Friday, 22 June 2018

From Lulu to The Eurythmics: discover the rich history of Scottish rock music

From Lulu to the Bay City Rollers, from the Average White Band to the Eurythmics, the Proclaimers to the Rezillos, Scotland has always had a vibrant pop and rock music culture. 

Now sixty years of the nation's pop history - told through costumes, DIY demo tapes and instruments - is on display in a new exhibition, Rip it Up: The Story of Scottish Pop at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

Items belonging to Alex Harvey, Annie Lennox, Wet Wet Wet, Lulu (above), Texas and Gerry Rafferty are among the 300 objects on display - many of which have been lent by the artists themselves.

Marmalade, Big Country, Del Amitri, Deacon Blue, Texas, The Incredible String Band, Travis, Nazareth, Simple Minds, The Waterboys and Wet Wet Wet are just some of the Scottish acts who have topped the charts and delighted audiences around the world.

Think Jesus and Mary Chain, Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Altered Images, Al Stewart and punk icons The Skids. 

From Sheena Easton to Garbage, and Belle and Sebastian, the Scots have had something for every taste - and even had a couple of stars left over to give to Australia in the Young brothers from AC/DC, Jimmy Barnes and Colin Hay from Men at Work.

Gerry Rafferty
Visitors to the exhibition will be able to catch a glimpse of the leather Elvis suit worn by Sharleen Spiteri of Texas, Alex Harvey’s cane and a demo cassette for The Proclaimers' hit Letter From America, complete with hand-drawn pictures of themselves on the cover.

There will also be an acoustic guitar belonging to The Skids' lead singer Richard Jobson. 
Stephen Allen, the exhibition curator, told Sky News: “Scotland punches above its weight in pop music.
"There’s a very strong sense of musicality within Scotland, a lot of storytelling.
"In Scotland, there’s a very strong sense of identity and social justice and that’s something that comes out very strongly throughout the exhibition." 
Rip It Up runs from June 22 to November 25 at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.   

Thursday, 21 June 2018

How an airport security check can lead to you being scammed

Having once been scammed by the security staff at a French airport I am at my most alert when going through the travel screening process. 

I'm wary of both the security staff, who I am sure were responsible for the disappearance of my laptop in Nice, as well as fellow travellers, who can be either incompetent fools or con men.

Security staff can work together to distract and delay you; demanding you open your bag, which has just been scanned, while your wallet, phone, laptop etc are unattended further down the conveyor belt.

A delay like this can take several minutes, as the staff go through every inch of your completely innocent baggage, and you are both panicked and alarmed by the scrutiny. 

If you do notice that something has gone missing it will then take several minutes for a supervisor to appear. Your chances of getting your property back from these accomplished scammers: zero. 

Just as dangerous are the team of two crooks working together at the check point. One goes ahead, while the other delays you by fiddling around with coins, shoes, belt or wallet, often needing to go through the x-ray machine a couple of times. 

Meanwhile, your valuables are out the other side and into a bag carried by the staller's accomplice. 

No matter what is happening always keep a close eye on the other end of the conveyor belt. 

It makes you less of a target, although you can also be deliberately delayed by a slow-moving security pat-down person. At a busy airport that can lead to the same result.  

Does the world really need another wine glass? Jancis says we do.

Stand aside Riedel, Spiegelau, Schott-Zwiesel and Plumm. World-renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson has decided the world needs yet another wine glass.

Robinson has unveiled her own wine glass, water glass and two decanters in response to what she calls "an everyday frustration".
The 1 Collection includes a single glass that has been designed to offer “the best tasting experience for every wine”, whatever its style or strength.

Robinson told The Drinks Business that she wanted to find a single glass that would work with all styles of wine, but had failed to discover such a product.

“I was looking for the perfect wine glass,” she said.

“I love white wine as much as red and have never understood why white wine glasses are routinely smaller than those designed for red wine,” she added.

“White wines can be just as complex, and just as deserving of what you might call aroma enhancement as reds. It just seems so obvious and sensible to have one single wine glass for all three colours of wine – especially when so many of us are short of storage space.

