Arts

Robert Kemp - 50 Years After the Death of a Scots Playwright, a Memoir

This month marks 50 years since the death of the playwright Robert Kemp. To commemorate this, I have created a memoir which is downloadable here as a PDF, readable on Kindle or any other device. This is a work in progress - a corrected and finalised version will appear soon. Comments and contributions welcome via Facebook or Twitter @jackiekemp.

Robert Kemp was a playwright who spoke and often wrote in the Scots tongue. His plays reflect his ease in the language and a deep knowledge of Scotland’s literature and history.  Many of the characters and stories are drawn from Scotland’s past and its rich folklore. He wrote upwards of 120 plays, for radio and theatre, in English and Scots, but is remembered chiefly for his adaptation of Sir David Lyndsay’s the Three Estates for the Edinburgh Festival in 1948, and for two Moliere adaptations into Scots, Let Wives Tak Tent, and the Laird O Grippy.

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'Spirit of 47' - A Member of the Edinburgh International Festival Audience for 70 Years Looks Back.

The theme of the 70th Edinburgh International Festival this year is remembering the ‘Spirit of 47’. Among the audience is at least one faithful festival-goer who was there at the start - my uncle David Kemp. 

Here are some of David’s reminiscences of his many Festivals, stretching back to those post-war years when the colour and beauty of art returned to a traumatised world.

David Kemp outside the Usher Hall, Edinburgh before the Mariinsky/ RSNO concert on 23/08/2017

Read more: 'Spirit of 47' - A Member of the Edinburgh International Festival Audience for 70 Years Looks Back.

Two Exhibitions: "Doppelhanger" at MOBA and "Frances Stark" at MFA



I laughed more in my short visit to the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) - than I can remember doing at an art gallery. But the experience was not only amusing; it helped me to reflect upon the curatorial process at work in all art galleries, and to reach a conclusion about the Frances Stark retrospective which is currently on show at Boston’s Museum of Fine Art.

The current MOBA exhibition is entitled “doppelhanger” and features portraits which bear an intended or accidental  resemblance to a famous person. My guide, Louise Reilly, pointed to “Sunday on the Pot with George” (above).

“This is one of my all time favorites. Pointillism is difficult. Why would anyone expend that much energy painting a middle-aged man in his tighty whities sitting on a toilet?” And look” she pointed to where the portrait ends, at the subject’s ankles, where either by accident or design the painter has avoided having to include those challenging feet.

Read more: Two Exhibitions: "Doppelhanger" at MOBA and "Frances Stark" at MFA

Finding Art in the News.

Real newspapers can be used for many things that their digital counterparts never could - from lining the veg box to making paper boats and beyond. Artist Jane Couroussopoulos finds a novel use for the pile of old Guardians she keeps in her studio, turning them into works of art.

 

Jane and Poppy in the studio.

Read more: Finding Art in the News.

Drinking, Feasting, Fighting, Wearing Bling - the Celts Come to Town

Detail from the Gundestrup Cauldron, circa 100BC, Denmark.

Images courtesy of the British Museum and the NMS

Celts could be weird and scary. They were mad for the drink and when they had it, you had to watch out for them: they saw things and became aggressive. They were radge fighters, absolutely mental, they dressed up to go into battle and they played great big war horns that made a sound that would scare the living daylights out of you. And they liked bling, loved it actually: gold, bronze, iron, glass, precious stones. They wore chunky jewellery decorated with abstract patterns and symbols. They were skilled at metalwork, leatherwork, pottery and weaving and if something precious was broken, they would mend it - a bronze flagon with a broken handle would get a different handle, or a hole would be fixed with a decorated patch, and made as good as new - better in fact. Oh and they loved parties and feasting; the women were great hosts and they were buried with their special pots and flagons, probably so they could use them for a big after-party on the other side.

Read more: Drinking, Feasting, Fighting, Wearing Bling - the Celts Come to Town