20121230 (RS)

Janice Forsyth meets fascinating musician and human being Nile Rodgers.

The man behind funky cult tracks like Le Freak, and Sister Sledge's We Are Family, he also produced Madonna's Like a Virgin and David Bowie's Let's Dance. Added to that, he jammed with Jimi Hendrix at the age of sixteen and is still touring today.

In this special edition of the Culture Cafe, Janice talks to Nile about his extraordinary life and career.


This week Clare English chats to Ewan Morrison about his latest book, she previews the latest US TV imports about to hit our screens and chats to ""How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?"" star Connie Fisher about her new production of ""Wonderful Town"" in Glasgow.


Provocative discussions, inspiring guests and news about trends, fashion, music, theatre and art with Clare English.


This week's Culture Café is a truely operatic affair. Gershwin's Porgy and Bess may have been set in the American deep-south of the 1920s, but Cape Town Opera believe the themes of violence, drugs and poverty make it just as relevant in 21st century South Africa. The company are currently touring the UK with this classic.

Closer to home, Scottish Opera are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month, and General Director Alex Reedijk tells Clare how they're marking the occasion with a packed world class season.

And if you happen to be in an Edinburgh Library this week, watch out, or rather listen out for a melodic love story unfolding amongst the books.... a dose of guerrilla opera might shatter your peace, but in a beautiful way.


Provocative discussions, inspiring guests and news about trends, fashion, music, theatre and art with Clare English


A cocaine buffet, glittery pandas, a seven foot chrome monument to Andy Warhol, a pair of Jimmy Choos...just some of the work produced by American pop artist and provocateur, Rob Pruitt. And that doesn't include the pairs of concrete jeans and branded mineral water fountain currently on display at DCA in Dundee. Clare catches up with the true iconoclast on a rare visit to Scotland.

Barbers, Tailors, White vans and more, open their doors for an evening of art and music in Leith. BBC Radio Scotland presenter, Vic Galloway, and director of LeithLate, Morvern Cunningham, tell us why the Walk is the place to be.

And, big thinkers and innovators descend on Edinburgh this week for the annual TEDGlobal conference. Vic Galloway will be going along for some inspiration.


As Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical, Starlight Express steams in to Edinburgh's playhouse, the show's Poppa and Electra tell us why it continues to WoW audiences three decades on.

With Glasgow's annual outdoor Shakespeare festival now in full swing, Gordon Barr, artistic director of Bard In The Botanics discusses the challenges and pleasures of directing and performing, especially in this year's unpredictable weather.

We take a walk around Edinburgh's new Sculpture Centre, an ambitious artist led project and the first of its kind in the UK.

As the Edinburgh International Magic Festival brings magicians from all over the world to conjure awe and wonder in Edinburgh this week. The Festival's artistic director, Kevin McMahon, explains why magic continues to hold us under its spell.


In a special edition of the Culture Café, Edi Stark visits one of Scotland's most intriguing artists at his studio in the east end of London. With a major retrospective about to open at the Bourne Fine Art Gallery in Edinburgh, Jock McFadyen puts the record straight on what his art is all about.

Artist Jock McFadyen talks to Edi Stark in a Culture Cafe special.


Blythe Duff, Julie Zielinger, Norman Barret and Emil Delbosq join Clare English.

Blythe Duff is best known as Jackie Reid in the ITV television series Taggart - she joins Clare English to discuss her latest play Good With People which is on throughout August at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. The play, which is written by David Harrower, takes us on a journey, tracing the paths of personal and political destruction in Helensburgh, west Scotland, once a thriving holiday resort now home to Britain's nuclear defence programme.

At the tender age of 19 Julie Zielinger has already been named one of The Daily Beasts 150 Women Who Shake the World. She has been leading a teenage movement of feminists via her hugely successful blog TheFBomb since she was 17 and now she has a book to match. A Little F'd Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word articulates a form of feminism that is current, relevant, and rooted in self-expression. Clare discusses some of the issues which concern the movement most today, particularly body image and sex education, and finds out what it means to be a 4th wave feminist.

