I’m writing this on a bright, clear Spring day in Glasgow. They say we’re about to be hit by snow for a third time this weekend, and it may well be true, but there’s a definite seasonal shift in the air: brighter mornings I noticed well before the clocks changed; daylight when I get home.
I’m still not quite ready to put my duffel coat away yet, though.
April, for me, is a month of schemes and secrets, with lots to look forward to: I have tickets to see Frank Turner in Edinburgh this month, two weeks before the release of his new album, that I may have to give up! And my listings this month are a bit more varied than last’s, so hopefully you’ll find something to get excited about too.
Remember, you’ll find music-specific recommendations over on the Gig Calendar.
6th April, Glasgow
Science Lates: Attract
Glasgow Science Centre, 6pm; tickets
Launched last year in response to demand to from grown-ups wanting to experience everything that Glasgow Science Centre has to offer without the guilt that they were getting in the way of kids waiting to have a go, Science Lates returns for 2018 with a series of themed adults-only evenings. Taste, Play, Space and even Christmas will be on the agenda later this year – but the programme starts with the one topic that makes everybody blush, even while we’re all keen to know more about it.
Promising an in-depth look at the science of attraction – plus a cheeky cocktail or two – visitors can explore the cocktail of chemistry, genetics and biology that plays into flirtation and love; test the strength of condoms; get a look at STIs under the microscope; learn about some of the animal kingdom’s most bizarre mating rituals – and find out what a live testicle dissection can teach us about anatomy, sex and reproduction. It might not put you in the mood, but it promises to be a fascinating evening.
20th-21st April, Edinburgh
Wide Days 2018
Teviot Row House (and various venues); info/tickets
Scotland’s leading industry music convention returns to Edinburgh this month with a two-day programme of seminars, networking, live music – and, on day two, a coach tour of Edinburgh, record shopping and a whisky tasting, led by conference founder Olaf Furniss. Up for discussion in this year’s programme: making a success of streaming, gender balanced festival bills, new music label models, improving disabled access at music events and secondary ticketing.
Friday evening includes the return of the Wide Days showcase: free to the public gigs at a trio of central Edinburgh venues, featuring seven acts chosen from over 200 applicants to receive free access to the conference and a package of industry support. The diverse bill includes jazz project Graham Costello’s STRATA, Zoe Graham, Edwin Organ, CRYSTAL, LUCIA, Rascalton and Wuh Oh.
21st April, everywhere!
Record Store Day
Long-term readers of this blog will not be surprised by my philosophy that vinyl is for life, not just for Record Store Day – but despite the well-reported problems of big budget reissues crowding out pressing plants, and limited edition cash-in turntables, there’s no denying that the annual celebration of independent music retailing brings a huge annual cash transfusion for Scotland’s record shops. While I wasn’t surprised that at least one of the businesses I contacted when pulling together my latest RSD-themed The Scots Magazine column wanted nothing to do with it, Garry Smith of Scotland’s oldest record shop Concorde Music in Perth credits it, at least partly, with keeping his family-run business afloat as people’s music-buying habits shifted away from physical products.
rrrrrreeccccooorrdd ssttttooorrreeeee daaaayyyyyyyyy oorrrddeerrrring pic.twitter.com/8nxyRVD9a1
— monorail music (@Monorail_Music) March 20, 2018
I confess to not feeling super inspired by this year’s list of exclusives, but RSD has never been as much about the stuff to me (not since I was denied that Hold Steady Heaven Is Whenever clear vinyl in 2010, anyway) as about the atmosphere, the in-stores, the camaraderie and often the home baking. Monorail, Love Music and LP Records here in Glasgow usually have fun things planned, as I’m sure do my other Scottish favourites: Coda Music (Edinburgh); Europa Records (Stirling); Groucho’s (Dundee); Maidinvinyl (Aberdeen); and The Old Library (Kirkwall).
22nd April, Glasgow
Flint & Pitch Presents: This Script (and other drafts) – a night of new work by Jenny Lindsay
The Glad Cafe, 4:30pm; tickets
Scottish spoken word artist Jenny Lindsay’s “purposefully work-in-progress” show was the first thing I ever recommended in this fledgling feature of mine – so I’m thrilled that I get the chance to see it in my own back yard this month, at its second, Glasgow outing.
Like many of us, Lindsay spent much of 2017 in a rage. But rather than scream into the void of Facebook comment threads (although she did a fair bit of that too), she channelled much of that anger into new work exploring sexual politics, gender and feminism, purposefully challenging herself by experimenting with univocal poetry and found poems based on comments on PornHub videos. This Script sold out its Edinburgh debut, where it received a standing ovation – I’d be very surprised if Glasgow didn’t manage the same.
28th April, Glasgow
Platform, 3:30pm til late; tickets
Platform is one of my favourite spaces in Glasgow’s east end, if not the city as a whole. The building itself, sure; but more importantly its cutting edge creative arts programming, and the importance it places on links with the local community, traditionally seen as one of Scotland’s most disenfranchised. Outskirts is the venue’s annual festival of music, performance and visual art – one which uses every inch of the building, from the purpose-built theatres to the swimming pool – and they’ll once again be running a bookable bus from Mono for ease of access from the city centre.
The heart of Outskirts is the Easterhouse Conversation; a collaborative composition commissioned by Platform and based on stories and ideas captured during interviews in the venue with local residents. This year’s Conversation has been put together, and will be performed on the day, by Oliver Pitt (Golden Teacher) and Barry Burns (Radiophrenia). Other highlights from the programme include spoken word by literary legends James Kelman and Tom Leonard; live music from Brigid Mae Power and a collaboration between Breakfast Muff and the young musicians of KOR! Records; new works by choreographer/producer Sarah Hopfinger and theatre troupe Company of Wolves; and visual art curated by Glasgow International 2018 and Love Unlimited.
What are you looking forward to in April?
Thanks to Glasgow Science Centre, Jannica Honey and Ryan McGoverne for the use of their photography.