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Jul 212017
 

Blink 182 plus support at AECC. Review and photographs by Craig Chisholm.

US pop-punk veterans Blink 182 returned to Aberdeen with a slick arena show filled with confetti canons, pyrotechnics and flamethrowers which pleased their fans old and young alike.

First band up on the three-band bill, however, were New Jersey band The Front Bottoms. 

Despite the Viz-like nature of their name, which has you suspecting they are less than serious proposition, the band play an introspective, but goofy, indie rock that is appreciated by the early arrivals in the arena.

Frontman Brian Sella formed the band nearly 10 years ago.

He stands stage front, strumming an acoustic guitar.

He engages with the crowd and endears himself with comments of wishing he could have lived his life in Scotland and a tale of getting hit by a golf earlier ball that day.

Flanked by his bandmates there is also the somewhat unusual spectacle of a couch on stage on which a couple of guys are sitting.

Their contribution to the set seems to involve nothing more than tapping away on their mobile phones and taking swigs from bottles of beer – nice job if you can get it, it must be said!

There are no couches or mobile phones on stage for the next act however as Frank Turner and The Sleeping Souls take to the stage.

Bahrain born Turner had a seemingly un-punk upbringing – the son of an investment banker who went to Eton and studied alongside Prince William; his grandfather – a “Sir” no less – was the former chairman of high street store BHS.
But despite this privileged upbringing it’s hard to deny that Turner has paid his dues, moving from small toilet venues to arenas over the years whilst playing a socially conscious and politically charged brand of folk-punk that has gained him a loyal band of followers.

He commands the audience well tonight.

The sight of him getting the crowd to sit down and jump up in unison was quite exciting and he also brings one lucky young fan out of the audience, hands her a harmonica and has her play a mouth organ solo during one track.

He ends his set by crowd surfing in the audience which has security scrambling to get hold of him as the crowd go wild. It would be fair to say he would have won over a few new fans this night.

Finally, at 9pm sharp, Blink 182 take the stage. Starting the set behind a curtain with a picture of their logo imposed over a Union Flag, whilst the haunting electronica of the Stranger Things theme tune plays, it drops to rapturous applause and pyrotechnic explosions as the band blast into opener Feeling This.

The backdrop at this point is the rather unsubtle word FUCK in huge flames at the rear of the stage.

But, let’s be honest, Blink 182 are not in a band that deal in subtly much.

There are fleeting moments of introspection though – the cello-drenched and catchy I Miss You is a touching tale of lost love and the title track of last year’s California album is a nostalgic missive to their home state.

It’s the unsubtly of the show that provides the arena rock experience though and there is plenty of spectacle and show that has the crowd in raptures – a huge screen flashes behind the band, flame throwers spit high into air from behind the drum riser, confetti canons fire and drown the crowd in ticker tape whilst pyrotechnic explosions bellow smoke into the venue and test the fire alarms to their limits.

And this day-glo stramash of sound and vision isn’t just on the odd occasion – it’s in almost every song the band perform.

There is another exception to this sensory overload though as they perform one track in the dark, lit only by hundreds of mobile phones in the crowd.

Highlight of the set for the crowd is first track of the encore their big hit and probably best known song All the Small Things. Released over 17 years ago, it is older than a good proportion of the crowd here tonight, all of whom go wild to the raucous, three-minute classic of the US pop punk genre.

And then, after a couple of more tracks, it’s over – 22 songs in a compact, and slightly short, 75-minute set. All that’s left is for drummer Travis Barker’s teenage son to play out as the crowd head out into the early evening.

As was said, Blink 182 are not a band that deal in subtlety but if high adrenaline, slightly juvenile, slick, over the top arena shows are your thing then this would have made you very happy indeed.

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Jul 212017
 

By Duncan Harley

The British Heart Foundation Scotland will be a major beneficiary from funds raised at ‘Blast from the Past’ – a Classic Car Show featuring rare and unique vehicles from across the North-east – on Saturday 22 July 2017.

