J Fergus Lamont, Arts Correspondent
Oh happy day! For so long now, this critic has been despondently tolerating a life without the spiritual enrichment of the live arts – as in “the before times”.
But this week I was privileged to be invited to a momentous theatrical premiere, a stunningly bold work staged at Aberdeen’s brand new but barely utilised P&J Live venue, at last reopened specially for this purpose.
I was summoned via a personalised invitation in an intriguing blue envelope by the production house responsible. You will not have heard of them, they have received little or no publicity, but “The NHS” have created a vast and astonishing production, filled with surprise and delight.
I made my way at the allotted time to my rendezvous with “Sub-T”, expecting some manner of hip-hop artist performing in the demotic local dialect.
What I found instead was a huge underground performance space where I was asked to leave my vehicle.
I then went on a Crystal Maze-like journey following signs to the entrance and the lift, brimming with ever-increasing excitement with each new step towards uncertainty.
Eventually I came upon my fellow theatre-goers, and realised that we were all participants in this truly immersive production.
As we stood in a vast, respectful, socially distanced queue snaking around the arena, I noted that the company was entirely comprised of the more mature theatre-goer, free of the younger, disruptive element that can mar some audiences.
After a time I was ushered into a cubicle and engaged in improvised chat by a uniformed player, before, in a sudden twist, being jabbed in the arm by a needle.
I was both shocked and delighted by this audacious twist, for it was a perfect metaphor for the current zeitgeist – a moment of superficial suffering can contribute to the greater good.
I was also ecstatic to be told I could come back in 12 weeks for Act Two of this epic.
I marvelled at the complexity of the production and the emotions it stirred in me.
To anyone receiving a similar invitation, I urge you, do not hesitate, but go!
You will not be disappointed with what is an extraordinarily large-scale coup de théâtre featuring a cast of thousands, a stunning level of logistical planning, and, in the air, a palpable sense of hope.
Cava Kenny Cordiner, the football pundit whose transfer window’s shut to keep the heat in
Even in the middle of a global pandrop caused by the Codona’s Virus, transfer deadline day is always full of excitement and this year the Pittodrie revolting door was in full swing!
We waved farewell to goal machine Sam Cosgrove as he set off for Birmingham. He had an amazing couple of years at Pittodrie, netting a heap of goals with only the occasional red card whenever Scott Brown succeeded in radging him up. My mole down at St Andrews says to me, he says, that Cossie has already made an impression. At his first training session under his new gaffer the boss told Sam to go and collect the cones, and he come back an hour later with an armful of Cornettos.
After initially agreeing to join The Rangers at the end of the season, Scott Wright bravely decided to move there early, just in time to collect a well-deserved league winner’s medal for this season. Curtis Main, Ryan Edmondson and Marley Watkins also said their goodbyes, and with Bruce Anderson and Funso Ojo heading off on loan, that left plenty player-shaped holes in the Dons’ dressing room. I done that once myself by walking through the door to the plunge baths without realising it wasn’t not open.
First among the new arrivals is Callum Hendry, son of former Scotland defender Colin. His Dad was an inspiration in the Scotland jersey, so hopefully young Callum is a poke of chips off the old block.
We also signed Fraser Hornby on loan. I must admit I don’t know much about the lad, but I seen he’s six foot four with a ponytail, so let’s hope he’s more Zlatan Ibrahimovic than Elle McPherson. The lovely Melody says to me that that bit is sexist because for all I know, Elle McPherson might be a great player. I says to her, I says, well if she is, how come you can’t select her on FIFA?
Degsy has also dipped into the Swiss transfer market, which is like ours but with mulled wine, and picked up Florian Camenbert. There’s no question that he is the biggest signing. Seven syllables. Massive.