Mar 092012
 

With thanks to Dave Macdermid. 

Organisers of the Denis Law Soccer Tournament, which replaced the longstanding Aberdeen International Football Festival last year, are looking to cement the financial future of the event with the formation of a ‘Friends’ group comprising 200 members.

Scotland legend Denis, the Patron of the DLST, is passionate about the tournament.

“Sport and in this case, football, forms an important part of a child’s upbringing and I firmly believe the experience and enjoyment that kids get from this event in my home town will stay with them forever. The organisers need your support to be able to sustain this worthy cause and I would urge you to become a Friend to ensure it can continue as an annual event. I look forward to seeing you at some point during the year to thank you personally.”

And everyone who signs up at £200 per annum to become a ‘Friend’ will get the opportunity to do just that as there will be ‘Friends of DLST’ reception at Aberdeen Sports Village, hosted by Denis himself.

In addition, Friends will receive recognition of support within the tournament programme, venue and website, a quarterly e-newsletter and entry into a prize draw for a complimentary team to be included in the DLST corporate football event.

This year’s tournament will take place at ASV between July 16th and 21st with action at 16 and Under and 14 and Under age groups.

Anyone wishing to become a Friend can pay via BACS, cheque or debit card via the ‘Friends of DLST’ link on www.aberdeensportsvillage.com or by contacting ASV Events Manager Fiona Cardwell on 01224 438926 or fiona@aberdeensportvillage.com

Feb 172012
 

Last Saturday, 58 members of The Aberdeen Chorus of Sweet Adelines headed south to Edinburgh to take part in their second audition for this year’s version of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. With thanks to Linda Allan.

Having had very positive feedback from some of the programme’s producers in the first audition in the autumn,  the ladies were ready to brave the “fearsome 4” judges as well as a live audience in the magnificent Festival Hall.

The Chorus added some more polish to the ballad “At Last” and donned their “Black and Sparkle”  ( some of the visitors to the Kinross Service Station car park will never be the same again!).

The day passed in the Festival Hall with photo and video shoots, interviews, warm ups, run-throughs, wee glimpses into the Hall at some of the other acts, lots of chat, and endless trips to the facilities to check apparel and make-up – all of this punctuated regularly by the most awful foghorn sound of the dreaded buzzer bursting through from the stage.

As the day wore on and the programme schedule slipped further and further behind, it became quite clear that this Chorus was not going to see the Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen again till well into the “wee sma’ oors” – about 3:30am for some of the ladies!!  Never mind – more time to eat another snack, have another photo shoot on the staircase – and watch some performing dogs being interviewed and getting their costumes put on for their act.

There was time too to serenade the (very enthusiastic) public at audience change-over times with some Chorus songs.  It has to be said that the BGT crew members and Festival Hall staff were extremely pleasant, helpful, positive and encouraging, despite what must have been an extremely stressful day for them too.

A visit from the very pleasant and charming Ant and Dec added to the excitement

Then – at last – the intrepid songsters were escorted down endless flights of stairs, along miles of corridors, past mounds of cables and whole forests of cameras and microphones till arriving behind the curtain of the big stage where acts, comments from the judges and the scary buzzer could clearly be heard.

There they stood in excitement for – ages – along with a flea circus, 4 lycra-clad Scottish pipers in rather dubious pink, blue, and green all-in-one skin tight costumes, a very nervous singer experimenting rather gingerly with a microphone, and some curiously clad individuals with strange accents and weird instruments.

A visit from the very pleasant and charming Ant and Dec added to the excitement, as in between various stages of their duties, they ran the gauntlet of the rows of waiting ladies “high-fiving” as they went!  There was also to be more chat and filming with the duo just before going on stage, and later on some of the ladies of the chorus were able to pose with them for photos and autographs at the stage door.

So then – at last (again)- the culmination of the day – an entry on stage to a packed auditorium and the ‘fearsome 4’. There was some further filming, with some questions from the judges to the Director of the Chorus Gwen Topp and the Chorus President Debbie Pern, and then the ballad “At Last”.All judges acknowledged the technical expertise of the Chorus, and the polish and quality of the singing

So how did it go?  The Chorus sang extremely well. One judge liked the Chorus, 2 judges liked the song “At Last”. One judge commented on the lovely involved faces.  All judges acknowledged the technical expertise of the Chorus, and the polish and quality of the singing. In the end two voted for the Chorus to go through, and two voted against.

