At first I find it hard to choose a poem from Judi Benson’s, Hole in the Wall. She became Writer in Residence at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary just a year after the death of her husband, Ken Smith, and there are lines in this book which I find painful to read. Continue reading
The education system is failing white working class boys. It’s not news and it’s not peculiar to the UK – different studies across the wider world have been saying it in academic language for a long time. But Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, made new headlines with her clearly expressed views this week. Continue reading
Weaving with dogwood feels like satin flowing through your fingers: soft, supple, satisfying. What’s more, concentrating on rhythm and shape leaves very little time for thinking about Brexit. Or mind-numbing border politics. Continue reading
‘Stormy where you’re from’. A smiling young border force officer greets me and I do a double take. Of course, he’s taking my new Irish passport at face value. I smile back, feeling something of a fraud.
‘And so, let’s pause a moment here, draw strength –
and reclaim what is ours.’
Reclaiming St Andrew Square Ron Butlin
Green, gold, gone. Any day soon the leaves will turn and fall. And in a shady corner of Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square a young tree will reflect the colour of its relatives on distant mountains of Japan. Here’s a good news story for the telling. Continue reading
How history twists and turns. The at times black comedy tour, first improvised by comedians Jamie MacDonald and Harry Gooch six years ago, acquires newly topical significance at the finale in St Andrew Square. (Disclaimer: I’m a director of Walking Heads but there are many true words among the jests so I’m reblogging the story here.) Continue reading
Women may be from Venus but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the occasional trip to Mars. On a dreary, rain-smeared midsummer night, I land on a sociable planet light years away from Brexit Britain, and find the perfect holiday poem for my husband. Continue reading
The Gender Neutral Toilets are warmly welcomed by ‘trans queer’ punk band Spook School though I tiptoe back out to the old school Ladies after encountering a row of urinals.
‘Hello World, welcome to Paisley,’ the smiling face of Paisley2021’s Jean Cameron beams a global greeting from the SAY award screen streamed live from Paisley Town Hall, ‘Enjoy the party. We’re delighted to have you with us’.
Ah, the summer of love. From this long distance it seems an age of rosy innocence. Then the 1967 timeline recollects the startling reality. What a year it was! To a soundtrack of the Beatles, a newsfeed of race riots across the US, death dropped daily on Vietnam.
Somehow I just lost fifty years. Where did it go? One bank holiday Monday half a century ago – dear god half a century! – I slipped into a home-made kaftan and hopped onto the back of Glynn’s Lambretta. And off we roared (well, ok, scootered) into an echoing hall of fame. The rest is history, it seems. Continue reading
Tread softly on the way to Paisley Town Hall; it’s a journey threaded with names of the stuff that made a great civic centre. Here’s Gauze Street crossing the canal. Turn right at Abbey Place just before the road divides between Lawn Street and Cotton Street. And pause.