Book and Event Reviews.

Alan Sharp and From Greenock to Hollywood at the Glasgow Film Theatre

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by Dave Manderson Recently I brought out a book about Alan Sharp, the first to trace his career and life from start to end. It came out in April this year. Shortly afterwards I asked the Glasgow Film Theatre if they’d put on a season of Alan’s films, and now I’m curating four of the […]

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To See Ourselves – film about the lead up to the Scottish Referendum in 2014

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(To See Ourselves is screening at CCA, Glasgow 16 March, 2024) In the run up to the referendum in 2014, Jane McAllister, filmmaker, New Licht Film, spent many hours following her dad, Fraser, around Musselburgh as he threw himself wholeheartedly into the campaign for Scottish Independence. It was not Jane’s initial intention to make a […]

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Monday, September 25, 2023 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Cinema, Pat's Home Page Blog

Mary Irvine’s Blog: The Magic Scales by Paul Murdoch

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I recently met with author Paul Murdoch , who is asthmatic, to talk about his latest publication ‘The Magic Scales’. Living with asthma “At four years old I remember rolling down a grassy hill on a summer’s day. I tried to take a breath, but I couldn’t. This carried on throughout my childhood. Sometimes I […]

Read the full article: Mary Irvine’s Blog: The Magic Scales by Paul Murdoch

Cast A Cold Eye – Robbie Morrison

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Review by Pat Byrne In 2021 Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison was Bloody Scotland Debut Prize winner. His follow up novel, Cast a Cold Eye, sees him one of the four McIlvanney Prize finalists at Bloody Scotland 2023. With another novel set in Glasgow in the 1930s we again meet up with Inspector […]

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Thursday, September 14, 2023 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events

Secret Wrapped in Lead by Braw Clan

Review by Pat Byrne I’m really glad we made the effort to travel down to Symington, South Lanarkshire, last month to catch Secret Wrapped in Lead,  Braw Clan’s debut theatrical production . We actually set off more than once to drive down to Clydesdale for the show – thank heavens we eventually made it! Seldom […]

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Tuesday, August 29, 2023 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Pat's Home Page Blog

Mary Irvine: Review of ‘Gods of the Crossroads’ by Robin Lloyd-Jones

Helensburgh based Robin Lloyd- Jones is the author of some 18 books, fiction and non-fiction, many receiving prizes, including his biography of W.H. Murray ‘The Sunlit Summit’, which won the Saltire Society Research Book of the Year Award in 2003 His first historical novel, ‘Lord of the Dance’, 1982, set in sixteenth-century India was the […]

Read the full article: Mary Irvine: Review of ‘Gods of the Crossroads’ by Robin Lloyd-Jones

Mary Irvine’s Blog: Review of Warp and Weft by Ann MacKinnon

Balloch poet, Ann MacKinnon writes poetry in both Scots and English. Her previous pamphlet was ‘Modren Makars: Yin’, a collaboration with two other powerful Scottish poets. Finola Scott and Irene Howat.* Inspiration In her lates pamphlet ‘Warp and Weft’ Ann has gone solo with a selection of some twenty poems, some in Scots, some in […]

Read the full article: Mary Irvine’s Blog: Review of Warp and Weft by Ann MacKinnon

Le Vent du Nord, Celtic Connections 2023

La Vent du Nord

Le Vent du Nord brought their Joie de Vivre to the Old Fruitmarket Glasgow! Le Vent du Nord, Canadian folk group from Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu Quebec. performed at the Old Fruitmarket Glasgow, at Celtic Connections music festival on 19 January, 2023. The award winning band celebrated their 20th year with their 11th album 20 Printemps and are […]

Read the full article: Le Vent du Nord, Celtic Connections 2023

Saturday, February 4, 2023 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Celtic Connections 2023, Music Reviews

Mary Irvine’s Blog: ‘Blackbird Singing’ – an evening with Graham Morgan

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‘Blackbird Singing’ – a review Thirty souls came along to the latest ‘An Evening with…’ event at the Helensburgh library, last Thursday. This time the author was Graham Morgan, who was in conversation with Robin Lloyd-Jones. Under discussion was Graham’s second book, ‘Blackbird Singing’, a sequel to his debut book ‘Start’. Pictures in words In […]

Read the full article: Mary Irvine’s Blog: ‘Blackbird Singing’ – an evening with Graham Morgan

Mary Irvine’s Blog: Review – The Way Home by Robin Scott-Elliot

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The Way Home by Robin Scott Elliot ‘The Way Home is a novel based on the true, tragic story of one family’s destruction…’ The Telegram The sun glistened on the Clyde as Gertie watched the postman walking down the street, coming ever closer to her parents’ house in Cardross where she was staying whilst her […]

Read the full article: Mary Irvine’s Blog: Review – The Way Home by Robin Scott-Elliot

Aye Write Three Debut Authors (interviewed by Matthew Keeley)

