Not so very long now. At some point in the second half of 2018 the V&A Dundee will open its doors for the first time, marking the opening of a building designed by Kengo Kuma that has cost in the region of £80m and represents another giant step in Dundee’s revival.
Kuma’s 21st-century ziggurat sits snugly alongside Captain Scott’s Discovery and a mere hop, skip and dropped stitch away from the Dundee Contemporary Arts centre.
When it opens the V&A will shift the cultural heart of the city closer to the River Tay and, who knows, it might even drag a few Glaswegians to Dundee on days when Rangers or Celtic aren’t actually playing at Dens Park or Tannadice. (Teddy Jamieson)
SPORT: Glasgow 2018 European Championships
Remember the buzz when Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games? Prepare to bask in sporting glory again as the city gears up to welcome the European Championships 2018 from August 2-12.
The inaugural multi-sport event – co-hosted with Berlin – will bring together aquatics, athletics, cycling, gymnastics, rowing and triathlon along with a new European Golf Team Championships for the first time. An estimated 4,500 athletes will take part.
Glasgow will host the lion’s share including road and track cycling, BMX, mountain biking, gymnastics and swimming.
The Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh will be used for the diving with open water swimming at Loch Lomond, triathlon and rowing at Strathclyde Park in Lanarkshire and golf at Gleneagles. The athletics competition will be held in Berlin. (Susan Swarbrick)
TRAVEL: The rise and rise of coorie
We’ve been banging on about the restorative powers of coorie – the Scottish feelgood equivalent of Scandi-chic hygge – for a while now, but this year it is being tipped to go global.
VisitScotland has identified coorie, used to describe being cosy, as the big travel trend for 2018.
What exactly is coorie? It is sitting by a roaring fire on a cold or stormy night, wearing a woolly jumper and cashmere socks, snuggling under a blanket with a good book and a mug of hot chocolate surrounded by the warm flickering glow of candles.
Think fluffy rugs, log cabins, fire pits, wood burning stoves, outdoor hot tubs and glamping under the stars. All set against the stunning backdrop, views and landscapes which recently saw Scotland named Most Beautiful Country in the World by readers of Rough Guides. (SS)
CINEMA: Mark Stanley
You will have seen Mark Stanley before, but this is the year you will definitely notice him.
Why so? Well, he has a part in the new Steven Spielberg movie Ready Player One for a start and then he’s going to turn up in the Hellboy reboot. But before any of that there’s the not-so-small matter of a leading role in Clio Barnard’s new film drama Dark River opposite Ruth Wilson next month.
“Do I feel hot? I don’t actually,” Stanley says as he sits at home in north London. “The heating’s not working in my flat actually, so I’m freezing.”
Domestic problems aside, though, he knows things are shifting up a few degrees. “I’ve been really lucky these last 18 months,” he agrees. “Last summer I got cast in the Dark River film and it was just one of those moments where you see off some fierce competition and you claim it as your own.”
To be fair, he’s not been idle since leaving drama school in 2010. Almost straight away he got a job on Game of Thrones where he died heroically fighting the armies of the dead. Last year he was a regular on our TV screens, playing Bill Sikes in Dickensian, as a policeman in Jimmy McGovern’s TV drama Broken and playing a transgender character in Kay Mellor’s recent BBC One drama Love, Lies and Records.
But Dark River, he accepts, is a step up. “Yeah, the Dark River thing was one of those moments when you think: ‘Shit, I’m co-leading this film with an actor I’ve always watched and have huge amounts of respect for. So, it was a pinch-yourself moment. But you can’t pinch yourself too long. You’ve got to put aside the dreams and start realising what you’re actually doing.”
Dark River, set on a sheep farm in Yorkshire, is the latest film from Barnard who has previously given us the acclaimed independent films Selfish Giant and The Arbour. It is a gritty, intimate drama about sibling love and rivalry, broken people and bare-scrabble existences.
To prep for it Wilson and Stanley went and worked for a few weeks on a sheep farm. “I was stuck with one guy for three weeks just shearing and clipping sheep. I think we shared about four words. It was really helpful to be around those people seeing how fucking hard they were.”
Stanley’s own background is Yorkshire-flavoured too. His dad’s a gardener and his mum was a career civil servant. Growing up, Stanley spent most of his time playing rugby.
He even left an inner-city Leeds school to go to a sixth-form college in Otley because it had links with Leeds rugby club. But that was where acting entered the picture.
“I ended up doing drama because I couldn’t get onto one of the other courses. I think it was sociology,” he recalls It turned out that he was quite good at this drama thing. His teacher even encouraged him to think about applying for drama school. So, he did and got in.
How did this all go down with his mates in the rugby team, you wonder? He laughs at the very idea. “How do you think it went down? I think I was called Billy Elliot for about 10 years.
