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In an Alien Landscape

The artistic imperative is possibly the most distinctive aspect of what makes us human, but centuries of seeking the source of our innate need to express how we experience the world, remains unclear; and surely no more so than in the exceedingly rare Sudden Artistic Output Syndrome—so exceptional an occurrence, it hasn’t even got its […]

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Who is Esther McVey?

Earlier this year, Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne were criticised for being “two arrogant posh boys” with “no passion to want to understand the lives of others”. Neither of Nadine Dorries’ stinging criticisms, however, can be leveled at the Coalition Government’s second Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey MP. “I was born […]

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Access to Parliament

When Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg became the first full-time wheelchair-user to be elected to the House of Commons, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 had been active for little more than six months — with most of its legal provisions yet to scheduled, let alone introduced. So it was hardly surprising that Begg — made […]

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Cardinal Keith O'Brien

How the Cardinal makes bigots of us all

First published by Scottish Review, 06/11/2012. It’s the five-letter word that can no longer be used in public, the personal insult that’s beyond the pale and shuts down public discourse quicker than any reference to National Socialism in a Twitter stream. Unusually, for the English language, it has absolutely nothing to do with bodily functions, sexual […]

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Kaite O’Reilly Interview

Disabled people’s lives are the focus of a new production from National Theatre Wales. Writer Kaite O’Reilly explains the origins of the piece. It’s the most cliched — and some would say most vital — question you can ask a writer: where do they get their ideas and inspiration from? For the multi-award-winning playwright Kaite […]

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Snails & Ketchup

Based on a novel by Italo Calvino, Ramesh Meyyappan’s touring production, Snails & Ketchup, explores dependance and independence. Paul F Cockburn reviews this  Unlimited commission, produced as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Published originally in 1957, the Italian writer Italo Calvino’s award-winning novel, Il Barone Rampante (The Baron in the Trees), explores ideas of independence […]

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Spasms - photographer Karen Sutherland

Robert Softley Gale, If These Spasms Could Speak

Paul F Cockburn recently spoke with Robert Softely — co-creator of last year’s National Theatre of Scotland show Girl X — as he prepared to return to the stage with If These Spasms Could Speak. The new show, running as part of the Behaviour festival of live performance at The Arches in Glasgow, is a collection of funny, sad, touching and surprising stories […]

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