Jun 052015

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

DictionaryTally ho! There are many vibrant, dynamic, connected smart successful goings-on as summertime draws near to the Granite City. I had a tasty affordable dinner at Amarone; it may be a chain, but its mozzarella is second to none.

On Sunday I attended my first BrewDog Home Brewers’ tasting session – a dozen or so home brewers met up to taste a wide range of homemade craft beers of all sorts; some were amazing; some a bit challenging. The BrewDog AGM is this coming Saturday; as is the Taste of Grampian, both of which seem to be bigger and better every year.

A wide variety of events are around the corner; the Gray’s School of Art Degree show opens on the 19th June.  The word is that this year will be particularly impressive.

The Moorings, Tunnels, Drummonds and Lemon Tree have lots of great bands coming up (Gerry Jablonski Band plays the Moorings the 4th; which is the place to head after the BrewDog AGM). Black Grape plays on the 5th of July. Old Susannah remembers the last time she saw this band in London. By the end of the night the entire venue became one big backstage after show party. Bez danced up to me, and I asked him how he was doing. “WIDE” was the reply.

More on Black Grape soon. With all this going on, I hope the city has seen fit to order more crowd barriers and hire a few thousand security guards. Can’t be too careful.

Great news! ‘Tally ho!’ might once again be the cry heard in the countryside if the newly re-elected Conservatives get their way. David Cameron’s got his priorities right, and his head is well screwed on his shoulders as it ever was post-election. Now that our banks are no longer in crisis (financial banks, not food banks that is), and the NHS is safe, it’s time to worry about the issues that really matter to us all. Like chasing and killing foxes.

After all, ripping these vermin to shreds is traditional, and isn’t that what the Conservatives are all about – ripping things to shreds – sorry, I meant to say traditions? I for one am happy we’ve had such a fair and proper election, and I’m happy to trust Westminster to keep giving us the kind of government we deserved and voted in.

Here we are, we’ve never had it so good, and yet there are one or two people out there who seem to want to stir up trouble and find fault. Some people think that some multinationals are happy to poison us all to make a profit. Others aren’t sure the police are always completely fair, believe it or not.

Still other worrywarts have it in their heads that the banks have behaved dishonestly and that we’ll be bailing them out again before long. I say to them, get out into the countryside; go on a good British fox hunt, and soon you’ll forget all these minor paranoid unsubstantiated fears.

For such sceptical souls, perhaps a few definitions may help them become as trusting, uncritical and accepting as I am.

Fact-finding mission: (Modern English noun) – to seek verification or otherwise for data.

Pity the poor misunderstood Metro reader who wrote into the paper’s advice team, which answered him on 28 May. If you read his heart-breaking letter in the feature entitled ‘How can I trust my girlfriend’ you’ll see that some hussy or other has her hooks in this poor trusting man. The poor guy went on a little fact-finding mission in the noble cause of trying to find out whether or not his girlfriend was trustworthy.

He decided to test her honour by snooping into her phone and her emails. ‘Fair enough’ I can practically hear you say. It turns out that the woman in question hadn’t told him she had in the past been married and was now divorced! What a breach of trust! I hope he’s given her the boot.

As ever, clues to the relationship’s doom were in the man’s letter. He described the woman as ‘smart, funny, independent, sexy and extremely successful.’ Smart is never an attractive quality in a woman; funny is best left to blokes, and as to independence – well, that’s simply not done. If she was sexy, then she might well have looked at other men before this prince arrived on the scene, and going through her correspondence seems a reasonable way to check how honest she is.

If she was successful, then she must have had a rich boyfriend or husband along the way, kind of like the way it’s done here in Aberdeen by our prettier faces. If you love someone, set them free. If you really love someone, bug their phone, put a keystroke counter on their laptop, and go through their messages when you can. Relationships are built on trust after all.

Take for instance the trust between the electorate and the government.

