Chef and Louis pushing Aberdeen's music scene

Aberdeen's growing hip-hop and R&B scene has caught the eye of BBC documentary makers. The New Aberdeen: R&B and Hip-Hop at the Heart of the Granite City takes a look at musician Chef, producer Louis Seivwright and the musical artists that surround them as the scene in the city in the city grows and gets national attention.

We reached out to Chef to find out a little bit more about him and his working relationship with business and creative partner Louis Seivwright. We wanted to know how it started, the artists they work with, what it was like to shoot the documentary and his plans for the future.



How it started

Let's start with a little bit about your background. Tell us about how you met. How did that develop into a working relationship?

Louis and I first met working a door to door sales job. We were both there for a very short period of time but during that time we were told of each other (since we both were interested in music) but never really spoke too much. It was only some time after that he reached out to me.

Louis and I are brothers. We don’t always agree but we always trust one another to know what the other is doing.
Chef

I was and am extremely busy so I wasn’t able to meet with him but we ran into each other when I was coming off a train back from a trip I made to Glasgow. He pushed me to go studio right there and then and the rest is history. We made our first song and never stopped.

How is your working relationship? Is it all smooth sailing or does it sometimes get salty between Chef and Louis?

Louis and I are brothers. We don’t always agree but we always trust one another to know what the other is doing. More often than not, we are thinking the exact same thing and we usually learn from each other when it comes to any differing ideas. It’s never been salty but we are both so passionate about what we do so its all a part of collaboration.

Photo supplied by Chef

Growing relationships

You have a number of artists that work around you. Did you go out to find them or was it more organic than that?

I definitely go out and look for them and I have done from the start. I’ve always believed that a community and thriving culture is what drives music and art. In order to have that you have to search for those looking to be a part of that and help and nurture them in whatever way they require. I spend time every day searching the Scottish music scene. I listenin to everyone’s new releases, analysing and entrenching myself in what’s going on.

However even though I search for them, I don’t force connections, those are all organic. I’ll have an eye on someone for any amount of time. If I’m meant to meet them then I’ll make sure I get the chance to speak to them. From there we see if anything we’re involved in can align, collaboration is not just about being on the same song. It can be so many more things.

Aberdeen's music scene has traditionally been dominated by guitar bands. In the past few years that's changing. Why do you think that came about?

I’ve been working with countless artists in all shapes and forms. As I said, it’s not always making a song with someone but my connections with the music scene spans to every level of industry and I plan to keep fostering healthy relationships with everyone I can.

This documentary is an ambitious next step, with the aim of bringing your music scene to a wider audience. How did it come about?

The BBC actually approached us, but the documentary was a goal that we set for ourselves a year prior and it seems that the work we put in allowed our wishes to come to fruition.

https://youtu.be/vmNrHpY1h6Y
Chef and Louis appearing in BBC Documentary The New Aberdeen

Shooting the documentary

What challenges did you face in getting the documentary produced?

The documentary went along without any issues thankfully. The BBC Tune team were absolutely amazing and allowed us to have input. It did not seem forced and we felt like we could be ourselves.

Tell us a little about the day of shooting.

Louis and I were shooting from 9am. We were present throughout everyone else’s shoots so our day wrapped up around 8pm. Quite long but it was a great experience. We started at Spin Record Store on Littlejohn Street. They gifted me a vinyl of my favourite Fela Kuti album “Zombie”. We then travelled round Aberdeen and ended at 210 Bistro. Tru Nature, Aiitee, Josh Maclean and Aiysha Russel were all great and it felt like we all had a good time.

Hard work and the future

It looks like you've both been putting in long hours to get this off the ground. Have you any advice for those following in your footsteps?

We certainly have been putting in long hours. The advice I’d give to anyone else is to take the stairs and not to skip any steps. And secondly, I believe people should always ask for help. Never be too proud to rely on others because knowing different perspectives will help give you a better understanding of what you’re doing. Even if you don’t want to take the advice, it’s always good to know what someone would think.

