Saturday, 17 September 2016

Black & White PHOTOS Edinburgh book festival 2016

Mark Beaumont
Sara Khan
Jonas Hassen Khemiri
Rowan Hisayo
Sarah Leipciger
Martin Cathcart Froden
Marathi Prasad
Joanne Harris

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Is there A NEW Scottish Writers Museum

I saunter through the energy of the Fringe performers on the High Street. I walk along George street, on up the Mound and on down the high street.  I eat at  Bilbos on the corner of Chambers St.
I stopped in at the very small Scottish writers museum up a small winding stair in a hidden close at the top of the High street. There are exhibits to Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Walter Scott. Apart from a few Burns paintings and a display of the  Kilmarnock first Edition of his Poems - there is not a lot here.

I asked the lady there about a possible new museum. I said I had visited the Irish Writers museum which is housed in an impressive Georgian mansion and is 50 times bigger
There was talk of putting a decent size Scottish Writers museum beside the National library.

There are no modern authors or women writers or any of Scotland’s great philosophers of the enlightenment; Where is Robert Fergusson who wrote of Edinburgh and inspired Burns to write in Scots? Where is Adam Smith, David Hume, Allan Ramsay, Arthur Conan Doyle, Hugh MacDiarmid, James MacPherson or JM Barrie?

At an Irish concert at Celtic Connections I mentioned to an Irish lady beside me about the interesting Irish Writers Museum – she said perhaps there weren’t enough good Scottish writers!  I hope one day she might be proved wrong and we might have as Scottish Writers Museum that truly reflects not only this great city of Literature and  also the MANY great Scottish writers and artists.

In 1786 Scotland’s greatest poet – and one of the world’s greatest poets – made his way on a borrowed pony across the lowlands from Ayr and on into Edinburgh. At the time they were building the Georgian new town. He came in order to try to get the second edition of his poems published. He went to find the grave of the poet Robert Fergusson, who also wrote in both Scots and English. He stayed in a close near the castle and met many of the great and good of the capital – it was all a New World for him.

And where is any Edinburgh statue to Burns?
There is no a statue to Robert Burns, one of the greatest poets and songssmiths who ever lived in the centre of Edinburgh. I learnt recently there is a statue to Burns at the bottom of Leith walk, I used to pass every day only way to secondary school in Newhaven, near the Forth river. It really is a shocking state of affairs which makes me think Burns (while he tried) wasn’t considered unionist enough by the powers that be – not compared to the tall Gothic spire to Walter Scott in Princes street anyway. And A Mans a Man for A That as too egalitarian and feared by upper classes….. (votes for all was not until after WW1).

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Famous authors Edinburgh Book festival 2016

Alan Cumming
Jonathan Dimbleby
Steve Beaumont
John Doyne
Vince Cable
Joanne Harris
Paul Mason
Paul Morley
I look forward each August in August to the place for contemplations, introspection, literary collaborations, thought-provoking conversation, famous faces, - the imaginative landscape that represent creative liberty and literature at the book festival. The stories we will hear, famous faces, new books. All the characters – Philosophers, individual free thinkers, dreamers, creative, artists, academics,
Some of the famous writers who gave talks this year at EIBF 2016.

Historical and cultural author Melvyn Bragg talked of  - that it is not language but our being able to ‘Imagine’ that makes us better – mostly IMAGINE BETTER.  The Book Festival is truly international with over 800 participants from 55 different countries coming together to share their books, ideas and stories.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Alan Cumming Sang 'Sappy Songs' at the Hub

The Seductive charmer!

Cumming has come out the other side – and used the tragedies as his strength.
 The Edinburgh Hub venue was set for a Late night Cabaret show with soft lights and drinks tables encircling the stage. The consummate performer, his first dramatic song Somewhere Only We know and Annie Lennox’s Why, set the tone for an evening of high drama with strong passions and a voice of character, sincerity and depth. His story ranged from deep tragedy to comedy relief, good humour and the fun of being on stage.

His song choices expressed the rich variety of his life, from showbiz nights with Liza Minnelli to his drama school days in Glasgow.  Some songs were from our most famous, inspired divas, others were from artistic and less well known men!

 He sang Miley Cyrus song The Climb, Adele’s Someone Like You, Goodnight Saigon, Mother Glasgow and other musical numbers. Also Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know, Lady Gaga’s Edge of Glory, Kate Perry’s Firework. He said they were actually all one song!  He was well accompanied by a 3-piece band, with cello, piano and drums.

He sang Michael Marra’s song, Mother Glasgow, before which he explained Scottish words to his diverse audience. He also sang a French and a German song

Interspersed with his songs, were tales of his show biz life – of growing up in Aberfeldy, of Glasgow and his rocky family life.
He spoke of his maternal grandfather Tommy Darling, who had been a war hero, suffered PTSD disorder and died tragically in  the Caribbean, where he had a street named after him. He told fondly of these memories and said he felt he owed a great deal to his mother and to her father.

In 2015 he wrote a moving autobiography entitled, Not My Father’s Son, and tonight the pain of his bullying father was expressed with torn emotions in the Billy Joel song, Dinner at Eight.
Cumming spoke of how he began performing in Musselburgh. Thirty two years ago he played Victor and Barry show at the Fringe when he was a drama student ;Of The Café Royal NY and the Cabaret Show Broadway and of Studio 54 in1998.

He sang with drama, passions, full on emotion and sincerity, even Scottish shyness at times, with his neon sign CLUB CUMMING flashing behind him. Each song told its own vivid story. Liza told him to think of ‘every song as a play', and to have both show business and authenticity' - no mean feat. When he performed 8 shows a week he started Club Cumming in his dressing room and that is where we were tonight at those after show parties.

So where was the song for his mother? In the last song about all those special ladies and also all through the set perhaps? He spoke and sang of the importance of how we all connect – his tattoo says ONLY CONNECT, from the book Howards End. He sang for all the broken souls. 
Cumming at Edinburgh book festival