Arts preview: Heliotrope @
Botanic Gardens, Glasgow

Published by Metro

24-27 November, every half hour 4-8pm, FREE,
Kibble Palace, Botanic Gardens, Glasgow.

As the nights continue to draw in, there'll be more urban foxes sniffing around your Waitrose bags. Worse still, anyone hoping to take an evening stroll through Glasgow's Botanic Gardens will find its gates bolted shut at the depressingly early time of 4.15pm. Except for over the next few nights, that is, thanks to an exciting new art project being housed at the West End park's Kibble Palace.

Free of charge and lasting only 12 minutes, Heliotrope gives us the chance to experience the impact of natural light on our minds and bodies across the four seasons. It examines Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — a negative emotional reaction to darkness during the winter months — through a fusion of audio and visuals involving a "sonic bath" and a rotating cocoon.

Produced by Trigger — an arts organisation that's previously collaborated with comedian Josie Long, musician Aidan Moffat and theatre performer Gary McNair — this magical spectacle has been created by a team of artists, designers and scientists.

One of them is Hanna Tuulikki, whose own creative diversity is more than worthy of that presented in the show. Primarily a sound artist, Tuulikki sings for local bands Nalle and Two Wings, and occasionally dabbles in illustration. Her varied methods of expression are brought together with those of DO Architecture — a multi-disciplinary studio devoting itself to site-specific works across Glasgow.

Joining the ranks of this unique assortment of talent are psychiatrist and author John Eagles, acclaimed poet and playwright Molly Naylor, designer Stefanie Posavec, and developer Justin Quillinan.

So try your best to fight those winter blues, because one place the sun is guaranteed to shine is here.


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Music preview: The Imagineers @ Stereo, Glasgow

Published by Metro

23rd November, 7pm, £5 (adv), Stereo, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 222 2254.

VIDEO: The Imagineers CBS Promo —
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson

There's a bit of a buzz over at Stereo. It might have something to do with the arresting sense of cool inside Glasgow's trendiest cafe bar and arts venue — where hundreds of drainpiped hipsters gather to slurp ground coffee and nonchalantly exchange tales of debauchery — or, it could be because four local lads will be working their magic on stage tomorrow night.

Fresh-faced pop-rockers The Imagineers have been bringing their infectious Latin-inspired rhythms, lively guitar riffs and perfect harmonies to growing crowds ever since their first gig in 2010.

This year has been something of a breakthrough for Stevie, Scott, Stephen and Ali, with appearances at T in the Park and on Craig Ferguson's top-rated US chat show charting their rise towards musical stardom.

Now the band are set to launch their new EP, Karma Soundcheck: Part 1, in their home city.

"We like to make big occasions of our home shows, as do our faithfuls," said bassist Ali Greig. "This one's special because of the EP release, and we're excited to be joined by some great support in The Hummingbirds and The Holy Ghosts."

You know that really fun Friday night out you're after? This is it.


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Interview: Five Minutes with Westlife

Published by Press Association

Westlife have hung up their mics for the final time after 14 years as one of the biggest boybands in the world. Here Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Kian Egan discuss their break-up, legacy, and future careers.

VIDEO: Westlife — My Love (2000 BMG Entertainment International UK & Ireland Ltd)


NB: There are many reasons, but 14 years is a long, long time. You’ve got to remember that we started when we were kids, did everything we were told, and then what happens when you grow up is you develop your own opinions, and that changes things.

KE: We were sitting here discussing a new record deal and we just got around to thinking: “you know what? Don’t we all think this is kind of time?” Everybody felt it, everybody knew it, everybody could see why.


SF: Such amazing experiences that we’ll always remember. Getting our first award, performing for the Pope and Barack Obama, dueting with Mariah Carey… money can’t buy stuff like that.

MF: For me, as someone who used to have posters of her all over his bedroom, working with Mariah Carey was a massive moment for me.


SF: I think we’ve become part of a pop history. We’ve achieved an awful lot, and by ending it on such a high we’re protecting our legacy.

