A walk through the Women’s History Museum

Being seven days into Women’s History Month and only a couple of days from International Women’s Day, EN4 News headed to the Glasgow Women’s Library to learn more about what we are celebrating.

The library, situated in the city’s East End, is the only accredited women’s museum in the UK that is solely dedicated to celebrating the work of women.

A firm favourite within the library is an umbrella stand at the reception that was painted by suffragettes.

The library provides several services including free membership, book borrowing and events for women across the year.

We were fortunate to witness an event called Story Café, an intimate gathering of females reading to each other.

Archives from magazines, newspapers, posters and memorabilia of women throughout history are held upstairs in the library.

The Glasgow Women’s Library is a well-loved community hub for women of all ages and backgrounds to congregate, share ideas or simply have some alone time.

Edinburgh MP brands Ruth Davidson’s House of Lords nomination “ridiculous”

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s nomination for a House of Lords peerage has been described as “ridiculous” by an SNP MP.

Tommy Shepard, the MP for Edinburgh West, told EN4 News he believes the House should be abolished.

“It’s ridiculous that people sit in a position of power over others without being accountable and elected,” Shepard told EN4 News.

“It is outrageous that in this country that says it’s a democracy, a majority of the members of [one of our] parliaments are not elected by anyone.”

It was announced on Thursday that Davidson, MSP for Edinburgh Central, had been nominated Prime Minister Boris Johnson alongside former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond.

Her constituents have responded in a more mixed manner to the nomination.

Tricia Marwick tweets about Ruth Davidson’s nomination to House of Lords

 

Willie, speaking to EN4 News, said he supports the appointment despite not personally voting Conservative.

“She is not my party but I think she’s an excellent politician,” he said.

“She is a good asset for the House of Lords.”

Others were not so pleased.

“It is just payment for what she did over the last 5-10 years in Scotland,” Lynsey said.

“I’m a supporter of Scottish Independence and Ruth Davidson was instrumental in trying to fork that and her reward has been a seat in the House of Lords. It is absolutely a front to democracy.”

The former Conservative Leader is set to stand down as an MSP next year at Holyrood’s 2021 election but becoming a peer could mean an earlier departure.

EN4 News took to the Edinburgh streets to canvas opinion

Meet the contenders vying to become the new Labour Party leader

The powerful union Unite’s executive will meet in London on Friday where they will interview the remaining hopeful candidates for the 2020 Labour leadership contest to decide who to endorse. 

Rebecca Long-Bailey is expected to receive their backing, and endorsement by the influential union will solidify her position in the race to be head of the party, which could mean trouble for front-runner Keir Stalmer.

James Miller, Freelance journalist, and political commentator  explains how union endorsements are “massive” if a candidate hopes to achieve a place on the final ballot.

“You can make an argument that the last 10 years were defined by the unions. For example, making Ed Milliband Labour leader. Clearly, Labour is a movement that has come from the unions and has close ties to them.”

“Unite are very important, certainly in being seen as the heir to Corbyn. You want to have the Unite endorsement, and it looks like Rebecca Long-Bailey is going to get that.”

It has been suggested that Unite would ask its members to put Lisa Nandy as second preference possibly to deny Keir Stamer a clear run in the leadership. Miller says “On the face of it, Nandy is the second most ‘lefty’ candidate. 

Keir Starmer was in the Shadow Cabinet and state loyal throughout so that also gives him a certain amount of currency amount the ‘Corbynistas’, which most of the members are. I think the second preferences are fairly predictable and I;m not sure whether Unite telling people how to place their second preference will make a huge amount of difference.”

Len McCluskey, the general secretary for Unite, is expected to announce their backing decision later this afternoon.

 

Labour Leadership Contest Rundown

The four candidates proceeding to the second round of nominations are: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry. They had to receive sufficient nominations in the first round to get to this stage. 

Clive Lewis, Shadow Treasury Minister, withdrew from the race earlier this week. 

