Views from the Scord 19.12.08

Harbour movements

SCALLOWAY Harbour experienced a routine but relatively quiet time in the week up to Friday.

The beginning of the week saw a number of fishing vessels alongside, working with gear and preparing for sea, but a change in the weather soon had them depart the port and land elsewhere as the fishmarket in Scalloway lay idle for much of the week, in stark contrast to the glut of the previous week.

The total through the market amounted to 460 boxes from the Accord, Scotia, Radiant Star and Fertile with the highest landing coming from the Radiant Star on Thursday with 176 boxes.

The Banff-registered Genesis returned to port again on Tuesday, after being in for gear alterations on Monday, during trials of experimental fishing gear designed to aid fish conservation.

This week saw many of the bigger trawlers tying up on Tuesday to make net repairs and scrub out, the last market before Christmas on Thursday drawing interest from some of the seine net boats in particular.

Other port traffic was made up of regular visitors, with the Anglian Sovereign calling in at the beginning of the week and the coastal freighter Fame in with 100 tonnes of fish feed for the Scalloway store on Tuesday and returning for shelter on Thursday.

Resplendent in a smart blue and white colour finish, a new workboat to Shetland was alongside at the east jetty after arrival on Thursday. The Steadfast belongs to Blueshell Marine and is presumed to be bound for their mussel harvesting operations around Muckle Roe. A couple of familiar local mussel working boats lay alongside the sizeable vessel and she dwarfed them by comparison.

The storms of last weekend brought damage to the Scalloway Boating Club as the berthing pontoon broke free of its moorings and the outer end came ashore at the club’s own slipway, suffering slight damage and a loss of buoyancy as a result.

Stars in their Eyes

While some may have been content at home watching the X Factor final on television a showbiz extravaganza to equal, or perhaps even better it, was played out in the Scalloway Public Hall on Saturday night.

The variety of acts certainly covered a broad spectrum of music and ranged from seasoned regulars to first time players but, probably without exception, they all impressed and enthralled and some might even be described as truly unforgettable.

The venue was packed for the event, which has achieved such an illustrious reputation that the tickets took a mere two hours to sell out the previous weekend and chairs were sought early and in demand on the evening. Flybe, once again, did Scalloway proud in sponsoring the event to the tune of two free air tickets to London for the top raffle prize, a gesture very much appreciated by the organisers.

The compére for the event was Leslie Watt, deftly maintaining the flow of acts and introducing them all to the audience in both their true and “star” identities.

Leslie was assisted in this by the ubiquitous magic cloak (and its magical, fear-dispelling properties), which was used to conceal the artiste’s “star character” while interviewed prior to performance.

The first performers up were Carina Isbister and Bryan McCaffrey who pulled off a fair imitation of the Christmas classic Fairytale of New York by Kirsty MacColl and the Pogues, with Bryan setting the tone and winning the crowd immediately with a comical and totally unintelligible Shane MacGowan interview, instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with his work – Shane that is, not Bryan.

First time performer at the event Shaela Halcrow followed and, at 12 years old, duly impressed the crowd with the Avril Lavigne number Hold On, presenting herself with consummate professionalism and a strong voice.

Next up was Natalie Jamieson, who gave a fairly monosyllabic interview that was in no way indicative of the performance to come. The 14-year-old Aith lass belted out the Bonnie Tyler song Holding Out for a Hero with a rounded, room-filling voice and performance that would surely have pleased Bonnie herself.

Shereen Smith took the stage with a consistent Carrie Underwood country-pop tragic love song So Small that verged on tear-jerking status.

That could not have been further removed from the next act, Davy Henry and his charmingly reluctant dancing accomplices Cally and Jenna. Their glam-pop classic was Spirit in the Sky and on this occasion Davy had chosen to emulate the version of Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates, complete with distinctive spiked hair, of which Davy’s impersonation was certainly distinctive. Spirit in the Sky was definitely in the spirit of the evening and left the crowd grinning and chuckling.

Heather Isbister, 10, made her first stage appearance at the event and after bettering the compére during her interview went on the wow the crowd with a haunting, slow Alison Krauss number entitled Doesn’t Matter.

And then came Alan Skea. Phrases such as “brought the house down” or “raising the rafters” are often used in flippant manner, but it must be said that the Scalloway school primary one teacher justified those superlative expressions and a whole lot more as he became Bono from U2 and truly gave it his all in an all-round performance of epic proportions, prompting the compére to speculate that he had “overdosed on the magic cloak”. The crowd went wild and the room was left buzzing as the break was announced.

After soup and sandwiches came the honed and enchanting talent of Erin Sandison in her rendition of the recent Duffy hit Warwick Avenue which, with the replacement of the Welsh songstress’ oft gravelly vocal with the smoother tone of Ms Sandison, was perhaps even an improvement on the original.

Bryan McCaffrey returned to the stage as Willie Nelson, providing a long and comical interview before his comfortable rendition in dulcet tones of Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.

Next up were the colourful forms of Elton John and Kiki Dee providing an animated and skilled performance of Don’t Go Breaking my Heart courtesy of Bob Sim and Julie Moncrieff. Following them was youngster and stage regular Jessica Johnson, who provided a mature and emotional rendition of the iconic Bette Midler song The Rose.

The final act to take the stage had a somewhat uncertain start as one band member of the three Ronettes was apparently not present, replaced at the last minute on lead vocal by a return from Natalie Jamieson. Filling her shoes in backing vocals, alongside a returning Carina Isbister, was a keen, confident young volunteer from the audience in the form of Ross “super-duper” Jamieson.

No sooner had the rendition of Be My Baby got under way than a second volunteer, outfitted in black mini-dress and tights with long blond flowing locks, came from behind the curtain in the shape of the now-famous Mr Skea. Once again the house was brought to frenzied cheering and applause.

The audience was informed thereafter that this was indeed a swan-song from Alan as he is departing Shetland permanently for the mainland, creating a loss to both the school and, in his new-found stage presence, his new-found fans.

The raffle was then held and the top prize of the two Flybe return tickets went to Bobby Cummings. The evening was rounded off with appearances from Santa Claus and Rudolf and the assembled performers singing Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Scalloway head teacher Joyce Gear announced the total fund raised for the Scalloway School as £1,199.32 for the evening.

The organisers would like to express their gratitude to Flybe, to Stevie and Amanda Hooke for the sound-engineering, to those that helped in the kitchen and to George Duthie for his technical assistance.

Next year’s event is already being planned and organisers have hinted at the possibility that the show may be run over two nights to suit its popularity and would like to encourage any eager performers to contact them.

School concert

The Scalloway Junior High School primary and nursery departments staged their annual Christmas concert last Thursday, doubling it up this year to matinee and evening performances which took stamina, professionalism and a healthy dose of Christmas spirit from the children.

The afternoon concert gave the nursery class an opportunity to showcase their acting and musical talents alongside items from each of the primary classes. The nursery performed a small musical story called Christmas Eve in the Toyshop, which melted the hearts of all those fortunate enough to be part of the audience.

The evening performance was a sell-out and the audience was then treated to an excellent concert featuring Christmas themed songs and instrumental pieces from every primary class accompanied by brass and woodwind instrumental groups.

Mark Burgess


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