The government shows us how much it trusts us, and we should show some respect in return. Sure they may want to impose some random named guardian to interface and interact with your child whether or not you are a good or bad parent. They may be using undercover spies to infiltrate legal protest groups, and even to stir up trouble in those groups which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

The government may be spying – sorry, I meant to say ‘fact-finding’ on all of our emails, phonecalls and naughty Instagram photos. They may want to train your children from birth to be answerable to a ‘named person’ (more on that in a separate article) who’ll have input into your family life. It’s not that they don’t trust us. It’s certainly not that they want the private sector making huge profits from outsourced spying and other services after making deals with lobbyists.

Why are they treating us like potential if not actual criminals? It’s because they care.

‘Taking the Mickey’/ ‘Taking the Michael’ / ‘Taking the Carmichael’: (Modern English and Scottish slang phrases) To make fun of, to insult someone’s intelligence by tricking them; to mock.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters” Albert Einstein said (I got this from the internet, so it’s true). I don’t know who Einstein may have had in mind when he came up with that little gem, but it could well have been newly-re-elected Orkney & Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

Some people feel Carmichael may have been taking the mickey at election time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you hadn’t heard, there was this little matter of a wee practical joke he played. Carmichael accidently leaked a fake memo purporting to concern Nicola Sturgeon and the French ambassador. Someone told me this was some kind of a French Letter. In this document, it seemed Sturgeon would have preferred Cameron as PM over Milliband (Milliband was apparently someone else running for office.

Like you, I never heard of him before, either). If anything Charm-Michael was doing Sturgeon a favour by trying to make her look even more popular. After all, Cameron was the people’s choice.

Some people have no sense of humour however; and headlines like ‘Alistair Carmichael facing sleaze probe over memo leak’ seem to imply there was something wrong with what he did. http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/alistair-carmichael-facing-sleaze-probe-over-memo-leak.1433245837.

Thankfully, this august politician has lots of allies. The people who voted him in are happy to stand by him; many of them with pitchforks, torches. If you don’t believe he’s got lots of support left after his beau jest cost the taxpayer some £1,400,000, don’t take my word for it: Alistair Carmichael says so himself, and that’s good enough for me http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/i-ve-lots-of-support-alistair-carmichael-insists-1-3788374

Sadly there are some people who just won’t take their better’s word, and need a bit of hand holding and reassurance when they feel they’ve been slightly misused, tricked, cheated, conned and defrauded. To allay fears, nothing works quite so well as a testimonial.

Testimonial: (English noun) A statement given in support of a cause or person by someone with gravitas.

Carmichael indeed has his friends, and none perhaps better than Lib Dem Sir Malcolm Bruce.

Rushing to the aid of besieged Carmichael, Sir Malcolm said:-

“Politicians regularly tell lies and Parliament would “empty” if they were punished for it a Liberal Democrat politician had admitted.

Sir Malcolm Bruce, who stood down as an MP at the election, was asked on BBC Radio 4 whether lying was widespread in public life.

“No, well, yes. Lots of people have told lies and you know perfectly well that to be true,” he responded.

“If you are suggesting every MP who has never quite told the truth or even told a brazen lie, including cabinet ministers, including prime ministers, [should be removed] we would clear out the House of Commons very fast, I would suggest,” he added.

Sir Malcolm was defending his colleague, Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, who admitted that he had ordered the leak of a document after saying he had nothing to do with it. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/politicians-lie-a-lot-admits-liberal-democrat-politician-10275934.html

I’m sure that should be enough to silence even the staunchest Carmichael critic. To summarise Sir Malcolm’s position, Lots of people lie and that’s perfectly true. Old Susannah started to think about this in light of the shocking revelation that there are liars in the House of Commons. I started to wonder… if Bruce is in the House, and he’s telling me truthfully that the house is full of liars, and that’s the truth, then is he lying about that or telling the truth.

Several bottles of BrewDog’s Vote Sepp later (itself named after the trustworthy fearless FIFA leader Mr Blatter), I found myself no wiser than before.

Bruce’s position that lies shouldn’t be punished (Certainly the Conservatives go along with this longstanding LibDem position too) is something we should all go along with. If MPs who lied were punished, Bruce says the House of Commons would soon be empty. Where on earth would we be then?

