Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Lady Gaga lead 2019 Grammy nominations



Kendrick Lamar received eight nominations. (Credit: Batiste Safont)

Some of the biggest names in music will be gathering in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 10th for the 61st Grammy Awards.

The annual ceremony will see the last year’s chart toppers come together over 80 different categories including record of the year, album of the year, best new artist and best rock album.

Hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar has had a big year and leads the pack with eight nominations, including the coveted album of the year award.

He is closely followed by Drake who had a successful year with his album, Scorpions, and received seven nominations.

Lady Gaga is also expected to win big for the song Shallow from last year’s movie hit A Star is Born.

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This year’s show will be hosted by singer Alicia Keys and will feature performances from previous Grammy winners Lady Gaga and Mark Ronson, as well as nominees Travis Scott, Due Lipa and Shawn Mendes.

Former Lifetime Achievement award winner Diana Ross will also be taking to the stage to perform some of her greatest hits.

The lineup has been announced following news that nominees Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino all turned down the invitation to perform at the awards.

The awards will take place at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 10th. The show will not be televised in the UK but British music enthusiasts will be able to watch the ceremony on Monday, February 11th at 1am on CBS.

Rare pieces displayed at Mary Queen of Scot’s exhibition



The exhibition has a copy of the 2019 movie script. (Credit: Daisy Smith)

Rare treasures are being displayed for two days only at a Mary Queen of Scot’s exhibition in Edinburgh.

The exhibition showcases pieces from throughout the ages from childhood letters, to copies of movie scripts, including that of the 2019 release starring Saoirse Ronan.

The film has catapulted Mary Queen of Scot’s back into popularity since its release into cinemas.

Visitors will be able to cast their eyes on Mary’s Great Seal, a childhood book and engravings of her execution.

The display will run today and tomorrow at the National Library marking the anniversary of her execution on February 8, 1587.

Dr Annette Hagen, curator at the National Museum, said of the exhibition:

“One of the highlights is the sequence of engravings we have of her execution because today is the actual anniversary of the execution.

“The big thing about today is that we are showing them in one place and people can come and get some interpretation from them. The rarest pieces are obviously the unique items and that is the letters.

“We have a letter she wrote at the age of 11 to her mother Mary of Guise and we are showing the very last letter she wrote six hours before her beheading her brother in northern France.”

An array of historic sites from across the country with links to Mary Queen of Scots will be showcased in a tourism campaign following the popularity of the 2019 film.

An interactive map has been created featuring 19 different locations which were either visited by Mary, or by the moviemakers. This includes her birthplace of Linlithgow and Holyrood House, where she lived in the 1560s.

The exhibition is free to the public and is open today and Saturday, February 9th at the National Museum of Scotland from 10 am until 4 pm.

Trophies for Finlay: Student wins design competition


Finlay Rintoul won a competition to make the trophies for the Offshore Achievement Awards. (Photo credit: Finlay Rintoul)

North East teenager Finlay Rintoul is making waves in the world of design, winning the opportunity to make the trophies for the 2019 Offshore Achievement Awards.

The 20-year-old won the competition, coming out on top following an intense race of researching, pitching and designing the winning model.

Finlay studies Three-Dimensional Design at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, where he is in his third year, and took part in the competition to go along with his studies.

The annual competition gives students the opportunity to experience what a professional job in the industry may require. During the process, the students had to pitch to industry experts and tailor their designs to their criteria. The standards were high, and submissions were put before a panel of nine judges.

Speaking about the process, Finlay, from Laurencekirk, said:

“We first went to a meeting with a number of experts from the Offshore Achievement Awards. They told us what they wanted and then I went and did my research.

“I started looking into the oil industry and how it was in Aberdeen, nationally, and globally. My main inspiration was oil rigs.

“I liked the complexity of them and I liked how they were just these towering structures in the middle of a very flat ocean. I thought this was a good contrast.”

The trophies are going to be different shades of blue signifying the ocean, highlighting the offshore awards. He has taken inspiration from the legs of an oil rig and made them elongated rectangles. The final trophy will be made of a liquid plastic which will give the look of water.

Currently Finlay is finalising the master copy of the trophy. He still needs to make silicone moulds, pour the resin and put the plaques on to them.

Finlay pipped other students from his course to the post. He said:

“Part of me really wanted to win but another part of me thought maybe my design wasn’t good enough.

