Archive for the ‘Eden Court Theatre’ Category

Beer bath at the Ironworks

July 2, 2007

Been away from blogging for a bit being ill. I worked out last week that the absence of blogging is a symptom and decided I’d be back this week!

I managed to fit in some observation of Highland culture 2007 even while ill, I just haven’t got round to writing about it. So let’s start with Inverness’s relatively recent medium-sized venue, The Ironworks.

First off, it’s been long-awaited and badly needed. The programme has been lively and improving, thanks partly to the 2007 focus to some extent and thanks also to the festival fever hitting the Highlands this year. Bands who were up for the Skye Festival like Kasabian and Primal Scream stopped by for a work-out on their way west.

I caught two gigs, The Grim Northern Social supporting the revived Eddie and the Hotrods, then the more recent Primal Scream gig.

GNS supporting Eddie and the Hotrods seemed like a strange one. GNS should have been the headline act and certainly a lot of the fairly sparse audience were there to see them. A new line-up tightened the band up and gave it a heavier sound than when last seen at Eden Court a few years back. The oldies still sounded good and the newies sounded ok too. More guitar-oriented than before and Ewan MacFarlane on vocals seemed less up for it than usual. He name-checked The Market Bar at one point and that was the nearest he came to giving us his usual craic. Maybe he was a bit annoyed at being the support act. He was great anyway. Could he be anything less?

Before E & HR came on I was struggling to remember anything beyond “Do Anything You Wanna Do”. They came on and churned out song after song, slick rock with a good r&b foundation. I was dancin with the best of them shortly thereafter. That was probably also down to The Ironworks licenced bar supplying me all night. Good venue, good sound, feelgood music, hangover next day and deaved in a good cause. The band looked like they were having fun and enjoyed giving us a good night.

24 May was the Primal Scream gig. Much busier, much younger crowd on average, although still a fair number of seventies-survivors around. My daughters had bought me tickets for my birthday and the younger one humoured me by coming along too. £25 a ticket and no support act! Primal Scream were not doing their bit to bring on the talent I felt. Bit of a missed opportunity, but so was the rest of the show.
They were playing in Skye the next night and it felt like a bit of a run-through. That might have been ok if we had paid a tenner, but my girls had shelled out a good bit more. Manny tried hard to give value for money with some good interaction with the audience, but the rest were going through the motions. What a poser Bobby Gillespie is! Completely lacking in presence or just not trying too hard? The band cranked it up for the four big hit songs at the end which was fun and they rocked the place, but up to then it was a bit underwhelming.

This time though The Ironworks’ licenced bar was more of a pain in the butt than a service. The bouncers, good guys all who run it tight in bars across the town, were implementing an easy-going regime where in the front area of the room it was fine to lob a pint of beer into the crowd. It was in plastic glasses but people who had paid good money were getting soaked by morons who had more money than sense. Somebody chucked one at the stage at one point and Bobby Gillespie looked momentarily irritated. Rock and Roll! Neither the thrower or the target had the idea really. The bouncers shone torches at anyone who they reckoned was getting out of hand. Not good enough! Chuck them out! It’s not ok anywhere else so why should I pay to get soaked by somebody else’s reject beer?

Great facility this but we need to get it right. As for Primal Scream… bit of a yawn really. Both GNS and Eddie and the Hotrods rocked them into oblivion. The last guys are my age and seemed to be enjoying it and made us feel good too. The same 24 May, Ewan MacFarlane of GNS was playing at The Market Bar. Wish I’d been there.

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Du cul dans un parking des Highlands

February 7, 2007

L’autre soir je suis allé voir le film de John Cameron Mitchell, Shortbus. Il est le neveu d’un copain qui m’accompagnait donc c’était un peu bizarre. C’était comme une première, sans les grosses bagnoles, les modèles, le manque total de fête. D’accord, c’était pas du tout ça. Un peu comme le film ça se passait dans ma tête. Mais je peux toujours rêver en janvier à Inverness …

C’était ma première visite à la Screen Machine, une idée de génie pour faire voir les films aux communes pommées des Highlands et des Îles. À vrai dire c’est un camion qui déplie pour faire un cinéma. Le théâtre d’Inverness, Eden Court est en pleine reconstruction pour figurer en vedette pendant l’Année Écossaise de Culture des Highlands et normalement doit rouvrir avant la fin de l’année. Cependant la Screen Machine, dans le parking de la piscine et centre de sports municipale, prend le rôle du cinéma artistique du coin.

C’était pas facile de trouver un billet. Apparemment on réserve à l’internet et puis on passe prendre les billets au Floral Hall, un jardin botanique (qui vaut sa propre visite) à côté du parking. Au guichet on trouve que ça marche pas jusqu’à une demi-heure avant le film. Peut-être bien que c’est marqué sur leur site, mais j’ai rien remarqué. La réceptioniste du jardin m’a dit qu’on peut aussi acheter des billets au centre commerciale, mais je connais personne qui est au courant.

