SWH! Is 10…

Today (25/08/2019) marks the 10th anniversary of Scots Whay Hae!, making it the perfect time to thank all those who have supported and helped along the way.

So – with a sharp intake of breath – thanks to every writer, poet, and publisher, who has shared their words, wit and wisdom with us. The same goes to all the bands, musicians, record labels and promoters who have sent us music and songs to listen to and review. Similarly, those artists, filmmakers, theatre companies, comedians, and festivals, who have invited us to view their previews and shows. We know your art and work is something which is vital and central to who you are and we appreciate you choosing to share it with us. It’s a privilege to be able to write, review, discuss, and celebrate it, and it’s a responsibility that SWH! takes seriously.

Huge thanks to all our podcast guests, some of whom you can see in the pictures at the top of the page (as well as some ever-evolving facial hair). The first was recorded in July 2011 and we are at 122 and counting. Number 123 is with American writer Elle Nash and will be with you soon.

If you have missed any you can find them here – SWH! Podcasts.
When taken together we like to think they are an informative and entertaining record of a contemporary Scottish culture which is thrilling, thriving, and diverse.

Ian Gregson

Special thanks must go to our sound guru Ian Gregson (right), without whom there would only be silence, and Sarah Jane Gregson for her undying support and advice. Also to our regular end of year reviewers Chris Ward, Vikki Reilly, and Wesley Shearer, and our resident ‘Dr Books’ Ronnie Young, all of whose expertise has been essential.

We are grateful to, and thankful for, our various partners over the years, including Dear Scotland, ASLS, Scottish Opera, LP Radio, and Braemar Gallery. If I have forgotten to mention others then please remind me and I will add them to this list, with sincere apologies for a memory failing.

Also kudos to the bloggers, podcasters, critics, journalists, broadcasters, and other cultural contributors, who have inspired and supported SWH! over the years. It means more than you could possible know and I hope that you feel the support and appreciation is mutual.

But most of all thanks to you, Dear Reader and Listener, as it would be fairly pointless doing this without you (although we probably still would). We value and treasure each and every one of you.

Before moving on, it’s worthwhile reflecting on the very first post which set out the aims and ideas behind Scots Whay Hae!’s inception. It’s encouraging to find that it is as relevant now as it was a decade ago, and hasn’t really changed at any time. Here it is in full so you can decide for yourself. In the meantime, ‘Cheers!’ & here’s to 10 more…

Why Hae?

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This is a little mission statement as to the reason for creating this website. Contemporary writing and commentary that deals with Scottish art and culture often obsess over questions of inclusion and exclusion, questions that usually arise from the thorny issue of nation. This blog aims to, if not ignore such questions, demote them to the sidelines as all aspects of art and culture are discussed and dissected.

I cannot deny that I am Scots, writing in Scotland, and will concentrate (although not exclusively) on Scottish writers, poets, music, films, TV, art, comedy etc, but ‘where and when’ is of far less importance to me than ‘what and why’. Discussions can be had elsewhere as to what is or is not Scots and often they become a barrier to the enjoyment of that which is under discussion.

And that is what this blog is really for, to celebrate, debate and enjoy art in its widest sense. To deal with the art itself, and allow discussion and comment that looks at the old and new anew. To not take too seriously something which I take very seriously indeed. We have an ongoing relationship with our respective cultures throughout our lives and it is important to remember the relationship as it was when first consummated. The joy, wonder and the reason we fell in love in with bands, films, poems and books. Like all relationships it changes, becomes more ‘serious’ as time goes by, and although I cannot pretend that a wary, weary and cynical side will be suppressed fully, (nor would I wish it so – where is the fun in that?) I want to focus on my belief that art in all its forms can give us a reason for living better lives.

The first post proper are thoughts on John Byrne’s Tutti Frutti. What struck me is the way that Byrne created a thoroughly Scottish drama, one that wears its roots and knowledge easily, giving reference to outside cultural influence without apology, and does so with a light touch and a self-mocking sense of humour.

It is in this spirit that I write this blog. Of course this may change at any time, but until it does please excuse the indulgence and read on…

Alistair Braidwood 25/08/2009.

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2018 Podcasts – Part 3 (Music)…

For our final Best Of 2018 podcast Ali, Chris Ward, Wesley Shearer, accompanied by our very own Young Father, Ian, discuss their favourite records of the year, and the best gigs of 2018. What do they choose? Well you’ll just have to listen to find out (although the tags at the bottom of this page give some clues), but we can say that there are a hell of a lot of winners, and nary a loser in sight as they decide that the year in music was a rather fine one.

You can still listen to our review of the best books of the year, with Vikki Reilly, and the review of the year in film, also with Chris & Wesley. And in the new year we can promise you even more special guests and discussion about all things cultural which are happening in and around Scotland, starting with the muscian and writer Beerjacket, (also sometimes known as Peter Kelly).

