Review: Outskirts Festival at Platform, Glasgow


Marcus Mackay and Kathryn Joseph, photo by Jannica Honey

Tucked away in Easterhouse, Platform is fast becoming one of Glasgow’s go-to venues for visual art, performance, dance and music. Outskirts Festival, an annual mini festival at Platform, bridges genres and features exhibitions, installations and live performances throughout the day.

Unfortunately, due to limited capacity, I miss both Company of Wolves and Ellie DuBois’ performances, both of which look intriguing- the former, A Brief History of Evil kicked off the event, and Dubois’ one-to-one aerial show Ringside has to be signed up for, then overlaps with other performances during the day- the usual festival problems.

Ernest and Tawona Sitole perform gorgeous music and poetry, and provide a guided walking tour, while Mandy McIntosh‘s fashion show featuring Leigh Ferguson and Douglas Laing, straddles visual art, fashion, song and storytelling from around Easterhouse.

Harry Wilson‘s Kairos is an intriguing performance art piece, which he is undertaking as part of his PHD in theatre studies. After Barthes’ book Camera Lucida he responds to  suggested poses which come up on a projector. His posturing, whether beatific or provocative, is inspired by Barthes’ temporal crisis in examining photography. Barthes was a practitioner of semiotics- a study in language, gesture and symbolism, and Wilson’s repeated poses transform and charge the space.

Wunder der Schopfung

Wunder der Schopfung

Music is another strong factor at this festival. Jazz duo Herschel 36 perform a live soundtrack to the silent film classic Wunder der Schopfung , a fantastical space film which takes the audience on a trip to  Mars, Jupiter, and the Moon. Drummer Stu Brown and keyboardist  Paul Harrison’s propulsive, trippy music is a perfect fit for this- there are elements of Krautrock, techno, Sun Ra and psychedelic rock among the jazzier interludes. It’s gorgeous and exciting, with samples and throbbing percussion.


Ishbel McFaralane- O Is for Hoolet

Ishbel McFarlane’s theatre performance takes a more gentle approach. Her O Is for Hoolet is a warm, intimate look at how language mutates, featuring a Q and A on the evolution of Scots, and McFarlane portraying versions of  herself as a child and teenager. It’s funny, insightful and touching. She’s the most fun teacher around.

Matthew Bourne (the Leeds musician, not to be confused with the choreographer!) presents  Moogmemory with video artist Michael  England, tunes from his most recent album. It’s wonderful, shifting in tone and mood, with electronica, and psych fuzz to funk, and England’s beautiful images of Borne on the keyboard almost like an X Ray, and slow-mo images of people on New York subways which looks creepy and unsettling in its impassive focus.

m bourne moogmemory

Matthew Bourne

Headliners Kathryn Joseph, James Graham from The Twilight Sad and Marcus Mackay make a beautiful sound together- their vocal harmonies together are pure alchemy.

Inspired by interviews with residents of Easterhouse, the songs are warm and intimate, yet with an underlying Gothic chill.Graham and Joseph are engaging and funny throughout, mocking their reputation for ‘making miserable music’.

No misery here- it’s a lovely set.The audience are overwhelmed by such a wonderful line-up- here’s hoping this collaboration eventually comes out on record.

(Lorna Irvine)











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