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Showing posts from November, 2020

John Fraser - An Obituary

John Fraser – actor, writer Born March 18, 1931; died November 7, 2020     John Fraser, who has died aged 89, was an actor who transcended his working class Glasgow roots to become a matinee idol, before taking a sidestep out of the limelight. In a colourful career, he showed star quality in a stream of top-flight films following his breakout role in The Dam Busters (1955), and rubbed shoulders with the showbiz cognoscenti of his day.    At his most famous, Fraser was dubbed the most handsome man in Britain. In truth, he was something of a renaissance man. As well as receiving a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor in The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960), Fraser published several books, and a brief brush with pop stardom ran parallel with his early acting career.   Fraser laid bare the ups and downs of his life with flamboyant abandon in his hugely entertaining memoir, Close Up (2004). It was ‘A Supa-candid-gossip-expo-valid-dose-worth of Dirk, Sophia, Bette and Rudy in the sixties’ according t

Craigmillar Now – F UK* 2022, WTF?

The launch this week of a major new grassroots arts initiative in Edinburgh comes at a very interesting moment. Craigmillar Now has announced a programme of local-based international arts that aims to rekindle the spirit of the old Craigmillar Festival Society. This has been brought to fruition as a labour of love by people living locally.   Entirely separately to this, the event once dubbed the ‘Festival of Brexit’ last week announced a shortlist of teams bidding to take part in the high profile multi-million pound initiative in 2022. With the event now branded Festival UK* 2022, teams feature several major institutions from Scotland. The announcement comes at a time when theatres and music venues are closed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. With many freelance workers struggling to survive, Festival UK* 2022 has been criticised by some, with questions asked over whether it should go ahead at all.     Craigmillar Now and Then   Away from all that, Craigmillar Now has begun

Cabaret Voltaire - This is Entertainment

Shadow of Fear   When Richard H. Kirk decided to reclaim the name of his old band Cabaret Voltaire forty years after he co-founded the original trio in Sheffield with Stephen Mallinder and Christopher R. Watson, things seemed to have come full circle. Here was a band whose mesh of multi-media electronic experiments had been sired in the midst of northern English inner city post-industrial decline. Taking their name from the Dadaists nightclub in Zurich, over their original twenty year existence, their cut-up sonic constructions fused dub-kosmiche propulsion and fuzzed-up punk garage moved from underground paranoia to clubland mind-melding for the techno age.   Six years since a now solo Kirk performed under the Cabaret Voltaire name for the first time since 1992, the release of the Shadow of Fear album this month seems to chime dangerously with the times. Arriving in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, the aftermath of the American election and the UK’s looming departure from the E