“You’ve got to get into leotards. They call them ‘blacks’ at drama school; skin-tight leotards so they can see how your movement is. When I’d go back and show the team my tights they thought: ‘Has he had a nervous breakdown?’
“I think everybody expected us to go out and get trades. All my mates are plasterers and tilers and what have you from home.”
Instead, Stanley has moved to London, lives with his wife Rochenda Sandall who is also an actor (they worked together on Broken and are currently developing a short film they want to make together).
And when he’s not taking the dog a walk he gets to make blockbuster movies. Which reminds me, Mark. Did you get a chance to speak to Spielberg?
“I did, actually. It’s terrifying. He goes: ‘OK, get up there. Let’s see what you’ve got.’ And you get up and you do your thing and you wait for the judgement. And then he walks away and edits it.
“He’s sort of like the Wizard of Oz. He goes behind a curtain and puts it all together on the spot.” (TJ)
Dark River is in cinemas from February 23
MUSIC: Four Scots To Watch
Lewis Capaldi: Bathgate-born Lewis Capaldi is the sort of performer who can charm both Radio 1 and Radio 2, with a soulful and emotive voice. He’s already toured with Rag ‘n’ Bone Man and been shortlisted for the BBC’S Sound of 2018 poll, while the 21-year-old’s February tour, including a date at the O2 ABC in Glasgow, sold out rapidly.
100 Fables: It is a commonly accepted fact that Blondie are great. Thus, bands who are on nodding terms with Debbie Harry and company are well worth paying attention to. Glasgow outfit 100 Fables have snappy, easily catchy new waves tunes and an excellent, charismatic frontwoman in Lyndsey Liora.
Rascalton: Scotland’s fondness for bands to get sweaty and throw pints to is showing no signs of slowing down. Rascalton are the pick of the newest wave of acts, a down ‘n’ dirty punk sound railing against the state of the world. Possessing a love of The Clash and the Libertines, the quartet are already on the books of 13 Artists, the booking agency for Radiohead and Paolo Nutini.
Emme Woods: Fond of performing accompanied by her dog onstage, Clackmananshire songstress Emme Woods is already working with the Last Night From Glasgow crowd-funding label. And yes, there is substantial bite to her bluesy tunes. (Jonathan Geddes)
So, have you become a vegan yet? No? Well, what’s keeping you?
Research carried out by The Vegan Society has found that there are more vegans in the UK than ever before – more than half a million people were living a vegan lifestyle in 2016.
From Rooney Mara to Jennifer Lopez, there’s a growing trend in cutting out not just meat but dairy products too.
But what does a vegan diet consist of and what does it take to go vegan? Sean O’Callaghan, a blogger from Australia, has made a career out of his dietary choice.
O’Callaghan, who was previously vegetarian, made the change after he learned the harsh truth behind the dairy industry. O’Callaghan (aka the “Fat Gay Vegan”) now travels the world promoting a life dedicated to veganism.
He hosts a free weekly vegan market, takes trips around Europe as part of his vegan cruises and even holds vegan beer festivals to encourage communities of people to take the pledge and give up animal products for life. He will be hosting a vegan beer festival in Glasgow in August.
“When I became more conscious of my place in the world, I learned that my actions had consequences, especially in terms of the food that I ate,” says O’Callagahan.
“One of the biggest misconceptions of veganism is that it’s a diet. Veganism is a commitment and a lifestyle. It’s a holistic approach to living by minimising your reliance on animal products as a way of preventing animals from suffering.”
For some, this is the key. According to Compassion In World Farming (CIWF), “There are over 270 million cows producing milk across the world. The EU is the largest producer and has 23 million dairy cows. Mastitis (inflammation of the udder) and hoof lesions are painful conditions which occur as a result of bacterial infection. In a herd of 100 cows in the UK, there could be as many as 70 cases of mastitis every year.”
But being aware of animal welfare is one thing, enjoying food another. Isn’t a vegan diet a bland, stodgy mix of root vegetables and quorn? O’Callaghan, who also runs a vegan market in Camden, London, offers a different vision.
“In a typical day, if I go to my vegan food market, I might have sweet potato curry pie with mash, gravy and crispy onions or I might try the vegan fried chicken in a wrap with fresh salad. I might also eat the quinoa and vegetable bowl, or I might look at the glazed fried doughnuts, there really isn’t a limit to what vegans can eat, it’s just something people make up in their imagination.” (Sophie McLean)
Fat Gay Vegan: Eat, Drink and Live Like You Give a Sh!t, by Sean O’Callaghan, is published by Nourish Books, priced £8.99
Emma Louise Connolly: She usually turns up in the papers because she happens to be romantically linked with Made in Chelsea’s Ollie Proudfoot (here at The Herald Magazine we, of course, don’t know who that is).
But the fact is Emma Louise Connolly is making her own dreams a reality. Originally from Dunblane, she graduated from Herriot Watt University with a degree in Fashion Design & Manufacturing.
