Flying whales, musical sloths and the boy who never grew up

You know you’re in the presence of an artist when the business card they hand you looks something like this. “It’s a sloth playing a banjo,” Neil Slorance points out helpfully. Seated in his studio/bedroom in Glasgow’s Southside, it looks as though the entire imaginative contents of Neil’s mind have exploded onto the four walls …

World Health Summit 2013

Today will go down as one of the most memorable days of my life. The day I was granted a surprise workshop with the Pulitzer Centre Crisis Reporting team. The day I dined with presidents and world leaders and had tea with more Nobel Prize Laureates than I have ever seen in one room. The day …

At the going down of the sun we will remember them

Scots soldiers are to unveil a memorial built with their own hands to honour the bagpipers and drummers who have lost their lives in conflict. After a summer spent planting and hewing stones into place, the soldiers at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming in Colinton are set to open a memorial …

The price of online freedom

Love it or loath it we are now in a digital world. Where once we checked the sky for rain, we now tap on our android weather apps and the scratching hiss of vinyl has been replaced by the spinning download button on iTunes. Prior to World War One those of us with the most …

Glasgow Graffiti

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.”  ― Banksy, Wall and Piece You can bet your Banksy that when the very first caveman picked up that first charred bit of wood by the burning glow …

Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2013

The Fringe is back! I popped along to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo preview last night to see it in and what an incredible performance it was. Check out the photo highlights from the night and look out for Cruachan the pony mascot making his debut appearance. He did very well for his first time, though …

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela

Memories are such odd things aren’t they? The older you get the more frayed they become, like the torn edge of a butterfly’s wing. The longer you try to hold onto them, the more likely they are to disintegrate, unravelling like gossamer thread until you’re left with a blurred watercolour where the vivid oil painted …

A soldier’s farewell

You can go through it a thousand times but you never get used to saying goodbye, especially when it has to be said to your husband, your brother, or even your son.  At the soldier’s barracks in Edinburgh, in a squat building which serves as their mess hall, hands are being held tightly while eyes …

A letter to six year-old Me – 20 plus years later

Dear Laura You think fairies live at the bottom of the garden. You know this to be true because your best friend Leigh told you so. You also believe that when you run fast enough and jump in the air you definitely hover for a second or two before landing. Despite all scientific evidence pointing …

Searching for Yulia

Her brown eyes and soft smile have hung from lampposts and billboards for weeks yet, as her graduation day dawns, those closest to missing Yulia Solodyankina have vowed not to give up hope of finding their friend. Today would have been the young physics student’s graduation ceremony at the University of Edinburgh. The dancer, from …

Built on the blood and sweat of men

Just before dawn the men rise, the fumes of whisky from the night before still lingering on their breath. Ill-shod and bleary-eyed, they gather by the ridges of the canals they are paid to dig. For a few pence a day they descend in their hundreds, using buckets and shovels to shift tonnes of heavy, …

Clipperton: the spirit of adventure

Just over a year ago, on the wind-swept shores of Mexico’s Pacific Coast, a young woman from Glasgow stood in the surf and looked out towards the horizon. Only 24 hours before, she’d been in Antarctica, one of the coldest and most impenetrable places on earth. A place where, in the Autumn, the Southern Polar …

Edinburgh Cup photo highlights

If there was a sudden shortage in the country’s tweed supplies today, it might be due to what was possibly the entire nation’s collection of tweed jackets flocking to Musselburgh for the races. Flirting in great abundance with elbow patches, feathered hats, bow ties and Pimm’s, the East showed her more refined side today for …

The search for the Edinburgh handbag bomber

Scrambling up a stony path in the dead of night, her long skirts catching round her ankles, a woman climbed up Blackford Hill with a bomb in her handbag. One hundred years ago this week, in the early hours of May 21, she crept up to the esteemed Royal Observatory, placed a clay vessel packed …

Queen Margaret University costume showcase

From small wooden puppets searching for humanity to six foot grasshoppers who like to live in giant peaches, it’s a fairy tale world of inspiration out there for our city’s young designers. And this year it seems the students from Queen Margaret University have traversed through all of it. With flowing silk dresses from Peter Panand …

Diamonds in the Dark

“Just because you are poor or living in poverty, doesn’t mean you can’t dream big or possess a rich soul.” The woman on the screen smiles a small, shy smile but her words carry straight through the camera and out into the wide absorbent silence that only a few hundred expectant ears-in-waiting can create. She …

Granny Nobbs turns 90 with daredevil ride

If you happened to be out on the motorway last Sunday and caught a flash of silver dash by you at top speed on a motorbike, it was probably Granny Nobbs. Proving quite literally that turning 90 does not mean you have to slow down, Dorothy Nobbs – known as Daredevil Dot to her family …

Building bridges to the stars

For athletes it might be winning an Olympic gold. For mountaineers it could be that final ascent of Everest or for tennis stars that ultimate grand slam title. But for those not in the know, the ultimate dream of astronomers is to build a really, really big telescope. “It was to be called the Overwhelming Large Telescope,” …

Inked in the city

For centuries they’ve marked the skin of warriors and tribal kings. Tearing into the flesh of their arms and faces with burning wood, they filled their wounds with dark ink in a message to their enemies, their families and their gods. Quite what they’d think of One Directionstar Louis Tomlinson’s latest teacup tattoothen leaves much space for …