What upcoming releases should we be keeping an eye out for?

Louis has a game changing album that is coming up. Louis and I are both taking part in a few more things for TV. Aside from that I can’t give too much away, but there a big plans in the works. We're now fostering some international connections and the goal is to develop what we’ve started and take it to highest heights. You’ll have to keep up to date on our socials to see more.

What you need to know

Where to follow Chef: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook
Where to listen: Spotify, Apple Music
Latest release: The World is Mine EP 

If you enjoyed this article, you may enjoy our interview with Aberdeen producer Vagrant Real Estate.

https://open.spotify.com/album/4b7ledOhkZcTWWitE1y6ao?si=9OX5D8wjTqCWpv6B2hbPLg&dl_branch=1

TEDx Aberdeen – Muckle ideas ti' spread aboot *UPDATED*

It's Saturday, 27th July 2021 and even though there's a threat of rain in the sky, the sun is shining bright on a city excited to experience its inaugural TEDx conference. What may once have seemed long overdue has arguably arrived just at a perfect time for Aberdeen!

Under the banner 'New ways of seeing old things', the TEDx Aberdeen conference presented 10 speakers, videos and Q&A's in the Aberdeen Arts Center to an audience of 100 attendees for a day of connection and big ideas. Even better for us – we were invited along!



TEDx Aberdeen

As I am sure many of you are, we are massive fans of TED and have been moved, energised and inspired by many a TED talk over the years. To see an independently organised event come to Aberdeen was hugely exciting, but how do you approach the topic of our city looking forward whilst still in the middle of a global pandemic?

You get an excellent list of speakers and topics, that's what you do!

Graeme Gordon
“Let's talk about the F word”

Tim Wigham
“Moodset for Excellence”

Chris Moule
“We can all be Recombinant Innovators”

Georgios Leontidis
“Our sustainable future through the lens of Data & AI"

Lorna Dawson
“Soil as a Silent Witness”

Jonathan Christie
“This is the Cabrach’s story”

Peter Tipler
“Learning, to make a positive impact”

Youssra Bennadji
“Should animals be in charge?”

Sam Stephen
“My Beautiful Trauma”

Bethany Galley
“How would you share your life in 27 photos?”

Truly inspiring

From the get-go, I found this truly inspiring. Challenging our individual language and mental health, our life experiences and their impact on those of others, our jobs, careers, our land, our neighbours; the ideas up for discussion and those little seeds of thought that remind us - we can each make a difference be that in our own little world, our city or even the lives of others.

I know I am getting pretty deep here (shocker), so I'll temper myself and just share this important note - The videos from TEDx Aberdeen will be available for all to see soon! Be assured that we'll update this post as soon as they do!

We want more!

I dearly hope this is the first of many such events from Moray Barber, this years TEDx licensee and co-host along with the team behind it all. Check out the website, their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and lets all encourage more events like this in future!

Thank you Team TEDx Aberdeen, lets keep the whole area talking about those #ideasworthspreading!

If you are looking for more stories from here in Aberdeen, check out our blog and don't forget to signup to our very own monthly newsletter!

Update – Watch TEDx Aberdeen on YouTube

The incredible talks from TEDx Aberdeen are now all available on YouTube! Hit play below and begin or head over to TEDx Aberdeen YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/cZaE4-IZF6E

Temp Check - Louise Grant from Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer

We chat with Louise Grant about building a brewery, running a business through the covid emergency and bouncing back with the help of community.

Louise Grant has been the friendly face of Fierce since it's inception...the welcoming smile. In our latest Temp Check Interview, we caught up with her to talk about her part in building the brewery, running a business through the covid emergency, and bouncing back with the help of the community. We also touch on her personal challenges and the amazing support from her husband Dave.


Hi Louise. I know life is very busy for you right now as Fierce has begun to welcome consumers face to face so thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few questions. We’ll stick with tradition by opening with “how are you doing right now?”

