Posts Tagged ‘Edinburgh’

Jonathan Mills

Jonathan Mills is an Aesthete.  An international one, at that.  [Noun: A person who has or affects to have a special appreciation of art and beauty].  You know the type: lofty vowels, airy arms and wafting sibilants.

Their buzzword bingos are ‘exquisite’, ‘engagement’ and ‘occupying spaces’.

I haven’t met one of those in a long time.  There aren’t many down Leith.

If you spot one, they’re normally being bundled into a cab outside one of our 5* restaurants, inhaling a lung-full of harbour before they fly off.

They are such a rare species I get twitchy frissons every time I encounter one.  How do they get like that? Is it years of training or do they breed them just so?

So I asked him.  I had the opportunity to interview Jonathan Mills at the launch of the Edinburgh International Festival‘s 2011 programme at The Hub. The large hall was full of international arts press and festooned with giant dahlias and chrysanthemums on enormous plinths.

The exotic flowers were obviously in keeping with the front cover of the programme, although it did look a lot like an international drug dealer’s funeral.

Jonathan Mills delivered a brilliant presentation on the up-coming programme for this year, took questions deftly from the press then took individual interviews with a select few.  Obviously an accomplished media conductor.

The Programme 2011

He reminded us that opera was not simply a western genre and enthused about experiencing ‘The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan‘ – a Chinese opera based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet which is a sweeping, symbolic dance, graceful singing, subtle mime and compelling marital arts. (No jokes about Zennadine, the prince of football, please)

Wu Hsing-Kuo's King Lear

King Lear is also a must-see. Written, directed and performed by Wu Hsing-Kuo, with a cast of one, Mr Mills described it as “a very solitary play and a tour de force” where Wu Hsing-kuo depicts all the characters, including his own identity as the actor.

Shen Wei was the principle choreographer behind the opening ceremonies for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is now based in New York.  His ‘Re-Triptych‘ is a ballet which takes a “distinguished look at life lived at a distance” using inspiration from Tibet, Cambodia and China’s Silk Road.

Another piece that looks pretty darn stunning is ‘One Thousand and One Nights‘ in two parts, performed by actors, musicians and a creative team from Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Paris and London.  It’s a new erotic, brutal, witty and poetic production which is not suitable for kids.  That’s my type of art, that is.

I’ve only mentioned four pieces out of the 95 you can choose from.  Do have a look at the programme and expand your eyes and ears for 2011.  High art may seem irrelevant when remortgages, repossessions and reactionaries can be one’s sole preoccupation (see, these ‘ones’ are infectious) but there’s a very good reason to go.

Experiencing great art is like eating at a 5* restaurant.  You may not like individual flavours and concoctions but the process and challenges of savouring the exquisite professionalism and skill that have gone into presenting the fare explodes your senses in a way that fish and chips art can’t.

The Interview

I had to wait hours but it was worth it.  Up close and personal, he’s a likeable kinda guy but I was very nervous and very, very star-struck.  After all, the Edinburgh International Festival has always played a large part in my life.  Whether just the fireworks, the crowds, the congestion, the packed jolly bars or just the crazy eccentric people you can sometimes loathe and sometimes adore.

Here, in the flesh, was the impressario behind all the summer madness.  The curator of Edinburgh‘s cultural capital. The capo di capo of the international arts scene.

At what age does one decide one’s ambition is to be an international festival director? (Do excuse my language, there are a lot of ‘ones’ in Aesthetia. Trust me, I talk Aesthetish).

Never.  I am first and foremost a composer.  I was a composer before embarking on this.  When I finish, I will go back to composing and conducting.  I happened to start a little festival while at University and it just grew from there.  I was invited to do this as an artist, not as a project manager.

Mr Mills demurs though. He also holds a degree in architecture and is an authority on acoustic design.  Mr Mills began his artistic career studying composition in Australia and then piano and composition in Italy before becoming Melbourne’s Festival Director.

