Jun 142013

Thursday June 20th sees the joining on stage of two of Scotland’s best acts! With thanks to Ruth Sawers.

Finding Albert, crowned 2012 best new Scottish band at the Scottish variety award, and last year’s runner up Amy Sawers will be appearing at Aberdeen’s exciting new venue, Downstairs, where the ethos is all about quality entertainment at an affordable price.

With support from the very talented Craig John Davidson this night is a special treat for Aberdeen’s live music lovers, and an admission charge of £5 – a mere 45p per musician – makes this an event not to be missed.

Finding Albert

In April 2012, Scottish 5-piece Finding Albert released their ‘Life & Times’ EP as a follow-up to their self-titled debut album released six-months earlier.

Even before release, the EP was already turning heads – recorded and produced entirely within the band, a process critical to their style and development (with assistance from Calvin Harris), before being mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London.

It rounded off a fantastic year for Finding Albert, which saw them grow out of obscurity to become regular festival performers, enjoying frequent radio play, and playing alongside some of the UK’s biggest acts.

A band that believes passionately in the translation from recording to live, they are known for their high-energy performances, whilst still retaining the musicianship and delicate (and frequently orchestral) arrangements that have won them so many followers.

The band won the coveted Herald/Clyde1’s ‘Best New Scottish Act’ at the Scottish Variety Awards in March 2013. In the same month, Finding Albert released their long-awaited second album “feints” – which they consider their best creative achievement to date. The band is currently touring the UK and Europe.

“If there’s any justice, this band will be selling out stadiums next year.”- A McCrae, BBC Radio1

“Destined for greatness…may just be Scotland’s best kept secret, but not for long.” – J Gellatly, The Sun

Amy Sawers

Recent recording at the Diving Bell Lounge, Glasgow (Snow Patrol, Frightened Rabbit) has borne fruit in the guise of ‘Laburnum‘, which Amy will shortly be touring.

Named runner up in Herald/Clyde1’s ‘Best New Scottish Act’ at the Scottish Variety Awards in March, things have been busy for this Amy and her band.

The early days saw Amy recording with Fat Hippy Records, releasing an EP and Mini-album (“Feather” and “So Called Love Stories…” respectively) to further acclaim amongst peers and professionals. These recordings ensured regular radio play on both Radio Scotland and Northsound Radio, and one track “Black Bones” even made it to the No.3 spot in the Australian Indie Radio Charts (Feb 2008).

 “Beneath A Canvas Sky And A Cardboard Sea” (self-released) has seen the band taking even further strides into the public consciousness. One track, “Free Like The Sun” was chosen to feature in the cult Channel 4 series ‘Skins’ (series 3).

Her music also features on the soundtrack to the independent movie “Attack Of The Herbals

Amy has shared stages with Alabama 3, Brakes, The Phantom Band, Dawn Of The Replicants, Eugene McGuiness, Ida Maria and even Girls Aloud (odd but true!), and hosting the main stage at Stonehaven’s new year celebrations.

Craig John Davidson

Craig John Davidson is well known within the Aberdeen music circles and has in the past self-released 3 albums:

Soaked In Harm (2008),
Curiosity (2009)
All In Song (2010).

Craig signed to Fat Hippy records with in January this year and released his fourth album, entitled ‘The Last Laugh’ on April 29.

“Davidson plays all of the sounds on the album apart from some strings on one song and it’s the rippling and intricate acoustic guitars which stand out from the off as Davidson wraps them in layers and swathes of sound” – Paul Kerr

The night is also being put on by local events company seesaw events. For any further enquires please contact Ruth at seesawevents@live.co.uk or on 07858703467

Finding Albert,
Amy Sawers,
Craig John Davidson.

Downstairs @ The Malt Mill
Thurs 20th June
£5 Admission

Dec 212011

It was an emotional day in Pittodrie’s Richard Donald Stand on December 17 when the AFC Heritage Trust and the club’s Former Players’ Association unveiled their memorial to Eddie Turnbull, Dons manager from 1965-1971. It was a bitingly cold morning, but Voice reporter Faye Keith was there to capture the warmth.

