Fringe Benefits: Scots Whay Hae!’s Top 10 Picks Of The Edinburgh Fringe…

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For many of us August means Edinburgh and its attendant festivals. As ever, the Fringe in particular has so much on offer that it can be tough to see past the big names, sort through the plethora of posters, and separate the wheat from the cultural chaff. To help you do so here are Scots Whay Hae!’s Top Ten picks of the Fringe. There’s comedy, poetry, theatre, music and more – hopefully, something for everyone.

2018THISSCR_T4This Script and Other Drafts (Jenny Lindsay), Aug 13-14, 21-22 – Scottish Storytelling Centre
At a time of schisms within feminism, ongoing revelations of #MeToo, endless discussions about womanhood, and sirens being the soundtrack to our newsfeeds, Jenny Lindsay found herself getting a bit angry in 2017… Putting that anger to work she wrote a series of univocal poems, invented a superhero on her period, explored the rifts within feminism, set up a date with capitalism and penned some poems based on comments on PornHub videos. Amongst other drafts… Come join an award-winning poet for an evening exploring sex, gender and feminism. Can she rewrite this script? Can you? Continue reading

You Have Been Watching…T2 Trainspotting

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The sweat wis lashing oafy this boy. Was T2 Trainspotting a terrible idea, destined to disappoint and lessen the memory of seeing the original on its day of release in 1996, emerging blinking from a cinema thinking someone had made a film for me and mine? As soon as the credits roll, with Mark Renton pounding the virtual pavement of an Amsterdam running machine, interspersed with clips of Johan Cruyff showing that anything Archie Gemmill could do he could do better, it’s clear we are in safe hands.

This is a film which is an unashamed nostalgic experience for audience and cast alike, but it’s not wallowing – and it’s certainly not viewing that past through rose-tinted glasses. This is through a glass darkly, with old scores looking to be settled and many demons to be faced down. It’s rare for a film to hold a mirror up to its audience in this manner and ask them to take a good, hard look at themselves; who they are, who they were, and what they have done. Regrets? Too few to mention? If only. Continue reading

Into The Valley: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talk To Pauline Lynch…

603b850df163bda80d18583b6aeac148_w700For the latest podcast, Ali headed down the Clyde Valley to talk to writer and actor Pauline Lynch. The primary reason was to discuss Pauline’s terrific debut novel, Armadillos, which is out now, and you can read the Scots Whay Hae! review here.

It’s a terrific read and the two talk about it at length. For a debut novel from a Scottish writer it is unusual in being set outside of Scotland, in this case in Texas, a decision which was to prove a wise one when it came to research.

Pauline talks in detail about how Armadillos grew from a single idea to become one of the best books of the year. But don’t take our word for it – it’s now included on the long list for The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize, so someone must agree.

The two also touch 29547067on the pros and cons of university writing courses and how Pauline’s focus moved from acting to writing over the years. She has had a fascinating life, treading the boards and touring the world, as well as being a key part of the cultural phenomenon that is Trainspotting.

It all makes for a really warm and interesting listen, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did recording it.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS where there’s a sizeable back catalogue waiting for your pleasure.

You can also download it by clicking on the relevant link to the right of this post, or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen on SoundCloud

..or on YouTube:

Oh, and this podcast is brought to you by the fabulous Atkinson-Pryce Books, Biggar’s award winning independent bookshop – they just don’t know it…

There’s No Place Like Home: A Review Of P.K. Lynch’s Armadillos

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*You can listen to P.K. Lynch talking about Armadillos on the Scots Whay Hae! Podcast by clicking here…

In our recent podcast with novelist Iain Maloney we spoke about a writer’s responsibility when tackling certain subjects. In Maloney’s case, his novel The Waves Burn Bright deals with events surrounding the Piper Alpha North Sea Oil Platform tragedy, and he talked about the importance of making sure his research was thorough and his prose unsensational so as to avoid any possible accusations of exploitation or disrespect.

It’s something that James Robertson and Kirstin Innes have also spoken to us about with reference to their novels The Professor Of Truth and Fishnet, books which examine the Lockerbie bombing and the sex industry respectively. Writers have a responsibility to their subject as well as their readers, and with some subjects that responsibility should be taken very seriously indeed.  It’s a difficult balancing act to pull off, to tell an engaging story while respecting those who you are wishing to draw attention to, but when a writer gets it right it can be far more affecting than any mere reportage or documentary.

Armadillos is the story of 15-year-old Texan Aggie, who is described as “a ‘sub’ from a ‘sub’ family”, which means she is at the bottom of a food chain where food is scarce to begin with. Literary theorist Antonio Gramsci used the term ‘subaltern’ to refer to those who belonged to groups of people denied power and wealth by the ruling classes. They are those who struggle to have their voices heard, so often cease trying.  If you are considered a ‘sub’ within such a group, then in common parlance you are viewed within, and often without, that group as the ‘lowest of the low’. Continue reading