Simon Murphy’s Govanhill: a bold photographic portrait

Simon Murphy’s new exhibition Govanhill captures a transient snapshot of the Glasgow Southside area.

Framed on the wall of Street Level Photoworks is a photograph of a young girl, she is around 11 or 12 years old. School uniform on, cigarette in hand, head cocked to the side, she poses, defiantly, outside the entrance to one of the Southside’s tightly packed tenement flats. I want to know her name.

She’s just one of hundreds of Glaswegians—more specifically, inhabitants of the Govanhill area—w

Review: Baek Sehee’s i want to die but i want to eat tteokbokki

i want to die but i want to eat tteokbokki is marketed as “part memoir, part self-help book.” Its format is unusual: recorded conversations between the author and her psychiatrist constitute the bulk of the text, before an epilogue serves as a personal reflection. In this epilogue, Baek Sehee discusses her experience of finding books which are like medicine for her. It is implied that these are self-help books.

As instances of mental ill-health skyrocket among young people, substituting the adv

Tinderbox Orchestra Review: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things

As one component part of the registered charity Tinderbox Collective, the orchestra returns to the Edinburgh Fringe for a dazzling showcase of fusion music.

Two rows of numbered PCs, a dozen red office chairs and a photocopier are already incongruous additions to Edinburgh Central Library’s grandiose, wood-panelled reference room. A modest stage, a smattering of instruments laid out on the floor and a multitude of criss-crossing wires only add to what looks like, at first glance, a messy bricol

Glasgow Film Festival 2023: Rye Lane

Naming a rom-com after a bustling street running through the heart of Peckham (South London) emphasises the special importance of setting to Rye Lane. The plethora of spaces which Dom (David Jonsson) and Yaz (Vivian Oparah) navigate are unmistakably and proudly in Zone 2, whether that be chicken shop Morley’s, under the arches of the London Overground, or Brixton Market. In a Q&A, director Raine Allen Miller mentioned filming in the latter location as especially important, because South London i

Glasgow Film Festival 2023: What Sex Am I?

Were it not for their gender, most of the people interviewed in What Sex Am I? would make pretty boring subjects. A former PE teacher and a computer mechanics worker are just some of the subjects of Lee Grant’s hour-long documentary, which dissects the lives of ordinary people whose relationships with sex and gender American society deems complex (both in the 1980s, when the film is set, and maybe even more so today).

Grant’s style is forthright, and sometimes a little too prying, but effective

Glasgow Film Festival 2023: How To Blow Up a Pipeline

Why To Blow Up a Pipeline is perhaps a more appropriate title for the book this climate crisis thriller is based on. Yet Andreas Malm’s theoretical and intellectual justification of direct action, sabotage and property destruction in tackling the climate emergency is almost less philosophical than Daniel Goldhaber’s screen adaptation, which provides a nuanced account of a group of environmental activists as they attempt to destroy an oil refinery.

One of several programmes chosen by Glasgow Fil

Review: Big Joanie @ Mono

Punk died six years ago according to Joe Corre (the late Dame Vivienne Westwood’s son). Though he lambasted its transition into a “marketing tool” used by the music industry, the success of Big Joanie’s UK headline tour - Glasgow being their 3rd sold out show - suggests a radical alternative is alive and thriving.

Big Joanie are a Black feminist punk band. Its three members - Stephanie Phillips on guitar, Chardine Taylor Stone on drums, and Estella Adeyeri on bass - charmed veggie bar-turned-gi

Review: Bongo’s Bingo Christmas @ SWG3

There is no greater accumulation of heteronormative slaying than at Bongo’s Bingo Glasgow. Almost everyone in the queue snaking down Eastvale Place was sequin-clad or generally glammed up, and some were dancing on the benches before 7pm. In Glasgow there’s no settling down into your forties, fifties, or beyond - going off out to get plastered is still the done thing. A scour of the Bongo’s Bingo website listings unsurprisingly revealed nowhere else in the UK to have as many shows this month as G

The Kelvin Ensemble’s Voyages of the Sea

No one quite knew where the queue started and ended. The endearing chaos of Hunter Halls - a charmingly functional but far less elaborate version of Bute Hall - was the result of a sold out concert from the Kelvin Ensemble: the University of Glasgow’s student run orchestra. Its chairperson, Nick Baughan, spoke to The Glasgow Guardian before the event, and emphasised the “challenges in getting a venue that’s big enough for us all in previous years”. Though evidently a problem not quite resolved b

Review: The Book of Mormon @ Theatre Royal Glasgow

“Jesus lived here, in the USA”, supposedly. It’s the kind of writing that should be so ridiculous, so satirical, as to bear little resemblance to reality. But what The Book of Mormon does so well is make us, among cackles and giggles, question and engage critically with so much - charity, race, religion are only the start.

The actual Book of Mormon is a founding text of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. What Robert Lopez, and South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, do wit

Review: Sugababes @ O2 Academy

It was an eclectic assortment of us filing into the O2 Academy on a Monday night. Lots of forty somethings were reliving their glory days, sporting semi glamorous attire scrambled together after a Monday slog in the office. But the Sugababes are a timeless phenomenon, and the number of young people in attendance was both heartening and unsurprising.

We were first treated to two support acts following on seamlessly from one another. Kara Marni is 22 and on TikTok. She releases EPs (not albums) a

Review: Just An Ordinary Lawyer

Tunji Sowande was not just an ordinary lawyer. Becoming Britain’s first Black judge in 1978, this one-man show documents his story, as captivating insights into race are conveyed through impassioned song and spoken word.

This interpretation feels all the more authentic because Sowande was also a concert singer, with music remaining close to his heart throughout his legal career. It seems likely Sowande would want to tell his story through his booming baritone voice, and it is a shame that this show was only made posthumously.

