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Kate Davies visits the Great Tapestry of Scotland

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is an embroidered artwork of 160 panels illustrating the whole history of Scotland in the style of the Bayeux tapestry. Over a thousand stitchers collaborated to make the panels, and the design is the largest of three large-scale embroidery projects by Andrew Crummy. Kate Davies visited the Great Tapestry of Scotland at the Scottish Parliament and took some amazing close-up pictures... [more inside]
posted by clavicle on Jul 12, 2014 - 15 comments

To make a call the writer had to travel 18 miles

A visit to George Orwell's house on the remote Scottish island of Jura.
posted by Chrysostom on Jul 3, 2014 - 15 comments

To read Spark is always to read about reading.

Describing Dame Muriel Spark's oeuvre as "a body of work singular in its violence, formal inventiveness, and scorching opening lines," Parul Sehgal's What Muriel Spark Saw examines the enduring appeal and the mystery of Spark's fiction, particularly the "monstruous" women: "What hash Spark's characters make of those eternal debates over unlikable characters or unlikable women." [more inside]
posted by mixedmetaphors on Jul 1, 2014 - 6 comments

The Great Yes No Don't Know 5 Minute Theatre Show

The National Theatre of Scotland is spending 24 hours staging and live streaming 185 five minute plays on the subject of independence, created by people all over Scotland and beyond, as a creative reflection on the forthcoming independence referendum. [more inside]
posted by penguin pie on Jun 24, 2014 - 1 comment

Glasgow School of Art destroyed

The Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and recently voted Britain's favorite building of the past 175 years, has been devastated by fire. While the stone exterior of Mackintosh's greatest architectural masterpiece may survive, Mackintosh's interiors are presumed lost.
posted by scody on May 23, 2014 - 70 comments

May the road rise up to meet you.

The Roader’s Digest is ‘the most complete archive of information on the British and Irish road networks on the web.’ from the A1 to the R999; from the B3306 to the B855, they probably have a description of it. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on May 6, 2014 - 20 comments

Oh Hamish, you wer wan in a million

Cod Liver Oil And The Orange Juice.
posted by sidra on Apr 11, 2014 - 5 comments

'the epitome of barbarism and heathendom.'

The Vikings invented soap operas and pioneered globalisation - so why do we depict them as brutes?
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 24, 2014 - 51 comments

Scotland is an unwon cause.

It is beginning to be appreciated, even in London, that Alex Salmond might just win his independence referendum in September. The break-up of Britain will have begun, David Cameron will have to contemplate being Prime Minister of a rump country — and HMS Britannia will be sunk, not with a bang but a whimper.
posted by Chrysostom on Feb 6, 2014 - 115 comments

Superstitious Scots

When the Song Dies
In Scotland, folk songs serve as memories, of places and the dead who once inhabited them. Exploring the theme of change, When the Song Dies seeks to bring the audience under the captive spell of the old ways. Featuring a range of contributors, the film is a poignant reminder that the dead linger on, all around us, in the houses and landscapes we live in, and in the language and music of our culture. Whilst Scottishness is at the heart of the film, this story is as universal as it is specific. It is the story of a culture that is, like so many, in danger of fading from human memory.
A 15-minute film directed by Jamie Chambers.
posted by Lezzles on Feb 4, 2014 - 5 comments

...and I hear the Union Jack's to remain

If the drive for Scottish independence succeeds, what should be done about the Union Jack?
posted by Chrysostom on Dec 18, 2013 - 44 comments

"Save one life, save the world."

In 1988, Nicholas Winton appeared on the BBC program "That's Life." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 24, 2013 - 12 comments

Ownership in Britain is broken

After a trade dispute, Grangemouth plant will remain open. Just another case of a greedy union almost driving a company out of business? Perhaps not. Robin McAlpine argues that this case underlines the broken nature of British industry and its relationship with the unions, as well as the media's ability to report on stories outside of London
posted by Cannon Fodder on Oct 25, 2013 - 6 comments

Seventeenth-century crowd funding

Taylor was a waterman who first entered the book trade in 1612 with a collection of verses. From that point on he kept up a prolific stream of publications, including in 1618 an account of a journey on foot to Scotland published as The Pennyles Pilgrimage. In the previous year Taylor has published a similar account of his journey to Hamburg, but this book had two twists. The first was that Taylor had set himself the challenge of completing his journey without begging and relying on spontaneous offers of hospitality. The second was that Taylor tried to fund it through subscriptions.
posted by Chrysostom on Oct 22, 2013 - 6 comments