What is the significance of the Shamrock Chrysanthemum you have chosen to front your programme?

When working with our designers, we wanted something exotic and exquisite, which symbolised the Far East and the cross-over.  We wanted gorgeous flowers that are unfolding and poignant. We wanted fragrance, particularly in the atmosphere, where the audience can be enveloped and cherished, loved, and loved too briefly, before they are lost.

When somebody makes statements like that, for me, unfortunately, there are only two options.  Either I come over all jaiksey and say:

“likes-eh, you nevuh thocht aboot usin the thistle, likes? Cos it’s wur ain, and I’m sure they’ve goat sum doon yon Silk Road too, aye?”

Or, I get swept along by the pungent prose and exquisite enthusiasm.  Thankfully, I got with the latter.

When making the selection for the programme, you are basically reading the artistic runes of the international community? What influences those decisions?  Is it other arts festivals?  Funding?  Politics?  Or is it all pure art?

I am an artist. I choose what’s good, exciting, challenging and sublime. I travel around the world and experience much art.  If it’s brilliant, I select and bring it to the Edinburgh and international audience here.

So, how do you measure your success?

I don’t. I want an engagement with the audience. The ideas should reflect and challenge themselves.  Artists are given the opportunity to occupy space reflective of our and their ambitions.

What’s been your greatest failure, and how did you learn from it?

I’ve never had failure.  The Edinburgh International Festival is a roller coaster where there’s no getting off.  Of course there are a myriad of small things that go wrong, and likewise an infinite variety of things that go unexpectedly well.  There are surprises both ways.

But ultimately it’s never about MY success.  It’s the artists’ success.  I’ve passed them the envelope, they’ve stepped onto the international stage and allowed their art to thrive.  When that happens, that’s what I call success.

Shamrock chrysanthemum

The Edinburgh International Festival runs from 12th August till 4th September 2011.  Tickets start at around £10 but with discounts can be even cheaper and booking starts on 2nd April 2011.

© Fin Wycherley

You can also read this post, with some ever so dainty edits, on the Guardian Edinburgh site here or go to


© Richard Campbell

Marilyn‘ at Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre, is the story of being famous and the things women had to do get there in 1960’s Hollywood.

Or, as Marilyn succinctly quips, “I guess girls like us spend a lot of time on our knees – that’s Hollywood.”

By focussing closely on the story of the world’s most famous ‘sweater girl’ and Simone Signoret, the sophisticated, intellectual actress of the day, Sue Glover‘s brilliant script provides an illuminating insight into women “working for The Studio – we all work for The Studio ultimately.”

During the summer of 1960, Marilyn Monroe and Simone Signoret live in adjacent apartments of the Beverley Hills Hotel. Thrown together while Monroe films the movie ‘Let’s Make Love‘ with Signoret’s husband, Yves Montand, the pair form an uneasy friendship, plagued by jealousy and insecurity.  Under the watchful eye of Patti, hairdresser to the stars, it becomes a relationship that tests their deepest beliefs and threaten to destroy them both.

Marilyn, as played stunningly by Frances Thorburn – even the singing is worth the ticket price alone, never mind the rest of the scintillating, vivacious, driven, cookie and disturbed performance – is portrayed as being the most ambitious of the two.  When talking about actresses of the past, she calls them “Dead, or their careers have gone dead – which is the same thing.”

Marilyn’s character twists and turns with insomnia – “Sleep – how do you do that again?” – and jealousy of her more sophisticated new friend Simone who is adored by “le tout Paris”.  She offers two renditions of “My Heart Belongs To Daddy” emphasising her ultimate devotion to the man, the studio, the cash and her ambition over friendship and loyalty.

She oscillates between wanting to Be Marilyn, the uber-pouty, pin-up girl: “I just can’t go through that door until I feel like … look like … Marilyn” and being taken seriously as a proper actress “Big ass, big tits, big deal”.

