Tagged: edinburgh

Museum Lates: Game Masters

‘F​or me, growing up as a human being on the planet Earth in the twenty-­first century was a real kick in the teeth. Existentially speaking.’

Wade Owen Watts is the protagonist of Ernest Cline’s 2011 dystopian, 80s obsessed, gamer novel, Ready Player One. Wade is a teenager experiencing the sort of angst-­ridden life you might expect of a slum resident, alienated from his peers in the virtual school he attends, only feeling content when free to roam as his alter ego, in armoured guise, Parzival. This is the new everyman.

‘Reading? You are aware that it’s the twenty-first century?’

If my friend is to be believed, I am not that everyman.

IMG_1023I do not lack enthusiasm when it comes to gaming. There is a stack of unopened games beside my console. Each was selected after a painstaking amount of research. Alas, I have spent more time considering and discussing these acquired items than I have spent playing them. As time rolls on and becomes itself a luxury, streamlining your interests becomes imperative. Ironically, I can quote a science fiction novel about a virtual world because I chose to read rather than immerse myself in an interactive RPG. The only reason that this work of fiction spoke to me is a life-long love of gaming and so called geek-ery. My misspent youth assisted my making the High Scores table in Tetris when I visited Barcade in Brooklyn last summer and outlasting, by an arcade mile (two Quarters) the locals who chose to co-op Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with me. I got game. So, whilst I may have preferred to read a hard copy of this than a digital one, I did rate it on Goodreads as soon as I had finished.

To return to the opening quote, ‘growing up’ is no longer so easily pegged to youth. Recent statistics place the average age of the UK gamer around 35. So it is perhaps fitting that the next in the series of adults-only Museum Lates events will be tied into The National Museum of Scotland’s Game Masters exhibit. From the same source, we’re told 40% of game sales in 2014 included digital content, subscriptions, apps and mobile games. Our lives are embedded. I’m curious to take a trip round this event and exhibit and consider technology’s triumph.

This Friday, the 13th (eep!), the Museum will open it’s doors with an almost rude amount of entertainment available for a very reasonable price of £12. The exhibit itself is impressive with talks on game idea origins, cosplay, and physical gaming delivered by industry and academic minds. Vic Galloway shall be compering, the synthetic sounds of The Wild Curve and Happy Meals should appeal to those accustomed to an electronic palette, VJ for the eve is Susanna Murphy and the rest of the evening will be scored by Fresh Air DJs.

Bonus level: there will be a range of consoles and retro games available to play, singstar, a silent disco, facepainting and fruit-arcade themed brooch making taking place.

Someone is going to have to drag me off of Asteroids tomorrow night…

Where You’re Meant To Be

I’ve become quite fond of Scotland lately. I mean, I’ve lived here all my life but growing up in Aberdeen, things just felt a bit more insular. Age of course has a part to play, you can’t just go roaming about the lochs of the West coast as a 13 year old, that is unless you want to get the emergency services in a fluster.

I’ve lived in cities or large-ish towns all my life and I’m now settled in Glasgow. I’m a little bit older now (with responsibilities) and I’ve got the ability to explore a bit more. Whether it be a family holiday in the East Neuk of Fife, a stormy, but gorgeous traverse of West coast peninsulas or a weekend catching up with friends in Edinburgh, this country has got the ability to make my heart grow warmer with each and every adventure, and often my first thought is my soundtrack to those visits.

Music is a constant in my life. I’m humming something when I wake up and I usually have something stuck in my head by the time I go to sleep at night. Often, I’ll associate songs with places that I’ve been or I find that when I hear something I’ll think to myself, that music really sounds like a particular place. Is that odd? Do other people do that? Tell me that when you hear The Pastels that it doesn’t make you yearn for Glasgow’s fading autumn sunlight? Just me?

And of course, this brief ode to, well, me travelling about Scotland with music in my ears is going somewhere. A film, doing a very similar thing but y’know properly and probably not in a Fiesta with suspension problems listening to songs on an old iPod or CD player, has been announced as part of the Glasgow 2014 cultural programme.

