Aug 262016

With thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford.


BANFF & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has spoken following further meetings with Stagecoach managers and bus manufacturers Plaxton regarding the accessibility of the buses serving the Buchan area.
Back in May, Dr Whiteford put forward complaints and suggestions on behalf of constituents with mobility impairments, less agility, and those travelling with small children.

Representatives from Plaxton showcased design proposals which will attempt to resolve the majority of access related issues by refitting the internal stairs to ensure they are less steep and of a more uniform height and depth.

Further proposals include increasing the provision of handrails, more push bells and improved stair lighting. Once the designs are finalised Stagecoach hopes to have the improved fleet on the Buchan route early in the new year.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“I very much welcome the significant movement from Stagecoach which represents real progress. I hope that feedback from bus users, once these improvement s are implemented, will be positive.

It will make a big difference to those with mobility impairments and those travelling small children and make the buses safer for all passengers travelling on this rural route. I would pay tribute to Councillor Jim Ingram who has lobbied consistently for these improvements and thank Stagecoach and the manufacturers for listening to the voices of bus users in Buchan.”

East Aberdeenshire MSP Gillian Martin added:

“I’m encouraged to see that Stagecoach have taken on some of the comments on the new buses from our constituents, many of whom rely on the bus service as their only means of transport.

What I would like to see is consultation with users and disability lobbying groups at the design stage in future, and I was glad to hear today that Stagecoach and the representatives from Plaxton acknowledged that this was something they would seriously consider”

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Jul 082016

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

Hilltop_Piano_Bristol 2009A leading business organisation is bringing art to life in the Granite City and it could be found in unexpected places.

From doors in Aberdeen city centre becoming a canvas for local artists, to decorated pianos and fun Oor Wullie characters, there will be a rich variety of culture on offer under Aberdeen Inspired’s Summer of Art theme.

The organisation is hoping to enthuse the north-east public and make art accessible to all with a range of fun projects under the banner.

Summer of Art kicked off with the appearance of 10 colourfully decorated Oor Wullie sculptures, which are currently on display at Marischal College until Sunday (July 10).  Organised by The Archie Foundation, DC Thompson and Wild In Art, the mini touring version of the Bucket Trail will, like its bigger version in Dundee, raise money for the charity.

Soon after the Oor Wullies have travelled on to their next destination local artists will descend upon the city centre to do some decorating with a difference as they transform a number of sites.

From mid-July guest artists will work on decorative paintings on doors of local businesses, shops and other premises with the aim of brightening up the city centre and creating living art. Locations for the painted doors will start at Langstane Place and Windmill Brae and progress to The Green and Correction Wynd. The full trail will be announced in due course.

This Aberdeen Inspired project will be followed in August by the installation of the Play Me, I’m Yours piano trail, a global sensation which has reached more than 10 million people worldwide.

The brainchild of British artist Luke Jerram, it has seen more than 1,500 pianos installed in 50 cities across the globe, all bearing the message “Play Me, I’m Yours”.

From August 2 to August 21 imaginatively decorated pianos will be placed in a variety of prominent city centre locations ranging from the Castlegate and Union Plaza to the Courtyard at the Academy, with the aim of encouraging people to interact with each-other and express themselves.

The next weekend (Saturday August 27 and Sunday August 28) the arches at Union Terrace Gardens will host a Street Art festival. Led by urban and street art artist Karl Porter and up to ten artists, each participant will be given an arch to canvass their art onto, leaving a vibrant, varied and creative colourful space.

Gary Craig, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“Summer of Art is about community engagement and making art accessible to all, as well as being a fantastic way to utilise and brighten up spaces in the city centre.

“It is also a prelude to welcoming Nuart, an international contemporary street and urban art festival made famous in Norway. Everyone at Aberdeen Inspired has been working hard to make these projects a reality and we are looking forward to seeing them come to life in the city centre in coming months.

“We have also been delighted to team up with The Archie Foundation to include the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail under this banner and it has been fantastic to see the great reaction from the public to the sculptures already.