Simone, Marilyn and Yves

Even Simone, the stylish intellectual, puts all her energies into her man while her career takes a dip, waiting for the right script “You must never do stupid movies.”

Finally, when she doesn’t get the adoration she craves from her friend who ultimately wins the Oscar, Marilyn steals the one prize Simone adores above all, her husband.  But Simone’s character, as played brilliantly by the French actor, Dominique Hollier, is also hoist by her career.  At a critical point between staying to prevent Marilyn getting with her husband and flying off to a great part, she chooses to take the long-distance role.

Her anguish is palpable: “I can’t go out. If I open my mouth, it howls” and her anger towards Marilyn vitriolic: “You are milk, froth, cotton candy.”

Both characters are overseen, soothed, jollied and cajoled by the incredible down-to-earth Patti, played utterly convincingly by Pauline Knowles who ultimately lies, cheats and keeps her head down because she too works for The Studio.

The set is pure 30s glamour and glitz – silver art nouveau ornaments with white luxury cushions – and a blown up photo of dead Marilyn on the side wall.

The production (a co-production with Citizens Theatre, Glasgow) zips along with passionate intensity until Marilyn puts an end to her tortured life and is escorted into the sunset by – and here’s the curious thing – the black actor / stage manager who has been dotting in and out, moving furniture and props, clasping her shoes unto his breast tenderly and exchanging knowing smiles with her.

All along the piece, it seems like his role will develop.  He is dressed as a servant; it seems like he’s playing a role of silent black observer; as caught up in the chains of working for The Man as Marilyn, yet always operating in the shadows as her secret black companion, perhaps lover and comforter.  But the role just fizzles out.  Worse, he is conspicuous by his absence at curtain call.

When turning to the programme, he is name-checked as Barry Ford in the ‘Cast List’ but no biography or production credits are available on either the Cast, Creative Team or Staff Lists at The Lyceum or The Citizens Theatre websites or programmes.

In this post-Stephen Lawrence era, one would hope that black actors are not still being stereotyped into servant / gangster roles or worse, failing to get credit for their contributions in theatre.

Are we to believe that black people are as invisible in Scottish theatre as they were 100 years ago, or more (bar the exceptionally rare roles written by the bard and a few others)?  Are we to advise young black Scottish hopefuls that there are no jobs or roles in Scottish theatre?

On enquiry, the Lyceum Theatre states:

“Barry Ford is an Assistant Stage Manager at the Citizens Theatre. When the show was rehearsing at the Citizens the director Philip Howard decided they needed an ASM to be onstage to move the props around. Barry was available as an ASM to fulfill this for the production, and then the transfer to the Lyceum. He was in costume, in keeping with the play, which isn’t unusual as we have done this in numerous productions. The ASM aren’t included in curtain calls as they are not cast.”

Developing News

The Citizens Theatre states:

“Further to the statement made by our co-producing partners, the Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, we would like to re-iterate that both companies are equal opportunities employers. Barry Forde has been an Assistant Stage Manager (ASM) at the Citizens Theatre for the last 3 years, having been recruited to the theatre through our trainee scheme. The ASM role is a technical position as part of the backstage production team. In addition to technical duties, ASM’s are frequently requested to move props on stage and take part in group scenes.  This often involves them being in costume to fit in with the action. The Director of the show requested that the ASM be involved in key scenes of Marilyn where props were required to be moved.  Whoever was the ASM on the show would have fulfilled that role. In this case it was Barry Forde and he continued in that role when the show transferred to Edinburgh.”

I would also like to explain that it is standard practice for ASM’s to not take curtain calls with the Cast as they are part of the technical team.  At the Citizens Theatre, Barry was credited as Assistant Stage Manager in our Citizens Company full staff list.  As it was not appropriate for him to be part of the Lyceum’s staff list, it was requested that he get an acknowledgement elsewhere within the production credits of the programme. That is why his name appears as it does in the Lyceum programme.  If this confused or misled we can only apologise and reiterate again that Barry is very much part of the technical team on the show.”