Photo by Neale Smith
Photo by Neale Smith

‘Where You’re Meant to Be’ sees filmmaker Paul Fegan, you might know him from ‘The Copper Top‘ video or pigeon fancying short ‘Pouters’, team up with Scottish cult-pop raconteur Aidan Moffat (Arab Strap) to explore Scotland’s musical and storytelling traditions. They’ll be going on a road trip with an accompanying troupe which includes, James Graham (The Twilight Sad), Jenny Reeve (Bdy_Prts) and Stevie Jones (Alasdair Roberts, Arab Strap, Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat et al.) for a set of concerts in places from Aberdeen to Oban and Loch Ness to Glasgow’s famous Barrowlands.

The gigs will have their roots in tradition with songs sung, tales told and merriment had (complimentary whisky drams will help that) and they take place at a series of iconic Scottish venues and locations.

19 April Port of Ness (Lewis) Ness Social Club 9pm
23 April (TONIGHT!) Faslane Peace Camp 7pm
25 April Aberdeen Blue Lamp 8pm
26 April Cullerlie Farm Park 7.30pm
27 April Edinburgh Caves 7.30pm
9 May Drumnadrochit Village Hall 7.30pm
10 May Lerags Kilbride Church Yard, Oban 7.30pm
17 May Glasgow Barrowland 7pm

You can check on ticket availability on the Where Your Meant To Be page.

The film is due to be released in late summer and promises a “life-affirming, intimate and irreverent tribute to Scotland, its stories, its songs and its people – and it offers a modern, vital take on an oral tradition that has endured for centuries, and which continues to influence our national identity”

I can’t wait to see how this all plays out.

Today’s Pick In Edinburgh – 6/8/13

Where we pick one or maybe several things to check out in Edinburgh during the month of August [disclaimer: in the event of tardiness or over-eagerness, don’t be fooled by the headline, it’s today cos we’re picking it today, rather than you should go today]

936377_10151490486708935_1840280583_nA short and sweet (and FREE) pick today. Siobhan Wilson, whose EP ‘Glorified Demons’ has quite literally been melting us over the past wee while, is playing a free set at the BBC Potterrow site tonight at 8pm. The BBC Pink tent is unticketed so all you need to do is just turn up but we promise you, it’s very unlikely you’ll be disappointed. If you miss out on her tonight though, she is playing at the Pale Imitation Festival this Saturday (more about the glorious 10th later this week) with Sparrow and the Workshop and The Rosy Crucifixion.

Today's Pick In Edinburgh – 4/8/13

Where we pick one or maybe several things to check out in Edinburgh during the month of August [disclaimer: in the event of tardiness or over-eagerness, don’t be fooled by the headline, it’s today cos we’re picking it today, rather than you should go today]

edinburgh nightAfter a bit of art and comedy we’re back in more familiar waters with today’s pick, which is the excellent looking Edinburgh Night, put on by music industry brain-boxes, Born To Be Wide.

Taking place at Electric Circus, the night has an interesting format with several bands and a plethora of guest DJ’s. The night follows an interesting format of 10 minute live sets every half hour, punctuated by DJ sets from some well-known faces from the local music scene, including Elba pals Nicola Meighan (The List/The Herald) and Lloyd Meredith (Olive Grove Records). The musical line-up ain’t too shabby either with sets from Randolph’s Leap, Gastric Band, past Elba podcastee A.J. Roach and Scotland’s only and probably best Grandaddy tribute band, Grand Laddie (Bart Eagleowl and friends) and several more.

However, possibly the great thing about the gig, well, after the excellent music, is the fact that you can buy a ticket here, right now, for only £3! Even better than that though, is that if you visit their Facebook event page, share it and then post your top 4 Edinburgh tracks on their event page wall, they’ll let you in free. Can’t sniff at that on a Sunday night on the first weekend of the festival!

Today’s Pick In Edinburgh – 3/8/13

Where we pick one or maybe several things to check out in Edinburgh during the month of August [disclaimer: in the event of tardiness or over-eagerness, don’t be fooled by the headline, it’s today cos we’re picking it today, rather than you should go today]

baconface-it-s-all-bacon_30269I suppose when a lot of people think of the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe, they think of comedy. Now, this writer doesn’t claim to be really in the know about who is hot this year and who isn’t but I quite like the sound of ‘Baconface’ who is performing his show ‘It’s All Bacon’ for the duration of August at The Stand.

