Red Dead Redemption 2: Masterpiece?

Liam Mackay discusses if Rockstar’s highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2 will be a gaming masterpiece.

Beating the boobie blues

Three local artists help to raise awareness of breast cancer

Left to right: Kathleen Moodie, Jennifer Colquhoun and Beth Lamont.

Step 1: Touch. Step 2: Look. Step 3: Check. T-L-C. While there is no definitive method for checking your breasts for signs and symptoms of breast cancer, UK charity Breast Cancer Now are asking you to try a little TLC. Early detection is crucial in treating and beating the disease – most cases of breast cancer are first found by women themselves.

This October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and fundraising events have been taking place across the country to support this issue. On 19th October, three Edinburgh-based artists got together at Custom Lane in Leith to raise money and awareness for a disease that one in eight women in the UK will develop in their lifetime.

The collaborative project, Boobzapalooza, headed by knitwear designer Kathleen Moodie is a ‘month-long celebration of all things breast’. Together with scientific illustrator Jennifer Colquhoun and ceramic jewellery designer Beth Lamont, they have designed limited-edition boob-related art that will be sold throughout the month with 40% of the proceeds going directly to Breast Cancer Now.

The Boob Arc Necklace, K.Boobs Booble Hat and The Boob Print are all for sale throughout October.

What made you choose this particular breast cancer charity?

Kathleen Moodie: “I have a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 24 and she’s an ambassador for Breast Cancer Now and she suggested to go for them. Partly because they are registered in Scotland as well, so the money is coming from Scotland and staying in Scotland, that for her is something that is really important. It was something that none of us had thought of. We just thought, ‘oh, yeah we’ll pick a breast cancer charity and it will be great’, and Victoria said, ‘you’ve got to make sure it’s a Scottish one’ and it makes so much sense.” 

Breast Cancer Now is the UK’s largest breast cancer charity.

The event is about making breast cancer less scary and approaches the disease in a fun and direct way. Why is that important?

Jennifer Colquhoun: “Last year, I found a lump in my own breast and I was terrified. I thought that was me because a few years ago my aunt died of breast cancer, so it was in the family. But it turns out mine was a fibroadenoma which is a benign tumour. It’s also commonly known as the breast mouse which I thought was hilarious. I really wanted to do a picture of the breast mouse but nobody really knew what I was talking about.”

A customer tries on Kathleen Moodie’s Booble Hat.

Why do you think the arts is a good way of talking about and addressing big issues such as breast cancer?

Beth Lamont: “I guess it just gives it a tangible thing. You can still donate money, but you get to take something away. The next time someone is wearing their pink necklace someone can be like, oh I like that’ and you can be like, ‘oh it was actually for this charity’ and you talk about it again. Though they are only on sale for the month that conversation will hopefully keep on going because of that product, that piece of art, that hat, is not going to go away.”

The Boobzapalooza event held at Custom Lane, Leith.

The limited-edition pieces are available throughout October and can be purchased online here.


Podcast: Edinburgh’s Concert Hall: Condemned before Constructed.


Artist impression of the Impact Centre. Photo credit to Impact Scotland.

In this weeks EN4 News podcast, Calum Wilson and Joanna Hampson discuss the newly proposed concert hall.

The hall, known as the Impact Centre, has faced controversy after the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland complained the proposed building would overshadow the historic Royal Bank of Scotland building, known as Dundas House.

Bad Times at the El Royale review

An all-star cast tells a tale of love, murder and money in this late 60’s thriller 

It’s easy to watch the trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale and not really know what the heck is going on, as the latest film from director Drew Goddard (The Martian, Buffy The Vampire Slayer) brings a priest, a singer, a salesman and a fleeing cult member together in a seedy hotel on the California/Nevada borderline. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it makes for a great movie.

Set in 1968, the film brings this group of mismatches together and introduces a backstory for each character in a Tarantino-esque way. We learn of gunfights, murder, drug abuse and violence as each character’s true identity and agenda is revealed one by one.

