Archives for December 2011

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - December 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:00 UK time, Saturday, 31 December 2011

December is a quieter month on BBC Radio Scotland as we gear up for the Festive Season and look forward to mince pies and mulled wine! However there has still been plenty to write about on the blog...

The three final parts of the Islands Suite, specially written and recorded pieces of music relating to islands, were broadcast on Mary Ann Kennedy's Global Gathering. We filmed bits of the recordings and spoke to the composers.

There were some lovely recipes to download courtesy of The Kitchen Café and their guest chefs - Mary Contini's stuffed poussin, hot toddies, apricots in amaretto, and apricots in orange blossom syrup.

Shereen interviewed David Johnson, the outgoing Director of Waverley Care which was set up to support people living with HIV and Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti.

Susan Calman learnt the "art of complaining" and Tom Morton listener Willie provided us with a very useful list of winter travelling tips.

Janice Forsyth was joined by special guest Billy Connolly, who also appeared with Brian Cox in the drama "The Quest of Donal Q".

Janice Forsyth with Billy Connolly for BBC Radio Scotland

There were special festive editions of a number of our shows including live music on The Jazz House from Liane Carroll and Brian Kellock; Vic Galloway from Aidan Moffat, Bill Wells and the Preston Pfanz & The Seaton Sands surf band, Travelling Folk with presenter Bruce MacGregor's band Blazin' Fiddles and finally the Get it On christmas choir performing carols as chosen by listeners to the show.

Here's Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells with Aidan's alternative Christmas song (contains adult humour).

Finally, we hope you have a great New Year, thanks again for listening to BBC Radio Scotland and for reading these blogs.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - November 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Friday, 30 December 2011

November on the BBC is all about Children in Need and BBC Radio Scotland was no exception. November also saw Remembrance Sunday, the first of four specially recorded pieces of music about islands, and Clare English learning to tango!

Children in Need was very much the focus of November on BBC Radio Scotland. Bryan Burnett visited a number of organisations and people that have benefitted from the generosity of the British public in his often moving appeals. Jamie McDougall led a BBC Radio Scotland choir through a performance of You Raise Me Up...

On Children in Need day itself Fred MacAulay presented a special edition of MacAulay and Co with Susan Calman from the BBC Scotland Pacific Quay foyer with special guests including Cat Cubie, Tom Urie and Craig Hill. Tom Morton had live music from Frightened Rabbit and then Bryan Burnett and Catriona Shearer were in the foyer with an hour of sensational music from The Rezillos, Love and Money and The Bluebells.

Children in Need BBC Radio Scotland special with Love and Money, The Rezillos and The Bluebells

Love and Money, The Rezillos and The Bluebells

November is also the month of Remembrance. Cathy Macdonald honoured and remembered both those who died in battle or were injured on a special edition of Sunday Morning. We also heard one family's moving story in The Family Has Been Informed: Letters From the Heart.

Ricky Ross brought us yet more high profile interviews with stars of the Americana music world - Ryan Adams talked openly about his career and new CD "Ashes and Fire", and Alison Krauss talked about working with Robert Plant and Union Station.

Vic Galloway had an exclusive session with sixties beat-pop band The Poets...

...and the first of four specially commissioned pieces of music relating to islands was broadcast on Mary Ann Kennedy's Global Gathering, Calum MacCrimmond's "When Birds Migrate".

The Jazz House broadcast an hour on the history of the saxophone, where saxophonist Gordon McNeil, with Richard Michael at the piano played us examples of different styles.

The Kitchen Café started preparing for Christmas with Kirsty Wark's Christmas cake recipe, as well as Moules Mariniere, Buttermilk scones, puff pastry, shortcrust pastry and tiramisu. All these recipes, and many more, are available for download via the blog.

New BBC Radio Scotland comedy PTA was broadcast. Producer Margaret-Anne Docherty shared some tips about scripting a comedy pilot and told us a bit more about the production of the series.

Finally Clare English was shown how to tango

Clare English learning to Tango

Clare English learning to tango

by top dancer turned author, Kapka Kassabova.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - October 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Thursday, 29 December 2011

October was another busy month on BBC Radio Scotland. We had a strong presence at the annual BBC Good Food Show, Mary Ann Kennedy's Global Gathering broadcast a live concert from the Pacific Quay foyer to launch the 2012 Celtic Connections Festival, the education season continued and there were as always some great interviews, sessions and features.

The BBC Good Food Show takes place annually in October at the SECC in Glasgow. This year we were there in force with MacAulay and Co, Off the Ball, The Beechgrove Potting Shed, The Kitchen Café and The Culture Café all in attendance. Kaye Adams, John Beattie and Gary Robertson took part in a cook off under the beady eye of Nick Nairn, watch this video to see who won...

The Kitchen Café had some lovely sounding recipes for us to download and try at home during October including pheasant casserole, spiced pumpkin soup, luxury fish pie and oven backed lamb chops.

For the first time, Celtic Connections had a launch concert, which was broadcast on Mary Ann Kennedy's Global Gathering. Festival Director Donald Shaw talked about some of the artists and events he's booked and we were treated to live music from The Ross Ainslie Trio, Chasing Owls, Sol i Serena and Rab Noakes. There are videos from all four acts on our Celtic Connections 2012 website.

We started publishing some of the large archive of Jazz House Pocket Legends on the blog and Jazz House pages including guides to Count Basie, Dexter Gordon, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller, Peggy Lee and Ray Charles. This is an amazing resource for anyone interested in jazz.

And talking of jazz, we also launched a third music collection, the Stephen Duffy collection showcasing jazz and classical music. And if you're a fan of classical music you might have heard Nicola Benedetti appearing in an hour long special on Classic's Unwrapped - producer Dominic Jewel wrote about it on the blog.

Nicola was also a guest on The Culture Café as was Nigel Havers who talked about his forthcoming guest appearance in the Christmas edition of Downton Abbey...

We lost Scottish singer-songwriter Bert Jansch in October, Davie Scott, who had featured his self entitled album on an earlier series of Classic Scottish albums, wrote us a touching blog in tribute.

Out of Doors broadcast a special programme on Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean whilst Shereen's guest was Scottish crime writer Val McDermid.

And finally, Tom Morton listener Al Issner wrote about his surprise at bumping into Jedward at Hadrian's Wall!