But the biggest steps she has made in the fashion industry so far is as a model. She has already worked with L’Oréal, Nike, Armani, and Charlotte Tilbury. And that’s just for starters.
Eilidh Alexander: Discovered by the Colours modelling agency on social media, 17-year-old Eilidh Alexander is in her final year at school and has already appeared in Edward Ennifu’s inaugural December issue of British Vogue. From Renfrewshire she is planning to model full-time this year before returning to further education in 2019 to study medicine.
Natasha Luwedde: Another new face in December’s Vogue, Natasha Luwedde is Burundi-born but Paisley-based. She has already worked with Nick Knight, Dolce & Gabbana and V Magazine She also has a degree in pharmacology. (TJ)
EVENTS: Year of Young People 2018
Following on from recent celebrations of homecoming, food and drink, architecture and design, history, heritage and archaeology, 2018 has been designated Scotland’s Year of Young People.
The idea is to showcase a raft of fun-filled festivals and family-friendly days out with the onus on the younger generation (and young at heart). Events range from adrenalin-packed adventures in the great outdoors to poetry slams, theatre and folk music performances.
Aberdeen will host the World Junior Curling Championships 2018 from March 3-10. (SS)
Visit yoyp2018.scot and visitscotland.com
FICTION: Kerry Andrew
Kerry Andrew first came to the west of Scotland when she was 10. It was the last family holiday before her parents divorced. She remembers it for that reason. That and the fact that the land around Spean Bridge was the wildest country she had ever seen.
She didn’t return for another 10 years. “And since then I just feel I’ve had this little love affair with the area around Ardnamurchan and Fort William, down to Oban and up to the islands. I feel like I have to go there once a year, or something is wrong.
“I usually take the train from Glasgow and I can never get over how ridiculously dramatic it is and yet it’s part of our mainland. There’s nothing like it. And you have to take the wilderness and the bad weather and the midges because that’s all part of it.”
It’s a landscape that haunts Andrew’s imagination and, now, her debut novel Swansong, a dark, glittering, contemporary take on the traditional folk song Molly Bawn that frames heart-bruised emotion in tactile prose.
It reads: “Nearly eleven and still not totally dark. I could just about see the loch’s tapered beginnings over to my left, before it stretched and got swallowed up by the hills and the rain on its way out to sea on my right. I imagined plucking the loch up like a big, porny silk sheet, leaving a load of fish flailing on the mud floor.”
Andrew gives us words that sings. Not so surprising, perhaps, given that music is the thing she has always done. She is both a contemporary classical composer and an alt-folk singer (under the moniker You Are the Wolf). As of this month she can add novelist to the CV.
Basically, Kerry, you’re a bit of a show-off, aren’t you? “I love being onstage and I love performing,” she tells me from her “semi-tidy” study in her south London home, surrounded by paper and books and a keyboard and pipes and electronic hardware.
“But I also like squirrelling myself away and just work on creative thing sometimes. So, I like to show off, but not all the time.”
Nothing wrong with a show-off who’s got something to show. And Andrew certainly has that. Swansong is another impressive string in an already bulging quiver.
This year she’s working on a children’s piece with the children’s novelist Laura Dockrill for the Wigmore Hall, developing a near-future opera about witch-hunting that is also to do with Brexit alongside singer and writer Jessica Walker and she’s going to be a judge on BBC4’s Young Musician of the Year.
Other than that, there’s a second novel to be getting on with and a second You Are the Wolf album out later this spring.
It’s a mix and match creative existence but maybe that’s inevitable in this post-Spotify world. “Composers have always drawn on everything they heard. Debussy at the end of the 19th century was introduced to music from the far east and used it in his music.
“We are the generation that has the most access via the internet to all different types of music. I think it’s in a composer’s nature to want to be inspired by everything.”
For Swansong she was inspired by the folk song Molly Bawn. The first time she heard it performed was by bluegrass and country singer Alison Krauss with the Chieftains. “It was quite a glossy version, but the story is stark and powerful.”
That said, it was a more supernatural, ghostly version of the Molly Bawn story she heard while visiting Loch Sunart that really intrigued her and prompted her to start Swansong.
At its heart is her main character, a wild 20-year-old called Polly. “She’s far more rock and roll than I was at her age,” says Andrew who is herself at the fag end of her thirties. “I was probably throwing things in that when I was her age I was wishing I was doing but didn’t.
“How’s she like me? She swears a lot and I like to swear.”
Andrew herself is 39, blue-haired (though it’s fading, she says). Originally from Buckinghamshire, she went to York University and once taught at the Brit School (Adele was one of her students) and now is a talent worth studying.
And when she’s not creating? “I swim outdoors. When I go anywhere in the UK I have my cossie with me. There’s a real adrenalin kick to cold water. It can give you a little glow all day.” (TJ)
Swansong by Kerry Andrew is published by Jonathan Cape on January 25, priced £14.99