HERALD ARTS CRITICS’
Fewer superhero movies – but only just – made for a less tedious year in the cinema. Much to my surprise as someone who hates horror, was a treat. Smart, original, funny and nicely subversive, Jordan Peele’s reinvention of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner also gave birth to a star in Daniel Kaluuya, who will be appearing next year in Widows, the keenly awaited crime drama from Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave). Otherwise, some of the best films were on the small screen, with Bong Joon Ho’s animal rights drama and Noah Baumbach’s family yarn
both Netflix originals, making me think movies might have found a place to call a second home.
With the day job involving screens, screens and more screens, gallery visits abroad and plain old reading at home were luxuries. I spent a blissful afternoon in Venice at the
Housed in her former home in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, there were Picassos, Pollocks, Mondrians and Ernsts galore, but the photograph I took home was of the sun spot in the garden where her beloved dogs are buried. Best book of the year was one that had been hanging round for a while, John le Carre’s
Though subtitled Stories from My Life, it seemed to recount much while revealing hardly anything about the man himself. Despite his protestations throughout the book, he must have been a bloody good spy. The year had barely opened its doors before stole the show. The singer and writer took Wind Resistance to Celtic Connections in January and blew us away. Her touring production (and album with Pippa Murphy) explores motherhood, migration, medicine and local landscape – and its messages of collaboration and hope have withstood the unsettling seasons since.
At the heart of Wind Resistance is a sense of gentle solidarity, and this has resounded through the year. It was a joy to see tropical-indie duo – a band founded on friendship – lift 2017’s Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, and similarly heartening to see their fellow Glasgow pop diviner
shortlisted for the accolade. (Here’s hoping R&B harlequins and best pals make 2018’s cut, thanks to their magical debut, Fly Invisible Hero, released last month.) Former SAY Award winner
made one of 2017’s most sublime and affecting albums, thanks to Conflats from her musical union with Marcus Mackay and James Graham from the Twilight Sad. It documents the lives of the residents of Easterhouse, and reminds us at the year’s close of play – as Wind Resistance did in its early days – that we all need someone to lean on. The celebrations of the Edinburgh International Festival’s 70th year brought us a bumper programme of opera that is likely to the benchmark for a few years to come, but at least quietened those who are always moaning that Scotland’s premier