I was going to get on to another trust-related definition in reply to a fan’s comment on a recent column. I intended to talk about the Wood Family Trust’s Wood Family Foundation taking £10 million of the £50 million it has sensibly sitting around to build a parking lot.

I was going to explain that by avoiding several million pounds a year, the prudent billionaire out there can save a ton of cash, and then decide how the government that should have had the cash to do with as it saw fit will instead be tugging the collective forelock when given a gift which represents a small portion of the tax avoided, and wax lyrical about the generosity of the gift. But coupled with grappling with Sir Malcolm Bruce’s logic, I started to feel a bit light headed.

Perhaps we’ll go there another time.

On those rare occasions on which I find myself a bit wary of whom or what I should put my trust in, or perplexed by the logic of my betters like Carmichael and Bruce, I like to relax with television shows like Britain’s Got Talent. You can’t beat it or its contestants for good old-fashioned genuine honest talent, can you? If it turns out that the most talented person to be found in the whole of the Kingdom happens to be a dog trainer, fair enough.

What could be more entertaining than watching an animal that’s been trained to walk along a tightrope with strings digging into the pads of its paws?

At least we know we have a real, honest-to goodness, gimmick and trickery free winner. If the dog we thought we were watching refused to do the tightrope trick (I feel sorry for the poor trainer), then it’s fair enough to use a stunt double for the dog, even if that little fact was kept a bit quiet. Nothing dishonest about that, is there? Woof woof.

Remember, that rabbit that was tortured to death on Danish radio (to prove how hypocritical people are who eat meat but don’t like animal cruelty – a great lesson) was a gentle, trusting creature until its last educational minutes.

Next week: an overdue look at the property portfolio of our city council, the council that can’t manage to house everyone, but which has over 1400 properties of various kinds. And definitions to include Paradox, Hoist by their own petard, and libel.

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Aug 302012

Interesting Music present an exciting night of music at The Tunnels on Carnegie Brae on Friday 31st of August featuring THE UNWINDING HOURS, OLYMPIC SWIMMERS, and FOXHUNTING.

THE UNWINDING HOURS release their new album ‘Afterlives’ on 20 August on Chemikal Underground Records. Influences such as the Flaming Lips, Max Richter, The Cocteau Twins and Laurie Anderson filtrate the album throughout.

After releasing their debut album, touring and support slots with Idlewild, The Twilight Sad and Biffy Clyro, the duo took their time writing and recording any new material.

Craig B went back to university to study Theology and Sociology while Iain Cook, concentrated on production and recording in his studio.

Craig would bring new demos once a week for them both to work on, and their sophomore effort slowly took shape.

Spurred on by a new found excitement for study, Craig claims this hugely influenced the writing process.

I felt I was finally able to learn and absorb as much as I could but also use it to be able to articulate what I had been trying to express for years. Working with Iain at our own pace allowed us to experiment, try out new ideas and make sure we didn’t repeat ourselves”.

“We tried to tie ourselves to different time signatures, made some songs specifically guitar orientated, made others more synth based but also stripped it all back when necessary. We basically just had a ball throwing ideas around. You can hear a kitchen sink being battered by a piece of metal near the end of the first song, so yes we had a lot of fun.”

The album artwork was taken from an etching by an American artist called Jack Baumgartner. It depicts the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel.

Craig explains,

“We thought Jack’s depiction was perfect for the front cover. I love the fact that the biblical story is so enigmatic and open to so much interpretation. These stories, as all things capable of stirring the imagination, continue to have an afterlife.”

With a strongly held belief that an album should be consistently engaging from start to finish, The Unwinding Hours have produced just that and have plans to continue making music for as long as it remains possible. They just might take their time doing so.


OLYMPIC SWIMMERS are a Glasgow band who recently released their first album ‘No Flags Will Fly’ on 4 June.

