Review: John Smith Rating 90%

Review: John Smith

I knew this gig would be a sedate affair after I overheard three people ordering Merlot at the bar when I arrived at the Caves. Merlot! At a gig? I ask you. And, for context, it’s important to say that I had had a long day, and that was before I walked through the tail end of a hurricane to get to the gig. Maybe a little part of me was wishing myself back home in my PJs watching W1A.

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Review: Frightened Rabbit with the RSNO, The Spree 2017 Rating 76%

Review: Frightened Rabbit with the RSNO, The Spree 2017

Paisley Abbey was one of the highlights of the evening, as you entered the warmly elaborate setting, waiting being wowed by a unique one-off set from Selkirk’s Frightened Rabbit playing in conjunction with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The stunning venue was one of the draws for this headlining Spree gig, as the Scottish headliners indulged fans with a mix of old favourites and one (at least) never-heard-before track.

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Review: Love Song to Lavender Menace Rating 79%

Review: Love Song to Lavender Menace

Love Song to Lavender Menace is a two-man show about Lavender Menace, the radical feminist and LGBTQ bookshop that made a lasting impression on Edinburgh’s west end in the 1980s. We open with Lewis (Pierce Reid) and Glen (Matthew McVarish) in 1986, packing up the final few books and lamenting the close of Lavender Menace, telling stories about its existence, its founding, its patrons, and the city and cultural climate in which they found themselves. To say something completely obvious, Edinburgh has changed a lot in thirty years, politically as much as in any other way: for some, this is a trip down memory lane. For the rest of us, it’s a celebration, a reminder of how far the world – and Scotland – has moved in the meantime.

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Review: A Musical Tapestry, The Spree 2017 Rating 64%

Review: A Musical Tapestry, The Spree 2017

The opening of Paisley’s Spree Festival this year, the year of them being in the limelight with their City of Culture 2021 bid being launched and their shortlist, was an intricate forging and weaving of cultures, honing in on the theme for 2017’s festival, friendship. The town, renowned for its mill industry and Paisley Pattern celebrated its link with India by hosting an event which saw musical cultures intertwine with richness in its very own pop-up Spiegeltent.

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Review: Thingummy BOB Rating 72%

Review: Thingummy BOB

The studio behind the Festival Theatre is, in my opinion, a hidden theatrical gem in Edinburgh. Whatever gets put on there is invariably interesting, invariably unusual, and always worth seeing. And this time, it’s struck again.

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Review: Siv Jakobsen, Paul Thomas Saunders, Sivu & Fenne Lily Rating 80%

Review: Siv Jakobsen, Paul Thomas Saunders, Sivu & Fenne Lily

This performance at the CCA’s wonderful theatre space saw four young musicians who occupy the folk-ish, acoustic space in the musical spectrum gracing Glasgow for an oddly democratic tour; the promoter tells me in advance that the running order isn’t decided until the night on each date, with a loose rotation occurring to give everyone an equal share of the limelight. It’s a minor touch and while it might seem like independent musicians should always be this kind and ego-less, it is nonetheless a pleasant introduction to the vibe of the evening before I even set foot in the venue.

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Review: Alan Hollinghurst Rating 69%

Review: Alan Hollinghurst

To say that Alan Hollinghurst introduced me to homosexuality in 1988 may be a slightly overstated claim. As a student of a London Music Conservatoire, I thought I was pretty familiar with the gay scene. But on finding a discarded copy of The Swimming Pool Library on a tube train, my eyes were opened to a world well-beyond the camp milieu of my college Student Union. Hollinghurst’s first novel shocked and thrilled in equal measure, and despite the huge class differences between us, I felt this writer was saying something significant.

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Review: Gaysian Superheroes, SQIFF Rating 95%

Review: Gaysian Superheroes, SQIFF

Curated and hosted by Nyla Ahmad, who researches South Asian identity in comics, and in partnership with Collect:if (Glasgow Women’s Library’s women of colour collective) this selection of short films from two British-South Asian filmmakers explored race, identity, and sexuality in visually exciting, and thematically interesting ways. The event began with activist and director Pratibha Parmar’s 1990 film Bhangra Jig which follows a young Asian woman as she walks through the streets of Glasgow looking up at buildings and wandering through the opulent city chambers, all of which built with colonial wealth and celebrated as symbols of colonial success.

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Review: The Kite Runner Rating 82%

Review: The Kite Runner

The first half hour or so of The Kite Runner is an odd affair, because it feels rather slow to warm up. It feels like a small mountain of exposition, of introductions, it feels like the pace is slow. And then suddenly you realise how completely invested you are in everyone onstage. It creeps up on you. The Kite Runner is really good theatre. It’s powerfully moving, thoughtfully designed, intelligently directed. The cast are great. It’s an excellent way to spend an evening.

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Review: Looking Awry, SQIFF Rating 95%

Review: Looking Awry, SQIFF

As SQIFF, Glasgow’s Queer Film Festival, returns for a third year it was clear that some soul searching had been done in regards to bisexual programming. The event began with an apology from a member of SQIFF’s staff who discussed how bisexuality is often the sexuality least discussed and catered for before offering an olive branch to the community in the shape of a series of films and talks (called Looking Awry) which discussed, explored and celebrated bisexuality.

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