Yet he was clearly labelled as Cast in the programme.

What do you think is the issue?  Is it harder to get a job in theatre as a black person in Scotland?

Spencer the Painter - now a bus driver

Rodd Christensen, a Scottish-based black actor, won a BAFTA for Balamory but now drives a bus. Check here and here

© Fin Wycherley

You can also find this review on STV Edinburgh here

Show: Marilyn, Venue: Lyceum Theatre Run: 15th March – 2nd April 2011

Times: Evenings: 7.45pm Tuesdays-Saturdays Ends approx 9.40pm Matinees: 2.30pm Wednesdays and Saturdays (16, 19, 23, 26 Mar and 2 Apr) Ends approx 4.25pm

Related Articles

Joyce McMillan here

Onstage Scotland here

Lothian Life here

The List here

The Stage here

The Telegraph here

The Guardian here

The Independent here

With social and political movements arising across the Middle East, and International Women’s Day looming, The Age of Arousal is a very timely production about the early feminist revolution at Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre.

A brilliant cast with some cracking laugh-out-loud lines, had the full house tickled by the bristling wit and political humour of the play.

“I want to run from the stink of lavender, sweat and … something with yeast.”

“I foresee the day when we can weep for a kitten and oversee transactions worth millions.”

“I am half lady, half shop girl.”

And blithely, “We want passion, not penetration.”

The play by Linda Griffiths is ‘wildly inspired’ by George Gissing‘s 1893 novel The Odd Women.  Mary Barfoot (Ann Louise Ross), an ex-militant suffragette, and her lover Rhoda (Clare Lawrence-Moody) are determined to make women rich by teaching them to master the new invention that will gain them freedom – the typewriter.

They recruit the three Madden sisters (Molly Innes, Hannah Donaldson and Alexandra Mathie) to their pioneering secretarial school.  The sisters have been suffering from ‘genteel starvation’ and pinning their spinsterly hopes on the youngest securing a suitable marriage to save them from certain destitution.

Pour into the mix the sensuous Evrard (Jamie Lee), a new man practising ‘free-loveism’ and supporting the liberation of women, and you have a heady concoction of intense female characters ranging from terrorists and alcoholics to cross dressers and mothers.

This sets in motion an odyssey which explores Jealousy: “the hierarchy of beauty offends me”; Love: “Your love is worth £400 per year”; and Idealism: “typing is the way to liberty”.

Linda Griffiths writes about her ‘philosophical ancestors’, the women in the suffragette movement who fought to be liberated from the chains of legalised prostitution, aka marriage, through economic empowerment, aka getting a job.

A stunning skeletal set is wheeled on and off the stark fabulist stage.  Sublimely surreal Victorian costumes are worn with wire stays on the outside along with tubular, dragon-scaled bustles.  Three lamp-lit Remington typewriters on wheels act their socks off as tools of liberation, enjoying a music-hall waltz with the characters.

The Age of Arousal makes devastating use of ‘thought-speak’, a way of conversing in an appropriate manner and yet in continual asides belying the real passions that lurk beneath.

With it’s stylized lighting, witty banter and high ideals, the play scored highly in all areas.  With one big but.  The script allowed little more than a political affinity with the characters’ conditions and stood in the way of true emotional engagement.

Nevertheless, a stellar production with fiesty quines and one very fine loon.

Show: The Age of Arousal by Linda Griffiths. Venue: Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. Dates: 18th Feb – 12th March 2011. Tickets: £5 – £28.  Times: Tues – Sats 19:45. Matinees: 2:30pm Wednesdays and Saturdays (23, 26 Feb and 2, 5, 12 March)

© Fin Wycherley

Check this article on STV Edinburgh here

© Robert Day

Bursting with energy and sing-out-loud tunes, Footloose – The Dance Musical explodes into life at Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre.

