Voice’s Old Susannah comments on current events and enlightens us with definitions of some tricky terms with a locally topical taste. By Suzanne Kelly.
Tally Ho! I will start by apologising for a recent column; I clearly misread the signs and got carried away. Specifically, you don’t need to worry quite so much about wearing sunscreen as I’d suggested. I also advised to make sure your pets had enough water – well, I think we’ve all had enough water by now.
Moving swiftly along, two art exhibitions are worthy of mention this week. The House of Annie Lennox exhibition at the Aberdeen Art Gallery opened with a bang. Ms Lennox was in town and a party and a press launch for the show were held.
Alas I did not get to the party, but it was a treat to have early access to the exhibition. The show is considerably expanded, and the early mementos and images from her childhood in Aberdeen show the roots of her talents and personality.
More homegrown talent is on display (albeit in Forfar) with artist Anna Geerdes’ exhibition ‘No Place’. Anna is from the Netherlands, lives in Torry, and studied at Grays School of Art. Her work explores questions of boundaries and landscapes; she’s had paintings in the Royal Academy of Art in Edinburgh, and I wish her all the best with this exceptional show on until 28 July.
Looking out over foggy Aberdeen over the last few weeks (well, some days you couldn’t look very far for the haar) I peer through the mists and am reminded of the old film Brigadoon. This fantasy version of Scotland was so old fashioned! A bunch of tartan-clad, happy villagers in a town hidden by mist – really!
Thankfully, Hollywood has ceased any stereotyping. That’s why Pixar’s Brave’ is so much a hit, that we are helping to promote it and its vision of Scotland. Its far more realistic version of Scotland features tartan-clad, happy villagers dealing with witches and banshees. Result!
Rather than definitions from our government and its great initiatives, here is a look at some Hollywood films set amid the heather of Scotland.
Brigadoon: (proper noun; English) Movie/musical love story set in Scottish Highlands.
The tale of Brigadoon centres on a mythical Scottish town, Brigadoon. The story opens with American tourists getting lost in the foggy weather – kind of like this past fortnight. They had been in the countryside to engage in the perfectly legitimate, lucrative tourist occupation of culling invasive species, (ie, hunting).
In times past, Brigadoon was beset by evil forces.
The pair sing the memorable songs ‘no heather on the hill’ and ‘ A forestry-managing we will go’ as they look for deer to cull, carefully hanging warning signs all around them according to their risk assessment document.
The hunters discover the beautiful town of Brigadoon, with its rolling fields, sparkling granite and beautiful development opportunities. Brigadoon only appears out of the mists once every hundred years. In times past, Brigadoon was beset by evil forces.
Developers threatened to turn the fields to cheap houses and transform the market square into an iconic TIF project, and put wind turbines o’er land and sea. So the local minister prayed, and magically Brigadoon was saved from over-development, urban sprawl and unwanted forestry schemes by being hidden in time, only to appear once every 100 years (about as often as the No. 23 bus).
The villagers prepare for an upcoming wedding; the bridegroom sings ‘Go Home With Bonnie Jeannie’ , and the villagers all reply with a chorus of ‘Go Home, Ho Malone’. One of the Americans falls in love with the range of development opportunities on offer, and the locals sing a chorus of ‘Scotland’s open for Business,’ and ‘Smart, Successful Scotland.’ He returns to the land of his granny (near enough) and opens a golf course. Brigadoon is never seen again.
Braveheart: (proper noun; English) A documentary film made by Mel Gibson on the life of William Wallace.
This popular historic recreation has proven to the world that Scotland must be independent from England; it’s what Wallace would have wanted if he were here today.
These days some segments of the press are comparing Alex Salmond to Wallace for his unswerving moral code, his desire to uphold the rights of the common man against the wealthy and powerful, for painting his face with woad and going to battle for Scottish independence.
Apparently the referendum will be scheduled near the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn , where Wallace saw the English off. Salmond bravely rode into battle against Donald of Trump; he and his two merry administration men sailed to far, far New York. Armed only with taxpayer money (about £6,300), Salmond and Trump engaged in combat at the Battle of Le Perigord (one of Manhattan’s most expensive restaurants).
I guess Salmond didn’t want to see anything that would discredit the great windfarm expert Trump
Both sides claim victory. Salmond said windfarms were never discussed; Trump says Salmond promised no windfarms near the new Trump resort. Trump won a great victory over the moving sand dunes to tame this corner of Scotland, creating the world’s greatest golf course.
Alex Salmond is, however, not quite brave-hearted enough to watch the film ‘You’ve been trumped!’ . He has declined several invitations to view it now, including its showing at Holyrood.
I guess Salmond didn’t want to see anything that would discredit the great windfarm expert Trump, whose address at Holyrood will go down in history for its grasp of science, economics and environmental concerns. Or something. This film has disturbing scenes of people being critical of The Donald and his flunkies, which some viewers might find upsetting. The two documentary makers show Trump’s effects on the Scottish landscape and residents, as he changes nature to his own designs.
Some of these unappreciative locals selfishly refused to sell their homes to Trump and even complained when Trump’s minions accidentally cut their water off and damaged their property. The filmmakers were quite rightly arrested, and should have been hung, drawn and quartered for embarrassing Trump and Salmond with this film.