“I would describe our music as shoe-glancing indie that goes down the quiet/loud path, but with lots of wandering around along the way” says vocalist Susie. “We’re all agreed in our admiration of Low, Pavement, The Wedding Present, The National and Bonnie Prince Billy.” (The Skinny)

“Their familiar yet endearing sounds pay homage to myriad Scottish forebears, notably the Cocteau Twins, whose yearning distortion, disembodied vocals and celestial guitars are echoed on In This House; and perhaps indirectly, the picturesque folk-rock of early-90s Pearlfishers (Bricks of our Building) and the unsung guitar-pop of Wild River Apples (Apples and Pears).” (Nicola Meighan, The Herald)


FOXHUNTING is the solo project of one Joe Sutherland, a teenage singer-songwriter from Aberdeen, Scotland. Dealing mainly with acoustic guitar and vocals, he provides a visceral edge not often found in the folk-pop scene. Live shows combine energetic, foot-tapping music with soulful, emotional lyricisms.

He has supported the likes of Withered Hand, Woodpigeon, tUnE-yArDs, Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, Juffage and Esperi since his first proper show in 2011.

Debut studio album ‘Come On Sweetheart, Take My Hand’ in October 2011 saw Foxhunting experiment with electronic music, providing a contrast to the organic and homemade noise captured on earlier EPs.

After a year’s stay in Australia, Foxhunting is due to return to his home town in August.


Friday, 31 August 2012, Doors 7.30pm 

The Tunnels (Room 1),
Carnegies Brae,
AB10 1BF.
Phone (01224) 211121

Advance Tickets £8 + bf / £10 on door
Available from One-Up Records, Belmont Street, Aberdeen. Phone (01224) 642662 or online http://www.wegottickets.com/event/174932


Oct 112011

Hercules Moments launch a second free Aberdeen music sampler; Eoin Smith and Russell Thom tell Aberdeen Voice all about it.

Two students from the North East of Scotland are set to release their second compilation of top Aberdeen music, free of charge.

Following the release of a similar compilation in 2010, Eoin Smith and Russell Thom, both 20, founders of music site Hercules Moments, are set to build upon their previous success with 12 brand new tracks from some of Aberdeen’s finest bands.

‘Hercules Moments: Vol. 2’, the ingeniously titled sampler, will be released as a free download on www.herculesmoments.co.uk  on the 28th of October, in a variety of formats.

To celebrate the release, Hercules Moments will be holding a launch party in Café Drummond, situated on Aberdeen’s Belmont Street,  on the 28th, which will feature three of the fantastic acts that  appear on the sampler: Katerwaul, Carson Wells and Mark Riley, frontman of Glassman, who will be performing a very special acoustic solo set.

Boasting a wealth of talent, the sampler includes established acts The Xcerts and The Little Kicks, alongside newer acts like Min Diesel, Foxhunting and Seas, Starry. The line-up is completed by local favourites The Deportees, The Shakedown Project, Turning 13 and Outbox.

“We were overwhelmed by the positive reaction we received  after last year’s sampler,”

 began Eoin, an English student at the University of Aberdeen,

 “so there was really no question as to whether we would release  a  second one. We have an even more diverse range of talent this year, and everyone involved is really very excited to get it out there for people to hear.”

Russell, an Engineering student at the University of Aberdeen, added:

 “It all sounds really fantastic this year. We were lucky to get award-winning local producer Iain Macpherson to look over the tracks, which has made the whole thing fit together really well. I am a big fan of a lot of his work – most recently Steven Milne’s solo album and The Deportees’ new  single – and I know he has loads of other exciting stuff coming up too.”

It was in March 2009 that then-school pupils Eoin and Russell launched Hercules Moments: a blog dedicated to writing about the music they loved to listen to. After two years of hard work, they have accomplished more than they ever dreamed of.  As Eoin elaborates:

“Since founding Hercules Moments, we have been able to work with some of the most exciting recording artists from across the globe, including Rufus Wainwright, Supertramp and Weezer, as well as a whole host of new and rising talent,”

  Russell concludes:

“In the past year we have been nominated for a variety of awards – both locally and nationally – and the website has grown to incorporate submissions from a variety of talented contributors. It’s nice to be recognised for the work we have put into the website and we are very proud of what we have achieved so far.”