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham, left the race on Tuesday despite gaining enough nominations to earn a place in the second round. “The Labour Party will need to select a candidate who can unite all parts of our movement, the union movement, members and the elected representatives,” she said, “at this time, that person is not me.”

The final ballot opens 21 February 2020.

 

Meet the candidates

Keir Starmer:

Keir Starmer - UK Parliament official portraits 2017

(MP & MEP nominations: 88)

(Constituency Labour Party nominations: 32)

Sir Keir Starmer has served as MP for Holborn and St Pancras since 2015.

At the time of writing, he has achieved 32 CLP nominations, more than the rest of his opponents combined.

Of the current candidates, Keir Starmer looks most likely to succeed Jeremy Corbyn.

In his own words: “I’m now standing to be leader of the Labour Party because I believe I can help unite our movement, take on the Tories and build a better future. When Labour is united, we can achieve anything.

“The NHS, the minimum wage, the Equal Pay Act, peace in Northern Ireland: impossible dreams made possible by Labour governments. We now need to provide an effective opposition to Boris Johnson. We need to start winning elections again – starting with the local elections in May, building to 2024.”

 

Lisa Nandy:

(MP & MEP nominations: 31)

(CLP nominations: 7)

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Lisa Eva Nandy has been the Labour MP for Wigan since 2010. Nandy currently serves as Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. She was the second candidate to secure her place on the members’ ballot due to winning the backing of affiliate group Chinese for Labour.

She said: “From working with child refugees and rough sleepers, to a decade in Parliament opposing free schools and tackling climate change as the Shadow Secretary of State – I know that Labour is at our best when we are bold and have the courage of our convictions. I have never shied away from difficult battles and I never will.

“I am standing to be leader of the Labour Party to lead us back into power. The road will be steep, but it doesn’t have to be long. We win together.”

Nandy is set to be the one to challenge front runner Stalmer for the position, though she has less than a quarter of his current constituency nominations.

 

Rebecca Long-Bailey:

(MP & MEP nominations: 33)

(CLP nomination: 7)

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Rebecca Long-Bailey, MP for Salford and Eccles, joined the labour party in May 2016. Bailey currently serves as Shadow business secretary, undertaking the position in 2017.

Before becoming an MP, Long-Bailey studied Politics and Sociology at Manchester Metropolitan University, then completed “various part-time law conversion and solicitors’ courses.”

She gained the second-highest number of votes (33) from colleagues.

“My vision is one of a democratic, aspirational and decarbonised society that hands wealth and power back to ordinary people,” Long-Bailey said, “I believe we can build a green, democratic future that bridges the deep divides in our electoral coalition.

“This is my ambition – an aspirational, socialist, democratic future that can unite the country and build our path back to power.”

Long-Bailey is yet to receive any endorsements from affiliates or unions, but she is hopeful of securing the Unite backing later.

 

Emily Thornberry:

(MP & MEP nominations: 23)

(CLP nominations: 3)

 

Emily Thornberry has been the MP for Islington South and Finsbury since 2015. Previously, she served in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and then Shadow First Secretary of State.

She was the last candidate to be put forward, garnering 23 nominations from MPs and MEPs.

Thornberry said: “Our greatest strength lies not just in our party’s history, values, or achievements in government, but from the army of union members, CLPs and student activists who’ve inspired all of that, and continue inspiring it today.”

“Our party is at its best when we’re listening to our members and answerable to them, and our best policies are driven by the experience of our members.

That’s the way I’d lead our party, lead the fight against Johnson, and lead us into power. By standing up and fighting back together.”

Making Tracks – An Edinburgh ‘tramsformation’ begins?

Constitution Street under transformation

Road blocks were enforced, traffic cones were placed and trucks were assembled to initiate construction on the next phase of the Edinburgh Trams network in Constitution Street on Monday.

In four years’ time, York Place and Newhaven should be connected by a shiny fleet of super trams in a £207.3 million project, given the green light by Edinburgh City Council just over eight months ago.