  As with everything the Chorus undertakes there are valuable opportunities for learning.

Because the judge who had the casting vote in a tie-breaking situation had voted against the Chorus and had in fact used the buzzer, the Chorus will not be going through to the next stage. The genre of music, in which the Chorus excels, was unfortunately simply not to their liking. They simply did not get it!

How does the Chorus feel?  As with everything the Chorus undertakes there are valuable opportunities for learning.  The experience gained from the preparation for the event, the process of being involved in performing at such a big event and dealing with uncertain procedures and ever-changing timelines is very valuable for any performer, and plays an important part in developing performing skills.  Listen, learn, and move on!

What now??  The Chorus will continue to work for the next important events in its calendar, including visits from international coaches and preparation for the annual competition in May in Birmingham.

Tribute must be paid to GwenTopp, Chorus Director and Debbie, Chorus President, for their work both in preparation for the event and also for their magnificent handling of interview questions at the various sections of the day.

Both succeeded in giving heart-felt, eloquent responses which went a long way to promoting not only the Aberdeen Chorus and The World Wide Organisation of Sweet Adelines, but also the value of singing in a group as great fun, a wonderful hobby, a promoter of well-being and a source of support and friendship to those who take part. This message has the potential of reaching many thousands of people, should the clips be televised.

Jan 272012
 

One of America’s biggest stars, Rosie O’Donnell, has admitted to millions that she was “moved to tears” by the hit feature documentary You’ve Been Trumped when the film’s director was the main guest on her show last week.

Footage of what the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) described as filmmaker Anthony Baxter’s “violent arrest” was broadcast across  America for the first time.

The broadcast prompted scores of outraged viewers to hit Twitter and Facebook to voice their anger at the actions of Donald Trump, the Scottish Government and Grampian Police.

On The Rosie Show, Baxter revealed how Freedom of Information requests made by the Sunday Herald have only heightened concerns that Grampian Police “have been acting like Donald Trump’s private security force”.  He also accused the force of carrying out a “whitewash cover up enquiry’ into his arrest.

The arrests of Baxter and his colleague Richard Phinney whilst making their film in 2010 prompted fierce criticism from the NUJ. The union described the police’s actions as “a breach of human rights” with “important implications for press freedom”.  

Meanwhile, O’Donnell is urging Americans to watch what she describes as “an amazing film”. She admits to crying during the scene where hundreds of people walk across the bulldozed dunes of the Menie Estate, to show of support for local resident Michael Forbes, accused by Mr Trump of “living like a pig in a slum”.

You’ve Been Trumped will be screened again in Chicago on 22 March, prior to its being rolled out for screenings in Europe as well as in Washington DC, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Arizona and other major American cities.

Clips from The Rosie Show…
http://www.oprah.com/rosie/The-Rosie-Show-Rosie-Takes-on-Trump

You’ve Been Trumped has won a total of eight international film festival awards

WINNER: Starz Denver Film Festival, USA
WINNER: Take One Action Film Festival, Scotland
WINNER: Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival, Michigan
WINNER: DaKINO International Film Festival, Bucharest
WINNER: Hamptons International Film Festival, New York
WINNER: Edindocs Film Festival, Edinburgh
WINNER: Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival, Nevada City
WINNER: Sheffield International Documentary Festival UK

Michael Moore hand-picked You’ve Been Trumped for his Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan where it won the Special Jury Prize. It is now well on course to be the most successful cinema feature documentary ever produced in Scotland.

Dec 152011
 

With Christmas fast approaching and people hitting the city in droves this weekend – why not pop into our lovely city gardens in between the present hunting for a truly festive event.  Iain Richardson writes re. this Saturday’s Winter Festival at Union Terrace Gardens to celebrate prize art work by city children.

The winners of an art competition for children will receive their prizes at a Winter Festival in the centre of Aberdeen this Saturday, 17th December.

Christmas-themed artwork by Aberdeen school children will be on display at the event in Union Terrace Gardens on Saturday 17th December 2011, between 1pm and 3.30pm.

The Winter Festival will feature the Bon Accord Silver Band, carol singing, Yousedancin ceilidh band, Santa, Cairngorm reindeer, and free festive food and drink.

