Showing posts with label Ian Bell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ian Bell. Show all posts

Friday 30 June 2017

Edinburgh book festival 2017: Brave new words

Journalist Ian Bell

“Brave New Words’
In times of turmoil words are a safety net, help us to shared understandings.

Edinburgh International Book festival 2017, 12th - 28th August -
The festival, begun in 1983 and is one of the world's biggest, will have 1000 authors from 50 countries and will host Illustrators, musicians, scientists, politicians, scientists, children authors and more.

Some famous authors this year will include - Zadie Smith, Judy Murray, Chris Hoy Jeremy Paxman, Patrick Ness, Chinnamanda Ngozi Adiccline.

**MUSIC – this year - Fiddler Aidan O’Rourke; Scott Hutchison, The Frightened Rabbit frontman; composer Sally Beamish. Music previously has included Alfred Brendel, Nile Rogers and more.
Lesley Riddoch

Liz Lochend

Iain MacWhirter
Words and stories are our passports to a better fairer world. Imagination is Free! Whether the words are carried in song, in poetry, in political ideas, in images, fairy tales, history, theories, journalism, truth or in stories.

Recently, In Grenfell Tower block Kensington, we all witnessed the most horrific fire, where probably hundreds must have died! (yet the first reports claimed only 6 – was this all a cover up?)
Ben Okria
Writer Ben Okria visited the site and wrote his poem – Grenfell Tower
How this tall burnt out blackened shell is a metaphor for our failings – our failings to recognise the CLADDING on our very discourse. He says - We need to tear down this cladding and open our eyes to what is around us. 

There are signs of hope – more people are reaching for investigative journalism where they can find it!
The young especially are now disregarding traditional news media and searching for answers elsewhere. Macron started a new political party only one year ago – and won the vote. Things are changing fast in our fast interconnected world. 
Enlightened discourse is always about diversity! And the book festival encourages open questioning and debate. Robert Burns ran his own Debating clubs at Tarbolton.

We must question opposite viewpoints. We live in complex times but there are gate keepers out here. We must question opposite viewpoints. Its worrying Theresa May actively dislikes 'division!' It is our very diversity that makes us stronger.

Words and ideas. TICKETS NOW ON SALE -

**Bohemians and Renaissance
In Edinburgh old town, the grand, the ordinary, the eccentric – all rubbed shoulders. It was this inconvenient bumping against each other that helped to make the Scottish Enlightenment happen.
Another factor that brought in fresh air, was after the union of the crowns, the royal court left for London! Which meant a breath of fresh air – as all he hangers on left too.

Poet Robert Burns experienced the flourishing Edinburgh in its last days (1786 – 1787)

They built the Georgian Edinburgh new town in the 1780s – finishing with the elegant Charlottes Square. The largest and most impressive Georgian development in the world. In Glasgow the marble staircased Town hall is vastly impressive – built over this period, when the tobacco and slave trade brought great benefit. There was also great expectations. 
The well to do no longer mixed …. and the Enlightenment withered.

Friday 20 May 2016

Top Writer Ian Bell

There are few writers that inspire. Bell wrote with a rare clarity.
Many Illuminate - they write articulately, cleverly, are well informed and insightful, but they often have a limited view or write mostly about their own agenda, be it business, political agendas and more.

Bell wrote with a rare clarity – and he viewed the broad sweep and the bigger view – while he also dug deep into the issues with an eye for the unheard details or clever lateral thinking.

And I miss his articles.

I imagine after the Hillsborough news recently in May and the Justice for the 96, that the dead and the football fans are now free of blame - that Bell would have written articulately, clearly and openly about the rottenness at the heart of many UK institutions. The Yorkshire police are an Old Boys network – for the past centuries the Irish have been seen as second class citizens.

Liverpool has strong Irish connections from its trade to Ireland and not long ago Irish nationals were locked up from no reason. It was dark days when Ireland had to fight so hard to run its own affairs. Why, when Home Rule was put forward before the war? His grandfather's brother James Connolly who was part of the Easter rising. 

Someone posted on Twitter – are any of us safe – if the truth can be hidden for 27 years!’
Many British commentators talk of the corruption and dictators across the world – as if they believe in the UK that we are a Beacon of democracy and openess! They truly delude themselves!

I wonder what he would make of the 2016 Scottish parliament Elections and the demise of Labour. What would he say? He was a strong supporter of Scottish independence and he viewed that, as I do, as the only way forward for Scotland. We’ll see. It is time for the SNP to take more charge of the Constitution arguments and ask – what do the Conservatives, Lib Dems or Labour stand for. Tories say they are for the Union – but what kind of union exactly?

People are spoon-fed media lies from the hard right  - and they often fool themselves and believe it.
Then there’s the Chilcot Report due for release July only 2,000 days after the inquiry finished – will this be another whitewash? 

Democracy is only achieved with a free press and most of the UK press is now foreign owned and lacks credibility - it is manipulated, sensational, misleading, empty rhetoric, with mainly meaningless innuendo or gossip. I would guess London journalists fear for their careers and have to toe the broadsheet lines.

Many years back I kept one of Bells articles on Sense of Place. I cut out articles tto keep that resonate and inspire for future reference. Bell was quite simply not only a great British writer, but one of the best worldwide. He is sadly missed in the world of words.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword and in his case this was utterly the truth .Yeats, Burns prove this.
There are very few voices of Truth – and Bell was one.

(Bell was an award-winning columnist for the Scotsman and The Herald)

Time out of Mind at EIBF 2014 BLOG -

Wednesday 16 December 2015

Death of top Scottish journalist Ian Bell

Wonderful top writer. So sad to hear of the loss of top Scottish journalist Ian Bell. His writing was thought provoking, intelligent, deeply informed, insightful, challenging. I attended the talk on his book on Bob Dylan at Edinburgh book festival 2014. He wrote such quality writing during the Referendum debates in 2014 and he believed strongly that one day Scotland would be more socially equal and have its independence. He will be sadly missed. I took this photo at the photo shoot at Edinburgh.

I remember his article on sense of place. I would often read Bell’s articles first and in particular his writing during the referendum in 2014. As Bell said we had never known such times. His was the voice that guided a nation.  Some extracts of his work here -

In the Herald and other newspapers paid tribute to his outstanding journalism.

In the National his colleague and friend Alan Taylor wrote that Bell was our Scottish He was our Gore Vidal, our Orwell. “He could write about anything because he seemed to know everything. In this sound-bite, meretricious, low-flying age, his was the voice of that other Scotland, the one we hear and see less and less of, which sets the bar high and aims to clear it.”

Richard Walker, consultant editor for The National and former editor of the Sunday Herald, said: “Ian Bell was one of Scotland’s greatest journalists and was among those who forged the character of the Sunday Herald in its early days and protected it in difficult times.
“His work searched for truth and did not flinch from exposing the deceit and hypocrisy he too often found instead. His voice was steadfast for decades but was more vital than ever during the referendum campaign. He will not see the independent Scotland he dreamt of but he leaves his soul ingrained in its DNA.”