I am tip top and you?

I’m really good! I’ve been dying to talk to you for ages about your story, so tell us a little about your background and the part you played in starting Fierce family.

I left school (hated it) and had no desire for college or university (probably because I didn’t know what I wanted to do) and landed my first job in an oil service company just before I turned 18. From then I was always in oil, Drilling and Completions, for a couple of operators, but I always had a great job and loved what I did. My husband Dave and I moved to Cape Town in South Africa for a few years with oil, then returned in 2012. I got my job back at Chevron, still at the same desk and all the contents of shit I had left in the drawer!! It felt like I had never been away, ha ha!

When we came back, BrewDog’s Flagship bar was open, and Dave and I spent most of our weekends in there making friends with the regulars. When we first tasted Punk IPA we were like “what is this witchcraft?” Having spent years drinking Castle and Windhoek which tasted of nothing, it was a real eye opener for us.

Our house was like Breaking Bad, loads of stuff sitting bubbling away.

Dave used to cycle a lot over there so when he came back, he was always looking for a hobby. A couple of the regulars used to homebrew, so Dave got chatting to them (Rick the Dentist deserves a shout out), and they inspired Dave to take it up. Our house was like Breaking Bad, loads of stuff sitting bubbling away. I was ‘Assistant to the Brewer’ which technically was a cleaner, but cleaning is one of the most important parts in beer making so I’m OK with that!

Louise Grant at Fierce Bar in Aberdeen
Louise at Aberdeen's Fierce Bar - Photo supplied by Louise Grant

How did things develop from a hobby to a business?

Dave enrolled in a weeklong Brewlab brewing course in Sunderland and that’s where he met Dave McHardy who was also from Aberdeen and called Dave…the weirdest thing was my Dave also worked with Dave M’s wife Sheena. So random and yet clearly meant to be. Dave M was working at the time as a brewer (also an avid homebrewer) for Wooha Brewing.

The never-ending turbulence of the oil industry, layoffs, cost cutting etc really got Dave down and he was so fed up. I asked him what he wanted to do, he said make beer. Me being me, said “fuck it, let’s do it!” So we did. It was very scary, exciting and a bit crazy. We then registered Fierce as a brewery from the house with HMRC…that was 23 March 2015.

We used to take samples to the Flagship for people to taste. Dave was so good at it. For having not done it before, the recipes he came up with were brilliant! Cranachan Killer (Kenny Burns needs a shout out for this. His suggestion then Dave developed it), Café Racer and Heffen Heff to name a few were home brew recipes that we still make now.

So we are beginning to see what we now recognise as Fierce Beer today. How did you grow from there?

We built up a great relationship with BrewDog who were super supportive when we started and are still now. James [Watt] said we could do a tap take over at the Flagship. I think we are still the only brewery that has ever had a TTO with homebrew in a Brewdog venue…and it sold out fast. The buzz and the feeling of people enjoying what you have created was so thrilling and so satisfying.

After that it was clear that we could not continue doing this from home, especially full time, so we got our first premises in Dyce. A very surreal day getting the keys on 1st April 2016. We ordered all the kit and by May we had our first commercial beers out on the street.

And you were an integral part of this growing business?

I was still working in oil, at that time we thought I should keep working to keep money coming in. We both had high paying jobs so to go from that to nothing seemed ridiculous. By day three Dave and Dave said they needed me to quit my job, so I joined on May 1st 2016. We went with ridiculous!!

It’s not always been easy though…cashflow, working 18-hour days, not really knowing what we were doing. We ate and breathed nothing but Fierce and it was gruelling.

I would take care of all the admin side, sales, accounts etc (not that I really knew what I was doing) but we managed and now having just celebrated our official 5th birthday, it’s insane and overwhelming to see how far we have come in such a short time.

It’s not always been easy though…cashflow, working 18-hour days, not really knowing what we were doing. We ate and breathed nothing but Fierce and it was gruelling. But when you are so passionate about something, you just do it. 😊 Absolutely no regrets.