The volume of death in this film is such that the murders of key characters don’t feel as important as they should

One of the many positive attributes this film carries is the star power, with several established Hollywood names taking a key role, including Mad Men star Jon Hamm and Thor actor Chris HemsworthThe real breakaway performance in this film, however, is reserved for Jeff Bridges. Bridges’ character, who starts out as an ageing priest seeking refuge from an inbound storm, unveiled as a bank robber, recently released from a lengthy prison stretch in which a botched robbery left his brother (portrayed in an almost cameo-like role by Parks and Recreation star Nick Offerman) dead and himself behind bars. Returning to the same hotel where his brother met his demise to retrieve the buried money, Bridges’ character Doc O’Kelly is in the preliminary stages of dementia and fails to remember which room the money is hidden in.


Theatrical Poster – Credits to FOX FILMS

At times leaning a little too heavily on a Pulp Fiction/Tarantino style of cinematography, the story jumps from one character to another, from past to present to present to past. On more than one occasion, the viewer may find himself viewing the same scene again, perhaps from another perspective or simply as the conclusion of a character’s backstory, a factor that may be off-putting to a casual cinema goer.

The film drew a disappointing $2.7 million in its opening weekend, a fraction of its $30 million budget, but fans of this type of retro, art noir type of film should not let this affect their decision to go and watch this wonderfully weird film. The complex past of each character, the unexpected twists and turns and the dark comedic aspects of the release more than make up for the over the top violence and at times predictable storytelling. Bad Times at the El Royale will leave audiences mentally exhausted but overall satisfied, and maybe just a little confused.

Watch the Trailer for Bad Times at the El Royale here


Behind the Red Door

Twenty miles outside of Scotland’s bustling capital lies a place with a vibrant community of close to 20,000 people, where the Union canal divides the neighbourhoods at the hilltop and the High Street at the foot, which leads to the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. In many ways, the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow is a worthy equal to Edinburgh.

However, the recent launch of Red Door means the West Lothian town may steal the limelight from the big city when it comes to showcasing local music. On the high street, hidden between the eleven pubs, small cafes and local shops, there is a red door which many people often walk past without noticing  — the entranceway to St. Peter’s Church. In the close future, following the work of three musical enthusiasts, this red door will signify the portal to a new venue which could bring the community’s music scene to life.

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The recent renovations transformed the heart of the 90-year-old church into an unexpected Greek-orthodox style kirk with a Cycladic style dome, gifting the upcoming venue with perfect architectural acoustics which further enhances the intimacy of the venue, which will fill a void in the community’s arts scene.

Although the town hosts an annual folk festival which draws in big crowds and has a jazz club which puts on regular shows, it lacks a venue fit for these types of events. For years, local musicophiles and art-lovers have had to hop on trains to travel to the neighbouring cities Glasgow and Edinburgh to see touring artists or leftist, specialised (music) events. As big venue spaces in the capital, such as Studio 24 on Calton Road, Grindlay Street’s Citrus Club, and Market Street’s Electric Circus closed up recently, this is the perfect time for Red Door to attempt to provide an eclectic mix of talent for the town’s inhabitants to enjoy right on their doorsteps.

Red Door as a brand is the brainchild of Stewart Veitch, a solicitor and trustee of the church, Robin Connelly,  who has a background in promoting small-scale events and jazz gigs at St James’ Church in Leith, and Rob Adams, a journalist and music critic. One of the co-creators, Stewart Veitch, explains how this will change both the church and the community: “I suppose it is about creating an identity, because for many people in the town, the church is just a red door on the high street, they don’t know what lies behind it, so this is an invitation for them to look behind it and see what is there.”

Red Door drew its first big crowd in with Richard Holloway’s book launch of ‘Waiting for the Last Bus’. The former Episcopal bishop of Edinburgh, who is also a broadcast journalist and author, was the first to baptise the church as a cultural venue to explain his exploration in prose of our fear of death. The event was organised in collaboration with Far From The Madding Crowd, the town’s local bookshop which was awarded  ‘Independent Bookshop of the Year for Scotland’ in 2017.