In the first quarter of 2023, trams should be serving the Foot of the Walk, Port of Leith and Ocean Terminal on a new 2.8-mile long line.

While the network extension will bring positive transport, infrastructure and environmental benefits in the long term, unsurprisingly, the decision to lengthen the route was met with mixed reviews.

While the trams have been operating successfully for over five years now, on an 8.7-mile long line from Edinburgh Airport to York Place, their journey from inception and design to construction and delivery was fraught with difficulty and mired in controversy.

After the project revisions, contractual disputes and funding crisis, it took six years and over £776 million to build, but over £1 billion will be payed after interest. Indeed, the cost of this extension rose by a quarter before construction even began.

The 2008 global financial crisis also didn’t help. In order to reduce inflating costs, sections from Ingliston Park and Ride to Newbridge North, Haymarket to Granton and Granton to Newhaven were dropped.

Newhaven, intended to be part of the initial route, was also cancelled bringing the trams to an abrupt halt in York Place, providing a route to the airport that could be achieved already by bus.

Disruption to businesses, danger to cyclists and the suspension of overhead electric cables attached to residential buildings also drew concern and criticism of the project.

Edinburgh Trams are on their way

Despite this, the trams have proven their worth, with the city using them so much that original ridership projections were surpassed, enabling the operation to post pre-tax profits only two years after the trams got going.

More journeys are being made every year with 7.3 million people choosing to use the tram last year alone, more than the entire population of Scotland.

In 2016, another stop, Edinburgh Gateway, was opened providing a transport interchange between the Edinburgh Trams and trains from across Scotland allowing passengers to travel to the airport entirely by rail.

Originally part of phase one, the route to Newhaven is now finally on its way.

Signs point straight ahead to 2023

Should the Newhaven extension repeat the annual passenger growth seen on the first Edinburgh Trams line, as the strong business case suggests it will, Newbridge, Granton and connection to Newhaven (forming a circular route) may yet see trams approaching over the horizon.

With the Scottish Government’s recent declaration of a climate emergency and net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions in just over a quarter of a century, the case for electrified public transport such as trains and trams will only strengthen.

If lessons have been learned from previous mistakes, considering the monster of a nightmare that was created in the capital city before, the next Edinburgh Tram service to Newhaven should have a much smoother journey.

Opinion: Edinburgh has the worst traffic congestion in the UK, it’s time for change

Edinburgh’s traffic congestion peaks during the Fringe and festive season (Credit: EN4 News)

It’s been less than four months since the calamitous mess of traffic congestion that was unleashed upon Edinburgh by the wrath of the Fringe, and now as the festive period is underway, very little has changed.

This year’s Fringe was the busiest the Scottish capital has ever experienced, with the Fringe website said that ‘three million tickets’ were issued alone in 2019.

The festival brought the city’s transportation network to its absolute limit with the Commercial Director of Lothian Buses, Nigel Serafini, admitting their services had been “operating in much more challenging conditions” than they had ever previously experienced.

Now the festive season is here, and it looks to bring gifts of delays, congestion, and packed buses.

At least the Christmas market is here for you to wander around when you are inevitably stranded on Princes Street.

An article by the Herald this year, explained that analysis by the sat nav manufacturer TomTom showed that Edinburgh rush hour takes 40% longer than the rest of the UK.

This gives Edinburgh the prized crown of being the worst UK city for traffic jams.

Now I have to make this point clear, this is not the fault of Lothian Buses by any means.

Instead, this is the repercussions of an ongoing issue that has some work put forward to fixing it.

It is showing that efforts by the council simply are not sufficient when coping with a mass influx of people.

Edinburgh Council’s transport strategy states: “Public transport plays an essential role in the life of Edinburgh. It enables access to employment, health care, education and leisure opportunities. Its efficient use of road space and fuel helps to reduce congestion and carbon dioxide emissions.”

