Alexander Millar is a scottish artist who creates painting on Scotlands working man , he says in an interveiw he bases his art on working men that he grew up around in the 1960s who worked in industries like the Glasgow shipbuilding and mining and all wore caps , and that his art is a tribute and remberence to them. I read an article about him in the Scotsman back in January but it was not I stumbled upon his art on Google images that I realised that was who it was.
I’m not hugely into Art myself and don’t have much knowledge on the subject (If any knowledge on the subject) but as I’ve matured as a writer I’ve found that I also wan’t to base my work on industrial Scotland as it’s where I’ve grown up and have the most knowledge and connection to , so I look for any other art forms that have had the same idea as me and managed to do this , and Andrew captures the fine details so well it does take your breath away a little. I think also as I don’t have much knowledge of art it almost makes it better as you look at these paintings in complete ignorance and wonder how anyone can have the skill to create something so beautiful.
My favourite (that I saw on google images) probably has to be this one. The colours give it quite a rustic haunting effect , and I think there was something quite sadening about the polluted river in the picture that struck me. Also the whole picture seems quite ghostly with only the houses and one man cycling away in the distance and the dark shadowy colours. To me it almost symbolises present day scotland , as most of our industries have closed down and we kinda now live amongst an industrial wasteland which is what I took from this picture.
I think this one is his most famous repspectably so. I love the detail in this picture like the leaning telephone pole and factory chimneys in the background. Also the fact that all the men have fags hanging out their mouths and almost look identical highlights their identiy and position in society. I also love the warm colours in this picture which contrasts with the mens clothing and the way they all are looking at the ground perhaps reveals how hard they worked or maybe it’s even an expression of sadness or hoplessness as this could be them walking home perhaps even for the last time.
This one is called “Take The High Road”. I love the bridge in this picture as our bridges are such a huge part of Scottish Identity. The man in this photo could also be a tribute to those men who built the bridges. I’m not sure what the steps in this photo mean or the man standing at the top of them the picture itself is called “Take The High Road” so perhaps by him putting the man at the top of the steps it’s almost showing how big a contribution this man and men like him made to Scotland and how big a contribution Scotlands industry made to the world.
Like many of your average scots I am a supporter of the Yes movement. Despite my criticism of the SNP I would firmly tick the Yes box as I believe every country should be entitled to govern itself. However, the main reason I am so critical of the SNP is because a lot of scots tend to put a halo around the party. You have to remember their a political Party. They sit in a nice cosy parliament suited and booted sipping on their lattes and filling in paperwork. They are not revolutionaries. Nicola Sturgeon is not marching the streets proclaiming that you put down your tools and don’t go to work until you have a pay rise, or screaming in landlords faces about rent charges and homelessness, or peering through everyone’s window to make sure that all social housing is comfortable and safe and a decent place to live. She is not walking into every school in Scotland and making sure the less well off pupils are building the future they deserve and getting to sit the exams they should be , she is not walking into hostels and foodbanks and apologising to all the people who use them. They make mistakes!!!! They have flaws!!! They have ignorance’s!!! They can consciously be deceitful and neglectful like any other government!!!! They exist in a capitalist country, their not heroes they have not made our country perfect of even progressed it much since they have been in power. Right at this present moment in Holyrood they WILL be neglecting something or pulling money from some Scottish service.
The reason I say this is because even though I support the Yes movement. I voted for a labour candidate in the council elections to govern my local area. The reason being Is simply I believe they will do the best job. The county where I live has always been a labour strong hold, this year labour have still remained in power over our community. Which I’m happy about as I believe they will do the best job. My fear is that everyone is jumping ship on socialism for the idealistic idea of nationalism. We’re abandoning are past , abandoning the radicalism of Red Clydeside and any radicalism of any sort. We look up to Nicola Sturgeon as a feminist figure. But we forget our history we forget some of the first female political figures like Mary Barbour who was one of the first female councillors and formed the woman’s housing association. She fought tirelessly against rent increases and helped stage protests to stop woman being evicted from their homes while their men were at war ( The police and Government supported these evictions) and helped push for some of the first social housing in Scotland after WW1.
Coming from a family of firm labour supporters it does feel almost disloyal to completely abandon the labour party. It seems Socialism and radicalism are almost turning a bit old school in Scotland with a lot of the youth supporting the SNP. Yes you could argue things have changed now Red Clydeside was before thatcher for example and it’s understandable why we would want away from are supposed friends the English who closed down all of our industry and thrust half of Scotland into dismal poverty , and who now still keep Scotland weak , oppressed and suffering.
