Robert Kemp - 50 Years After the Death of a Scots Playwright, a Memoir
This month marks 50 years since the death of the playwright Robert Kemp. To commemorate this, I have created a memoir which is downloadable here as a PDF, readable on Kindle or any other device.
Robert Kemp was a playwright who spoke and often wrote in the Scots tongue. His plays reflect his ease in the language and a deep knowledge of Scotland’s literature and history. Many of the characters and stories are drawn from Scotland’s past and its rich folklore. He wrote upwards of 120 plays, for radio and theatre, in English and Scots, but is remembered chiefly for his adaptation of Sir David Lyndsay’s the Three Estates for the Edinburgh Festival in 1948, and for two Moliere adaptations into Scots, Let Wives Tak Tent, and the Laird O Grippy.
Some Thoughts on Scotland’s Implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence
Earlier this year when writing for the Guardian about the ongoing political row around Scotland’s performance in the international comparison table known as PISA, I visited Currie High School on the outskirts of Edinburgh and spoke to a group of young people who were gathered in the lab to discuss their experience of science at school with me. After the chat, where the students were generally enthusiastic and complimentary about their science lessons, I asked if anyone would consider becoming a High School Science teacher. Silence. Why not? “I just can’t stand children, Miss” answered one bright spark. After a pause, another offered the reason that it would be just “too much hard work” - and there was a chorus of agreement with this sentiment.(some students from Currie)
The SNP and 50 Years of Parliamentary Democracy, some dramatic moments.
November 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Winnie Ewing's election as the first SNP MP. Here is the late Arnold Kemp’s account of some of the history of the SNP in Parliament after that iconic moment. (Excerpted from "The Hollow Drum" and the anthology of his journalism “Confusion to our Enemies” )
The devolution years really began for me in 1967. It was after midnight and on the Scotsman we were holding the Glasgow edition for the result of the Hamilton by-election. Seconds after the declaration – a stunning victory for the SNP candidate Mrs Winifred Ewing over Labour – David Bradford, one of the political editors, came on the line and bawled out the intro which I took down in longhand and sent to the composing room. I can remember that it began with the phrase, ‘The rising tide of Scottish nationalism ...’ and it expressed the mood of excitement. Mrs Ewing, though she lost the seat later, launched the SNP into the stratosphere of concentrated London media attention and from her victory is often traced the party’s modern prominence.
'Spirit of 47' - A Member of the Edinburgh International Festival Audience for 70 Years Looks Back.
The theme of the 70th Edinburgh International Festival this year is remembering the ‘Spirit of 47’. Among the audience is at least one faithful festival-goer who was there at the start - my uncle David Kemp.
Here are some of David’s reminiscences of his many Festivals, stretching back to those post-war years when the colour and beauty of art returned to a traumatised world.
David Kemp outside the Usher Hall, Edinburgh before the Mariinsky/ RSNO concert on 23/08/2017
A Snow Bunting looks across a mountain landscape with little sign of human habitation. This photograph was taken by my husband Rob Bruce on our Highland holiday this year, on land owned by a reclusive Malaysian businessman.
Rob’s big day out across the estate was with our son, and for Walter the trip raised questions about Scotland’s land ownership. Land reform is a hot topic in Scottish politics - There are many large estates in private hands and this is described by the Scottish Government as inequitable. The Highland Clearances generally come up in any debate about land ownership. Changes in tax are in progress, new laws are planned.
Real newspapers can be used for many things that their digital counterparts never could - from lining the veg box to making paper boats and beyond. Artist Jane Couroussopoulos finds a novel use for the pile of old Guardians she keeps in her studio, turning them into works of art.