“The sampler really is an awesome mix of tracks and best of all it’s free! If you ever wanted an introduction to a selection of the best music in Aberdeen, then this is your chance to hear it,”

Aberdeen Voice are grateful to Eoin and Russell for their story, and wish them all the very best of luck with all future projects.

Aug 182011

Old Susannah looks back at the week that was and wonders who’s up to what and why. By Suzanne Kelly.

The leak’s leaked.  Those nice people at Shell seem to have been economical with the truth about their North Sea oil spill; they say they have been completely open and honest.  However, some half a dozen environmental/animal groups do not think so.

I know whom I am tempted to believe.  I hope Shell can do for us what it has done for Nigeria, farmers in Northern Ireland, etc. etc.  If nothing else, it is good to know Shell has gone into public relations overdrive and is pouring oil on troubled waters.

Back on dry land, it is hard to know where to start doing a round-up of this past week’s events in the ‘Deen and the wider world.  The Road Sense AWPR appeal has failed.  Helpfully, Kate Dean posted on a Facebook discussion thread (you see – she is down with the kids for definite) stating:

“I’m amazed that this topical community hasn’t seen fit to discuss today’s Court of Session ruling on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.”

I told our Katie:

“To Ms Dean – nice to see you weighing in. I think you will find this ‘topical community’ and the Aberdeen Voice have historically dealt with both sides of the AWPR story. As the Voice is a weekly publication, no doubt some contributors will send in relevant items for next week’s issue. You would be welcome to write a piece as well”.

Alas!  Kate relied:

“I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to contribute to a publication which habitually refers to me in such a derogatory and insulting fashion”

I tried to explain that my writings are ‘satire’ (well, for the most part). Of course there is not much tradition of important politicians being satirised in Great Britain – well, only since the time of King John, and more recently Hogarth, Spitting Image and Private Eye.   (I would have also replied: “XXXX XXX XXX XXX XXX XXXXX”, but I could not figure out how to do redacted text on FB).  Perhaps I just do not know the meaning of the word ‘appropriate’ – time to see what can be learnt from Kate’s examples (see definitions).

Perhaps Kate thinks that is the end of the AWPR matter, and the necessary, environmentally-friendly, economical road will go ahead.  Well, we will see.  PS – my Facebook Home page tells me to suggest friends for Kate.  Any ideas?

And we have another nursing scandal; this time at Woolmanhill.

A nurse has allegedly been over-drugging patients, and gave a person a salt-cellar instead of their inhaler.  We are getting close to a medical scandal a week.  I wonder if all the cutbacks to frontline services might be related to frontline services going down the pan.

Old Susannah’s had a senior moment; I remembered writing about the brilliant designs shortlisted for the gardens, and thought I had done so in a column.  Turns out I had only done so on Facebook.  While trying to find what I did write, I googled my way upon this quotation:

“The gardens have the potential to be transformed in to a popular, attractive and vibrant green space in the heart of the city. The gardens have come under increasing pressure in recent years, with various schemes put forward to raise their level and develop them as a leisure facility. Care must be taken not to over-develop the space and potentially risk losing its essential drama and historical landform”.

– 2007, AberdeenCityCouncil Report

The above was the conclusion the City came to in (yet another expensive) report in 2007.  Since then a few things have changed, and commonsense has prevailed:  the only thing wrong with Aberdeen is that UTG is not vibrant and dynamic.  This is why we are all going broke, crime is shooting up, the independent shops are closing, and the streets are filthy:  it is the gardens – they are not used enough and are in a valley!

We may or may not get a vote on the Gardens’ future – but we have lined up five designers who have form when it comes to doubling and trebling their budgets.  I guess if you want something as beautiful, as functional and elegant as the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, it’s going to cost.  Then again, an inflatable Jacuzzi (on sale via ‘Groupon’) would have been as pretty and functional – and costs a few million less.

I’m sure it’s because I didn’t study architecture in great depth, but at first glance I thought the shortlist was the most predictable collection of expensive hacks to ever build boring and unsuitable creations, obviously my mistake.