Filled with classic 80s anthems such as Holding Out For A Hero, Let’s Hear It For The Boy and the title track, Footloose, the audience were dancing in the aisles long before the final curtain call.

The original film, (which made a star of Kevin Bacon) was based loosely on the true story of a small town in Oklahoma – Elmore City – that had banned dancing for almost 100 years.

In 1979 the 11 high school kids wanted to have a prom but it split the rural town apart. Eventually in 1980 the kids triumphed and inspired the first in a long line of high school musicals.

The musical story follows the classic tale of teen rebellion and repression. City boy Ren (Max Milner) tries to fit in with the hick town ways but gets into a lot of trouble for being an outsider and refusing to accept the town’s ordinance banning dancing.

Ren’s love interest, Ariel (Lorna Want), the daughter of a preacher man (Stephen Pinder) is going out with the town bully (Matt Willis) and becoming wayward due to the spirit of repression.  She eventually gets beaten up by her boyfriend and threatens to leave home since her relationship with her father has broken down.

© Robert Day

Harmony is finally restored when the town accepts they have to get with the times and embrace the challenges of modernity.

The cast were all obviously selected because of their outstanding singing talent.  With brilliantly close but individual renditions of the old classics, Jodie Jacobs (Rusty), Lorna Want (Ariel), Max Milner and Keisha Amponsa Banson (Urleen) turned in stupendous singing, dancing acting and comedy performances.

Giovanni Spano (Willard) entertained the crowds with his corn-sucking, slow-witted comedy character. The choreography and transitions were breath-takingly tight and the harmonies, duets and individual solos were some of the sweetest voices heard for a long time.

A brilliantly joyful show with toe-tapping tunes and a heart-warming cast.

Looking forward to the film remake due for release in October 2011 starring Kenny Wormald, Julianne Hough and Dennis Quaid.

Show: Footloose The Dance Musical, Venue: The Edinburgh PlayhouseDates: Mon 14th – Sat 19th February 2011, Tickets: £16 – £36, Times: Mon to Thurs 19:30, Fri and Sat: 17:00 and 20:30

You can also see this article at the new STV Local Edinburgh North site here.

© Fin Wycherley

Greg McHugh aka Gary: Tank Commander

Greg McHugh, the writer and performer of the hit BBC comedy show ‘Gary: Tank Commander‘ gave a revealing interview prior to the Traverse Theatre’s Gala performance and party for Class Act 21.

You first got involved in The Traverse Theatre‘s Class Act while at school. Was it fun?

At first I couldn’t believe it.

I was at at St Thomas’ and the drama teacher, Lucy Dalgleish announced to the Drama Higher class that we were going to write our own play with a famous playwright and have it produced at the Traverse. It blew me away!

I’d already seen David Harrower‘s ‘Knives in Hens‘, at the Traverse, one of the best shows ever, still is,  and it blew my mind at that age.  Then to learn that David was going to be giving us feedback on our ideas was incredible.

Do we have to thank Lucy Dalgleish and David Harrower for ‘Gary: Tank Commander’?

Yes and No.  They helped but writing comes through different experiences.  You learn from everyday experiences.  I’d been writing loads throughout my school time, then at Uni, then at Drama school, then as a stand-up so I’ve been writing for years. You could say they were more like a catalyst.

When I first asked David what it was like to be a full time Scottish playwright, he said it was a very lonely job and nobody should do it. At the time I thought it was a joke but more recently I’ve realised how true. I’ve just finished 6 months alone writing another series of ‘Gary’ and his words have really hit me.  I need to get to the gym.  No more ‘chups’ for me.

On the other hand, maybe they helped more than I realise.

Some people describe you as a comedian, playwright and actor. How about you?

Actor first, then writer, then comedian.  But I don’t really consider myself to be a playwright. That will probably take years.  A writer, yes but I’m not ready for playwright.

What was your inspiration for ‘Gary: Tank Commander’?

