Aug 292014

Celebrate Aberdeen logoWith thanks to Paul Beaton.

The Granite City will erupt with colour and talent this weekend when an event aimed at celebrating all that’s great about Aberdeen takes place.

The gathering, Celebrate Aberdeen, will feature the very best in local talent, with a host of performers and community groups set to take to stages within the city’s Union Terrace Gardens and Academy Shopping Centre courtyard, as well as on Denburn Viaduct, St Nicholas Deck and St Nicholas Street.

The stellar line-up features more than 70 acts, including the Aberdeen Rock Choir, north-east wrestling organisation, WrestleZone, and local comedy club Breakneck Comedy.

Meanwhile, an event aimed at showcasing the city’s rich cultural diversity will also be incorporated into Celebrate Aberdeen, with One World Day organising a range of activities along Denburn Viaduct, where stalls will sell a mix of fairly traded and ethical goods, over the course of the weekend.

The group will also host a stage, where entertainers will perform music, dance, poetry, storytelling, and much more.

The wider Celebrate Aberdeen event – organised by the big-hearted team of volunteers behind the Celebrate Aberdeen Parade, in partnership with Aberdeen City Council – builds on the success of the parade, which saw more than 3,500 people from 130 different third sector organisations come together on three occasions to highlight the exceptional work carried out by local charities.

This new event, which is being sponsored by Aberdeen head-quartered oil and natural gas operator CNR International, has the same ultimate aim as the parade; to unite people in a positive manner to celebrate the great people of Aberdeen.

Celebrate Aberdeen’s Morven Mackenzie commented:

“We’re extremely excited that Celebrate Aberdeen is now upon us and look forward to treating the people of the city to an action-packed weekend.

“Organising the event has involved a lot of hard work but we’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve received from performers, businesses, charities and community groups, who have all been eager to celebrate all that’s great about the Granite City.

“We would just urge the people of Aberdeen and visitors to this great city to show their support by coming along and joining in the fun!”

More Info:

Weekend Schedule.

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Aug 072014

With thanks to Dave Macdermid.

The Friends of Duthie Park have announced that they have secured a sponsor for this month’s Open Day (Sunday 17th August), ensuring that the 2014 event, now in its fourth year, will be the biggest and most successful yet.

Locally based global fabrication company A-FAB ( is providing financial support for the event, which takes place on Sunday 17th August from noon until 4 p.m..

Friends Chairman Tony Dawson believes the partnership underlines the affection that everyone within the area has for what is one of the country’s leading tourist attractions. Tony said:

“It’s fantastic that A-FAB is the latest prestigious name from the private sector that recognises what a jewel in the crown Duthie Park is and, thanks to A-FAB’s support, it promises to be another wonderful occasion a week on Sunday.

“I would also like to acknowledge the excellent work that Harvey Smith and the team at H-events have done in helping the Friends work closely with the private sector over the last few months.”

A-FAB director Marlene Mitchell added.

“Duthie Park has always been a favourite place for most people in the north east but after the recent restoration work, it really is stunning. The Friends do a great job in maintaining the profile of the park and working closely with Aberdeen City Council to make sure improvements are ongoing and at A-FAB we are proud to be able to assist with what is now an established event for all of the family.”

Among the attractions at this year’s FODP Open Day (, are

  • The Bon Accord Silver Band,
  • piper Calum Lawrie,
  • Bokwa with Jodie,
  • Zumba & powerhoops with Elma,
  • The Sharon Gill School of Dancing,
  • Wrestlezone Scotland,
  • The Airyhall Dancers,
  • AFC in the Community,
  • British Military Fitness,
  • First Aberdeen vintage vehicles,
  • various kiddies’ rides, the canoes and the pedalos,
  • and not forgetting Spike the Talking Cactus.


Jun 242014
paul robertsonport

Paul Robertson

By Paul Robertson.

Pride season is upon us and cosmopolitan cities across the world will shortly be celebrating the contributions of their gay populations – from London to Tel Aviv, from Berlin to Toronto.

This year is as good a year as any to go along to one if you haven’t already ticked that off your list.

It’s not all about half-naked male models gyrating on flamboyantly-decorated floats – although that is a particularly enjoyable aspect.

My personal hope is that when Pride Scotia rides into Edinburgh this year, we will take stock of just how far the LGBT community in Scotland has come – from decriminalisation in 1980 to the passage of a bill allowing gay people to marry just last year.

