Preview of 2014: 10 cultural events you won't want to miss

Preview of 2014: 10 cultural events you won't want to miss

Nathan Coley's The Lamp of Sacrifice: 286 Places of Worship, Edinburgh - part of Generation / Photo: The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh

Featuring the Commonwealth Games, Drake, Dark Behaviour and Only Lovers Left Alive

Next year looks like being the most important in Scotland’s recent history and that goes for the country’s cultural life too. Here, David Pollock and Niki Boyle unearth the highlights of the year ahead, from the biggest and best events to five lesser-known happenings you won’t want to miss

The big hitters

Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

Even if you were the ‘forget your PE kit’ sort when you were at school, there’s little chance you’ll be able to avoid getting swept up by Commonwealth fever when it hits Glasgow at the height of summer. Will it repeat the buzz generated by London’s 2012 Olympics? Well, the 17 sports across 14 venues (including Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool) are all but sold out already.
Various venues, Glasgow, Wed 23 Jul to Sun 3 Aug.


Subtitled ‘25 years of contemporary art in Scotland’, this highly ambitious nationwide retrospective is presented as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme. Everyone who’s anyone will be exhibited across the nation throughout the year, including Gordon, Shrigley, Lambie, Boyce, Borland and many, many more. From Orkney to Dumfries and Stornoway to Kirkcaldy, will you take to the road to see them all?
Various venues around Scotland, Mar to Nov.

Under the Skin

Positively assailed by breathlessly good reviews following its round of the film festivals in 2013, Jonathan Glazer’s long-awaited follow-up to his 2004 Nicole Kidman-starrer Birth sees him adapt Michel Faber’s debut novel from 2000 about an alien who kidnaps hitchhikers in northern Scotland to serve as a delicacy on her home planet. Scarlett Johansson stars, although can she eclipse Ben Kingsley’s mesmerising turn in Glazer’s debut, Sexy Beast?
Released on Fri 14 Mar.

Still Game

Last seen on our television screens in their 2007 Hogmanay special, Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphill’s feisty old geezers Jack and Victor look set to create a Scottish cultural earthquake in 2014 with their debut stage show. At time of writing they’re well on the way to selling out all 21 of the shows that have been announced for the autumn at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena (capacity: 12,000).
Hydro Arena, Glasgow, Fri 19 Sep to Thu 9 Oct.


Canadian rapper Aubrey Drake Graham has seen all three of his albums since 2010 storm to number one across North America and sell a combined five million copies and counting in the USA alone – which means this date in his ‘Would You Like a Tour?’ tour in support of 2013’s record Nothing Was the Same will see a genuine global phenomenon land in Glasgow. Support comes from The Weeknd, who’s going places of his own.
Hydro Arena, Glasgow, Sat 15 Mar.

Nice and niche

Only Lovers Left Alive

Our deep sense of disappointment over Michael Fassbender’s departure from this Jim Jarmusch film project was quickly dispelled when Tom Hiddleston stepped in to replace him. The Hiddler plays a tortured rock star who is reunited with his long-lost love, Eve (Tilda Swinton), only to have their tranquility upset by the arrival of Eve’s younger sister, Ava (Mia Wasikowska). Oh, and they’re all vampires.
Scheduled for release on Fri 21 Feb.

Dark Behaviour

We’re still largely (and appropriately) in the dark about this late-night happening, part of The Arches’ Behaviour experimental theatre festival. That said, we do know the organisers put out a call for artists from a variety of disciplines, including ‘live art, visual art, digital art, music, theatre, dance, film and cabaret’, to join them in creating ‘a celebratory, hedonistic atmosphere’. Which is basically all of our favourite things in one mysterious package.
Arches, Glasgow, Fri 21 Mar or Fri 11 Apr tbc.

Northanger Abbey

The next instalment of Harper Collins’ Austen Project will be a reworking of Jane Austen’s semi-satire on gothic fiction, by tartan noir scribe Val McDermid. She transfers the action from 19th century Bath to modern-day Edinburgh, where protagonist Catherine ‘Cat’ Morland is entranced by the hustle and bustle of the Festival before heading to the Borders estate of Northanger Abbey, where she suspects a mystery is afoot …
Published by The Borough Press on Thu 27 Mar.


It’s not too hard to compare the worlds of food and chemistry: both are concerned with the careful mixing of specific ingredients, often involve some method of heating, and can end in a fiery mess if you’re not careful. It makes perfect sense to us, then, that the Edinburgh International Science Festival is dedicating its opening weekend to looking at the science of food, with some of Scotland’s finest scientists, chefs and suppliers offering contributions.
Venue tbc, Edinburgh, Sat 5 & Sun 6 Apr.

Matthew Herbert: 20 Pianos

Following his ambitious One Pig project (in which he charted the life of a single hog from birth to bacon), the found sound sampler extraordinaire has embarked on a project telling the stories of 20 different pianos, ranging from opera-house Steinways to battered old primary-school uprights. Expect a mixture of music, performance and innovative, hands-on technology from Herbert and his collaborators at the New Radiophonic Workshop.
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sat 2 Aug.