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Blend In, Stood Out: Tinnies and Tea

Blend In Stand Out Perth: A Night of Poetry, Spoken Word & Music

Picture this: tinnies of Tennent’s and pots of tea. It’s October, it’s wet, but inside a small cafe in Perth unfolds a night of poetry, stories, spoken word and music. Welcome to Blend In, Stand Out everybody.

Perth is a place of booming culture and creativity right now. A place which is quickly becoming an important creative hub in Scotland. A university that offers the best in music courses, breeding all sorts of musicians, lyricists, artists and poets on to our streets and a place we are now finding space to make noise as creatives. Perth is quickly becoming a place where you can go to be the most creative person you can be. I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this first hand on Friday evening.

Blend In, Stand Out was bursting with creative talent. The performers were all different, unique and each brought their own creative ingredients to the melting pot. We had classic Scottish, we had texting exes, we had feminist, we had aliens, we had people showing up unannounced to view your house, we had Gordon Ramsay giving you a bad lunch, we had acoustic sets, we had awhin’.

On the evening Seamus Austin Leavey opened with an acoustic set, a perfect way to begin. Blend Coffee Lounge was warm, wholesome and to put it quite simply, a magical venue for this kind of evening. There was spoken word and poetry from Gemma Johnstone, Shaun Brown, India Rose, Cameron Roxburgh, Nnena, Minches, Macapella, Max Scratchmann, Chris Mallis, AR Crow, Patrick Mitchell, Farhad Shahrokhi and MC of the night Rana Marathon. The evening was closed with a perfect finish from MOG’s band, Simmons is old.

What a night, one of Perth’s many hidden gems, giving Perth’s finest talent a platform and place to express themselves. Lots of words, swearing, laughter, fun, poetry and an abundance of creativity right in the heart of Perth. 

Blend In, Stand Out was started on December 1st 2017 by Rana Marathon. The concept came about due to Rana performing at poetry nights in Glasgow and Edinburgh, realising that Perth was lacking an evening like this. Blend In, Stand Out has grown so much at the hands of Rana and local poets that it is now drawing in performers from all over Scotland. It has also become a regular night, promoting performers near and far to come and express themselves.

Rana Marathon, organiser, said: The event has grown organically and it’s been beautiful to watch. I’ve grown as an organiser and a host learning better ways to run things from each event. However I can’t take all the credit as I’ve had lots of support especially from Craig Lithgow along with every single performer that’s graced the BISO ‘stage’ and the crowd, some of which have been coming from the very beginning. Not to mention the owners & staff at Blend who are also part of the audience and some of the staff even now come and perform. I better not forget my maw who is my biggest support on and off the scene as well! I feel very proud of what we have achieved with Blend In, Stand Out and look forward to the one year anniversary party which is gonna be massive!”

The next Blend In, Stand Out will be on 9th November and if you would like to be involved head over to the Facebook Page to register your interested. Blend In, Stand out prides itself on being open to all and giving everyone a chance to be heard.

Charity music night, raffle and auction set to drive awareness and funds for local family

The Sandemans are set to host charity night in aid of local cause

On Saturday 20th October The Sandemans (and special guests) are set to host a charity night, armed with huge Perthshire business and community support.

A story I have been putting off writing about, for the sake of not having to tell Perth again. I don’t think I have the words to give this story the justice it deserves. A story so sad it has touched so many of the Perth community. I barely have to touch on the subject matter for people to know what I am talking about. 

Lily Douglas’ story is a heartbreaking one, Lily has battled with stage-four Ewing’s Sarcoma for around two years. Fast approaching her 11th birthday, and after receiving the all clear a few months back, Lily has been told that her cancer has returned. 

I want to use this space to talk about an event that is happening, a community spirit that is unravelling, a rise of the people and businesses like I’ve never seen before. A cause that resonates with so many people across Perth, whether they know the family or not, that has willed them to band together to raise masses of money and donations in a bid to help out the family in any way that they can.  

