Monday 14 August 2017

Edinburgh festival 2017

Royal Mile performers and festival goers

Every August is a highlight of my year to venture on Edinburgh’s historic streets and to culturally recharge my batteries at the world’s largest arts festival. There’s a special freedom of creativity, where nearly anything goes – a smorgasbord melting pot of colour, comedy, dance, song,

There’s also the high water marks of the main festival – with opera, classical, ballet, drama, and more. .
Edinburgh is ideal to see on foot with the Royal mile, the mound and over to the new town.

This year EIF celebrates 70 years!
Begun in 1947.
Comedy at the Pleasance and elsewhere is the main attraction. Remember to read the Scotsman reviews!

Then there is the wonderful literary hub of the Edinburgh International book festival at Charlotte Square – with poets, artists, sportsmen, politicians, and more.

Hopefully the sun will shine, the tattoo fireworks every evening will light our skies, and there’ll be many more joyful celebrations for those twilight summer days and nights, and with autumn leaves soon in the air.

posters on the royal mile

EDINBURGH FRINGE 2017  Celebrates its 70th anniversary

The Fringe began in 1947 when eight groups arrived in Edinburgh hoping to perform at the newly formed Edinburgh International Festival but were refused entry. Rather than being discouraged from performing, they went ahead and performed on the fringe of the Festival anyway and so the Edinburgh Festival Fringe was born.
2017 marks the 70th anniversary of these eight groups’ defiance and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe is now the largest arts festival in the world.
The Fringe is a truly open access festival where, in the spirit of the original eight, no one is denied entry, making it the largest platform on earth for creative freedom.

Friday 11 August 2017

Summer of Love (1967) Protest Song

Outburst of sunshine songs, hippies, flowers in our hair, long flowing tresses and dresses, sandals, psychedelic artwork, freedoms, revolutionary dreamers,….
Perhaps it wasn’t all just a fantastic dream?

Music art, fashion and politics collided against the ‘straight’ world – seeking cultural change and new forms of expression. Maybe it was deluded – but it was also full of life affirming, youthful hopes.

"Strawberry Fields, Whiter Shade of Pale, San Francisco, Itcho Park, flowers in the Rain, I Can See for Miles, Light my Fire, Sweet Home Alabama, and of course Sergeants Peppers Lonely hearts club band….."

Incredible String Band, the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, the Small Faces, the Animals, The Beatles, Cream, Jefferson Airplane, the Move, Traffic, Procal Harem, the Beach Boys, Bee Gees.

The summer of 1967 Love went along with the protest song, dreamers and activists and marchers. Political discussion though was not as effective as personal testimony or televised action. Mohammad Ali refused to fight Vietnam; Martin Luther King spoke passionately of peaceful protest and his dream. Hippies searched for more spiritual answers then there can ever be in capitalism, materialism and the suburban sprawls.

Today requires visionaries and artists: those who see the future and not only the day to day. King proclaimed ‘I may not get there with you to that promised land, where all men might be free”. When we march for Scottish independence, its not about flag-waving. I hope we are making it clear that we march of fairness, equality, and mostly democracy and about who owns Scotland - and we need to make this clear to no voters. Scotland has suffered 300 years of suppression, so its no easy task! 

The summer of Hippy Love was a time when dreamers dreamed of peace and love, and when marchers marched for civil rights and against war. Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’ and Dylan wrote ‘Blowin in the Wind’, when give peace a chance was the song. It was too soon though and the forces that be of the established rich too strong to overcome. Perhaps now 50 years later we may have some clearer ideas. We no longer wear long skirts, long hair or wear flowers in our hair, but we can still dream of new horizons and a better way, where all men might be free…

Myths and Lies of Unionism

James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor

It is not only that Scottish culture has been suppressed, it has also been distorted by those career unionists, those Anglized Scots who view themselves as English first, Scots second and see their careers as a seat in the House of Lords. 

I attended a Lecture by the respected Scottish historian Tom Devine.
Where he spoke of a mass deluded country, and of (Caledonia’ by Breton) – he said that there were moves to put out the delusion that Scotland is a ‘small, poor, inadequate country’.

When in fact, before union, Scotland was a flourishing and trading nation, with a population a third of the UKs! After the Jacobites '45 challenge – the Highland dress was forbidden (the punished was imprisonment or deportation). Then in 1822 George IV visited Edinburgh in a short kilt and pink stockings! – and the Scots were ‘allowed’ to wear kilts.

He spoke of ‘The Unionist Myth” that was put about –

that says “Scotland is a land of darkness, faction, poverty and religious rigidity.”
The writer Prebble, put forward our ‘victimhood’ – with stories of Glencoe, Clearances, Darien Project and more.

After the failed Darien project, early 17th century, there was distortion of the facts and Myths were put forward by Unionists. The Darien financial disaster was over stated – it was common at that time for ventures such as these not to succeed. England refused to do trade with the Scots.

Our history becomes myths – what we want to believe – and the stories we pass on.

One interesting fact here is that the city of Glasgow voted against the Treaty of Union - that is those who were allowed to vote then.
Bonnie Dundee 
Prince James Francis Edward
The Scottish enlightenment
It also comes to light that Bonnie Prince Charlie was a reformer, that he wanted to bring more parliamentary scrutiny and that he was no fool either. The Hanoverian regime was corrupt. The Jacobites were defeated though by George I’s son, Duke of Cumberland who had been fighting in France.

 In our recent times we had a mountain of unionist lies - we were told in 2014 that voting for the union would mean "Devolution Max" (not happened), "Staying in Europe" (Brexit vote means leaving), "Better pensions" (??), improved funding (??)

We must now excavate below the Myths and falsehoods

In June 1385, the Parliament of Scotland decreed that Scottish soldiers serving in France

would wear a white Saint Andrew's Cross, both in front and behind, for identification.