Yet in among all the Support for the Yes and fierce defence of it , it does seem a shame that , that has forced us to turn are back on socialism and our more rebellious roots.
I recently started to listen to the album Puzzle by Biffy Clyro whilst I was on holiday and so far I’ve enjoyed it very much. It is one of Biffy Clyros older albums (Released in 2007) although personally I find I enjoy a lot of artists earlier albums the most and this is definitely the case with this album. I don’t know why this is? Perhaps it’s because a lot of earlier art is more raw and stripped back , or the artist isn’t holding themseves to anything (and it probably hasn’t had as much money and easthetics poured into it) , earlier work always seems more natrual and of a higher quality in my experience anyway. A lot of the songs in this album were soft rock with simple lyrics and the whole thing seemed to fit together very nice and tidily (Almost like a puzzle)
My favourite song off the album is folding stars. Mostly because the tune and lyrics have been ratling around my head since I first listened to it and this is usually a sign of a good song.
Next would have to be “Get Fucked Stud” this song has a little bit more heavy cords although I love the bit near the end when the guitar builds up and he just sings “Get Fucked Stud !!” really loud it resonates with me on a deep level as theres a lot of things and people in my life I feel this way about hehe. 🙂
The last song I love off this album is “Machines”. I actually started listening to this song last year around this time it’s such a nice gentle song which reminds you to appreciate life and I don’t think you can listen to it without it touching you.
I put both of these up because the audio version and the music video version of this song sounds different so you can decide which one you like better. 🙂
Over the tarmac hill we rumble
Amongst the sea of rapeseed fields.
With hunched backs and crinkled smiles
Hopeless silhouettes collected together on dampened bus seats.
Kirkcaldy lies just ahead
A town stood amongst the remains of coal dust.
Where once there was a promise of wealth for all
Hope Snuffed from the everyday man
by the bitter dead end of industry.
Cracks plastered over in the digital stream
A future generation of idle idealists
Deluded to the mess.
Under the arch we stoop in our stuffy double decker Skelton.
Through the moulded edged window, you can glance
At where Sea field used to sit.
The resting coal dust lies beneath
A housing estate for the destitute rich.
Yet the warm glow spreads from stranger’s eyes
To disguise the dampened corners.
and sooth the ever-closing fears that linger
under blue tinted finger nails.
Ian Rankin Dead Souls is admittedly the first book I’ve read this year. Yes, I know that’s quite bad but this book was a bit of a slog to get through. Ian Rankins great prose allowed me enough stamina to finish it cover to cover though which I’m quite proud of. However, in all honesty, the plot of this book I found just slightly confusing. Usually if a writer’s style is disengaging It’ll put me off a book, but Ian Rankins Prose is so engaging and humorous he could literally write about drying paint and I would still read it. Dead Souls is the tenth Inspector Rebus Novel the follow up book after his most popular break through sensation Black and Blue. I think throughout reading this book I was perhaps guilty of comparing it to Black and Blue and it may have affected my enjoyment of it. As the annoying thing about great writers like Ian Rankin who write huge series is you always end up comparing their work to other work they have produced and sometimes not everything is as strong, yet individually it is compared to other writers.
The book centres around the theme of paedophilia which is a sensitive issue in itself and hard to enjoy reading about although I respect Ian Rankin as a writer for not shying away from these topics. The book starts off in the setting of a Zoo when Rebus spies Darren rough an old convicted paedophile he recognises. He then pursues Rough and it gets taken to court. In court Rebus is shown up as Rough has served his sentence and is no longer guilty so inspector rebus had no reason to chase him. Flaws like this prop up throughout the book as Rebus is worn down after a recent accident involving his daughter that left her paralysed. This makes him appear more vulnerable in this book. The book also involves the theme of Suicide and starts on an unsteady foot after the suicide of Jim Margolies a colleague of Inspector Rebuses In the police force. His suicide is out of the blue so the question runs throughout the book of wither it was suicide or murder. Darren Rough was also one of the last people to see Jim Stevens alive so we are very suspicious of Rough. Rough Is one of the main characters in the book. He has been brought into the local area Rebus Works in, in Edinburgh because of a case involving his own abuse that he went through as a child in care. This makes the reader have mixed feelings towards him and its interesting how Rankin always creates such controversial characters that are never easy for the reader to have black and white good/bad feelings towards. In turn making his characters appear more human and their actions have more shades of grey and be more realistic raising the question in the mind of the reader of can horrific crimes ever be justified? Darren rough is housed in a council flat near a kid’s playground and Rebus leaks this information to the press. Another slip we witness from Rebus. Residents in his housing block find out about Roughs identify and become angered. Knowing their fears over Darren Rough will be ignored by the authorities they take matters into their own hands and witch hunt Rough smashing his windows and smearing shit on his door and harbouring the desire to kill him. This again makes the reader have slight controversial sympathy towards Rough. Rebus then has to make up for his actions and allows Rough to stay in the safety of his flat. However not long after this Rough goes missing and is later found Murdered (Spoiler Alert!!)