I hope, also, that we will take a moment to consider what the referendum on independence for Scotland might mean for our community.

Amidst a lively debate on independence, it has been difficult consider just what becoming independent might mean for LGBT people living in Scotland. The announcement this week of a draft Constitution for an independent Scotland provides us with that much awaited opportunity to engage as a community in the debate.

Scotland is no egalitarian utopia. Societal attitudes remain stubbornly conservative in some parts of the country and LGBT people still do face discrimination and homophobia in everyday life.

However many in the LGBT community will be heartened to see that sexual orientation has been named in the draft Constitution as a specific grounds upon which discrimination will be banned. Should Scotland become independent and that constitution adopted – our country would be only the second in the world to provide a constitutional protection for LGBT people. That is of enormous symbolic value.

A new Scotland that places protection for the rights of all people at its heart will be an achievement that we can all share in, particularly communities like the gay community which has faced such adversity.

LGBT communities around the world continue to struggle for the most basic of rights. Whilst we in Scotland have spent the last years campaigning to have our right to have our love for each other recognised, LGBT people in Uganda or Russia have been struggling to have their right to even live be recognised.

The struggle for basic human rights for all in the world remains the biggest challenge of the 21st century. It is not a fight that can be won with nuclear weapons or military might. It is expressions of soft power, of exemplary commitments to human rights, and of positive engagements with groups and governments that will move societies across the world to recognise the value of each human life.

Yes LGBT Aberdeen PosterFrom our groundbreaking law on equal marriage to our commitment to enshrining the rights of our LGBT Scots in a constitution; I have become convinced that Scotland has an important contribution to make for LGBT people living all over the world.

What would the foreign policy of a new Scotland be focussed on? Bombing Middle East countries or vociferously pursuing the human rights of the world’s marginalised peoples? Supplying dictators with weapons designed to kill and oppress or supplying groups with the resources needed to bring positive change to their societies?

A mould of a new Scotland is emerging and it is one that we can all contribute to shaping.

I believe wholeheartedly that we as an LGBT community should grasp independence with both hands – not just to secure a Constitution that protects us and offers a final confirmatory victory for equality for ourselves – but so that we can strive to secure those rights for others around the world, too.

LGBT people in Aberdeen have the opportunity to engage in this debate at a special event What will independence mean for LGBT rights? being held in Cheerz Bar on Saturday 28 June, 2pm to 4pm.

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May 162014

Three years ago, a new one-day music festival began, managed by Northern Roots Events, up near Inverness and hosted at Bogbain Farm. Sponsored by Brewdog, Brew at the Bog took shape.

Brew at the Bog ( ) is a festival which was created to showcase emerging Scottish music. Local craft beer and gin are also part of the attraction. This year it was a sell-out, and Julie Thompson went up there to see what the fuss was about.

admiral_fallowComprising four stages, the venue was compact and easy to navigate.

The Main Stage was obvious with its large arched frontage.

The other stages were smaller: the Barn stage is inside one of the stone buildings surrounding the Main Stage area.

The Gin Stage was accessed through the Barn Stage and became almost impassable when an act was performing in the Barn. Luckily there were only a few acts on in the Gin Stage, mostly in the afternoon. The Pond Stage was around the back of the buildings.

Food was varied; there was the inevitable burger van, with pretty good burgers in fact, but there were also tents providing more varied street food.


There was an ice-cream seller too, who proved popular as the day was quite warm and sunny until late afternoon.

Headliners on the Main Stage were Admiral Fallow and Stanley Odd, but to be honest, the whole day on the Main Stage was pretty strong, from the very entertaining Shiverin’ Sheiks, perfect for a lazy afternoon sitting drinking beer, through to Kid Canaveral, who had the place singing along and dancing.

I came across a few new (to me) acts that I will make a point of catching again in the future.

King Creosote kicked off the day on the Barn Stage, which was crammed. Along with their set, they showcased a new archive footage film which was shown on a large screen behind them.

Later on in the afternoon, Fatherson turned out to be the secret act that had been widely discussed.

Roddy Woomble, originally planned for the Main Stage, but swapped with Friends in America, played on the Pond Stage. Jo Mango stoically played though dripping water as the stage was leaking badly by this point, and Miaoux Miaoux closed the day.

king_creosoteSadly, with events on the Main Stage and the Pond Stage clashing, and the Barn Stage being impossible to get into if you were not there as soon as the last act ended, I was a bit limited in what I could catch. I did manage to see all the Main Stage acts, as well as King Creosote and some of the Pond Stage acts; and I had an excellent, if very long and tiring day.