MF: We’re not deluded – we know we haven’t changed the face of music or anything like that. But in our world, with our fans, we’ve left something behind.

VIDEO: Westlife — Unbreakable (2002 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited)


NB: What Louis knows is how to put five good-looking lads together and make them work!

KE: Louis is actually more of a music man than anything else. He knows a hit song when he hears it. And he has a natural knack for looking at a person and thinking: “that person’s got something”.


MF: A solo record is at the top of my list, without the shadow of a doubt.

KE: Just normal living stuff, I suppose. I’m not chasing a professional direction. I kind of feel like after 14 years of Westlife being hugely successful, we all deserve a little break.


NB: I’ve always known I’ll be in Westlife and give it my utmost 'til the very end, and when it ends, for whatever reason, it’ll be time to get on with my own thing.

MF: I’m not nervous because at the end of the day I know all I can do is my best. Whatever I do or don’t do for the rest of my life, nobody can ever say I didn’t make something of myself. No matter what happens, I’ve done something really big with my life.


MF: To be honest, I’d consider anything that I can make a difference in. I don’t want to do something just for the sake of it, or just for money or fame.

KE: I enjoyed doing The Voice Ireland. The Voice UK was brilliant - up until the live shows, then it kind of fell apart. The coaches were all over the place. They were jumping on their chairs, dancing around... it’s not about them, it’s about the singers.


SF: Maybe someday, but singing is my number one choice of what I’d like to do. I did a lot of acting when I was younger.

NB: That’s definitely something I’d consider. I did an acting course in New York about five years ago and I made a decision that one day I’d go to the States and try to get an agent. But times change. Now I’m married, with twin boys…


NB: Probably something like Grease, that’d be pretty cool. The songs and characters are so well-known.

MF: I’d try to go for something a little indie, a little edgy. Something like Spring Awakening.

VIDEO: Westlife — Us against the World (2008 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited)


SF: Not just yet. My daughter Nicole is a good singer, she likes doing Irish dancing, but I don’t know if she’ll be doing pop star stuff!

KE: I would encourage my son to pursue a career in whatever it is that he really wants to do. If it was music, I’d obviously be able to guide him that little bit more, but I’d be more interested in just letting him be what he wanted to be.


NB: I share a serious bond with the lads, and we’ll never lose that bond. I like to think we’ll be able to keep in touch and pick up the phone at any point.

MF: There’s certainly no reason why we wouldn’t continue to be friends. We all come from the same town in Ireland.


SF: I don’t think anyone should ever close the door to Westlife, but a reunion is not worth thinking about at the moment.

KE: No, I really don’t see that happening. I feel like - because we ended on a high note – it could damage it coming back and trying to do it all again. I like to think we can get back on stage together sometime, but come back and do albums, tours, etc - all of that is ridiculous.


MF: I’d like to sing with girls for a change. Beyonce, Azealia Banks, Rihanna, Robyn. And I’ll randomly put Celine Dion on the end.

KE: I’d just be replacing Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters and putting him on lead guitar!


NB: I can’t, no many how long you have, or how many words you can think of, be able to come up with the right sentence to capture this past 14 years. You’ve given me a million memories that I’ll take to my grave.

KE: Just the biggest thank you, and the biggest respect for each and every one of them for making what happened, happen. I don’t think you can say much more than that. You can go round the blocks about it a million times over, but it is just that feeling, you know?

Westlife’s The Farewell Tour is out on DVD now


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Inside the Bowels of
The Jeremy Kyle Show

Published by Sabotage Times

He's a daytime TV institution and an ally of the disenfranchised, but he really likes it when people cheer for him...

What would you do if a middle-aged woman confided in you this: that she used to be a man who took to binge drinking to combat the frustrations of not being female, and that the hormonal confusions surrounding her subsequent sex change had led her to further alcohol abuse and to regularly fly off the handle in violent rages. Most of us would run a mile, but how's this for advice? “You were a binge drinking man – now you're an alcoholic woman.” Meet Jeremy Kyle, whose daytime programme on ITV reels in millions of us every day.