It begs the question; how can you possibly expect to reduce carbon dioxide emissions when there has not been enough to reduce congestion?

Mr Serafini makes various points which are reasonable solutions to congestion problems.

He says: “We would also like to see a reduction in bus stops in some locations, for example, consolidating two bus stops into one central stop.”

We see this example on Princes Street all the time and even at the foot of Lothian Road, two bus stops in close proximity to each other when it is really not essential.

Mr Sefafini continues, “We then need to look at who and what has priority in the streets which remain open.”

This is a crucial point the council needs to address if we are ever going to see change.

If the same flow of traffic is allowed into a highly concentrated population of people over an intensely busy period of time, we will never see any change.

As the years go by, it is becoming increasingly frustrating to live within the city when the Fringe is on and when Christmas is approaching.

These should be times where the people should be excited and welcoming to these events without their lives being disrupted.

Instead, we are already seeing the effects of the festive period squeezing the city into a state of a “rush hour” paralysis that lasts two months.

What did we learn from Tory Conference?

Andrew McDonald

 

The Conservatives descended on Manchester yesterday for their annual policy discussion and drunken get-together. With a no-deal Brexit looming and a general election possibly on the cards, what, if anything can be gleamed from the events that took place?

UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson

A predictably eventful Conservative Party Conference came to a close yesterday with what seemed like progress on Brexit. The PM, Boris Johnson, used his speech to announce his already leaked plans to solve the issue of the Irish border without the use of Theresa May’s backstop, which previously prevented hardline-brexiteers from backing her deal. But while Johnson’s language was one of conciliation and maintaining the Good Friday Agreement, as the Daily Telegraph’s Europe Editor detailed in a twitter thread, this will still involve a customs border and checks on goods in some form. As both Brussels and Ireland have ruled this out in the past, it seems unlikely that much headway has actually been made towards a Brexit deal.

Get Brexit Done

What the announcement of a new plan did for the Tories was reinforce their primary slogan of conference – Get Brexit Done. This characterises the attempt to satisfy a widespread public urge for closure after 3 years of Brexit deadlock. Pushing this idea of new plans and progress may help the government in their attempts to win over those who simply want Brexit to go away. Most of the conference united around the principle that whatever the outcome of negotiations, Brexit must happen and this government must be the ones to deliver it.

New Big Spenders?

Away from Brexit, Chancellor Sajid Javid announced a raft of new spending plans – a clear move away from the rhetoric of austerity. Promising ‘billions’ for a number of key areas of public sector policy – including hospitals, busses and road infrastructure – Javid signalled that the Conservatives have become less concerned with acting as the party of fiscal frugality.

His most eye catching pledge was his plan to raise the National Living Wage, from £8.21 an hour to £10.50 an hour by 2024. The plan also lowers the age limit at which people can receive the NLW, from 25 to 21. Some may see this as an attempt to push into Labour territory by promising spending in key, austerity hit areas but many of these proposals come with caveats and exaggerations.

Nonetheless, it shows a clear rhetoric shift, with inflated numbers in some cases only further showing that the discourse of the ‘magic money tree’ is long gone.

Elsewhere in Conference

Sexual harassment allegations in the Sunday Times from columnist Charlotte Edwards overshadowed the conference. Edwards recalled an episode at a Spectator dinner two decades ago while Johnson was editor, accusing the PM of touching her leg without consent. The story has dominated media coverage this week, along with further corruption allegations from Johnson’s time as Mayor of London. He has outright denied that any groping took place, while all of his key allies have rallied in support.

On the other side of almost left leaning spending proposals from the chancellor, is the response to these scandals that shows the current direction of the party. Johnson and Dominic Cummings, his comms chief, have calculated that by refusing to admit any wrongdoing in these cases they can keep many of their target voters on side. Theresa May was often said to be pushing for a high spending economic agenda, while also moving towards an illiberal social platform. She fell short, with her determination to pass a Brexit deal dominating her time in power.