Norman Barrett left school at age 12 to join his parents' circus and spent a quarter of a century as ringmaster of the legendary Blackpool Tower Circus. Often referred to as the world's greatest ringmaster, at 73 he now tours the country with Scotland's favourite; Zippos Circus. Clare discusses the highs and lows of his career and asks how his female performers' role has changed, if at all, in the last 60 years.


Provocative discussions, inspiring guests and news about trends, fashion, music, theatre and art with Clare English.

Provocative discussions, inspiring guests and news about trends, fashion, music and more.


World renowned composer Craig Armstrong and writer Zoe Strachan, make a pretty powerful creative force. They tell Clare what it has been like working together on their new opera The Lady from the Sea which premieres at the Edinburgh International Festival.

Like Lewis Carroll's Alice, whose curiosity led her to a strange fantasy land that was difficult to escape, Vanishing Point's latest production, Wonderland, looks at the much darker and more dangerous world that we can enter via a portal in our homes. But once enthralled in on-line pornography, how easy is it come back out?

And we've already heard from many of our leading contemporary artists, but as we delve into the 2nd half of the Scotland Inspired series on BBC Radio Scotland, we'll find out what kind of picture is building up. Are we beginning to see a kind of family tree of the arts in Scotland?

Composer Craig Armstrong and writer Zoe Strachan make a magical operatic team.


What do we want modern pop artists to be - rebels with a cause or good role models?

Is Madonna setting a bad example by using fake guns on her latest tour? The star explains her use of violent imagery in a manifesto, but is it her moral responsibility to challenge us or is it to be a good example? Clare talks to Glasgow rapper MC Soom T, and arts reviewer and Madonna fan Chitra Ramaswamy, to find out what we want our modern pop artists to be...agitators, boundary pushers or good role models.

Fancy a night at the museum? The Natural History Museum who offer kids the chance to bed down under the skeletons of prehistoric creatures, are now offering Dino Snores for Grown Ups. We find out what's on offer in a museum when all the lights go out...and you can find out for yourself when the National Museum of Scotland opens it doors after hours.

And artist Stephen Hurrel's imagination gets carried away with the help of some scientists, marine mammals, and a lighthouse. He shares his experience of the 'Sublime' residency in Cromarty, working alongside fellow artist Mark Lyken.


Leading Scottish actor and director, Alison Peebles, talks about National Theatre of Scotland production, My Shrinking Life, which tells the story of the emotional and physical journey she's been on since being diagnosed with MS over a decade ago.

We invite you to Imagine Being a World Leader. This is the brain child of artists DashnDem, who have been working with children from Blackness Primary, teaching them how to carry and present themselves as politicians, ultimately donning a blazer, taking to the podium and delivering their speech. You can see the kids in action at an exhibition at the DCA, and you can also have a go yourself.

And so if primary school children can learn to deliver a moving speech, surely mastering the art of rhetoric and public speaking shouldn't be a problem for an educated adult who wants to be a leader. Well for some it doesn't come so easily....hopefully Mitt and Barack will take note not to follow the leaders who fail to inspire, connect, or even make sense! Stephen Reicher, Professor of Psychology from the University of St Andrews, breaks down what makes a great relate-able leader.

Provocative discussions, inspiring guests and news about trends, fashion, music, theatre and art with Janice Forsyth


Jazz hands at the ready, as we sprinkle some fairy dust in the Culture Cafe studio, and go on a musical theatre adventure. National treasure Elaine C Smith dared to dream a dream, she talks about playing singing sensation Susan Boyle, in I Dreamed a Dream, which is currently on tour in Scotland. Also The Phantom of the Opera stars John Owen Jones and Katie Hall, discuss the play that has box-office revenues higher than any other film or stage play in history. The spectacular new 25th Anniversary production hits the Edinburgh Playhouse. And BBC Radio Scotland's very own Jamie MacDougall joins our cast line up, to discuss the magic of musical theatre.