Dorothy Bothwell, retired Head Teacher and member of the Common Good Aberdeen group, who organised the event, said:

“We’re just thrilled at the response to the competition. The children’s art is stunning and we’ll be displaying as many of the 300 or so entries as we possibly can on Saturday, as well as handing out prizes to the winning children”.

The prizes for the winning Art Competition entries in each of three age groups will be presented to children at approximately 1.30pm on Saturday 17th December, at the Arches in Union Terrace Gardens.

Nearly 300 entries were received from primary schools and individual children in and around Aberdeen.

For further information, contact:

Dorothy Bothwell:      01224 583451
mrsb_cafe52@hotmail.com

Iain Richardson:        07833 453961
iainrichardson@ieee.org

 

 

Dec 012011
 

By Bob Smith.

Here comes the Retail Festival
Cooched in glossy Christmas cheer
Spen spen spen the shops cry oot
Their merchandisin moves up a gear

Maun we owerspen at Christmas
On presents aat leave us skint?
Mony fowk are left in debt
So aat shops can mak a mint

Christmas time itsel a fear
His lost it’s freenly glow
Fowk tryin to see faa can hae
The dearest presents on show

A sma present ti faimly members
There is nae hairm in iss
Bit keepin up wi the Joneses
Is some fowks idea o bliss

Hunners o poonds they are spent
On presents fer aa yer freens
Kids yammerin fer the latest
Toy or game shown on TV screens

Hotels an restaurants filled ti the brim
Yet their prices are ower the tap
Faan wull aa iss madness eyn
An prices wull stairt ti drap

Faimly Christmases used ti be
A time ti visit an hae a blether
Yet ti sit aroon the table
Nooadays fowk they dinna bither

The festivities noo a fear
Hiv naething ti dee wi the 25th
It’s aa ti dee wi consumerism
Spenin dosh on expeensive gifts

In case ye think a’m a scrooge
Tak time ti stop an think
Fit’s the purpose o aa iss spenin
Ither than bringin ye ti debt’s brink

It’s time fer a revolution
A time ti say stuff yer stuff
Resist the aa empowerin persuasion
Pit the retailers in a huff

Celebrate Christmas? Of coorse we shud
Yet think fit shud be deen
Raither than buy a material gift
Jist present yersel as a freen

©Bob Smith “The Poetry Mannie”
Image Credit: © Sergey Sundikov | Dreamstime.com

Nov 172011
 

As part of Edinburgh Folk Club’s Carrying Stream Festival, an annual celebration of Hamish Henderson’s life and legacy, Will Kaufman brought Hard Times and Hard Travellin’ – The Songs of Woody Guthrie to the Pleasance Cabaret Bar. Fittingly, this was on Remembrance Day. Voice’s David Innes attended and reports in.

Joe Klein’s masterly Woody Guthrie biography and John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath set the benchmark, as far as this reviewer is concerned, in documenting the US Dustbowl phenomenon, its resulting human tragedies, scar tissue which continues to disfigure the increasingly-hollow American Dream.
There is now, however, a new source of information, a 21st century interpretation of those hardest of times and of the hushed-up and damped-down radicalism which ensued.

Will Kaufman, a New Yorker who enjoys professorial status in American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire, has published Woody Guthrie, American Radical, in which he focuses on Guthrie’s radicalism and political activity, reclaiming this wiry, uncompromising American cultural icon as a champion of the oppressed, from the sanitised public romantic notion of Guthrie as a hick Dustbowl minstrel.

Kaufman is no stuffy, dusty, robed academic though. His love of Guthrie’s song canon and keen appreciation of Woody’s entertaining establishment-baiting writing and broadcasting has seen him take to the road and publicise his book and interpret Woody’s songs through live documentary.

Live documentary? A Macbook, an open-tuned Martin guitar allied to Kaufman’s expansive knowledge, dazzling digital fingerboard dexterity and sonorous singing voice made his visit to Edinburgh Folk Club a mesmerizing experience. Bringing a Macbook into a folk club shows that Kaufman himself is as radical as the subject of his show.

