Diana Ross set to play legend slot at Glastonbury 2020

Motown and soul icon Diana Ross will be playing in Glastonbury 2020’s ‘legend slot’ as the first artist announced for the world renowned festival.

The Sunday legends slot is considered a major part of the music festival, often securing the largest viewership of the weekend.

Ross, who turned 75 this year, will follow in Kylie Minogue footsteps, who’s ‘legends’ performance this June became the most viewed Glastonbury performance of all time with over 3.2 million viewers.

Ross has had an undeniable impact on the music industry, achieving 75 Top 40 singles both as a solo artist and as a member of The Supremes. As well as three number one albums as a solo artist.

A Deep Dive into Comic Con Scotland 2020

The return of National Album Day: what’s it about and what’s on

Next year’s festival is set to take place from the 24th to the 28th of June, tickets sold out in just 34 minutes last weekend.

Glastonbury 2020 will also celebrate the festival’s golden anniversary, marking 50 years since farmer, Michael Eavis, invited 1500 people to his estate to view a variety of acts, with T.Rex headlining the event. Back then, tickets cost only £1 and came with a free bottle of milk. Nowadays, a Glastonbury ticket will cost £265 and it is expected to host around 175,000 attendees.

Headliners for the festival have yet to be confirmed though rumours suggest that Taylor Swift, Sir Paul McCartney and Fleetwood Mac are likely candidates, with McCartney himself hinting at his return to Glastonbury in September.

 

A Deep Dive into Comic Con Scotland 2019

Edinburgh will field a trip back to the future this weekend, as a host of stars will descend upon the Royal Highland Centre for the second annual Comic Con.

Stars such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and WWE legend The Undertaker top this year’s bill, after the events’ resounding success in 2018.

There are a host of opportunities for lucky fans to meet these all-time greats, and a vast array of zones dedicated to some of sci-fis biggest names, including a Back to the Future zone headlined by Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd.

The return of National Album Day: what’s it about and what’s on

There truly is something for everyone at Comic Con this year, including one of the largest motorbike enthusiast conventions in the country, the UK Bike Fest. The Festival will be headlined by stars of the hit show Sons of Anarchy, including Scotland’s own Tommy Flanagan, who played the outlaw biker ‘Chibs’ in the series.

The cosplay championship, synonymous with the event boasts a prize worth $2000, including a meet and greet with every guest at the event, and the chance for a photo with The Undertaker to appear in the national papers.

Diana Ross set to play legends slot at Glastonbury 2020

Fans will have the chance to quiz their favourite stars in Q&A sessions throughout the weekend, with the likes of Van Damme, Lloyd and Rocky star Burt Young.

“Our first Comic-Con in Scotland was a huge success last year. Bringing big 80’s stars like Knight Rider David Hasselhoff, The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno etc…” says Comic Con Scotland in a press release.

“This year on Saturday 12th and 13th October at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, we have gone even BIGGER! Bringing international movie and martial arts star Jean Claude Van Damme and international Wrestling Star The Undertaker, we are giving fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet them both.”

For more details on the proceedings check out the Comic Con Scotland website.

The return of National Album Day: What it’s about and what’s on

A year on from its successful debut, National Album Day is set to return on October 12, with celebrations being held throughout the UK.

Teaming up with BBC Sounds –  who are supporting the day as an official broadcast partner – several events and activities have been set up to highlight the UK’s love of the album.

‘Don’t Skip’ is this year’s theme, encouraging music fans to listen to albums both new and old in full, in order to appreciate the entire body of work. This theme also serves to highlight the mental health benefits of listening to albums, which are said to provide listeners with a sense of musical mindfulness.

Several of the UK’s most prominent artists have signed up as ‘album champions’ in support of this years campaign, including No. 1 artist Lewis Capaldi, Mercury Prize winners Elbow, BRIT award nominee Mahalia and international producer/musician Mark Ronson.

Mahalia said she was supporting National Album Day to feel a sense of nostalgia.

“I see myself as an ‘album artist’, which in my world means timeless music that you don’t skip past,” she said.  “I want to make whole pieces of work that other little girls like me find comfort in listening to; a 40 to 60 minute dreamland where they can be away from the world. That’s why I’m supporting National Album Day. Streaming has changed everything. I want the kids younger than me to feel about albums how I did.”