And here’s where it all begins. Huddled together down a damp, dark avenue outside Granada Studios in Manchester queue The Jeremy Kyle Show’s audience and I – waiting patiently to put our own problems at bay so we can be entertained by a talk show host exploiting other people's.

After bearing the rough edge of the rain for an hour, we are led inside and nudged into a seating area, where a woman holding a clipboard lectures us. She has the energy of a Butlins redcoat. “On today's episodes, we have DNA results!” she enthuses, to the giddy murmurings of this eager crowd. “And remember, you must all show your most extreme emotions together, because Jeremy likes it when you cheer for him.”

We practise in unison our gasps, cheers and boos, and I make a mental note of a group of five who seem to be taking this far too seriously as we make our ways into the studio itself. Chaos reigns for fifteen minutes as many of us are made to swap seats in the name of audience balance. Then, suddenly, the man himself emerges. “Ladies and gentlemen, Jeremy Kyle!” announces the floor manager. Everyone goes wild.

Kyle walks across the stage and takes a seat. Then he breaks into a stand-up routine. “My daughter came from school today, and she's started saying a new word – boys,” he says with a smirk. “Well I'm alright with that, because what boy in their right mind will ever want to go near JEREMY KYLE'S daughter?” The crowd cheers and applauds.

“You alright Will, you twat?” he asks the floor manager. “Listen everybody, Will needs a girlfriend. His last girlfriend was quite rough, so he’s after something a bit more classy.”

It continues like this, with Kyle picking people at random, telling them to “get a job!” or asking: “Are you pregnant? Who's the father!?” and revelling in the laughter of the audience. He seems to enjoy referring to himself in the third person for a while, before he finally gets on with the show.

“So let's bring out Kevin,” Kyle announces. In this episode, Kevin will discover whether he is the biological father of his ex-girlfriend Tasha's unborn child. Tasha, who admitted that she “might have slept with someone on New Year's Eve” while they were still together, is confident that Kevin is the father, and that they could still have a future together. Kevin, still in love with Tasha and willing to forgive her, is hoping that he is the father too. You know the drill.

“Kevin,” Kyle pauses as the audience prepare to go live on their gasp rehearsals, “is NOT the father.” Kevin punches the wall and storms off stage. Tasha begins to cry. Kyle offers some banal advice about “using protection in the future” before quickly cutting to an ad break, and Tasha is ushered quickly off stage.

And it's back to Kyle bathing in his own self-importance. “That was very good,” he says to himself. He doesn't need to be told. “Hey, Dom!” he shouts across the studio. A man fiddling with camera wires looks up. “Don't you feel like you owe your whole career to me?”

Kyle disappears for a few minutes, before re-emerging for two more episodes. A few more gasps, cheers and boos later, and the whole thing is finished. The TV crew pat Kyle on the back, and he grins.

If you've watched the show, you'll know that at the beginning, Kyle enters to a cheering, whooping, applauding audience and shakes a few hands. That must be his favourite part, because after all, “Jeremy likes it when you cheer for him.”

Just as the TV crew are about to let us leave, Kyle speaks up over everyone. “One more thing, guys,” he says with a smile, “can we just do the beginning bit again?”


Album review: ¡Dos! by Green Day

Published by Press Association


VIDEO: Green Day — Stray Heart

You wait years for a new Green Day record, then three come along at once.

This, the second in the band’s ¡Uno! ¡Dos! ¡Tre! trilogy, invites us to pretend we’re at a high school bash somewhere in suburban California — where tracks such as Fuck Time, Wild One and Makeout Party champion the high-fiving, beer-chugging pop punk for which this three-come-four-piece has become most celebrated.

If this album were a person, it would be a 20-something skater named Cody. Recklessly hedonistic, quietly sensitive, moderately politicised, Cody can be pretty fun to be around, but over the years we'll probably lose touch.

So no, ¡Dos! doesn’t break new musical territory, but Green Day aren’t a jack-of-all-trades here. Just the master of one.