He describes Woody’s timeline, fleshing out this skeletal summary with contemporary 1920s and 30s pictures and social and political history of those times. Guthrie’s songs are the backbone of the performance but Kaufman draws on other songs of the era to illuminate further the hardship and hostility endured by Dustbowl refugees and those radicalised by inequality and authoritarian brutality. He encored not with a Guthrie song, but Steve Earle’s Stetson-doffing Christmas In Washington:

So come back Woody Guthrie
Come back to us now
Tear your eyes from paradise
And rise again somehow
If you run into Jesus
Maybe he can help you out
Come back Woody Guthrie to us now

The presentation is not without criticism of Guthrie, however. Kaufman counsels those who have yet to read his subject’s autobiographical Bound For Glory to “set the bullshit detectors to maximum” and ensures that Woody’s less-savoury proclivities are not ignored in a haze of hero homage.

To be as academically and musically gifted as Kaufman demonstrates he is, yet to remain as honest and true and entertaining as evidenced by the live setting, are comradely qualities that Woody Guthrie himself would surely have appreciated.

Woody Guthrie, American Radical by Will Kaufman is published by The University of Illinois Press and is available by contacting nickesson@combinedacademic.co.uk or by telephoning 01494 581601. We’ll see what we can do about reviewing it in Voice.

Oct 212011
 

Voice’s Suzanne Kelly was present to witness Wayne Hemingway give a talk to a full house at Robert Gordon’s Business School on the evening of 5th October. The audience was a wide mix of students, lecturers, design practitioners, businesspeople and others (Hemingway kept asking the audience questions to determine who was there, and he tailored his presentation accordingly).

Mr Hemingway gave an illuminating, bespoke talk.  My only criticisms were that the lighting engineer had no clue what type of lighting was appropriate for a slide/video presentation talk where people wanted to take notes (the lights went on and off, up and down for most of the second half), and that those who plan to forever change Union Terrace Gardens weren’t in evidence.
They might have learnt something.

If you think the Hemingway family (Wayne and Gerardine) are associated solely with fashion and the iconic ‘Red or Dead’ brand, you are missing some very important developments – housing developments to be precise.

Wayne saw a very clear need (which alas many planners and construction firms miss) to create places where people would actually want to live, socialise, landscape, play and be proud of. But more on that later.

Hemingway began the talk with his own life and design history.

In his early family years in Blackburn, his family was not wealthy; they valued creativity and imagination. He was on the music and clubbing scene from age 13 or so, and was enthralled by all he saw and heard in these early heady days of punk. He met his future wife and business partner Gerardine in a club, and was impressed with her clear passion and talent for clothes and customising vintage wear.

They got engaged, headed to London, and did typical day jobs (she as a secretary; he in a pub). One month things looked tight for paying the rent, so they decided on the entrepreneurial path and took a stall in Camden Market to sell their own second-hand, vintage clothing. This first outing proved so successful (and I assume enjoyable) that they put their efforts towards buying second hand clothing to sell. They delved into the world of  ‘the rag trade’ literally – buying goods otherwise destined for recycling from the ‘shoddy’ yards.

Few were touching vintage or second hand at the time, and the popularity of their stall grew and grew.

They soon learnt marketing tips such as the importance of where the stall was located in Camden. The now iconic Doc Marten boot was adored by the punk world, but elsewhere just seen as workers’ footwear. A clever deal with Doc Marten saw the duo buying old, damaged DMs in quantity (where the soles were worn through), repairing them (with a family member’s repair solution and friends to help), and selling them on for a considerable profit. The business grew and grew.

Gerardine created a small line of clothing – there were only eight pieces in the whole line – and headed to the very cool Kensington Market to join other designers and artists selling work.  Of all things Macy’s of New York found her there, and placed an order for 200 of each item. With some help from  several friends and relatives who could sew  they were able to fill the order. Out of this growth and interest, ‘Red or Dead’ came to life.

 Wayne had bought a large number of non-working sample watches; these were used to decorate shoes.

An older man in the trade asked Wayne ‘What does Red or Dead stand for?’ In the ensuing conversation this man explained how different brands were clearly aligned to aspirations and values: Weetabix, Nike, etc. – all major brands had a ‘raison d’etre’. Wayne and Gerardine made a list of things they stood for themselves – they were politically active, they came from areas without expensive, fashionable designer wear, they valued creativity and bought affordable items themselves.

It was clear they wanted Red or Dead to be affordable designer clothes. In deciding this they reached out to a sector of the public which had long been ignored. (They also realised that Macy’s did not fit with this direction).