 

A Deep Dive into Comic Con Scotland 2019

 

The continuing impact of the album

Despite the musical landscape being in a state of constant flux, albums have secured a high popularity in the UK, maintaining a strong cultural and economic relevance. As reported by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) earlier this year, 143 million albums or their equivalent were either streamed, purchased or downloaded in the UK in 2018, an amount that is worth approximately £1.3 billion in retail, and representing a near 6% rise on the year before. As part of this, 4.2 million vinyl LPs were sold, a 2000% rise since their low point in 2007 and the 11th year of consecutive growth for the medium.

An ERA tracking study in May 2018 provides further evidence of the formats continuing relevance, which showed that nearly 60% of respondents listened to in album in full a month prior to taking the survey. Despite the belief that albums are associated with older music consumers, the research suggested that younger fans were far more likely to have listened to an album with 55% of those polled aged 25 or below saying they had listened to an album in the previous week. In comparison only 45% of 45-54 year olds and 33% of those aged 55 and above could say the same.

Diana Ross set to play legend slot at Glastonbury 2020

In addition, recent studies have also highlighted the positive mental health benefits of listening to albums. A survey conducted in August this year specifically commissioned for National Album Day found that around 80% of participants use albums to relax and around 70% listened to Albums when they were feeling down or considered them a source of comfort.

Author and academic Dr Julia Jones said listening to an album helps listeners get away from the stresses of our daily lives.

“We’ve been aware of the scientific evidence regarding the positive effects of music on the brain and body for decades,” Dr Jones said. “We also know that taking ‘time out’ of our hectic schedules is essential to maintain our well-being. So the album offers a perfect recipe for delivering the cocktail of neurochemical and physiological benefits, while also ensuring we enjoy an extended break.”

 

What To Expect From National Album Day

In commemoration of the event, HMV has procured a list of 26 albums to be released as coloured vinyls on Oct. 11, just in time for National Album Day. This varied lineup features Queen, Lady Gaga and Mumford & Sons.

Each record will be available in HMV stores and are available for preorder online. For a full list of vinyls on offer be sure to check out the National Album Day website, here.

In addition, as part of Scotland’s celebrations, HMV Ocean Terminal will be hosting will be playing host to live music on the day, featuring local artists Acid Club, Screamin’ Whisper and Liam Clayton.

Outside of Scotland, a touring exhibition has been making the rounds throughout the UK, celebrating the variety of sounds within the country. After making several stops throughout the UK’s rail including Glasgow and Manchester throughout the month of September, the exhibition’s final stop will be in London with the event lasting until Oct. 19.

In terms of radio, BBC Sounds will be acting as the Official broadcaster for National Album Day, providing programming throughout the BBC Network.

For a comprehensive list of events throughout the UK be sure to click here for more information via the National Album Day website.

Which Mean Girl are you?

By Erin Kirsop

It’s October 3rd, also known as Mean Girls day!

Find out who your inner Mean Girl is by taking our quiz!

The Featured Poems At National Poetry Day

As part of National Poetry Day’s 25th Anniversary six poems have been released as part of the celebrations.

Working in partnership with Literature Wales, each poem has been produced in a different indigenous language, ranging from Gaelic to Welsh, as well as an English translation.

Each poem also focuses on an aspect of truth, this years theme for the event.

We have produced an audio version of each poem which can be heard here, as well as the poems themselves to read along with.

 

Aince upon a day – William Soutar

 

Cornish Words – Donald R. Rawe

 

The Leaves of Autumn – Robert Corteen Carswell

 

Who broke the school window? – Gruffudd Owen

 

Listen – Anna Frater 

 

Truth – Casia William

Hollywood film ‘Joker’ hits cinema screens tomorrow, but does it glamourise violence?

Image by Warner Bros

By Laura McCulloch and Heather Miller

Straying from the classic Batman trilogy films, Joaquin Phoenix takes us on the personal journey of the infamous DC Comics villain as he descends into insanity.