“We are delighted that Margaret and Ian McWilliam along with their daughters Jade and Iona have accepted our invitation to join us at the event” says co-organiser Alan Leonard.

“The McWilliams, a local family from Kintore, give up a lot of their time in support of the BHF as their lives have been directly impacted by the effects of heart disease.”

Co-organiser Alan Leonard and main sponsor Alan Wallace of Aberdeen’s AW Autotech chose the Inverurie venue for this inaugural event due to the suitability of the site.

“The area we are using is all in tarmac” says Alan “and we also have the exclusive use of the entire in-door shopping mall and display area.”

“More importantly” he says “From our first contact with Thainstone management they have offered us all of the professional support we could possibly wish for in order to ensure that the event will be a success.”

Alongside the classic cars, the day features family fun complete with kids rides, bouncy castles, music and competitions.

For the young and not so young the show features live action including an Auto-Test competition, parade laps of exhibitors cars and a giant Scalextric Track guaranteed to take the breath away from both adults and kids.

Alongside the more than 200 Classic Car display entries, the show will feature motor-cycles, commercial vehicles plus many rare and unique vehicles. Stars of the show include a 1936 Auburn ‘Boattail’ Speedster and a rare 1961 Daimler Dart.

‘A Blast from the Past’ runs from 10am – 4pm this coming Saturday.
Admission £5 – children under 12 free.
Free parking on site.
More information at http://www.nes-blastfromthepast.co.uk/car-show/

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Jul 212017
 

By Duncan Harley.

In this comprehensive guide to Scottish mountain bothies, Edinburgh writer Geoff Allan reveals the unique network of mountain huts and bothy cabins which inhabit our wild places.
Geoff has variously hiked or biked to every known Scottish bothy and in this stunningly illustrated book he details all of the 81 Mountain Bothy Association maintained bothies and, in addition, points the way towards the lesser-known wilderness gems.

Defined in the pre-amble as “A simple shelter in remote country for the use and benefit of all those who love being in wild and lonely places” remote bothies are often romanticised and Geoff’s short but concise take on the beginnings of the bothy movement cuts to the chase and advises the reader what to expect of typical bothy accommodation.

Facilities are quite rudimentary. “As a bare minimum” he cautions “bothies will have a table and a couple of chairs.” Answering calls of nature will however involve a short walk plus the use of a spade “Select a location at least 200yds from the bothie, dig a hole at least six inches deep and bury your deposit.”

It is this Spartan attention to detail which makes this outdoors guide invaluable. Not only does Geoff list those bothies which actually have loos, there are eight in the entirety of Scotland, but he takes care to inform the reader about the essentials of bothy etiquette and of the common sense philosophy of leaving the building in the condition in which you might wish to find it.

Essential equipment such as kit, food and fuel is discussed in minute detail and the Mountain Bothy Code is set-out for the benefit of those heather-crunchers intent on taking the high road to those solitary places for the first-time. Regard for surroundings and respect for fellow users head the list and a cautionary warning for the unwary suggests that all rubbish should be placed in the nearest rucksack and carted home!

The core of this book is of course a detailed description of the bothy shelters. Split into regions, the 100 or so buildings are described by size, facilities and location. A useful general history of each building follows and walking routes are detailed alongside breathtaking images emphasising the remoteness of these hidden treasures.

Superbly illustrated throughout, this clearly written travel-guide will both inform the casual coffee-table user and provide an exhaustive reference source for outdoor folk intent on extreme bothy bagging.

The Scottish Bothy Bible (304pp) by Geoff Allan is published by Wild Things Publishing Ltd at £16.99 ISBN 9781910636107

First published in the July edition of Leopard Magazine

Jul 212017
 

With thanks to Kieran Booth.