“It was amazing to see everyone else’s designs to see what ideas they had come up with and because competition is healthy.

“When they were deciding the winner they said it was the hardest and longest decision they had made over the year’s they have been doing the competition, but here I am, almost with a finished set of trophies.”

Although the project has been intense, Finlay is very grateful for the experience:

“It is an amazing experience for a young designer to be able to have this sort of opportunity because it is difficult to get them.

“More than anything this has been a good learning experience because I have had to go through the process of things not working and having to quickly resolve the issues.

“It has given me a lot of experience and knowledge into how the design world really is outside of university.”

Finlay will be going into the final year of his course after summer. Following the experience of making these trophies, he has his sights set high and is hoping to start his own brand across a range of different disciplines.

The awards ceremony will take place on March 16th, at the Aberdeen Conference Centre where Finlay’s final product will be taking to the stage.

Photos by Finlay Rintoul


UncoverED: Exhibition showcases global alumni in Edinburgh


Some of the student researchers who helped with the project. (Photo credit: Daisy Smith)

Students from the University of Edinburgh are shining a light on former graduates whose stories have been untold… until now.

For over 150 years students from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas have come to Scotland’s capital to study, however many have done so unrecognised for their work and achievements.

From William Fergusson, the first known black student at the University of Edinburgh to Kadambini Ganguly, one of the earliest female physicians from South Asia, the university has played a part in educating many world-leading figures.

The exhibition also features an array of doctors, writers, scientists, artists and more.

A group of student researchers, led by PhD candidates Henry Mitchell and Tom Cunningham, started the project last September and have spent hours reading through old student newspapers, reading biographies and talking to families of the alumni to create a database of successful former students.

Henry Mitchell who led the project said:

“Edinburgh has got this really long and diverse history which hasn’t really been looked at and it has got world thinkers who came to Edinburgh who haven’t been recognised.

“These are people who are famous and are recognised elsewhere, and a lot are in history books but haven’t been recognised in Edinburgh’s history.

“We  went through the archives of the Student which is this really old newspaper. So that starts in 1886 and goes up to the 1980’s. So we read 100 years of the student newspaper in a week.  It’s been really good collaborative research.”


The exhibition will run from February 1, until June at the University of Edinburgh. (Photo credit: Daisy Smith)

There are two phases of the exhibition. The first, and current, features students from the 1940’s to the 1980’s, and will run until mid-April. The second phase will showcase students from the period between 1800 and 1940, which will run from mid-April until June.

During the research, the team found out more than just the careers of these people but also the lives they lived while in Edinburgh and the experiences they had. They found out what nights out were like, where they lived, what student fees they paid and more.

During the project, the team also found that many of the students did not complete their full degree due to a variety of factors.

Hannah McGurk, a second year German and English student, was part of the research team. She said:

“We found people who are really, really famous in their home countries  that the university just doesn’t really recognise.

“For me, Edinburgh is not a very diverse place and the university does not have a very diverse curriculum. I study English and we were doing all white male writers so for me this is really a way for me to connect with some of those histories.

“It’s an important exhibition because so many students and staff at the university are just unaware of the history, as well as people who just live in the city.

“People of colour have always been a part of the story of Edinburgh, and they still are. This is a really important way to uncover those histories and talk about it and have those conversations.”

Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Scotland’s first black professor, is featured in the exhibition. Born in Jamaica in 1940, he moved to London with his mother at the age of 14 as part of the Windrush generation. He did his PhD in Grain Science and Technology in Edinburgh in 1964.

Natasha Ruwona, an Intermedia student, was part of the team of researchers and wrote the biography of Sir Palmer. She said:

“I was so excited to be part of the project because it was branded as an imperial and colonial project and I am quite interested in the relationship between Scotland and black people.

“I think they are important to be told, because for people of colour like myself, it’s important to see people went to this university so long ago and compare their experience to ours now and how things have changed.”

The project aims to encourage the University of Edinburgh’s community to reflect on its imperial past and how it played a part in the university’s global status.

The free exhibition opens today, and will run until June at the Chrystal Macmillan Building at the University of Edinburgh.

Consumer confidence in Scotland lowest in over a year

Consumer confidence levels in Scotland have dropped to the lowest it has been in over a year, and below the UK-wide average, new research indicates.

According to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker, Scotland’s consumer confidence results have dropped to a net balance of  -9%, which is lower than the UK average of -7%.

