Nov 042016

firework123picWith thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Webcams which have become increasingly popular with the public will stream the fireworks extravaganza at Aberdeen Beach this weekend.
Live images from The Roundhouse, home to Seacroft Marine Consultants, will, weather permitting, show the colourful 20 minute long display, which gets underway at 8pm on Saturday (November 5).

The Seacroft team has repositioned the north webcam (one of four) to allow those unable to attend the popular display to watch it online.

Jennifer Fraser, director at Seacroft, said:

“We get a brilliant view of the fireworks display from our office which we wanted to share with those who might not be able to attend it.

“To do this we have repositioned one of the webcams which has the best vantage point, so weather allowing, people will be able to tune into our website and watch the display from our north webcam.

“We have been delighted with the response we have received from the public about our webcams over the past year and have been thrilled by the number of people that have got in touch and been talking about them.

“We are pleased to be able to utilise them to enable the fireworks display to be enjoyed online and we are all very much looking forward to Saturday.”

Images from Seacroft’s webcams have developed a global following with viewers from as far afield as the United States, Australia and Canada tuning in.

Established in 1995 by Captain Roderick MacSween, the firm has been owned and operated by the founder’s daughter Jennifer Fraser and Michael Cowlam since 2004.

Synonymous with its location, Seacroft has built its reputation in the marine assurance and consultancy sphere – and has expanded its expertise to offer a range of services to clients with maritime interests worldwide.

Specialisms include marine assurance packages, OVID and CMID inspections, marine warranty work, rig move services, International Safety Management audits and dynamic positioning assurance as well as simulator training in ship handling and bridge team management and specialist recovery and rescue assurance services.

The four webcams set up from the firm’s C-listed building focus on Aberdeen Beach and Bay to the north, the harbour entrance and out to sea eastwards, across the harbour navigation channel to Girdleness in a Southerly direction and across the main harbour turning basin to the west of the building.

For further information visit and click on ‘Webcams’ to see Seacroft’s view. The fireworks display will be visible from the north webcam.

Photo © Anna Dobos | ….123

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Nov 092012

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

Tally Ho!  This past week has been an exciting one on several counts.  The fireworks were amazing – when Nick Clegg tried to handle Question Time in Parliament, the poor man could not open his mouth without the Opposition attacking him.  Sadly, his friend(s) must have been confused, because they jeered him just as much as Labour did.

The speaker tried to calm the explosive situation to little avail.  Alas, going down in history for being heckled by both sides is possibly not what Mr Clegg intended.  (I recall he was helping Kate Dean with her image; that doesn’t seem to have worked out as intended, either).

It’s almost as if breaking one or two election pledges is not doing the LibDems any favours.  If things get any worse for Clegg, he’ll have to ask Kate to give him some popularity pointers.

On Sunday I ran into someone from the Scottish SPCA; there had been reports of an injured seal near Torry Harbour.  The Scottish SPCA couldn’t find the seal, nor could I.

Still, if anyone comes across any animals in distress, do call the Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.  (The leaflet to combat dog fighting will be ready for distribution from Saturday, and anyone who wants to help give these out should get in touch with Aberdeen Voice).

There were delicious canapés at Malmaison, lots of delicious eats at Café 52, and BrewDog has some particularly gorgeous craft beers on tap.  Moreover, the Dog has re-released ‘Ghost Deer’ – a strong, amazing beer in brilliant packaging. Perhaps I’m drawn to the Deer-themed artwork for some inexplicable reason.

I’m told a t-shirt will be produced soon; it seems a chief BrewDog artist works in the Aberdeen BrewDog bar – do check out the shirts on offer; they are a good example of locally-created, wearable artwork.

This Friday night I look forward to some pampering at Lush, and then heading to the Masked Ball in Union Terrace Gardens.  It sounds like a very creative and elegant affair, and the Balmoral Group organisers are holding this event in aid of Friends of Anchor.  This charity seeks to buy equipment and improve things at the ARI for cancer patients; a most worthy cause.  Pictures to follow.

