Monday 27 July 2015

Scottish Ballet

I enjoyed shooting the Scottish Ballet and sorting into black and white -

``Gaelic Traditions and Culloden

There are false myths of Gaelic traditions and of the battle of Culloden.
 I have been shocked over how much Scottish history is misrepresented and badly taught (if at all actually!) Our true heritage matters greatly for how we feel about our confidence in our country today.

I grew up in Edinburgh and I have always believed that the battle of Culloden 1746 (near Inverness) was a big defeat of the Scots by the English with a great many Scots killed.
It turns out that the battle was part of a civil war and a religious battle between Protestants and Catholics. 

When Queen Ann had no successors to protect the stability of Protestantism and because of concern over the wars with France - the English parliament brought over George of Hanover to succeed her. On the Hanoverian side were English, German and Scottish troops.

On Charles Edward Stuart’s side (Bonnie Prince Charlie) were Scottish, French and English troops. For instance the MacDonalds of Skye were on the Hanoverian side. Considering the importance of the Protestant movement in Scotland much of the Scottish Lowlands did not support the Jacobites (John Knox 1514). There was also an English Civil war of 1642 – 1679, between cavaliers and roundheads.
 Culloden was a marshy moor land and Charles would not listen to advice. This was the last major battle on Scottish soil. After the battle the Highland clans were suppressed. Gaelic culture was suppressed by the UK government after the 45, with the Act of Proscription to break up the clans and prohibit the wearing of tartan. I believe Scott helped to revive Scottish culture with his books. In 1822, Walter Scott, author of Waverley, a story of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion, arranged a pageantry of Scottish traditions for the visit of King George IV to Scotland when the monarch dressed in a kilt. The tartan pageantry was popular and the kilt then became Scotland's National Dress.


Gaelic speaker Coinneach Maclean The nephews of the great Gaelic poet Sorely Maclean, has been writing up his thesis at Glasgow university and he has been lecturing on Gaeldom. After studying for a tourist guide qualification at Edinburgh university, he was shocked at the total lack of Gaelic history in the course. In fact he claims the tourist course was full of factual errors. Tourism is a big industry for Scotland and it matters greatly that correct and authentic accounts are given to visitors.

According to Tom Devine the Episcopalian church were greatly worried about the Union and many were Jacobites. Religion played a much bigger part then today.  

Has Gaelic culture been written out of Scotland’s Story? David Ross, The Herald.
Coinneach Maclean, former deputy chief executive of the National Trust for Scotland and acedemic, says the country is squandering an irreplaceable heritage while making billions from it

Saturday 18 July 2015

Scottish Samurai

Thomas Blake Glover 1838 – 1911. Indsutrialist and etrepeneur, traavelled to Japan in 1859 and later imported the first steam locomotive. He helped to establish the Misubushi Shipyard and receivedd the Order of the Rising Sun from the emperor in 1908. He was the Victorian Scotsman credited with helping to make Japan a modern industrial nation.

He was the Victorian Scotsman credited with helping to make Japan a modern industrial nation. A new exhibit Aberdeen’s Maritime Museum and a visitor trail exploring the life of Glover have been created to highlight the Scot’s place in Scottish-Japanese history. The booklet and trail were presented to the custodians of Thomas Glover House and Gardens in Nagasaki by the Cabinet secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs, Fiona Hyslop.

Japan and Scotland are celebrating the "Scottish Samurai" for helping to unite different cultures across the seas - Thomas Glover. -

Friday 10 July 2015

Peggy Seeger Oran Mor

The timeless story of songs and words

I enjoyed a gig last week at the Oran Mor Glasgow with the delicate clear voice of folk legend Peggy Seeger (wife of renowned folk  songwriter Ewan MacColl) She sparkled and shone at the age of 80 and took us into her world of music. She said that it is only music that uses all of our minds.

What a lovely classy, dedicated and informed lady!  She offered us some of her collection of stories she held in a large notebook – some were funny, some profound and some moving. Seeger is an accomplished musician and the daughter of folklorist Charles Seeger and her brother is the American folk singer songwriter Pete Seeger.