I work for a small business and know that job titles often don’t really explain what your job actually entails; so what does a working day look like for you?

My job is a bit of everything to be honest, accounts, payroll, HR (one of our employees said that I was the reason Fierce needs an HR department lol), sales, exports, supermarkets, supporting the bars and customer service which is No. 1 in my opinion. 

This might be a difficult question, but I’m really keen to know what your initial feelings were as we all went into lockdown, and how that changed through the following few weeks.

It was the weirdest thing ever. I didn’t really understand it and thought it would blow over in a few weeks (like most people I assume) but yet here we are over a years later! It has been so tough, keeping up with what we can and cannot do under restrictions. Having bars in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester rules were different. It was so hard to get your head around and keep up. Every week it was changing. We had to adapt our business model, going from kegs and cans to all small pack as we had nowhere to sell kegs. It was really challenging. Luckily, we have a very smart, dynamic team and we rolled with the punches!

What was the biggest challenge for you personally through the pandemic.

I have MS so I have been working from home since March 2020. It’s tough not being with your team physically, but I am lucky I can do my job remotely, though you do miss the buzz of being in the brewery. I have had both jabs now so I will be able to work back there too. However, since I’ve been away my desk has been stolen!! Rude!

The stress of worrying if we would come out the other side was hard to swallow. When you have put everything you have into a business, the thought of losing it is the hardest and scariest thing to come to terms with.

We launched a ‘paying it forward’ crowdfund April 2020. People would invest and get 1½ times back in beer, discounts at our bars and online for life, and rewards for different amounts invested. If we did not have the support of those investors we would not have survived, and for that I am forever grateful. Typing this I have a lump in my throat 😔

Have challenges faced by your industry pulled independent breweries together in any way? Equally…have they driven some apart?

We are very lucky to have great relationships with other breweries. We used to do beer swaps so we would stock their beers in our bottle shops and vice versa. That really worked well. I don’t know of anything that has driven some apart but there have been many breweries that have had to close their doors, which is heart breaking. If you don’t have an outlet like we do to sell beer you have literally nothing coming in. Having an online web shop and bars to open as bottle shops helped us enormously.

Having the furlough scheme available was amazing. We managed to keep all our team employed which was ace!

What lessons do you think you will you take forward to the future as we cautiously move to the end of the pandemic emergency?

The world will never be the same again and this pandemic has taught us to never take anything for granted. We will always be cautious of how we operate now, ensuring we make the best quality products we can. Beer is a luxury item; many people have lost their jobs so making sure we have top end ingredients and beer for people that is affordable. Customer loyalty is important to keep Fierce alive. Looking after the team has been top priority for us. We are so lucky to have a dedicated long serving team, which is unique in this industry.

Louise Grant jokingly drinking two glasses of red wine.
Sometimes the pressure begins to tell - Photo supplied by Louise Grant

Fierce have been on the go for over five years now. What are your hopes for the evolution of the company through the rest of this year and beyond?

This year, plans are in motion to double capacity. We have ordered more tanks and a new canning line which we will have over the next few months. We have also employed new people to help grow the business (people who know what they are doing, ha ha.) A financial controller, Anel, who is doing a brilliant job keeping us right, and a General Manager who starts next month. She will be able to take work off myself and the Daves and have proper focus.

Dave and Dave still currently do packaging and brewing. They need to take a step back from that and do their jobs.

How do you see those roles?

Dave G doing what he does best. New strategies to grow the sales side and developing new recipes. We have two excellent brewers in Neil and James who have really helped improve our beers. They are tasting the best they ever have.

Dave M concentrating on the operations side and making sure the equipment is top and working more efficiently.

I will be focused on sales and customer service and that is what I do best, if I have all the other tasks, I mentioned before away from me I will be able to get stuck in.

Surviving! Things change all the time, but I think if we continue to do what we are doing we should be ok.