Also this week artist Nicky Cairney got in touch to share some haunting artwork on the theme of Tullos Hill; she found the Hill’s story very moving and inspired this artwork.  More of her work can be found at

I am sure that despite the rocky ground, visible waste everywhere, ploughed up gorse, resultant smaller wildlife numbers, dead deer and a fraction of the 89,000 trees planted, this great project alone will help our eventual city of culture bid.

Perhaps the Turners and Constables of the future will flock to the hill to paint pictures of rusty metal and tainted earth.

Limousine Bull is re-grouping.  If you weren’t aware, this art resource was forced to leave its premises in Torry a few months back over a funding crisis – a crisis that any one of our great and good self-proclaimed patrons of the arts or culture-loving former city administration could have stepped in and solved for a four-figure sum.

I guess they had more important things to fund instead of supporting a gallery space, a teaching space, and affordable studios for up-and-coming artists in Aberdeen to work in, which brought people to Torry, and brought artists together.  After all, we have to prove we’re a city of culture.

Closer to home, despite non-stop editorialising in the City Garden Project Press, aka ‘The Aberdeen Press & Journal’, Labour are sticking to their election pledge and aren’t going to build the web.

Never a news organ to let beautiful artwork sit idle, the P&J have trotted out the luridly coloured concept drawings from the doomed CGP several times this week.  (I really must start forcing myself to look at all the old P&Js, and seeing if there has been a single issue over the past 2 years which didn’t have a web story on the first few pages – but I just can’t bear the thought of it).

Granite web supporters (i.e. Scottish Enterprise and its sprog ‘Visit Scotland’, ACSEF, and the construction industry) would have you believe that the web should still be the salvation of Aberdeen and the reason no one wants to lead our city of culture bid is that we didn’t turn our only city centre green space into a granite-clad spaghetti junction and we didn’t mulch our ancient trees.

Perhaps by building the theatre in front of the theatre they were trying to do for performing arts what they did for high street shops by building Union Square Mall?

What kind of youth culture exactly is going on here?

Should we be the City of Culture?  While I did address this with a definition a while ago, it seems timely to do it again.   As people try to make a living in the Arts in Aberdeen with or without government support (such as Limousine Bull), let’s take another look at the great expense – sorry – benefits of becoming a City of Culture..

Youth Culture: (compound noun; English) A given collection of style, behavioural, ideological characteristics shared by a given group of young adults.

Well, we do have youth culture in Aberdeen, and not just the long-running international youth festival.  During Bonfire events, a group of young people in Seaton decided to throw burning pieces of wood at fire-fighters, and shoot fireworks in the firemen’s directions.  A group of young people assaulted two men as well.  What kind of youth culture exactly is going on here?

I think the problem lies in there not being a granite web.  You build your web, create 6,500 jobs, and then there will be no further problems.

Skateboarding, graffiti, hanging around smoking  and underage drinking can all be centralised in the web, perhaps in a ‘youth culture zone’.  This will please everyone who insists Union Terrace Gardens are filled with old drunks and druggies – we’ll get in a better class of sub-culture.  Younger drunks.  This indeed will help our city of culture bid.

Perhaps these violent outbursts are because we have too many affordable, exciting things for young people to do, too many arts and music programmes, too many places for them to socialise and have fun.  I think there is room for further cuts to library opening hours, music tuition, art and craft provision and so on.

City of Culture: (compound noun, English)  A European designation given to a city for one year; the city is meant to then put out a varied programme of performing and visual arts.

Right, we are all agreed (apparently) – we want to bid for and win the coveted (?) City of Culture title.  As described in Old Susannah No. 82, this might mean spending a few million here and there on things like giant spiders (nice fit with the web) which Liverpool spent £2 million on.  It will definitely mean building lots of new structures!  Result!

The unhappy millionaire builders we have locally will get to give us more ground breaking (probably greenbelt breaking) glass box buildings, malls and parking spaces.