These moves by Johnson and his team have shown that they certainly have a plan, possibly even on similar lines to May’s ill-fated grand ideas.

Scottish fashion detox now conquering America

Image by Erin Kirsop

On the 18th of February 2019, I scrolled through Instagram, as I always do and came across a sponsored post.

“Fashion Detox Challenge, 10 weeks, no new clothes, last day to sign up!”

Whether it was my newfound interest in slow-fashion or my empty purse begging me not to spend another penny on yet another jumper, I’m not sure but I, along with around 30 other brave souls, signed up. I didn’t realise it would take me on such a life-altering journey.

The Fashion Detox Challenge was set up by ex-fashion designer and Glasgow Caledonian University PhD student Emma Kidd as part of her research into ‘Transitions in Clothing Consumption’ after witnessing first-hand, as a fashion designer in South East Asia, the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry, also known as ‘fast-fashion’.

The challenge itself is designed to be as inclusive and supportive as possible with a voluntary forum to post about your journey as you go and to gain support from your fellow detoxers. Laugh all you want, but as a recovering shopaholic, this feature was key to my perseverance. Alongside 70% of the UK, I would quite often buy one new item of clothing per week and like the rest of the UK, my clothes would last me an average of 2 and half years. Who am I kidding, mines were lucky to last me 2 and a half months.

This isn’t uncommon – once you begin to pull yourself away from the clutch the fashion industry has on you, the fog begins to clear and the trance you’ve been in since the day your mum stopped buying your clothes slowly begins to break.

The UK Fashion Industry is worth £26 billion and employs over 800,000 people, making it the largest creative industry in the UK according to the British Council. In 2018, we as a country spent £58.4 million on clothes alone, and yet people are shocked to find that it is the second most polluting industry in the world, right behind the oil and coal industry. But why do we spend so much on clothes if it is so damaging to our planet, not to mention our bank accounts?

Well, because we’re told to. In my 10 weeks of detoxing, I unsubscribed from 28 promotional mailing lists, unfollowed 32 fast-fashion accounts on social media and avoided fast-fashion stores like they were my ex after a bad break-up.

The lengths I and everyone else had to go to just to avoid the pull of the fast-fashion trance speaks volumes. People are beginning to wake up from their hypnotic shopping habits and because of challenges like The Fashion Detox Challenge; it’s becoming so much more than taking control of our spending.

The New York Times recently mentioned Emma and her challenge in their article ‘How to Buy Clothes That Are Built to Last’ and since then, Emma has seen a massive increase in sign-ups from all across the globe. She said;

“I’m blown away by all the interest and support that we have received since being mentioned in the NYTimes! We had thousands of website hits and well over 100 new Fashion Detoxers sign-up from all over the world in just 48hours – from as far away as Hawaii and Australia!”

Asking her how she feels now her small Glasgow-based challenge, that was only ever planned to be a one-time thing, is now being done across the Atlantic:

“For me this response shows just how ready people are to review their shopping habits, and it expresses the growing number of people who are becoming fed-up with being collectively encouraged to mindlessly buy more and more ‘stuff’. I think this international interest reveals the scale of issues we face in relation to over-consumption, however, it also shows the potential for human-scale global change!”

With hundreds of people now taking part, Emma’s research project has far surpassed any expectations. People around the world now meticulously sifting through their wardrobes in an effort to dress themselves in the morning for the next 10 weeks are most likely unaware of the impact they are having to the environment through the small act of simply re-wearing instead of buying. With websites and apps like ‘Depop’ and ‘Re:Loved’, second-hand shopping is no longer something your Granny does in the local charity store, but a way of keeping clothes out of landfills as well as putting money in your pocket.

An article by The Guardian  claims that clothing has been the fastest growing waste stream in the UK over the past 10 years with a predicted 235 million items expected to have ended up in landfills in 2017. I am glad to announce that that number is slowly in decline with more people consciously donating their clothes as opposed to binning them like they have in previous years.