Still, the Diana Memorial Fountain designer is one of our fine finalists!  I hope you are as excited as I am.  Since I did not go into detail about the talented designers Malcolm Reading has lined up to fix our city’s problems and how much it is likely to cost and since I cannot find my writings on the matter to begin with, (but I did mention some of the references rxpell uses), here is a good article from rxpell that sums things up nicely:

This article will help you decide which of our five finalists to vote for.  If you get a vote.  We do not know for sure, even though HoMalone’s promised us a vote, which would include leaving the gardens as they are.  But this is Aberdeen, and the government’s position changes more often than the weather.

(I would love to say I have been out at nice dinners and working my way through the ever-changing Brewdog menu, but for the time being my doctors have me on lockdown, and am forced to live off rice, tofu and yoghurt drinks.  Somehow this does not really suit me.  Still, I will be back doing the rounds as soon as I can).  But now for some definitions.


1.  (adjective) fitting, proper, suitable, in accord with acceptable norms.
Am I ever embarrassed by Kate’s telling me that it ‘is not appropriate’ for her to write in the Voice, as we are derogatory about her.  Shame-faced, I asked myself what can I learn from her example of what is appropriate behaviour?  I came up with a few examples.

What is appropriate:

  • To be a supporter of the Cove Rangers, to be the president of its fan club,  have a husband who is a Scottish Football Association referee, and to be administrator of the family plumbing business (Brian J Dean) which sponsors the club – and to endorse plans to build it a new stadium without any qualms or conflict
  • To make comments to the media about how wonderful a new stadium for the Cove Rangers team would be, yet to sit as convener of the Loirston Loch hearing (despite opposition from community councillors) which is tied to Cove Rangers’ future
  • To comment to the Loirston Loch hearing that you attended a meeting where virtually all present voted against the stadium going ahead, but that you were sure a man there wanted to vote in favour of the stadium – but was afraid to (mind-reading is a skill every councillor should have)
  • When implementing swingeing budget cuts (and having thousands of people march against them calling for your resignation) to reply ‘I was elected to do a job and I am going to do it’
  • To accept dozens of tickets to concerts and events at the AECC in a single year, despite guidelines suggesting this might not be ‘appropriate’

Thank you Ms Dean – I will indeed learn much from you, and will continue my studies.

And to whom but Aberdeen’s first citizen should I next turn towards to learn about appropriate behaviour:  Mr Milne has it nailed.  Out of the goodness of his heart, he allowed people to actually comment on his stylish plan for Triple Kirks (the Press & Journal obligingly called the area an ‘eyesore’ in an article.  There goes that bothersome blurring of ‘editorial’ and ‘article’ again, which of course is not appropriate).

Those who did comment on the Triple Kirks plans marvelled at the giant glass boxes (never mind the peregrines).  At least Milne said as much, claiming the majority loved his ground-breaking design.

(Hmm, if only there were some nearby, empty space that could be converted to parking, the scheme would be even easier to approve – if they could come up with some kind of a plan…).  Anyway, those few who objected and left email addresses got a very appropriate follow-up email from a Milne company, which reads along the lines of:

“From: “sales@stewartmilne.com”

“Many thanks for your enquiry. We will forward details and information to you shortly. We’re here to ensure that buying your new home is easy and enjoyable, so if we can help any further, just let us know.   Sell Your Home in 5 Days”

Now if I were a sceptical, cynical person, I would ask myself:  is writing to people who opposed your plans and offering to get them a new home in an ‘easy and enjoyable’ manner something that could be construed as a bribe?  Well, the City says everything is fine, so I guess it is all appropriate.  I have dismissed the idea that offering sales help to people who were against you is at all wrong.

I hope this has cleared up what is appropriate and what is not.


2. (verb) – to take by deceit or force that which belongs to another.
See: Union Terrace Gardens, City Garden Project, ACSEF, Donald Trump, Compulsory Purchase Orders.


(noun) custom or activity rooted in the past.
People are funny about their traditions.  We are being told by the City Council that painting the Lord  Provost’s portrait – and celebrating the glorious event with an expensive party is OK – as it is tradition.