Following her hit 2015 show, Miss Myrtle Throgmorton OBE (pending) is returning to the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe with a brand new production.
The critics, in 2015, stayed away but the audience came in droves and through word of mouth, a brief stint with the Really Terrible Orchestra and some energetic flyering, the show was sold out most nights – and everyone had a hoot! [“Very, very funny” – STV]  

So the game old trout, ancient heckler and exuberant enthusiast for all things Scottish, is back, Stuffed and Mounted, mad-rabbiting on about the delights of a long life – giddy aunts, Burns, beards, Creamola Foam, Zimmer Zumba and much more.

Myrtle is created by former BBC Comedy producer Jennie Campbell / Chalmers, and has been developed over many years although Jennie admits that the original bag-for-life is now, worryingly, more ‘ego’ than ‘alter’.  Since her Fringe debut, Miss Throgmorton has been making appearances across the North East of Scotland at charity gigs, Burns Suppers and two sell-out runs at the Haddo Arts Festival.

Myrtle’s accumulated years are off-set by the youthful vigour of baritone, Colin Brockie and pianist, Richard Bailey who join her for the three-week run at the Fringe. The production could also be unique on the 2017 Festival as the cast and crew all come from rural Aberdeenshire: Colin from Ellon, Richard from Udny, and Jennie, Kieran and Mary from Barthol Chapel.

Myrtle is still chairman of the Surrey Association for Lonely, Misplaced Or Non-Domiciled Scots [ALEX] but has been rusticated from her sheltered housing scheme [a minor misunderstanding over a game of sardines with her friend Midriff Bulge] and now lives as the permanent resident in a once–grand hotel.

The audience will be her ‘fellow diners’ and much conversation and banter will ensue as she shares her opinion on pretty much everything [advanced age is so liberating], punctuated by live and original music from Richard, some ‘proper’ singing from Colin and a little nifty hip work from Myrtle herself.  

Once again, every show will end with a surprise guest joining Myrtle for cheery chat over the coffee and mints. The audience is completely unaware who the guest will be – indeed Myrtle herself may not be entirely up to speed until just before the off.

2015 guests included Rory Bremner, Arnold Brown, Lieven Schiere and Alan Cumming. 

It could be a TV celebrity, an acclaimed author, the face of a familiar radio voice, a rising star, an unknown character with a story to tell, someone with a great, undiscovered show or the joker from the café on the corner…  A truly potluck surprise, in the spirit of the Fringe, and every one a guaranteed delight!

After a brief career as a London lawyer, and a briefer one cleaning houses, Jennie Campbell joined BBC Radio Comedy as a producer of such programmes as Week Ending, The News Quiz and The Edinburgh Festival Compilations, scouting the Fringe in the 80s for hungry new young talent.
On moving to Scotland, she switched from satirical news to the real thing and has been variously a radio presenter [Newsweek Scotland], news and current affairs producer, director of theatre, opera and musicals, drama teacher, arts organizer, serial committee member and session clerk.

With Myrtle Throgmorton, Jennie makes a long overdue return to her comedy roots.

Venue: Mint Studio | Greenside @ Infirmary St. [Venue 236]                   
Dates: 4th – 26th August [not Sundays]                     
Time: 18.25 [55 mins]                                                          

Tickets: £10/£9/£5 

Box Office: edfringe.com / 0131 618 0758
Website: www.myrtleproductions.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/myrtlethrog
Twitter: www.twitter.com/myrtlethrog   (@myrtlethrog)

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Jul 142017
 

European beaver (Castor fiber) swimming at dawn, Knapdale Forest, Argyll, Scotland.

With thanks to Chris Aldridge.

A family of beavers found living on a river in the Beauly area in the Scottish Highlands are to be trapped and put into captivity following a decision by Scottish Government Ministers.
Trees for Life, the charity which discovered the group, says the family should either stay where they are or be relocated locally.

Film from camera traps set by the conservation experts from the charity in mid-June clearly show the presence of a mother and at least two young kits swimming and playing with their mum.

Trees for Life shared news of the discovery with Scottish Natural Heritage and made a case to Scottish Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham that the family be allowed to stay.

