HER­ALD ARTS CRIT­ICS’

The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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

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