It’s very easy to get to Brewbog and it can be managed as a day trip, although some people did camp on the small camping area adjacent to the car park.

Both these areas are, at most, a five minute walk from the entrance to the venue, which is wheelchair-friendly.

batb_stanley_oddThe portable toilets were restocked through the day and were remarkably clean, for a festival, from what I saw.

There was also a portable loo with wheelchair access.

I chose to start early and drove up from Aberdeen. Gates opened at 11:45 a.m. and the last Main Stage act was playing when I reluctantly left at around 11:30 p.m.

I left, well-fed and very happy, and looking forward to seeing what they have to show me next year.

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May 012014

Inverurie Real Ale2By Duncan Harley.

The 2013 Garioch Real Ale Festival raised over £700 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. This year the Inverurie Community Music Festival will be the main recipient.
During the past 60 years the prognosis for cystic fibrosis has improved dramatically due to early diagnosis, better treatment and good access to health care.

In the 1950’s the median age of survival of children with cystic fibrosis in the UK was about six months. In 2008 survival averaged over 30 years.

Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects most critically the lungs, pancreas, liver and intestine. Characterized by abnormal transport of chloride and sodium across an epithelium, leading to thick, viscous secretions the disease sounds nasty and indeed it is. Sufferers typically have shortened lives and parents are left scarred by the knowledge that genetic issues have led to their offspring inheriting the disease.

The guilt often leads to failed relationships and ruined lives.

The main signs and symptoms of cystic fibrosis are a salty tasting skin, poor growth and poor weight gain despite normal food intake, accumulation of thick, sticky mucus, frequent chest infections and shortness of breath.

Males can be infertile due to congenital absence of the vas deferens. Symptoms often appear in infancy and although technically a rare disease, cystic fibrosis is often ranked as one of the most widespread life-shortening genetic diseases. It is most common among nations in the Western world. An exception is Finland, where only one in 80 people carry a CF mutation.

The Garioch Real Ale Festival was set up by Mike Stuart, co-owner of the Black Bull Inn in Inverurie. A film maker at heart Mike wanted to promote not only local musicians and actors but also to test the market as far as fund raising for good causes was concerned.

“There are lots of good causes” he said “and I am really committed to the arts in Inverurie and of course music, which is my first love.”

“When Cameron told me about his son’s experience however, I was humbled and right then I decided to find ways to raise money for good causes.”

“The Inverurie Community Music Festival needs a kick off micro funding wise” said Mike. “I am confident that the charity fund raising of the past years can be built on, to make this happen.”

As well as Cystic Fybrosis the Garioch Festival has supported the local theatre and film group ‘Right Here Productions’ who were targeting the Edinburgh Festival.

Over £250 was raised and the ‘Right Here Productions’ Edinburgh show was a tremendous success.

In 2013 June Ross, Regional Cystic Fibrosis Trust Fundraising Manager in Scotland came to Inverurie to receive a cheque for £700.

The 2014 Garioch Festival will be supporting the Inverurie Community Music Festival and it is hoped that well over £1000 can be achieved given last years effort.

The music line up for the Ale Festival is – Fri – Cyrus Rose with Support, Saturday – C-Red, Sunday – Dave Scott, Stuart Hossack and introducing Kyle MacRitchie.

Dates are 7th – 11th May 2014.

More info:

Garioch Real Ale Festival

The Inverurie Community Music Festival event was started by local quartet Duncan Peter, James Allan, Faye Walker and Mike Stuart and has featured some of the UK’s top Tribute acts – Dirty Harry (Blondie) and The Police Academy (Police). Runrig front man and Scottish legend Donnie Munro closed the 2013 event which was hosted in various venues throughout the Garioch Area.

Dates for 2014 are Friday August 29th to Sunday August 31st.

More info:

Inverurie Community Music Festival
About cystic fibrosis

Anyone interested in performing, volunteering or providing a venue for the festival should email

© Duncan Harley 2014
 All rights reserved

Duncan Harley is a freelance feature writer and photographer.

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Mar 252014

A brand new grassroots political festival was launched in Aberdeen on Monday (March 24th) bringing together a week-long series of events looking to explore Scotland’s future. With thanks to Renee Slater.


