I was treated to two incredible gigs this week - The Unthanks from Northumberland and Julie Fowlis from the Hebrides. I was pretty sceptical about the Unthanks - I listened to a bit of their music and wasn't bold over. The gig was quite different - a sold out voodoo rooms saw beautifully sung songs with the complementary voices of the sisters. Quite a few sad tunes but also some fun ones - and always with good stories in between. The clog dancing was a bonus! They also seemed to be getting over the fact they were actually appearing on Jools Holland in 24 hours. The pregnant and Gaelic speaking Julie Fowlis was equally incredible - a great repetoire, on occasion with Phil 'are you pregnant too?' Cunningham. The seated Queens Hall with it's presbyterian interior and demographic didn't endear but the music washed that away - again with fantastic stories and light hearted banter between band members. It's the difference between most gigs I go to where you get a grunt or a 'cheers', if anything, between songs. More bands should consider a sprinkling of personality.
Posted by stupot at 11:41 AM Wednesday 28 Oct
Posted by stupot at 04:45 PM Tuesday 27 Oct
What a wee cracker. Connie had Lorenzo early on Friday morning: I missed out on the sweep stake by a matter of hours. I tagged along with Father and Granny - over the hill and far away to the Royal Infirmary to see a delighted and calm looking mummy and content, hungry and sleepy wee man. Everything looked completely natural - there was a lovely view to leaves falling from the trees of a young wood on a nearby hill. It wasn't too hot as well - which is all I remember about maternity hospitals. Three cheers for Connie!
Posted by stupot at 04:45 PM Sunday 25 Oct
New Old Purchase
I have to give a shout out to the Barony Project in West Kilbride which sells some great second hand furniture. It's completely hit and miss but I recently bought my 50's style (it's dated 1973 underneath) wing chair for £15 which I'm very happy with. Some great kitsch crockery too!
Posted by stupot at 04:08 PM Friday 23 Oct
lots of steel
The forth rail bridge always has some work going on - There are bandages all over it just now. 'Like painting the forth bridge' is what people commonly refer to a task taking forever. It's still as much a marvel to look as an adult as it was as a child. I stopped on the bike for a quick draw yesterday but soon started seizing up - I finished 1/3 of this in the warmth of home. Bare knees and standing about in autumn don't mix.
Posted by stupot at 03:51 PM Friday 23 Oct
Burns wis right in mony weys
Up in the morning's no for me,
Up in the morning early!
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw.
I'm sure it's winter fairly!
Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,
The drift is driving sairly,
Sae loud and shrill's I hear the blast -
I'm sure it's winter fairly!
The birds sit chittering in the thorn,
A' day they fare but sparely;
And lang's the night frae e'en to morn -
I'm sure it's winter fairly!
Posted by stupot at 06:26 PM Wednesday 21 Oct
where the wild things are
'Up' was pretty damn good but we were all blown away before it even started - by this trailer. It looks like all you could want and more: Spike Jonze Directing and a magical soundtrack are gonna make it contend with In the Loop for my film of the year.
Posted by stupot at 01:46 PM Monday 19 Oct
2010 route announced
Well, it's finally here - get the chamois cream at the ready. Fancy riding the Col de Peyresourde, d'Aspin, du Tourmalet (Haute Categorie) and d'Aubisque? How about all in one day? And pretty much the same the day before. And Tomorrow. Traditionally they classified climbs in France by their difficulty to breach by car. Haute categorie translates as 'above categorisation'.
That's something to think about when you're having your sugar puffs in the morning.
Posted by stupot at 11:00 AM Monday 19 Oct
I passed through Waverley Station car park on Saturday and glanced a grand view above me, up to the heavens on top of the old Scotsman building. I vowed to come back and managed to within the week: it's a quiet, open spot - seldom used - in the middle of town. An audience of pigeons would occasionally clap their way off a nearby platform as intercity passengers arrived readying themselves for travel to York, Inverness or London. A boy starts to cry somewhere above and out of sight and a solitary red balloon drifts up into the distance.
Posted by stupot at 12:39 PM Sunday 18 Oct
Wednesday was the day (off) after a wedding in Glasgow so we took the luxury of going to a matinee at the GFT (the new Shane Meadows film). We lounged about in the Brunswick Hotel - a place I've not been in much since my own wedding, 10 years ago. The place is holding up well and has good food and great service. Hula, our lunch venue, had even better food.
Posted by stupot at 04:06 PM Saturday 17 Oct
It's Bramble season - cycle paths and railway lines are spilling over with them. Down in West Kilbride last week I met up with the irrespressible Kirsty Reid. She's a star in many ways. She calls her mummy's Blackberry a 'Bramble', which I think a. is lovely, b. makes perfect sense and c. everyone should call them. Kirsty also draws a mean lion - almost as good an artist as my nephew, Fred!
Posted by stupot at 02:40 PM Tuesday 13 Oct
Palace to Parliament
After climbing Arthur's seat on a glorious start to Autumn we sat in the secluded cafe at the bottom of the royal mile looking out to the Scottish Parliament. Interestingly you can read the Parliament website in Scots as well as Gaelic.
Posted by stupot at 07:42 PM Sunday 11 Oct
Loch Tay Loop
When you live in Scotland and the sun shines you get twitchy: you might not see it again for a while so you feel like you should make the most of it. I'd love to live somewhere with predictable weather again. Yesterday John and I went to beautiful Killin to start our loop of Loch Tay via Glen Lyon - the weather was perfect and the leaves have started to change. It's most definitely knee warmer, glove and overshoe weather - extremities are starting to be nipped.