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Pillow Talk for Insomniacs


Please can you stop the church bells ringing? I haven't slept for five weeks.

Every 15 minutes through the night is extremely inconsiderate, not to mention completely unnecessary, for the surrounding residents — many of whom have converted to atheism as a result of the noise.

I appreciate that you feel you're doing God's work, but, really, if the old man in the sky condoned this, he wouldn't have given us ears.

Please understand that I've tried to present these concerns calmly and with clarity here, despite the ruthless, perpetual DONG... DONG... DONG... DONG... DONG... DONG... DONG... echoing around my truly shattered brain.

I get frustrated at not being able to string basic sentences together in speech, I'm so tired. It's become a task to raise a spoonful of porridge to my mouth, or spread jam to the corners of a slice of toast, because of the shaking. My eye sockets actually feel like they've been raped.

So do let me know if I'll need to get a petition together or go through the courts to ensure I have any hope of getting even 40 winks in the future.




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Festival preview: Sonica @
various venues, Glasgow

Published by Metro

8-18th November, various times, prices and venues, Glasgow. Tel: 0141 354 0544.

VIDEO: Sonica 2012 official promo

Bloody hell... they've started putting up posters for pantomimes in bus shelters. Pantomimes starring egotistical radio DJs, reality show failures, televisual embarrassments, and John Barrowman (does that guy EVER turn down work?). Fear not, though, as a new festival is about to rescue us from this annual saturation of the arts, for now at least.

Sonica showcases the most exceptional practitioners of 'sonic art' — an emerging genre that fuses audio and visuals. Produced by Glasgow-based art house Cryptic, this ten-day event features both intimate and large-scale productions, screenings and exhibitions, at venues across the city.

"With sonic art you don’t just hear the sound, you see it and feel it too. It’s immersive, it’s visual, and it’s about performance," said Sonica co-curator and artistic director Cathie Boyd.

"Over the next few months and years you’ll hear a lot more about Sonica, and we’re proud to launch it in Glasgow, a fantastic city at the cutting edge of culture."

Among an exciting array of domestic and international talent on the bill is Claudia Molitor, whose piece Remember Me — a multi-sensory, miniature opera staged inside a desk — is presented at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Scotland Street School Museum tonight.

"Sonica is the perfect platform for Remember Me, because it, like the festival, is a joyous and curious exploration into sonic and visual possibilities," said Molitor.

Other programme highlights include Justé Janulyté’s Sandglasses, in which four cellists are shrouded in transparent columns, and Our Contemporaries, by Mookyoung Shin, which involves hundreds of tapping fingers.

Quite clearly, the only antidote to pantomime despair is Sonica — the most avant-garde event this side of the Fringe, and a welcome addition to Glasgow’s artistic repertoire.


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Event preview: WWE Raw World Tour @ Braehead Arena, Glasgow

Published by Metro

Tuesday 6th November, 6.30pm, £30-£60,
Braehead Arena, Glasgow. Tel: 0844 277 6062. www.braehead-arena.co.uk

VIDEO: WWE Main Event — Ryback vs Dolph Ziggler (24/10/12)

As two bleary-eyed, flannel-shirted drunks rather energetically demonstrated to a crowd outside an unnamed city centre bar last week, you can watch wrestling for free just about anywhere in Glasgow.

If you hang around long enough in the wee hours of a Friday or Saturday night, when tanked-up guys and dolls stumble between watering holes and takeaways, chances are you won't be denied some grappling action.

But tonight the professionals are in town. Yes, the over-the-top stars of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) — including the likes of Layla, Daniel Bryan and Kane — will be throwing punches, chokeslams and neckbreakers over at Braehead Arena, where the WWE Raw World Tour takes place.

This extravaganza also features the Ryback v CM Punk bout for the Championship, and the Special Attraction Match between John Cena and Dolph Ziggler.

True, it's all fake, but so is Santa Claus, and he's pretty fun. The WWE is a darn good show, and whether you have to fight a small child to get your hands on a ticket, this is a spectacular audience experience you deserve.