Organised by local residents, Aberdeen’s Festival of Politics includes everything from film to music and comedy, while the main focus events will be several key debates on both the economic future of Scotland and the independence debate itself, labelled The big Debate, which will serve as a central theme for the week-long programme of events.

Featuring non-party-political panellists from a wide range of backgrounds, The Big Debate will be chaired by Professor Michael Keating of the University of Aberdeen and takes place at The Blue Lamp, from 3pm on Sunday 30th March.

Entry is free and for something a bit lighter, the event is followed by a night of folk music at the prince of Wales, also featuring some comedy from former MSP Rosie Kane.

The Blue Lamp also hosts the economics debate the following evening, starting at 7pm, with Business for Scotland taking on the Better Together campaign.

Participation in the festival has been open to all and while the main debates are not party-political, many groups are holding fringe meeting to tie in with the festival.

For more information on the full programme of events, visit

Created by a committee of Aberdeen-based residents with an interest in politics, the event will be run annually, with a theme relevant to that year. Funding for the week-long programme has come from a combination of donations and fundraising events.

Kind donations have been received from Aberdeen Trades Council, UNISON Aberdeen City, UNISON Aberdeenshire, UNITE the Union – Aberdeen District and RMT – OILC.

Festival organiser Renee Slater said:

“This is a unique event in Scotland. We are in an important year for our country and whatever happens here after the referendum, Scotland will certainly be a different place. As citizens we have the opportunity to make an impact on that future. Events such as this can only be positive?”


twitter: @festofpolitics

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Mar 252014

With thanks to Dave Black.

Childrenchains3As part of Aberdeen’s Festival of Politics, Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign Aberdeen are screening the film Children in Chains (40mins), followed by a Q&A with the director Jon Pullman, a political activist and film director from Edinburgh.
Children in Chains is his most recent project, and focuses on the abuse of Palestinian children in the Israeli Military Court System.

Many children stand up against the occupying soldiers of Israel combatting tanks and guns with mere stones but as the film explains, “for them the consequences of defiance can be kidnap, torture and imprisonment”. 

SPSC asked him to explain a bit about the making of the film;

SPSC:Tell us something about your latest film project

JP: Children in Chains was inspired by a seminar which I attended and filmed back in 2011. Having been involved in the campaign for justice and human rights in Palestine for many years, I really thought I knew all there was to know about the suffering endured by ordinary people living under Israeli occupation. However, the main presentation at this event was given by a West Bank-based lawyer, Gerard Horton.

Gerard spoke powerfully and in some detail about the appalling treatment of young Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli military court system. It was a shocking revelation to most of us and I realised that I had to make the information more widely available through film.

SPSC: How did you make it?

JP: The core of the film is Gerard’s presentation. However, in order to avoid just a talking head, with the limited appeal that would have, I built up a selection of commentary and often harrowing real-life footage that would help bring the issue alive and hopefully engage a much wider potential audience.

SPSC: What challenges did you face?

JP: The difficulties are always in the edit. And deciding on a target audience. I wanted to produce a documentary that was short enough to be usable at meetings, classes and public events, but long enough to make an impact with the subject matter. I also wanted to give a bit of background historical context for those not necessarily familiar. This is a challenge in itself because how do you summarize a conflict so misrepresented and so disputed in just a few minutes.

SPSC: What was the most striking/surprising/shocking thing when you made the film?

JP: The sheer volume of incriminating material on the internet. Much of the footage I used in Children in Chains was filmed by Palestinian activists on the ground. These days, we rarely have to rely on third party witnesses to tell us what’s going on in the world; there is usually somebody there with some sort of lens. It is shocking to me that the cruelty and violence involved in the oppression of the Palestinian people is so visually documented and freely viewable and yet unacknowledged by the political powers that really matter.

SPSC: Why should people see this film?

JP: Israel-Palestine is a subject that most people glaze over at the mere mention of. This is largely due to how the conflict is portrayed – an intractable squabble over land. The reality is much darker and disturbing. The brutal and illegal abuse of Palestinian children is just another aspect of Israel’s project to destroy Palestinian identity, but, by nature of the subject, has a particular power to move people, and through that, transform awareness. This film aims to do that.

SPSC: Do you have any other Palestinian projects in the pipeline?