Foxhunting (no, not with golf clubs and tame foxes, Mr Forbes) was a United Kingdom tradition going back hundreds of years; it was deemed cruel and barbaric, and therefore has been made illegal.  The Catalonia area of Spain has recently given bullfighting the coup de grace –  it is hard to imagine anything more barbaric than bullfighting masquerading as a ‘sport’.

I came under criticism (on Facebook again – I really must stay away from that thing) for saying Spain should consider doing away with bullfighting.  (PS – if you really think the bull has a chance, and there is no prolonged torture or pain, and it is a brave matador that fights a bull with only a cape to protect himself, then think again – PETA will put you right).

Someone said I was showing ignorance of Spanish culture and tradition.  Their point was that tradition was more important than the animal issues. I say “bull”.

The city could not afford to replace broken windows in schools only a few years ago, but wants to shell out on canapés for its elected officials and the usual suspects to celebrate the fact that its Provost is an oil painting.  Too right.  Without these traditions, we would start moving forward.  And the future is uncertain.  It is best to cling to what previous generations did – it is safe (well, maybe).

If we always paid for a portrait, then we had better keep paying for a portrait.  We might have to cut a few services, but let us stick to whatever was the more traditional course of action.  It is important to bear in mind that all traditions are equal in value and all are good.  Perhaps we could bring back ducking witches in the loch?  Yes, to question traditions is to question culture and nationalism – and where would be without nationalism?

In my world, it is the 21st Century.  The whole world is under different pressures than it was when these wonderful traditions came about.  There should be more enlightenment and compassion than brutality and superstition; we have run out of excuses.  But then I turn on the news, and realise that I have got it wrong again.

Old Susannah is now out to catch something for dinner, and possibly bash a few enemies over the head with my wooden club.  Now where did I leave my bow and arrows?

Next week:  hopefully some FOI news, more definitions, and a back-to-school special look at education.

Award Winning Country Band Call The Shots

 Aberdeen City, Articles, Events, Featured, Gigs and Concerts  Comments Off on Award Winning Country Band Call The Shots
Mar 252011

With thanks to Matt Duncan.

Music lovers thinking ‘bout moseyin’ on down to The Moorings this Saturday may want to keep one eye on the exit, the other out for trouble, their heads down, and their hands close to their holsters as liquor-swillin’, sharp-shootin’, crazed country cowboys The Malpaso Gang come a-calling.

Aberdeen’s newest country band, The Malpaso Gang, proud heirs to the long tradition of outstanding country music rooted in the fertile forelands of the Grampian Highlands have claimed the title of… “Best Indie Band” in the Aberdeen Fudge Music Awards.

They credit their success to a profound love for professional wrestling set to a soundtrack of Buck Owens, and their legions of adoring fans.

The band’s spokesperson, Nina Eggens, after downing her 8th shot of whiskey and shooting out all the bottles behind the bar, aiming from the hip, told Aberdeen Voice:

“We’re so proud. It’s all down to Hank Williams song, ‘Rambling Man’.”

It was the train whistle that apparently set off the fusillade, claiming the lives of the cheap liquor behind the bar leaving no survivors.

Bail for the Gang’s sharp-shooting lead singer has to date been unforthcoming, and it has been reported that the band’s decision to prioritise the raising of money to pay off their bar bill may be the cause of the delay.

The bar tab resulted from drinking which followed the brawl that erupted when, while claiming an unrelated award for stranded steel guitarist Son Henry, Matt Duncan made an insightful comment about a neighbouring city in an unfortunate moment of candour and honesty.

Bassist Dave Haxton, off to fetch another pint, could not be reached for comment.

All of which is appropriate, because as we all know, country music is all about true stories. And all this, they swear, is true.

The Malpaso Gang will be supported on the night by Edinburgh psychedelic-garage–punk band Acid Fascists, and local folk rock artist Foxhunting.

The Malpaso Gang
Acid Fascists


Sat 26th March @ The Moorings.