Alan McDonnell, Conservation Projects Manager at Trees for Life said:

“It is disappointing that government is already starting the process of trapping this family without considering other options. Whilst we understand that the Minister wants to address the concerns of landowners in Tayside, the situation here is very different and we think it is possible to consult and negotiate with landowners in the immediate vicinity of the family and upstream to find an alternative outcome for the animals.”

Beavers have sparked controversy and concern from landowners in parts of Tayside where there is intensive arable farming. In contrast, much of the land neighbouring the newly confirmed beaver home in the Highlands is used for livestock farming.

Alan McDonnell said:

“We think these beavers have been active at this site for at least five years without any local concerns being raised. Which just goes to show that in the right location, beavers and other land use interests can co-exist successfully.”

Richard Hartland, local resident added:

“Many people in the local community have no idea the beavers are there and they’re having very little impact on their surroundings. Why can’t they be left alone?”

Shortly after finding the family, Trees for Life wrote to the Scottish Environment Minister to ask that they be left where they are, or failing that, moved upstream into Glen Affric, above the Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin hydro dam on the basis that they would have minimal impact on land use.

(Beaver photo image. Copyright – Peter Cairns, SCOTLAND: The Big Picture.)

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Jul 142017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Rotary Clubs around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have launched a popular annual car raffle which will see one lucky winner drive away with a Mini in the New Year.

Run by 22 Rotary Clubs, the raffle will again raise funds for leading north-east cancer charity CLAN Cancer Support.

More than £54,000 was raised by the raffle in 2016, with the net funds raised shared between CLAN Cancer Support, which receives the majority of the funds, and the Rotary Clubs who in turn use their share to help other charities in the area.

Alan Pirie, of the Aberdeen and North East Rotary Clubs, said:

“We are delighted to partner with CLAN Cancer Support again for this year’s raffle, continuing the strong partnership we have with the charity.

“Our members will be selling raffle tickets at events across the north-east throughout the year and it is so rewarding to be involved in this fundraising campaign which supports a very important cause.”

Dr Colette Backwell, chief executive of CLAN, said:

“The Mini raffle is a very important part of our annual fundraising campaign and is always very well supported throughout communities across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Orkney and Shetland, which we are hugely grateful for.

“The Rotary Clubs around Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire are such an incredible support each year, their dedication and kindness really does make all the difference.

“The raffle draw is made at the Bon Accord Centre on Christmas Eve each year and it’s fantastic to be able to deliver the news to the winner as an extra festive surprise.

“Anyone interested in buying tickets for the raffle can pop into any CLAN Centre or charity shop, or contact fundraising@clanhouse.org.”

This year’s Mini has been part-sponsored by Kore Solutions, Intellicore, Empire HR and Eyecandy Graphics.

CLAN Cancer Support is an independent charity which provides comfort, support and information, free of charge, for anyone, of any age, affected by any type of cancer. CLAN aims to support people to reduce anxiety, stress and to increase their ability to cope with the effects of a serious illness.

Based in Aberdeen, the charity covers the whole of north-east Scotland, Moray, Orkney and Shetland. CLAN has a presence in Ballater, Banchory, Elgin, Buckie, Inverurie, Fraserburgh, Lossiemouth, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

For more information about CLAN Cancer Support, please call (01224) 647 000 or visit: www.clanhouse.org

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Jul 142017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

A leading north-east of Scotland business organisation is celebrating European success after scooping a prestigious award for its work to revitalise Aberdeen city centre.
Aberdeen Inspired has been crowned European Business Improvement District (BID) 2017 by the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The award ceremony, which was held in Berlin on Tuesday, July 11, was attended by representatives of the eight finalist organisations, European business leaders and government officials from across the continent.

Aberdeen Inspired’s leading role in delivering the successful Nuart Aberdeen Festival in April played a significant part in the judge’s decision to declare the organisation as the winner of the 2017 award.

As well as lobbying on behalf of its levy payers and supporting festivals and projects in the city, the success of other Aberdeen Inspired projects such as the first Aberdeen Comedy Festival, Summer of Art, and the Aberdeen Christmas Village also helped the organisation to stand out against other finalists, including Amsterdam and Hamburg.  

