For our 100th podcast we thought long and hard about who to ask and we kept coming back to one name, Mr Vic Galloway. With the recent publication of his superb book Rip It Up: The Story Of Scottish Pop, written to coincide with the National Museum of Scotland’s exhibition and the TV show of the same name, it seems fitting to talk to a man who helps shape the nation’s musical tastes.
Ali headed down Leith Walk to one of Edinburgh’s finest live venues and bars, The Leith Depot, to meet Vic and what followed was a fascinating chat about the genesis of the book, the structure, what Vic wanted to achieve and if he believes he did so, the joys of record shops, the spirit of radio, the importance of indie record labels, the SAY Awards, and so much more – including mentions for The Dog Faced Hermans and TTF!
Vic’s radio shows, along with those of Roddy Hart and Nicola Meighan, are a sign of just how healthy the state of the nation is musically, and it was an absolute pleasure to talk all about it. We hope you enjoy listening to the chat as much as we did recording it. Continue reading
For the latest SWH! podcast Ali caught up with musician Carla J. Easton to talk about her new album Impossible Stuff, which is released on the 5th October on Olive Grove Records.
As well as explaining the Canadian roots of the record, and how time spent in residency there changed her life, she also talks about the importance of home, her many collaborations, her musical history, Teen Canteen (right), Ette, and the documentary she is working on with Blair Young about women pioneers of Scottish pop.
Carla is one of the most innovative and interesting musicians working today and it was a pleasure to talk to her and get a better understanding of how and why she does what she does. If you love music you just have to take a listen, but it’s also a fascinating insight as to what is involved in the artistic process. Continue reading
For the latest podcast Ali spoke to writer & director May Miles Thomas (left) about her incredible film Voyageuse and the issues and themes it addresses, such as family, sibling rivalry, ageing, grief, and much, much more.
During their chat the two also discuss different approaches to making film, May’s previous projects, using setbacks as inspiration, the problem in getting heard in a crowded market, and the primary importance of story in her work.
It’s a fantastic listen, one which is essential for anyone who is interested, not only in the process and reality of filmmaking, but all aspects of creating art in Scotland. There is also mention of Hitler, satanism in Glasgow, Sian Philips, and the CIA. What more could you want from a podcast?
If you are in London on Friday 14th you can see Voyageuse on the big screen as it is showing at the Picturehouse Central, when there will also be a Q&A with May Miles Thomas and Dame Sian Philips. For everyone else, you can watch the full film over at Vimeo as well as view the trailers for other productions from Thomas’ Elemental Films, and the full-length version of the much discussed The Devil’s Plantation. If you visit the latter’s website you will find all the information you need to follow in Harry Bell’s footsteps (and for that to make sense you’ll have to listen to the podcast first). In the meantime, here’s the trailer for Voyaguese: Continue reading
For the latest podcast Ali met up with the American novelist Andy Davidson before his event at The Edinburgh International Book Festival. In an ironically dreich Charlotte Square the two discuss Andy’s terrific debut novel In The Valley Of The Sun which is among the best of the year so far.
Published on the Contraband imprint of Saraband Books, In The Valley Of The Sun is set in the small towns of the Texas desert. We’re calling it a vampire thriller unlike any other, but, as you’ll hear, that’s not necessarily how Andy sees it.
If you want a point of reference think Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 film Near Dark, or even Jim Jarmusch’s 2013’s Only Lovers Left Alive, among many other cinematic and literary influences. Dripping with blood, sweat and tears, it is as shocking as it is compelling, and in Travis Stickwell Davidson has created an anti-hero for the ages. If you are a fan of horror and/or crime fiction then you don’t want to miss out on this one. Continue reading
For the latest podcast Ali visited Dundee to talk about all things cultural in relation to that great city. To help him do so he was joined by the co-founding director of Creative Dundee Gillian Easson, the writer and playwright (and long-term supporter of SWH!) Anna Stewart, and the TV and theatre actor, (currently to be seen on the brilliant drama ‘The Terror‘ on AMC) Gordon Morris.
All three are proud Dundonians who have close connections with the city’s culture. They talk about the past, present, and their future hopes for the city and its artistic community, examining how it has become an internationally renowned centre for the arts while remaining determinedly committed to engaging with its citizens. It’s a fascinating discussion which gives a great overview of a place, its people, and its culture. Continue reading
For the latest podcast Ali met up with Helen McClory (below) at Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket Gallery to talk about her life as a writer to date – and a very interesting story it proved to be.