People in Edinburgh, a guy from school. I used the voice once in stand-up and the character just grew from there. I’ve been working with ‘Gary’ for many years now, since 2005, and he’s very different from when he started.

You do amazing home-movie, lip-synch takes on Lady Gaga and Beyonce, which one is your favourite and is it hard to learn the choreography?

Storm is our choreographer and certainly puts us through our paces.  I can’t decide which ones are my favourites. They’re both pretty good.  It takes ages to learn the steps but when you’re working with such a great bunch of guys it doesn’t feel like work.  Journey is also one of my favourites but it wasn’t choreographed. That was just me mucking about.

You are obviously a connoisseur of fake tans.  Can you recommend a particular brand?

Well I can’t really advertise a brand cos it’s the BBC and all that.  But we do have to go for a full spray job once a week.  Stripped to our pants in the van we manage to raise a couple of chuckles from ladies in the production team. I can’t imagine why.  Sometimes we have to go very dark depending on the timeline of the story.

What advice would you give young people thinking of getting into the writing game?

Do it, do it, do it!  Keep believing.  And have patience.  Not like me.  I don’t have any.  It took me a long time to get here.  You have to believe in yourself.  And get feedback from people you trust.

If you want to write, then write even if you think it’s bad.  Keep going.  I wrote for years.  Mostly rubbish.  But you keep going and you eventually get better.  You begin to watch TV and plays with a different point of view, looking at the quality of the writing more.

And if your Drama Teacher asks if you’d like to get involved with Class Act, bite their hand off!

© Fin Wycherley

Watch ‘Gary: Tank Commander’ Series 2 on Mondays on BBC One at 22:25 and on Saturdays on BBC Two at 21:00 – Scotland only!  Or have a look on BBC’s I-Player

©Vivienne Edgar - Overdose

Tonight’s show on Leith Tonight, presented by Fin Wycherley, features Edinburgh Royal Choral Union‘s Jo Buckley and Colin Wilson, followed by Vivienne Edgar and Michelle Williams – artists with a dance passion – and closed with local unsigned soft metal band Two Steps to Envy.

Listen here




I bet, if you see this film, and you are a bloke, you will love it.  And likewise, if you are a female, you will hate it.

It’s just a theory.  Prove me wrong!

The men in my family thought Carlos was a Robin Hood or James Bond character: robbing from fat capitalists to provide justice for the downtrodden nations.

With cool hair and a stream of hot girlfriends, ‘the man who hijacked the world’ spoke trillions of languages, could argue politics passionately, had friends in high places and knew his way round bombs, assassinations and nifty wee revolvers.

The women however, thought he was a loser.

“A man’s view of handsome.”  In love with himself as he stood naked in front of umpteen mirrors and caressing women with his grenades and guns because “weapons are an extension of my body,” eugh.

Carlos is the story of Venezuelan revolutionary, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, who founded a worldwide terrorist organization and raided the OPEC headquarters in 1975 before being caught by the French police.

However, Carlos the loser treated his co-workers with contempt by setting off a training practise bomb too early to show ‘that’s what can happen in the real world’.  He was cavalier with his bosses’ instructions; disrespected authority; was unfaithful, a bigamist, used prostitutes, went cock-fighting and got fatter and more seedy as time (5hrs) went by.

As the glories of ideological youth started to fall by the wayside, his hunger for money and fame betrayed his true motivations for the armed struggle.

At one point, he even chose to postpone a vital testicle operation (low sperm count, contorted willy, or something) because his liposuction operation on his love-handles was scheduled for the next day.

Carlos the Bogey Man, Carlos the Jackal, Carlos the world’s first media-hungry pop terrorist is still alive and rotting in a jail in France. Yet the French director Olivier Assayas, despite doing 2 years of meticulous research with co-writer Dan Franck, chose not to interview him.

Hmmm, likely a film not too sympathetic to the man or the cause, me-thought.