New board game

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Tom Morton Tom Morton | 15:40 UK time, Wednesday, 28 December 2011

It's the season of board games, and here's opne that you won't have played. Or on the other hand...Robert Foden's grandson invented it, and guess where?

My Grandson (who is five) invented a board game about being delayed at an airport, after being stuck at Trondheim Airport last year. He drew it out on a piece of scrap card, and it actually worked. We decided to tidy it up and turn it into a proper board game. Apart from changing a couple of squares where players could not finish, the game was all his own invention.
Board game

Download a pdf of the board.


Robert, Kirkwall

The Tom Morton Show: Monday-Thursday 1430-1600, Fridays 1400-1600.

The Jazz House - Ian Rankin Selects

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 15:01 UK time, Wednesday, 28 December 2011

There's no Jazz House (or Get it On) tonight due to football, however on New Year's Day on BBC Radio Scotland there's a special edition of the Jazz House where Scottish crime novelist and music lover Ian Rankin takes over the show, choosing his favourite jazz tracks and talking to Stephen Duffy about his life, writing and love of jazz...

The Jazz House, 2005 New Year's Day 2012.

Tony Singh's cheddar cookies

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Here are the latest recipes from The Kitchen Café, to be downloaded, kept and printed.

Download Tony Singh's cheddar cookies

The Kitchen Café is on BBC Radio Scotland, every Wednesday 1315-1400.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - September 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Wednesday, 28 December 2011

September on BBC Radio Scotland saw the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the launch of the education season with The Scottish Intellect, two new music collections as well as some great interviews and sessions...

It's hard to believe that ten years have passed since 9/11. BBC Radio Scotland paid tribute to the men and women who lost their lives in a number of our programmes. Shereen's guest talked about some of the most poignant images and personal stories from the week's media coverage whilst another guest, American Professor, Sarah Oates was upset by the media's need to pick over every detail of the tragedy. Ricky Ross wrote a moving piece for his blog and paid tribute on Sunday Morning with.

The Scottish education season began with a new landmark series The Scottish Intellect produced and presented by Billy Kay in which he looked back at 600 years of Scottish universities and their world-wide impact.

Clare English interviewed former Labour MP Tom Dalyell on the Book Café and had a virtual tour around the newly refurbished National Museum of Scotland on the Culture Café. Shereen had an emotional conversation with journalist Melanie Reid whose life changed forever when a riding accident left her paralysed from the neck down.

Ricky Ross interviewed some top Americana songwriters - Canadian Ron Sexsmith, Nick Lowe, The Low Anthem and Willy Vlautin of Richmond Fontaine:

We also launched two new BBC Music Collections - a Ricky Ross collection featuring Americana music, and the Mary Ann Kennedy collection showcasing folk and world music.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - August 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Tuesday, 27 December 2011

August is the month with the most posts on the BBC Radio Scotland blog due to our comprehensive coverage of the Edinburgh Festivals.

Both MacAulay and Co and The Cafés came live from BBC Potterrow for two weeks during August, and the shows' runners were kind enough to find the time to send us daily blogs and photographs about their experiences and the featured guests.

Val McDermid, John Byrne, Henry Rollins, Clare English and Orkestra del Sol at the Festival Cafe on BBC Radio Scotland 17 August.

Val McDermid, John Byrne, Henry Rollins, Clare English and Orkestra del Sol at the Festival Cafe on BBC Radio Scotland 17 August.

August also saw the annual World Pipe Band championships held at Glasgow Green. Pipeline presenter Iain Macinnes wrote about this year's event on the blog. You can still view videos of all the Grade One performances on our World Pipe Band website, but here's the Grade One winner - Field Marshal Montgomery performing.

Davie Scott returned with a brand new series of his popular Classic Scottish Albums, featuring Al Stewart's Year of the Cat, Franz Ferdinand's self-titled debut and Capercailie's Delirium.

Another Country with Ricky Ross also returned after a six week break with an interview from the recently reformed Jayhawks and a whole show dedicated to Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks".

Shereen had a moving interview with former footballer John Hartson about his successful recovery from testicular cancer.

Shereen's other guests included Scotland's top QC, the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Richard Keen and Camila Batmanghelidjh, the woman who founded Kids Company, the charity which looks after the hardest to reach of London's inner city youngsters.

Finally, Get it On's Miss Babs met one of BBC Radio Scotland's most loyal listeners, Nancy Cantor, whilst on holiday in Arizona!

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - July 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Monday, 26 December 2011

July on BBC Radio Scotland saw Vic Galloway meeting Blondie at T in the Park, the return of Edith Bowman's Album Show, and Mark Beaumont's latest expedition - rowing the Arctic.

Scotland's biggest annual rock festival, T in the Park takes place every July and as always, BBC Scotland's Music were there to cover the event. Vic Galloway was at the Festival and bonded with the three original members of Blondie, much to his delight!

Blondie with Vic Galloway at T in the Park 2011.

Edith Bowman returned for another series of her Album Show and she also had an interview with Blondie as well as sessions from Miles Kane and Foster the People.

Not content with merely cycling The Americas, intrepid adventurer Mark Beaumont undertook yet another physical challenge - this time he rowed the Arctic with polar explorer Jock Wishart. We followed his progress on MacAulay and Co and via the blog.

The Tall Ships were in Shetland, as was Out of Doors senior producer / reporter Helen Needham, whilst fellow Out of Doors presenter Mark Stephen visited St Kilda.

MacAulay and Co's Richard Cadey was enjoying eating his home-grown potatoes whilst Beechgrove Potting Shed presenter Theresa Talbot swore she'd never again grow tomatoes after a third successive year without much success.

Shereen's guests on her Sunday morning programme included Chief Medical Office Harry Burns, singer Dougie McLean, novelist Helen Walsh and Shaheen Unis, founder of Mrs Unis Spicy Foods.

Dougie McLean in conversation with Shereen

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - June 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas from everyone here at BBC Radio Scotland!

June on BBC Radio Scotland saw the Men Like Us Season, more Family Legends, the BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year final and coverage of Gardening Scotland as well as some great interviews and features...

The Men Like Us season took a closer look at what it is to be a Scottish male, in 2011. The theme was covered throughout the week on our regular shows as well as some special programmes which we covered on the blog: Edi Stark presented a feature on Men Behind the Wheel, and in Who Shrunk the Guys Jim Spence followed football fans across Scotland as they attempt to lost weight.

We published a few more of the Family Legends competition entries on the blog including Nellie's Special Chittering Bite, by Elaine Renton and Cobra, by Arthur Clark.