Of course we have lots of buildings in the public and private sectors which we could put back into use (via tax incentives, improvement notices, discount rents to arts groups and social projects), but there’s little in it on the building front, and that’s what the City of Culture is all about – building new stuff.

Since the City of Culture bid for Aberdeen is being linked to the web, it is in the news nearly as much as those lovely drawings of the flower-covered, sunny web design.  It is prompting much discussion and speculation.

A friend of mine asked me:

 “why can’t we just have lots of events like we do anyway, and give more support to our local up-and-coming artists without spending money on the City of Culture Bid?”

I guess some people just can’t grasp the concept.

Unexpected: (adjective) An event or result which could not have reasonably been projected or forseen.

Here’s a coincidence for you.  Liverpool spent millions on its 2008 bid to successfully become the City of Culture.  Then there was a little coincidence in 2009, totally unrelated to this wonderful honour.

According to the Liverpool Echo newspaper of 29 December 2009:-

“Row brewing over £11m budget cuts proposal by Liverpool city council

“SCRAPPING school uniform grants for needy children, closing children’s respite homes and swimming baths and slashing culture spending are among cuts proposed by cash-strapped city bosses.

 “They have also put forward the closure of the Park Road swimming baths in Toxteth and cutting culture funding by £400,000.

“The options have been put forward by officers as they try to plug an unexpected £11m gap in next year’s budget.”

I suppose you couldn’t have expected that spending £2,000,000 on a giant spider, and spending  hundreds of thousands of pounds on the culture bid, and unknown quantities on management companies, events, building projects and so on in 2008 could have led to any financial hardships in 2009.  Who could have seen that coming??

The City of Culture was supposed to make everyone rich after all.  This promise of wealth has a bit of a familiar ring to it; I’m sure I’ve heard about some project somewhere in Aberdeen like that.

Old Susannah must write to Liverpool and ask them if they use the services of PriceWaterhouse Cooper when they make their financial forecasts.

Synthetic: (Adjective) something which has been artificially fabricated, as opposed to something that naturally grows.

Whether or not we get the City of Culture award, we can be glad we’re in a city which nurtures local talent, allows creative movements to grow, and encourages experimentation within the arts to occur organically.

Sure, there may not be any money for school music, arts programmes like Limousine Bull are being allowed to die, and talented fashion designers and video artists (like the unique Fraser Denholm) are leaving the city at an alarming pace to live and work elsewhere (heaven knows why they head to London and Glasgow).

Furthermore, the more cynical are asking whether no one wanted to take on the role of City of Culture director because we don’t retain our talent, because we don’t support the artists we do have enough, because we kicked Peacock in the teeth, because we don’t encourage children to take up art and music in school to a greater degree, and because there is no natural flowering of art in all the unused shops we have – which other cities manage to rent to artists on affordable bases.

No – the reason no one wanted the job is because we didn’t build the web.

But more importantly, we’ve got a couple of city council suits who are helping to sort our culture out.

These people have decided what ‘quarters’ parts of Aberdeen are.  We have the ‘merchant quarter’ on the green.  Sure, half of the shops are closed or closing, crippled by business rates, but we’ve put up signs saying ‘merchant quarter’ – so merchant quarter it is.

We must all rejoice in the arbitrary designating of ‘cultural quarters’, ‘merchant quarters’ ‘civic quarters’ and so on.  You can practically feel the difference when you step from the civic quarter into the merchant quarter can’t you?

In case you doubt Aberdeen City’s and ACSEF’s abilities to create awe-inspiring artwork and prose, here is a little something to keep you going until next week:

As you can appreciate, if you just let things happen, you wind up with places like Notting Hill Gate, Brick Lane and so on – areas that are a bit edgy and filled with unwashed artist and musician types.  Down with that sort of thing.  Remember to know what quarter of the city you’re in, and be glad someone more creative than you or I thought to slap labels on them.

Next week:  No quarter.

