“Story is in our DNA”; A successful book on failure by Brené Brown.
If there is one thing that Americans do a lot better than Europeans, it is failure. An example is 'Rising Strong', an incredibly successful book on the subject of failure and its aftermath. Now a UK best-seller, I picked it up from Edinburgh airport bookstore, drawn by the sub heading "If we are brave enough, often enough, we will fall. This is a book about getting back up."
Arts news: Mairi Campbell's new show 'Pulse' to premier at Showcase at Celtic Connections
'Mairi Campbell reacted angrily when she was downgraded for playing her own composition in her final exams and left Guildhall College of Music and Drama for her bolthole on the Isle of Lismore. Supportive tutor Peter Renshaw found the phone number of the family’s cottage there and called her, a moment which features in the show. “I said 'you can get tae fuck' and got on the train home to Edinburgh. I never went back. The next thing was Peter's call to Lismore where I was recuperating. He said that they'd keep up the fight.” ‘
PULSE to showcase at Celtic Connections, Jan 2016
Not many musicians could hope to fill a theatre with a one-woman experimental musical about their own lives. But Mairi Campbell’s new show 'Pulse' in which she acts, sings, plays the fiddle and dances the story of her own musical coming of age has been selected to represent the best of Scottish musical culture at the prestigious Showcase event at Celtic Connections in January 2016.
Glastonbury for Geeks, San Francisco Dreamforce ‘15
SAN FRANCISCO gave itself over to ‘Dreamforce’ for a few days in September. Now in its 12th year the event was bigger than ever. Usually busy roads were closed to traffic and rolled over with fake grass, inflatable arm chairs, stages, huge screens and food and drink stops. A 1,000 berth cruiseliner moored near Fisherman’s Wharf to provide extra accommodation. Airbnb apartments were available for $1,000 a night. Stevie, Wonder, the Foo Fighters and Japanese artist Yoshiki played. But this was not a music festival - it was a software conference.
Road Trip Part Two: Utah. Zion and A Bottle of Water That was the Answer to a Prayer
Road Trip 2. (Find more in this series under 'Travel' on the right hand menu).
First light is the best time to take pictures, and on our road trip stop off at Zion National Park, a chilly dawn found us at Overlook Point, Rob and his tripod hovering on the edge of a 1,000 foot drop.
The landscape stirs echoes of cowboy B movies, Star Trek scenes and prehistoric epics. You could almost believe the rocks were polystyrene and peering down into the deep valley, I half-expected to hear a dinosaur roar. This area has been the backdrop for many movies, the most famous being Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
THE BIGGEST threat to freedom of expression in Britain today is not the shadow of the law, but whispers behind the scenes. Not the courtroom so much as a slippery excuse from someone in authority that says, I’m so sorry but we can’t put this on, because of this or that or the other dog-ate-my-homework reason. The fear of protests; the wrong kind of attention, a storm on social media. Trouble with the venue, the risk assessor, the insurance adviser, the head of college. These nebulous fears are recast politely as “it doesn’t quite fit in with our programme this year,’ or ‘ we don’t think it will sell enough tickets”, or “I’m sorry, we are already full.”
This was what I argued when, at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, I took part in a panel discussion after a show about the tension between art and politics, inspired by a trio of called-off productions in 2014, called “Walking the Tightrope” staged by Underbelly Productions.
Why the House of Lords should scrutinise the Scotland Bill
The SNP, according to Scotland on Sunday, is ‘furious’ about plans for the ‘unelected’ House of Lords to scrutinise the Scotland Bill. (http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/snp-furious-over-lords-power-over-scotland-bill-1-3821894)
The Lords are appointed not elected, granted. But there is more to democracy than being elected. After all, Hitler was elected.
A strong democracy relies at bottom on the protection of the rights of the individual citizen. That requires more than an elected bunch of career politicians being left in sole charge of all of the levers of power.