On 20th October The Sandemans plus very special guests will be putting on a gig in The Mallard and this article isn’t even to plug the event. As I write this I can’t even guarantee there are many tickets left. I’m writing this because I am taking a step back to watch a moment of love, sympathy, community drive and care from Perth. Filled with donations of auction prizes, raffles, money, time, resources, venue to name a few. Perth giving everything they have to help out.

The night has been put together purely from donations from the people of Perth. On the night The Sandemans will be playing alongside special guest DJ’s Tarky (Groovement) and Audiotronic (Space Boutique) who will be bringing some old skool sets. Kelly McCormick will also be supporting with an acoustic set.

The venue has been donated by The Mallard, food by Ronnie Burgess, sound and light by Perthshire Sound & Light. Others have donated marketing efforts, organising raffle prizes and helping with planning.

The idea came about from a conversation between The Sandemans and parent Marie-Louise Lafferty. Through a few Facebook posts they got a huge backing of support with many offers of help. The night is set to be a huge success, with all proceeds going back to the family.

The raffle and auction donations have been overwhelming, Perth’s small and large businesses offering huge prizes, rallying around the cause. People have donated so much the team are now having to run an auction on the Facebook Event page – which also means you can bid/donate even if you can’t make the event. This auction will be running until Friday 19th October so get involved.

For more information head over to the Facebook event page where you can grab one of the remaining tickets or take part in the auction. 

No matter how much is raised we can only hope this money can do something to ease the heartache of the family. We are here, we are with you and we are sorry. 

Expansion for Perth-based company Volpa

Fraser Brand

An independent PR and Marketing Agency Volpa, has opened a new office in Dundee.

The Perth-based company, one of the UK’s trusted PR firms has expanded and opened a new office in Dundee, Chief Executive and owner Tricia Fox confirms.

Speaking to The Insider Tricia Fox said: “This is a really exciting time for us as an agency as we look to increase our growth and begin to realise our ambitious expansion plans for Volpa.

“We are currently one of the fastest growing agencies in the Tayside region and the new office is just the start of our plans to expand our ‘bricks and mortar’ footprint geographically, which will see us firmly established as one of the UK’s leading independent agencies.

“Dundee was the natural choice for a second office. We are already working with a good many clients in Dundee and North Fife and we are mindful of the burgeoning business opportunities that continue to open up due to the city’s recent transformation.

“It is a fantastic time to be in Dundee, particularly with the opening of the new V&A Museum.”

With a significant amount of Volpa’s clients based in Dundee and North Fife, including Dundee Heritage Trust, Water’s Edge, The Carling Property Group and St Andrews Aquarium, the move is being heralded as the obvious next step for the agency, who has tasked its Head of Publicity, Fraser Kirk, with heading up the Dundee venture, the company said.


Enchanted Forest ploughs £6,000 into show to improve accessibility

The award-winning Enchanted Forest sound and light show is ploughing £6,000 into the event to improve accessibility for wheelchair users and disabled customers.

The investment in the Pitlochry event this October will include improved path access, increased access to the show’s catering and storytelling areas, and a state-of-the-art Mobiloo toilet. Together, the changes will enable many more visitors to gain accessibility to all parts of the show, the company said.

There will be improved path access for all visitors to Faskally Wood, where the event is held, and organisers have focused on increasing accessibility for wheelchair users in many areas where there is bark underfoot, installing matting on top of of the bark. This includes the storytelling yurt, which offers storytelling throughout the evening, and catering areas serving food and beverages.

The Enchanted Forest Community Trust, which puts on the event, has collaborated with Mobiloo, a charity which provides temporary disabled toilet facilities including a toilet with grab rails, an electronic hoist, and an adult-sized changing bench. Mobiloo will be provided in addition to the existing portable toilets.

The Trust, which expects to attract 80,000 visitors during the month-long run, was inspired by Euan’s Guide, the charity and disabled access review website which featured the 2017 show. Reviewer and blogger Claire D’All gave the event five stars but made several suggestions for improved accessibility.

Zoe Squair, Creative Producer of The Enchanted Forest, said: “We take all of our customer comments seriously, whether they are in the form of comments to staff, social media posts or press reviews. While The Enchanted Forest has always had a good reputation for accessibility, there is always room for improvement. That’s why we wanted to step things up this year and pump a substantial amount of money into making things even better.”