Joaquin Pheonix has already been heavily praised by critics for his portrayal of the early life of Arthur Fleck, a failing comedian who longs for human connection and acknowledgement from society.  Fleck’s isolation pushes him towards madness and crime after being discarded by everyone in Gotham City. 

The main themes of mental health and isolation form the story’s skeleton and is said to ‘blow’ it’s audience away. 

Moving away from the original Superhero style movie and no mention of Batman within the film, the Joker is the focus. His unfamiliar intentions are set to impress viewers and leave them on the edge of their seats. The tale is described to be almost as twisted as it’s core character and deals with the contrast between evil and good and at times edges towards rebellion.

These crime-related, violent scenes have raised debates over the use of violence in films. Families affected by the 2019 Aurora cinema shootings have complained to Warner Brothers regarding the aggressive scenes the film shows.

However, director Todd Philips has defended his film, saying that gun violence is a serious issue among society and should be discussed.

We spoke to local film fanatics who gave their say on Joker’s already controversial reputation:

What’s on in the UK for National Poetry Day

National Poetry day is in full swing with events popping up throughout the UK. If you are seeking your poetry fix here are some of the top picks to look out for throughout the country.

 

Poems On The Tannoy

Where: Covent Garden, London

When: All Day

Teaming up with the London Underground a group of poets have come together to read select verses from the Poems on the Underground initiative.

Be sure to make a stop at Covent Garden Tube to hear poems read by John Hegley, Mona Arshi, Imtiaz Dharker and Maura Dooley.

Not in London? Fear not, as all recorded poems can be accessed online for your listening pleasure here.

 

Schools National Poetry Day Live 2019

Where: Southbank Centre, London

When: 2-3pm

Jointly Presented by Southbank Centre and the poetry society be sure to head over to this free event hosted by Joelle Taylor. Featuring prize-winning poets Daljit Nagra, Raymond Antorbus and Dzifa Benson alongside Young People’s laureate for London Theresa Lola and former Foyle Young Poet Jasmine Simms.

Expect some quality sets focusing on the themes of ‘truth’ as well as free posters and poetry based goodies!

For more information check out the poetry society website.

 

 

Muses And Furies

Where: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham

When: 6-7pm

An evening featuring some of the UK’s most exciting Female poets, starring Sue Brown, Suhaiyman Manzoor-Khan, Jessica Mookherjee, Jacqueline Saphra, and Julia Webb.

Sponsored by Birmingham City University, the evening will feature performances from their latest collections each with their own stories to share.

For more information click here

 

Sweetshop of Words

Where: Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh

When: 7-9pm

Expect a night of childhood reminiscence and confectionaries in the heart of Edinburgh at the Scottish Poetry Library.

Hosted by Sally Crabtree and Dean Atta, be sure to head on down for some poetry bingo, music, and a PinARTA filled with with delicious poetry.

For more information check out the Scottish Poetry Library website or or own preview on the event.

 

Credit to Sally Crabtree

 

Children’s Writing Workshop

Where: Bon Accord Centre, Aberdeen

When: 3:30pm

In celebration of National Poetry Day, budding young poets aged 7-12 should head down to the to Waterstones at the Bon Accord Centre in Aberdeen

From 3:30 they can expect for free poetry writing workshop which will help hone their poetry skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s on in Edinburgh?

Photo credit: Kate Soltan

When looking for something to do in Edinburgh, you may find it daunting and overwhelming. Therefore, the duty of pointing you in the right direction this week has fallen to me, your friend and humble narrator.

If films are your heart’s desire, then the Cameo Picturehouse may well have you sorted over the weekend and beyond. On Saturday and Sunday, the venue plays host to the Rebel Film Festival, which will largely present short movies by independent filmmakers as well as the feature-length South African Spook Hunter.

Rebel, the festival’s organisers, say their aim is to “provide opportunities to talented indie filmmakers, allowing them to achieve their potential”, and despite the festival running since 2014, this weekend will be the first time these talents will be showcased in Scotland. Events kick off at 11:00 both days and last until evening. After treating you to an exhibit of future talents at the weekend, the Cameo’s Monday night centrepiece is at the other end of the spectrum, taking you back to 1939.