The Gig
Peggy played a full set with her two sons from 7.30 to 10, (there was no support) with a twenty minute interval. I was glad I wasn’t late!  I feel sure it must take careful thought to choose from a lifetime catalogue of traditional folk songs and stories to chose from. Peggy beamed and showered little pearls of wisdom. 

They began the set with the traditional folk song Hard Times. They sang of longings and of good times and the words, “The dark rolling sea between you and me, How I long for the days gone by.“ Neill and Callum sang Freight Train and also a couple of unaccompanied songs. 

She clearly enjoyed sharing the stage with her two sons with Neill and Callum, who provided lovely blended backing harmonies and guitar. They played some traditional folk instruments - autoharp, banjo, guitar, concertina and piano. Ewan and Callum sang Freight Train. and also a couple of unaccompanied songs. 

The family trio finished the set with the life-affirming Ewan song The Joy of Living. For their encore Peggy treated us to the real version of MacColl’s most famous song, First Time Ever I Saw Your Face. Folk artists sing with a realism and true heart and never over sing or over do the emotions. 

There are no pretensions or airs or graces around Peggy. She stood for several songs and for others she clutched her instruments. Occasionally she waved her hands and arms wide. Peggy beamed and showered little pearls of wisdom.  It was heartening to see Peggy still full of joie de vivre and ready to command the stage! At 80, not only is she wise and like the highest quality red wine, she is still challenging herself to be fresh and relevant. 

After Ewan died Peggy returned to America. She returned to the UK in 2010 and has recorded her first ever solo album which marks a musical rebirth after she suffered from serious ill health.

In 2015 Peggy released Everything Changes. She has said that she enjoyed greatly working with a full session band for the album, which was produced by her son Calum MacColl and features musicians Simon Edwards (Talk Talk, Kirsty MacColl), James Hallawell (The Waterboys, David Gray), Martyn Barker (Shriekback, Goldfrapp) and Kate St John (Dream Academy, Nick Drake). 

I was pleased with my photos and hope they tell the story of the gig - it is always a challenge and at a classy gig like this full of dedicated folk fans I don’t like to disturb the set and I always aim to be discreet.  I take photos either seated or at the side. This was a family affair with her sister-in-law managing the tour.

Women need to say STOP! 
One story from Peggy stood out – about an Amazon tribe where they considered the men tended to be destructive – they cut down trees for canoes, they killed animals for food and they fought wars. Wheras the women were the nurturers of the crops and the children. So they felt the women needed to tell the men when to stop. They would say STOP, we have enough canoes stop cutting down trees. They would say we have enough to eat, STOP killing animals. We don’t need any more wars STOP! When one of the tribe visited the western world she wondered why there were only male voices to be heard and why the women were not saying STOP.

Music is the healer and motivator.

Thursday 9 July 2015

NEW MugStock music festival 2015

Mugdock Park, just north of Glasgow will host a new music fstival in August 2015. The project has brought together an eclectic and quality line up of local and international talent. It will also include family and fun entertainment for all ages.

I have seen some of these artists live and can vouch for their being of the highest standard – there is a quality indie element here.

Back in 2007, I took photos at the first Mugdock music festival -

Broken Records

Preston Reed, Orkestra del Sol, Siobhan Wilson, Dave Arcari, The Amorettes, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5, Theremin Hero, Mickey 9s, The Girobabies, Broken Records, Jamie & Shoonie, Scunner, Mammal Hands, Scunner, and Mr Boom!.

MugStock Festival of Music and Merriment takes place at Mugdock Country Park, Milngavie, Mugdock, in Glasgow from Friday 7th to Sunday 9th August 2015.

MugStock Is a new boutique festival and run by a non profit organisation of an epxerienced team.
Sourcing performers and musicans of the highest calibre, offering sustenance from the finest breweries and gastronomic mestros the UK has to offer.  Mugostock festivals pledge is to offer young and old revelers alike the opportunity to enjoy an interactive experience set amidst the stuning surroundings of Mugdock Country park.
An eclectic selection of international legends, home-grown favourites, musical virtuosos, emerging artists and people who dance around with glitter balls on their heads