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Review by Mary Irvine Aye Write 2022. Matthew Keeley interviewed three writers of debut novels: James Cahill, Julie Owen Moylan and Liam Konemann. James Cahill ‘Tiepolo Blue’ This debut novel deals with an art restorer at Cambridge who is not particular enamoured with ‘modern’ art until he wakes up one morning to see a modern […]

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Aye Write: Prof Dame Sue Black ‘The Books that Made Me

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Review by Mary Irvine A near-full Main Auditorium of the Mitchell library enthusiastically greeted a very popular speaker who was to be interviewed by broadcaster Clare English on the six books that have played a significant part in the life of Professor Sue Black. Sue also has a very long list of other titles and […]

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Mary Irvine’s Blog: Interview with debut author Evelyne Lawrie

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‘Gie Me a Word’ An interview with debut author by Evelyne C. Lawrie Where were you born/brought up? I was born and brought up in Bonhill in 1936. I went to Bonhill Primary and then the Vale of Leven Academy. Christie Primary School, in Middleton Street, was the original Academy. I then attended the West […]

Read the full article: Mary Irvine’s Blog: Interview with debut author Evelyne Lawrie

An Evening With Louise Welsh – The Second Cut

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Waterstones, Sauchiehall Street, 17 February, 2022 – review by Pat Byrne Twenty years ago Louise Welsh’s debut crime novel, The Cutting Room, was launched at Waterstones Book Shop, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. The prize winning book introduced us to Rilke, a Glaswegian auctioneer and coincidental amateur detective. On 17 February, 2022, there was a strong sense […]

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Balloch Open Mic on Zoom

balloch house hotel

Join Zoom Meeting – Balloch Writers’ Open Mic Headliner is Julie McNeill, prose and poetry writer, The first makar of the SWNT (Scottish Women’s national Football team) Monday 9th Join On Zoom Meeting ID: 868 5436 9222 Passcode: 9XKffC Also performing are: Catriona Malan Steven Hastings Lisa Murray Diane McKee Graham Morgan Ann MacKinnon  Dora […]

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How Poets See The World – Paisley Book Festival 2021 review by Pat Byrne

brian whittingham paisley

Paisley Book Festival At Home With poets and writers: Brian Whittingham, Basia Palka, Sean McMenemy, Jim Ferguson and Kay Metcalfe It was lovely to sit down with a coffee in my living room and catch this Paisley Book Festival event on YouTube.  Brian Whittingham introduced the event by telling us that : ‘a poet’s job […]

Read the full article: How Poets See The World – Paisley Book Festival 2021 review by Pat Byrne

Weird Pleasure by Jim Ferguson review of the launch by Pat Byrne

I think it’s fair to say that most book launches, particularly on zoom, no matter how engrossing,  can be fairly staid affairs. Not so the launch of Jim Ferguson’s ‘Weird Pleasure’ – this was a raucous, irreverent and highly entertaining event.  There was much praise for Jim’s impressive new poems and Louise Malone’s art work […]

Read the full article: Weird Pleasure by Jim Ferguson review of the launch by Pat Byrne

Wednesday, February 17, 2021 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Books, Talks, Poetry and Creative Writing Events

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf – Review 

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Review By Lola Rose The rise of the pandemic has forcibly restricted my being able to travel on my gap year before starting University in September, 2021. I’ve been lacking in motivation to read or write and so I decided that it would be beneficial and make use of my time at home by completing […]

Read the full article: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Wolf – Review 

Friday, January 29, 2021 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Lola Rose: aspiring writer, Writing

Book Launch: Weird Pleasure by Jim Ferguson

On Zoom Friday 11 December, 2020 at 6 p.m. Dr Ferguson will read a selection of poems from his new collection and possibly answer a question or two about his work. (Leamington Book Publishers) Join Zoom Meeting See Event on Facebook for Meeting ID and Password  Podbean: Jim and Pat’s West End Chat: Jim Ferguson […]

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Glasgow Film Festival 2020 – Jazz on a Summer’s Day review by Pat Byrne

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On a dreich Glasgow day a perfect movie choice was Jazz On A Summer’s Day, showing at Glasgow Film Festival 2020. Fashion photographer Bert Stern’s film of the Newport Jazz Festival 1958 not only offered an amazing line up of some of the world’s most wonderful jazz musicians but also caught the fashion, atmosphere and […]

Read the full article: Glasgow Film Festival 2020 – Jazz on a Summer’s Day review by Pat Byrne

John Byrne’s 80th Birthday Bash, Paisley Book Festival 2020 review by Pat Byrne

john byrne gary mcnair

John Byrne’s 80th birthday at Paisley Arts Centre attracted a full house. Part of Paisley Book Festival 2020, the event was advertised as celebrating ‘the life and work of one of Scotland’s most beloved playwrights and artists’. The palpable respect and affection emanating from the audience reinforced the accolade. I expect most people were very […]

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Friday, June 12, 2020 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Pat's Home Page Blog