“Local artists have been planning their artworks for some time now for our painted doors project and are excited to start working on them later this month. This alongside the Play Me, I’m Yours installation and Street Art festival will add vibrant and fun splashes of colour, as well as offering both visitors and locals the chance to try their hand at tickling the ivories.

“The level of engagement it has brought amongst people in other cities is amazing and something we hope to recreate here.

“There was a tremendous response to our appeal for pianos and after being inspected by Gordon Bell of Gordon Bell Pianos, who has kindly offered his musical expertise, all accepted donations are now at North East Scotland College where they will be decorated by students. We can’t wait to show off their handiwork and give people the opportunity to play them as part of Summer of Art.”

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) 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. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at

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Jun 022016

Eilidh meets with Stagecoach managers and local residentsWith thanks to Kenneth Hutchison, Parliamentary Assistant to Dr. Eilidh Whiteford

BANFF & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has spoken following further meetings with Stagecoach managers regarding the new buses serving the Buchan area.

The meeting follows dozens of complaints from constituents regarding the accessibility of the buses, which have been causing problems for passengers with mobility impairments, less agility, and those travelling with small children.

The vehicles, which were introduced last year, have sparked a campaign for more accessible public transport in the constituency.

Dr Whiteford met with the designers of the bus, Stagecoach representatives, and constituents affected by the problem, on Friday May 20.

Speaking afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“It’s quite clear that Stagecoach have made a mistake in choosing this particular model. While it may meet the statutory requirements, I continue to receive complaints from bus users. Given the number of older people, disabled passengers and parents of babies or toddlers relying on the buses, it’s important that our public transport is accessible to all parts of the community.

“In terms of the legislation, I will be seeking a debate on bus accessibility at the earliest possible opportunity.

“I will also continue to maintain pressure on the company to come up with a solution to this problem. Our public transport needs to be fit for purpose. ”

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Jan 282016

Hilltop_Piano_Bristol 2009With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Music could be found in unexpected places in Aberdeen later this year thanks to a leading business organisation.
Aberdeen Inspired is spearheading plans to bring a popular street pianos project, which has been touring cities globally since 2008, to the Granite City.

The Play Me, I’m Yours initiative is the brainchild of British artist Luke Jerram and has reached more than 10 million people worldwide.

From New York to London, over 1,500 pianos have been installed in 50 cities across the globe, all bearing the message “Play Me, I’m Yours”.

Aberdeen Inspired will bring the global phenomenon to life in the city centre if voted through for another five-year term. A renewal ballot will open on February 04 and will run until March 17, with city centre businesses with a rateable value above £27,500 invited to vote on whether the organisation continues to deliver city wide benefits and improvements.

The exhibition will consist of a minimum of 10 pianos, which will be brightened up and imaginatively decorated by students at the North East Scotland College. They will then be placed in a range of prominent city centre locations available for anyone to tinkle the ivories for two to three weeks. The project aims to encourage people to engage with their city by providing a resource for the public to express themselves and interact with each other.

Gary Craig, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said:

“The Play Me, I’m Yours project is a fantastic one which has achieved worldwide recognition and one we are hoping to bring to Aberdeen. The level of engagement it has brought amongst people in other cities is incredible and something we wish to replicate here.

“It is about bringing the Aberdeen community together through music and is a great way to utilise and brighten up spaces in the city centre for residents and visitors, with an open invitation for anyone to enjoy them and try their hand at playing something.

“This is a project everyone at Aberdeen Inspired is very passionate about and hope to bring to life for the people of the Granite City. We are asking anyone with an old piano they are willing to donate to get in touch with us and if we are voted through for another term, we will make Play Me, I’m Yours a reality.”

“In the meantime, we are looking for organisations to host the pianos during their display, covering them if it rains and taking them inside at night, so if your business is interested in this please let us know.”

At the end of the street pianos event in Aberdeen, a number of the pianos will be auctioned off. All proceeds will go to local city centre charities; Grampian Society for the Blind, British Heart Foundation, Barnardo’s, Befriend a Child and Cancer Research UK.