Sally Pattle, who owns the bookshop, commented on the collaboration: “At Far From The Madding Crowd, we are really excited about Red Door and what it means for Linlithgow. There is already a vibrant cultural scene here in the town, but Red Door are offering something slightly different in that there will be regular events for people to look forward to.”

Following this successful partnership, both local entities have decided to put their hands together once again for a music-cum-literary event. On Saturday, October 27, two of the most distinctive jazz guitarists in the UK, Don Paterson and Graeme Stephen, will help inaugurate Red Door as a musical venue. Aside from the concert, which will see the adventurous alliance explore melody and musical invention in a whole new setting, includes the book launch of Paterson’s latest book ‘The Fall at Home — New and Collected Poems.’

This event will be followed by an intimate gig with BBC Folk Award-winning singer-songwriter Chris Wood, whose first stop of his tour is the little burgh, and a look into different cultures with Jyotsna Srikanth, a superb violinist, who plays in the (Indian) Carnatic tradition. Veitch explains the importance of including touring and world-music artists: “We are setting up what we think are high-quality artists, who seem interested in being involved, almost to establish this as another gig on the circuit for similar acts. We are keen to see how these artists will respond to this place as well as how the local community will view it as an audience.”

Starting next year, the Red Door team is hoping to incorporate spoken word into its program, including hosting an event with Shore Poets, the main poetry collective in Edinburgh. When asked about how Red Door will establish itself from here on, Veitch added: “The initial splash of events are close together and we are hoping that, by doing so, we will establish an audience quite quickly. We want to draw in a listening audience and create social space to gather people, get them away from Netflix.”

Red Door is hosting events on Saturday October 27, Thursday November 8 and Wednesday November 28.

Re-visiting Edinburgh’s Archive

Language is an example of how different parts of Edinburgh or institutions may describe their community, such as re-development, or advancement…then to others who would describe theirs as having been gentrified, which gives them a sense of feeling like they were sold or bought out.

These two terms of interest connote quite different meanings, and in each image, there is a theme of public services or spaces that have changed or are changing, from schools to a fire station, a market and a park. These images are a small note on how cities change, as for every street has a story to its own.

Old Observatory, Calton Hill, 1967

City Observatory, 1967 (Unknown)

Poked through panels lay bare to the elements as the observatory sits in disrepair. Once a tool to track the transit of stars in order to keep an accurate time for mariners, it was relocated to Blackford Hill and renamed The Royal Observatory. Today, the City Observatory is a museum.

4. Calton Hill

City Observatory, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

West Princes Street Gardens, 1890

West Princes Street Gardens, 1890 (Unknown)

Once called the North Loch, it was later drained in the 18th century due to the spread of diseases. The site, that is now Princes Street Gardens, then became open to residents of Princes Street, and later opened to the public in 1876.

1. Princes st Gardens

Ross Band Stand, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Stockbridge Market 1890

Stockbridge Market, 1890 (Unknown)

The Stockbridge Market was active between 1823 and 1906. All that remains today is the Greek-Doric entranceway that connects Hamilton Place and St Stephen’s Place. A new Stockbridge Market, that is on every Sunday of the year, is located just around the corner on Saunders Street.  

Stockbridge Market

St Stephen Pl, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Leith walk, 1890

Sanger’s Circus, 1890 (Unknown)

Sanger’s Circus was a travelling show that was seen nationwide. Performers and animals gradually make their way down a part of Leith Walk that is now predominantly student accommodation.

Leith Walk (TOP)

Top of Leith Walk, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Meadows 1863 James Valentine

The Royal Infirmary, 1863 James Valentine

A flock of sheep grazes in front of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary that opened in 1879 after being located at Robertson’s Close. It was then relocated again to Little France in 2003 and has now seen a re-development known as the Quartermile.  


Meadows, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Royal High school, 1874

Royal High school, 1874 (Archibald Burns)

The Old Royal High School was completed in 1829 to be then vacated in 1968. It has since seen community push back from a planned hotel development while other ideas of a music school have been platformed.

