Showing posts with label actors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label actors. Show all posts

Tuesday 19 April 2022

To set up Scotland’s very own media


worldwide success of Outlander

Scottish Media and Broadcasting. To set up Scotland’s very own media! Yes


When the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC, was set up 1933, its strange that Scotland, an ancient nation begun 9th century, did not insist on its own media – when Scotland has always kept its church, Scots law, education and with its four ancient universities. 

Its been a cultural disaster for Scotland writes Paul Scott Henderson in his book on the Scottish Enlightenment. 


After recommendations by the Advisory Council for Arts Scotland 1981, initiated by the Saltire Society - some arts councils have set up here – The Scottish Arts Council (Creative Scotland), National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, (nearly closed), 


Nearly all Scottish arts councils have been run by English directors. Andrew Dixon, who ran the National galleries wanted to remove all Scottish art as he believed it was inferior and close the Scottish National Portrait gallery – but there was such an outcry and protest in Edinburgh, instead the historic building in Queen street was refurbished and reopened in 2014.


Henderson writes, “The problem is that many Scots children go through their entire time at school and learn nothing of their own Scottish culture, history or arts. This is shocking as most countries teach their national culture. Instead Scots learn about English culture which teaches them to feel second rate and inferior.” 


I have my own personal experience.

When I lived in the States, I had no idea I should be proud to be Scots – of the Scottish rich heritage – (even though I studied higher history)! I know Scots had made a few inventions. I knew of Robert the Bruc but I had no idea of the Scottish enlightenment. 

Brian Cox in Succession

James McAvoy

“Scotland’s government is responsible for Scotland’s culture, but has to ignore the most influential means of cultural expression. All the small, newly independent, nations of Europe have their own broadcasting and even the state of Catalonia has its own four tv channels.”


Are changes afoot 2022 – with the recent global successes of the series Outlander and at Cumbernauld studios; filming Batman Glasgow; Brian Cox in Succession; and several other well known Scots actors. And with Sam Heughan portraying Jamie Frazer a proud and principled Highlander.  #¥esScots



Jamie Frazer and Claire

Saturday 31 July 2021

Edinburgh festivals and Portrait photography

It's marvellous that the Edinburgh festivals are returning for 2021, with 3 main pavilions. Tickets -

Each August Edina’s ancient, cobbled streets down from the castle and into the more formal Georgian new town become vibrantly alive with international visitors. Festivals offer a special and unique bringing together of diverse creatives – to collaborate and inspire each other.  


I travelled through Princes street Edinburgh to my secondary school at Granton beside the Firth of Forth, once a great port and centre of fishing. I remember the city’s excitement, fun and energy at the theatre, concert, comedy (with the footlights reviews) and art each August for the festivals. Growing up though I never realised the scale or world class significance of the festival to celebrate Europe and its international breath of cultural  impacts – from mime to ballet; folk to opera; poetry to pop; drums to pipes; harmony singing to orchestral depth; Hamlet or absurd comedies and hysterical satire!


The Edinburgh festivals and its large Fringe offers so much. The Mound art galleries of the old masters, the history of Enlightenment innovators to modern challengers. 


Scottish Festivals ... Seek to engage, challenge, entertain and to ensure quality of standard, musicianship, writing, diversity, colour and more.


**In 2008, I began seriously pursuing photography and started shooting at the Edinburgh festival. The high street was always a high point to take photos, while also very challenging with all its many distractions. I love its energy. I studied art at school, play piano and have a long standing interest in music, poetry, drama and art. 


After the throbbing high street, I always enjoy the walk down the mound and along George street to the calmer reflections of the Edinburgh International Book festival. I began taking photos here too, in the perfect, shaded environs of the posh Charlotte square. This was always a challenging and inspiring experience. Edinburgh has ever changing light, in August with all the seasons often in one day!

MY Photography website -


The EIBF is the world’s premier book festival begun in 1982. TICKETS -

Edinburgh in a Unesco city of literature and each August EIBF welcomes a wide variety of authors  from Scotland and internationally. I’ve met many famous faces here, which at first is a strange experience.  