JP: I visited the West Bank twice in 2011 and brought back many hours of vibrant, life-affirming footage of ordinary life among Palestinians and remain determined to produce a film that documents this experience. I think it’s important to depict and celebrate the positive aspects.

‘Children in Chains’ and Q&A with Director Jon Pullman will be taking place on Thursday 27th March, 7.30pm, upstairs at the Blue Lamp. The event is free. All welcome.

Sep 172013

Get InclusiveFeatWith thanks to Maree Adams.

The Aberdeen Arts Coalition are hosting Aberdeen’s first ever inclusive arts festival on the 20th and 21st September 2013.

The Arts Coalition are a partnership of arts and disability organisations who are working together to promote opportunities for adults with learning disabilities to realise their hopes and dreams, and to flourish within the arts. The Festival will showcase a wide range of talented acts, featuring people with and without disabilities.

Acts at the two-day Cowdray Hall festival will include Leanne Smith, Tonik, Mixit, SCAT and 5th Avenue – an eclectic mix of North-east culture , including disco, pop, jazz, blues, and Scottish traditional and new music.

The festival will also showcase comedy from John Scott, along with art, film and photography exhibitions from established local artists. Satellite events will be staged in various venues in the city, including Gerry Jablonski and the Electric Band at the Lemon Tree, Dan Leckie at the Atheneum, and live comedy, art, dance and drumming workshops.

GET INclusive has been organised by the Aberdeen Arts Coalition with Aberdeen City Council, and is supported by many local and national artists and bands including world-renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie.

Dame Evelyn Glennie said:

“GET INclusive aims to increase awareness and to see beyond the disability. Projects like this have had an enormous impact on the lives of people who need to be included and given purpose”

Jul 012013

With thanks to Charlie West.

The Folk of Stonehaven will be celebrating the town’s 25th annual Folk Festival this July. The weekend festival began in 1989 with a series of concerts in the Town Hall and a number of fringe activities including workshops, sessions and a Tradition Bearers singing concert.

The festival has grown over the years to include many more events such as the World Paper’n’Comb Championship – a fun ‘competition’ with a different theme each year and the unique Aqua Ceilidh held in the Open Air swimming pool.

Dancing is to a live ceilidh band and includes well known favourites such as the Splashing White Sergeant and Drip the Willow. Rain or shine this is one for all the family.

This year the organisers have placed an emphasis on highlighting some of the exciting new young talent alongside well-established artists such as Scotland’s Dougie MacLean and Paul Brady ( pictured above ) form Ireland. Dougie is well-known as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and is famously the composer of Caledonia.

In the 70’s Paul started with the supergroup Planxty, going on to establish a very successful solo career in America before returning to his roots in Ireland.

Among the new breed of up-and-coming talent is Rura – a five-piece band featuring pipes, fiddle, bodhrán, guitar and vocals and including three BBC Young Tradition finalists, and Zoe Bestel, the girl with the ukulele, a singer-songwriter of amazing talent and depth of understanding whose repertoire of self-penned songs covers a range of subjects, often with an interesting twist.

There will also be the North East Folk Collective led by Sharon Hassan – a group of 13-18 year olds with some amazing tunes and tight arrangements all ensuring the good health and future of Scottish folk music.

In addition to the Town Hall concerts, there is also a full programme of activities on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday there is, weather permitting, a concert in the square, featuring festival artists and local singers and musicians.

In case of rain the concert will be held in the Town Hall. At 12 noon in the Belvedere Hotel, a tutor from Scottish Culture and Traditions (SCAT) will lead slow sessions giving less-experienced musicians a chance to learn some tunes and join in the fun.

There will be a big singaround during the afternoon with Danny Couper and Arthur Johnstone showcasing some of the best of traditional Scots song and singers and a series of hosted sessions and workshops throughout the afternoon.

At 1600 the World Paper’n’Comb Championship kicks off, with the theme Loud Shirts. Just about anything goes and fancy dress is optional.

Sunday starts with the unique Aqua Ceilidh in the Art Deco open air pool. The pool has heated seawater so it is always at a pleasant temperature for dancing to the NE Folk Collective Ceilidh Band. This is followed by the Cowie Fringe in the nearby recreation club. This is a mix of festival artists and guests with additional fun things for kids of all ages to do, rounded off with a fun Family Ceilidh.