Each year the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry recognises successful initiatives which increase the attractiveness of and strengthen and revitalise city centres, residential districts and commercial areas.

Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, was in Berlin to represent the organisation at the European BID awards.

He said:

“We are very proud to be European BID of the year 2017. Being shortlisted as a finalist was a great recognition of our work for Aberdeen but winning outright is a fantastic achievement which we hope will serve as an inspiration to the city, the wider north-east, and across the country.

“To make it to the final we were up against organisations from across the continent, ranging from Albania to the Nordic countries, so the field for the award was wide-ranging and very competitive.

“All our efforts with projects like Nuart Aberdeen and the comedy festival are focused on improving the city centre to drive footfall there and boost traders in the area. During the Nuart Aberdeen Festival 87% of visitors to Aberdeen stated it was completely or very likely that they would return to the city for the festival if it was repeated next year, and we are delighted to be in discussions to secure the festival for the coming years.

“To be recognised as best in Europe for our innovation and success is very satisfying and we are determined to achieve much more.”

The European BID award success follows fast on the heels of UK recognition for Aberdeen Inspired which achieved notable success at the UK and Ireland Association of Town and City Management’s (ATCM) annual awards in June for innovation and best BID.

Mr Watson added:

“Our success in the UK and now in Europe has been made possible through a strong joined up approach with our partners including Aberdeen City Council and our city centre businesses.

“Despite the challenging operating environment in our city and wider north-east they have all rallied to the cause and shown the rest of the country some excellent practices to boost economic and cultural activity that lead the way.

“We should all take a great deal of confidence from this success and it brings the right kind of recognition that our great city deserves. However, we all understand that we cannot stand still and there is still much to do as the city continues its transition, but be sure Aberdeen Inspired will continue to play its part.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute.

Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district. More information about Aberdeen Inspired is available at: www.aberdeeninspired.com

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Jul 142017
 

With thanks to Future Choices.

A local Voluntary Charity is to recognise one of their dedicated volunteers.

Future Choices, based at Inchgarth Community Centre, Garthdee, which supports adults with a Physical Disability will have one of their youngest volunteers lead the charity on the forthcoming Celebrate Aberdeen Parade on Saturday 26th August.

The young volunteer, Lewis Bannerman, is currently working through his Saltire Awards, a programme that recognises young people volunteering within their local community.

David Forbes, Chair of the charity said:

“Since Lewis has started volunteering with Future Choices, he’s already reached his 25 hours stage so far and is actively involved in various tasks, a shining example of the good things young people can achieve. It is with this dedication that Lewis has shown, I have chosen him to lead the charity down on the parade with pride and I’m thrilled he accepted the request”.

Lewis, the Saltire Award achiever said:

“Future Choices has given me opportunities and has helped me to gain skills and how to work with others and leading the charity down on the parade will be a great opportunity to show off Future Choices”

Lewis’s mum, Diane also added:

“Since Lewis has been volunteering with Future Choices, he’s been very active, so to hear from the Chairman, that in order to recognise Lewis’s amazing efforts, he’ll lead the charity down union street for the upcoming Celebrate Aberdeen Parade. His Dad and I are incredibly proud of him”

Future Choices will turn 10 years old next year and have a busy programme from now until next year in which Lewis will play a key role.

David concluded:

“It’s always amazing when young people come forward and want to help support others and I feel through the Saltire programme, this is hugely beneficial, Lewis is going to go from strength to strength and he will inspire others and I congratulate him on that”

For more information of Future Choices, visit www.future-choices.org.uk or to get in touch, email info@future-choices.org.uk 

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Jul 142017
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

Aberdeen athletics coaches gathered at a leading sports facility this week to celebrate the work of an early 20th century sporting official at a unique historical presentation.
Aberdeen Sports Village, based on Linksfield Road, held the opening ceremony in honour of the work of Andrew Ross Scott (A R Scott), a former Scottish Athletics judge.

