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Showing posts from January, 2019

Douglas MacIntyre – Things Are Tough, We Can Still Picnic - The Creeping Bent Organisation at 25

When Douglas MacIntyre was playing in Article 58, he took inspiration from the words of his record company boss, Allan Campbell. MacIntyre’s Lanarkshire-sired band had named themselves with ambitiously contrary chutzpah after the Soviet classification for counter-revolutionary ‘enemies of the workers’. Campbell, meanwhile, was putting on some of the best nights in Edinburgh’s burgeoning late 1970s post-punk scene. As well as managing Josef K, the future TV producer had picked up Article 58 for his Rational Records label. This was after Alan Horne, who co-produced the record with Josef K guitarist Malcolm Ross, passed on the band in favour of signing Aztec Camera. “Allan said to me, the future lies in the past,” MacIntyre beams as he prepares to celebrate 25 years of running the conceptual ideas factory that is the Creeping Bent Organisation. “That period in Edinburgh was really exciting. It felt like people were having great ideas every week. Hearing the Scars record the first tim

Louise Ironside – Call the Midwife

Louise Ironside is a writer of substance. This was more than evident in the episode of Call the Midwife penned by the Edinburgh-born playwright and former actress, and screened two Sundays ago as part of the latest series of BBC One’s hit TV drama. This wasn’t just for the content of Ironside’s episode of the 1960s-set look at life in and around an east London hospital run by nuns. It was also about what happened following its broadcast. First of all, Labour MP David Lammy tweeted how the episode ‘has got me in pieces’, singling out a remarkable performance by Annette Crosbie as a former suffragette. Then came the news that the head of blood donation campaigns for the NHS had been in touch with the programme’s makers to let them know that within a day of it being shown, the programme had prompted a 46% increase in people in the UK registering as donors. This wasn’t the result of some Brechtian polemic. Call the Midwife is a prime time mainstream drama watched weekly by upwards

Touching The Void

Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh Five stars A jukebox isn’t the most obvious thing to be perched onstage throughout this epic staging of Joe Simpson’s iconic memoir of what happened when he and climbing partners Simon Yates and Richard Hawking set off on an mountaineering expedition in the Peruvian Andes. It is the music that beams out from it, however, that provides a lifeline in David Greig’s adaptation, brought to life by Tom Morris’s equally expansive production. The first half sees Simpson’s former climbing comrades seemingly gather for his wake with his sister Sarah. Out of this Simon and Richard guide both Sarah and the audience through a crash course in the highs and lows of climbing and the drive that causes some to take the liberating physical leap into the void that gave Simpson his book’s title. This is done by way of an ingenious use of tables, chairs and even a solitary peanut. The sheer physical élan of the four actors onstage as they clamber around designer Ti G