Playlist: Scottish arts on screen throughout history
This article is from 2010.
With the recent launch of Creative Scotland, the new body responsible for nurturing and promoting Scottish arts and culture, your latest Playlist column is taking a look at how Scottish arts have been represented in years gone by. If you’re an artist looking to the future, it’s well worth checking out the illustrious past.
The British Pathe website has a selection of gem-like films dealing with items of Scottish cultural pride. Check out Kilt-making, in which a rampantly jingoistic narrator explains the origins of the ‘devils in petticoats’ (tinyurl.com/3aery4h) and cheerfully looks forward to some kind of Scottish-Prussian massacre. The secrets of Scots tweed-making are laid bare in the film Scottish Tweed, which visits the Perthshire village of Killin to look at bobbins and experience the thrilling ‘clickedly-clack’ of the loom (tinyurl.com/3adprp5).
And what could be more Scottish than the humble clog? Not just the preserve of the Dutch, Clogmaking (tinyurl.com/34wgvtp) profiles a small business in Stirlingshire as they turn trees into durable wooden shoes in a couple of astonishingly simple steps. And from the National Library of Scotland, From Glasgow Green to Bendigo is a priceless clip that shows a designer from Templeton’s Carpet Factory in Glasgow (where my granny used to work) as he quickly rustles up a modern pattern in the spirit of the great Robert Adam. The design itself isn’t that remarkable, but the elocution is top class throughout, making today’s newsreaders sound like Begbie from Trainspotting (tinyurl.com/38cdcaz).
While the subject matter of these films may seem quaint, there’s no denying their entertainment value, with a ten-minute Technicolour short called Edinburgh Festival the pick of the bunch, offering up glimpses of the vibrant new talent showcased at the 17th Edinburgh Festival as Auld Reekie plays host to fresh new talent such as Sir Benjamin Britten, Larry Adler and the sadly forgotten Fringe Faces – a game troupe in racy latex bodysuits, false moustaches and push-up bras that have to be seen to be disbelieved. If anyone ever dares suggests we’re no hoaching wi’ culture up here, just send them this clip (tinyurl.com/37fzk49) to set them right.