Clare English is joined by an Edinburgh voice coach who has taught accents and dialects to the cream of Hollywood talent - including the likes of Homeland's Damien Lewis, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and Helena Bonham Carter. What does it take for an actor to nail a new accent in often quite a short amount of time?

We hear about why The Dandy is disappearing from our newsagents 75 years after it first hit the shelves...and what the future holds for the comic book industry.

Plus...we dive into the National Theatre Scotland's latest offering Jump - a physical theatre piece based around the discipline of free running and has a cast exclusively made up of schoolboys from across Glasgow and Fife.


We have accessible theatre performances for the deaf and blind, but what about those with autism? Clare will be in conversation with director Graham McLaren about his pioneering autism friendly performance of a Christmas Carol.

30 years ago the world was captivated by a small boy called James and his magical snowy friend. Ever since then, 'the Snowman' creator Raymond Briggs has blocked the production of a sequel - until now! Jane Graham reviews 'The Snowman and the Snowdog'.

We hear from Leonard Cohen's son Adam about his own musical journey and his latest album, 'I'm Your Man'. He'll even be playing us a song from it!

And, if you believe the rumours, there is actually very little point buying Christmas presents this year - as the world is going to end on 21st December! We talk to writer Oliver Emanuel about 'The End of The World', a one off music and theatre piece about the predicted apocalypse set in Edinburgh.

In case you do survive until the big day and eventually tire of open presents and eating chocolate, the List's Henry Northmore will be helping us decipher the new wave of board games designed to engage your brain more than your bog standard Cluedo or Monopoly. These games have themes as diverse as religious conflict and noir crime fiction (how Christmassy!).


Joseph Heller's quotation from Catch 22 says it all:

"" Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you "". That may well sum up the mindset of Clare English's guest this week - an author who's drawn to life's ""catch 22"" situations who lurks between the cracks, where boundaries are blurred and things are never quite what they seem. Cults, conspiracy theorists, outlandish personalities- these are Jon Ronson's stock in trade. Recorded at the Wigtown book festival in Dumfries and Galloway with a live audience.


What would it be like to wake from a coma with an uncontrollable urge to paint? In An Alien Landscape, the first production in Greenock's new Beacon Arts Centre, explores the meaning of creativity and changing identity.

Janice looks ahead to some must-see TV for the Spring - including a new thriller starring Kevin Spacey that's defying all scheduling conventions. Available only via devices with an internet connection, it's a television series that's never actually going to be on television. What are the implications for how we watch?

Plus, celebrating 20 years of Subcity student radio in Glasgow, and art created for the Dark Sky park in Galloway Forest.

Behind The Scenes At The Museum20120605

Clare English takes a peek behind the scenes to discover the lifeblood of the National Museum of Scotland following its multi-million pound facelift.

Claire Tomalin20121211

The queen of literary biography, Claire Tomalin, joins Clare English. Her latest book ""Charles Dickens: A Life"" coincides with the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth. Claire Tomalin brings great insight, in-depth research and intelligence to her writing. In this conversation with Clare English, we also get a chance to enjoy Claire Tomalin's perceptive approach to the lives placed under her biographical scrutiny and her lively sense of humour.

Leonard Cohen Special20130101

Leonard Cohen's music is a far cry from the bubble gum sound of 20th and 21st century pop, as he's often accused of creating music to ""slit your wrists to"". In a special edition of the Culture Cafe, Janice Forsyth calls an unofficial Leonard Cohen Appreciation Society meeting with three other fans - Sylvie Simmons, renowned music journalist, and author of I'm Your Man, The Life of Leonard Cohen; film and TV producer, John Archer, who made a BBC Omnibus - Songs from the Life of Leonard Cohen; and music radio producer, Stuart Cruickshank. They dive into the peaks and troughs of the living legend's life and work.

Michel Faber20130212

Michel Faber, author of The Crimson Petal and the White, in conversation with Clare English for a special edition of The Book Cafe, where they look back at his career and Michel chooses some key readings from his body of work.

Produced by Serena Field.