The Red or Dead lines were to be sold through Top Shop (1983) and Miss Selfridge. Topshop at that point used to have no designers – only buyers and “copiers”.  These days it uses established and graduate designers, and the flagship London store also has a vintage section, perhaps a nod to ‘Red or Dead’.

At this time the pair had started paying attention to London Fashion Week, which was still at the time primarily an affair for the affluent. But the ‘powers that be’ at London Fashion Week had noted Red or Dead’s ascent with disdain.

The Hemingway’s dealings with Topshop and Miss Selfridge actually prevented them  from showing at London Fashion week for there years. The Hemingways had ‘demeaned’ fashion, and fashion ‘is about Harrods and Harvey Nicols.’  Or at least this was true to a Fashion Week mandarin.

This rebuff did not hurt Red or Dead sales in the least.

One year when the French were conducting nuclear tests and protestors were demonstrating against the tests around the world, London Fashion Week saw some drama courtesy of Red or Dead. “Non a Nuclear” banners provided the backdrop to the Read or Dead collection and French buyers were banned from the RoD show (which accounted for about a quarter of the buying audience normally – this exclusion was a considerable financial gamble).

Wayne explained he and Gerardine were willing to lose this custom in favour of making a political statement and appealing to and showing solidarity with the environmentalists – a growing movement in terms of visibility and economic power. What was going to be the public, media and market reaction to this show? The Hemingways went home.

Watching the national news some hours later, an item opened with a protest outside the French Embassy at Trafalgar Square.

Then the news item cut directly to the Red or Dead Fashion show.

All the media had picked up the story – and the phone started ringing. Wayne and Gerardine were being summoned that same night to talk to the press – the story of their show had veritably gone global.

Sales increased some 400% around the Red or Dead shops (which by now were in many countries). Corporate takeover advances soon came, and the Hemingways decided to sell. It was time for another adventure.

Wayne had interspersed this biographical talk with some sage business advice – the willingness to take risks, the way in which he delved deeply into the workings of the fashion industry from the lowly shoddy yards to the high end and London Fashion Week; all of which contributed learning experiences leading to success. (And by the way, apparently he is a very early riser, proving there must be some truth in the old ‘early to bed, early to rise…’ adage).

Wayne tells the audience:

“You learn absolutely every day; you need an ability to graft; there is never a day I get up after 5am.

“Creative minds don’t switch off… it’s how you get those ideas realised – graft and recognising which ideas can work… you need friends and good minds behind you.”

He also said without any false, unnecessary modesty how good he and Gerardine were at putting excellent teams together.

Turning from fashion to architecture and housing was the new direction. Boris Johnson had asked Wayne to be a ‘London Leader’, which involved working with the Mayor on a voluntary basis on projects and ideas to make London better.   At this point the talk turns from fashion history to the future of our cities.

“We’ve allowed our High Streets to become ‘clone’ High Streets.”  Hemingway says, and no one can argue with that.

He discusses his contribution to Boris Johnson’s project, which was ‘KiosKiosk’ – moveable, affordable (need I say it – well-designed) designer boutiques on wheels, seen at various London icons such as the Wheel.  These offer young designers a chance to meet the world head on – and since a stall at Camden Market is now extremely expensive, this offers others the kind of break the Hemingways had at the start.

Hemingway also applauds the model of ‘pop-up’ shops and restaurants, which have taken London by storm, and which have reached Aberdeen (for instance Emma Noble’s and Toni Roddie’s S.T.A.G Studio events at Korova – 19 November).

Hemingway references an article he wrote, “Why I Hate The Creeping Suburbs” in which he describes the Wimpeyfication and ‘Barratification’ of Britain.

The issues surrounding ‘urban sprawl’ are now recognised by the United Nations (as well as by most serious, thoughtful local planners); our ecology and biodiversity are not all that is at stake – our very health is jeopardised by the cities and suburbs over spilling into the countryside (increasing asthma and heart problems come with increased pollution; obesity from lack of exercise as we all commute to and from the cities to work, alcoholism increases, and so do social problems).

As a designer who has identified a problem does, Wayne decided to ‘look inside’ the issue, ‘see what he already knew’ about housing, and propose solutions.

He showed poignant photos at this point – a fairly new housing development which clearly looked more like a prison or factory; a beautiful Victorian pub turned into a block of (very unattractive, compact) flats, and a Liverpool street which once offered small, good first homes, now earmarked for high-rise flats.