Royal High School

Royal High school, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Donaldson's Hopital 1925

Donaldson’s Hospital, 1925 (Francis Caird Inglis)

Sheep graze in front of Donaldson’s Hospital where the grass was rented out to a butcher for use. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1850, it has now since been made into luxury apartments. The old headmaster’s office is currently set at just over £1.15 million in price.

Donaldson Hospital

Donaldson’s Hospital, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 1957

Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 1957 (Unknown)

The newly built Great Michael Rise surrounds an anchor that is a symbol of Newhaven’s history in shipbuilding and fishing. Once a village outside of Edinburgh, new homes were built with families in mind. These industries died off towards the end of the 1980’.


Great Michael Rise, Newhaven 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Stockbridge Fire Station 1890

Stockbridge Fire and Police Stations, 1890 (Unknown)

Stockbridge Fire and police station were located on Hamilton Place. The fire station now operates as a public toilet and the police station has been an Indian restaurant for over three decades.

Stockbridge t&P

Now Public Toilets, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

Leith Walk Tramlines, 1904

Laying Tracks, Leith Walk 1904 (Unknown)

Laying tram tracks at the bottom of Leith walk, labourers stair into the camera as Leith is connected ever closer with Edinburgh city centre. The tramlines were taken up in 1956, but plans of re-laying them down Leith are to be decided upon at the end of 2018.

Leith Walk(Bottom of)

Leith Walk, 2018 (Ross Fraser)

North bridge, North British Hotel(Balmoral) 1901

North Bridge hotel, 1901 (Unknown)

Once named The North Bridge Hotel and owned by The North British Railway Company, it was then sold in the 1980′ and renamed as The Balmoral Hotel in 1991.

North Bridge

Balmoral Hotel, 2018 (Ross Fraser)


This bearded lady is the future of drag

“Hello, my name is Mystika Glamoor, and I’m everything you want me to be, darling.”

Gender is dead and people are living for it. The drag community in Edinburgh is rapidly growing and drag queens are being requested left and right.

The latest news in the Edinburgh drag scene is that the gender-bender queen, Mystika Glamoor, now has her very own show called ‘Glamoor! Kweer Kabaret’ at ‘The Street’ bar.

When Mystika isn’t living for the applause in crazy wigs, he is an artist, film director, and painter who goes by the name of Oskar Kirk Hansen. The half British, half Danish entertainer was born in Thailand, spent most of his teenage years in Italy and studied in Denmark.

Now, Mystika has finally made a home for himself after moving around the world. After just a year of doing drag, he was performing at said bar when he was asked: “Do you want this to be your home, and perform here once a month,” to which he replied: “I´ll do it once a week”.

From now on, he will take to the stage every Monday, and present you with a unique collection of performers. Bearded ladies, biological woman, burlesque dancers and performers who don’t fit into any categories, will not only make you laugh and cry hysterically, but also encourage you to think.

“I want to spread my influence around the world, and when you look like this, you are going to get a reaction,” Mystika said. “Even if that I just someone screaming faggot at you from across the room, or a drunken straight girl saying she loves me.”


Mystika Glamoor/ Oskar Kirk Hansen hosting The Kweer Kabaret at The Street

Last night Mystika entered the stage wearing a cotton-candy-pink wig and holding a vintage microphone, “Hello, fellow heterosexuals.”

A screaming crowd, consisting of drag queens, drag kings, boys who like boys, girls who like girls, transgender men and woman, and — of course — the ever-so-loud straight girls, greeted him with laughter.

At ‘Glamoor! Kweer Kabaret’, bearded ladies, biological woman, burlesque dancers and performers who don’t fit into any categories, will make you laugh and cry hysterically, but will also encourage you to think.

One of the first things you might notice about Mystika is that he has a beard. He likes to explore the different dimensions of femininity and masculinity.

“My makeup is very thick and very theatrical in some ways,” Mystika explained. “I did try some prettier looks, but after seeing other drag queens dealing with people hitting on them, I decided that I don’t want that.

