Tag Archives: Solas


Tractor Girl has written about her take on this weekend’s Solas Festival. We managed to make it just for the day yesterday, it was great to catch up with people and meet new people and see a bit of the beginning of a festival which I hope goes from strength to strength.

I’m having a few issues with uploading pictures to flickr, and my photos are too big for the wordpress Add Media thing to be able to cope with them, so I shall have to do photos some other time, sorry about that!

We arrived shortly after the communion service had started, so by the time we’d parked and got our ticket and found the loos and whathaveyou the service was over half way through so we headed off for a cup of tea (bargain) and were joined after the service by Tractor Girl and TOH (TOH if you’re reading this: sorry we laughed at your geeky faux pas, HD wasn’t offended in the slightest, it was just a lovely moment 🙂 ). We then headed on over to see Alastair McIntosh’s talk – like TG I loved Soil and Soul and his gentle delivery, and even if you don’t agree with his theology there is always the sense of real substance there. The questioning afterwards was interesting – Doug Gay was rather annoyed by McIntosh’s take on Calvinism and atonement (something which surprised me – I’ve only heard him speak before a couple of times, once at a wedding and once at Greenbelt where he was talking about nationalism, and the whole Calvinist edge wasn’t that obvious to me then at all), but I thought it was good that there was room for criticism and robust debate rather than just cuddly affirmation. After that HD and I grabbed a (delicious) veggie burger and then wandered into the Christian Aid tent for a coffee where we ended up listening to a conversation with Verene Nicolas (Alastair McIntosh’s wife). We hadn’t heard her talk (TG talks about it in her entry) but the conversation I found a bit vague and hand-wavy and I didn’t have the same sense of ‘substance’ that I felt with Alastair McIntosh’s talk.

In the afternoon we wandered over to the marquee in the campsite to listen to some acoustic music – we both liked Brian McGlynn – HD last saw him about 15 years ago and has one of his CDs so the first song I recognised, and we enjoyed a mellow set. Then I left him to listen to music (and then to sit under a tree) while I went to Mary Ann Kennedy’s Gaelic Singing workshop which was fun. Gaelic is such a beautiful language, though so unscrutable. I could listen to someone reading the phone book in Gaelic and be transported somewhere heavenly. I doubt my singing it would have the same effect on anyone else though!

In the evening we went along to Kim Edgar’s acoustic set, as TG says she has a beautiful voice and I enjoyed that very much. After more good cheap festival food we went back to the camping area where the ceilidh was in full flow, though we just watched from the sidelines and caught up with various people, rather than doing any dancing ourselves. Finally we headed over to the main venue for the final 3 bands of the evening. Kitty the Lion were OK but didn’t particularly grab me; Stanley Odd were just brilliant, so so funny (maybe it was just not expecting Scottish hiphop) and full of energy – I think the music team were getting them to sign up for next year as soon as they left the stage, as they were fantastic; and then a brilliant end to the evening with the Peatbog Faeries from Skye (though, worryingly they did make me worry that I’m turning into my dad – I found myself thinking a couple of times I’d prefer them a bit more trad and without the brass section. I was fine with the bass and drums though so perhaps there’s hope for me yet!).

[Edited: have sorted out my flickr problems. There’s a set of photos here.]

The happiest girl in the world

On Thursday we went to the wonderful Glasgow Film Theatre (GFT) to see a new Romanian film, “The Happiest Girl in the World”. There’s a review of the film from the Guardian here. There was also an (English) article on a Romanian TV station blog about the burgeoning Romanian film industry, the blog itself doesn’t appear to exist any more but the article still appears to be cached, here.

I’m not sure that HD is that convinced about the Romanian film renaissance (I’ve dragged him along to several films now!) – but I for one am really appreciating it. Apart from anything else it means I have an hour or two when I can listen to the language as it’s spoken properly (as opposed to reading it myself, when it sounds like Romanian with an English accent in my head). I was pleased that I was able to follow a lot of the film with minimal reliance on the subtitles, and when the subtitles appeared before the dialogue I could guess what was going to be said reasonably well.

The film itself was fun, I enjoyed it, though I’m not sure I’d quite describe it as a comedy. It reminded me a lot of Mike Leigh/Ken Loach type films, where although you could probably say they were comedies it’s more the kind of comedy where you smile because you know it’s so true to life rather than because it’s funny haha. Certainly when they were filming the advert (over and over again) it reminded me of lots of adverts I’ve seen on Romanian TV over the years, where they get the winner to read out a script, flash their prize and promote the product. And the basic premise – 16 year old Delia’s parents wanting to sell her prize so they could get the money and no longer have to struggle – certainly struck me as very true to life.

So, if you get the chance I’d say it was worth seeing. Other Romanian films I’ve seen include “12:08 East of Bucharest” (quite why it’s called that in English when the Romanian title actually translates as “Was it or wasn’t it?” I don’t know) – this did make me laugh; “4 Months 3 Weeks 2 days” (about a girl seeking an illegal abortion during the Ceausescu years – harrowing but scarily true to life); and “The Death of Mr Lazarescu” – again touted as a black comedy, but I’d say the operative word was definitely black. All well worth seeing, in my view. A couple of others I’ve not seen yet but which come highly recommended are “California Dreamin'” (I have this on DVD, just not ever got round to it, must rectify that soon) and “Tales from the Golden Age” (produced by “4,3,2”‘s director Cristian Mungiu) which got rave reviews on Radio 4.

I think I’ve written before about how I find watching films quite stressful. Maybe it’s because these are Romanian so I’m curious and know the culture and a lot of the background stuff already I can cope with them more than many. Whatever, I think they’re worth a view if you get the chance.

In other news, we’re off to Solas for the day tomorrow (Surfing and Tractor Girl amongst others are already there for the whole weekend so am looking forward to catching up with them). There’s no way we’re going to make it to Greenbelt this year sadly, far too near to my thesis deadline, but this will be nice to get a little taste of it a bit closer to home anyway.