Cuthbert Ottaway - Englands First Captain (Foot-Ball, Association Rules)

"Cuthbert Ottaway lifted the FA Cup as skipper of Oxford University, represented them at five different sports ranging from athletics to real tennis, and once shared a 150-run partnership with WG Grace in the highest level of cricket. His most notable achievement was captaining England in the first ever international football match though. About 4,000 spectators, including a "large number of ladies", gathered to watch the historic game against Scotland at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick on 30 November 1872."
posted by marienbad on Aug 21, 2013 - 4 comments

Cabers can go in unpredictable directions.

There is vertical throwing, too, in which people throw a 56-pound weight over a bar that is raised progressively higher. It is important to remember to step aside after you have thrown this weight. One of the heavy contestants told me that at a recent games elsewhere, a thrower forgot to move away. Staring up at the descending weight, he decided to catch it, which was not, it was explained, a good thing to do.

Novelist Alexander McCall Smith with a fond portrait of Scotland's remote Morvern peninsula and the Highland games held there.
posted by Chrysostom on Aug 7, 2013 - 17 comments

Scotland's Young Fathers: modern moody mix of hip-hop, afrobeat and R&B

Graham Hastings, Alloysious Massaquoi and Kayus Bankole are a musical trio from Scotland. They first met at a local hip-hop night for under-16 youth in Edinburgh, where the music scene is more focused on indie rock than beats and rapping. They started collaborating a few years ago, and now go by the name Young Fathers. They mix rap, grime, modern R&B, afro-beat, noisy samples and more, though they write music from a pop-perspective, and consider themselves "pop boys." They have two short releases that are something between EPs and albums, plus a handful of singles. Their primary releases, Tape One and Tape Two, have been (re)released on the US label Anticon, and they have a handful of official videos: Deadline, Sister, Rumbling and Romance are the first four tracks from Tape One; I Heard is the first video from Tape Two; The Guide is separate single to stream and/or download, for free on Soundcloud.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 19, 2013 - 6 comments

1920s Britain in colour

In the mid-1920s, Claude Friese-Greene filmed The Open Road, a record of his journey through Britain, using the 'Biocolour' technique first developed by his father William. Eighty years later, the BFI produced a digital version of the preserved and restored film. We've seen London in 1926 previously on MeFi, but there's plenty more of The Open Road to see, including weavers in Kilbarchan (1:16), farmers harvesting with oxen in Cirencester (0:52), Glamorgan coal-miners (0:46), and more. [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Jun 17, 2013 - 7 comments

I promise there's a pith helmet involved.

For the better entertainment of Reddit's What's In This Thing, a Glasgow lass offered to open up one of the trunks in her attic. Of course, when you grow up in a 700-year-old Scottish castle, you have considerably more interesting trunks in your attic than most people.... Video of opening the trunk [1], [2]. Or if you just want to cut to the chase, here's an extensive imgur gallery of some of the astonishingly well-preserved finds.
posted by Diablevert on May 1, 2013 - 62 comments

Freedom And Unity

U.S. Out Of Vermont! [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Apr 5, 2013 - 48 comments

There is some conundrum in there which no amount of science can answer

But as whisky scientists point out, it’s not really like that. Water has no influence on malt whisky flavour; barley can come from anywhere, provided that it delivers satisfactory spirit yield; and, in many cases, the newly made spirit is taken by tanker from its beautiful, peaceful, lonely distillery surroundings within a couple of weeks of distillation. It’s then aged in uglier, less peaceful but more logistically sensible locations in central Scotland.
Flavour in malt whisky is attributable to the malt specification, to brewing and distilling practices and to wood-ageing regimes [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 30, 2013 - 41 comments

Mouth music

Canntaireachd (Scottish Gaelic: literally, "chanting"; Scottish Gaelic pronunciation: [kʰãũn̪ˠt̪ɛɾʲəxk]) is the ancient Scottish Highland method of noting classical pipe music or Ceòl Mòr by a combination of definite syllables, by which means the various tunes could be more easily recollected by the learner, and could be more easily transmitted orally. [more inside]
posted by Callicvol on Mar 19, 2013 - 10 comments

Whips, whiskey, women, work, weapons, cars and cadence. But no hockey.