Theresa Talbot and the Beechgrove Potting Shed team braved the freezing June temperatures to cover Gardening Scotland from Ingleston. I popped along too on the Saturday and took some photographs of the amazing flower displays on offer.

MacAulay and Co's Richard Cadey was also bitten by the gardening bug, and on his weekly blog wrote about his various attempts to fight back against the garden slug.

The BBC Radio Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year final took place at the Old Fruitmarket and was won by 19 year-old Ruaridh Pattison from Kinross.

Alto saxophonist Ruaridh Pattison performing Little Melonae and Tears Inside.

..and if you're a fan of jazz then you're sure to find plenty to enjoy at the Stephen Duffy Music Collection.

Right at the beginning of June, Vic Galloway broadcast an Alt-Folk special and Nick Dempsey published a selection of related videos on the blog by Emma Pollock and King Creosote, Admiral Fallow and Meursault.

Ricky Ross popped across to the Clyde Auditorium to interview Canadian songstress kd lang and also broadcast his exclusive Nashville interview and session with Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings ahead of their long-awaited new album "The Harrow and The Harvest".

Shereen interviewed Dr Victoria Martin, one of a number of Edinburgh University scientists who are searching for the answers to the universe at CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider, and also a young Canadian journalist called Jay Bahadur who decided to make a name for himself by taking off to Somalia and entering the dangerous world of Somali pirates.

Finally, the Kitchen Cafe gave us some more gorgeous recipes to download and keep including Dave Aspin's luxury fish pie, Lady Claire MacDonald's strawberry and elderflower jelly and her herb crepes with smoked salmon and cucumber.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - May 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Saturday, 24 December 2011

May saw the launch of three brand new programmes on BBC Radio Scotland - The Kitchen Cafe, Morning Extra and All Night Long with Ravi Sagoo.

The Kitchen Cafe, presented by Pennie Latin looked at all aspects of cookery and has been providing downloadable recipes by some of Scotland's top chefs every week on the blog. In May we were treated to Tom Kitchin's Wild Salmon with Peas and Broadbeans and Scottish Asparagus and Duck Egg Starter, Lady Claire MacDonald's Rhubarb, Orange and Ginger Fool and Ghillie Basan's Eggs in a Tomato and Pepper Ragout.

The weekday overnight schedule also changed in May with the introduction of music show All Night Long with Ravi Sagoo and a brand new early morning news programme Morning Extra presented by Colin Kelly.

May was of course Election month in Scotland with the Scottish parliamentary elections. All our news programmes covered the events as they unfolded, and Derek Bateman and Ken MacDonald were at the helm overnight as the results filtered through.

Talking of Derek Bateman, he turned 60 in May, but his birthday was somewhat eclipsed by the legend that is Bob Dylan - BBC Radio Scotland celebrated his 70th birthday with a special edition of Another Country, A Bob Dylan Celtic Zone and a chance to hear the Celtic Connections tribute concert. A number of musicians and presenters wrote about what Dylan meant to them on our blog.

Bob Dylan

As well as celebrating all things Dylan, Ricky Ross presented a live show from Nashville Tennessee with guest Diana Jones, and also had a session from Shelby Lynne.

The Family Legends short story competition run by BBC Radio Scotland and The Scottish Book Trust drew to a close and we featured the first of five of the stories to be published in the resulting book - Mercy Boo Coo by Catherine Simpson.

Shereen's extended interviews during May included Michael Scheuer, an ex CIA man who had just published a biography of Bin Laden and Professor Sheila McLean, an expert in medical ethics.

Also on the blog in May, Colin MacDonald writes about his football related play The Penalty, and Out of Doors' Euan McIlwraith faced up to his fear of white water rafting whilst Mark Stephens went hand gliding.

Newsweek Scotland: Wrapped in tinsel

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 14:50 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2011

I've just got time to dash off a few lines as I'm being run off my feet searching for Sylvanian Families and Disney Princess dolls and there's a perfume I have to buy but I can't remember the name of it. However I know where the shop is so I should make it on time. I'm sure there's something else...oh yes - work. I almost forgot the programme which the producer is currently wrapping in Santa paper.

Read the rest of this entry

Take the Floor festive events guide

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 14:42 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2011

Before we publish the Christmas edition of the Take the Floor events guide, here's our wee video of Strip the Willow to get you in the dancing mood!

...Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Robbie and the Take the Floor team.

Events Guide:

Friday 23rd December

Folk Club
Kelso - Ace Centre

Monday 26th December

Accordion and Fiddle Clubs
Banchory - Burnett Arms Hotel - Graeme Mitchell Scottish Dance Band

Saturday 31st December

Hogmanay Party
Grantown on Spey - the Square - Maggie Adamson - 11pm

Folk Club

Kelso - Ace Centre

Cafe Highlights: Parisienne chic and festive delights

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Clare English Clare English | 09:43 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2011

Regular Book Café listeners will be aware that we've been giving you tips for winter reading over the past few weeks.

Read the rest of this entry

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - April 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Friday, 23 December 2011

April was the month of the Royal Wedding but more importantly Scotland's all too brief summer!

For BBC Radio Scotland April saw part one of the Take On The Day radio campaign where we showcased our weekday morning schedule - Good Morning Scotland, Call Kaye, MacAulay and Co and John Beattie. We recorded short films with Gary Robertson, Kaye Adams, Fred MacAulay and John Beattie, in locations which meant something to them - for example John chose a guitar shop whilst Fred went for a tennis court.

Take on the Day - John Beattie, Gary Robertson, Fred MacAulay and Kaye Adams

The new Sunday Morning with... programme began, replacing the Greetings Programme. Cathy Macdonald was at the helm during April and spoke to Sheila Stewart, the last in the line of the Stewarts of Blair, a family of travellers; head of Christian Aid, Kathy Galloway and George Patterson who has spent his life committed to the Tibetan cause and was recently honoured by the Dalai Llama...

Shereen's guests in April included comedian Janey Godley and Marc Abrahams the founder of the Ig Nobel Prize. Whilst Ricky Ross met yet more country/soul/americana legends: Mavis Staples, Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin.

Ricky Ross with Mavis Staples

Ricky Ross with Mavis Staples

Elsewhere Theresa Talbot and the Beechgrove Potting Shed team were enjoying the unseasonably warm weather whilst Derek Bateman was looking forward to the May Scottish Election, Sally Magnusson was investigating the secret science of pee and finally Graeme Virtue was walking with zombies!