Aberdeen Inspired is appealing to anyone in the Aberdeen area who is willing to donate an old but still playable upright piano in relatively good condition to email If successful in the renewal ballot, the organisation will get in touch soon afterwards to test suitability and arrange uplift. Gordon Bell of Gordon Bell Pianos has offered his expertise in examining the pianos and tuning them if needed.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) 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. Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at

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Oct 152015

With thanks to John Morrison, Marketing & Communications Manager, Peacock Visual Arts.

TIPA_Flyer_Cover_500_3After the success of TIPA Aberdeen in 2011, Peacock Visual Arts is delighted to host ‘This Is Performance Art’ (TIPA), a 3-day series of events celebrating the history of performance art from across the globe.

TIPA is curated by Nikki Milican OBE and will run from the 29-31 October 2015. The event will include performances in the main Peacock gallery, Aberdeen City Centre, as well as workshops, film screenings and opportunities to meet the artists and hear them discuss their work.

This edition’s roster of performance artists, many of whom are visiting Scotland for the very first time, are social, political, and always questioning, with the aim of inspiring viewers to explore performance art beyond TIPA.

TIPA’s global roster includes Sinéad O’Donnell, Nigel Rolfe, VestAndPage, Ilija Šoškić, with Dragica Cakic, Wladyslaw Kamierczak & Ewa Rybska, who are all highly acclaimed artist within the field of performance art.

The 3-day event will be in conjunction with Performance Art East, Northeast, West, which is being run by Aberdeen University from 30-31 October 2015.

Tickets are available on the door, in advance from Peacock Visual Arts, or by calling 01224 639539 and cost £5 per day, or £12 for a 3-day pass. Concessions cost £3 per day and £10 for a 3-day pass.

About Peacock Visual Arts:

Peacock Visual Arts is the leading contemporary visual arts organisation in Aberdeen and the NE of Scotland, bringing artists and the public together through exhibitions‚ events‚ talks‚ residencies‚ film screenings‚ gigs and workshops to make and present art in exciting and innovative ways.

More Info: What’s on at Peacock Visual Arts October 2015

Oct 152015

With thanks to Martin Carle, Public Relations Officer, Aberdeen City Youth Council.

image1The Aberdeen City Youth Council is to hold a debate next week regarding the refugee crisis.

Chaired by ACYC chairperson Piotr Teodorowski, the event will have input from elected representatives Christian Allard MSP, Lewis MacDonald MSP and Alex Johnstone MSP, and Aberdeen University’s Dr Luisa Gandolfo.

The event information follows:
Thursday 22nd October,
Aberdeen City Townhouse.

Light refreshment will be available at the event.

Aug 132015

Celebrate Aberdeen logoWith thanks to Jessica Murphy.

From soulful singing to foot-stomping classics and drumming talent to folk beats – the Granite City will come alive this month for Celebrate Aberdeen.

Final preparations are now underway for the popular event, which is being held in the city centre on August 22 and 23.

Performers including award winning traditional folk singer Iona Fyfe, local sensation Best Girl Athlete, acclaimed musician Colin Clyne and Scottish rockers Uniform will take to the stage to entertain the crowds throughout the weekend.

They will be joined by local favourites The Lorelei, entertainer Samyouel, the Aberdeen Chorus of Sweet Adelines, Aberdeen Rock Choir and Acoustified in Union Terrace Gardens, Aberdeen Central Library and the Bon Accord & St Nicholas Centre and bandstand area.

The fun weekend will begin in style with the return of the third sector parade, which was first held in 2011 and has brought together more than 3,500 people from 130 diverse third sector organisations on each of the three occasions.

Different charities, social enterprises and volunteering organisations will unite in a colourful procession through the heart of the city on August 22 to illustrate the fantastic work they are involved in. Musical performances will be held on both days of Celebrate Aberdeen, which aims to foster community spirit in the city.

Morven Mackenzie, director of Aberdeen based integrated communications agency Citrus:Mix, the leading force behind Celebrate Aberdeen, said the event was shaping up to be the best yet.

She said:

“We are absolutely delighted with the wide range and diversity of talent that makes up the programme for Celebrate Aberdeen this year. There really is something for everyone and we hope everyone comes out to celebrate with us and enjoy all the entertainment throughout the city centre.