He cautioned that mortgage companies (which could have provided mortgages for people to fix and modernise the existing homes on that Liverpool street) are dictating the state of our housing by what they will lend money for.  They seem to favour mortgages for new properties and turn down those who want to refurbish and improve properties.

The old Victorian homes may leak carbon, but they have been around for one hundred years, and thus have less of a carbon footprint than the alternative of tearing them down to make flats.

Wayne has designed housing estates which have very few, if any, equals in the UK.

There are leisure spaces for families (sand, trees, tables, different levels, etc. – some of the best design work he ever did, he tells us), and community gardens.  No one vandalises these (or the outdoor communal Ping-Pong table) because everyone’s families had a hand in creating and designing them in the first place.  The design for these estates started with people first and what they wanted and liked – the actual housing came second to the people.

Wayne ends with some great footage of his and Gerardine’s ‘Museum of Lost Content’ (a home for vintage design which might otherwise be forgotten) and the Vintage event – a massive ‘happening’ (for lack of a better word) held last year at London’s Southbank.

This festival combines decades of design and fashion, iconic music, bands, events and everything that celebrates Britain you can imagine in one place.   It was attended by thousands.  As words fail me, I suggest you visit http://www.vintagebyhemingway.co.uk/ and let the design do the talking.

Wayne also discussed photos he has of an Aberdeen estate; there are signs prohibiting virtually every kind of activity a child (or adult) might want to indulge in, including the dreaded ‘ball-playing.’

Question time arrives, and I am dying to ask for a comment on the future of our Union Terrace Gardens then and there.  However I decide that once the designs are unveiled, I will contact Hemingway.  I have no doubt he will have something useful to say after tonight’s talk.  It was a valuable and thought-provoking evening, and I was glad for this glimpse into ‘Wayne’s World.’

Oct 142011
 

With thanks to Kylie Roux.

Exhibitions:

The Black And White Show – Various Artists
Preview Friday 9 September, 6 – 8pm, all welcome!

A monochromatic medley of prints. Enzo Mari, Mike Giant, Scottie Wilson, John Byrne, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Donald Urquhart, Adam Bridgland, David Shrigley, Kenny Hunter, Rob Churm, John Bellany, Jock Mooney, Shepard Fairey and Alan Davie. Not to be missed.
Exhibition runs 10 September – 22 October 2011

Inchoate Landscapes – Toby Paterson
Preview Friday 9 September, 6 – 8pm, all welcome!
Toby Paterson’s Inchoate Landscapes draws around his newly completed suite of seven prints, creating an exhibition that sets them in the broader context of his practice and interest in the built environment.
Exhibition runs 10 September – 22 October 2011

Events:

Peacock @ Multiplied Art Fair, London
Friday 14 – Monday 18 October -  Christie’s South Kensington, London 

Peacock are one of only 40 galleries from around the world that are going to be exhibiting at this the UK’s first and only fair devoted exclusively to Contemporary Art in Editions, Multiplied Art Fair at Christie’sPeacock will be showcasing Inchoate Landscapes, a new seven-piece suite of prints by award winning artist Toby Paterson, as well as works by Kenny Hunter, Donald Urquhart and Adam Bridgland all recently completed in our printmaking workshops. 
Opening Hours –  Fri & Mon 9am-5pm, Sat & Sun 11am-6pm.

FREE entry – all welcome!

IMP Presents SOUND @ PVA
Fri 28 – Sun 30 October (Fri 7.30 – 11pm, Sat and Sun 3.30 – 11pm)

A festival within a festival. Not so much boutique as ‘guest house’.

Some of the best new music in Scotland (and some from further afield) over 3 days in the intimate surroundings of our gallery.  
Tickets available from One-Up Records (01224 642662)
& Aberdeen Box Office 01224 641122/ 
boxofficeaberdeen.com

Hurricane Lamb at Duff House
Ongoing until  31 October at Duff House, Banff.