Vic Galloway's Top 50 of 2011

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Vic Galloway | 13:00 UK time, Thursday, 22 December 2011

Ho ho ho... And here you go!

Contrary to what many might think... 2011 hasn't ALL been about homogenised, manufactured pop and doom 'n' gloom for the music industry. It has in fact a glorious year for music across all genres, if you're willing to seek it out. As ever, I've been trawling though it trying to find some real gems and playing tracks all year on BBC Radio Scotland. Here's a list of 50 of my favourites...

Over 50% of the artists therein are from Scotland or have a strong Scottish connection, the rest are international. Hopefully this list will enlighten and inspire you to make a purchase and support some true artists out there. Some you'll know, some you won't but all are worth your investigation and your time.

Album of the year:

Remember Remember -The Quickening (Rock Action)

Then, in no particular order:

Sparrow & The Workshop - Spitting Daggers (Distiller)
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's getting older (Chemikal Underground)
Rustie - Glass Swords (Warp)
Conquering Animal Sound - Kammerspiel (Gizeh)
Mogwai - Hardcore will never die but you will (Rock Action)
• Jonnie Common - Master of None (Red Deer Club)
• Wounded Knee - House Music (Gerry Loves)
• Steve Mason & Dennis Bovell - Ghosts Outside (Double Six / Domino)
• Clean George IV - God Save the Clean (Tenement)
• Copyhaho - Copyhaho (Slow Learner)
Found - Factorycraft (Chemikal Underground)
Martin John Henry - The other half of everything (Gargleblast)
Adam Stafford - Build a harbour immediately (Wiseblood Industries)
We Were Promised Jetpacks - In the pit of the stomach (Fatcat)
• Bwani Junction - Full Cocked (Aksatak)
Veronica Falls - Veronica Falls (Bella Union)
• The Moth & The Mirror - Honestly, this world (Olive Grove)
• Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers - Luck (Repeater)
Sons & Daughters - Mirror Mirror (Domino)
• King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine (Domino)
• United Fruit - Fault Lines (U.F.)
Twin Atlantic - Free (Red Bull)
Pensioner - Yearlings (Olive Grove)
Jonny - Jonny (Turnstile)
• Rob St. John - Weald (Song, by Toad)
Slow Club - Paradise (Moshi Moshi)
White Denim - D (V2 / Co-Op)
Washed Out - Within & Without (Weird World / Domino)
Battles - Gloss Drop (Warp)
Radiohead - King of Limbs (XL)
• Fair Ohs - Everything is Dancing (Honey High)
Gruff Rhys - Hotel Shampoo (Turnstile)
• Tuneyards - Whokill (4AD)
Deerhoof - Deerhoof Vs Evil (ATP)
Panda Bear - Tomboy (Paw Tracks)
Josh T Pearson - Last of the country gentlemen (Mute)
Justice - Audio, Video, Disco (Because)
Y Niwl - Y Niwl (Aderyn)
Atlas Sound - Parallax (4AD)
Bjork - Biophilia (One little Indian)
• F*cked Up - David Comes to Life (Matador)
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)
Honningbarna - La Alarmane Ga (Karma Kosmetix Music)
My Morning Jacket - Circuital (ATO / V2)
Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi (Domino)
Kurt Vile - Smoke ring for my halo (Matador)
Cerebral Ballzy - Cerebral Ballzy (Cooking Vinyl)
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake (Island)
The Phoenix Foundation - Buffalo (Memphis Industries)

There are many more that didn't quite fit into the festive fifty, but are worth checking out... Try Zoey Van Goey, Song of Return, Deadboy Robotics, Black International, Monoganon, Indian Red Lopez, Glasvegas, The View, Nils Frahm, Wild Flag, Cass McCombs, Mastodon, Bon Iver, Blanck Mass and Metronomy for size.

Honorary mentions should go to Dananananaykroyd who made a great 2nd album but split up (aaaaw!) and RM Hubbert, Kid Canaveral & Admiral Fallow who re-released their excellent debuts in 2011.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hogmanay and all the best for 2012!


Vic xxx

A festive night on BBC Radio Scotland

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 11:00 UK time, Thursday, 22 December 2011

BBC Radio Scotland turned festive last night for special editions of both Get it On with Bryan Burnett and The Jazz House.

Bryan was joined in the studio by The Glasgow Chamber Choir who performed Christmas carols, as requested by listeners, during the show, and sounded lovely! If you missed it, the programme is available to listen to until Wednesday 28 December, it will definitely put you in the Christmas spirit! And just to prove the choir really were there, here they are performing Silent Night...

...and Good King Wenceslas

On The Jazz House we were treated to live performances by Liane Carroll, Brian Kellock and Richard Michael. Stephen Duffy joined Liane for a rendition of Baby It's Cold Outside...

There'll be more from Liane Carroll very soon on The Jazz House, and on 1st January author Ian Rankin takes over the show, choosing his favourite jazz tracks.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - March 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Thursday, 22 December 2011

In March we celebrated the first birthday of the BBC Radio Scotland blog and looked back at some the events we'd written about during our first year.

Another programme which celebrated its first birthday was Call Kaye - the morning phone-in hosted by Kaye Adams.

With the first signs of spring appearing after a long cold winter, Beechgrove Potting Shed returned for a new series with Theresa Talbot at the helm. She wrote regularly on the blog about her experiences in the garden.

Shereen Nanjiani's guests on her Sunday morning programme in March included Creation Records founder Alan McGee and Martin Luther King's friend and speech writer Clarence B Jones.

Clarence B Jones, gives a moving account of his time as Martin Luther King's friend and speech writer (pictured: Martin Luther King).

Ricky Ross also had some high-profile guests on his Another Country show including Grammy-Award winner Marty Stuart and young duo The Secret Sisters who have taken the country world by storm in 2011.

The Jazz House did a one hour history of the jazz piano with Richard Michael in front of a live studio audience. You can still hear excerpts from the programme by visiting our sister blog at Scotland's Music.

Apricots in orange blossom syrup

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Here are the latest recipes from The Kitchen Café, to be downloaded, kept and printed.

Download Ghillie Basan's Apricots in orange blossom syrup

The Kitchen Café is on BBC Radio Scotland, every Wednesday 1315-1400.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - February 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Here's a look back at some of the BBC Radio Scotland events from February 2011.