Well, I’ll tell you how great the movie is, and I’ll leave my big ‘but’ till later …

Carlos is an incredible film about the 70s.  The attention to detail is breath-taking.  From the flared troos, leather jackets, che guevara berets, Russian overcoats and groovy sunglasses to ice-cream van ambulances with polite tunes, smokers lighting up in trams and police stations and the innocent state supplying ham sandwiches to kosher or halal politicians.

Despite his high ideals for marxist or islamic revolution, it seems Carlos’ only legacy is a society awash with security checks, cameras and institutionalised suspicion.

Never again will a bunch of scruffy student types walk into an OPEC conference centre, ask where the meeting is taking place and be directed up to the second floor.

Never again will an assassination attempt be conducted by driving up to the Chairman of Marks and Spencer‘s house in your own car, walk up the drive, knock on the door, put on your balaclava then rush upstairs with a gun to the butler’s throat.

And never again will we hear terrorist demands being read out verbatim by broadcasters on TV and radio while 30-odd hostages are held in a plane on the tarmac.

Rather than a calling card for frustrated youth being tempted into terrorism, the film is more a cautionary tale about the vanities and glory-seeking ambitions of folk seeking the international stage for the wrong reason.

Carlos was the international man of mystery in the 70s, much like today’s Sam the Lad (Osama bin Laden).  Nobody in their right mind would actually fund a story sympathetic to the cause.  That’s why the film fails.  A normal film would have given a proper grounding in the motivations of why a nice, educated bourgeois young man from Venezuela would give it all up for a life of international crime.

A proper film would have had … scene one: his sister gets violated, his mother kidnapped, he tracks down the perpetrators and the corrupt bad apples of the capitalist regime …

Instead, we got a Jim Morrison looky-likey with the same self-destructive vitality.  As a film, it’s brilliant, but on this premise, we could never engage with the central character.  Well, perhaps that’s the whole point, innit.

Despite this, there is brilliant acting from Edgar Ramirez as Carlos, in a piece produced in only 91 days and which was only supposed to be a TV mini-series.   At the Sundance Festival it was so well received it had to go large.

The film is released on Friday 22nd October at Edinburgh’s Filmhouse and the DVD is released on 1st November 2010.

Do go, or rent, and let me know what you think.

©Fin Wycherley


Related Articles

  • Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian: “Terrorist? Revolutionary? Or just a cynic? This continent-hopping biopic of Carlos the Jackal suggests greed and ego won out over principle”
  • Alistair Harkness at The Scotsman: “It’s not easy making a film about the life and times of a terrorist, especially if he’s still alive
  • Alison Rowat at The Herald: “His background is left blank, allowing the tale to rush along without pausing for flashbacks”
  • Marshall Fine at The Huffington Post: “Would people be singing the praises of this film if it was equally well-made, just as thrilling and exciting — but was the story of Mohammed Atta? A terrorist is a terrorist. Murder is murder.”
  • Curt Wagner in Chicago Now: “Warning: French filmmaker Olivier Assayas’ mesmerizing “Carlos” is not for passive viewers. At more than five hours broadcast over three nights, it is a sprawling, meticulous history lesson”
  • John Patterson at The Guardian: “Carlos makes me nostalgic for terrorism the way it used to be”


Lyken's Brugal tribute


On Friday and Saturday 15th and 16th October, five professional street artists took over Castle St in Edinburgh.

The brief?  To be inspired by Brugal, a new rum launching around the UK, on a four giant wooden canvases.

“Was pretty dopers to paint a massive space just off Princes St in Edinburgh,” said Lyken who trained at Dundee Uni and loves the vibe of urban art.

Lyken, along with his colleagues from the Recoat artists agency in Glasgow, gets commissioned by everyone from Amnesty International to Edinburgh Fest Magazine, in streets, on canvas and in bars.


Conzo's RBS for AMNESTY


“I was painting right on the dancefloor in front of a DJ booth once so I’m fairly sure a bunch of folk will have woken up with multi coloured acrylic smeared across them as they bumped into the board!”