Entitled Of The Wild, the 2018 Enchanted Forest show is firmly rooted in nature and inspired by the hidden mystery of Faskally Wood after dark. It runs from October 4 to November 4. Last year’s sell-out Enchanted Forest event attracted a record 73,000 visitors.

Image credit: Angus Forbes

Eat Well Age Well Roadshow Coming to Perth

A new nationwide grants scheme is touring the country looking for people with great ideas on how to tackle the rising problem of malnutrition in older people.

The Small Ideas, Big Impact fund is offering grants ranging from £50 to £5000 and is open to groups and individuals who feel they could help test ways to detect, prevent or treat malnutrition for older people living at home.

The Small Ideas Big Impact fund has been developed by Eat Well Age Well, the latest project from award winning Scottish charity Food Train. With one in ten older people in Scotland suffering from, or at risk of malnutrition, they recognised that urgent action had to be taken.

Innovations Officer for Eat Well Age Well Gail Hutchison said: “The Small Ideas Big Grants fund is a great opportunity for people to really make a difference to older people in their community. Whether you’re a carer who would like training to spot the signs of malnutrition, or you run a café and want to host an event to bring older people together through food. Everyone has the opportunity to apply for our grants, and ideas, no matter how big or small will be considered.”

The Eat Well Age Well Roadshow will be at PKAVS in the Gateway Centre on Wednesday 5th Sept from 11am – 1pm. For more information on applying for a grant, please visit the Eat Well Age Well website www.eatwellagewell.org.uk

TayEvents pulls in show-stopping lineup for its debut night

Tay Events_Bar44_PerthGazette

Bar Forty Four will be filled with Perth music fans as TayEvents takes over for its debut gig night this Thursday 16th August.

The Sandemans will be joined by The Niblicks, Brainglue and Dundee band The Medinas for TayEvents’ first gig night – an evening that is going to go down a storm with local music fans.

Five-piece indie rock band The Sandemans will be headlining. I don’t think these guys have stopped over the past few months, with recent gigs consisting of their first Glasgow headliner at O2 Academy 2 and playing with Stop The Clocks as a warm up to BBC Biggest Weekend. I’ve been to several The Sandemans gigs and these guys never disappoint.

The headliners are complemented by three more incredible acts. Auchterarder’s The Niblicks (aptly named after a pub) were formed many moons ago and have been on a hiatus for a few years. I have seen The Niblicks twice before, a very long time ago, so I am really excited to see what these guys have to offer now and what a comeback gig! 

Brainglue, sure you’ve heard of them before right? Formed in 2017 Brainglue are nothing but Garage-Punk extraordinaires. Having bagged themselves gigs all over the UK and in Europe and releasing debut single ‘Psychotherapy’ these guys have been very busy. Brainglue will, without a doubt, put on a crackin’ show.

Indie-Rock The Medinas will be opening the night and being the only band I’ve not seen live yet are the ones I am looking most forward to. The Medinas are from Dundee and just played at Belladrum Festival a few weeks ago. It’s going to be exciting to watch these guys show us just what Dundee has to offer.

I briefly caught up with organiser Lewis Jackson in anticipation for Thursday’s event,

I’ve always been a big fan of the Perth and Scottish music scene, I want to put on live events in Perth and promote the talent we have here as well as bring in some of the best acts from Scotland and further afield. What a great time to start with Perth’s music scene being better than ever!

I wanted The Sandemans to headline because they have made a name for themselves in such a short space of time, they’re no strangers to headlining shows and putting on great live performances, getting the crowd going every time! Then we have co-headliner The Niblicks, I used to love watching these guys play in Perth a few years back, now they’re back from a break and have not played Perth in a while. Then we have Brainglue another Perth band making a name for themselves in the Scottish music scene playing venues all over Europe and supporting big acts such as The View. Opening the night we have The Medinas, I’ve seen them live in Dundee and was blown away by how good they were and can’t wait to see them play live here in Perth!”