“It really will make for an incredible spectacle as the third sector organisations march down Union Street and kick off the weekend. These groups provide an invaluable service to people in Aberdeen and we are pleased to be able to say thanks and help raise their profile in this way.”

For more information on Celebrate Aberdeen contact Morven Mackenzie on 01224 439990 or

Jun 152015

Since last Saturday, June 6, Hell Yeah have taken over Peacock Visual Arts to draw a sugar loaded, popcorn poppin’, over indulgent large-scale illustration installation on the walls of our main gallery.

Poster_FINAL featHell Yeah actively encourage viewers to visit them in the gallery throughout the duration of the installation in order for you to engage with their creative process, with questions and interaction with artists welcomed.

Once the installation is complete the gallery will be closed throughout the day on Friday 26 June to prepare the space for the official Closing Party, which will feature previously unseen work
from the artists hung directly on top of the installation.

The guarded nature of the Closing Party is intended to provoke viewers’ curiosity, urge you to explore the artwork further and also offer a fresh perspective of the exhibition as a whole.

The closing party will take place on Friday 26 June, 6-8pm, all welcome.

The finished exhibition will then run until Saturday 18 July 2015.

About the Artists

Hell Yeah are two artists who work together on large-scale site-specific illustration installations as well as commercial projects. Their typical Scottish dry wit and youthful enthusiasm for life gives their work a raw yet playful mix, which can leave the viewer feeling both amused and uneasy at the same time.

Live Drawing: 6 June – 25 June 2015

Closing Party: Friday 26 June. 6-8pm. All welcome.

Exhibition: 27 June – 18 July 2015

May 152015

MartinFordUTGfeatWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire councillors Paul Johnston and Martin Ford (pictured) have been pressing their council to publish an on-line planning enforcement register.

The councillors believe this would be a useful tool for members of the public concerned about potential breaches of planning permission or unauthorised development, allowing an easy check to see if the Council was already aware of the issue and what action was being taken.

An on-line facility would also allow people to quickly check on the progress of enforcement action and find the outcome, increasing transparency.

“A comprehensive on-line planning enforcement register would be a great help to the public and community councils,” said Democratic Independent councillor Paul Johnston.

“I have been pressing Aberdeenshire Council to publish one for more than four years now.”

“People want to know what Aberdeenshire Council is doing and sometimes not doing about developers’ breaches of planning permission. A properly published register will help the public but will also save staff time and effort in answering repeated enquiries. Better information will help everyone involved and the Council needs to be more transparent.”

The pressure for an on-line enforcement register has now resulted in Aberdeenshire Council putting a list of all enforcement notices issued on its website. The text on the website states: ‘The public access register relating to enforcement cases is expected in autumn 2015. A current list of all enforcement notices is available here.

Green councillor Martin Ford said:

“The on-line list of all enforcement notices issued is a step in the right direction, but falls well short of the comprehensive public access register of enforcement cases the Democratic Independent and Green councillors believe is needed.”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“Any progress is welcome, but I am deeply frustrated about how long it is taking the Council to get an on-line planning enforcement register up and running. We will continue to press on this issue until an on-line register is made available.”

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Apr 172015

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

Look Again (1)Apologies for the late running of this service. However, I’ve been busy getting Tullos Hill petition signatures, and writing my presentation to the city’s Petitions Committee for this coming Tuesday.

Fortunately, the brand new album from the Gerry Jablonski Band arrived to give me some new listening pleasure while I was reliving all the fun of the 2012 Tullos Hill issues.

For some reason, the blues seem particularly appropriate to some of our city’s latest comings and goings.

The city council will no doubt be thrilled that over 250 city residents on the electoral register signed the Tullos Hill petition.

They’ve signed up to get the city to stop killing the deer (at least for now – there may be very few left), and to get full disclosure of the hundreds of thousands of pounds which Aileen Malone’s ‘free’ scheme to plant trees cost us.