If you are new round these parts there is also quite a substantial number of previous SWH! podcasts for you to discover. If you aren’t yet a subscriber you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes, on Podbean, or by RSS (but you’ll need to have an RSS reader to do so). You can also download the podcast 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:

That’s yer whack of podcast fun for 2018, but we’ll be back in the new year with new guests to inform, entertain, and delight you.

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2017 Podcasts – Part 2 (Music)…

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This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film, music, and books. For the first two, Ali and Ian are once again joined by irregular podcast guest and resident film expert Chris Ward, and Scottish music man & manager, Wesley Shearer.

In this, Part II, we concentrate on the year in music, beginning with the best Scottish music of 2017 (much of which features on Track Of My Year: SWH!’s 10 Best Songs Of 2017 or on SWH!’s Best of 2017 Spotify list), before we widen it out. The conversation touches on the continuing success of indie labels, including Olive Grove Records, Last Night From Glasgow, Song By Toad, Holy Smokes Records and Errant Media, as well as lots of chat about the records and gigs that have impressed us over the last 12 months. Continue reading

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2017 Podcasts – Part 1 (Film)…

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This year we are recording three separate Best Of 2017 podcasts, one each for film, music, and books. For the first two, Ali and Ian are once again joined by irregular podcast guest and resident film expert Chris Ward, and Scottish music man & manager, Wesley Shearer.

In this, Part I, we concentrate on the films of 2017, and give you some recommendations. As usual, Ali kicks things off talking about his favourite Scottish films of the year, including T2: Trainspotting, Daphne, Benny, The End Of The Game, and Lost In France before Chris and Wesley widen the discussion to talk about the best films they have seen in the last 12 months. As well as their recommendations, they talk about the continuing success of the Glasgow Film Festival, the growing influence of streaming services, the possible threat to cinemas, and more. Continue reading

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2016 Podcast – Part Two (Music)…

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year From Scots Whay Hae!

In this, Part II of our end of year podcast Ali, Chris and Wesley concentrate on the best music of 2016, both recorded and live. Even our sound-guru, Ian, chips in. It’s been a cracking year for new music. As you may suspect, we start with the best from Scotland before beginning a wide-ranging discussion as to what has been on offer from elsewhere.

As well as our personal choices we talk about the rise of rise of indie record labels and how important they have become. Names such as Olive Grove Records, Song, by Toad, Errant Media and Last Night From Glasgow are home to a lot of the music and musicians under discussion, which sort of makes our point for us. There is some annual Kanye chat, a tribute to Bowie, and we name Teen Canteen and Ette singer/songwriter Carla J. Easton as our Woman Of The Year for being involved in not one, but two of the best records of 2016. If you want to hear a lot of the music that we talk about, there is a Scots Whay Hay Best of 2016 Spotify Playlist.

In case you missed it, Part I looked back at film and books from the last 12 months, and you can still hear that now, as well as indulge yourself in our extensive back catalogue of over 70 podcasts.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to the SWH! podcast you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS. 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:

And that’s all from us in terms of podcasts for the year, although we are crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s on a few exciting ones for the new year. Before then there will be our alternative Hogmanay Hootenanny which will offer something different from the usual TV fare. All the best from Ian, Ali, Chris & Wesley. God bless us, everyone…

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2016 Podcast – Part One…

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Three Men & Some Books

For our end of year podcast, Ali and Ian were once again joined by irregular podcast guest and resident film expert Chris Ward and Scottish music man manager Wesley Shearer. As the coffee flowed so did the chat and in the end we ran well over the two hour mark, so we’ve decided to split the podcast into two parts.

This is Part I, where we concentrate on the films and books of 2016, and give you recommendations about the best of both. We also talk about the marketing of movies, why films and buffets don’t mix, the career of Isabelle Hupert, the importance of independent publishers, the welcome return of Alasdair Gray, James Kelman at 70 and much, much more.  We also name Booker shortlisted writer Graeme Macrae Burnet as our Man Of The Year. All that in just over an hour.

Part II will concentrate on all things musical, and will be in your inbox by Christmas Eve. Think of it as an early Christmas pressie – perfect for wrapping last-minute gifts to.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to the SWH! podcast you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS where there’s a sizeable back catalogue waiting for your listening 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:

We hope you enjoyed that and I’ll see you back here soon for Part II…

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2015 Podcast…

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Willie, Chris, Wesley and Ali

For our “Best of 2015” podcast, Ian and Ali were joined by regular pod guest, Chris Ward, and Scottish music man, Wesley Shearer (manager for Campfires In Winter, Michael Cassidy and I Am David Laing) to talk about what floated their collective boats in the last 12 months. Add in the usual festive missive from our very own Stirlingshire seer, Ronnie Young, and you end up with an epic podcast which approaches the 2 hour mark. But never mind the length, feel the quality.

We start off with music, and realise that it was a better year than we first thought, with lesser known bands producing great new music as the better known acts took a back seat. The Scottish Album of the Year awards were discussed in length, and, more generally, the musical trends of the last 12 months with everyone’s personal preferences receiving a right good championing.

Continue reading