“Looking like this is giving me that extra confidence because I don’t have to conform to a certain beauty standard.”

Drag queens can suit every taste, from camp and crass to high fashion. Some look like Barbie, while others might give you a fright from their obscure look.

The thing about drag is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, but at the same time, it’s deeply rooted in politics and it’s subversive. That might be why the art form is so captivating. They are not only entertaining a crowd, but the queens are also on a mission to humanise drag, fight for equality and challenge gay stereotypes.

“I hope people understand that it is an art form and that it’s political. It’s one of the most political art forms because it’s saying: ‘Hey! I don’t have to be the way you think I have to be’.”


Rayna Destruction/ Jordan Phillps performing on the stage of Kweer Kabaret

Most people think that drag queens are just men who dress in women’s clothing and act like ladies. That’s not always the case, and definitely not in Mystika’s: “I think the conception we have about masculinity and femininity are not exactly dead, but they are not all that is out there.

“I identify mostly as a man, but I can identify as a woman sometimes too. I can turn into a woman, a trash monster or anything I want to be.

“In a way, I feel that labels are limiting and that people saying you have to pick one or the other, is ignorant and just wants to put you in a box.”

It’s at shows like the Kweer Kabaret that people — who usually feel like outcasts – can finally fit in. Here you can wear what you want, love whom you love and be who you are – or who you want to be for that matter.

“The main thing about drag is showing that in the end, it´s not all that serious. If I can be myself dressed like this, then you can accept yourself for who you are.

“I’m here to show you that you can be different and that it’s okay. We should show people that there is more out there, whether you are straight, gay, just coming out, or deeply homophobic.”

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Review: Flying By Mirrors at The Garage Attic

Good tunes, good band, good venue — but a disappointing turnout for Flying By Mirrors


You can be a great band, but there are always going to be factors that will make a gig sub-par. For Flying By Mirrors, Glasgow-based indie rockers, all these factors collided last night. I’ve seen the band before, and they can really wow a crowd, but there does actually needs to be a crowd for that to happen. EN4 News spoke to the boys afterward to hear their side of the story.

Flying By Mirrors line-up

Bryce Arthur - FBM 1

Clockwise from bottom left: Aidan, Ross, Kieran, Callum and Jamie

Clockwise From Bottom Left: Aidan, Ross, Kieran, Callum, and Jamie.

Aidan Curran – Guitar

Kieran Brown- vocals

Ross Cowan – Drums

Callum McCulloch – Guitar

Jamie Cowan – Bassist

“It was a strange gig for us,” says Aiden, one of the band guitarists. “We had no overdrive on our guitars [which would give the band a very clean sound, not like their usual rough-and-ready energy] and there were a lot of technical issues.”

Ross, the band drummer, agreed: “We had to drop a song from the set because there was no overdrive”. Aiden also noted that it was a first in a long time that the band had played first support at a gig. “Our last gig was at King Tut’s [ in Glasgow], and that was a headline slot,” says vocalist Kieran. “It’s weird coming to something like this where you’ve got to cut your set and you’ve got a tiny wee venue.”

The show itself was pretty much as the lads described. Songs that usually get people up and moving, such as the fast-paced “Let’s Go Dancing”, received a lukewarm response from the dwindling crowd. The sound wasn’t quite right, and the band knew it. With something like that in mind, it’s hard to give your very best performance.

Still, it’s not all a downward slope for Flying By Mirrors. Their other guitarist Callum has set about organising a show for January: “Time To Talk”. The event, which will feature themselves along with a few other acts, will have all its ticket sales donated directly to SAMH — the Scottish Association for Mental Health.

“I set it up on the idea that there’s not a lot being done regarding mental health,” says Callum. “Depression’s the biggest illness in the world. I’m also a massive Linkin Park fan, so after Chester Bennington [who committed suicide last summer], you do think to yourself ‘that shouldn’t be happening'”.

Bryce Arthur - Fbm3

“Time to Talk” will take place at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy on the 12th of January.

Callum has paid for the venue, sorted out the other acts, and of course, roped in his bandmates to play. Now, everything is set for January 12, with a third of the venue already sold out. Tickets are on sale now.