Mr Scott’s great grandson, Andrew Walker, visited Aberdeen Sports Village with his wife, Hilary, to see the display featuring A R Scott’s original timepiece, a unique athletics record book, and the medal awarded to Mr Scott by Queen Alexandra, at the 1908 Olympic Games in London.

Mr Scott was a Scottish Athletics official for over 15 years, taking on the role of president of the organisation in 1903. The Summer Olympics of 1908 was to take place in Rome, but due to an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the venue was changed to London, with each of the UK nation’s supplying officials.

The final of the 400m was declared void due to elbowing, and the final was rerun with only one runner, after the other athletes refused to take part. Wyndham Halswelle, a Scot, ran the race to win gold, becoming the only athlete ever to win an Olympic gold medal by a walker. A Ross Scott was one of the judges for the rerun.

Mr Walker was given his great grandfather’s memorabilia by his mother, and approached a current Scottish Athletics coach, Alex McGregor to find the best way to display the unique pieces. Mr McGregor decided to approach ASV, having run on the original Linksfield Stadium ash track as a boy over 60 years ago.

Several seasoned officials from Aberdeen Athletics Club met Mr Walker to hear the unusual story, which is now on display in a specially produced pod at ASV.

Duncan Sinclair, CEO ASV, said: 

“The story of A Ross Scott and Wyndham Halleswelle is unique, and so we are delighted to display the beautiful timepiece, book and medal at our facility. It is fascinating to hear about sporting endeavour from over one hundred years ago, and it was a great pleasure to meet with so many experienced judges and coaches who came to welcome Mr Walker to Aberdeen.”

Mr Walker commented:

“The display pod is everything I could have wished for. My mother and my great grandfather would be very proud to be part of this tremendous facility, encouraging young people to achieve their best.”

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Jul 142017
 

With thanks to Ross Anderson, Senior Account Manager, Citrus:Mix

Organisers of Celebrate Aberdeen have welcomed a sponsorship boost from a leading oil and gas company as they aim to hold their largest ever event in the city this year.
Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd have provided £8,500 in sponsorship for the summer extravaganza which features Union Street mile running races, a third sector parade and musical performances across the city centre.

Nexen joins existing sponsors CNR International (UK) Ltd, as well as event partners, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeen Inspired, who help to fund the annual event which was first held in 2011, and media partner Northsound Radio.

As well as local charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups, musicians and city sports groups have been invited to take part in the event which will be held on Saturday, August 26 and Sunday, August 27, alongside the inaugural Great Aberdeen Run.

More than 140 local groups have signed up to ensure their place in the celebratory parade since the date of the event was announced earlier this year.

Ray Riddoch, Nexen’s Managing Director UK & Sr. VP Europe, said:

“Giving back to the communities where we live and work is deeply rooted in Nexen’s values and we are very excited about our partnership with Celebrate Aberdeen. Our investment in the event reflects the importance Nexen places on supporting the third sector and the excellent work they do. 

“Celebrate Aberdeen is a fantastic example of collaboration between charities, the local community and business and embodies Nexen’s cultural belief of ‘win together.’ We are looking forward to a fantastic weekend and to the most successful Celebrate Aberdeen to date.” 

Morven Mackenzie, the leading force behind Celebrate Aberdeen, added:

“We’re delighted to welcome Nexen to the Celebrate Aberdeen family and look forward to working with them in the lead up to our event this summer which will be the biggest and best yet.

“We rely on support from organisations like Nexen and CNR International, as well as our key partners Aberdeen Inspired, Aberdeen City Council and Northsound Radio, to make the event happen and I’d like to thank them for all of their fantastic support.

“As well as the parading organisations, we also look forward to welcoming performers from across the city who would like to take part. This year we are keen to hear from musicians, singers, bands and dancers, all of whom can all play a part in the weekend’s activities.”

More information about the Celebrate Aberdeen weekend can be found at: www.celebrateaberdeen.org

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