This event is going to be one you cannot miss (sure I say this about them all – there’s just so many!). However the organisers of TayEvents have brought together a brilliant lineup of music, ensuring Perth keeps its standing in Scotland’s growing music scene. Showcasing what us Perthites have to offer and giving others a chance to show us what they’ve got. Tickets are a steal at £5 with limited being available on the door – so get down early! 

For more information head over to the event page.  

Perth Music Expo announce biggest lineup yet


Earlier on today the organisers of Perth Music Expo announced the full lineup for this year’s event. 2018 will mark the biggest year of the Expo since its beginning in 2014, with an array of brilliant acts over three nights at two locations in Perth.

Running from September 6th until September the 8th across two venues; The Green Room and The Twa Tams. Presenting new, established and local musicians from Perth and further afield with the aim of keeping Perth’s music scene firmly on the map. The 3-day event is sure to generate a buzz around Perth offering free entry to both venues on all three nights. 

Thursday 6th September – The Twa Tams
Lake Pleasant, Nuclear Club, Vansleep & Annie Booth

Friday 7th September – The Green Room
The Roques, Brainglue, Walt Disco & Parliamo

Saturday 8th September – The Twa Tams
Elizabeth, Echo Machine, Fiskur & Beta Waves

This diverse range of talent and genres that Perth Music Expo will be showcasing will ensure that everyone’s tastes are catered for. Not only that, it shows just how important the Scottish music industry is right now with Perth being able to play an important part. Perth Music Expo will also be hosting a ‘Help Musician UK’ discussion at Perth UHI on Friday 7th 3 – 5 pm. This year’s Perth Music Expo brings you a fantastic lineup with organisers clearly having worked very hard. Having already seen half of bands live already I cannot recommend this year’s Expo enough. See you there! 

Over 18’s only, free entry. Keep up to date day on their Facebook event page here.

Perth train conductor raises funds for MND Scotland

Colin Somerville 33 years old, a ScotRail Alliance train conductor in Perth, has his legs waxed last week to raise money for MND Scotland.

The ScotRail Alliance selected MND Scotland as their Charity Partners for 2017-2020. Since the launch of the partnership ScotRail Alliance employees and customers have raised over £115,000 for the charity.

MND Scotland is the leading charity in Scotland supporting people affected by Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and funding research into a cure. MND is rapidly progressing terminal illness which stops signals from the brain reaching the muscles. This can cause someone to lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, drink and breathe unaided.

Morag McGown, MND Scotland’s Corporate Partnerships Manager, said “Over the last year we have seen ScotRail Alliance employees from across the country join the fight against MND; taking part in walks, runs and sky dives, to name a few. I’d like to thank Colin for taking on this brave (and painful) challenge to raise funds and awareness for MND Scotland. Without supporters like him we would not be able to continue supporting people affected by Motor Neurone Disease in Scotland, and funding vital research towards a cure for this devastating illness. ”

Sophie Nightingale, Community Investment Manager for the ScotRail Alliance, said: “I’m exceptionally proud of the lengths that our colleagues go to in support of MND Scotland, they know that we can always do more for this excellent cause. It’s thanks to their efforts that we are on course to smash our fundraising target for this three year partnership.”


Perth band Longstay on their new album ‘Calling Me Home’

This Friday 27th Perth band Longstay will be releasing their debut album ‘Calling Me Home’ with their album launch party happening tonight at the Salutation Hotel as part of the Southern Fried Festival.

I caught up with Longstay a week back at Clearwater Recording Studios to chat about their new album and upcoming shows. Longstay have been a five piece for just over a year and a half. The band draw on a variety of influences from Blues, Country and Rock. They explored the country genre after being at The Southern Fried Festival two years ago and it has stuck ever since. Longstay continually tap into as many sub-genres in country as possible, ensuring they draw on all of their musical influences, and continually develop their sound and musical abilities.

Favourite song on the album?

“Remember is our favourite and we think it’s one of the best songs on the album. We are really looking forward to what people think of it. A lot of people came in to make Remember what it is. In fact a lot of people came on board across the whole album to make it what it is. Dave McFarlane who was our engineer also played fiddle on three tracks and Chris Small played some brass on a track. It’s not just us on the album there’s also 4 other musicians.”

