Something For The Weekend? Our Fuzzy Friday Top 5

The Fortingall Yew (Photo K Williamson)

The Fortingall Yew (Photo K Williamson)

1. GO WILD IN THE COUNTRY (FORTINGALL)

Strictly speaking our Fuzzy Friday feature is about events in Scotland that Bella thinks worthy of flagging up to our perpetually curious, open-minded and cultured readership. The Fortingall Yew isnt a scheduled event, as such, although, with a stretch of the imagination, it could be considered Scotland’s longest running “event”.

Fortingall is a picturesque wee 19th Century village in Central Scotland which has two unusual claims to fame.  A Roman settlement on the outskirts of the village is widely considered an archeological treasure. This settlement is also rumoured to be the birthplace of Pontius Pilate no less. We’ll admit we’re slightly sceptical the Roman prefect who ordered the crucifixion of Jesus was Scottish.  Lovely wee town as it is there are no signs outside the village saying “Fortingall: Birthplace of Pontius Pilate”.  However, with Brad Pitt weighing up the Pilate role in a forthcoming blockbuster maybe the local tourist trade could cash in.

The other, and more verifiable claim, is the famous Fortingall Yew Tree whose gnarly branches grow from ancient roots in the grounds of the local churchyard. Experts have dated Yew Tree at around 5,000 years old making it the oldest living thing in Scotland.  Some claim this stately old tree could even be the oldest living thing on the planet. Now that’s surely worth a visit.

Fortingall is close to the entrance to Glen Lyon, not far from Loch Tay, and the whole area is steeped in Celtic legends, neolithic standing stones, Roman settlements and deserted shielings.  Scotland has so many lovely places to explore why not make the most of your weekend. (Cue Eddie and the Hot Rods…)

2.  SCREENING OF ‘CHASING ICE’ FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION (NORTH UIST)

Take One Action are on the move and their current film festival tour of Scotland takes them to Taigh chearsabhagh, Lochmaddy on Friday night for a screening of the award-winning (Sundance Best Cinematography) feature film Chasing Ice.  Here’s the YouTube Trailer and here’s the organisers’ tuppence worth:

“When National Geographic photographer James Balog asked, “How can one take a picture of climate change?” his attention was immediately drawn to ice. Soon he was asked to do a cover story on glaciers that became the most popular and well-read piece in the magazine’s recent history. But for Balog, this marked the beginning of a much longer project that would reach epic proportions. In his breathtakingly beautiful documentary, filmmaker Jeff Orlowski follows the indomitable photographer as he brings to life the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS)—a massive photography project that placed 30 cameras across three continents to gather visual evidence of the earth’s melting ice. The story of a visionary artist who, in facing his own mortality, bequeaths the magic of photography and the adventure of the expedition to a new generation and captures the most visible sign of climate change on the planet today.”

An informal post-screening discussion will include contributions from environmental photographer René Jansen and RSPB’s Matthew Topsfield.  More details can be found here.

Elvis Shakespeare on a Saturday afternoon

Elvis Shakespeare on a Saturday afternoon

3. STEVE ADEY @ ELVIS SHAKESPEARE (LEITH)

The extremely sociable Elvis Shakespeare bookshop at 347 Leith Walk is holding another of its famous free music gigs (as featured on ‘Mark Steel’s In Town’).  These gigs often spill out onto the pavements of Leith’s main boulevard and tend to suck in passers-by, shoppers, local punks, jakeys and disgruntled Hibs fans staying away from Easter Road.

This Saturday at 2.30pm English singer-songwriter Steve Adey is launching his second album ‘The Tower of Silence’ – a Sunday Times ‘Album of the Week’.  Compared favourably with Nick Cave, Steve Adey will be joined by collaborator Helena MacGilp.  Did we say it was free? Well it is.  Get there early and join Leith’s hoi polloi in a friendly Saturday afternoon vibe.

4.  SONIC CINEPLEX (GLASGOW)

The GMFF has lined up a real treat for music and film buffs this Saturday.  From 3pm until 11pm classic silent movies will be screened back-to-back at the Arches with live music from an intriguing line-up of DJs, composers and musicians.

Krautrock pioneer Dieter Mobius (Kluster) orchestrates Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; Detrot techno legend, Jeff Mills premiere’s his score for Fritz Lang’s Woman In The Moon; Adam Stafford improvises a score to The Cabinet of Dr Caligari; JD Twitch does a live mix to the 1992 world cinema hit Baraka; and much more.

Full line-up and details here.

Hosts Rachel & Jenny

Hosts Rachel & Jenny

5. RALLY & BROAD: THE GRUDGE & THE GLOW (EDINBURGH)

Launched at the end of last year Rally & Broad has become a vital monthly event in the Scottish capital’s poetry-cabaret scene.  What’s it all about? Hosts Rachel McCrum and Jenny Lindsay describe it thus:

Tis the Valentine’s Weekend, and either way you look at it – with grudging harrumph or with a disgusting glow about your shining, loving puss – you should come look at it from a seat in The Counting House alongside all of your friends, family, loved ones and enemies. We’ll be there, compering the insightful verse and lyrical delightfulness of the talented wee squirrels below:

BOHDAN PIASECKI – Debut Edinburgh appearance from Polish-born, Birmingham based performance poet/AUSTEN GEORGE – Beautifully crafted, lyrically beguiling tunes from top Edinburgh singer-wongwriter./LUCY AYRTON – Oxford-based Fringe favourite returns with lullabies to make your children weep…/GRAEME HAWLEY – Edinburgh writer and poet, with poignant verse and witty insights./RHYS KIRKMAN – Honest, soulful lyrical delight from Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter./Introducing LEO GLAISTER/Plus! Physical-storytelling from Dizzy Godiva & Wicked McElders feat. Sian Bevan!

The Counting House is right opposite Word Power Books.  Starts 7.30pm. £5 at the door.

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Categories: Arts & Culture, Events, Film and Animation, Music, Poetry

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