Friday, November 27, 2009

Some of my favorite Films & 41 weeks!

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving, and didn't eat as much as I did (Too Much)!

I'm hoping to find a really smashing list of Scottish movies, and have come up with a few - and please, suggest any that I have missed. Some of the best ones I could think of were:

  • The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964) one of my favorites from childhood
  • I Know Where I'm Going (1945) in which the ever charming Wendy Hiller discovers a passion for Scottish things (and Scottish fellows!)
  • Hamish Macbeth (1995) a hilarious and endearing series set in the Scottish Highlands
  • On a Clear Day (2005) a very good film about a man who swims the English Channel
  • Little Voice (1998) a rowdy yet endearing film
  • Dear Frankie (2004) a heartwarming film
  • Chariots of Fire (1981) some of it is in Scotland! And it's an amazing film
  • The Ghost Goes West (1935) I saw this years and years ago, I remember really loving it!
  • Ring of Bright Water (1969) SO depressing, but beautiful scenery!
  • Regeneration (or) Behind the Lines (1997) Most of it takes place in Scotland, and hey, it's about WW1 soldier poets!
  • Storm in a Teacup (1934) a delightful romp with Vivien Leigh and Rex Harrison!
  • The Water Horse (2007) Very sweet
  • Made of Honor (2008) a silly romp, part of which was filmed at Dunvegan!

So, I'm sure I'm forgetting some of the films I've seen and loved, and I'm sure I'm leaving out alot more! Please share your favorite Scottish films with me!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Glasgow Cuisine? 42 Weeks!

Yesterday Heather & I happened upon a hamburger restaurant (Five Guys burgers & fries). It's a chain, which is sad, but what is not sad, is that the hamburgers and fries were really delicious, and tasted homemade, and not like fast food! They had lovely fries, or should I say chips? And they had malt vinegar. I doused my chips in vinegar, and it reminded me of when I went clubbing (!) in Glasgow with Claire and her friends, and afterwards, at around 2 a.m. we went and ate chips on a bun! Delicious, salty chips doused with vinegar, charmingly presented on an open bun.

It's the only time I've been clubbing, and even though I didn't drink anything, I had a marvellous time, and danced with reckless abandon! In heels! And I topped it all off with Chips on a Bun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From Crayons to Perfume: 43 weeks!

I was just listening to "To Sir, with Love" the other day and remembered that "Lulu" is Scottish! She was born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie near Glasgow, and grew up in Glasgow. In America, at least, she is best known for her role in (and song) "To Sir With Love", which is a wonderful movie with Sidney Poitier and Judy Geeson.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rosehip November & 44 weeks!

There is a beautiful song by Vashti Bunyan called "Rosehip November" Vashti Bunyan, in 1967, decided to travel north to the Isle of Skye to a supposed artists commune headed by Donovan. She bought a caravan and traveled slowly, and by the time she reached Skye, all traces of a commune, real or supposed, had vanished. But a wonderful album came from her experience: JUST ANOTHER DIAMOND DAY. She has a gentle, lyrical voice, and the songs from this album fit in with the seasons so beautifully. Obviously "Rosehip November" is an autumn song, but there's another "Come wind come rain" that is perfect for spring. And there's a haunting song at the end of the album in which she sings a verse in Gaelic.

Oidhche Shamhna a-rithist!

Halloween again!

I apologise for not having posted my 2nd Halloween post before now! I guess it's been a busy week.

I wanted to talk about Scottish customs & beliefs regarding Halloween. My main source of information is an amazing book my teacher Donald gave me, called THE GAELIC OTHERWORLD, by John Gregorson Campbell. Campbell lived from 1834 to 1891 and was a minister. This book (which combines two of his publications) come from stories and information he gathered in the 1850's & '60's.

In the old Celtic calender, Samhainn was the New Year. Great bonfires were built. Campbell writes:
"Whole districts were brilliant with bonfires, and their glare across a Highland loch...formed an exceedingly picturesque scene...there is no reason to look upon them otherwise than as the natural and defiant welcome of the season in which fires are most required..."
Many "games" of divination were performed by young single people, involving many different objects from apples to string, nuts to stocks of kail. I myself did not play any of these games, though I have in the past: one popular in America in the early 20th century was to look in the mirror and walk backwards downstairs, and supposedly you will see the face of your future intended looking over your shoulder in the mirror.

This Halloween, Katie and I went to two parties! One of her friends at school always has a grand party. This girl's father is obsessed with Halloween - possibly even more so than I am! Katie went early with another friend, and I joined them at about 9:30. They live in relative solitude beside a lake (very eerie!) and it was like a spook alley just walking up to their door - scenes of cemetaries and gorey, shrouded figures met me on every hand. It was marvellous. Then the Wednesday before Halloween we had a Young Womens/Young Men's Halloween party. We played pin the tail on the black cat, and an old parlor game I got from a Halloween book published in 1910. Then we listened to music and danced and ate cupcakes (made by yours truly).
On Halloween night itself we all dressed up and were joined by our friends the Reichert girls (from our branch) to trick-or-treat in Smithville Flats a little. Then we drove into Greene, and were joined by other friends from church and Katie's school. It had been raining earlier on, but we were lucky that it stopped during the official trick-or-treat hours: 5 to 8. Someone in an old 1920's pick-up truck (running board!) drove around with a fake skeleton in a trunk. It was wonderful. When we got home we ate chili (and some Halloween candy, of course!) and watched THE WOLFMAN with Lon Chaney, Jr. It was a really lovely evening.
Katie, by the way, is dressed up as a WW2 uniformed woman (inspiration from FOYLE'S WAR, and the girl who wears an MTC uniform). I was going to be a witch with Heather, but as I'd worn my witch costume to both the parties, I dressed as a fairy, of sorts.