Where did the artwork come from?

“It’s a picture from Northern Skyline Photography based in Northumbria. They were very generous, they only asked for their name on the back and a copy of the album because they liked what we did! They never asked for any money so we are really thankful for that.”

What about the name?

“We almost developed into complete mayhem in the group chat over the name of the album because none of us could decide. So we took a vote and ‘Calling Me Home’ stuck. It’s a line from Remember. All of our ideas were lines from Remember or Mariah. We were dead set on not having the name of a song as the title. We think ‘Calling Me Home’ works best with the artwork as well.”

And it was recorded here?

“It was recorded here at Clearwater by Dave McFarlane and Gav as a producer. It took 7 months to record, we started it in November and we finished it in May. We should thank the people behind the scenes as well, John Ross and John Thomson from Goldrush Records. They were a big support in getting us to do it. We spoke about doing an EP for so long and we never did it until they gave us a kick up the ass. A huge thanks to all the parents involved as well, karting us all over the place making sure we get everywhere.”

What’s happening for the rest of the year then?

“We are going to be promoting a lot and playing a lot. We have a few more gigs but we want to at least try and double what we have got. We want to have a gig every other weekend for the next year. Going as far and wide as well, down south especially. We have all left school so we have a few years of just really hard work.”  

Happy with the album?

“Yeah, it’s more than we expected!.”

I was given a copy of the album from Longstay before I caught up with them. The whole album is brilliant from start to finish with songs such as ‘Forever’ and ‘A Ring of Fire’ really standing out to me. I’ve had the privilege of blasting out this album in my wee Ford Fiesta around Perth and I would highly recommend grabbing yourself a copy tomorrow. Longstay will be launching their album tonight at the Salutation Hotel alongside Whiskey Shivers – why not pop along and have a listen for yourself!

You can keep up with all of Longstay’s latest news on their Facebook page.

Review: A rockin’ weekend at Rewind Festival

Mr Blobby fancy dress, bright colours and hundreds of tutu’s. No, I am not talking about a night in The Loft but Perth’s very own Rewind festival.

Rewind Festival 2018 was brilliant. With so much to do and a lot to see it’s difficult to tell you how good Rewind is in one article. I ventured out to the festival this Saturday and Sunday and I had an absolute blast. I got a chance to interview some of the most important artists of our time (and fangirl a little bit I am not going to lie!). On Saturday I got a sit down with The Skids, Martha Wash (the original weather girl), Tiffany, Odyssey, OMD and my favourite interview to date (because if you know me you know how much I love Joy Division) Peter Hook. On Sunday I had a catch up with Hue and Cry and UB40 as well- totally spoiled!

Hollie Irvine and Peter Hook

However, getting all these interviews didn’t derail me from my main task of going out and enjoying the festival. I had a great time listening to the performers, eating a lot of good food and chatting to all my fellow 80’s music lovers. Rewind is a brilliant festival, well organised, and it seems to me that everyone there is genuinely having a good time. 

Hollie Irvine and UB40

My highlight of the weekend has to be, however, the Disco Den. I ended both nights in that tent and it was a whole lot of fun and there was a lot of dancing. Rewind 2018 was bigger, brighter and better. Easy to navigate around the festival and the queues weren’t horrendous. It was great seeing everyone make an effort with costumes, fancy dress and even a few supporting their current favourite Scottish music acts- yes I’m talking about you Retro Video Club family!

The performers were all fantastic. Proving they are not yet done with the music industry, bringing back old hits and showcasing their new ones with Scotland’s finest crowd singing their songs back to them! A lot can be said about a Scottish crowd but they always do us proud.

I think Rewind is the perfect fit for Perth and it’s also great to see Scone Palace hosting some of the best events in Perthshire this year. Not only does Rewind bring in hundreds of people from all across Scotland (and the UK) it’s a celebration of music because music really is forever. It’s important to pay homage to those who came before us and sculpted the way we make and listen to music.

Well done Rewind, see you in 2019 and find all of my interviews below!



Paul OMD


Martha Wash

Hue and Cry

The Skids

Peter Hook

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