Digging Up Your Roots continued, with Dr Bruce Durie giving more helpful tips on the blog about religion and crime!

A new landmark series began - Scots: A Genetic Journey presented by Alistair Moffat. We had blogs from many of the contributors which added an extra dimension to the series. And, if you missed it first time around it's being repeated with back-to-back episodes on New Year's Day.

The big event for BBC Radio Scotland's music department was Radio Scotland Remixed. The five evening specialist music show presenters (Vic Galloway, Mary Ann Kennedy, Stephen Duffy, Bruce MacGregor and Ricky Ross) switched programmes for one week only bringing a taste of their music to a different audience. Each of the presenters answered a few questions for us on the blog about what listeners could expect, who they'd like to see live and their favourite radio shows.

Radio Scotland Remixes - presenters logo - version 3

Shereen had some stellar guests on her Sunday morning programme including
Rabbi Avraham Soetendorp, Julia Donaldson and Graham Ratcliffe.

Shereen's extended interview with Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson

Vic's Christmas Crackers

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Nick Dempsey Nick Dempsey | 16:02 UK time, Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Bands love a bit of Christmas, even if it's just to say a musical humbug.

In a spirit of festive good will, we've gathered together a little selection box of Christmas video treats from the Vic Galloway Show.

Frightened Rabbit made you feel warm inside with their inspired cover of Walking In The Air back in 2009. We are almost convinced we can see Scott beginning to levitate, Snowman-style.

Next up, great riffage and even greater knitwear as Preston Pfanz and the Seton Sands take Christmas surfing in the North Sea in a twin-pronged twang attack on Link Wray's Comanche, with a little help from our own St Vic.

And finally, who could be more festive than Aidan Moffat, rounding off our trio with a cheerful tale of wine and woe featuring an epically inebriated Santa, accompanied on the keys by Bill Wells (warning: contains adult humour).

If you want to hear more from that fun-packed festive special, including Bill Wells with the National Youth Jazz Trio of Scotland, more surf rock from the Preston Pfanz, and another Aidan Moffat number, visit the episode page.

BBC Radio Scotland highlights - January 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 00:01 UK time, Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Over the next twelve days we'll be looking back at BBC Radio Scotland's events, interviews, sessions and features from 2011 as featured on this blog, and reminding you of some of the great content still available via the website.

Our look back begins in January 2011...

Scotland's biggest music festival, Celtic Connections, takes place every January in Glasgow. BBC Scotland hosted a number of shows during the event from Pacific Quay and our Celtic Connections website was the home to videos, photographs and reviews from the festival.

Emma Pollock and King Creosote

Shereen Nanjiani had some interesting guests on her programme during January including Irish singer Mary Coughlan, photographer Gordon Buchanan and American author David Shenk. It's still possible to hear extended versions of all of these, and many more of Shereen's interviews.

BBC Radio Scotland's genealogy show Digging Up Your Roots returned for a new series in January. Dr Bruce Durie, Course Director, Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde and co-presenter of the series shared some of his top tips to help you get started tracing your family ancestry on the blog.

Also in January we lost singer Gerry Rafferty, revamped our local news pages and celebrated 250 years since the birth of Robert Burns - The Complete Burns.

Robert Burns collaborators from left to right: HRH The Prince of Wales, Robert Carlyle, Robbie Coltrane and Susan Calman.

Robert Burns collaborators from left to right: HRH The Prince of Wales, Robert Carlyle, Robbie Coltrane and Susan Calman. Photographs by Alan Braidwood

Sunday Morning with Cathy Macdonald, 18 Dec 2011

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Cathy MacDonald Cathy MacDonald | 05:30 UK time, Sunday, 18 December 2011

On this week's Sunday Morning show, I will be spending the first hour in the company of The Archbishop of Glasgow Mario Conti, as he prepares for retirement, from one of the most important roles in Scottish Religious Life. He's been particularly vocal in his opposition to same sex marriage, but I also talk to him about landmarks in his career, including welcoming Pope Benedict to Bellahouston Park in 2010. Lots to discuss and my only concern is that one hour won't be long enough.

Also with me is Adrian Shaw - Climate Change Officer at the Church of Scotland, and I'll be getting his thoughts on the COP 17 talks in South Africa last week, and asking whether politicians are pushing this subject further down the agenda in favour of economic issues.

What is the Happy Christmas 4all Campaign all about? Well, they hope to debunk some of the myths that are often associated with religious and ethnic groups for one regarding Christmas. I'll also be hearing how those from different and non-religious backgrounds celebrate the ocassion.

We'll be taking an international look at the work of those who help the homeless, and Edi Stark will be reporting on an intersting project at Durham University, that has equipped a homeless man from this country with sharp, debating skills.

And the race is on to get to Number 1 in the charts this Christmas - will the Military Wives Choir, keep X Factor winners, Little Mix, off the top slot - we'll be hearing about their incredible musical journey.

Sunday Morning is on every Sunday from 0705

Take the Floor Events Guide w/c 16 Dec

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Simone Byrne Simone Byrne | 15:36 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

Another week, another Take the Floor events guide listing ceilidh and traditional music events taking place in Scotland on the run up to Christmas.

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Cafe Highlights: Peace protesters and celebrity memoirs

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Clare English Clare English | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

They seem to be everywhere. Lurking in shop windows, on pc screens and on the telly. Tis the season to say "I'm a celebrity, get me a book deal".

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Newsweek Scotland: The Week's Big News

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 12:15 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

The big news this week will be the finale to the long-running Scottish Labour leadership race...we won't have the result because it happens three or four hours after we come off air and it isn't a soviet-style stitch-up which can be leaked in advance (at least not to Newsweek). But we will have full analysis of what is going on inside Labour and what the new leader needs to do next. We'll expand that into the wider movement because, let's be honest, Ed Miliband really ought to be registering more highly with voters by now. It seems that, like the party leaders at Holyrood, he can't get the better of his oppo at Question Time. And is Labour rhetoric enough? They talk of support for public sector strikes yet don't give support...they decry Cameron's EU veto yet admit they wouldn't have backed the Euro club either. (Not that Mr Salmond sounded committed one way or the other).