Review: Disenchanted: A Cabaret of Twisted Fairy Tales

It was naive of me to enter Disenchanted with some scepticism. The concept of “twisting” fairy-tales through cabaret seemed so overdone, so unoriginal, and yet what could have been a tedious 55 minutes of insignificant mediocrity turned out to be more enjoyable than not.

Our cheeky, feather-laden host explained that she talks to characters who are not being represented properly in fairy tales, hence the “twist” is platforming the voiceless victims or villains otherwise derided or degraded by society. ‘Disenchanted’ is arguably more successful when it subverts

Review: The Same Boat

Directed by the same people who came up with the genius that is Tokyo Fugue, my expectations for The Same Boat were pretty high. Having broadly the same setup, with chairs being the primary form of self-expression and navigation, five characters - a witch, a bitch, a goldfish, a salaryman and a sleepwalker - deliver monologues united by their common expression of guilt. Embedded in-between are ritualistic dances, in which the characters do not have conversations with each other, but have conversations with themselves around each other. General expressions of hysteria are found throughout.

Review: Apartness

Even the closest of relationships can be isolating. When you cut yourself off from the rest of the world, either by choice or by force, having one person with you all the way can be no help because they are, after all, just one person. Apartness explores this in the context of coronavirus, where the scars of lockdown loneliness linger.

There are three characters: an older couple, Alice and Chris (Linda Marlowe and Sylvester McCoy), who are shielding, and a comedian Pat (Eleanor May Blackburn), who is paid to deliver them shopping while she cannot

Review: Dickin' Around

A super-stretchable dildo being used to portray masturbation is perhaps, to the old-fashioned, indicative of a fundamentally unserious performance. And yet Dickin’ Around opens with just that, doing (exactly) what it says on the cover.

Within a couple of minutes our protagonist despairs at the golden age of porn tumbling down, and his acquisition of repetitive strain injury from, well, dickin’ around. The audience is already loving it.

Review: Finding Magic

Beverley Bishop is quintessentially likeable. Her warmth and humour make for such easy watching that a show propped up by platitudes and clichés becomes quite touching. Finding Magic is based on Beverley’s true story: she loses her magic after she loses her son, and so she takes a zoom audience on a journey to find it again.

Asking the audience to “come closer!” “closer!” in a soft East Yorkshire accent, the show starts with the slightly amusing spectacle of mostly older women shuffling in their seats, creating zoom camera angles neo-Luddites could only dream of.

Review: I'm Just Saying

‘I’m just saying’ is an inherently useless phrase: by default you are merely rephrasing a point you have already made. While these exact words were not in fact uttered during the performance, they easily could have been, such are the traits of the protagonist.

Cecelia Setton must be recognised for her work here: a one-woman show is no easy feat, and crafting a script as meandering and chaotic as this requires skill and determination. This 40-odd minute performance focuses

Buzzcut’s Double Thrills: A masterclass in experimental performance art

“This week he moppin' floors, next week it's the fries”. “That bitch knew her cheeses”.

Both lines emanate from the theatre on display at the CCA on Wednesday 19 October. This is par the course for Double Thrills; a recurring night of experimental art. It’s put on by Glasgow’s Buzzcut, who describe themselves as an “internationally recognised organisation, supporting radical performance practises from all over the world”. Karl Taylor is their administrative director, and he spoke to The Glasgow

Review: Mr Singh’s India

A birthday-related curry was in order. Alas, this was week 11 in semester two - a period largely characterised by burgeoning eye bags and stress-induced insomnia - so we craved somewhere safe, solid and stable. Mister Singh’s seemed the perfect fit, adequately local and seemingly unremarkable, so off we went: an 11-strong assemblage of varying degrees of overdressed first-year flatmates supporting a local business. A mediocre undertaking, surely.

Well, not quite. Mister Singh’s had other ideas,

Review: Tokyo Fugue

Johann Sebastian Bach is turning in his grave. His Prelude and Fugue in D minor has been completely deconstructed and its structure reapplied, becoming the backbone of an enthralling production with just three bodies and three chairs. Directors Kentaro Suyama and Tania Coke are joined by Toshihiko Nishimura on stage, as they present a philosophical exploration of the repetitive, dehumanising and overwhelming nature of the commute. Through this,

Review: Amartey Golding’s Bring Me To Heal @ Tramway

It’s our ability to heal, or lack thereof, that determines our ability to forge human connection. Amartey Golding underlines this in his exhibition Bring Me To Heal, elaborating upon Joy DeGruy’s thesis of post-traumatic slave syndrome to explore the impact of intergenerational trauma on the political injustice and interpersonal hatred that bubbles underneath 21st century race relations.

A cavernous and dimly lit room in Glasgow’s Tramway hosts a bricolage of Golding’s work. This includes a gar

Review: Tick Tick…Boom!

Self-righteous, self-aggrandising, inconsiderate. These could all describe Jonathan Larson aptly. He’s an unfortunately likeable protagonist, one that time and time again has you wincing because of his seeming lack of empathy, his inability to recognise his privilege, or his general folly. But somehow you’re with him all the way. Lin-Manuel Miranda and Steven Levenson are just so adept in their characterisation. They’ve created something marvellous.

Their film adapts the stage musical Tick Tick

Reflections on COP26 protest art: Darren Cullen’s Hell Bus

*This artwork was installed during COP26 and ran until 13 November*

Parked incongruously at the back end of The Glasgow School of Art is the Hell Bus. It is the creation of artist and satirist Darren Cullen, who presents a fictitious marketing exercise conducted by Shell to promote their supposed green credentials. It represents the very worst of corporate greenwashing and is emblematic of the way capitalistic instincts percolate the climate strategies of oil and gas companies.

Plastered on th
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