De toutes façons, on est arrivé, on a pris les billets et on a fait la queue en dehors du camion / cinéma. Le mec est vite venu nous ouvrir et on s’est trouvé en compagnie des dix autres de l’assistance. À l’intérieur on se dirait chez Doctor Who, un vrai tardis incroyable. Comment ils font pour le remettre sur le camion j’en sais rien, mais heureusement des ingénieurs fûtés en connaissent les secrets! C’était génial. Quelle idée super! On se dirait dans un vrai cinéma. Il y avait un gros centrale de chauffage qui faisait bien son truc et le bruit du vent rageur de l’ouest nous gênait que de temps en temps. Normalement il sera un cinéma idéal. A la longue les chaises n’étaient pas tellement confortables, mais mon cul en a souffert de pire dans de vrais cinémas. Et les gens de service étaient cools aussi, pas renfermés du tout.

Le film était intéressant – un peu drame de télé pour moi avec plein d’histoires qui s’entremêlaient dans le milieu du club du titre. Il y a plein de baise qui est apparemment de la vraie et même un coup de foutre. Il y a un peu de tout pour tous les goûts, qui doit donc déplaire à la plupart des gens, mais c’est bien une qualité dans un film qui discute la communauté. C’est un peu Amélie Poulain, un peu énormément cul, un peu tolérant et j’ai vu et entendu des choses qui ne me sont jamais passées dans la tête jusque là. À deux ou trois moments ça risque de choquer pour de vrai en touchant les liaisons intergénérationelles et l’importance de l’orgasme dans le couple, mais je suppose que le milieu de choc aura peut-être assez tendu le tissu du film normal. J’ai pas apprécié le stalker bon gars, même s’il s’est révélé en héros vers la fin. Pour moi on devrait tous acheter des rideaux aux gens de New York à fin qu’ils auront un peu de confidentialité chez eux.

Ça valait bien les £5.50. Allez voir vous-mêmes. Moi je vais maintenant regarder le premier film de Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, en DVD.

Sex in a Highland car park

February 5, 2007

I went to see John Cameron Mitchell’s film Shortbus the other night. He’s a close relative of a friend of mine who was going too so that was a bit unusual. It felt a bit like a premiere, except for the limos, the clothes-horse people, the lack of razzamatazz of any kind. Ok, it was all in my head. Bit like the movie in some ways. Hey it was the end of January in Inverness – I can dream …

It was my first visit to The Screen Machine, an ingenious concept to get movies to remote Highland and Island communities. It’s basically an articulated lorry, the trailer of which folds down into a proper cinema. Eden Court Theatre in Inverness is being extended and refurbished for the Year of Highland Culture and is due to reopen with a fanfare later this year. In the meantime the duties of the former Riverside Screen at the theatre are being filled by the Screen Machine in the car park of our local swimming and leisure centre.

It was hard to get a ticket. The idea is you reserve it online and then pick it up within three days from the Floral Hall, a nearby botanical garden (worth a visit itself). When you get there you find that it’s only a half hour before showtime that such transactions are done. Maybe it did say this on the website, but I didn’t see it. Apparently you can also buy tickets in our local shopping mall, but nobody I asked knew anything about that.

Anyway, we made it there, got our tickets and queued outside the lorry / cinema. The guy came and opened it pretty smartly and we joined the ten or so other paying customers. Inside it was an amazing tardis of a thing. How they get it onto a lorry I don’t know, but some cunning engineers do! It was great. What a brilliant idea! It looks and feels like a cinema. There was a space heater to keep us cosy and the noise of the howling westerly outside only got irritating a couple of times. Most nights it would be ideal. In the longer term the seats weren’t that comfortable, but no worse than many cinemas my bahookie has suffered. And the staff were cool too, not stuffy and up for a bit crack.

The film was interesting – a bit soapy for my taste with the interconnected stories of a group of people who frequent the club of the title. There is a lot of shagging which is allegedly unsimulated and a money shot. It offers something for all orientations, thereby probably alienating most, but that’s got to be a strength in a tale which is saying something about community. It’s a bit heartwarming, a big bit sexy, a bit inclusive and I watched and heard things I’d never thought of before, not all to do with sex and sexual politics. It nearly gets edgy a couple of times when dealing with intergenerational issues and the place of the orgasm in a relationship, but I suppose the edgy context might have been more than enough of a stretch in the acceptable mainstream movie fabric. I didn’t take to the cuddly stalker, even if he did redeem himself near the end and I think we should put an appeal together to buy curtains for everyone in New York so they can get a bit of privacy in their own homes. I think it was worth the £5.50 for the ticket. Go see for yourself. I’m going to watch Mitchell’s first movie – Hedwig and the Angry Inch – on DVD now. By the way, his uncle enjoyed it so much he pinched the poster.