Wednesday 31 July 2013

Edinburgh Book Festival 2013

Alexander McCall Smith

In August I attend EIBF (Edinburgh International Book Festival) in Charlotte Sq.
The Square is quite the right setting, surrounded by the Georgian new town at the end of George Street, and on one of Edinburgh’s higher grounds. Edinburgh is a city of many vantage points with wide-ranging views and this square is one of them. Here the light is often clear with just the right amount of ambience.  

After a walk on the bustling colour of the high street, I can escape here to the tranquillity, peace and wisdoms of the written (and sometimes spoken) word. I enjoy too the international aspect of the festival with writers from around the world. 
Neil Gaiman

The book festival offers many contrasting events – talks, debates, conversations between novelists, poets, scientists, politicians, journalists, world writers conference, reviewers, broadcasters, economists, reports, storytellers, university lecturers, crime writers, children’s writers, educators, comedians, musicians, artists, authors, and even more…Some authors are writers, poets, artists and musicians. 

2013 will mark the 30th year of EIBF. To celebrate the festivals wishes to look back and to the future with several festival threads. In 1983 the EIBF was run by director Jenny Brown and now the festival is run by Nick Barley. 
John Byrne
Some writers are wonderful to photograph with so many wonderful characters. 
I’ve also attended some outstanding talks at EIBF – Melvyn Bragg, Nile Rodgers, Gao Xingjian, Debates, the Unbound.

I include here some of my favourite images from the past few years - it has been hard to choose!  

Paolo Giordano
Steve Benbow
Elaine Proctor

Patrick Ness

This Year 2013 is celebrating 30 years with over 17 days with 800 authors. Authors this year included – Salmon Rushdie, Joe Sacco, Margaret Atwood, Cerys Mathews, Peter Hook, Tracey Thorn, Edna O’Brien, Arne Dahl, Chris Ware, Tim Burgess, Caitlin Moran, Alfred Brendel, Neil Gaiman and many more…

Edinburgh International Book Festival PHOTOS -

Lazlo Krasznahorkai

Mark Beaumont

Seamus Heaney

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Rome Rapheal Paintings

The paintings in the Vatican by Raphael and Michelangelo are inspirational and the love and work that went into these works of art.   

Plus a few images of the light in Rome. 

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Music Notes July

I noticed that guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire Nile Rodgers played a fun set at Glastonbury 2013.  I caught him sing and speak a very entertaining set at EIBF (Edinburgh International Book festival) last year for a late evening slot at the Unbound session in the Speigel tent. Those funky Le Chic bass lines got everyone in the groove that night and his stories too.
In other news Thom Yorke and Atoms for Peace, played a killer set with Flea (of Red Hot Chillis fame) firing up his bass and there is a great review in the Times - I can just feel the sparks fly! I first heard Radiohead live in Edinburgh, where I was totally caught up in their energy and feel of their immersive ever-evolving soundscapes. 

Also the headliners at some of the major summer UK festivals have been less of a draw in my view. 

PS I love Fleetwood Mac, but their sound is a bit dated now! 

Sicily Photos

Sicily is a green, beautiful and very large island covered in vineyards. Pink and orange houses were dotted amid the lush green olive groves and a translucent sea evaporated into the turquoise glow of the Mediterranean sky in warm whispers. Travel and holidays for me are a chance for free creative thought and writing. 
Some photos of the Greek Temple and amphitheatre on Sicily.   
The last evening the waves took up, leaving a brilliant turquoise wash and soft luminous light as we walked the long shorelines.

Monday 15 July 2013

Rome Photos

I have had my first trip to Rome and Sicily. Hot! We arrived at the villa overlooking the romantic Roman hills. The sun was low and warmly welcoming. (all roads lead to Rome, when in Rome)  We walked over the impressive centuries old steps of the Coliseum and along past the Roman forum, where there are so many old stories. 

We visited the Papal Vatican museum, the holy city and the vastly decorated walls of St Peters. We viewed the craftsmanship of the paintings by Raphael and Michelangelo’s Sistine chapel, that stared down over us as if both warning and inspiring on man’s heavenly aspirations, and we stared in awe. The Vatican is one of those places bestowed with so much colourful and turbulent history that it felt both strange and familiar to walk on those revered and well worn marble and mosaic floors. 
We entered the dimmed and hushed Sistine chapel adorned with Michelangelo’s majestic glories to God. I am not sure what I expected; the lower half was painted as curtains and the chapel is a much taller and darker room than I foresaw. These glories to God were painted with divine hopes and as the crowds follow behind us, they seem to mirror the soaring images painted on the walls in an all too real way, and that is the memory I take away with me – the shared hopes of people for a better way. 
I ask my son if he was impressed. He is not into iconic religious images and his view was that the images captured now by the Hubble spaceship are much more incredible and inspirational. Perhaps he missed the incredible feat of how the Sistine chapel was painted at that time and at such a great height. I am not religious but this is sure inspiring. 

Later we loitered at the packed fairylit Trevi fountain and we ate at the Peroni restaurant where there was that fun spirit and energy we encountered once before in Paris. A small man in a red T shirt, known as Mr Chef, popped out at times to salute his guests – when there was much clapping and laughter as he produced his famous frankfurter cakes!  

I have been adding my ITALY photos of the past 5 years, from Barga, Lake Garda, Florence, Venice, Abrusso and Rome, you might enjoy -

Sunday 7 July 2013

Music Styles 2013

Willy Moon
Music Styles 2013
There is so much fun retro style these days!

From the crisply suited smooth operators (Willy Moon, Hurts) to the rough edged wanderers (Tom Waits, Jake Bugg), the soul divas (Adele, Emeli Sande), the pop icons (Rhianna, Elton, Kylie), the club music players (Calvin Harris) the casual indie kids (Radiohead, The National), the guitar singer songwriters (Paul Simon, Jake Bugg), to the fantasy icons (Madonna, Lady Gaga), the glorious emo kids, the glum rockers, the earthy folk blues singers…... more!

I was flicking through music reviews and I notice today in music (as in fashion) so many individual styles. This is a good thing! Back in the 50s,70s and 80s there was often one main look – the mop top mods, the rock n rollers, the spiky haired punks. 

‘Style’ today is more all encompassing, freer, diverse and more expressive.

Hurts cool 80s style
New Music 2013
New Albums – Biffy Clyro (Opposites), NOAH & THE Whale (Heart of Nowhere),
Laura Marling (Once I Was an Eagle), James Blake (Overgrown), Bonny Rait (Slipstream), Foals (Holy Fire),