The signatories also request that the city seek indemnity from Scottish Natural Heritage – you may remember they made Aberdeen give them £43,800 for the last failed tree planting. This was blamed on deer browsing and on weeds.

The blame couldn’t have been related to the fact the hill’s so rocky it is unlikely any trees will withstand any high wind (in a government soil report which every supporter of killing your deer knew about). At least as my photo shows, they’ve done a bang-up job taking care of the weeds on the hill. The city’s rangers are very proud as to how much gorse they’ve been manly enough to cut and put in a wood chipper.

They’ve made it so you can see around a corner on a path they’ve widened. Result! Maybe not a great result for the wildlife, insects and birds that live in the gorse, but it kept the boys happy, and that’s what counts.

More on the Petition later – but a huge thank you from the Stop The Tullos Hill Deer Campaign to every single person who signed, shared and helped with this petition. That extends to all the people whose signatures weren’t eligible. ACC discounted hundreds of signatures. The city said some people weren’t on the electoral register (I hope everyone is registered to vote and are paying their taxes, just like our local rich do).

Also disregarded were people who live in the shire, who clearly shouldn’t be allowed to have any opinions on the city’s doings. A mere 400+ people want the city to stop this cull, the Scottish SPCA ‘said killing deer to plant trees which could be planted anywhere at all was ‘abhorrent and absurd.’

Animal welfare organisations offered to help advise on how you can have trees and deer without blasting the creatures, but that’s not much good for councillors after the hunting community’s votes. In 2012 objection to killing 36 deer was put down to emotionalism, sentimentality and other fully unacceptable traits; not to the fact the trees aren’t likely to grow.

Still, when the gamekeepers’ association also says the SNH culls are draconian, I guess that means they’re just being emotional, sentimental fools, too.

Look Again (5)

Look Again! Bruce and the Seagulls

I’m sure the petition committee members will welcome a speech from Old Susannah with unbridled joy.

I hope they remember that I may be making the presentation, but it’s the thousands of people who signed the initial petition and the 400+ people who they are answerable to. Those were the thousands of people written off in an official report as being ‘a vociferous but vocal minority.’

Old Susannah will report back well before the upcoming elections to let you know how the 5 labour, 5 SNP, LibDem, Conservative and Independent on the committee vote on the three petition proposals before them. I’m just trying to keep ‘the vociferous minority’ informed, and the objecting community councils.

As a reminder, the last time we had elections an anti-deer cull independent Andy Finlayson was voted in, defeating pro-cull, legwarmer-wearing Lib Dem Kate Dean. The LibDems saw a marked change of fortune in the Deen.

I’d hate to want our elected officials to feel hot under the collar though, or think they have some duty to listen to what the people are telling them, when non-binding, controversial guidelines from the SNH are at stake. I wonder what we’re in store for this time at the ballot box?

Mind you, I’ve not heard or seen much about the upcoming elections. There were one or television programmes which might have been debates. I just wasn’t sure if these were either beauty pageants or episodes of University Challenge. Aside from one or two newspaper articles and the occasional good-humoured post on Facebook, you’d barely know an election was looming.

Congratulations to all the parties which are keeping the electioneering so factual, dignified and honest.

I will vote, mostly because a bunch of tiresome old women back in Edwardian times made voting into a big deal. Hopefully some smart man can help me decide what party to pick, and how to mark those complicated ballot papers.

The question is how to select just one candidate from the honest, trustworthy, charismatic steadfast field? Should I vote for the people who want to kick non UK borns like me out; should I vote for the ones who want the UK to keep chipping in a little for the privilege of having Trident? Or perhaps I’ll just vote for the ones who promise to tax the rich and sell me a council house on the cheap.

Because I value safety and world peace, I’ll probably vote for a candidate who favours Trident. Trident is how the Americans keep us safe. Their missiles are right here (that makes me feel safer already).

If the US decides to push the button, then they can pretty much destroy all of Europe and make it uninhabitable for hundreds of years at least. And because we want to do our bit, the UK pays for it. After all, it’s not like we’d do anything else with a few spare billion pounds is it?