“On my travels around the world of wine, it has become really noticeable in the last few years that producers of Champagne and other sparkling wines, as well as those making sherry, port and other fortified wines, want their precious liquids to be appreciated in just the same way as table wines.”

Robinson has worked in association with London-based product designer Richard Brendon.

“As someone who wants to make enjoying wine as straightforward and pleasurable as possible, I was insistent on a single glass shape and size,” she said.

Other products in the collection include a bottle-shaped Old Wine Decanter, which has been crafted to allow users to decant
 off the sediment while limiting the wine’s surface area, minimising the risk of oxidation.

There is also a Young Wine Decanter with space for a young wine to be swirled and aerated, accelerating the maturing process and allowing the favours of a younger vintage to develop and mellow in the decanter. The bowl is also large enough to accommodate a magnum.

To complete the collection, there is an accompanying water glass that could be used as a stemless wine glass.

The 1 Collection will be available exclusively at Harrods from July 1, from Hopson Grace in Canada and Neil Bradford Design in Australia.

Dine in style at Launceston's newest luxury hotel

Launceston, Tasmania’s second city and the gateway to the Tamar Valley, has a new five-star hotel and top-notch eatery with the opening of the Peppers Silo Hotel and the Grain of the Silos restaurant overlooking the water in Invermay.

Opened in early June, the Grain of the Silos Restaurant, which boasts celebrity chef Massimo Mele as consultant, delivers on a promise of paddock-to-plate eating.

The menu comprises foods from local farmers delivering world-class produce, including Tasmanian beef and lamb, along with fresh seafood.

Head chef Peter Twitchett lists all his producers on the back of the restaurant menu and says he particularly enjoys Robbins Island beef, wasabi, black truffles, hazelnuts and the humble Tasmanian potatoes.

Mele and Twitchett have crafted a modern Australian menu featuring appetisers like pulled pork croquettes, local oysters in mignonette dressing and raw salmon, wasabi leaf, spring onion, ginger.

Starters include a sensational warm quail salad with fennel (above), currants, pine nuts and almonds, and a chicken liver pâté with rhubarb compote and crusty bread, while standout mains were a 200-gram Cape Grim eye fillet served with three different sauces (below) and perfectly-cooked chips; and fresh flathead fillets served with ash and artichoke mash.

Desserts include a caramelised apple tarte tatin with walnut ice cream and a selection of cheeses from Tasmanian producers Pyengana, Grandvewe and Coal River Farm.

The wine list put together by local wine educator Curley Haslam-Coates features names like Winter Brook, Sinapius and Moores Hill, along with some intriguing interstate and imported options.

It’s also well worth staying overnight in the hotel, particularly if you can snare a room overlooking the Tamar River.

Originally erected in 1960, the Kings Wharf grain silos were left unused for decades until two years ago.

The redeveloped site is now a 10-level hotel featuring 108 guest rooms, including 52 inside the barrels of the former silos, undercover car parking, conference facilities and an integrated lobby and reception space.

Amenities on-site include a gym, day spa, child-minding facilities, hairdressing salon, function centre and private dining rooms.

The staff are friendly and helpful, and Peppers Silo has also worked closely with Guide Dogs Tasmania to employ a canine ambassador called Archie, a black Labrador who resides at the hotel and helps the concierge with daily tasks such as greeting guests and delivering the morning newspapers.

Owner and developer Errol Stewart said Launceston needed new tourism projects and has a shortage of hotel rooms in summer.

Peppers Silo is located at 89-91 Lindsay Street, Invermay, Launceston. (03) 6700 0688.

# The writer was a guest of Peppers Silo


Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Truffle Lodge in Tasmania takes glamping to new heights

Camping? No thank you. Getting tangled in tent ropes? Using primitive drop toilets? Cooking baked beans over a campfire?

Thankfully, Tasmania's new glamping experience, Truffle Lodge on the banks of the Derwent River, offers camping with a difference - and the level of luxury matches the beauty of the setting.

