Brian Ferguson’s diary: Karine Polwart | The Chair Alasdair Gray
The Scotsman’s arts correspondent Brian Ferguson with his daily diary from the Edinburgh Festival…
SOME comings and goings between one of the Fringe’s leading music venues and Orkney. Singer-songwriter Karine Polwart is savouring the prospect of travelling a mere 14 miles from her home in Midlothian tomorrow to the Queen’s Hall, “my favourite venue in the whole world”.
But she’s also been digging out wellies, oilskins, binoculars and “a pocketful of sea songs and tales” for a trip around Orkney on The Swan, a traditional fishing vessel from almost-next-door-neighbour Shetland.
Quite an undertaking for someone who cheerily admits she would normally “flounder in a sink”.
AT THE same festival venue tonight are rabble-rousing Orcadian supergroup The Chair. They have hired a bright yellow double decker bus for a mini tour. Getting it down from Orkney to visit Edinburgh, Newcastle and Devon is probably the easy part. Maneuvering it around the capital’s tramworks for a spot of busking might be more of a challenge…
DESPITE his headline-grabbing comments on the “Scotophobia” curse seemingly afflicting the nation’s cultural bodies, Alasdair Gray was as entertaining as ever during his Book Festival talk. He responded to a bizarre question about “true-born Scots” with a none-too-subtle dig at the Labour Party – in song.
He chirruped: “I am a Scottish MP, from a city grey and black, and I shut my mouth when I’m in the south, in case they send me back.”