Also around the town there is the Tradition Bearers concert featuring four of the best traditional singers in the UK followed by the Chorus Cup – a fun completion to see who can get the loudest chorus. There will also be workshops with members of the band Breabach and sessions around the town.

For full details, visit

Tickets are available online from the Town Hall Trust web site from Celtic Chords in Barclay Street, Stonehaven or from the ticket line 07766 851596.

Thursday 11th July

Stonehaven Folk Festival weekend starts here :

Opening Concert in Stonehaven Town Hall – featuring Dougie MacLean, one of Scotland’s most successful, respected and popular musicians, Singer-songwriter, composer and ‘magical’ performer, he is also a fine guitarist and fiddle player.   He will be supported by local singer and musician Ken Clark.

Friday 12th July

Stonehaven Folk Festival big Concert Ceilidh night in the Town Hall starts at 7:30 ‘till late (well 1 o’clock). Featuring Ray Moore, Rura, Mairearad Green and Anna Massie plus the Occasionals Ceilidh Band.

Saturday 13th July

Stonehaven Folk Festival Weekend : things gets going at 11 o’clock with workshops, sessions, afternoon Open Stage at the Plainstones (Town Square) featuring local artist and Festival guests. Evening concert in the town Hall, guests are the North East Folk Collective, Kristina Olsen and Braebach.

During the day there will be a singaround led by Danny Couper and Arthur Johnstone. There will also be the Steenhive Big Sing with Christine Kydd – a chance to join a group of people and sing together, no experience is necessary and Christine will ensure everyone has fun while learning some songs and harmonies. Don’t forget the World Paper’n’Comb championships – this year with a “Loud Shirt” theme.

Sunday 14th July

Stonehaven Folk Festival Weekend – the day gets going with Aqua Ceilidh in the town’s open air pool, a great way to clear the cobwebs. Dancing to the North East Folk Collective with dances such as Drip the Willow and the Splashing White Sergeant. The day continues with the Cowie Family Fun Day at the Recreation Club plus more sessions around the town.

During the afternoon there is a Tradition Bearers concert with four great traditional singers Henry Douglas, Bella Hardy, Jerry O’Reilly and Moira Stewart followed by the  Chorus Cup competition.

The Festival closes with an evening concert in the Town Hall featuring Zoe Bestel, Bella Hardy and legendary singer songwriterPaul Brady.

Workshops with members of Breabach and day two of the Steenhive Big Sing with Christine Kydd.

MC For the weekend will be Martin Kasprowicz

Although tickets are usually available on the door, people are advised to buy tickets in advance as most concerts sell out.

Tickets are available from Celtic Chords, 8 Barclay Street in Stonehaven (01569 763193) or by calling the ticket ‘phone 07766 581596 or visiting the Stonehaven Town Hall web site

There will also be a Festival Office located in the Upper Town Hall over the weekend; it opens from 4 o’clock on the 11th July for ticket sales and programme information.

Jun 072013

Voice’s Old Susannah takes a look over the past week’s events in the ‘Deen and beyond. By Suzanne Kelly.

Interesting times in the Granite City of Culture; there have been two notable photography exhibitions.

On Friday 1st June a group show of hundreds of images of Aberdeen was launched in the City of Culture HQ (formerly known as One Up).  It was a good event; the Lord Provost made an upbeat speech and promised we would have a year of culture, regardless of the city’s city of culture bid.

A show of photography work at St Machar’s Cathedral by the River Don group was very impressive.

With the help of award-winning photographer Alicia Bruce, the group spent time shooting along the Don; the results are stunning (more on that elsewhere in Aberdeen Voice).

The only fly in the ale was last week’s outing by local CAMRA group, holding another real ale festival in Pittodrie.  I’d been several times over the years, going on different dates, but never experienced the shortage of cask ales that my friend and I encountered Saturday afternoon.    Paying full price to get in with no warning they’d run out of nearly half the advertised beers, disappointment was in the air and then some.

“Every beer I’m getting tastes the same” John said

“… as a token gesture I’d have accepted a £ reduction” Stephen said

“*%£!!”N S £”!~*$%%^*!!” Paul said.

Well, the beers that were left were, er – probably not stored or shipped very well.  They were the last turkeys in the shop for a reason.

Without shaming the breweries involved, one was immediately spat out, the others bar one half (we got half measures in more ways than one) were poured out.  And for comic effect, one with a ‘citrusy hint’ was so acidic that I gave a few people a good laugh as they watched my face as it hit my taste buds.