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Oct 262012

The public are being urged to report any misuse of fireworks in the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November. With thanks to John Robins, Secretary of the Animal Concern Advice Line

It is illegal for fireworks to be sold to anyone under 18 and for persons under 18 to be in possession of fireworks in the street or other public areas. If someone suspects that a shop is selling fireworks to people under 18, or if they see a person under 18 with fireworks they, should report this to the police immediately.

People making bonfires are asked not to build the bonfire until a few hours before it is going to be lit. Piles of wood and other materials can attract hedgehogs, frogs and other animals looking for a place to hibernate, so it is best to store the material for the bonfire in a different area

Owners of pet and other animals are urged to make preparations for bonfire night. All animals should be kept inside from before sunset on 5 November. Having a radio or TV on can help distract the animals from the noise of the fireworks.

John Robins of Animal Concern Advice Line said:

“There is no doubt the changes to the law  introduced in 2004 have greatly reduced the number of nasty incidents involving fireworks, but we are still getting reports of fireworks being set off in the street.

 “Fireworks can injure or kill pet, farm and wild animals!

 “Ideally, I would like to see the private purchase of fireworks totally banned and their use restricted to licensed public displays. Until then we urge the public to report any misuse of fireworks to the police immediately. But the police cannot enforce the law if they do not know it is being broken.

 “If you witness a shopkeeper selling fireworks to under-18s, or if you see anyone under 18 with fireworks in the street or a park, call the police immediately, give them as much detail as possible and ask them for an incident number so you can phone back later to find out what action was taken.”

 “People who do decide to hold a private bonfire and fireworks party on 5 November should follow the fireworks code to ensure the safety of everyone involved and any animals in the area.  

“However – and especially when money is tight – instead of spending a lot of cash on a private fireworks party it is much better to go to organised public displays where, for nothing or a small donation, you can watch thousands of pounds worth of very powerful and spectacular fireworks being set off safely by experts.”

Image credit: © Anna Dobos |

Jan 212011

By Suzanne Kelly.

Planet Earth:  is it the ‘Ace Cafe’ stopover for alien inhabitants of other planets in the Milky Way?  Are we alone? Do we want to be alone?

You might think your City Councillor is from another planet, but could you be onto something there?

Are there strange visitors flying past in cigar or dustbin-lid shaped crafts, stopping long enough for some funny experiments and to stock up on haggis and ‘Visit Scotland’ t-shirts?

Erich von Däniken wrote his controversial book, ‘Chariot Of The Gods’ some 50 years ago in which he contended that alien visitors came here in civilisation’s early history, teaching us how to use fire, do geometry and sudoko and how to know which recycling bin to use on what day. The 1950s hysteria of newly-nuclear America made the nuclear family paranoid:  it was afraid either of ‘reds  under the bed’ or ‘little green men’, which was reflected in dozens of sci-fi ‘B’ movies of the period.  It was around this time that the term ‘UFO’ for ‘unidentified flying object’ was coined.

Naturally there is a galaxy of Internet sites telling you everything you’d ever wanted to know about UFOs, but were afraid to ask.  And of course, that means people are reporting UFOs over a field somewhere near you. One site, ‘UK UFO Sightings’ has a list of Aberdeenshire sightings – approximately one per month last year.  Then strangely in January of this year, there are a cluster of  three sightings.  The website address is; anyone is welcome to post their UFO sightings.

The website advises visitors “If you think you have seen a UFO, then this is the site to share your experience. Our aim is to provide a simple way for the general public to log their UFO sightings into one easy searchable site” – which is just what a host of your fellow Aberdonians are doing.

Some sightings have been explained – hoax photography, weather balloons, and fireworks.  Then again – many have not

The thirteenth of January sighting report seems rather typical.  The UFO spotter was having a cigarette (of some kind) when they saw a ‘white ball shoot across the sky’ very fast in a downwards direction until out of sight. …apparently the sky lit up five times afterwards, each time the light became dimmer. Could it have been a meteorite or shooting star?