Glasgow Film Festival 2020, The August Virgin review Fionnuala Boyle

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The August Virgin, or La Virgen de Agosto, is the latest film from Spanish director Jonás Trueba. The film follows 30-something Eva as she tries to find her way out of the fog which has descended on her life and her city amidst the searing heat of an airless Madrid August. We are introduced to […]

Read the full article: Glasgow Film Festival 2020, The August Virgin review Fionnuala Boyle

Glasgow Film Festival 2020: Close Up – Susan Wood Exhibition

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Susan Wood: Close Up shows exemplary work from an art and film icon Review by Fionnuala Boyle (Exhibition runs until 8th March, 2020 –The Lighthouse, 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow, G1 3NU Attending Susan Richardson Wood’s exhibition of work at The Lighthouse on February 24, 2020, I had no preconceptions. I wasn’t familiar with Susan’s work, […]

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The County, Glasgow Film Festival 2020 review by Pat Byrne

the county

Part of Country Strand: Iceland Northern Shining Lights Grímur Hákonarson’s film is set in a rural community in Iceland. From the outset you gain a sense of the place with shots of a remote farmhouse and frost covered fields. The demanding nature of the farmers’ work is apparent; an early scene shows Inga (Arndís Hrönn […]

Read the full article: The County, Glasgow Film Festival 2020 review by Pat Byrne

Saturday, February 29, 2020 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Cinema, Glasgow Film Festival 2020, Pat's Home Page Blog

Celtic Connections 2020: This Is Caledonian Soul review by Pauline Keightley

Glasgow, Scotland. 29th January 2020. Celtic Connections festival 2020. Blue Rose Code, aka Ross Wilson, Scottish singer songwriter, performed a concert Caledonia Soul at the Old Fruitmarket. as part of Celtic Connections 2020. Photo Pauline Keightley/ Alamy News.

Blue Rose Code: This Is Caledonian Soul at the Old Fruitmarket, Celtic Connections 2020 A celebration of outstanding Scottish soul music, covering such artists as the Blue Nile, Del Amitri, Gerry Rafferty, Lewis Capaldi, Travis, KT Tunstall and Annie Lennox. The concert was hosted by the inimitable and very talented Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose […]

Read the full article: Celtic Connections 2020: This Is Caledonian Soul review by Pauline Keightley

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Celtic Connections 2020, Pauline Keightley

Celtic Connections 2020 Auld Lang Syne Concert review and photos Pauline Keightley

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What an excellent concert! This concert had a fantastic line up of singers backed by the wonderful Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Of course a performance with much loved Burns songs, these singers and the orchestra was bound to be a winner and everyone was on top form. Gaelic singer Karen Matheson began the concert with some […]

Read the full article: Celtic Connections 2020 Auld Lang Syne Concert review and photos Pauline Keightley

Celtic Connections 2020 Hannah Read and Andy Monaghan review by Fionnuala Boyle

hannah read andy monaghan

Celtic Connections made its way to the CCA on Friday 24th January to welcome singer/fiddler Hannah Read and Frightened Rabbit guitarist Andy Monaghan, with support from singer-songwriter Cara Rose. The musicians were a pleasure to be in the company of and to listen to, with the dimly-lit room providing a real Zen ambience for the […]

Read the full article: Celtic Connections 2020 Hannah Read and Andy Monaghan review by Fionnuala Boyle

Coastal Connections Festival 2020 review and photography by Pauline Keightley

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Celtic Connections 2020 18 January, 2020 Celebrating Coastal Connections This new festival within a festival celebrating Scotland’s vast coastlines and many islands was highly successful and a sold-out event. For the price of a ticket, we were given a wristband to access musical performances of the highest calibre . The festival was held over different […]

Read the full article: Coastal Connections Festival 2020 review and photography by Pauline Keightley

GRIT Orchestra Celtic Connections 2020 photography and review Pauline Keightley

Glasgow, Scotland. Celtic Connections festival 2020. Grit Orchestra led by conductor Greg Lawson performed new compositions inspired by the Declaration of Arbroath and tracks from Martyn Bennets Grit album.

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 16 January, 2020 A  triumphant opening concert with the excellent and exuberant GRIT orchestra! The concert hall buzzed in anticipation of this year’s festival at the opening concert. Some may think – isn’t January a low month – but not with GRIT Orchestra.  The Celtic fiddles danced along to the feet-tapping […]

Read the full article: GRIT Orchestra Celtic Connections 2020 photography and review Pauline Keightley

Wednesday, January 22, 2020 | Filed under: Book and Event Reviews, Celtic Connections 2020

Wrest and Maz O’Connor, Celtic Connections review Fionnuala Boyle

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Day two of Celtic Connections 2020 came to a close on Friday 17 January in The Blue Arrow which provided the perfect atmosphere for a night of musical talent. With the low lighting, hanging lampshades and cosy seating areas bringing definite jazz club vibes, a hubbub of laughter and conversation filled the room as Edinburgh […]

Read the full article: Wrest and Maz O’Connor, Celtic Connections review Fionnuala Boyle

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