It is understood that any day now The Donald will create millions of jobs – cleaners, porters, dishwashers and maids wanted.
Alex Salmond, like Wallace, understands the importance of seeing what assistance foreign powers can bring to the struggle for Scotland’s independence. This is why Salmond allied himself with the great Rupert of Murdoch. Alex pledged his allegiance to Murdoch and apparently did all he could to help with the BskyB merger, and exchanged several messages with (soon to be former) culture secretary of the hated English, Jeremy Hunt.
This was apparently done to get the Murdoch empire to support the SNP. Like Wallace, Salmond has been summoned to England to face his enemies at the Leveson enquiry, where he was asked to explain a few things. For some reason Mr Murdoch said he could not remember anything about this matter. Let’s hope Rupert’s memory improves sometime soon.
Brave: (proper noun; English) Animated tale of the real Scotland of ages past, complete with happy tartan-clad villagers, a princess and a witch or two. Apparently soon to be part of the SQA curriculum for Scottish History.
Some years back, the Government and Scottish Enterprise were keen to tell the world that it was wrong to stereotype Scotland as the land of tartan, whisky, castles and sheep. Times have changed.
According to News Net Scotland, here’s what they’re saying about ‘Brave’:-
“First Minister Alex Salmond said the movie presented a huge opportunity to promote Scotland and said: “This will present us with an immense opportunity when Scotland will be centre stage in the film with all the tourism and business opportunities this will bring. I fully expect that as the film launches across the world, so will awareness of Scotland increase. Brave will be the most high-profile film ever set in, and themed around, Scotland, featuring Scottish stars.”
VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said:
“When better than in the Year of Creative Scotland, and where better than right here on Scottish soil, to launch Brave for the first time in Europe?
“The film will showcase the scenery, humour and culture of Scotland, and we are looking forward to converting cinema-goers into visitors.”
Why go and see this film, when for a mere £150 or so you can have a round of golf at Trump’s newest venture?
So there you have it – the first minister says that the most high-profile film ever set in Scotland is a cartoon with witches, banshees (no offence Aileen, Kate and Jennifer) and castles. Visit Scotland (which is now working with Disney to promote the film) says the film showcases the ‘scenery’ and ‘culture’ of Scotland. We can at least look back on this film when Aberdeen is choked by housing developments to the loss of any green fields.
So bring on the new independent Scotland, battles in kilts and some witchcraft – that will put any old stereotypes to rest.
Local Hero: (proper noun) Award-winning cult film in which environmental concerns take precedence over greed.
This fantasy film depicts a Scotland which is ‘closed for business’ and as such should not be screened. Worse still, it foreshadows a very dubious film indeed…
you’ve been trumped: (proper noun) Multi-award-winning documentary depicting Donald Trump’s quest for the world’s greatest golfcourse – whatever the cost.
Result! The galaxy’s greatest golfcourse opened this week! Why go and see this film, when for a mere £150 or so you can have a round of golf at Trump’s newest venture?
Old Susannah suggests that you might want to see this film yourself when it returns (in a newly edited version with extra footage) to the Belmont Cinema this week. Saturday will see Baxter and many Menie residents come along (1:15 and 6:00 showings as well as 11:00 am). Details at http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Belmont_Picturehouse/film/Youve_Been_Trumped/
Hope to see you there, so you can judge for yourself who is in the right: an honest American tycoon trying to make an honest pound, or the area residents, mainstream Scottish media, and little-known documentary maker, Michael Moore.
“I heard it was boring. I heard it wasn’t good.”
— Donald J. Trump (Property Developer)
— George Sorial (Trump spokesperson)
“I didn’t think I could be shocked by the abuses money and power can inflict on ordinary people, but Anthony Baxter, with a calm but steely determination, exposes the way a ruthless, greedy thug can corrupt the state, the police, the media and academia. …When a handful of decent Scottish people try to defend their homes and their environment from destruction, the angry billionaire seeks to crush them. For showing us the reality of this “development”, Baxter is intimidated, harassed and bullied. But he succeeds in giving us a film as magnificent as the landscape he tries to save, and as warm and principled as the people who live in it.”
— Jeremy Hardy, BBC
“An amazing film….Director Anthony Baxter throws a spotlight on the contemptuous way in which Trump deals with the residents. But most controversial of all is the way in which the potential environmental damage caused by the development has been disregarded because of the perceived benefits to the local economy.”
— Bob Ward, The Guardian
“This is a real eye opener of a film, and a cracking piece of filmmaking from Baxter, who uses his own nous, nerve and a few judicious clips from Local Hero besides, to make a compelling case. See it and decide for yourself who are the real Brave Hearts in this tale.”
— Glasgow Herald
“A quietly angry and important film that will inspire plenty of ire in anyone frustrated by the way money and power frequently crushes anything in its path.”
— The Scotsman
“Rogue filmmaker Anthony Baxter entered the front lines of the fight against the developers to capture the outrage of the locals, who stood tall against bulldozers even as their own police force aided Trump’s henchmen in protecting his project. This shocking investigative film aims to hold Trump—and anyone else who puts personal gain ahead of the environment—accountable for their actions as it documents a protest that still wages on.”
— Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival (Winner, Special Jury Prize)
See you in the funny pictures.
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