The Wizard of Oz was released to the silver screen on the 26th of August 1939 (less than a week before World War II was declared), and at 18:15 on Monday, you’ll get to do it all over again (The Wizard of Oz, not World War II). Whether or not you’ve seen the canorous, colourful, comedic classic, the opportunity to see it on the big screen doesn’t come around very often.

Photo credit: Kate Soltan

The inaugural Edinburgh Multicultural Festival will also be gracing Edinburgh this weekend. The event is hoping to celebrate the diversity in Edinburgh’s culture with talents coming from the likes of China, South Africa and the USA. It kicks off at 14:00 on Friday at Drumbrae Library and Community Hub with poetry and storytelling. Saturday and Sunday’s events take the festival to the Granton Campus of Edinburgh College where doors open at 11:00 both days. Saturday’s focus is dance while Sunday shines a light on music. The best part? It’s all free!

In order to celebrate 400 years of collage art, the Scottish National Gallery have held an exhibition since June, highlighting “a huge range of approaches” to the style. On Tuesday at 18:00 one of its featured artists, John Stezaker, will speak about his work. The exhibition itself has been described as “inspiring” and “the exhibition of the year”, so the chance to hear from one of its contributors isn’t one to be passed up.

On Wednesday at 19:30, The Voodoo Rooms will be visited by comedian Isaac Butterfield. The Australian has sold out gigs at festivals in Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth as well as selling out his debut tour in 2018. Wednesday’s gig is part of his ‘Why So Serious?’ tour which is said to be an hour of “unfiltered and raw social observations”. Behind him is apparently the fastest growing audience for a comedian in Australian history, so who am I to argue with them?

Photo credit: Daniel Vass

Also on Wednesday at 19:30 – ‘The Night With…’, a charity who take classical music to cosy venues, bring Garth Knox to the Scottish Storytelling Centre. Knox claims to be “at the forefront of the new music scene in many fields” and believes his experience has moulded him into becoming “a unique performer of the music of many different styles”.

What to expect at National Poetry Day in Edinburgh

National Poetry Day returns once again to Edinburgh , commemorating its 25th Anniversary today.

Each year of this celebration focuses on a specific theme of poetry and this year is no different, tackling the concepts of truth in the medium.

At the Scottish Poetry Library, Projects co-ordinator Samuel Tongue talked about the meaning of truths in poetry:

“In terms of poetic truths they are often quite intimate quite personal truths and the language can speak personally to peoples experiences. In an era of fake news and constant BS from various world leaders it feels like its up to the poets and artists to reclaim the language a little bit and revalue it as well as journalists when its cheapened so much.”

As part of the day’s celebrations NPD Ambassador Sally Crabtree will create a ‘Sweetshop of Words’ within the halls of the Scottish Poetry Library, creating edible poetry that reminds us of our childhood truths.

 

Photo credits to Sally Crabtree

 

Later in the evening, fellow ambassador Dean Atta will perform alongside Sally in “Gobstoppers”, a spoken word show featuring a hybrid of poetry bingo, music sweetshop memories and the smashing of a PinARTA revealing the confectionary truths that have been collected throughout the day.

“For me I’ve come to the conclusion that we are here to achieve happiness” says Sally Crabtree in regards to the idea of truth.”That sounds a bit namby pamby but actually the one thing we all have in common is happiness, we all ought to be happy. For me its about finding a life that allows me to follow those dreams.”

“The aim of the game is to really inspire people of all ages and backgrounds that poetry is delicious”

 

For a brief look on what’s on throughout the UK click here!

For an audio version of each of this year’s poems, click here!

 

 

Best female video game characters

Videogames used to be the home of the overly muscled, hyper-macho hero. Nowadays, girls have someone to look up to in games as well. Read below for six of our favourite female characters.

Aloy – Horizon Zero Dawn

Although video games have come a long way to achieving true gender equality, Horizon Zero Dawn‘s Aloy is the very definition of fair treatment of a female character. She’s unsexualised, and free to be herself, as part of a tribe that worships a matriarchy. This allows Aloy’s character to develop without the ongoing cliche of her being a female in a man’s world. Aloy’s outfits are practical, she’s straight-talking, intelligent and a more than capable warrior. Even though she lives in a futuristic world with robot dinosaurs, Aloy feels utterly believable. I believe that Aloy’s creation for Horizon Zero Dawn is a landmark moment for gender equality in video games.