Before inviting Eddie Turnbull’s daughter Valerie Low and his granddaughter Carolyn to unveil the permanent memorial, Heritage Trust Deputy Chairman David Innes described Turnbull as “among the greatest Dons’ heroes of all” and read tributes to their mentor from former goalkeeper Bobby Clark and 1960s skipper Ally Shewan.

Clark’s own admiration for the man he followed from Queens Park to Pittodrie in 1965 is summed up by his admission that the training sessions he runs in the US, nearly fifty years after he and Turnbull first worked together, are still based on techniques that he learned under the man they still call ‘boss’.

Valerie spoke unplanned and off-the-cuff in the most emotional tribute of the day when she praised the kindness of the Dons and “Eddie’s boys” to the man himself and to the Turnbull family. Some of these boys wiped away a tear as she told them:

“You respected, feared and loved him, but he adored you”.

The final words of the day came from Martin Buchan who read a message sent by the Dons’ legendary defender Henning Boel. Ian Taylor interactively contributed his version of Turnbull’s own unique method for dealing with Henning and the Scots/Danish language barrier before the 1970 Scottish Cup final.

As well as Buchan, Shewan and Taylor, Dons of the Turnbull era including Harry Melrose, Paddy Wilson, Alistair Sandison, Jimmy Wilson, Joe Harper, Jim Whyte, Tommy Wilson, Ron Keenan, Tam McMillan and Ian Cumming attended, testimony to their shared respect and admiration for a true Aberdeen legend. One fan, learning that Ernie McGarr was in attendance, said that this was no surprise, as it was an icy morning and there was a gritter parked outside.

Eddie himself would have laughed loudly at that. So would Ernie. It was that sort of day.

The obvious affection these men still have for each other is proof that Turnbull was a team builder of a rare and very special kind and the memorial is a simple and dignified tribute to a great football man.

The memorial is on public display in the Richard Donald Stand concourse and will be given a deserved place of prominence in the new stadium.

Nov 102011

Books really are the gifts that keep on giving. Have you ever tried turning down the corner of your Kindle to mark where you left off reading? With an eye on the calendar and mindful that Voice readers should be sending letters up the lum shortly, David Innes performs a labour of love in reviewing a seasonal offering from a fitba hero for whom every month was Movember.

Willie Miller is indisputably the greatest-ever Don. The image of him, bristling of moustache, jet black hair matted with Scandinavian May rain, nonchalantly holding aloft in trade mark single-handed triumph the European Cup-Winners’ Cup, is etched indelibly on every Dons fan’s retina.

It’s will be no surprise to learn that this iconic image dominates the front cover of Dream Team, in which Miller evaluates Dons with whom he played, stars who he managed whilst also trawling the Pittodrie archives to give brief pen pictures of legends of yesteryear as he chooses his best side and, unusually, backroom staff.

When football fans, always much more knowledgeable, of course, than those qualified and paid to make selection decisions, cannot even agree who should be in their team this week, selecting an all-time XI from their club’s entire history is guaranteed to cause arguments.

No doubt  Miller’s volume will engender more disputes than it will settle. Such debate is a huge part of football’s attraction to those addicted to it and happy in the knowledge that there is no known cure for this affliction.

Without giving too much away in case a Dream Team-shaped parcel finds its way under your festive tree next month, Miller rules himself out and selects a side in 4-3-3 formation, with seven substitutes. Unsurprisingly, most are his own contemporaries, but given that he played at the top level for 16 years, that gives him a wide constituency from which to choose.

All very interesting, but it is his – or perhaps co-author Robertson’s – research into Wasps and Reds icons of the 70 years of club history before Willie’s own career began that fascinates most. Although previous volumes have covered this before, an appreciation of Dons giants written from a player’s perspective gives occasional new insights to familiar and less-familiar names.

The fact that the terms “we” and “us” are used, even when discussing the author’s distant club forebears, is quite endearing.

