Fashion preview: Nightwalk SS2012 @ The Arches, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (1 May), 8pm, £10, The Arches, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 565 1000. www.thearches.co.uk

From the drainpiped hipsters scampering around at the dead of night, to the suited and booted commuters on their morning trains – Glasgow knows how to dress. What’s more, the city’s world class School of Art and proud engineering history suggest that designing stuff comes just as naturally. Now if you put these qualities together, what do you get?

No, not a lazy introduction, but Nightwalk – the independent fashion showcase that’s returning to The Arches this evening.

All the glamour unfolds in just a few hours, when some of the country’s most innovative designers will be hanging their latest threads on a fleet of new models before a privileged crowd. Scottish Fashion Award nominees Obscure Couture, Isolated Heroes, Bonnie Bling, Jennie Lööf and Dawntroversial Shoes are among those parading their spring/summer ranges in a full catwalk show.

‘Nightwalk is the only chance to see some truly amazing collections in the flesh,’ said event organiser Angie Koorbanally.

‘There’ll be headwear, accessories, bespoke shoes, kilts, corsets, couture dresses and menswear on display – so hopefully something for everyone to enjoy!’

Supported by Buchanan Street’s Sassoon Saloon, the show includes music from electro/Italo Disco queen Ursula, and, to round things off particularly well, guests will receive complimentary chocolate by Number One Chocolate Factory as they sit bedazzled from the side of the runway. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

See, high fashion does exist outside the bubble of narcissistic socialites in London, New York, Paris and Milan. As Nightwalk demonstrates, it’s very much in the fabric of how Glasgow expresses itself – and if that’s not a good reason to head down to this celebrated venue tonight, then I really don’t know what is.


Event preview: Haircuts By Children @ Alice Rocks Hairdressers, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tomorrow and Sunday (28/29 April), 1-5pm, FREE (book ahead), Alice Rocks Hairdressers, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 565 1000. www.thearches.co.uk

Mad Mike wasn't actually crazy - he just liked cutting off all your hair. Quickly. I mean, this barber would barely even grunt a greeting before he'd start aggressively positioning your barnet for either a 'slick skinhead' or a 'classic crew cut'. There were no other styles.

I started cutting my own after Mad Mike sold up and left town - with arguably better results - though something happening this weekend might just tempt me back into the chair.

Haircuts By Children does exactly what it says on the tin. It's presented by Toronto-based collective Mammalian Diving Reflex, and explores the trust we place in kids as creative and competent individuals.

Following a week of training, a group of ten-year-olds will be getting scissor-happy at hairdressing salon Alice Rocks (on Gibson Street) in this free participatory experience that playfully engages with the vanity of adults and the enfranchisement of youngsters.

The event marks the end of The Arches' Behaviour festival, which has welcomed an array of exciting live performances to Glasgow over the past eight weeks.

So whether it's a Morrissey quiff or a pixie cut you're after, you may be surprised at what these little guys can do.


Music preview: State Of The Union @ The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Tonight (25 April), 7pm, £12.50, The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 556 7060. www.thevoodoorooms.com

VIDEO: State Of The Union - Distant Memory (State Of The Union, 2012)

Our relationship with Americans is not always, let’s say, special. We’re offended by their arrogance; they don’t like our teeth. But really, we share very similar customs, speak the same language, and work a hell of a lot better together than apart.

Helpfully illustrating this last point is a musical collaboration that’s taking the folk-country world by storm.

Comprised of cult English singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine and Georgia-born blues guitarist Brooks Williams, State of the Union’s charming vocals, slick instrumentation and evocative lyrics are a testament to Western roots music.

The duo’s eponymous debut album – recorded in Glasgow – went down well on both sides of the pond upon its release earlier this month.

Tonight, on a tour of many intimate venues across this fair land, they visit Edinburgh’s The Voodoo Rooms. So order a whisky, or a bourbon, and open your ears to the transatlantic magic on offer here.


Arts preview: Kieran Hurley: BEATS @ The Arches, Glasgow AND Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Tonight (18 April) until Sunday (22 April), Wed/Fri/Sat 9pm, Thur 7pm, Sun 2pm, £11 (concessions £8), The Arches, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 565 1000. www.thearches.co.uk

AND next Wednesday (25 April) until next Saturday (28 April), Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 228 1404/226 2666. www.traverse.co.uk

We weren’t all ravers in the early 1990s. Hell, I was still pretty wobbly on my feet when acid house was emerging – so I’m way too young to recall how a controversial piece of legislation impacted this generation.

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994 gave police the power to disperse public gatherings where amplified music ‘characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats’ was played. In short, it made raves illegal.

Tonight, a new monologue piece – written and performed by Kieran Hurley with Arches resident DJ Johnny Whoop – focuses on this clampdown and explores the energy of young crowds.

Part of The Arches’ Behaviour festival that finishes next weekend, Beats enhances our collective memory of this celebrated era through storytelling and techno, and is an absolute must for anyone who’s passionate about music.


Theatre preview: The Silence of Bees @ Lush, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tonight (12 April) until Saturday (14 April), 7pm & 8.30pm, £11 (concessions £8), Lush, Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 565 1000. www.thearches.co.uk

You know, creativity knows no bounds. It’s true; although our shared human experiences of art tend to occur in galleries or theatres, artistic expressions themselves are largely ignorant of a particular time or place.

They can happen here, there, or somewhere you’d least expect – like in Lush on Sauchiehall Street, it seems.

Yes, rather ironically appearing at a retail outlet frequented by unimaginative gift buyers is a stand-out highlight of The Arches’ unique Behaviour festival.