Look Again (6)

Look Again! “they may take our lives but they will never take our TOGAS”

I also value candidates who are honest rather than opportunist, and who stick to their word and their convictions no matter what, so I may go LibDem.

Aileen Malone must have known how many deer would be slaughtered for her precious trees, and how much money would be used; but good on ‘er; she stuck to her guns. Then there’s that nice Mr Clegg; he stuck to his word about tuition fees, didn’t he?

Or perhaps I’m remembering that wrong. Then again, some of the women candidates have really nice shoes. Happy voting everyone!

Unhappily, all the fun of campaigning is soon enough finished, and then we will forget all about politics again for another 5 years or so. What we really want is bread and circuses (or TV and fast food) to distract us from boring things like nuclear weaponry, torture, armed police, food banks and tax avoiders,( isn’t that right Sir Ian)?

Therefore it’s time for some cheery definitions based around recent doings in the Deen.

Look Again: (Modern Scottish compound noun) A vibrant and dynamic, forward looking (and forward looking again) visual arts festival.

Edinburgh is gearing up for another year of its Fringe, International Film, and Book festivals. Tens of thousands from around the world will enjoy over a thousand events. They will take to streets with scarcely any crowd barriers or teams of police and security guards; and somehow it still works out.

Dundee residents will quickly forget that their V&A project was millions over budget (although some of you in government knew, didn’t you?) and add another arts venue will join Dundee’s contemporary arts centre, The Discovery and The Unicorn (Dundee for some reason wants visitors enjoying themselves on its river, not just cargo ships). Aberdeen however excels at something – and that is one-upmanship.

A long time ago, art was a means of inspiring thoughts, evoking memories and feeings, stoking aspirations, and stimulating creativity. Thank goodness we’ve modernised. Our Look Again festival has reminded everyone what an art festival is really about. We had ‘top’ artists dressing up our boring, easily ignored giant sculptures of heroic figures.

Who’d have ever noticed Robert the Bruce if we hadn’t put cheeky seagull and pigeon figures on him?

Who’d have noticed a statue of some guy named William Wallace if we didn’t put some kind of dayglow toga on it?

And how else to show the kids that we’re cool and down with them other than by putting a set of giant Dr Dre’s on Robert Burns?

An outdoor arts festival is all about showing off, vibrant colours, and artwork that needs explanation and makes us ask questions like ‘why is Robert Burns holding a giant knitted ball that’s supposed to be Mercury with a big red dot on it?’ It’s about showing how clever artists are – but not so clever that every last man, woman and child can’t figure out what the artwork is supposed to mean when told.

Art festivals are whimsical, fun, vibrant, dynamic (and probably well connected). It doesn’t really matter if a person who’s painted human figures can’t do so – we can just write that off as them being an artist that is expressionist. Most of all, art festivals need to generate controversy – but not anything too bold or risqué – particularly if public money is involved.

Look Again (2)

Look Again! Public Art.

Aren’t we all wonderful? Isn’t everything bright and shiny? It was a wonderful fun festival for all the family, which avoided anything that was garish, cheap, tinny, dumbed-down, poorly-executed, forced, or which required any form of imaginative or intellectual input from the viewer.

I am sure parts of the festival were not quite as interesting as these wonderful statues, but the statues are what so subtly whispered ‘pssst have a look’ and which caught the public’s imagination.

That the public’s imagination had to be cudgelled and frogmarched around by pre-briefed, script-adhering clipboard bearers (who didn’t know how much we spent on the dressed up statues) is neither here nor there. We’ve showed our big sisters Glasgow and Edinburgh that we’re cool, we are artistic, we do festivals and we rock. Result!

I am only a foreigner here (until UKIP kicks me out in a fortnight); but in my country and in my own meagre study of art history and creating art, I had some old-fashioned ideas. These included showing respect and dignity towards the artwork created by others, be they alive or dead.

I’m sure the Wallace statue’s sculptor would have been delighted to see his masterwork turned into a figure of forced, weak laughter and whimsy.

For some reason the Gordon Highlander monument at Castlegate escaped the modernising treatment. I don’t’ know why that should have been, but surely it wasn’t because the curators of this splendid festival knew that decking this monument to a recently-closed regiment of heroes might not have kept the gullible public on side.