Ellie – The Last of US

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Ellie in The Last of Us Part II. (Credit: Naughty Dog)

Ellie in The Last of Us is the quintessential survivor. She’s tough, independent and complex. The Last of Us takes place in a post-apocalyptic America, where the majority of people have succumbed to a zombie-like infection to which Ellie is immune. Ellie was born after the outbreak, which gives her a unique perspective on life. At only 15, she’s perhaps a bit naive to begin. Soon however, she has no other choice than to become a hardened survivor: doing whatever it takes to survive. Ellie was only a playable character for segments of the game, but will be the lead protagonist of The Last of Us: Part II, which is still in development.

Lara Croft – Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider reboot. (Credit: Square Enix)

Lara Croft is perhaps the most famous female video game character of all time. The treasure hunting heroine has  featured in several games spanning from her first appearance in 1996, and has had two movie adaptations, where she has been played by Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander. Her appearance is well known, with her sporting a ponytail, tank top and dual pistols. Her original appearance has since faced criticism for being sexualised, but in 2013, Square Enix Studios rebooted the franchise with a more grounded and realistic Lara Croft that has achieved much critical acclaim.

Chloe Frazer – Uncharted

Another treasure hunter, but the similarities to Lara Croft end at their shared profession. Chloe Frazer is a unique character in that she works from her own moral compass and always puts her own interests first, but is still ultimately good. She plays off the personality of the Uncharted series’ protagonist, Nathan Drake, in that she is almost his darker counterpart. The player is never sure of her intentions or loyalties, but in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, we see her more heroic side come through. She is incredibly enjoyable to watch interact with the series’ characters, as well as in her own spin-off title, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. 

Senua – Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

senua_bailey

Senua in Senua’s Sacrifice. (Credit: Ninja Theory)

Senua, the protagonist of the dark fantasy story, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice suffers from psychosis. The developers made a special point to include the characters mental illness in order to raise awareness of the condition. Hellblade follows the journey of Pict warrior, Senua, on a dangerous journey to claim her dead lover’s soul back from the goddess Hela.  It is strongly implied that the story is taking place inside Senua’s head, and the developers worked with neuroscientists and people suffering from psychosis to achieve an accurate representation of the condition. Senua is strong not just because she battles physical enemies, but also the demons in her own head.

Ciri – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon, or Ciri, is one of the main characters in a series rife with powerful women. Ciri is the adopted daughter of the game’s protagonist, Geralt of Rivia, who has been missing for several years, but has now returned with the evil Wild Hunt in pursuit, who plan on using her for her magic blood. Once Geralt has collected all of the clues to where Ciri has been, the player gets to reenact past events as they happened by playing as Ciri. A trained monster hunter herself, Ciri is an expert with a sword as well as possessing magic abilities. Even though she has had a tragic upbringing, Ciri remains strong and strives for the greater good.

Freya – God of War

Freya

Freya in God of War. (Credit: SIE Santa Monica Studio)

Freya in God of War is an especially interesting character. She is the God of War universe’s version of the Norse Goddess Freya, the wife of Odin. In God of War, she is now divorced from Odin and is living in the woods of Midgard, looking after the living beings of her woods. She comes to the aid of the protagonist, Kratos, several times over the course of the story. Freya’s son, Baldur (brother of Thor), acts as an antagonist to Kratos, and wants to kill Freya in revenge for her making him invulnerable – as it came at the cost of him being unable to feel anything. (Spoilers) Kratos kills Baldur to save Freya, but Freya hates Kratos for killing her son, giving an unforgettable warning:

“I will rain down every agony, every violation imaginable, upon you… I will parade your cold body from every realm, and feed your soul to the vilest filth in Hel, that is my promise!”

It appears Freya will be an antagonist in the next God of War game, and if she lives up to a portion of what she promised, she will make an excellent villain.

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