Truffle Lodge, set next to a hazelnut orchard, planted in 1998, is a luxury camping resort set on 12 acres of absolute river frontage dotted with eucalyptus trees that provide much-needed habitats for the endangered swift parrot. It is promoted as "five-star luxury under canvas".

Calling Truffle Lodge’s canvas-topped lodgings tents is, however, something of an understatement. With hand-carved wooden baths, rain-showers, king-sized beds, coffee machines and heating, the tents are better equipped than your average hotel room. 

Plus, each tent has river frontage and a private deck from which to watch the water rush by.

All sleeping accommodations are at least 81 square metres; large safari tents furnished with ceiling-to-floor drapes, canvas, leather and recycled wooden furniture, deep luxurious beds, large decks with hammocks and rocking chairs looking out over the river. 

Breakfasts and dinners (both surprisingly good) are available in Truffle Lodge's communal areas. The Lodge also has comfortable fireside lounges, decks and fire pits, and is connected to the tented rooms by a boardwalk. 

Tasmania’s chilly weather means Truffle Lodge is closed right now for a winter break, but it will reopen when the mercury rises and co-owner Laurelle Grimley is promising the second season will be even better than the sell-out first season. 

We are delighted that so many guests indicated that they wanted to come back,” said Grimley.
The new season will feature more luxury en-suite tents, an open tented pavilion, bush bath, river beach and daily activities programs including yoga, local storytellers, truffiere tour, bocce and dinners in the orchard.

Food will also be taken to a new level with three-course dinners and a new list of local wine, including “just about impossible-to-find small vineyard wines”.

Truffle Lodge is at 3411 Lyell Highway, Gretna. 0417 996 305.

# The writer was a guest of Truffle Lodge  

Budget airline launches low-cost flights to Berlin

Budget airline Scoot has launched its inaugural flight from Singapore to Berlin, marking the start of four-times weekly non-stop services to the German capital (below).

The low-cost arm of the Singapore Airlines Group now has three long-haul destinations after Athens in Greece and Honolulu in the United States, both of which were launched last year.

Scoot’s flight TR734 departed Singapore Changi Airport and received a traditional water cannon salute upon arriving at Berlin Tegel Airport this morning. 

The aircraft, a wide body Boeing 787 Dreamliner named “Bo Jio”, carried 311 customers - 95% full.

Lee Lik Hsin, Scoot’s CEO, said: “With the addition of Berlin just a year after we successfully launched Athens, and then Honolulu, Scoot’s low-cost long-haul network continues to grow at a steady pace. 

"Vibrant, creative and steeped in history, we are confident that the city of Berlin will appeal to any market or demographic, and open a new and exciting part of the continent for travellers.”

Scoot’s 787 Dreamliners offer several amenities and services suited to long-haul travel, including in-flight wifi, in-seat power and in-flight ScooTV entertainment streamed to guests’ own devices.

Guests can also choose from a full-leather ScootBiz seat with meals and drinks included, or enjoy a peaceful journey in the ScootinSilence economy class quiet zone. 

Scoot’s route network now spans 65 destinations across 18 countries and territories. 

For details see

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Geelong calling to wine lovers and gourmets during July

Geelong is the place to be for wine and food lovers in July with the Tastes of Central Geelong Festival running July 6-29 and the Winter Shiraz Weekend Festival on July 7-8. 

Tastes of Central Geelong is a 24-day festival of food, flavours and fun held at various venues throughout Central Geelong, including 18th Amendment Bar (below).

Visitors can sample gourmet food and drink, learn tricks of the trade from local chefs, wine and dine and participate in food-themed events and laneway dining.

The Winter Shiraz Weekend Festival comprises two days of wine, food and entertainment throughout the Geelong region.

Visitors are invited to taste a selection of local shiraz wines and meet the makers on The Bellarine, the Moorabool Valley and Surf Coast. 

Relax with a glass of red by open fires or beside outdoor braziers in beautiful surroundings while local chefs work to match the region’s renowned cool-climate wines with hearty winter fare.

This year, Friday night tastings will also be held at some of Geelong’s top wine retailers.