There was an eye-popping opinion poll recently showing the SNP on 51 per cent and nearly double the Labour total and yet take look at one or two other events and wonder... murder figures up quite alarmingly...unemployment rocketing...eerily deep divisions over both same sex marriage and anti-sectarian legislation...more surveys showing support for EU membership - dear to the Nats - down at 40 per cent in Scotland...and a majority calling for an early referendum on independence. You may think it odd that a government with what sometimes looks like a creaky platform should be increasing its popularity. For what it's worth, it perhaps confirms my own somewhat dyspeptic view that we back some politicians or parties almost despite policy. We actually identify with them, their generalised message, their approach and character and pretty much forgive everything else. Think back. When the SNP were in minority they ditched, shelved or failed to meet commitments from the manifesto and seemed to suffer no backlash.

A lot of Scots just happen to like the Nats and don't even seem to support their principal policy. And surely the unimpressive quality of the other parties at the moment squares the circle. If all that is right then it shows how fragile is the bond between public and politician. Can it sustain itself without genuinely successful policy and economic acumen?

To many it will seem blindingly obvious that a reinvigorated Labour picks up Devo Max and surfs the wave to a referendum No and renewed popularity. (Oops, sorry that last sentence was a cut and paste from the Labour press office) We'll debate with among others, Angus Macleod, Robin McAlpine and Paul Sinclair.

WE hear about widespread systematic abuse in Syria and how injured protestors no longer go to hospital because the military go in and remove them. Instead they are treated by freelance medics who risk their own lives.

We debate the future of Europe - sounds very grand, doesn't it? We're in Kenya and we hear about the part-time jobs market which is booming. (Maybe Labour should do a leadership job share)

Join me tomorrow at 8.

Tom's Top Tales: HMS Iveston mutineers

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Tom Morton Tom Morton | 09:42 UK time, Friday, 16 December 2011

It was Eric who on Thursday sent a note to the Tom Morton Show about cats aboard ship. He served in the Royal Navy, and talked about the cat on HMS Bronington who was trained to repel the terrier owned by HMS Iveston, who in turn had been trained to do its business aboard neighbouring vessels. In the course of his email, Eric called the crew of HMS Iveston mutineers, a term I queried. Here is his fascinating reply. Ullapool?

I wasn't being cruel calling the crew of HMS Iveston mutineers. Here are the facts "According to the National Maritime Museum, there was a mutiny on board HMS Iveston at Ullapool in 1970. This was the last mutiny in the Royal Navy. Five of the crew were dismissed and jailed for their drunken protest which involved singing Irish songs outside of the officers' wardroom."

The whole Small Ships Flotilla tormented the life out of "IVY" for ever after.

Shereen: The week's big talking points

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Shereen Nanjiani Shereen Nanjiani | 11:45 UK time, Thursday, 15 December 2011

This week's special guest is a woman who's always popping up on news programmes and on Question Time. Whenever there's a big story concerning human rights she's the first person journalists go to. Director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti is a passionate and committed advocate for human rights, but I was interested to find out more about the woman behind the soundbites. Is she really as serious as she comes across?

Well, I can tell you that the answer to that is no. She's warm and funny, yes, funny, and is all too aware of her image as "the grim reaper", as she puts it. She talked to me about the influence of her parents on her life and of her son who, she says, keeps her grounded. Shami started her job at Liberty the day before 9/11. She told me that as she watched events unfolding she thought she'd made a terrible mistake. Then she realised that Liberty would be needed more than ever.

My studio guests this week are journalists Kirsty Scott and Jane Graham, and the Daily Record's Political Editor Magnus Gardham. Since it's our last programme of the year, we'll be looking back at what's been a tumultuous twelve months: the Arab Spring, the riots, phone hacking, to name a few.

And we will of course take a look at this week's big talking points.
We're on air bright and early at 9am on Sunday. Let us know what you'd like us to be talking about.

Maeve Mackinnon - The Exile

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 14:24 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Exile traces the links between two emigrant cultures. It's an epic production featuring four movements, three languages, two choirs, as well as soloists and a solid backing band.

Maeve Mackinnon was the last of four composers to explore the theme of islands for Mary Ann Kennedy's Global Gathering.

Look behind the scenes in this video introduction.

Listen to The Exile.

The Islands Suite: a fascinating series of four new compositions.

Conrad Molleson - Archipelago

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 14:15 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Archipelago is a satirical sci-fi story set in a Scotland devastated by environmental disaster. The seas rise and mountains become islands. It's an intriguing musical journey with plenty of grooves and pretty vocal harmonies.

Conrad Molleson is the third composer to embrace the theme of islands for Mary Ann Kennedy's Global Gathering.

We caught up with Conrad during the recording at the BBC Pacific Quay studios.

The piece opens with a news bulletin and finishes with a poem by the Edinburgh Makar, Ron Butlin, read by the drummer and Conrad's brother, Willy Molleson.

The Islands Suite: a fascinating series of four new compositions.

Hot toddies and apricots in amaretto

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Here are the latest recipes from The Kitchen Café, to be downloaded, kept and printed.

Download Tony Singh's hot toddie

Download Pennie's Mum's apricots in amaretto

The Kitchen Café is on BBC Radio Scotland, every Wednesday 1315-1400.

Sunday Morning with Cathy Macdonald 11 Dec 2011

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Cathy MacDonald Cathy MacDonald | 12:00 UK time, Saturday, 10 December 2011

This week on the Sunday Morning show, I will be spending the first hour in the company of legendary music label founder and former policeman, Ian Green. Twenty five years after retiring from the force, and ploughing most of his pension into setting up Greentrax Records, I'll be asking him about his passion for preserving Scotland's musical heritage and promoting new artistes, and whether he appreciated the enormity of what he was taking on at the time.

If you've ever wondered what opportunities people with learning difficulties are given, to help them worship, and to find ways to communicate their faith, we'll be hearing about the work of an organisation called Prospects in Scotland.

The recent death of young football manager, Gary Speed, has once again, brought into focus, some of the pressures that footballers are under. I'll be talking to Scotland's youngest football chaplain, Stuart Coleman, to find out about his work and his role with Clyde FC

I'll be getting an insight into one of the worlds youngest religions, Bahai'ism, from a uniquely Hebridean perspective, as we explore the challenges that remote communities face, when getting tgether to practice their faith, and as they plan to celebrate the centenary of the Scottish visit of Abdul Baha who was the son of the faith's founder.

And with Christmas a mere fortnight away, we explore the practicalities of trying to explain to children and grandchildren that it is better to give than to receive.