Community obviously means a great deal to Fierce Beer. What’s your secret for keeping your people engaged?

Community is EVERYTHING to Fierce. I think making interesting good beer to keep people engaged is the most important, and listening to your customers feedback to improve. Showing respect, being normal, approachable and treating people the way you want to be treated goes a long way. Be kind and honest. We are super transparent as a company, maybe too much. We are all human we make mistakes but when that happens just say “yes, we mucked up,” then learn from it and move on.

I love people. I’m a people person 😊

Who inspires you, and why?

Don’t get the sick bucket out, but my husband. Dave is the most hard-working person I know, takes everything in his stride and adapts when necessary. He is my hero, I am very proud of him. When I was diagnosed with MS not long ago, I think he was a bit traumatised. He worries about me a lot.

How have you coped yourself with the diagnosis?

I am honestly good, keeping well and working hard. We are the best team and lucky to have survived running a business together and being married. We live another day!

I’m going to pull out a classic job interview question…Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I’ll put it back to your readers. Is there anything you would like to tell us? Anything we can improve on or do better. Any feedback positive or negative is always appreciated.


Thank you so much to Louise for her time. You can find Fierce Beer on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Go follow, say hi, and let them know your thoughts on their amazing beers. They really are a friendly bunch.


Nuart Aberdeen - Herakut's Mural at Aberdeen Market

Nuart Aberdeen makes a long awaited return for 2021

Nuart Aberdeen will return to the city for a Covid-safe series of outdoor events starting in June, and continuing over the summer of 2021. As a result, we can look forward to a full summer of new street art murals around Aberdeen city centre.

Organisers cancelled the 2020 event due to the global pandemic. Also, many had assumed the same would happen this year. However, producers of the event have announced that a return of the city’s flagship street art festival is imminent, albeit in a slightly different guise. In a change from previous years organisers have set a theme for artists to explore; Memory and the City.

Photo by Chris Sansbury

In previous years all the artworks we revealed by organisers over one weekend at the end of April. However, this year, starting in June, one artist will come to the city at a time, supported by Nuart’s local production team. Organisers are hoping that the extended festival will attract visitors to the city in a covid-safe way. This will be the fourth year that the Nuart festival has come to Aberdeen, and hopes are that this could be the best yet.

Nuart haven’t wasted any time by announcing the first artist in their 2021 line-up. Renowned painter Helen Bur is making her way back to the city. The Aberdeen public loved her twin works the now demolished Greyfriars House at the Gallowgate. She’ll be exploring the Memory and the City theme.

We are very exited for Nuart Aberdeen's return to the city. Last year’s cancellation was necessary but a real blow. Also, we’re pleased organisers have re-worked the event in order to avoid massive crowds…maybe we can all get back together next year!


Read More

Check out our previous story about Nuart Aberdeen walking tours. These were a brilliant way to explore the murals, and find out the stories behind them.


Temp Check : Colin Farquhar from Belmont Filmhouse

We've now faced restrictions to our lives in Aberdeen for the past 8 months. While Covid-19 has meant that we all have to share the burden of stopping the spread of the virus, there’s a cost to our mental health. We decided to check in with Aberdeen folk to see how they are coping at this point. As a result we hopefully learn a little bit more about them along the way.

First up we check in with Colin Farquhar, Head of Cinema at the Belmont Filmhouse, Aberdeen’s last independent cinema. They have been forced to close again recently because film distribution in the UK has ground to a halt.


Hey Colin. Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions about how you are currently dealing with life in pandemic Aberdeen. We’ll start off with a simple one…how are you doing right now?

Good…I think. It’s a strange time for everyone and that includes me. I’ve been part-time furloughed since Saturday (7th November 2020) and that will be an adjustment as I hadn’t been before. Quite often we go on holiday at this time of year. I have a feeling of absence about that, as we obviously can’t travel. Generally good, though. I’ve held up fairly well this year. I’m proud of as, like most folk, I can be fragile as well.