“So what do you think about being pimped by the man?” I asked.  This latest commission had come courtesy of Edrington, the Perthshire whisky gurus (Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark, etc) who recently acquired their first rum.

“Hey, no problem.  It’s a pleasure to get to work on such a massive scale in a great part of Edinburgh where maybe some new faces will see my work for the first time.”

“As an artist, it’s a real blast to be out there.  Plus the money helps.  One day I’ll be able to buy my friends real presents rather than giving them the equivalent of a home made card made with macaroni & glitter.”

On the other side of the large square installation, there was Rekur and Syrkus.  They do large-scale pieces together, full of chunky shapes and weird, twisted characters. They are inspired by pop, Japanese, street, and Rockabilly culture and love meeting artists and traveling when they can.

Conzo, has also been around the world with his art.

“”I am from a little town outside Glasgow known for its inbreeding, missing green lights and love for sausage rolls.  Add in a few spraycan markers into the equation and you have an idea of what inspires my style.”


Rekor + Syrkus


Vues, the fifth artist on show in Castle Street, is a Canadian artist who lives and works in Scotland. He has painted internationally and recently won a place in the Scotland ‘Secret Wars’ team for the renowned Euro League of 2009/2010.

“It’s like performance art,” said Vues.  “You get to see folk’s reactions as you’re painting.  That inspires you more.”

Street Wars

Street artists, like their brethern, Hip Hop Dancers are never more happy when battling.  At Graff-Offs, or Street Wars, they do international competitions against tough competitors.

This year’s venue was Glasgow’s Sub Club: “Sixteen cities all over Europe throughout 2010 will battle it out for the right to call themselves European Champions of Live Art,” announced Secret Wars Euro League.

Armed with sponsorships, live TV in different countries from Lisbon to Poland, merchandising, rappers and groupies.  It’s a different world for talented artists of today.

“Ha, what can I say,” said Conzo, cheesing.  “We went, we partied, we battled and painted.”

©Fin Wycherley

This article is brought to you courtesy of one pimped t-shirt by Conzo; a very fine whole bottle of Brugal, and a blue Brugal t-shirt.  Peace, out.


Murray Ramone aka Bobby Awe


Listen here to Sunday 17th October Leith Tonight radio show on Leith FM

Gavin Crichton from Leith Based arts group Active Inquiry joined us in the studio to talk about their latest theatre forum theatre workshop taking place on the 23rd and 24th of October at the Pilmeny Youth Centre.

Murray Ramone aka Bobby Awe of the world famous Shock and Awe came in to tell us all about an accoustic night taking place at Henry’s Cellar Bar on Thursday 21st October and played a live track for us.

Also on that bill are TV21, the influential post punk band reformed since 2005 and now working on a new album.  Frontman Norman Rodger joined us to share the latest on the band and play us a song.

Andrew Moir hosts best of arts and culture from Scotland’s capital on Leith FM.

Liza Green - Tissue of Lies

Listen to the Sunday 10th October show now

For our first show in our new Sunday 8pm slot we feature three exhibitions taking place at Edinburgh’s Arts Complex.

We talk to Liza Green, chairman of Edge -textile artists Scotland about their exhibition “Starting Points”. The show features textile works by more than 40 artists.

Edinburgh based artist Berglind previews her exhibition “Who is afraid of a Russian Doll” – A collection of 20 paintings created by Berglind as part of the ‘Luv, etc’ project, combining the aesthetics of the Soviet propaganda poster with those of contemporary Western culture’s sexed-up advertising tropes.

Following a year long bursary working in an Arts Complex studio Diane Edwards launches her show “Islands in the Sky”. The exhibition offers a glimpse into Diane Edward’s current explorations where she strives to create a notion of an exotic more primitive existence, where the manmade and the natural collide and co-inhabit.

The best of arts, culture and entertainment on Leith FM with Andrew Moir.