On the one hand, it is too easy to laugh at these claims until you realise just how many people over a considerable time period have sworn they’ve seen unusual things in the sky.  Airline pilots, military personnel, police, as well as hysterical civilians are all unshakeable in their stories. And no less a person that Stephen Hawking points out that considering the vastness of space and the infinite number of planets, it would be conceited to think we are the only life form out there.

There seems to likewise be evidence showing microorganisms are present on some of the meteorites that have survived entry into our atmosphere. Some sightings have been explained – hoax photography, weather balloons, and fireworks.  Then again – many have not.  Files were recently released by the UK Government, going back to WWII covering a host of UFO sightings.  Apparently Winston Churchill ordered that any UFO sighting be kept secret to prevent “mass panic”.  These files are now in the public domain. But keep this in mind:  Hawking also said if there is intelligent life out there, we ‘should keep our heads down’.

If a more advanced form of life with more advanced technology encounters us – what would happen?  Keep watching the skies.

Nov 052010

Bonfire Night is upon us and as we watch the traditional burning of effigies and the sometimes surprising, sometimes disapointing firework displays, the thoughts of some spectators begin to wander ……

** ‘If Moir Lockhead wis a firework, he’d be the only firework allowed in the display, wid cost far mair than similar fireworks in Edinburgh, wid bide for ages in the Coapy milk bottle while you wait for movement and when he eventually took off, it wid be grudgingly, wi a splutter and a hotter but still leaving six sparklers chasing efter him in vain.’ – David Innes

** ‘If Aberdeen F.C was a firework, it would be one of those you light, get all excited about, tell all yer mates “watch this, it’s gonna be beautiful” You wait and wait, it doesn’t go off, not sure if you should let it be of go over to it and light it again……you’re warned “nah leave it – it’ll go aff” ……you wait, then “f*ck it I’ll go over” and it blows up in yer face’. – Slimfella, Aberdeen-Mad.

** ‘If  Aberdeen City Cooncil was a firework it would be a dodgy katherine wheel which when lit,  would twirl around and around in ever decreasing circles creating lots of heat, sparks and noise, expending fuel and energy at an alarming rate but never actually going anywhere’. – Fred Wilkinson

** ‘If Kevin Stewart wis a neep lantern you’d struggle to see the facial outline due to there being nae licht inside the f*ckin heid.’ – David Innes

** ‘If The CitySquare/Gardens was a firework it would come in a plain pale grey box ( artwork purchased separately ) around a hundred times the size of the firework itself, cost about 100 times more than the ‘money back on next purchase’ voucher redeemable only when your home and car have been legally bound as security until your cheque clears.
When taken out of the box, you would find that the quaint little oil platform shaped device comes with a badly written manual in which you would somehow suss that the firework does not work unless it is connected to a mains gas supply. However, on the back page there is a telephone number for an engineer who can come round anytime, dig up your garden and install the pipe and connection required.

This will cost you, but on the upside, they will accept your ‘money back on next purchase’ voucher towards the cost of the work ( which would of course include arranging planning permission for the installation).
When lit, sometime ( around 2016 by the time all the paperwork is complete ) it would throw out a brief burst of sparks and swirling flares, and then produce a large limp flickering flame.
As you wait to see what else it does next, you find the small print in the manual which informs you that there is no way of turning it off and that your transaction validated an agreement to purchase your uninterruptable gas supply from an un-named supplier at an undisclosed price for an unnegotiable 25 year term.

It might seem like you got a bad deal, but the solicitor, the gas company, the planning dept and the engineer all agree it was a pleasure to do business with you’. – Fred Wilkinson

** ‘If ACSEF wis a squaad o guisers, they’d ask you if you wanted to hear a song and when you refused they’d sing it onywye saying that they didna recognise the insignificant numbers o respondents who said ‘no”. – David Innes

**  ‘If Aberdeen F.C.  was a firework, it would be one of those indoor fireworks that turn into a giant, endless sh*te.  ( see below)’ – Kelt, Aberdeen-Mad