Quite a few murders and suspicious Deaths Happen Throughout the book.
- Jim Margolies
- Darren Rough
- An old case of a girl (A niece of Alan Archibald)
Alan Archibald is another character who comes into the book, and is investigating the murder of his niece and suspects Carry Oaks of being the murder. Carry oaks is the main antagonist of the book and the one suspected of murdering Rough and Alan Archibald’s niece. (Note: A lot of the main dramatic scenes involving these characters happen in the last part of the book and we find out what happened to everyone so it really is worth holding on even if the middle of the book did dip a little.)
Another Dramatic part of the book happens when Rebus Is away in cardenden visiting an old girlfriend from school Janice. (Throughout the book, we get a few scenes of nostalgia over Rebuses old life this could perhaps be with him getting older) When he returns his house has been broken into and white paint written on his walls saying “his girl cop murdered oaks” this is unsettling as Rebuses partner patience was in the house at the time.
At the end of the book Oak ends up murdering Alan Archibald because he is investigating him. This is a foreseen tragedy as Rebus was there at the time as they had walked up to the hills where Alan Archibald’s niece was murdered believing oaks was going to give them information but instead leads the into a trap. This is another flaw of Rebus as usually he would have prevented this, but it makes him seem like a flesh and blood human who makes mistakes. In the last two chapters of the book, the story is resolved. There is another battle of between oaks and Rebus and oaks gets caught in the end although he gets very close to murdering Rebus. We also find out the Suicide of Jim Margolise had to do with incest as his father had caused the suicide of his sister as a child due to abusing her, and his father had also abused Rough. Jim Margolis was so terrified of having the desire to abuse his own daughter that he killed himself. Oaks also was one of the ones who abused rough and is the one who murders him as he becomes scared that he is going to say something as they are investigating his childhood abuse. Over all it’s quite a good book and I think I grasped most of it if I didn’t I think that may be because I’m a weak reader and not because of the writer himself. I would suggest giving it a go though and definitely Highly recommend Ian Rankins books. (Although it wasn’t as good as Black and Blue in my opinion but still very good)
“Men liked to have their little secrets and tell their little lies. They liked to have a sense of illicit.”
“It was all shit Jim, remember that till the day you die”
“That’s how it is these days Rebus no one gives a shit”
I’ve decided I want to produce a poem for everyday in July in an aim to write more. Hope you enjoy.
1st Of July
I walked the paths of the Glen at three o’clock
Through the shadows of the trees.
Up towards the towers of the abbey
And the tired Cobbled streets.
I’m becoming a woman
I feel it in my bones.
The gnawing fear.
The mission of self-preservation from the sharp edged cold.
The constant battle for survival that haunts the old.
Knots and Crosses Is the first book in the Inspector Rebus Series by Ian Rankin. The book is mainly used as an introduction to the main character Inspector Rebus whom we follow throughout the series. The Series are popular for Ian’s masterful depiction of reality. He manages to successfully dig beneath the surface of Scotland’s facades and create a gritty picture of Scotland’s underclass and reveal its flaws.
The stories are told through Rebuses eyes. As a detective, he has access to some of the most chilling crimes and settings and we see some of the harsh truths of Scotland from his perspective. The personality of his character is important. He is not a character that a reader can easily fall in love with he can be grumpy, callous and perhaps even stoic at some points. He suffers from person flaws such as being a divorcee maintaining a weak relationship with his daughter and suffering from alcohol abuse. Despite this we trust as the characters flaws make him appear more human.
The plot of the book centres around young girls going missing and getting murdered in Edinburgh. The reader is given an insight into Inspector Rebuses past before his life in the police force when he is put under hypnosis by his brother Michael. We discover that Inspector Rebus used to be in the SAS and was captured as a prisoner of war and tortured by being placed in solitary confident. After escaping he suffered a breakdown and left to join the police force. We discover that this has a relation to the kidnappings and the main antagonist in the book was also in solitary confinement with Rebus in the SAS. The book climaxes at the end when Inspector Rebuses own daughter Sammy is kidnapped. The kidnapper is framing as an innocent role of librarian and this is how he is gaining access to the young girl’s identity’s.
Overall the book is an exciting short introduction to the series and the adventures of Inspector Rebus which are yet to come……