Hurricane Lamb is a collaborative project from Gray’s School of Art (RGU) and Peacock Visual Arts. Inspired by Duff House and its history, the exhibition features new work by Michael Agnew, Andrew Cranston, David McCracken, Georgia Russell, Lennox Dunbar, Paul Housley, and Donald Urquhart.
Exhibition runs until 31 October 2011

 Get Creative:

Peacock VIsual Arts – Summer Animation Classes
October 12, 19 | 10 – 4pm | age 10+ | £35/session

Ever wondered how Wallace and Gromit move? Or what makes Pingu go?
Well this summer we’re planning some animation workshops to show you just that!
Each class is £35 and a one off – but if you’re keen to keep coming back, you’re more than welcome to book on as many as you like!
Call 01224 639539 for more information or to book a place.

Open Submissions – The Winter Exhibition at PVA
It’s back! After a 2 year break, we would once again like to invite artists to submit work for the Christmas show. Previous years proved to be hugely popular, attracting many visitors and making it is a fantastic opportunity to have your work seen. And this year there are prizes on offer so even more reason to submit. Visit www.peacockvisualarts.com for more details.
Submission deadline Saturday 5 November 2011

Note: Aberdeen Voice updates Peacock info periodically, but there may be recently added events not included in this post. Please contact Peacock direct for the latest information.

Peacock Visual Arts
21 Castle Street
Aberdeen
AB11 5BQ
Tel: 01224 639539
Mob: 07947 490626
Sep 302011
 

You’ve Been Trumped – the documentary film branded ‘a failure’ by Donald Trump has just won its third major documentary award – and first in Scotland – clinching the Scottish Screen Archive Prize for Best Feature Documentary at the Edindocs Festival in Edinburgh. Suzanne Kelly reports.

The award means the film will be archived as an important piece of Scotland’s history and stored at The National Library of Scotland ‘forever’.

This latest award follows two other major festival awards for the film.

In June You’ve Been Trumped won the Green Prize – the top environmental award for UK documentaries – at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.  And in August, the film scooped the Special Jury Prize at Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan.

You’ve Been Trumped was rejected for funding by Creative Scotland and passed over for this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival

However, it has proven to be a hit at some of the world’s most prestigious documentary festivals and will shortly be screened in Australia, Taiwan, Bermuda and at several major film festivals in the United States.

You’ve Been Trumped tells the story of Donald Trump’s attempts to build what he claims will be ‘the greatest golf course in the world’ on a supposedly protected environmental site in Aberdeenshire.   The plan involves building 1500 houses and a luxury hotel on what scientists have described as ‘the crown jewels of Scotland’s Natural Heritage.’

You’ve Been Trumped has just begun a Sheffield Doc/Fest winners’ tour – playing at major independent cinemas across the UK and is also part of the Take One Action Film Festival which takes in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.    The film is also due to return to cinemas in Aberdeen and Dundee next month.  Meanwhile, You’ve Been Trumped will be travelling to the Vancouver International Film Festival later this month and will unspool for its official New York premiere in early October.

Director Anthony Baxter said:

“It’s a great honour for You’ve Been Trumped to be recognised as an important historical document and reassuring to know that future generations will be able to learn lessons from the environmental destruction that’s been unfolding on the Menie Estate for precious little economic benefit.”

Scottish folk singer-songwriter Karine Polwart (“exceptionally subtle and melodic” Q Magazine) is currently penning a new song inspired by events captured in the film, which will be unveiled when You’ve Been Trumped is screened at the FilmHouse in Edinburgh on 2nd October as part of the Take One Action Film Festival.

Footnotes:

  • You’ve Been Trumped (UK, running time 95 minutes) was made by Angus based independent production company Montrose Pictures Ltd.
  • The film score features music from world the world renowned Sigur Rus and the band’s front man Jonsi.
  • Many of You’ve Been Trumped’s future screenings can be viewed here – with more dates to be added.
  • Latest news on the film can be seen here.
  • For further information call Montrose Pictures: +44(0)1674 677 233 or email: projects@montrosepictures.co.uk
Sep 152011
 

By Richard Pelling.