I’d like to thank all those who’ve encouraged and inspired my work. 


Edinburgh Tattoo

street performer

The role of art is to challenge and provoke, to resist stagnation and to question complacency. All art , poetry, prose or painting, represents and interprets the world. Its purpose is to bring new perspectives. 

Wednesday 18 September 2019

Edinburgh festival 2019

2019 was the festivals 72nd year 
For the month of August Edinburgh’s population doubles in size, and every possible room and hall becomes a venue. Edinburgh’s Royal Mile is the perfect historic backdrop for the players to exhibit their talents. The weather in August may be changeable, but it is also just right. 

The main event is the comedy: and the international main festival, theatre plays, music concerts, dance, cabaret – from world class, to school and university amateurs. It offers an expanding platform for new talent. There is something here for everyone. Edinburgh is also just the right size to walk around the dramatic castle, old town and new town. Its worth taking time to explore Scottish history off the main tourist paths and down the Canongate. 

Many great writers have lived here - Alan Ramsay, Adam Smith, David Hume, Dugald Stewart, Adam Ferguson, James Hutton, Henry MacKenzie, Robert Burns, Walter Scott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alexander Macall Smith, Ian Rankin.

Monday 23 February 2015

Posh Culture

Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Once the regenerating resurgence of the 60s and 70s social mobility meant a vibrant and energizing arts creativity. There was a wealth of working class musicians who listened to American blues artists and realized that anyone might aspire to pick up a guitar and play rock and roll. 

Sadly this is not so today. I wondered a few years back over more recent UK bands that hailed from middle class and upper middle class backgrounds - such as Mumford, Coldplay and others - have been squeezing out those young people not so favoured.  

It appears I am not alone thinking these thoughts. Scottish actress Elaine C Smith writing in the Sunday Herald, “Does it matter if UK culture is increasingly dominated by a privately educated elite? You bet it does.”
‘there is no doubt that the old guard are back in charge, with a wealthy, privileged, white, male, privately educated elite dominating our arts, film and TV. The big problem is that for young people today there are few opportunities if you attend a state school

I lived in the US for ten years where I noticed that the tv soaps were never about any divisive 'them and us' class system. Today in the UK we have either posh TV soaps such as Downton Abbey  -  or working class soaps like Eastenders. 

Notably recently several of the new younger actors are from privileged backgrounds, such as - 
Benedict Cumberbatch, Eddi Redmayne, Domimic West.

We have Oxbridge graduates coming up to Scotland to run The Scottish National theatre and Creative Scotland, as well as other major cultural events here, who don’t have grounding in what Scotland is about. In fact a Scot has never run these major Scottish creative bodies (to my great surprise!). I don’t suspect that France would wish to have Germans or Americans running their culture!

Question remains – who is in charge of our arts – universities, galleries, theatre companies, festivals, opera, ballet and so on. And do we need outsiders telling us they know better how to develop our culture?

And no, this is not about the politics of envy, as James Blunt suggested, but rather that this stifles and misrepresents culture. This is also about providing for cultural diversity.

Scottish actor James McAvoy expresses his concern: "As soon as you get one tiny pocket of society creating all the arts, or culture starts to become representative not of everybody, but of one tiny part, and that's not fair to begin with, but it's also damaging for society."
Benedict Cumberbatch attended boarding school Brambletye School
Eddi Redmayne attended Eton.
Domimic West also attended Eton and Trinity college. 
Chris Martin boarded at Sherborne School, a boys' independent school Dorset where he met future Coldplay manager Phil Harvey.
Mumford attended private school King’s College School Wimbledon.
James Blunt was educated at private school Harrow.

There are around 2,500 independent schools in the UK, which educate around 615,000 children, being some 7 per cent of all British children and 18 per cent of pupils over the age of 16. yet those from independent schools dominate at Oxford, Cambridge, government, and other leading roles. A big part of this is confidence and networking.