A Fashion Detox participant, Maggie Huminiecka, who took part in the first Fashion Detox Challenge said that 10 weeks without shopping has had a lasting effect on her shopping habits in an interview with The Nine.

“Before the challenge, I was buying online without even really realising. I had so many clothes, I didn’t need them, I didn’t wear them and I didn’t enjoy them. It became a habit.”

So clearly giving up buying new clothes helps more than just your wallet, now the only question that is left to ask is; what will I waste my money on now?

Making a console: Nintendo’s and Nintendon’ts

 

The Nintendo Switch is ready to reach the 2000 game threshold, but where does it go from there? 

It’s such a little piece of hardware, slightly bigger than a phone, smaller than most tablets but it packs a punch. It runs reasonably impressive games such as Zelda, Dark Souls and Fortnite without really any problems and the games library recently hit 1800 games… but there lies the problem.

While it might be impressive that such a compact, portable console can run intensive games, it’s no secret that Nintendo have never been one for keeping up with Joneses of the video game world. Sure, it’s impressive that the Switch can run a game originally released for the PS3 – but the PS3 was last generation, and graphics have moved on. The Switch, performance-wise at least, comes dead last in this console generation race.

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(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Developers make games for PC and with some minor alterations get them working on consoles. The PS4 and the Xbox One are about as powerful as mid market PCs. Modern games are built from the ground up to be extremely beautiful and technically impressive. Red Dead Redemption II for example takes up over 60GB of storage on the Xbox One. The Switch though? It only has 32GB of internal storage, meaning there isn’t even enough space on the hard-drive to store most modern games, never mind run them.

The Wii and the Wii U had the same problem. Developers just don’t want to make games for an awkward, under-powered console. Nintendo’s plan has always been to ignore this and instead make high quality games for their own console focusing on their own IPs that they hope will bring in both loyal fans and newcomers. This didn’t work.

For a while Nintendo was in a little bit of trouble. The Wii U just didn’t have enough high quality games to attract consumers to it, but the switch has found a rather clever solution.

Nintendo have opened the Switch to indie developers meaning anyone with some programming skills could make a game for the console. This has given The Nintendo library a much needed breath of fresh air. This turns the Switch’s weakness on their head. Under-powered becomes accessible and means anyone can develop for the console.

However: now the Switch market seems almost too accessible. Scrolling through new releases is like browsing the App Store, and the games there would be more at home on a mobile phone. This is a shame, as we know that the switch can do so much more.

The Switch is doing a lot right and has undoubtedly revolutionised gaming, and it’s great that it has a more expansive library than it predecessors. All Nintendo needs to make sure of is that it doesn’t over-correct. If it does, the Switch will have a bright future.

Are single-sex schools still relevant?

Do single-sex schools still have a place in our society? (Credit: Luka Kenyon)

Whether single-sex schools still have a place in society today is a much contested issue.

It’s something I’ve thought about a lot since leaving the all-girls secondary school I attended for eight formative years of my life. There’s a valid argument that dividing pupils by gender is an antiquated idea, but I think the system still has merit today.

I honestly believe that I owe all of my self-confidence to being surrounded by kind, wonderful and phenomenally driven women.

Attending an all-girls school meant that I was not impacted by the gender stereotypes I may have been at a mixed school, as all activities and subjects were available to us without question.

I went to an all-girls school for eight years (Credit: Luka Kenyon)

I only realise now how important it was to have this ‘girl power’ rhetoric constantly reinforced. I felt more myself at 18, having been surrounded by the same girls since I was 11, than I perhaps do now after four years at university.

Some research has been done into the benefits of single-sex education, and in exam season there are often articles suggesting that single-sex schools perform better.

Grace Duncan, 21, who attended an all-girls school in London said, “I think going to a girls school made me more confident to follow my own path and helped me recognise that I’m no less competent than a man. It also gave me a strong circle of female friends that I know will weather any storm, because once you’ve survived eight years in an all-girls school together you can survive anything.”

