Opinion

22 articles

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Opinion: Should Exhibit B’s Barbican run have been cancelled?

24 Sep 2014

After fierce protests, the show's cancellation has led to renewed questions about censorship

When Brett Bailey's Third World Bunfight company presented Exhibit B as part of the 2014 Edinburgh International Festival, the show's 21st century reimagining of colonial era human zoos – when black Africans were shown in front of their white…

Opinion: Scotland's theatre-makers are predominantly pro-Independence - so what happens if we vote No?

26 Aug 2014

‘If theatre is serious about dialogue, it has to remember to listen’

As the Edinburgh Fringe has made clear through the offerings of Alan Bissett, David Greig and the National Collective, the majority of theatre-makers have come down in public favour of the Yes vote in the upcoming referendum. Apart from causing a…

Opinion: What legacy will the Commonwealth Games cultural programme leave?

15 Jul 2014

'The aftermath of the Commonwealth Games arts programme will define its worth'

Before accepting his honorary doctorate from Edinburgh University this month, Eugenio Barba offered a few thoughts on the purpose of theatre. 'It is,' he said, in his lilting accent, accentuating his words with florid hand gestures, 'about making the…

Opinion: Edinburgh Fringe audiences need to venture beyond the city centre

23 Jun 2014

The 2014 programme, with more and more venues in the north of the city, could shake things up

About 15 years ago, Mark Thomson staged a Fringe show called A Madman Sings to the Moon. It starred Tony Cownie as a loner who laid siege to a café. By the end of the festival, the production had won a Herald Angel and Cownie had won the Stage Award for…

The Turner Prize supports our young artists - what about the older ones?

16 May 2014

These days it’s mature artists who are being undervalued, writes Penny Anderson

Like most artists, I read opportunity bulletins more in hope than expectation. Some offers are aimed at female artists. Or black artists, LGBT artists, tall artists, short artists. But nothing, it seems, for older artists. I completed my Masters…

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Miley Cyrus and Courtney Love: proof that there's still a sexist double standard in music

24 Apr 2014

Despite their vast musical differences, Cyrus and Love share a lack of PR/media filter

At this very moment, Miley Cyrus is probably the most famous pop star on the planet. She twerked her way into the global consciousness grinding up against Robin Thicke in flesh-toned rubber pants at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. The former Hannah…

Opinion: can Scotland's film industry learn from its visual artists?

27 Mar 2014

Douglas Gordon and Rachel Maclean are making great film-based works - so where are the filmmakers?

Looking back at the artists and artworks that have shaped Scotland's visual art scene in recent years, one thing stands out: the rich body of moving image work. Douglas Gordon, Luke Fowler, Duncan Campbell, Torsten Lauschmann and Rachel Maclean are…

Penny Anderson: Artists need to take a stand and refuse to work for free

25 Feb 2014

People who refuse to pay artists are 'deluded and full of contempt for hard-won skills'

I have this crazy friend with some wild ideas, including (can you believe it?) refusing to work for nothing. I know! Who the hell does he think he is? Admittedly, he’s a respected virtuoso trumpeter noted for sublime, soaring solos, but surely he’ll do…

Opinion: Blue is the Warmest Colour is great on love, bad on lesbian sex

7 Nov 2013

Director Abdellatif Kechiche says that 'love is cosmic', but his film fails to convey queer nuances

‘There’s a banality to how a lot of directors represent female bodies and female pleasure, partly because they borrow from the industrial handbook of male-oriented pornography,’ wrote Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, after viewing Blue Is The…

Opinion: Breaking Bad was great, but falls just short of the greatest TV shows

2 Oct 2013

Vince Gilligan's series was amazingly entertaining, but can't match up to Mad Men, The Wire et al

Twitter will feel like a slightly quieter place next week when the current slew of #breakingbad tweets finally tails off. The debate will rage on, though, about where Vince Gilligan’s creation sits in the great pantheon of episodic television, alongside…

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Opinion: The return of Russell Brand

25 Sep 2013

Russell Brand might have a big opinion of himself, but for once, such hype can be believed

