Saturday 31 August 2013

Edinburgh festival 2013

The first day and there are several Big Names today (Ruby Wax, Jack Straw) and the book festival was very busy. Weather warm. Later I attended the 7pm Debate on Copyright.This year the Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF, #edbookfest), the biggest book festival in the world, celebrated 30 years with looking back and looking forward threads. 

At Edinburgh festival there are accomplished musicians, graphic novelists, national ballet, new comedians, talented writers, respected economists and academics and more. The bonus of Edinburgh is its melting pot for the creative arts.
Edinburgh festival is an overload for the senses - imaginative imagery, lyrical words, informed words, mind blowing music, escapist comedy… I am much more selective over what is worth spending time on. And it depends – do you want to be thrilled, entranced, offered thought provoking insights, inspired questioned, amused… or quite simply entertained. There is low brow and high brow.. it is all here. 
(And what has happened to the generation divide these days? On the bus I noticed an over sixty grey haired gent dressed as a punk or Goth, with the full get up of belted boots, silver pierced ears and all. Strange really the world today! ) 
**EIBF - Edinburgh International Book festival 2013
brings together book lovers old and young, writers, scientists and more. Even as the traffic roars past Charlotte square the festival offers a haven of quiet contemplations

Scotland’s future as an independent country is clearly on the agenda – the nuclear weapons question, fiscal future and electoral reform...
Edinburgh Book festival has opened up the debate on Scottish Independence and in its eibf program of talks there are numerous events this year discussing Scotland’s future. So interesting. I can’t help but note that many of the writers, artists and Scottish musicians favour Scotland taking more charge of its future and its own affairs.

Alex Salmond attended EIBF along with William McILLivenny and the story was that Salmond may wish him to write the White Paper for the independence vote in 2014 and that McILLivenny is a front runner. Salmond wants something inspirational and poetic.
Say yes to the future!

Going to Edinburgh, my hometown, helps to focus my work with the getting away from things… A young and  talented Australian guitarist had positioned himself at the bottom of the highstreet after the stages had gone at six which meant people could hear him properly and a good crowd gathered to hear him there.. 

William McIIvanney and Alex Salmond
SHOWS I attended
Rick Wakeman performed his show at the Assembly Rooms. He wore a long grey coat and played piano for us. He said he had had an excellent piano teacher who taught him everything he knows about music. She said to think of the music in colour and to paint your own picture and give it your own title. .  

Rick Wakeman
Debate on Copyright EIBF
Alfred Brendel EIBF
Boy with Tape in his Face
Behind the Art of Songwriting, Daniel Rachel
Unbound EIBF, with writer Dan Rhodes, comic Scottish writer Neil Forsyth, and comedian Stuart Lee (who was very funny, and oddly on tv that night too!)

AC Grayling
Jenny Eclair
Alan Rusbridger

Friday 30 August 2013

PHOTOS Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) 2013

Ruby Wax signing

Some photos Edinburgh International Book Festival (EIBF) 2013 - Jack Straw being interviewed, Ruby Wax signing, Paper bird sculptures, Kate Mosse, Kamila Shamsie, Lisa Appignanesi signing for their book Fifty Shades of Feminism.
Kate Mosse, Kamila Shamsie, Lisa Appignanesi
William McIIvanney and Alex Salmond
Jack Straw
Ruby Wax, book Sane New World

Saturday 24 August 2013

Viking Galaxy 02 ABC tonight!

Viking Galaxy play the 02 ABC tonight - my son is the bass player. Exciting times!

Thursday 22 August 2013


Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013, books that caught my attention.

Road to Referendum, Ian MacWhirter.
Poetry. I Steer Towards the Catastrophe, Robin Robertson.
Creating a Pianist’s Bible, Alfred Brendel.
Art and Passion in the Renaissance, Jonathan Jones.
Daniel Rachel Behind the Art of Songwriting.

Seeing the World Through Shakespeare’s Eyes, Jonathan Bate.
History of Nations, Peter Furtado (28 essays by native writers on national identity and history)

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Pianist Alfred Brendel Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013

Alfred Brendel

Alfred Brendel, Austrian pianist, gave a charming and knowledgeable talk about his new book the Pianist Bible with Jonathan Mills, composer and pianist and director of the Edinburgh International Festival, and co-author Michael Morley  at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013. 

Firstly Brendel and co-author Michael Morley read excepts from his new book a Pianist’s Bible – with chapters on Emotion, Notation, Fantasy, Art and Artists, Humour, Wit and Wisdom.  

The talk really became interesting when the audience gave requests and questions. 
One member asked about his favourite recording by Brendel, which he said was Schubert played with the Cleveland Quartet. He thought this recording was so together and he wondered how older European players matched younger American players. 

Brendel said his favourite composers were Bach, Handel, Hadyn and Schubert. He said that great piano music was composed for ensembles. Someone asked him was it about playing with feeling OR in time – to which he replied it was about ‘feeling in time’!

He said that the piano had the biggest solo repertoire. As the piano is more complex to learn than other instruments such as violin or wind instruments, it therefore takes longer to reach the peak of performance, usually between 40 and 60.   
Brendel said the biggest influence on his music was great conductors and great singers. He said it was necessary to turn the piano into the orchestra and to understand the ebb and flow between the genres and to control the rhythm and nuances.

Jonathan Mills
And here is Brendel playing Schubert.... wow -


Sunday 18 August 2013

John Taylor of Duran Duran at Edinburgh Book festival

John Taylor, member of 80s band Duran Duran, discussed his memoir In the Pleasure Groove at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2013. Copyrighted

Paper Sculptures Edinburgh Book Festival

Beautiful bird readers in cages paper sculptures arrived at Edinburgh Book Festival 2013 on Saturday as a gift. The birds were delicate and carefully crafted with newspaper. Scotsman writer Eileen Downe admires them here.

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Aoife O'Donovan at Celtic

Great review of Aoife O'Donovan's new album in Sunday Times. 'Fossils' signals the arrival of a serious talent! — with Aoife O'Donovan and Bruce Molsky.
Aoife sang with the band Crooked Still at the Transatlantic Sessions.
Photos of Aoife at Celtic 2013.

Sunday 4 August 2013

Piping Live! 2013

Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout
At Celtic Connections 2013 I took photos at the 20th Celtic Connections celebration concert with Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout. Also photos of piper Fred Morrison who was great fun and my images are used in Fred's new music book Outlands. 
Fred Morrison
The festival was started by a young Finlay when it was hard to imagine the festival becoming the biggest worldwide piping festival.
I'm a big music fan but I don't know so much about the piping world.  I'd no idea the Piping Live was such a big world wide event. I love the pipes at the end of songs such as this one be Karen Matheson -  (lovely voice)  - 

Also, I lived in the US for ten years and it was the pipes that really used to make me feel homesick!   The pipes made me think of the highlands and glens -  getting sentimental now - I even missed the wet streets!

Finlay MacDonald and Chris Stout
The Piping Live festival is now in its tenth year.
A few highlights

11th August Piping Live Birthday bash - 1pm

11th August Finlay MacDonald & Chris Stout 4pm  -  Finlay MacDonald (head of piping studies at Glasgow's piping centre) and Shetland fiddler Chris Stout launch an album titled The Cauld Wind on 11th August - 5pm  Their sound combines a Shetland style with the Scottish pipes.

15th August - Fred Morrison launches his new Music book Outlands. 

16th August - Friday Night Folk event Oran Mor which includes Scots, Irish and Breton players.

Plus the World Pipe Band championships.   
Finlay MacDonald
Chris Stout