Maybe they’ll put paper hats on their heads and make them hold fish and chips next year; we’ll see. The absence of any material on the day to give history of the original sculptors or their subjects was a good move too; why burden people with stuffy detail when you can show them the arse of a pigeon with the saying ‘Fit Like’ on it?

The sordid subject of money should never be brought up when the arts are involved, but each ‘top’ artist who got to show their skills by decorating these statues was given a fixed budget, amount unknown. Suggestions I’ve had saying that some of these wanted to do their bit as cheaply as possible to keep profit margins up are of course just unkind.

That Aberdeen City found money in its arts budget will be huge comfort to those who missed out on any arts awards at the last round.

Equally pleased will be the photographers whose work has over time been ‘borrowed’ by the city for print and internet publication – without a cent ever being paid to the artists involved, and in many cases without even bothering to contact the artists, for whom the honour of having their work associated with ACC should be reward enough.

Let’s see what we get next year; let’s see which artists are consulted and invited. For I may well be wrong, but this festival might possibly have been the work of the usual suspects. The usual suspects have worked long and hard to make this city’s publically-funded arts scene what it is today. Perhaps they should rest from their intensive labours, and let someone else get involved.


Our local graffiti artists have outdone themselves this time; they have managed to capture the whimsical, irreverent humour of the Look Again festival and combine it with political commentary! Result! The manifestation of this appeared on political party offices in Rosemount.

Persons or persons unknown decided to do away with the boring intellectual debate side of campaigning, and took the time and trouble to paint a swastika on some of our city’s office fronts. This rather charming motif shows a certain amount of historical knowledge, so hat’s off to the bright spark behind this little episode.

Mona Lisas

Not one, but two Mona Lisas – demonstrating Aberdeen’s rich Cultural heritage

Some might think this is a mindless, crude, insensitive, illogical, brutish, violent act of a coward too afraid to put their feelings into words or to do anything positive with the options at their disposal, but that’s just nit-picking. Yes, this was the act of a young folk hero or heroine, who deserves all of our thanks for their charming display.

Then again some graffiti artists are young people who, spoiled for all the exciting things they can do in this town want to paint. Don’t they know how many different shops we’ve got?

Every part of this teen-friendly town is filled with exciting free drop in centres open hours that suit teens where they can relax, play pool, use computers, do music, dance or sit around.

It must be like paradise for them, however much or little money they have at their disposal.

We clearly cannot allow graffiti as practiced by kids today; an arts festivals like Look Again and the really happening Aberdeen Youth Festival be quite enough artistic outlets for them indeed.

If we allowed young people to for instance have a graffiti wall that might lead to all forms of self-expression.

That kind of thing might lead to disrespect for our built heritage, art that was not State-approved, and all sorts of other unacceptable, non-conservative activity. It would be awful if unartistic crude adornments added to our city’s monuments and buildings; this must not be allowed. Unless it’s paid ‘top’ artists who are doing it.

I think that’s all the art I can stand for, particularly as I stood for hours trying to get into the Art Gallery’s last open night for some years. A massive 300 strong crowd was allowed inside this time!

That’s about as many they fit into The Lemon Tree (which may be just a wee bit smaller). A woman in a wheelchair waited in this queue without complaint. After all, a 300 max was for our safety, don’t you know.

The first evening event I went to at the gallery was on the theme of World War I; it was safe to say that more than 300 people were inside, and somehow no horrendous accidents occurred. But our safety mandarins got wind of how popular this was, and decided it was a job for a few crowd barriers and sensible attendance rules.

It’s amazing how our subtle safety mandarins know how to add just that bit more fun, excitement and buzz to our city’s events. What was about the most artistic thing I’ve seen this past month? Two Mona Lisas (pictured above), queuing up to get in the Gallery on its last night until in a year or so it reopens – minus its marble staircase and with a shoebox type addition on the roof. Art is amazing.

Next week – Safety, elections, NHS Grampian, and a roundup of what the city’s great and good have been up to.

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