In contrast, some girls feel cheated that they have missed out on a mixed education. Lucy Booth, who was in  a single-sex school from age five says, “I would have liked to experience what school was like with boys. I had problems with girls being cliquey at school and there was no one to go to about it. Girls schools are all about what the girls want and need which is good, but I think we need to learn to be with boys because leaving a girls school when you’ve been there since age five is terrifying.”

Maybe a middle ground needs to be found in single sex education as Rachel Fox, who went to an all-girls boarding school with an all-boys partner school, describes. She said, “We had a diamond structure to our school, where we were mixed for primary, separated for classes from S1 to S5 and then in classes together again in our last year. It was good because we were separated for the most important years when we needed to concentrate on our grades”.

I found my all-girls school a safe and positive environment, but this is not always the case. Major improvements need to be made to how single-sex schools handle their LGBT+ pupils. Single-sex schools will only remain relevant if they learn to handle gender identity appropriately.

Layla Moran MP introduced a bill to the House of Commons on Wednesday arguing that gender neutral school uniforms should be adopted by all schools, something that could definitely stop single-sex schools from gender stereotyping or excluding their LGBT+ pupils. Read more about the bill here.

Soundtracks in, symphonies out?

Wizards, witches and even muggles are invited to watch as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) bring the music from Harry Potter to life.

The Music of Harry Potter, which will include the scores from all eight movies, will be bringing magic to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on March 15th.

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The Music of Harry Potter will take place in the Usher Hall on March 15th (Credit: Kevin Rae)

Richard Kaufman, a Grammy award winning Hollywood conductor, will lead the orchestra in exploring John William’s music from the iconic franchise, including Hedwig’s Theme, Hogwarts Forever, and Nimbus 2000.

The audience will be left to imagine Hogwarts, though, as no movie footage will be screened. To encourage a more magical feel to the concert, people attending are encouraged to dress in their House robes or as their favourite character with prizes for the best dressed.

For more information on this event and to purchase tickets, click here.

However, this type of event – an orchestra playing scores of successful movies – is not new, and it’s a trend that doesn’t seem to be disappearing any time soon.

The Usher Hall will also be the setting for the RSNO’s The Music of John Williams and Back to the Future in Concert.

Recently, it was announced that the BBC’s Blue Planet 2 would be brought to the stage, following the success of the BAFTA award winning television series.

The 13 date tour will be accompanied by film sequences from the TV series, which began raising the public’s awareness of the fragility of the planet when the programme was first broadcast in 2001.

On the tour’s page, it states:

“The live concert adaptation is an extension of that striking visual and environmental narrative.”

But why has the orchestra, which was typically entertainment for the upper classes, started to play the soundtracks of much-loved movies?

In a sense, the ensemble might be adapting – or maybe evolving is a better word – to how music is created, listened to, and loved by the public today.

Over the past few years, movie soundtracks have become more of an indicator for how worthwhile the film will be. This might have been similar in the past, but iTunes and Spotify have made listening to scores simple. A quick download, and the soundtrack for Guardian of the Galaxy is on your mobile. A press of a button and Shazam has found your favourite song from The Breakfast ClubThe Greatest Showman soundtrack was so popular that it was released again, with chart-topping artists performing the songs. 

There is no denying it – soundtracks are strong right now, and that seems to have created an opening for the orchestra. But lifestyle-related issues could have also effected this change.

Songs most people listen to now are short – four or five minutes at the most. In comparisons to classical music, this is a minuscule length of time, especially as Beethoven’s Symphony No.9 goes on for over an hour. People do not have the time or patience now to listen to something that length, even if it is one of the most celebrated pieces in music history.

The cost of making the music, as well as how people relate to the music, might even factor into why soundtracks are in and symphonies are out – it appears to be yet another change society has gone through.

To see upcoming events at the Usher Hall, click here.

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