Continuing for three nights is Stef Smith’s The Silence Of Bees – an intimate piece about a trio of female beekeepers.

This award-winning writer and director delicately explores the unspoken words, secret lives and entwining memories of her characters, while conveying the ecological importance of the little flying insects they deal with in their jobs.

Since the beginning of March, Behaviour’s programme of essential live performance has seen a rich variety of Scottish and international talent take their shows not only to The Arches stage, but also to shops, museums, parks and streets around Glasgow.

We’re truly fortunate to be able to enjoy one-of-a-kind gems like this cropping up until 29 April, when the festival’s eight-week run ends. Fringe? What Fringe?


'Looking for the right sort of place'

I was driving east, I remember that much. But I still can’t really remember why. I knew she’d kill me if she knew I was out. I’d left her in bed, you see. She didn’t want me to leave the house like that, not on the day Mike and Louise were coming to stay. It meant a lot to her. It meant a lot to both of us. She wanted to keep an eye on me, is what I’m trying to say.

Anyway, I’m driving east, following this minor road. It’s more like a dirt track, actually, winding past all the fields. Then I go on through this open gate and find myself at a car boot sale. I’m like 'what the fuck?', but I figure that while I’m here, I’ll buy a case of beer. Right? So I wander around looking for the right sort of place, and there she is. With Mike. She’s standing next to him, and he’s got his big hand around her waist. And he looks great.

The worst thing about the whole experience was that he was buying her one of those baked potatoes, with as many toppings as she wanted. Why didn’t I ever do that for her? I couldn’t tell you how long I was stood there, just looking at them. The breeze brought out pimples on my skin.

So I got my beers and left, and when I got home I called Louise right away.


Music preview: Glasvegas @ The Classic Grand, Glasgow

Published by METRO

Tomorrow (5 April), 7pm, £16.50 (returns only), The Classic Grand, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 847 0820. http://www.classicgrand.com

VIDEO: Glasvegas - Geraldine (Glasvegas, 2008)

You’ve probably stopped to ponder a few ‘what ifs’ on your way to work over the years. What would your life be like now if you’d caught the attention of a football scout after scoring THAT free-kick for your town’s under-12 team? Or if the band you played bass in at university managed to win a recording contract and hit the big time?

Step forward James Allan, who’s achieved both these dreams in his relatively short time on the planet.

That’s right – he was a half-decent winger for Queen’s Park, Dumbarton, and a host of other professional clubs in the Scottish Football League, but he’s also performed to millions of fans worldwide as the frontman of indie rock group Glasvegas.

So was he simply born into the right circles, and given these opportunities by powerful people his parents knew?

No way. Even just a cursory listen to his sharply observed lyrics, delivered with a deeply moving vocal style, confirms that nothing but his own passion has opened the doors in his life.

Together with his cousin Rab Allan (lead guitar), Paul Donoghue (bass) and Jonna Löfgren (drums), Glasvegas’s epic, anthemic sound evokes the raw qualities of Pulp, Suede, and The Smiths.

The four-piece has toured relentlessly since its platinum-selling eponymous debut album first flew off the shelves in 2008, and the band members are clearly buzzing about returning for an intimate gig back in their home city.

‘Almost back in Glesga. Yaldy!’ they recently tweeted.

Surely you don’t want to give yourself another ‘what if’ to contemplate by missing this show tomorrow night. Go on, get down to The Classic Grand. You owe it to yourself.

Theatre preview: For Once @ Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Tonight (4 April) until next Saturday (14 April), 7.30pm (matinees Saturday 2.30pm), £15-£17 (concessions £6-£13), Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. Tel: 0131 228 1404. www.traverse.co.uk

In the theatre, less can be more. As some new works experiment with audio or visual devices, others find success by putting all their faith in the basics: good actors, and a good script.

This piece falls defiantly into the latter category. Breasting the finishing tape at the end of a successful UK spring tour, For Once stages its Scottish premiere at the Traverse tonight.

The play, which takes place in the home of a troubled family, conveys compassion with a curious mix of humour and heartache.

Through a series of entwining monologues, we learn how an unthinkable tragedy has affected a teenage boy, his parents, and their community.

For Once is presented by Shropshire-based theatre company Pentabus, directed by the Traverse’s artistic director Orla O’Loughlin, and written by Tim Price – who was recently nominated for an Olivier Award.

Productions like this prove you don’t need to be flashy to put on a great show these days. So thank goodness it’s not as fleeting as its title suggests, and instead continues at this fine Edinburgh venue for more than a week.


'Never late'

I've been a little quiet about my creative writing in the past 12 months or so. My progress on a novel has been staggered, for a variety of reasons, but in recent weeks I've been working on a short story for this year's Bridport Prize. This isn't it - I won't be allowed to publish my entry in any form or else be disqualified from the competition - but it's something.

'Never late'

The boy looks at CDs in a shop. An independent one, on the outskirts of the city.

At the same time, the boy’s mother is sobbing. She’s sat in a car on a motorway, just sobbing.

‘He’ll be alright, won’t he?’ she says to her husband, who is driving. ‘Maybe we should go back for him!’

He says: ‘Rachel.’ He looks into the wing mirror and changes gear.

‘Listen, he won’t be waiting there for long. You know his taxi, never late,’ he says.

‘We’ve had this time arranged for weeks now. It’s not our fault. It’s his dad’s.’

She tries to imagine the boy in the shop. He’s eleven, getting into music, so he’ll be happy in the shop, she thinks.

The husband turns the heating on and gets the wipers going. He puts his hand on her thigh, but doesn’t look at her, as the raindrops race each other down the windscreen.