Where I’ve been

For anyone wondering why this blog has been so neglected for so long, here’s a tiny insight into what I’m up to at the moment. I’m doing my PhD research in the Bartholomew Archive at the National Library of Scotland and although I’m not working with the maps themselves just now, they are fascinating and well worth a browse.

Have a look at the maps Bartholomew made.

Here’s one of my very favourite Bartholomew maps – it’s from 1919, and shows the expansion of Edinburgh.

 

Review: Northern Ballet, ‘The Great Gatsby’

If there’s anyone who knows that it’s all in the timing, it’s dancers. So it should come as no surprise that Northern Ballet’s The Great Gatsby is fortuitously appearing a mere two months before Baz Luhrmann’s much-anticipated adaptation of the 1925 novel. This is a canny decision: the company will undoubtedly benefit from the hype, without the accusations of bandwagon-leaping that would surely have tainted a summer production.

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Review: Gálapagos, The Fruitmarket, Edinburgh

Originally published in Aesthetica magazine.

Galápagos is the product of a residency programme in the islands undertaken by twelve artists from diverse backgrounds. Pleasingly interdisciplinary and yet still cohesive, it addresses issues of conservation, politics, memory, and more.

 

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Review: The Showstoppers

Originally published in Fest magazine, August 2012.

The premise is simple: an entirely improvised musical, based on audience suggestions and consequently completely different every night. Making it look easy, however, is a different matter, and The Showstoppers is a slick example of how entertaining and downright impressive longform improvisation can be.

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Single review: The Gaslight Anthem

 

Those hoping for a Pixies-esque stomp, inspired by the name, will be sorely disappointed by New Jersey rockers the Gaslight Anthem’s latest offering.

It’d be easy to list what’s awful about this song, but for the sake of being charitable, let’s say that the introduction – before Brian Fallon’s hackneyed wannabe southern rocker drawl kicks in – is actually pretty much bearable. For what it’s worth, though, toe-curlingly bad lyrics, the least subtle sha-la-las you’ll ever hear, and a quite frankly obnoxious beat all combine to make a whole that’s desperate to be a piece of classic American rock. Unfortunately, anthemic it is not.

Closer to Chad Kroeger than Bruce Springsteen, “Here Comes My Man” is so forgettable that it’s not even worth bothering to avoid it.

Originally published in The Student.

Andy Warhol – Ferens Art Gallery, Hull

Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery has amassed an impressive collection of Warhol art and memorabilia – one room here focuses exclusively on his posters and films – for this summer exhibition. Impressively, and surprisingly, the show has been kept free, distinguishing it (in character if not style of content) from the capital’s programme of easy-sell summer blockbusters.

The works themselves vary from the afore-mentioned posters to his famous stitched photographs (including the “potentially disturbing” Cadaver). Three rooms have been given to the show, allowing space to make the development of Warhol’s work clear.

Well curated, with a good amount of less-than-obvious information given, this is definitely worth seeing should you find yourself in Hull.