Sunday Mornings with Cathy Macdonald - every Sunday at 0700

Newsweek Scotland: Burns and the Union

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 15:40 UK time, Friday, 9 December 2011

"Bought and sold for English gold", wrote Burns about the demise of the first Parliament. The Unionists were hireling traitors and cowards. Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.

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Take the Floor events guide w/c 9 Dec

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 14:30 UK time, Friday, 9 December 2011

Friday 9th December

Edinburgh - Lauriston Hall, Lauriston - Ken's Ceilidh Dance with Willie Fraser ceilidh band - £8 in advance £10 on the door

Clydebank - Clydebank & District Highlanders Association - Napier Hall, Old Kilpatrick - 90th Anniversary Ceilidh - 730pm - £5

Saturday 10th December

Dundee, Wighton Centre, Dundee Wellgate Library - Harp - 2pm

Uist & Benbecula - Church of Scotland - 8pm - 01870 602 682

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Tom's Top Tale: tips for winter travel

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Tom Morton Tom Morton | 12:45 UK time, Friday, 9 December 2011

Grateful to Willie, perennial correspondent, for the following very useful tips on how to deal with snow from a driver's point of view. I would add simply this: Don't go out.

1) Do your best to match your wheel speed to your ground speed - spinning wheels, apart from wearing off the tread and wasting petrol causes snow to melt a little and thus lubricates the surface below your wheels....

2)if you are planning to have the vehicle for more than two years it really is worth buying two wheels and putting on Winter tyres for the season ( part of the payback will be in increased other season wear from your normal tyres) If thinking of getting Winter tyres then you could almost forget it by November - too late - AND the prices seem to go up!

3) Avoid doing more than one thing at a time - let the speed off well before corners and THEN turn (without further braking)- this much reduces chances skid risks ....and there are only four little approximately hand sized pieces of rubber between you and potential disaster.

- and the old but VERY true 'Start off significantly earlier and just going steadily at it'.....If nothing else this reduces any stress for yourself and others if things don't go well and one eventually slips just a little behind....

If you want to add more I would suggest try to maintain slow forward momentum as the problems of overcoming inertia once stopped tend to make things worse.....unless you can wheech a shovel or two full of grit under your driving wheels.....

These and the others - i.e. preparation and attitude - shovel (probably metal edged to overcome ice -plastic isn't enough!)


- and it's about the only time i use a mobile phone ( with a cigarette-lighter charger permanantly IN the car.

Warning triangles - torch - HiVis vest - tow rope -a litre or more water - windscreen wash IN the car...two or three carpet samples - good for when you fit chains/change tyres/or even to help get away if spinning on ice or soft snow.....etc, etc

I am sure as a person not living in the urbancentral Belt you have most - if not all- of these already - but preparation and attitude are key.

The Tom Morton Show: Mondays - Thursdays 1430-1600, and Fridays 1400-1600.

Here are a couple of other useful web pages with tips on driving in the ice and snow:

BBC News - How to drive safely in the snow

AA winter driving tips

Cafe Highlights: Afghanistan, Dear Me and beauty

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Clare English Clare English | 14:15 UK time, Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The conflict continues in Afghanistan; on Monday as the Book Café aired, we heard President Hamid Karzai imploring the West not to abandon his country to its fate when NATO troops pull out in 2014. We've become accustomed to hearing about the war and the losses sustained by British troops on an almost daily basis. IEDs are the most common cause of death yet we all think we know something of the risks the troops take in the course of their daily duties. Most of our information comes from the press and broadcast reports but sometimes FICTION can paint a more nuanced picture of life in extreme conditions. It obviously helps if the person writing about conflict has some experience of it. Patrick Bishop falls into that category - a former Daily Telegraph Foreign Correspondent, he's just written his second novel. It's called FOLLOW ME HOME - the phrase taken from a Rudyard Kipling poem. The plot concerns a small unit of troops on a mission to ambush a leading member of the Taliban. They get more than they bargained for when they are spotted and have to fend for themselves in hostile terrain. The fact they're also trailing two civilians in their wake makes the journey back to the relative safety of their base camp all the more urgent. We hear what it's like to walk for hours in the baking sun, have to fling a grenade, fire a gun, hear bullets whistle past and have to make split second decisions that could make the difference between life and death. The group are under huge stress of course and soon it shows with bickering and accusations made. Luckily, because there's a good deal of army jargon, there is a lexicon of acronyms and phrases at the front of the book. Thank heavens for that...I had no idea a Stag wasn't something with antlers and as for Terp? For anyone wanting to get some idea how the army operates in Afghanistan you could do worse than pick up this book. It's a ripping yarn and even if you don't normally read war stories, the pacing of the adventure and the vividly painted characters really bring home the troubles of a distant land.

Patrick Bishop talks about his book and Afghanistan

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Mary Contini's Stuffed Poussin

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 13:00 UK time, Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Here is the latest recipe from The Kitchen Café, to be downloaded, kept and printed.

Download Mary Contini's Stuffed Poussin

The Kitchen Café is on BBC Radio Scotland, every Wednesday 1315-1400.

Sunday Morning with Cathy Macdonald

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Cathy MacDonald Cathy MacDonald | 06:30 UK time, Sunday, 4 December 2011

On this weeks Sunday Morning programme, my first hour guest is a man who calls himself an "Earth Pilgrim". Satish Kumar is a follower of Jainism, an Indian religion which embraces a philosophy of non-violence towards any living creature, believing that animals and plants as well as human beings, should be treated with respect and compassion. His life story is quite remarkable.

The financial turmoil across Europe has led to two EU member states, Greece and Italy replacing their leaders with unelected "experts"- technocrats with an economic and financial bias. I'll be asking if this the only measure to avoid further financial ruin, and if so, what the implications are for democracy?

With the Leveson Inquiry on media ethics still ongoing, and the press' relationship with the public, politicians and the police all under scrutiny - we ask what, if anything, will change in British journalism.

I'll also be talking to a former gangster who changed his life completely, when he became a Christian, and one of our Sunday Morning listeners, Mary Jean Sutherland shares her memories of growing up in a childrens home in Perth in the 1950's
All that, and some wonderful music to ease you into your Sunday morning.

