Showing posts with label st Giles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label st Giles. Show all posts

Friday, 30 September 2022

Edinburgh festivals 2022






Its good to see tradition and history given due regard – with the new to challenge and move things forward. We need both. Freedom to move, to express. Its important to notice the ancient history we pass, under the gawdy and tacky. So many tourists walk past so fast – but it’s the auld stories, historic buildings, that give us the authentic character. and sense of our past stories.

 And no better place to do so than historic, cobbled Edinburgh, with its steep closes and wynds, atmospheric high street, around its Mercat Cross, Signet Library, Scottish Parliament, St Giles – publishing, Reformation, enlightenment, Stewarts, and Georgian new town. 

 

Sunday at Biblos after my high street walk. Good to see that the buzz has returned this year. Talk Fintan OToole at EIBF, who spoke of the known and the unknown, the Ireland he’s known since 1958. Later I entered the atmospheric musical realm of Sandy Bells. I used to be here in my twenties and enjoyed fun folk nights here. 


St Giles

High street trails were once again packed with several shows and tourists. 
**St Giles  There was a lovely choral choir singing which lent an ethereal and spiritual air. 

The Writers corner – Margaret Oliphant, Robert Fergusson, Robert Louis Stephenson,

Robert Lorimer, Elsie Inglis,

St Giles cathedral was cleaned up in the 1980s and is considered the home of the Scots Presbyterian religion, and its famous minister John Knox. They were against having the Bishops hierarchy and believed everyone had their right to access the Bible and God for themselves, which all led to the War of the Three Kingdoms and education for all.


Burns memorial window


Did our genius Scots bard
 Robert Burns talk to all of Scotland and also to the world, rather than his humble beginnings in Ayrshire. In Edinburgh, where his second edition was published and very much shaped him where he seems forgotten – the Fencibles club, his memorial to the poet Robert Fergusson, attending William Creech Publishing house. 

I later discover there is now a Burns Memorial window in St Giles. In 1985 it was felt there was no central memorial to our great national bard – the window illustrates the natural world Burns loved, the middle section human unity and with a vibrant red sun of love at the top. Its easy though to walk past the window, as I did without realising. With the service for the Queen taking place here September.





Sandy Bells


This year there were several challenging shows and talks.

**SHOWS

*Bloody Difficult Woman – about Theresa May and her clash with Gina Miller over her lack of consulting parliament over her hasty Brexit. Tim Walker’s debut drama which received good reviews and sold out performances in Edinburgh – but lacked attention in England as the extreme right seeks to suppress any Brexit negatives. Debut drama

Tim Walker - writes that in England people are starting to give up on national political discourse -  and even the idea of democracy itself. He feels regarded as an enemy of the people. He write show grateful he is for the positive recognition  of his play in Scotland. “ My gratitude to the people of Scotland is heartfelt. You still have something  very valuable – please don’t loose it.”


*BURN with Allan Cumming – on the darker more controversial side of our national bard with an emotional interpretation of the man behind the shortbread tin myths.

*Comedy- Frankie Boyle, Kevin Bridges

*Music - Edinburgh hosted several world class orchestras.

Scottish Sessions, Surgeons hall; Queens halls concerts, Princes street gardens gigs. 

 

*Edinburgh Art festival

A Taste of Impressionism at the National Galleries, explores the rich collections by Scots collectors

Michele Roberts Three women and the artist Matisse

Barbara Hepworth Exhibition

Edinburgh film festival

Children  festival – Sold out Peppa Pig orchestra, and much more.


Ocean Vuong

Omar Musa

Art college


**EIBF talks - Diana Gabaldon, Fintan Otoole, Brian Cox, Oliver Bullough, Lea Yi, Good Grief, Noam Chomsky, 

Music. PJ Harvey, Martha Wainwright, Stuart Cosgrove, 

Bigger names – Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Maggie O’Farrell

EIBF encourages us to debate, question, and look for truths, via a wide range of writers from to academics, novelists, historians, journalists, politicians, artists, poets and more. 

Some might claim Edinburgh festivals are not radical enough,

 

There are questions over whether Edinburgh festivals have become too big. Edinburgh festivals started in 1947 with 8 companies – by 1980 at 380, 1985 to 1,091 companies and  3,841 companies in 2019. Ticket sales down and it will be four or five year journey back

Edinburgh festivals have also suffered from overkill and overload of tourists, Sometimes quantity rather than quality. Perhaps the pandemic will mean a reset, and rethink. To streamline and reset. 


Sunshine at the Edinburgh art galleries
Edinburgh festival Shows

1973 – 184

1976 – 426

1985 – 1,091

2015 – 3,314

2019 – 3,841

 

Ticket sales

\1973 – 128,900

1985 – 523,000

2014 – 2,183,591

2019 – 3,012,490


Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Queen Elizabeth's Respect for the Scottish Nation

 


Professor Tom Devine was commenting on the radio on this historic week after Queen Elizabeth’s death, as her cortege left Balmoral’s estates. He said the Queen showed a deep affection for Scotland and recognised the distinctive Scottish nationhood - perhaps reminiscent of past generations that we appear to have lost in our modern times.

 As Scotland pre-eminent historian, he was knighted by the Queen a few years ago. At this ceremony, the queen said that she was pleased to be honouring a Scots scholar and historian and she raised her voice – “who has written extensively on Scottish history.“  

 Devine said, “Its  a shame some UK politicians can’t speak of Scotland with the same level of respect. “

I notice the Welsh language had pride of place in the Welsh ascension ceremony today for new King Charles. So why is the Scots language still treated as an embarrassment? Its shocking that Scots history and culture have been so deliberately suppressed over the past century in Scotland. Children were belted in schools for speaking in Scots and teachers were told they would sound ignorant if they spoke in Scots! 

 

In Maori schools in New Zealand, Maori children are taught  Maori words and culture and to be proud of their heritage. So why on earth must Scots be embarrassed of their wonderful Scots culture? Many Scots are totally ignorant of Scots history and have been taught only English culture. 

 

The Welsh also sang the Welsh national anthem. We in Scotland urgently need new words to Flower of Scotland OR a new Scots national anthem!! Hint, hint Proclaimers, Dougie MacLean…etc.

 

I would like to emphasize to those who like the union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland – 

Scotland’s independence is NOT in any way about not having “unity” here in the UK. In fact I hope we can have much better and more successful unity after indy – its about how Scotland is best governed in the best interests of all those who live in Scotland.


I lived many years in the United States – the states are united, but also independently run their own affairs. For instance, each state organises their own trade deals, vat rates, immigration, laws, and other economic levers. So I firmly believe that Scotland needs their own self governing levers to best address the needs and best interests of the people of Scotland. I would be for a slimmed down monarchy, and I don’t like the term ‘subject’ and would much prefer ‘citizen.


I hope the recant services and ceremonies around the Queen’s death, show any doubters that Scotland is its own distinct nation, one of the oldest in Europe. I hope all those who dislike Scottish traditions, were able to appreciate the beauty of Karen Matheson’s Gaelic song at the St Giles service. It was highly significant that the ancient Scots crown of James IV was placed on the queens coffin, as Queen of Scots. 


I had heard from several sources that Operation Unicorn was well planned ahead of time. I hope we can have unity as well as the best of self government. As Succession actor Brian Cox recently said in his chat with Nicola Sturgeon at the Edinburgh book festival, " Its not about personalities but about country and democracy." 

“Its time to be free!”