So if you went along to the gig on October 22, the guys can only apologise. But with their January gig organised, and at least two more singles to be released by the band this year, the future looks bright for Flying By Mirrors’.

You can listen to Flying By Mirrors here:


Apple Music

Amazon Prime

You can follow their latest news on Facebook and Instagram. 



Scottish Storytelling Festival: It’s time for a story

It’s time for a story. The 30th annual Storytelling Festival comes to Edinburgh for the end of October to celebrate the diversity and tradition of storytelling over ten days under the blanket theme of Growing Stories.

This time of year is the perfect opportunity to place emphasis on stories while families are drawn into the warmth of the fire as the days grow colder. As summer fades and autumn strips the trees bare of their beauty you feel a sudden desire to take up a good book with a mug of hot chocolate to satisfy the internal chill you feel during this seasonal change.

They say that ‘stories are like gardens’: they grow and blossom with each passing generation. This idea weaves through the festival under the theme of Growing Stories. It also provides a perfect platform to feed the creativity and imagination of storytellers and spread it across Scotland.

Throughout the festival, there will be many creative workshops, daytime events for all the family, and intimate evening readings to feed the mind. I attended the Breathing Space workshop on October 21 for a chance to take part in nature while learning about the Pictish Kingdom of Fife. Storytellers told tales of piracy against the Romans across the east coast, their deep roots entwined with the Celts and the importance and trees and plants in Pictish life. Carvings uncovered across Scotland detail their methods of hunting using dogs and falcons. The Picts eventually combined with the Gaels of Dal Rieta to form the Kingdom of Alba, now known as Scotland.

Some of the festival’s main events taking place across Edinburgh include:

Transforming Voice – Scottish Storytelling Centre

Ross Hempseed 5

Scottish Storytelling Centre. Photo By Ross Hempseed

Several people have defined what it means to use your voice effectively and who have not let theirs be silenced such as Mahatma Gandhi and Rosa Parks, who steadied the winds of controversy to achieve what they truly believed in. They did not use violence to win the battle but instead won the war of the words.

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai.

Led by storyteller Diane Edgecomb, it shows you how to use one’s voice to strengthen relationships and communicate better with others. This interactive and engaging workshop will help the audience become more in tune with their own unique voice.

The event takes place on Wednesday October 24 at 11am and will last five hours.

Tickets – £16.00

Spark 100 – Walking tour departing from Mercat Cross

Edinburgh’s amazing architecture and history have long since been a place to inspire many influential writers and timeless stories. Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired for the character Long John Silver in Treasure Island by a man he met in the Edinburgh Infirmary with a wooden leg.  J.K Rowling famously wrote the first chapters of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the Elephant House café in Old Town, Edinburgh and completed the last Harry Potter novel in room 552 of the landmark Balmoral Hotel.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie is often celebrated as one of the most influential Scottish novels of the 20th Century. Muriel Spark, the author, was inspired and educated in Edinburgh and her education was a major part in developing both the characters and the setting of the novel. To mark the 100th anniversary of her birth, Spark 100 was organised to guide fans and tourists around places in Edinburgh that were significant to a Scottish hero who paved the way for women in a male-dominated environment.

“How wonderful it feels to be an artist and a woman in the twentieth century.” Muriel Spark

Walking tour takes place on Saturday October 27 at 1:30pm and will last 90 mins

Tickets – £13

With so many wonderful events in and around Edinburgh, it’s no wonder many people are travelling just to delve deep into the fictional lands of stories and mythology only to regret waking up to reality.


Lawyer from Netflix’s ‘The Staircase’ visits Scotland


staircase 4

David Rudolf, Lin Anderson and Donald Findlay QC discussed all things ‘The Staircase’ at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Photo credit to Vicky Tait.


David Rudolf, the criminal defence lawyer who represented Michael Peterson during the true crime series, ‘The Staircase’, visited Glasgow to give a talk.