From studying literature and creative writing in St Andrews, Sydney and Glasgow, to winning awards for her debut short story collection On The Edges Of Vision, walking Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson’s dog, the difficult publication of her novel Flesh Of The Peach, writing about Jeff Goldblum, to her latest collection of short fiction Mayhem & Death, it is a fascinating tale, and one which will be of interest to anyone who loves reading and writing.
If you haven’t yet read Helen McClory, this is the podcast to persuade you to do just that, and you can find out more about her latest publications at 404 Ink. Continue reading
For the latest podcast, Ali spoke to Aye Write! Book Festival programmer, Bob McDevitt (right) in Glasgow’s CCA (which explains the background ‘atmosphere’). This year’s festival starts on Thursday 15th March, and the two discuss the history of the festival and how it has gradually spread its influence throughout the city from its home at the Mitchell Library. You also learn about what to expect this year, Bob’s personal highlights, the challenges of festival programming, his similar role for Bloody Scotland and the Pitlochry Winter Words Festival, and much, much more.
There are mentions for individuals as diverse as Brett Anderson, Gail Honeyman, Sir James MacMillan, Chris Bonington, Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay, Dr Adele Patrick, and even some Men In Kilts. As a precursor to Aye Write! 2018 it’s the perfect listen, especially when married to the SWH! preview which is over at the website right now. Continue reading
For the latest podcast Ali met writer and broadcaster Rachel McCormack at Glasgow’s Iberica restaurant to talk about her recent book, the excellent Chasing The Dram: Finding The Spirit Of Whisky.
Over a glass of wine the two discuss Rachel’s book, their first memories of whisky, the perception of the drink at home and abroad, the mythology which has grown around it, the numerous ways it relates to Scottish history and culture, and a whole lot more. Put simply, she separates the truth from the fiction, and there is plenty of both when it comes to our original national drink.
The talk also turns to food, travel, friends, family, memory, and how they are intertwined. It’s a fascinating conversation on how drink and food play a vital role in our lives beyond simply being fuel, and why it should be seen as culturally significant for individuals as well as on a societal and national level.
A food expert, with a special love and knowledge of Spanish cuisine, Rachel (below) is a regular panelist on BBC Radio 4s The Kitchen Cabinet and has broadcast on From Our Own Corespondent, the Food Programme as well as appearing as an expert guest on BBC Radio 2 on both the Simon Mayo show and the Chris Evans show.
She has also written for, amongst others, the Evening Standard, BBC Vegetarian Food Magazine, New Statesman, the Financial Times, RED magazine and the Guardian. Bringing all that experience and knowledge to the podcast, it was a real treat to talk with Rachel and even if you’re not a whisky drinker we’re sure you’ll still find something to interest you. Continue reading
For the first podcast of 2018 Ali went to Edinburgh to talk to Heather McDaid and Laura Jones who are behind the innovative and acclaimed independent publishers 404 Ink. If you aren’t yet familiar with the name then where the hell have you been?
As well as their unmissable periodical literary magazine, they have published the phenomenal Nasty Women, introduced us to Chris McQueer through his debut collection of short stories Hings, collaborated with rock band Creeper on The Last Days Of James Scythe, and are due to publish SWH! favourite Helen McClory‘s new collection of short fiction Mayhem & Death as well as republishing her award winning On The Edges Of Vision (one of the best books of recent years), and that’s really only scratching the surface. Continue reading
This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film and music, (which you can still hear), and this, Part III, concentrating on the best books of the year and all things literary.
Catching up at the fabulous Lighthouse Bookshop in Edinburgh, Ali chats with Birlinn Ltd and Polygon Books‘ very own Vikki Reilly (see right) about the highs-and lows of the year in Scottish publishing, as well as offering their own recommendations and suggestions as to the best books of 2017 (some of which are pictured at the top of the page).
The talk touches upon many, many things, including the welcome emergence of 404 Ink, the recent Saltire Literary Awards (where the aforementioned 404 Ink were named Emerging Publisher of the Year, & Birlinn were awarded Scottish Publisher of the Year), the positive influence of recent podcast guest Graeme Macrae Burnet‘s Booker short-listing, the continuing revival of the printed word, the importance of publishing writers from outside of the Central Belt, the sad and strange demise of Freight Books, the titles Vikki wishes she had been involved with, and how the next 12 months look as though they will be dominated by the centenary of the birth of Muriel Spark and all the events, (and Birlinn’s re-publishing of her novels), which will accompany it. Continue reading