Scotland’s result has dropped a whole four percentage points since the last quarter. This is the lowest it has been since the second quarter of 2017.

Some local business owners in Bruntsfield, Edinburgh responded to the research, and were surprisingly optimistic about their customers, despite the recent findings.

Gavin Elden, A La Carte owner, said: “Even when times are tough, people just want to have treats, so we haven’t noticed too much of a change.

A La Carte on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“However, there has been a huge change around here, and lots and lots of shops have changed hands.

“It is hard to tell with Brexit. I think the whole country is just uncertain at the moment about everything. It could be fantastic or it could be a disaster.”

Clementine Home and Gifts worker, Monica, said: “I would definitely think Brexit will have an effect. Everyone is talking about it and I will probably be affected because I am from Poland.

Clementine on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“My friends are all concerned and it definitely has an impact on how people view their future here and spending as well because people are saving instead of spending just in case.”

Cat Anderson, Edinburgh Bookshop worker, said: “I was talking to the boss the other day and she is really impressed with how much people are shopping and she puts it down to Brexit.

The Edinburgh Bookshop on Bruntsfield Place. Credits to Daisy Smith

“People are just like we don’t care anymore, we are going to live regardless, we don’t know what is coming next so we might as well just enjoy ourselves.

“I have certainly seen a massive increase in food prices and have changed my shopping habits accordingly. Brexit is definitely having an impact.”

In Scotland, five out of the six measures of confidence dropped compared to the last quarter. The measure which grew in confidence was regarding job opportunities and career progression which rose by four percentage points to -4%.

The main reason for the downfall in consumer confidence was plunging levels of optimism regarding general health and wellbeing. This category dropped 18 percentage points down to -16% since the previous quarter. This was closely followed by a steep drop in levels of confidence around household disposable income which fell to -24%.

Levels of confidence fell in all six categories for the UK-wide results. The sharpest decline was in the category regarding disposable income and personal debt.

Deloitte chief economist Ian Stewart, related the downfall to Brexit and said: “The reality of higher inflation and August’s interest rate rise has dented optimism about spending power.

“Meanwhile uncertainty and the manner in which the UK exits the EU in less than six months’ time is creating an additional headwind for consumers.

He added: “That such consumer-friendly conditions have failed to boost confidence testifies to the headwinds from inflation, interest rate rises and Brexit.”

 The survey was carried out between September 21 and 29 and involved 3105 consumers across the UK, with 371 being in Scotland.


Two homeless deaths per week in Scotland

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Homeless person in Edinburgh. Photo credit to Garry Knight.

A recent investigation has found that 94 homeless people in Scotland died last year.

The findings have called for the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland to launch an urgent probe.

The research, carried out by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Ferret, also found that 449 people, living on the streets, in shelters, and in temporary accommodation across the UK had died.

However, it is thought the total is likely to be higher than the reported number, as this is the first time that there has ever been a count of homeless deaths.

Homeless deaths often go unnoticed, and there is rarely an official record. The bureau delved further, publishing their findings to mark World Homeless Day.

They began the investigation last October as part of their Dying Homeless Project. Across the UK, there were 449 deaths recorded.

The investigation has published a first-of-its-kind database which lists the names of the homeless people have died, and tells their stories. Of the 449 deaths, the bureau was able to publicly identify 138.

From their findings, more than half of the people died on the streets. 16 people died in hospitals, and 47 died in temporary homeless accommodation.

Last year, the number of people in Scotland applying to be classed as homeless rose for the first time in nine years.

Many of the deaths recorded in Scotland, happened in Edinburgh, with others from Glasgow, Shetland Islands, and the Outer Hebrides.

Homeless charities have now asked for the statistics to be recorded the same way as they are with drug deaths. The investigation has prompted the Office for National Statistics to start producing its own figures on homeless deaths.

Crisis Chief Executive Jon Sparkes said, “We are deeply saddened and shocked beyond belief to hear of the deaths of all these individuals.

“We know that sleeping rough is dangerous, but this is investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reminds us it’s deadly.

“Those sleeping on our streets are exposed to everything from sub-zero temperatures, to violence and abuse, and fatal illnesses.

“We must all take responsibility to hold society and our system to account, and ensure it doesn’t continue to happen across our country.”

Here is what some Edinburgh locals have to say on the subject.

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