In Town Without My Car Day takes place every September in cities across Europe (and beyond) is an event designed to promote awareness of alternatives to the car for accessing city centres and serves to promote sustainable transport that can help reduce pollution in the urban environment.  It forms an element of European Mobility Week – but will we see In Town Without My Car Day in Aberdeen this year? NO.

http://www.mobilityweek.eu/-Introduction-to-EMW-

‘What about Getabout’s Belmont Bike Festival ?’,  you say – well; few would consider that an ITWMC Day and the sorry tale of how this event came to be held onBelmont Street serves to highlight Aberdeen City Council’s commitment to sustainable transport and the environment.
http://www.get-about.com/news_full.asp?id=167&curpage=&search=clear&section=news

For background, lets consider Report EPI/11/140

http://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=13852&txtonly=1

This was presented at the Aberdeen City Council Enterprise, Planning & Infrastructure (EP&I) Committee Meeting on 24th May 2011, which suggested thatAberdeen host an ITWMC event in 2011 and requested that Union Terrace be the venue :

“Union Terrace remains the optimum location given the nature of the space required, the potential to use Union Terrace Gardens for some elements, the visibility of the event and the significant footfall that will be attracted and the fact that the Council already has special event temporary traffic management measures in place for the regular closing of Union Terrace for the International Street Market, and members of the public and transport operators are familiar with such diversions.”

Sounds great – Union Terrace is, of course, regularly closed for the commercial streetmarket that runs Friday – Sunday, so there should surely be no issues with closing it to hold this important one day environmental event and the proximity of Union Terrace Gardens gives extra space for say, cycling demonstrations, discussions of the visionary proposals for a Denburn Woonerf etc.
http://otheraberdeen.blogspot.com/2011/04/woonerf-for-denburn-valley-proposal.html

Union Terrace is also ideal as it is itself part of National Cycle Route 1 which in addition to being a popular commuter route in town, runs all the way from Dover to John o’ Groats (then on to Orkney and Shetland via the ferry). Sounds like it should be a done deal, but, EPI/11/140 goes on to say :

“Should the Committee feel that the impact on the road network and the travelling public will be such that they cannot support such an event on Union Terrace, officers will instead initiate proceedings to hold a smaller-scale event on Belmont Street on Saturday 17th September (although September 24th is the preferred date for the event, Belmont Street is hosting the Aberdeen Country Fair that day).”

So if the optimum location at Union Terrace – which can be shut on a weekday and all weekend for the street market – can’t be used the event will be held on Belmont Street … but not on the ideal date as that street is already closed for a regular street market then.

In fact, not only is Belmont Street already pedestrian-dominated (so it’s hardly a major concession to close it for a day), the council’s website notes that Belmont Street will beclosed at regular intervals throughout 2011 – indeed 24th September, 29th October, 26th November, 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th December are already listed (no mention of 17th September yet though ??).

This point is noted in the original report which states :

“Although this would not strictly qualify as an In Town Without My Car Day event, as it would take place on a predominantly pedestrianised street, and would be of a significantly lesser scale, the space available should be such that some of the proposed attractions could still take place and the event should still be visible enough to attract a large number of visitors.”

Yes indeed, having the event on Belmont Streetwould not constitute a true ITWMC event.

In fact, looking at Section 4 of EPI/11/140 we see just how little commitment to the event there is. In Section 4.1 we read

“the closure of Union Terrace will involve the temporary rerouting of motor vehicles”

Well yes, isn’t that the whole point of closing off a street FOR ONE DAY a year?

“Public transport operators have been consulted on this proposal and they have significant concerns, stating the location is inopportune because of the disruption this will cause to bus services”

Disruption? That’s rich coming from First Aberdeen – look how they just closed the Bridge of Don Park & Ride site from 5th – 10th September. On another note, do you think bus operators want people to get into the habit of cycling into town?

(4.2) “The closure of Belmont Street would have minimal impact on traffic movements as vehicular access to Belmont Street is restricted and no public transport services use the street”.

(5.6) “… Closing the road on a weekend day should also limit any inconvenience to commuters and businesses.”

The minutes  of the EP & I Meeting of 24th May 2011,record that the committee resolved:

 “to support Aberdeen City’s participation in the European Mobility Week and In Town Without My Car Day 2011” – though evidently just as long as it didn’t inconvenience them too much! They also resolved to “instruct officers to initiate proceedings to close Belmont Street for a smaller scale event on Saturday, 17 September, and that the Head of Planning and Sustainable Development clarify whether this would still meet the requirements for participation in the European Mobility Week and In Town Without My Car Day 2011“. 
 http://committees.aberdeencity.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=15637

So we end up with the Belmont Bike festival.

I hope the event is a great success but think it could have been so much more. Keeping cars off what is an effectively pedestrianised street for a few hours on a Saturday really sums up Aberdeen City Councils level of commitment to the whole notion of cycling as a form of urban transport.