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I grew up in Whitehills which is a wee fishing village of about a thousand people. It's on the Banffshire coast. Beautiful place, not much to do, but I’m very grateful for the prettiness and people when I go back. I moved to Aberdeen to do Media and Communications at Aberdeen College in 2003 when I was 18. Then after a bit of course juggling did English Lit. at Aberdeen Uni, graduating in 2009. I got a part-time job at the Belmont at the end of 2007.

My folks are mostly fishing and farming stock. Dad worked on boats until he decided it was too hard a life (I can’t disagree). My Mum was a nurse at Ladysbridge, which is a now mostly closed mental health hospital just outside the village. My direct family and much of my extended family, work in social care now.

What made you fall in love with movies?

I guess the first thing that comes to mind is a cupboard in my Mum’s house. It was full of recorded VHSs from my early teens. Stuff that I was still much too young to watch. I’d write the name of the film on the side of the black box in marker pen. It was an attempt to make it more readable — Taxi Driver, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Deer Hunter. So there was dozens of these tapes at home that I’d watch a lot. Those late night Channel 4 films.

Prior to that I have a lot of fond memories of going to Elgin and Aberdeen to the cinema as a kid to watch films. Big day was the first time we watched two films in the cinema on one day. My wee brother wanted to watch MiB and I was keen on Jurassic Park: The Lost World. I think that Jurassic Park, and I’ll refer to that original film rather than the entire franchise. It had a huge impact on me in terms of what cinema can achieve. I was the right age, it got me into dinosaurs. It’s still the first film I think of when someone talks about the spectacle of cinema or the cinema. It remains one of my favourite films.

What is your favourite part of your working day?

I guess all jobs have their routine to them. Whenever I get to step away from the admin and talk to customers is a bright spot. You end up talking about films and that’s nice. I feel I’ve been able to do that a lot more recently. One upside of COVID on cinema is that we’ve been able to brush away a lot of the cobwebs. We've been able to focus on the real core stuff like my team and the punters. I’ve enjoyed that immensely.

Working in a cinema is also just full of the occasional pinches that you work in a cinema. So when you do something in a projection room when a film is playing and even a wee glance at the light through the window reminds you of the magic…that romantic stuff. We’re lucky enough that you manage to experience that at least once a week.

Without having to deal with the public quite so much, did you have time to develop any new skills…or catch up on some great movies?

I spent a lot of time reading Scot Gov COVID regulation. I’m unsure if that’s a new skill…Usually I’d try and apply downtime to reading but I’ve found concentrating on that more difficult than usual this year.

I did watch quite a lot of films. MUBI had a great run of Bergman stuff through the summer so I saw Cries and Whispers and The Silence and Autumn Sonata and a few others for the first time. I also watched Le Cercle Rouge which I hadn’t seen before. It’s probably the best film I’ve watched all year. It was also great ton catch up on a lot of films. That was until we reopened but work has been pretty full on since then.

I also walked around the city a lot, particularly in early lockdown. In November I moved flat, so did a lot of trekking around the West End and out to Cults and around Hazelhead. I was mostly back in the office from mid-June. From that point on it was pretty much full bore in terms of reopening planning. So it limits what you can apply yourself to. My headspace was always focused on the mechanics of how Belmont would run, operationally anyway.

How has your community helped both you and The Belmont through lockdown?

The response from the community for our fundraising was amazing. I never expected to raise that amount. It was quite overwhelming. I’ve really felt like people rallied round us and that’s from the hardcore membership and audience to folk who used to come but moved away and then the friends and family of the staff. It helped keep me going. I was still working on my own at that point and reading the letters in particular that came in with the donations (lots of people still send cheques instead of donating online) was lovely.

Photo: Chris Sansbury

The latest closure of the Belmont must have felt like a real blow. Tell us about that decision.

It was hard — I think this year has been quite an acute demonstration of how much we mean to people and that makes these decisions really tough. You know how much people will miss you if you close. The reality was every film we had booked for November dropped off the slate. The audience also petered away a little after the PM announced harder restrictions down south so we felt it became the common sense decision to shut.

