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Some Things for the Weekend

Vlad’s pick of the week’s top shows

Vlad againThere is nothing the Scots like better than a good stooshie, and author Kirsty Gunn undoubtedly started one this week with an essay claiming that Creative Scotland is running a “nationalist agenda” in Scottish arts funding, in particular in literature. 

Cue the predictable response from those who disagreed. I find her opinions to be wide of the mark, given the high percentage of non-Scots employed in key posts in the creative sector, many of them in companies funded by Creative Scotland. 

If our funding bodies do have a flaw, I believe it is in the narrow reach of what they consider to be “art”.  Comedy, for example, receives no public subsidy, unless you can make your jokes rhyme, in which case it can be considered to be “poetry”, and you possibly do qualify for a grant. 

There is also a naivety here, in assuming that Creative Scotland would not have a mission to promote “Scottishness” if it is signing the cheques.  

Meanwhile, if all these navel-gazing arguments leave you cold, and your agenda is merely the pursuit of a weekend’s entertainment or escapism, you could do worse than to check out the following offerings.

Visual Arts

GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL

Venues throughout Glasgow until Monday 25th April

Running until the end of the month, Glasgow International is a truly unique event.  While predominantly a visual arts festival, it also embraces other disciplines such as performance and music in a multiplicity of venues throughout the city, including some spaces one would least expect to find an exhibition.  For example, one event takes place in a town house on the edge of Kelvingrove Park.  With so much art on offer, undoubtedly some of the work on show will be considered by some to be pretentious and self-indulgent.  Never mind such considerations, just embrace the whole creative anarchy on offer for the next ten days in Scotland’s most vibrant and exciting art show in the country’s most energetic city.

Comedy

CRAIG CAMPBELL

His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen.  Saturday 16th April 8 pm

Canadian powerhouse stand-up Craig Campbell is at long last playing a large-scale theatre tour of the UK, his profile undoubtedly enhanced by his supporting Frankie Boyle on his last national tour.  For the past twenty-odd years, Campbell has been one of the most consistent performers on the comedy scene, marrying his larger-than-life stage persona to some intimate and self-revealing stories.  A true “comedians’ comedian”.  If you live within an hour’s drive of Aberdeen, definitely catch this show.

Theatre

LOVE SONG

Dundee Rep   Thursday 14th to Saturday 23rd April  Times Vary

Dundee Rep’s resident ensemble is one of the greatest treasures of the Scottish theatre scene, and the company’s commitment to this approach to casting is to be applauded as a welcome antidote to the star-led model employed elsewhere.  This wonderfully funny and moving production is testament to its unique approach to drama.

GUYS AND DOLLS

Playhouse, Edinburgh  Until Saturday 16th April.  Times vary

This musical, based on the stories of Damon Runyon, never fails to entertain.  You’re bound to recognise many of the songs.


Music

WILKO JOHNSON

ABC, Glasgow  Thursday 14th April.  Check time with venue

Four years ago, Essex-born rock legend Wilko Johnson was given ten months to live, due to inoperable cancer.  Remarkably, and happily, he is not only still with us, but he is back on the road, doing what he does best.  I saw Johnson in 1980 at Gateshead Stadium when he was playing guitar for Ian Dury & the Blockheads.  The man is a true force of nature, and a legend for those of us who grew up during the Punk era.

Exhibitions

BRITISH ART SHOW 8 in EDINBURGH

Inverleith House, Modern Art Gallery and Talbot Rice Gallery.  Until 8th May

On tour from the Hayward Gallery in London’s South Bank, British Art Show 8  is at three venues in Edinburgh until the spring.  Catch it at Inverleith House, which is in the Royal Botanic Gardens, at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art and at The Talbot-Rice Gallery in the University.

Sport

RANGERS versus CELTIC

Hamden Park, Glasgow   Sunday 17th April

To describe this event as a game of football is to describe Hamlet as a play about a castle.  No other local derby games can match the emotional intensity of an Old Firm encounter.  Indeed, in extra-football significance only Spain’s “El Classico” between Barcelona and Real Madrid comes even remotely close.  Sunday’s game has the extra significance of being not only Scottish Cup semi-final, but also the second meeting of the two Glasgow giants in the last four years.

Cinema

EDDIE THE EAGLE

On General Release

Those of us who remember the incompetent exploits of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards in the late 1980s will doubtless be looking forward to this biopic about Britain’s famously inept ski-jumper in the hope that the movie is a whole lot better than his attempts on the piste at the Winter Olympics were back in the day.

Vladimir McTavish will be performing at Madhatters, Inverness on 15th April at 8.30pm, Breakneck Comedy in Aberdeen on 16th April at 8.30pm, and in Topical Storm at The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh on 20th April at 8.30pm.

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