Hint of citrus?  It was as much a ‘hint’ of citrus as the scene in Public Enemy where Jimmy Cagney smashed a grapefruit into Mae Clark’s face.

I was wearing a Brew Dog teeshirt, having just left their alternative beer festival.  80% of the Pittodrie crowd commented that they’d be heading to the dog soon.  The thing is, I genuinely respect CAMRA; they helped me a decade ago stop some small pubs from closing.  I feel like a favourite pet has bit me.

The first five minutes were spent poring over the long list of available beers; we decided what we’d have.  Rounding the corner to where the casks were, we saw disappointed faces and hardly any casks.  The word ‘FINISHED’ hung on signs on at least 40% of the casks.

We’d gone back to the guys who sold us full price admissions less than 10 minutes after we arrived.  We explained we were not happy.  They explained they usually drop the admission price when the stocks get low.  What they were waiting for remains a mystery.  They told me I could ‘write an email’ if I wasn’t happy.   I told them I’d write an email and a bit more.

 The original newsletter for Councillor Owen is no more to be found!

By way of contrast, a meal in Golden Square’s Granite Park took an overly long time.  A talk with the manager about this and a minor issue or two, and the matter was amicably settled there and then.

The beer wasn’t the only disappearance last week.  Alas!  The original newsletter for Councillor  Owen is no more to be found!

Visitors instead receive a message ‘This user has elected to delete their account and the content is no longer available’.  I understand that copies of the lovely photo of the Councillor with Donald Trump senior and his hairpiece can be obtained by ebay, or at the Snappy Snaps near Little Belmont Street – feel free to ask.  If only there were some way to see the cached evidence of this newsletter.  Hmmmm.

And while ‘this user’ expunged her newsletter, making it disappear, a new Register of Interests appeared on Aberdeenshire’s website.  The Snappy Snaps job is now registered.  I couldn’t find the previous version on the Shire’s site, but happily I do have a copy saved.

Last week said councillor took time out from their busy life to comment on my column to say:-

“I object to the serious implication you make that I have or will receive or accept bribes. I refute entirely your allegations and put you on notice that I consider these defamatory and therefore actionable. I request that you desist from repeating them with immediate effect”

Old Susannah is a little confused at Gillian’s mode of attack.  She seems to be telling me that I’ve been a bad girl and could be in trouble, and is backing her statement up by…. taking down her newsletter and updating her register of interest.  Of course, this potential threat of my writing being ‘actionable’ is deeply distressing to me.

So much so that I’ll have to calm my nerves with a half or two of Jackhammer, Dead Pony and AB13.

Finally, spare a thought for 62 year-old Isle of Wight woman Dawn Martin.  She either lost or ended a short-term lease and somehow wound up with nowhere to go.  The Council are investigating, but the story is that she was given temporary accommodation in…. a tent.  I think there will be a tax issue – it is a three-person tent.  How this will sit with the bedroom tax officials remains to be seen.

This week the beer at Pittodrie was gone despite my paying full price to taste it; Gillian’s newsletter faded into the ether; and there have been other disappearances and losses to related to these .  Time for some topical timely definitions on the things that have disappeared

Sense of  Humour Loss: (compound English noun) a failure to find humour in a joke, prank or situation.

They can’t say we don’t have a great sense of humour in Aberdeen.  We’ve elected kerb-crawlers, teenagers, plumber’s mates and embezzlers to Council – and they were the more serious element.  The latest Aberdonian stunt to hit the nationals will no doubt impress those City of Culture judges.

Merry pranksters Jack Hearns, 20, and Owen Petrie, 21 played a hilarious joke this week; they attacked HazelheadAcademy during a school day with paintball guns.  How teachers, parents and pupils would have laughed as two strange men drove to the school and started brandishing guns and firing.

Alas, some crabby parents, teachers and law enforcement officials seem to have lost their sense of fun, and arrested our pranksters.

I can’t for the life of me see what’s wrong with making kids and adults think they were under a gun attack at a school; it’s not like that could ever happen.  Perhaps we’ll see another sly joke from this pair when they appear in court, probably pretending to be filled with remorse, telling tales of how tough their lives have been and that they’ll never do anything like this again.

Now that would be funny.

Evidence: (noun) tangible proof indicating an event or crime has definitely or likely taken place.