When Reginald D Hunter got into some hot bother at a PFA ceremony earlier this year for being himself, it was hard to feel a great deal of sympathy for those who had stuck a mic in his hand and a wad of cash in his pocket. And when Russell Brand was…

Opinion: why arts critics are just as important as ever

29 Aug 2013

Post-show tweets are all well and good, but we still need reliable and impartial critical voices

Everyone’s a critic. Especially in 2013. This year’s Edinburgh festival has been marked by a swell of social media reviewing: with applause still ringing in their ears, more and more performers are ordering audiences to tweet about what they’ve just…

Opinion: An appreciation James Gandolfini and his cultural legacy

11 Jul 2013

The passing of James Gandolfini is a tragedy for both his family and the world of entertainment

When James Gandolfini was the GQ cover star for their Men of the Year issue at the end of 2004, the accompanying feature offered more than a little poignancy. Reflecting on another season wearing the tortured skin of Tony Soprano, Gandolfini gave a…

Opinion: does the Royal Lyceum's new season display a gender bias?

17 May 2013

Critic Hannah McGill takes a look at the theatre's 2013 programme and finds it lacking

Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre, Scotland’s largest producing theatre, just announced its 2013–14 programme. Artistic Director Mark Thomson is proud to have mounted ‘in tough times… a season of work that celebrates the inspiration of great thinkers…

Opinion: Why do we love horror during times of economic uncertainty?

20 Feb 2013

Twilight, The Walking Dead and Dead Set are just some of our recent horrific cultural highlights

After the Wall Street crash of 1929, was it pure coincidence that Universal set about creating a canon of classic horror movies with iconic creations? Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, Boris Karloff’s monster of Frankenstein and Lon Chaney Jr’s Wolf Man continued…

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Opinion: There's no need to de-clutter your life

23 Jan 2013

It’s time to halt the New Year spring clean and celebrate the object preen

‘Clearing clutter and junk out of my life was so exhilarating, I began to clear up other people’s clutter, dirt and junk. I organized my own cleaning company and over the next eight years, I built it into a national organization.’ So goes the gushing…

Opinion: What do we think of Roman Polanski's films now?

12 Dec 2012

How we appreciate the work of controversial artists

With two of his most important films, 1965’s Repulsion and 1974’s Chinatown, heading for re-release, the question looms: how do we feel about the films of Roman Polanski now? The same as we would have had he not, a few years after making Chinatown, pled…

Amazon, Penguin, Random House and the state of publishing

12 Dec 2012

Author Sophie Cooke explains why Amazon is still a bigger worry than the Random House/Penguin merger

Amazon has always presented itself as a consumer champion, decrying the greed of publishers who insist on maintaining high prices for their authors’ e-books. Amazon is all about the customer. Good service, free delivery, low prices and plenty of…

Opinion: Why Michael McIntyre's 'work-in-progress' show is a sham

25 Jun 2012

The comedian is charging full price for a work-in-progress show

In a 2008 interview, Russell Howard declared that he was done with the Edinburgh Fringe. Not because he was sick of the month-long slog or disgusted by all those generally positive reviews. He put an abrupt end to spending August in Scotland because he…

Visual artist Folkert de Jong on what art means to him

27 Mar 2012

The sculptor shares his thoughts ahead of an exhibition at the GI

For me, art is about life and the human condition. It’s a very efficient medium to communicate about life and our individual position in it. I see the art exhibition space as a podium on which I can communicate with an audience. The audience becomes a…

Opinion - The 2012 BAFTA nominations

17 Jan 2012

Scorsese, Streep, Tintin and The Artist all nominated - but do they deserve it?

The announcement of any film awards nominations list is guaranteed to stir up debate about which films are missing, which are undeserving of their placement, and most of all, who's most likely to win. The 2012 BAFTA nominations list has all that, plus…

Opinion: MSP Joan McAlpine on same sex marriage

6 Jan 2012

The need for equal marriage rights for Scotland's same-sex couples

The introduction of civil partnerships in 2004 meant many people believe we already have gay marriage. Lots of us have celebrated the union of gay friends and family. Thirty years ago, few gay people were allowed to be open about their sexuality. Thank…