But, it’s not March. March was, in all honesty, frightening. On this occasion we felt we were making a controlled choice and although finances will remain a worry for some time we know what we have. Thanks to support grants from Screen Scotland and the extension of the furlough scheme we’re in a better place. All being well we’ll reopen early December and then get into the Xmas stuff.

I take it you have a date in your head for the reopening of the cinema, which I’m sure you don’t want to commit to just yet, but what will influence that final decision to open?

Ideally we’re looking at 4th December but I wouldn’t want anyone to take that as verbatim. If lockdown extends down south then that sets as back, as would a lockdown in Scotland. I’m also expecting the UK and Scottish Governments to relax household rules for Xmas. That might yet have a trade off with other restrictions. If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year it’s that everything is subject to change, so you’ve got to be realistic, flexible and patient.

I think this year has been quite an acute demonstration of how much we mean to people and that makes these decisions really tough. You know how much people will miss you if you close.

Who has inspired you recently?

I think everyone to an extent. Seeing people having the will to get on with things and go to work in a year like this has been quite astonishing. I see that in my team, colleagues in Edinburgh and my friends.

My Dad, specifically. I hope he wouldn’t mind me mentioning this but my Dad lost his wife in early in the pandemic to cancer. It was all very quick and sudden. He was due to go back to work when the pandemic was at its peak in mid-April and I told him no one would judge him if he took another week or two off work. He told me that that may be considered selfish and back to work he went. I’ve definitely carried that in my head since. He’s been a star. My brother has also had a kid among all these so that’s been a wee celebration amongst everything. It keeps you going.

Also, with the realisation that it can come across as contrived to point to politicians, particularly current ones, I have a lot of admiration for how Nicola Sturgeon has handled the pandemic. That’s not to say the Scottish Government have done everything perfectly, but being able to get up in front of the country every day for six months and talk them through it is quite a feat. It’s a good example. As someone who manages people it helps a lot.

Do you think you have been changed by the pandemic?

This will be a long answer — I’m not sure. I am someone who is perennially asking myself what I’m good at or what my nature is and this pandemic breeds more of that, so you lose perspective on yourself the same as any other time.

It has made me value more what is close to me; but at the same time I miss travelling. It does teach you can get by on simple pleasures and routine; but the weeks where I just stuck to work and cooking were the weeks I really needed to do something different at the weekend. Ultimately I think we’ve all found out a lot about balance, but we all knew that already really.

One thing definitely — I’ve found I’m far more resilient than I ever thought and for someone who struggled with anxiety through their 20s that has been reassuring. I’m proud of that. Perhaps that’s learning to give up control a little in a situation you can’t possibly. If I carry that out the other side of the pandemic and can apply it to the micro stuff to I think that’s a positive change.

I’ve found I’m far more resilient than I ever thought and for someone who struggled with anxiety through their 20s that has been reassuring. I’m proud of that.

Another realisation is — and I’m unsure this is a change — is just how time passes. It’s just as subjective as everything else and it just siphons away like an elastic blob down a drain if you let it. Books or hill-walks or films or pints in the pub with your pals are the checkpoints that slow it down a little. So, I hope I’ll learn to do stuff I enjoy more and that I’ll remember. Those experiences are wee pauses that slow down time and I think, strangely, lengthen it, at least in memory. If that realization leads me to taking life less seriously, or working less, or procrastinating less then that’ll be a positive change too.


Thank you so much to Colin for his time and frankness. You can follow both him and the Belmont Filmhouse on Twitter. If you would like to support Aberdeen’s local independent cinema on a regular basis, consider getting an annual subscription…it gets you some great benefits too.

We’ll be publishing regular temp checks over the next few weeks…keep in touch on Twitter and Facebook. If you haven't already, check out our interview with Stuart McPhee, manager of Siberia Bar and Hotel.