A ‘programme-associate’ on the forthcoming series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle (BBC2), is a cult 80’s icon and the inventor of Canadian stand-up. If razor sharp wit from a man in a mexican wrestling mask wrapped in bacon sounds like your thing, then grab a ticket quick as more than half of his dates for this month are sold-out already. Tickets are only a fiver and the show is at 1:20pm each day.

Today’s Pick In Edinburgh – 1/8/13

Where we pick one or maybe several things to check out in Edinburgh during the month of August [disclaimer: in the event of tardiness, don’t be fooled by the headline, it’s today cos we’re picking it today, rather than you should go today]

Two things to start off. Firstly, we’re probably thought of as a Glasgow blog. Predominantly yes, except one of our number now lives in Edinburgh, another has a sibling there and the other, well, they just like being social. Also, what’s with just being tied to one locale? Hell, we’re multi-national here at Elba.

Secondly, we’re just a music blog. Now, that’s a harder one to argue about but we don’t always have our ears buried in our ‘Beats by Dre‘ headphones, nor do we spend numerous hours per day fawning over our record collection (define numerous). No, we are also locked in a constant battle with each other about who will complete their world book challenge on goodreads first, we’ve been known to visit art installations, take photographs, cook and we all have a passion for sports, mostly American ones, oh and one of us likes baseball…


So, in order to slightly dispel the above ‘myths’, we’re plumping for a play as todays pick. Well, maybe more a musical than play, in fact, it’s a lo-fi one at that and it stars a bit of a hero around these parts, Eddie Argos of ‘classic rock titans‘ Art Brut. Yeah, so not much of a departure from what we usually write about, well, we’ve got a month to work on a bit of variety.

‘The Islanders’, as we said, is a lo-fi musical centred on the retelling and reflection of a holiday which Argos, and the shows writer and co-star Amy Mason took in the late 90’s where storytelling and song attempt to make sense of young love, growing up and the Isle of Wight.

To accompany the show you can also get a rather cool Islanders graphic novel and soundtrack, featuring the shows third member, Jim Moray, over on their bandcamp page.

The Islanders is performed daily between the 1st and 25th of August (excl 12th) at 4pm (if you hurry, you can catch today!) in the Underbelly on the Cowgate. Tickets are £10 but there are a couple of 2for1 shows on the 5th and 6th. Tickets can be purchased through the fringe site.

Also, whilst we’re here, the fantastic Pale Imitation Festival that we spoke about last week kicks off tonight at Henry’s. Tonight’s bill features William Henry Miller (psssst, that’s Meursault), Jonnie Common and The Bad Books (another moniker). £5 in at 7pm.

The Pale Imitation Festival

If it wasn’t enough that we’d provided you with some decent looking festivals to check out this summer and that we weren’t already creating a list of the best jugglers, statues and street magicians for you to go and hurl coppers at in Edinburgh this August, then we’re completely spoiling you by telling you about The Pale Imitation Festival, also taking place in Edinburgh between the 1st and 31st of August.


Click above image to enlarge/see more clearly

The phrase ‘stellar line-up’ doesn’t even come close to describing the excellent bit of programming put together by Back Garden Promotions (or Matthew from Song, By Toad, Bart from Eagleowl, Neil from Meursault and Rob St.John). The festival will take place on selected dates throughout the month of August at Henry’s Cellar Bar and all the gigs cost a fiver to get in apart from the Malcolm Middleton, Ian Humberstone and Now Wakes The Sea gig, which is £7. Alternatively, you could just buy a season ticket for £25 and be done with it. I mean, you’ll struggle to find anything better to do in August.

Normally, I’d list a couple of the standouts in the line-up but I’d feel bad, because I’d be omitting so much* so it’s probably best that you get the run down from Song, By Toad who published this handy guide to each artist over on his blog.

Season and individual tickets can be bought over here.

* we totally think you should go and see Jonnie Common, FOUND, Plastic Animals, Deathcats, Siobhan Wilson, Sparrow & The Workshop, RM Hubbert, The Leg, Malcolm Middleton, Now Wakes The Sea, Rob St.John and Eagleowl though…