Sunday Morning is on 0705, every Sunday

Take the Floor events guide w/c 2 Dec 2011

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 17:00 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

Saturday 3rd December


Dundee, Wighton Centre, Dundee Wellgate Library - Harp - 2pm

Sunday 4th December

Accordion and Fiddle Clubs

Arbroath - Arbroath Artisan Golf Club, Elliot - Iain Cathcart Dance Band

Gretna - Athletic and Social Club - Marie Fielding and Duncan Black

Lauder - Lauder Public Hall - Neil Hardie

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Newsweek Scotland: step back in time

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Derek Bateman Derek Bateman | 15:43 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

What were the 70's like for you? And don't say you can't remember because you were in primary school. Your age automatically shows up at the BBC as soon as you start reading this page...

I remember twin tub washing machines (which I covered in green and white floral formica to capture the style zeitgeist), wide lapels and bell bottoms and massive multi stripe ties, phone boxes, typewriters, Embassy fags, mini skirts and kinky boots, my Renault Four with the push-me, pull-you gear change and...Vesta curries.

Well, it seems we're going back there as living standards decline under the deep chill of sustained recession. I wonder where my sheepskin coat is now. So Newsweek returns to the seventies to see how things have changed and to ask if it really was all that bad. We had Bridge over Troubled Water, Maggie May and Ernie (the fastest milkman in the west), for goodness sake. That saw us through rampant inflation and the winter of discontent. But what does it tell us about just what the government is doing with the economy today and how we are reacting. Forget the Chancellor. We'll ask our own experts.

David Cameron called the strikes by two million a damp squib. I'm tempted ask how many people he could get on to the streets of Britain to back his policies. In fact you could argue the strikers are the Big Society. They are the men and women who make Britain work and they don't do it for profit. They banded together to take collective action on the biggest issue facing the country today. It sounds like a definition of the Big Society. Only, of course, on the Jeremy Clarkson view, they were actually putting themselves before the rest of society and protecting their own. Not that the bosses of FTSE 100 companies have been doing anything so selfish... just adding 40 per cent to their already massive pay packets and putting another £400,000 into their pension pots.

We make no apology for returning to the question asked so little this week: What DID happen to private pensions that they are so poor? And why should public sector staff have to be impoverished as a consequence?

Are politicians' pensions being cut? Not the last time I looked. Aren't they in the public sector? Should we be making this public/private distinction at all or should both wings of this argument be uniting for fair pensions all round? In fact, isn't that the government's role?

And is there really no alternative to cutting pensions... no slack, no wriggle room anywhere in the government's entire budget? We'll find out.

The producer says we'll also have some good news about health to counter all my doom and gloom. But if you want an antidote to Armageddon I suggest the Three Degrees "When Will I See You Again", (August 1974.) So good I think I'll have it played at my funeral (Check out the title). So black turtlenecks, bell-bottom jeans and Chelsea boots at the ready...

See you at 8 tomorrow if my flip over alarm is still working.

Shereen: any good news?

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Shereen Nanjiani Shereen Nanjiani | 14:00 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

To mark World AIDS Day this week's special guest is David Johnson, the outgoing Director of Waverley Care which was set up to support people living with HIV. They opened Scotland's first AIDS Hospice, Milestone House back when hysteria about the virus was at its peak. David has some fascinating things about how our attitudes have changed since then. And his message is: not enough.

In the studio with me this Sunday are The Herald's Lucy Adams, journalist and political biographer David Torrance, and another newcomer to the show, Ian Blackford. It's a good week to have Ian on. He's a former banker and ex SNP Treasurer so it will be interesting to get his take on all the financial doom and gloom in the news this week. I wonder whether he and Tory sympathiser David Torrance will be locking horns. I also want to know whether he thinks the collapse of the Euro could bring about the collapse of some of our banks and if he agrees with Mervyn King that banks should not pay dividends or high bonuses just now.

We'll be debating whether the Public Sector strike was the "damp squib" that David Cameron called it. Jeremy Clarkson might get a mention here since he's got a lot of people stirred up by making a "joke" about the strikers that many found offensive. Isn't that just what he does?

And, no women on the shortlist of Sports Personality of the Year! "Shabby sexism" as on columnist put it. Discuss.

We are on a quest for good news and something to cheer us all up. Let me know your ideas and we'll do our best to put them in. We need it!

Shona Mooney - Tidal Island

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Nick Dempsey Nick Dempsey | 11:56 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

Tidal Island is a haunting piece, inspired by the beautiful shores of Eilean Tioram near Loch Moidart in the Western Highlands.

Shona Mooney explains her thinking in this short film, shot during the recording at the BBC studios.

Listen to Tidal Island:

The Islands Suite: a fascinating series of four new compositions.

Jazz House: a history of the saxophone part four: baritone

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 10:30 UK time, Friday, 2 December 2011

On the 9th November 2011 BBC Radio Scotland's Jazz House broadcast one of their "A history of..." series during which Richard Michael dissects a key jazz instrument in front of a live studio audience.

In the first and third parts we heard about the tenor sax and in the second part the alto sax. In this fourth and final part Richard Michael and Gordon McNeil consider the baritone sax, and Scotland's Joe Temperley.

Tom's Top Tale: Toilet humour

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Tom Morton Tom Morton | 16:30 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

Unusual toiletry facilities. After the first flush of enthusiasm, we began to plumb new depths in this discussion...though Willie's tale was, as ever, memorable...

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Cafe highlights w/c 28 Nov

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Clare English Clare English | 16:20 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

Life is a mystery (as is quantum physics in our house). Sometimes we enjoy trying to solve the puzzle and other times it's best if we just leave it with no obvious explanation. When strange things happen, it can freak us out; alternatively, it can prove rather stimulating.Take an example from this week's Book Café. Our intrepid reporter Tom Allen set off on the trail of a mystery artist who'd been leaving exquisitely crafted sculptures made from books at a variety of cultural locations across Edinburgh. This has been happening for the past nine months but now the artist behind the stunts had called it a day; the final sculpture was left at the Scottish Poetry Library. What was the point of this guerrilla art? Who was the unknown artist? Does it matter? What we can conclude is that the sculptures made people feel curious and more often than not, happy to have had an unexpected encounter with a beautiful object. I do like a mystery!

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The Art of Complaining

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Susan Calman | 09:17 UK time, Thursday, 1 December 2011

Susan Calman

It may come as a surprise to some of you but I'm not very good at complaining. Like many people I rehearse arguments in my head for hours but more often than not I end up apologising for being difficult. Even something as simple as taking back faulty goods can turn me into a gibbering mess. And whilst I would never suggest we should all start shouting in supermarkets there are times when I wish I was a little bit more confident when it comes to registering my annoyance.

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