Luminate 2013

Winter isn’t exactly renowned for its festival abundance in the city of festivals, except, of course, for that one. So as October draws to a close again, a satisfied man, I figuratively hang up my festival hat for the year. The last month saw me working again with Luminate, Scotland’s creative ageing festival, on a programme of events that spanned the regions of Scotland. Performances, workshops, classes, discussions and fairs on subjects from cinema to historical research through to poetry and contemporary art. The umbrella of ‘creative’ is straight-away a broad one.

So too is the handle of ‘ageing.’ I captured a selection of events from the programme and both audiences and participants ranged hugely in years. Nothing in the events were exclusive to older generations, and none of the issues and themes across the works were unique to them either. My assumptions were certainly bruised. New ideas and new technology go through the same processes with older as they do younger. Broad mindedness doesn’t fall out of style as you grow, it’s human nature to search for new means of expression and hidden creative outlets.

From the small moments I shared with the different groups, I realsised ageing is something we all have in common. And not, to contradict popular consensus, necessarily a parallel of maturity.

Underpass Mural in Livingston

Stone Carving Workshop at the Burrell Collection, Glasgow

24 Carat Gold performance at Dancebass, Edinburgh

Open Mic Night at Glad Cafe, Glasgow

Poetry Slam at Ghillie Dhu, Edinburgh

Music Workshop at Howden Park Centre, Livingston




Put the brakes on and ask yourself this – What would you do if you were given one day? Not a workday or a holiday. Not a Monday, not a Thursday, not any day of the week. A day from the blue, all to yourself. A limited 24 hours. Would you go out and play?

Big problems with play the older you get. We get to where we want to, we live the dream, but we start to switch off the subsidiary senses that kept us from starving. We are no longer desperate for anything and we stop following our impulses. Real creatures of habit we become, and we start to expect everyone else to be the same. We get more and more excited at the prospect of doughier, sinkier sofas, a bottle of red, a moo-vie? Bed at 10 for an early start?
But imagine this one impossible day. With no plan, with no wild programme. Waking up in your own bed with only your world and your resources. Do nothing? Do everything?? In our mad rush to make the most of our time we end up leaving ourselves no space to play. There can be no doubt, good play is half spontaneity, half activity. But how can you be spontaneous in your own back yard??

Well, very if you let yourself rediscover it. I am no master, don’t get me wrong. I am blessed by where and how I live, but 6 out of 7 I am fully asleep to it. So, I had a visitor! For the first time in nearly 2 years, I had fresh eyes on my porch. Go through the motions all you like, see the spots and hit the views, but Edinburgh is unbelievable fun. I am no tour guide and Aidan is no tourist, but we basically stormed the city up and down and still only managed to scratch the surface.

In a single 24 hour swoop we beheld beauty, rewrote the rules of Guess Who, shopped a ludicrous hat, looked down from a mountain, blinded ourselves in World of Illusions, rewrote the lyrics to R.E.M, got chased by a street cleaner, swallowed Edinburgh’s finest coffee, doubled over laughing, watched a random 17piece jazz band, went for noodles, unleashed a Kraken, sang in a trad bar at the top of our lungs,  and invented only a hundred puns on everything in-between.

Its the weekend again. Give yourself a day to play