The Scotsman – Britain from the Air – Skyfall train – Edinburgh Festival needs your help and your sounds! – Auditions for Grease!

In response to an article on the Media website Hold the Front Page claiming that a documentary to be aired on ITV1 tomorrow evening clearly shows that The Queen reads regional newspapers (there is a huge array of titles on Her Majesty’s table in the photo!) this is what journalist and former MSP, Dorothy Grace Elder, had to say:-

Dorothy-Grace Elder, Glasgow
March 15, 2013 at 9:33 am
The Scotsman (founded 1816) is NOT a “regional newspaper” but a national newspaper throughout Scotland, which is a nation, even under devolution, not a county outside Watford.
Please stop this antiquated way of looking at everything through the narrow end of a drainpipe in London.


There is a new exhibition in Castle Street called Britain from the Air which has a great photo of Edinburgh Castle and also the Bass Rock. The display opens properly next Friday 22 March 2013 and runs till 20 May.

This is promised to be an outdoor exhibition of more than 100 stunning aerial photographs.

Arriving in the capital next weekend, the free-to-access street gallery will be the perfect way to see Britain from a unique aerial perspective. Combined with a large-scale, walk-on Ordnance Survey map situated in Festival Square, visitors will be able to walk the length and breadth of the British Isles, finding favourite locations and discovering new ones.

Eleven specially selected photographs of striking locations around Edinburgh will also be unveiled as part of the exhibition.

The exhibition is being brought to Edinburgh – a Scottish first – by the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and street gallery pioneers, Wecommunic8. It is being sponsored by the City of Edinburgh Council, Marketing Edinburgh and Essential Edinburgh in conjunction with Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), Edinburgh World Heritage and the Grassmarket BID.

Vice Convener of Audit Committee Frank Ross

Councillor Frank Ross, Economy Convener, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “We are extremely proud to be chosen as a location for the exhibition’s national tour. Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site will provide the perfect setting for these breathtaking images. I hope that people will take this opportunity to learn more about Great Britain but also to explore more of their home city – providing a welcome boost to the local economy in the process.”

The RGS-IBG’s Director, Dr Rita Gardner, hopes the free exhibition will encourage the enjoyment and exploration of Britain’s great outdoors: “The Society is delighted that Edinburgh will be the first Scottish partner city to exhibit ‘Britain from the Air’. A unique value in the exhibition lies in its ability to help everyone to appreciate Britain’s extraordinary scenery and to understand more about how people have used and interacted with our landscapes for millennia. As people take in our wonderfully diverse landscapes, we hope it will inspire them to get out and about around Scotland, England and Wales and see for themselves the wonders of our island.”

Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage, said: “These images offer a fascinating perspective on the city and the UK as a whole. The qualities that make Edinburgh such a distinctive and beautiful city will be clearly shown, such as the stunning landscape setting, the striking contrast of the Old and New Towns and imposing architectural landmarks. The exhibition is a reminder of just what an extraordinary place Edinburgh is.”

RHASS’ chief executive, Stephen Hutt, added:- “The Society has almost 15,000 members, many of whom are landowners and farmers responsible for the stewardship of Scotland’s countryside, it is therefore highly appropriate for RHASS to support a project which showcases our stunning landscape.”


Have you travelled on the Skyfall train which is in our photo today? (taken from the City Chambers) Is it any different inside from any other East Coast train? Do they serve Martinis when you board? Or is it Beck’s now given Daniel Craig’s preference for a cold beer? The East Coast twitter account is used to advise where the Skyfall train is. Today it seems to be on the Edinburgh to Leeds route.


One of the things we were most interested in hearing about at the Edinburgh International Festival programme launch was the use of technology proposed for this summer.

Edinburgh residents, visitors, and fans and performers at Edinburgh International Festival are being called on to send in sound files which capture their memories of Edinburgh, and its transformation into the world’s Festival City each August. 

What is the first sound you hear in the morning? What is your favourite Festival memory? What does your street sound like? Do you regularly pass a busker? Do you enjoy the sound of crowded foyers or standing ovations? Climb Arthur’s Seat or take a trip down Portobello Prom? EIF are inviting people to record or describe these sounds and to send them in through the Festival website, Facebook and SoundCloud to provide composer Tod Machover with the basis of a creative work which he will then continue to develop with public interaction through to the beginning of July.

Festival City a new work commissioned by the Festival from Tod Machover, described by the Los Angeles Times as ‘America’s most wired composer’, goes beyond crowd sourcing to a new level of creative interaction and exchange.

This new work will be created through a Festival partnership with the public, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, its new chief conductor Peter Oundjian and the celebrated Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab where Tod Machover is based.

Tod Machover is recognised as one of the world’s most imaginative and influential composers, known for his music technology inventions, from a Hypercello for Yo-Yo Ma to the innovations behind computer game sensation Guitar Hero.

Festival City receives its world premiere in the Usher Hall on Tuesday 27 August 2013 in City Noir, a concert which will include music by Christopher Rouse, Verdi, Bruch and John Adams, starting 8.00pm.

There will also be a lecture demonstration at 5.00pm the same evening offering everyone the opportunity to hear directly from Tod Machover, Peter Oundjian, Festival Director Jonathan Mills and members of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on the process, highlights and challenges of bringing together this massive collaborative piece of music.

On the launch of Festival City Tod Machover said:- ‘It is thrilling to begin work on this new composition, which will build on a collaborative model I developed for the recently premiered A Toronto Symphony, a musical portrait of that city created with its citizens. Festival City invites all who love Edinburgh – yearlong residents to Festival participants to audience members – to reflect with me on how the city sounds through the memory of past visits, the intensity of current participation, the stillness of the city ‘out of season,’ and the multi-layered complexity of performances, people and places during Festival time. The goal is to create together a musical work that reflects the magnetic, magical and mysterious qualities of Edinburgh and its Festival.’

Jonathan Mills, Festival Director said, ‘Edinburgh is a wonderful city in which so many international artists and visitors come together to celebrate culture, against a backdrop of one of the world’s most beautiful urban and natural landscapes. It seems very appropriate to acknowledge the city’s central role in the identity and success of the Festival through Festival City, a new innovative work for sound and orchestra by acclaimed US composer Tod Machover. In a year in which we focus on the way in which artists use innovation in their surroundings to reimagine artistic processes and results, it is very fitting to have Tod, as such an exceptional innovative and collaborative talent, involved. I very much look forward to engaging in the process and following its progress towards the Festival in August.


The call for public contributions already opened on Tuesday 12 March and submissions, ideally from 5 to 20 seconds, will be accepted through the Festival website, Facebook and SoundCloud. For more information on submitting your recorded sounds and the project as a whole is available on 

After a period where everyone has an opportunity to submit sound files and Machover has an opportunity to map out his sound structure for the work, the first of two apps created at MIT Media Lab will be released.

In early May the Constellation web app will allow users to link sounds submitted and generated to date. These patterns and collections of sounds will contribute to the next stage of the project.

In early June the second of the two web apps Media Scores will allow users to shape, build and develop on the symphonic material that Machover will have created, and to share it.

At the beginning of July the collaborative phase comes to a close allowing Machover to finish work on the score before delivering it to the Royal Scottish National Orchestra to prepare for the premiere on Tuesday 27 August 2013.


There are audtions being held tomorrow at The Edinburgh Playhouse for a production of Grease to be staged later this year. Full details of all age groups and venues for other auditions here.