Spare a moment for the Scottish Police; they have managed to lose evidence in a few instances which hit the news this week.

Firstly, evidence seems to have gone walkies in the case of Seal slayer Graham McNally.  He was found guilty of using nets designed to drown seals near his salmon cages (some would define this as a salmon farm; these installations are as much a ‘farm’ as a cage in the zoo is a lion or tiger farm).

At the end of May, evidence proving such acts occurred must have existed, but now:-

“John Robins, of the Save Our Seals Fund, said that McNally originally pled not guilty to setting illegal nets between August 2009 and August 2011, based on evidence that seals had been entangled and drowned in such nets.

“Robins has written to the COPFS asking if the charges were amended in return for a guilty plea or for any other reason, asking why the reference to the killing of seals was removed from the charges.”


Could this be a case of plea bargaining?  Quite possibly.

Next we have claims from one golf course owner, one Mr Donald Trump.  He told the media on several occasions that there had been acts of vandalism and theft at the Menie Estate.  Did the protesting rabble had damaged Mr Trump’s property.?

Interestingly the police were keen to arrest film- and trouble- makers Anthony Baxter and Richard Phinney; they were charged with breach of the peace on the say-so of Trump’s site manager.  The calm, reasonable, level-headed arresting officer was caught on film.    However, the police  were keen to make photographer Alicia Bruce’s complaint against a member of Trump staff disappear.  Bruce had called the police while being threatened – but the police seemed  more interested in getting her to forget the incident, saying a prosecution would be hard on the accused.  Again, evidence of wrongdoing seems to have gone astray.
In a Freedom of Information request (more details of this FOI in the future), the police revealed the number of cases of vandalism against Trump.  That number is – zero.

Evidence of damage to property belonging to David Milne and to Michael Forbes exists, but alas, the police have problems finding it.  This includes a videotape of vandalism taking place which Milne offered to them.

To lose one piece of evidence is unfortunate.  To lose a half dozen or so pieces looks like carelessness.  To refuse a piece of evidence of potential crime on film looks like something altogether different.

Here is part of a recent exchange between the police and Old Susannah (my questions in bold):-

How many claims/complaints of vandalism, theft, trespass and/or damage have been made by the Trump Organisation and/or its employees since 2010 involving the Menie Estate?

Vandalism (Damage) – 4
Theft – 3
Trespass – 0

How many of these claims/complaints of vandalism, theft, trespass and/or damage made by the Trump Organisation and/or its employees were dropped due to lack of evidence?

No crime report has been ‘dropped’ – however, the figures in brackets below indicate those that are currently closed, having been investigated to their conclusion.

Vandalism (Damage) – 0 (4)
Theft – 0 (3)
Trespass – 0 (0)”

All of which is a bit odd. The Trump organization claimed in 2010 that £50,000’s worth of vandalism occurred – to vehicles, fences and the all-important marram grass, which is stabilizing the dunes so effectively and ‘preserving them’ in such an environmentally friendly manner.

in June of last year the Evening Express wrote:-

“VANDALS caused thousands of pounds of damage at Donald Trump’s Menie golf course just weeks before it is due to open, the Evening Express can reveal today. A police investigation was launched after gardening equipment on the Menie estate near Aberdeen was targeted.  It came after a vandal attack last month when paint was thrown on to part of the course. 

“A spokeswoman [but presumably not the chief spin doctor Malone] from Grampian Police said up to £10,000 of damage was caused as a result of the latest incident.  The vandalism of equipment used to cut the grass on the estate took place between May 30 and June 4.”

Well, we’ve got fences, grass, grass cutting equipment, trucks vandalised and items stolen.  But no evidence to bring to trial.  Presuming any of this was reported to insurance companies, as would normally be expected possibly required, it does make you wonder where the evidence has gone.

Surely you wouldn’t cry vandalism or theft without evidence?  As to the allegations of paint spilled on the course, I wonder if anyone will be charged with the turquoise colour now evident on most of the greens.

Unfortunately other than Michael Forbes being accused of stealing the white border flags worth a staggering eleven pounds or so, I can’t find any news items relating to anyone stealing from the Donald. Perhaps we can charge the North Sea with vandalizing the course at Blairton Burn early this year.  Other than that, the claims of crimes against the course have, well, disappeared.

More on evidence of crime at Menie will be coming in the weeks ahead….

Time to disappear down to BD.  Tally Ho!

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