29 articles

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Opinion: the SAY Award longlist is keeping Scotland’s musical conversation alive

23 Apr 2015

Scottish Album of the Year longlist is a strong showcase of the country’s musical output right now

Another beauty of a longlist emerged this morning from the SAY HQ. It features some of Scotland’s biggest hitters, one of whom will take the best album of the year award in June. As a playlist of the country’s musical output, what do these 20 albums…

Opinion: What next for the Creative Scotland funding losers?

9 Mar 2015

Neil Cooper asks what impact the decisions will have on Scotland’s cultural scene

While the decisions highlighted justified winners, including the likes of Vanishing Point and Grid Iron theatre companies, as well as contemporary music producers Arika, 28 organisations who received money in 2014-15 were declined regular funding for…

Opinion: it's not sexist, it's innuendo

5 Dec 2014

In defense of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and Samantha's right to sexual appetite

Earlier this year, Australian researchers announced that we had hit 'peak beard'. From this, ran a storm of peaks, from 'peak Beyonce', to 'peak oil' and even, thanks Guardian, 'peak peak'. Trivialities aside however, not all peaks are created equal and…

Opinion: When our heroes go bad

21 Nov 2014

'Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?'

In the past year, my 12-year-old daughter has immersed herself in the back catalogue of Michael Jackson. It certainly marks a welcome relief from her fixations with X-Factor and hilarious YouTube ‘comedians’, but she can’t seem to see that ‘Billie Jean…

Opinion: Game Masters exhibition and the art of the gaming world

11 Nov 2014

'This exhibition is an opportunity to end the argument over whether or not games can be art'

Most of us play video games in some form. Even if you don't consider yourself to be a gamer, chances are you've picked up a microphone to belt out some Beyoncé on Singstar, tried your hand at tennis on a friend's Wii or played Angry Birds on your…

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Opinion: the first post-independence referendum St Andrew's Day

11 Nov 2014

'66% of Scots now apparently would vote Yes if another referendum happened tomorrow'

Life is inherently filled with awkward moments full of cringe-inducing regret. No more so than when you have to come face to face with those you have upset. In that vein, Sunday 30 November 2014 marks the first St Andrew’s Day since us Scots decided we…

Opinion: the return of Twin Peaks

22 Oct 2014

Will the cult TV show live up to expectations when it returns to the small screen in 2016?

This has been an extraordinary year for fans of Twin Peaks. To mark its 25th anniversary, the show was re-released on sparkling Blu-ray alongside the much-maligned feature film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me and, for the first time, the fabled 90 minutes…

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…

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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…

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…

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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…

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…

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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…

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…