The audience at Glasgow’s O2 Academy gave David Rudolf a very warm welcome as he walked onto the stage with a Scotland-themed gift bag. The applause resembled something you might expect to hear at a rock concert or a popular comedy show, not for the entrance of a criminal defence lawyer. However, the world’s obsession with true crime documentaries such as ‘Making a Murderer’ and ‘The Staircase’ has resulted in a fascination with court cases and the people behind them.

‘The Staircase’, released on Netflix in June 2018, tells the story of Michael Peterson, a writer from Durham, North Carolina, who was accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen, in December 2001. She was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her home and although Michael Peterson denied killing her, the prosecution persuaded the jury he was guilty and he was charged with murder in 2003 after one of the longest trials in the state’s history.

In 2011, it came out Duane Deaver, who conducted the blood spatter analysis for the prosecution, had provided misleading results during Peterson’s trial and exaggerated his level of experience. As Deaver’s evidence was detrimental to the jury’s decision in 2003, Peterson was released and placed on house arrest. In 2017, he entered an ‘Alford plea’ (a guilty plea signifying the defendants recognises there is sufficient evidence against him/her, but can claim to be innocent), meaning he was sentenced to 86 months in prison, which he had already served, and was therefore free.

David Rudolf, who was joined on stage by crime writer Lin Anderson and advocate Donald Findlay QC, indulged fans of the show by discussing how ‘The Staircase’ came to be, ‘junk science’ and the evidence used against Michael Peterson in the trial, the differences between American and Scottish criminal justice systems and of course, the famous ‘owl theory’.

staircase 3

Fans queuing outside the O2 Academy in Glasgow. Photo credit to Vicky Tait.

As David Rudolf recounted his experience representing Peterson, the conversation flowed between the three experts, and as they compared and contrasted the different systems in place in Scotland and the US, it became clear Anderson and Findlay, alongside the audience, were enthralled by the struggles Rudolph faced during the case.

The lawyer spoke about the ‘incompetence’ of the prosecution and how it seems they were sabotaging Peterson’s case from the outset. When Peterson was a columnist for his local newspaper, he often criticised the local authorities, which led to a significant amount of speculation on whether the prosecution was prejudiced against him.

Findlay stated he would expect a crime scene to be meticulously and carefully examined by police officers if the case were to have taken place here, Rudolf described how the scene of the crime was treated in Peterson’s case.

“There were different people coming and going without authorisation, people were constantly walking back and forth through the crime scene and actually stepping over Kathleen Peterson’s body,” he said.

”Literally, the crime scene was completely trampled over.”

Rudolf discussed his admiration for the ‘not proven’ verdict which exists in Scottish criminal courts, but not American ones. This verdict occurs when there is not enough evidence beyond reasonable doubt whether an individual committed the crime. He wished it was an option in American courts, because ‘it is a more truthful way of dealing with things.’

staircase 1.jpg

Fans of ‘The Staircase’ had the opportunity to ask David Rudolf questions about the famous true crim series. Photo by Olivia Hill.

Although the ‘owl theory’ didn’t feature in the documentary, it has been heavily discussed on the internet since the series’ release. The theory states Kathleen Peterson was attacked by a barred owl which subsequently led to her death. There is a significant amount of evidence that supports this, including the lacerations found on her scalp, the owl feather found in her hand and the small dots on her face that resembled those caused by an owl’s beak. Rudolf discussed the theory in depth and explained he is more in support of it now than he was at the time of the trial:

”In 2003, there was no evidence to support the theory, so I thought it was completely ridiculous.”

”But now there is evidence to support the fact that people do get attacked by barred owls. You can go on YouTube and there are videos of it happening,” he added.

During his world tour to talk to fans about ‘The Staircase’, Rudolf wants to convey an overriding message for the audience to take away with them. He outlined the importance of transparency and always asking questions, saying:

”It is an honourable thing we do here and we can’t do our jobs until we know the truth Don’t always believe what you are told and always ask questions.”

”I get to talk to you and show you these problems I have carried with me for 40 years. To get real change we need all of you. Get out there and spread the message.”

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