Jump steady, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Looky yonder Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
She's so rock steady! Bam-A-Lam!
She's always ready! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam! [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 16, 2013 - 52 comments

Gregor MacGregor the Cacique of Poyais

In 1820 Gregor MacGregor, chieftain of the Central American principality of Poyais arrived in London and explained his problem: his principality had a fine climate, friendly natives, and a democratic government, but it needed investors and settlers to help develop it and exploit its abundant natural resources. To this end his government was to issue a £200,000 bond which would pay off at a generous 6%, as well as land rights for a modest 3 shillings an acre. MacGregor would eventually raise funds worth £3.2 billion -at today's prices- for the entirely fictional principality; this makes him arguably the most successful con-men of all time. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on Dec 31, 2012 - 16 comments

Not that many Dutch people care what you call the country

Thinking of Holland you think of windmills and tulips, but the former is originally a Persian invention (as far as we know) while the latter came from Turkey. Worse, Holland is not even the name of the country you're thinking of. Luckily, there's a handy youtube video to explain the difference between Holland and the Netherlands. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Dec 28, 2012 - 98 comments

Cherokee, Dirty Harry and Big Billy

1973 news report on the training of Glasgow bouncers, This Week: Documentary about 1960s Glasgow Gangs
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Dec 26, 2012 - 7 comments

FlavorBrit

ShortList has been reviewing British high-end (gourmet) burgers for the last few months. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 19, 2012 - 37 comments

Love Lego? Love Rugby?

Ever wanted to see rugby highlights animated in lego? Of course you have! [more inside]
posted by Scottie_Bob on Dec 14, 2012 - 6 comments

Scottish Literary Sculptural Mysteries Return!

This week in Scotland, it is Book Week. Many note authors are supporting it with free events. And so is the mysterious sculptor who seized the imagination of people worldwide with her books made sculpture. She (one of the few things known about the sculptor) has done a series of five mystery hidden sculptures to help celebrate Book Week. Each of them is related to a Scottish story or author. [more inside]
posted by mephron on Nov 30, 2012 - 8 comments

We can stop it

The usual rape prevention campaigns often focus on the victims and what they can do to minimise the risk of being attacked (as discussed previously) but in Scotland they're now doing things differently. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Oct 17, 2012 - 116 comments

You can't eat scenery

The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 15, 2012 - 109 comments

"Works like a depth charge. Pow."

Brian Cox's Guide to Scotch Pronounciation
posted by the man of twists and turns on Oct 4, 2012 - 76 comments

The Proclaimers, a lot more than I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

They're best known for one song: I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles), as featured in Benny and Joon in 1993, and though the identical twin brothers faded from the public eye in the US, 500 Miles was lovingly parodied by Homer Simpson in 2001, and the brothers appeared on Family Guy in 2006. That song was featured in Comic Relief 2007, and that rendition was the number 1 song in the UK for three weeks. Given this focus on a single song that was first released in 1988, you might want mark The Proclaimers as a one-hit wonder and leave it at that. But David Pollock, writing for The Guardian, wants you to reconsider: The Proclaimers are a lot better than you probably remember. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 25, 2012 - 72 comments

Composite mummies

"...scientists have discovered that two 3,000-year-old Scottish "bog bodies" are actually made from the remains of six people."
posted by 445supermag on Sep 24, 2012 - 64 comments

The Wreck in Witch's Hole: the sole casualty of Britain's Bermuda Triangle

To a fisherman, all areas of the sea have names, just as a farmer will name his fields or streets have formal and informal names. For instance, there is the Witch's Ground, an area where the fishing is good, but the bottom is very rough and gear can easily be damaged or lost. Or if you're really unlucky, an undersea methane burst might make water less dense, and the sea could swallow your whole trawler. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 10, 2012 - 19 comments

Deep fried mars bars! What do they tell us about Glasgow?

So the infamous deep fried mars bar has reignited debates about Glasgow as the unhealthiest city in the UK. The Economist has also weighed in with their view on life expectancy in Glasgow, touching on the city's industrial history. The issue of Glasgow as the unhealthiest and most dangerous city seems to be at odds with Glasgow as a friendly city, and despite continued efforts to improve its reputation, Glasgow still seems to be afflicted by negative evaluations.
posted by Scottie_Bob on Sep 7, 2012 - 51 comments

Hello my little Metafilter Malt lovers...

