope was to destroy me, to destroy the case.” But she said, “I cannot sit back and watch people hurting. I’d never stop. I’m supposed to be doing this. It is easier to be resilient and a campaigner – to be honest to who you are. I can’t be anyone else. She was also shocked at the level of smears, and casual stereotyping in the mainstream right wing media. I need to absorb that energy. They can’t find fault in my argument.”

Gina spoke of how much she learned from her father. He started out at the petrol pump, got a law degree and became attorney general, in Guyana. Her father was eloquent. Words can bring people together or words can create barriers. She quoted John Mortimer, ‘Words into the courtroom are soldiers into battle.’  We must know our place in the world. – the role of law, and civil justice. We must fight to being back democracy to our country.” 

She said, “These are dangerous times and we are not walking on stable ground, on values and principles, respect for each other. Today the ground is rocking with weak foundations. Some are exploiting divisions in a systematic and cultish way. People are defined by how they voted in a destructive way. There are politicians with a hidden agenda, which can lead to an authoritarian society with less choices. A deliberate re-alignment.” 

She says our politicians are arrogant and lazy with a zombie parliament and with no written constitution. We have two leaders, who are not states people and have no plan. 
A People’s Vote? The politicians don’t want to get their hands dirty – so give it back to the people. Miller advocates three choices for a People’s Vote – Mrs Mays deal/ a Canada style deal / no deal. Around 73% now are in favour of a vote. 

For the younger generation, she feels they don’t teach what the EU is really about in schools. 
It is cheaper to join a club, with the EU we share – medical agency, open skies, legal, environmental agency, infrastructure, research, just in time manufacturing, and much more. Miller wondered, how do we get out of this mess and all the divisiveness.
She spoke of moving past divisions – and I agree – but moving past wealth divisions will not be so easy. The system needs changed through independence.

PS  I don’t want an indy Scotland building walls with its neighbours or with Europe. Indy is not about borders for me. We must speak with both national and international voices. Change can only happen in small places: that's where the creative, innovative, individual voices happen.

I feel the world has tilted off its axis for a while – I can hope it will correct itself! I remember the Berlin wall coming down and we seem to be building too many walls today.  

Monday, 10 September 2018

Val McDermid’s Song Choices!

Nicola Sturgeon and Val McDermid
Alyson Moyet - Blue
Joni Mitchell -  For the Roses
Leonard Cohen’s - I Loved you in the morning
Mark Knopfler - 
Dore Straits – Private Investigations
Annie Lennox - Sisters are doing it for themselves
The National - Lucky You
The Jam – Down in the Tube Station
Rab Noakes – Downtown lights (Blue Nile)
Blondie –  T Birds
Andreas Johnson - Glorious
Dusty Springfield – I close eyes and count to ten
Proclaimers – Letter From America

So I was fortunate to catch the Fun Lovin Crime Writersat the EIBf Unbound this August! – and Val surprised with her strong vocals. What a fun night!! 

*On BBC Radio Six Music Val McDermid did the Paperback Song Choice September 4th. McDermid is one of the most highly respected Scottish crime writers. 

Val spoke of singing and folk clubs when she was younger, and of of trying the open guitar tuning used by Joni. She chose the song For the Roses, because it was about fame, and what fame does to people. And how we must not loose sight of where we come from. She spoke of writing to music without lyrics and of how much music means for her.  
and of the story inside the songs. 

Her final song choice was the Proclaimers song, Letter to America, when Val spoke of her pride in Scotland history – and the sadness over the large Diaspora and of all those who left to make the life they wanted. She hopes that now our country offers a better future and a place they can make the lives they want.. 

Great song choices.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Siobhan Wilson’s All the Saints

Scottish singer song writer and talented musician, Siobhan’s album All The Saints,is on the SAY shortlist – Scottish album of the Year 2018. As well as BBC Radio 6 record of the day.

I have heard Siobhan at a couple of gigs and she sings with a purity and engrossing voice. In September she is off on a tour of Canada. A very special and unique voice. 
I wish her good luck! 


One of the most stunning collections of songs to be released in a long time" - Drowned in Sound
"A sparse, tender record tying English indie-folk with European classical music to spellbinding effect. - The Skinny

Friday, 31 August 2018

Edinburgh Festivals 2018!

The fields are golden, the sun getting lower and a chill begins in the evening air as the first leaves are starting to fall. 
 Its dark now late Sunday and the men are busy packing up the large tents on George street. We know the festival must end, and a normal and quieter Edinburgh return – but also the festival lifts us all higher for a short while, and makes the impossible possible, offers new horizons. 

EIF provides a glorious and golden end of summer bash each year celebrating the best of theatre, comedy, music, dance, art and much much more...Edinburgh offers a festival for all tastes – from the intellectual rigour of the book festival, its significant comedy festival, and extensive theatre.  

Under luminous skies, I entered with the book festival with a heady mix of anticipation, bolstered by the beaming exuberance , shared laughter and well rehearsed singers of the high street.  

The sometimes new and tacky mixes with the unique individual histories. Perhaps I might hope for more of the latter. Some worry Edina is turning into a Theme park and moving downmarket – do we want a Butlin’s image or to attract the more sophisticated traveller? 
Edina has a rich seam of authentic heritage - not only the deep stories of the dark rugged castle rock, but the majestic Georgian new town and the hidden alleyways below and beyond its Royal Mile. 

 There were 4.5 million ticket sales, second only to the Olympics – and this festival takes place every year; but the diversity means there is little TV coverage. From the grand Tattoo show on the castle esplanade,  the main international festival and the youthful Fringe shows and offers a platform for new theatre, 

Paris Riots 68, with Nael Ascherson
Yanis Varoufakis
Karl Ove Knaasgard
Michael Marra: Arrest This Moment
Gina Miller

**SHOWS that caught my attention
The Beggars Opera - The Kings
Mhairi Campbell, Auld Lang Syne, Storytelling centre
The Red Guitar - 
Midsummer - The Hub
Caledonian Soul - Queens hall
Ulster American - Traverse theatre

I managed a few shows, sadly not time for all.