What is disappointing is the editing. Occasional errors will slip through, but facts are easily checked. If the text is to be believed, the peerless Eric Black scored on his debut against Dundee United in another dimension, since there is no 31 September on any earthly calendar known to me.

The writing could frequently be sharpened, tightened up and sprinkled with some editorial pixie dust, but football books are rarely contenders for literary awards.

If you love the Dons, you’ll find Dream Team is of considerable interest and worth reading. If you don’t, I want to know why.

Willie Miller’s Aberdeen Dream Team
Willie Miller with Rob Robertson
Black and White Publishing. 236 pp. £10.99

Jul 082011

As Voice reported previously, the Get-About Commuter Challenge 2011 ran between 18 and 26 June as part of National Bike Week. Its successes are highlighted by Carl Gerrard, Secretary of Aberdeen
Cycle Forum (ACF).

During National Bike Week, thirteen companies participated in the ACF/Getabout Commuter Challenge.

During the Challenge, now in its seventh year and its fifth in partnership with NESTRANS Getabout, a total of 958 return journeys were logged totalling nearly 5,000 miles. The majority took place between Monday and Friday, with a median distance of 4.2 miles.

With many participating saying that had they not cycled they would have driven, that’s a significant reduction in traffic congestion, a saving of an estimated 800 litres or £1000 of fuel and a considerable contribution to alleviating parking problems in the city.

Carl himself said,

“The Forum has run the Challenge for a number of years now. Every year participation increases as employers realise the benefits to both themselves and staff from cycling to work. The mean distance shows that cycling to work is a viable alternative for many, and as transport costs and congestion increase, more and more are making the shift to two wheels”

This is the first year it has been a totally corporate challenge and twelve employers ranging in size from 12 staff to 15,000 competed in four categories, Small (12-50), Medium (51-300), Large (301-3000), Mega (3001-15,000).

Points were scored for the numbers cycling, journeys undertaken and for encouragement to people to cycle to work for the first time. Distance travelled did not affect the scores.

Once the scoring was totalled, the results were:

The calculation and a worked example can be seen on the Challenge website

Statistics don’t tell the whole tale, of course, and anecdotes from some who enjoyed commuting solely by their own efforts show that cycling can be a fun, safe and healthy addition to the working day.

“Many of our staff already choose to cycle to work, but challenges such as this have encouraged
those that haven’t previously done so, to give it a go. Some of this year’s participants told us that they first started cycling during last year’s challenge [as the Macaulay Institute, they came second],  and have been regularly cycling to work ever since”  – Ben Watt, James Hutton Institute

“We’re delighted to have won a trophy in the Cycle Challenge. It’s the first time I’ve cycled to work in Aberdeen and I was amazed at how quick the journey was. I’ll definitely be cycling to work again”. –  Pauline Innes, Aberdeen Office of the Scottish Government

We were delighted with the response we got from so many diverse companies and hope we can build on the progress we’ve made in future events.Donald Kent, Getabout Coordinator

I’m delighted that our campaign of encouragement has paid off and we now have more bike commuters than ever. The benefits for cycling to work speak for themselves – our staff are leaner, greener and keener than before.” –  Paul Hasting, Shell’s Bike User Group Coordinator

Aberdeen Cycle Forum began in 2003 as a voluntary organisation campaigning for better facilities for cyclists in Aberdeen and has worked with stakeholders to deliver improvements for cyclists in the city, such as advances stop lanes at junctions on Union Street, and on capital projects such as the upgrading of the Deeside Line.

It now has 250 members and is recognised by the Scottish Parliament, local authorities, police, other governmental bodies and the media as representing Aberdeen cyclists; its recent count showed cycling levels in Aberdeen have increased in the last 12 months in line with national data.

NESTRANS is the regional transport partnership for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. Its objective is to develop and deliver a long-term regional transport strategy and strategic transport improvements to support and improve the economy, environment and quality of life across the region.

Getabout, operated by NESTRANS, is a consortium working to promote a healthy and sustainable transport choice for everybody travelling within the region, and beyond.