If you love malt whisky then you'll love Ralfy's YouTube channel. [more inside]
posted by veryape on Aug 15, 2012 - 18 comments

Hugh MacDiarmid & A Drunk Man Looks at a Thistle

Hugh MacDiarmid was born 120 years ago today. Best known for his long, comic, dark, epic, complex poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, he was a central figure in the Scottish Renaissance. He was the type of guy who would get kicked out of the Scottish National Party for being a communist and get kicked out of the Communist Party of Great Britain for being a Scottish nationalist. [more inside]
posted by feckless on Aug 11, 2012 - 30 comments

Same-sex marriage in Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced that it intends to legalise same-sex marriage, and will produce a draft bill for public consultation within the year. [more inside]
posted by Dim Siawns on Jul 25, 2012 - 69 comments

"We could not afford to buy that much heroin."

Q: What's the connection between heroin in Glasgow and a dead goat in Turkey? A: Anthrax.
posted by Len on Jul 21, 2012 - 16 comments

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley.

Football's Most Dangerous Rivalry: Celtic v Rangers [more inside]
posted by laconic skeuomorph on Jul 6, 2012 - 29 comments

British Council Film Collection

The British Council Film Collection "is an archive of over 120 short documentary films made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played. Preserved by the BFI National Film Archive and digitised by means of a generous donation by Google, the films are now yours to view, to download and to play with for the first time." A couple of essays and case studies also already up, with more to come.
posted by Abiezer on May 3, 2012 - 7 comments

a tale of two cities

Officially Dull and Boring.
posted by LeLiLo on Apr 26, 2012 - 19 comments

Obscura Day, 2012

Atlas Obscura (seen 'round here before) has organized its third annual Obscura Day for April 28. It's "an international celebration of unusual places," from the Fairy Doors of Ann Arbor, Michigan and the Particle Accelerator at John E. Edwards Accelerator Laboratory in Athens, Ohio, to a tour of the Secrets & Oddities of the National Museum in Edinburgh, Scotland and an Expedition to the 1,553 Stone-Carved Monks of Nihon-ji in the city of Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture, Japan.
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 25, 2012 - 3 comments

My only country is six feet tall

A recent article in the Economist followed up on the British cover of this week's edition with a scathing attack on the economic case for Scottish independence. The Scottish National Party, currently in power and preparing for an independence referendum, are not amused but at least they have a powerful friend that can help out these days. [more inside]
posted by Talkie Toaster on Apr 13, 2012 - 67 comments

Of Tartans and Kilts

Today is National Tartan Day, and in New York city it's Tartan Week! A celebration of Scottish heritage, Tartan Day is held on April 6 to commemorate the Declaration of Arbroath, a declaration of Scottish independence submitted to Pope John XXII in 1320. [more inside]
posted by usonian on Apr 6, 2012 - 17 comments

Gas Leak at North Sea Platform

A potentially dangerous situation is developing off the coast of Scotland. An off-shore drilling platform is leaking substantial quantities of gas contaminated with hydrogen sulphide. Much as here, the comments thread is as interesting as the post at The Oil Drum itself.
posted by indices on Mar 28, 2012 - 67 comments

Leaving St Kilda

The last man to remember St Kilda. Norman John Gillies was five years old when he, and all the other residents, left the remote Scottish island of St Kilda in 1930. Fortunately, we still have photos and films of island life, including 1928's 'St Kilda, Britain's Loneliest Island' (part 1, part 2). (St Kilda on MeFi, previously and previouslier.)
posted by Catseye on Mar 25, 2012 - 26 comments

Some good iceblink luck

Friday dreams. Simon Raymonde, bassist of Cocteau Twins, writes: A rare nostalgia moment: i didnt think any footage from the Heaven or Las Vegas tour in 1990 existed and i remember how cool it was being able to have a lighting designer for the first time that tour but have never seen how our stage looked from the audience till tonight so this is a treat to me. The whole concert in on youtube now pretty much. And my god, what a voice Elizabeth had on this tour, absolutely perfect on every song. Some rare good memories. [more inside]
posted by timshel on Mar 9, 2012 - 48 comments

REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP

The true name of the man most famously known as Lord George Gordon Gordon will likely never be known. His name, though false, will nevertheless live in history for pulling one of the great advance-fee cons of all time, swindling in 1872 over a million dollars out of Jay Gould, most unscrupulous of all the robber barons and no stranger himself to a long con. Gould's quest for revenge would nearly lead to a military invasion of Manitoba by the Minnesota state militia. [more inside]
posted by strangely stunted trees on Feb 16, 2012 - 10 comments

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