Ken Loach – all his films ranked! 

From his groundbreaking dramas of the 60s, through the early-90s resurgence to the unexpected box office successes of recent years, we assess the director’s output

My Name Is Joe (1998)

Loach didn’t exactly discover Peter Mullan, who had been bobbing about for years – and had even played one of the builders in Riff-Raff (see below) – but he gave him a tremendous showcase in what turned out to be the finest of Loach’s Scotland-set films. Mullan plays the classic Loachian male: struggling with demons, hoping to be redeemed by love but dragged down by misplaced loyalties. It’s Mullan’s charisma that puts this one over the top, both ferocious and tender as the film requires it [ . . . ]

See all 1-50 at THE GUARDIAN: Ken Loach – all his films ranked! | Film | The Guardian

Advertisements

New off-road cycle route links England and Scotland

The 800-mile “Great North Trail” goes between the Peak District and the far north coast of Scotland.

The Great North Trail links the Peak District to Scotland’s most northerly mainland points for the first time.

About 98% of the route is on existing off-road cycle routes, forest roads and low traffic minor roads.

The trail’s path through Scotland takes in picturesque areas such as the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, Loch Ness and Cape Wrath.

Cycling UK said it had developed the route, which only traverses about 16 miles of busier roads, in response to demand from cyclists for greater access to the countryside on routes largely away from traffic.

Duncan Dollimore, the organisation’s head of campaigns, said: “We’ve created the Great North Trail because we recognised very little has been done to promote national off-road trails.

“For example, plans to extend the Pennine Bridleway to Scotland were published 20 years ago, but still haven’t been implemented.

“And yet we know there is an appetite for more cycling access to the countryside as off-road trails can be ideal for families to ride safely, away from traffic and city pollution.” [ . . . ]

Continue at: New off-road cycle route links England and Scotland – BBC News

Karine Polwart at Fala Moor

Season 1 Episode 2: Karine was named Folk Singer of the Year at the 2018 Radio 2 Folk Awards. Her solo theatre piece “Wind Resistance” and album “A Pocket of Wind Resistance” were inspired by Fala Moor near her home in Midlothian just south of Edinburgh. She takes Matthew for a walk across the Moor which is a haven for wildlife, particularly birds. As she sings you can hear skylarks and curlews flying around her. Karine tells stories of the people who lived near the moor and the monastic hospital which stood nearby where pioneering herbal treatments were invented. And she reflects on n her own life journey from social worker dealing with survivors of domestic violence to award winning folk singer.

Karine Polwart

Theatre review: Rowan Rheingans: “Dispatches on the Red Dress”

Undramatic yet utterly spellbinding singing and narration. Picture: Contributed.

Rowan Rheingans treads a circular path round a stage, evoking the route she takes when walking round the village in Germany where her grandparents still live.

Rowan Rheingans: Dispatches on the Red Dress, Scottish Storytelling Centre (Venue 30) * * * * *

Rheingans is a notable name amid the recent generation of English folk-revivalists, and this deeply personal piece of one-woman musical theatre, co-written with Liam Hurley, sees her deftly reach for fiddle, viola, banjo or a gently reverberating electric guitar to unspool the story of the titular dress Rheingans’s great-grandmother made her grandmother to go to a dance, and of the village’s collective experience during and after the Second World War.

She evokes the youthful excitement of the dance, pirouetting gently about the stage, but gradually the wartime and post-war experience of the village, with its “field of misery”, emerges, unfolding along with that dress.

Rheingans is a persuasively clear teller of songs (her songwriting won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award in 2016), accompanying herself with unobtrusive ease and judiciously deploying electronic looping that leaves notes hanging and fading behind her words, or introduces a glorious chorus of birdsong, as the bitterly inglorious history of the field becomes clear, recalling how her grandfather, on his way to school, would cycle hurriedly past the stacked dead.

All these things emerge unhurriedly through Rheingans’s undramatic yet utterly spellbinding singing and narration. History is brought up to date as her grandparents recall how, in the face of Nazism, they sang the old, forbidden songs in their home and covertly took provisions to their neighbours who were barred from visiting the local shops; yet on the other hand, they in turn express their anxieties at the “new faces” appearing in Germany, the old distrust of The Other.

But there remain glimmers of hope amid the darkness: the village and its legions of ghosts may be laden with unspeakable sorrow, but there is still dancing. And as the red dress’s true origin unfolds, the revelation will leave you quietly breathless.

Source: Theatre review: Rowan Rheingans: Dispatches on the Red Dress, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh

Politics and pop music: Folk singer Karine Polwart celebrates crashing the UK top ten charts

 

Karine Polwart is one of Scotland’s most celebrated folk singers, but it’s her album of famous pop hits ‘Scottish Songbook’ which has finally made it into the UK top ten.

Inspired by Scotland’s political landscape, Polwart has chosen covers with a theme of resiliance and resistance.

From issues like domestic abuse to Scottish independence, the album gives new meaning, she says, to existing songs.

Watch the Interview: Politics and pop music: Folk singer Karine Polwart celebrates crashing the UK top ten charts