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Showing posts from October, 2021

Underneath The Arches - Building the Foundations to Fail Better

Going Underground   The Arches began and ended with civic failure. Neither was the fault of those in charge of the Glasgow city centre arts lab that existed between 1991 and 2015 in a cavernous interior beside Central Station that was both physically and metaphorically underground. The first failure was down to what had gone immediately before, and which accidentally birthed The Arches on a wing-and-a-prayer idea founded on punk-hippy idealism. The final act of civic vandalism that forced what by now had become one of the most important creative spaces in the world to close its doors was down to even worse external forces. Some might call it capitalism.   In the quarter of a century in-between, The Arches captured hearts, minds, souls and imaginations. It changed lives, perceptions and, in at least one theatre show, clothes. Its messy mash-up of ‘lets-put-on-the-show-right-here’ recklessness and hedonistic excess was the most exploratory of adventures for both artists and audiences, wh

Leslie Bricusse - An Obituary

Leslie Bricusse – songwriter, lyricist, composer   Born January 29, 1931 died October 19, 2021    Leslie Bricusse, who has died aged 90, was an Academy Award winning songwriter and composer, who brought a very English pop sensibility to musical theatre that went on to charm Broadway, Hollywood and the world. At his creative peak, this was done primarily with actor and singer Anthony Newley, his artistic partner over a series of hit shows that included Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1961) and The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (1965).   Songs for the former included What Kind of Fool Am I?, which became a hit for Sammie Davis Jr. The latter featured Feeling Good, recorded by Nina Simone for her 1965 album, I Put a Spell on You. Also with Newley, Bricusse penned the lyrics to Goldfinger (1964), composed by John Barry, and sung by Shirley Bassey as the melodramatic theme song for the third James Bond film of the same name. Three years later, Bricusse wrote the words

Alan Hawkshaw - An Obituary

Alan Hawkshaw – Composer, songwriter, musician   Born March 27, 1937; died October 16, 2021    Alan Hawkshaw, who has died aged 84, was a composer whose work was part of everyday popular consciousness. Hawkshaw’s TV themes crossed generations and demographics, ranging from the brass led gallops for BBC sports show, Grandstand, and comedy vehicle Dave Allen at Large, to the reggae tinged quirkiness that ushered in comprehensive school set children’s drama, Grange Hill. This contrasted with the regal stateliness of his theme for Channel Four News. Then there was Countdown, Channel Four’s flagship quiz show, for which Hawkshaw’s thirty-second theme became an integral tension-building backdrop to the word based game.   As a musician, Hawkshaw was a member of Emile Ford & The Checkmates in the 1960s, and in The 1970s joined The Shadows. He also played more than 7,000 recording sessions as keyboardist, arranger and musical director with the likes of Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, Dus

Erskine Beveridge: Collecting Relics, Ruins & Ways of Life

Man With a Camera   When Erskine Beveridge picked up a camera in the late 1800s, this revolutionary way of immortalising the world was perfect for documenting the Dunfermline born mill owner’s archaeological adventures across Scotland. While Beveridge’s images would go on to appear in his assorted publications, it was only when a pile of neglected glass plate photographic negatives was accidentally discovered that a vital archive of the country’s landscape on the brink of seismic social change was preserved.    The discovery occurred while surveyors from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (which later joined forces with Historic Scotland to form Historical Environment Scotland) were looking over one of Beveridge’s soon to be demolished mills in the early 1960s. A later donation of another box of glass plate negatives rescued from a skip and stored in a wardrobe for many years expanded the collection further. Several other boxes believed to have hel