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fee) and are available from all SPT travel centres. selected RS. McColl outlets. independent FirstCard retailers. or by post from First Glasgow, Freepost. SCO3499. Glasgow. G42 7BR. For more details call 0141 423 6600.

I Road closures

For information on roads affected by the events. phone the information line or see the map on the website.

I Safety

Tickets The doors open for the George Square Dance Party at 9pm but if you don't have a ticket do not come along to the arena. Please note that you cannot return to the ticketed arena if you exit at any time.

No glass As last year. the organisers are asking that you don't bring any glass bottles or containers to the event. This is for your own safety and you will not be allowed into the arenas with these items.

Dress for the weather This is Scotland so you know it is going to be cold and most probably wet. Warm clothes. waterproofs and sensible shoes are the best. but not necessarily the most stylish plan. Meeting place Arrange a place to meet your friends and family in case you become separated in all the excitement.

Facilities Toilets (including disabled) and first aid facilities will be available at all arenas as well as hot food and soft drinks. Designated areas for wheelchair users will also be provided at George Square.

Stonehaven: they‘ve sure got balls

If George Square’s predictable and Princes Street passe, then bodyswerve the urban chaos and try something different. These alternatives might just prove to have the Hogmanay goodies

you’ve waited for all year.

Rockin’ The Dock

Commercial Quay Car Park, Ocean Drive, Leith, 0131 473 2000. 7.30pm-1am. £28.50. Tickets from the Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, 0131 473 2000; Virgin and Ripping Records. www.|eith- hogmanay.co.uk

Uplifting singalong piano plonkers Toploader and indie golden boys Shed Seven put their collective weight behind Leith's inaugural Hogmanay party. Local boys Imperial Racing Club get a taste of the big time alongside glittery tribute rockers the Gods Of Glam. In addition to a Radio Forth 2 roadshow. Dan Hipgrave's new missus and all-round event instigator. Gail Porter. will be making a special appearance. Described as a “credible alternative' to Edinburgh's Street Party. around 8000 people are expected to see in the new year at this open air musical melee on the waterfront. Our advice: wrap up warm and make plenty use of the food stalls and exothermic beer tents. See preview. right.

Sfirling‘s Hogmanay

Stirling Castle Esplanade, Old Town, Stirling, 01786 473544. 10.30pm-1 am. £9 (£7 for under 14s). www.stirling.gov.uk/hogmanay

Only Eskimos could have braved the arctic conditions which put paid to last year's celebrations. This year the council isn't taking any chances and has enlisted the hardily insulated Tam Cowan as master of ceremonies. Aside from his insanely avid Mothenivell support. our Tam's no' that bad and his cheeky humour should warm the cockles of a few chilly hearts. Stirling Albion shirts and pie pelters are optional. On the music front there's a distinctly Scottish feel with bold Celtic rockers Wolfstone paving the way for a real party vibe from those hybrid jazz, folk and latin stylistics. Salsa Celtica. The 00untdown to the bells will be followed by the obligatOry display of fireworks and stunning lighting effects against the backdrop of the castle. Plastic bottles only.

Perth Hambeaux

Town Centre, Comrie, near Perth, 01764 670066. Midnight. Free.

An ancient pagan torchlight. procession deSigned to rid the village of evil spirits for the new year ahead. Dressed in fancy dress and marching to the Comrie Pipe band. the

28 THE LIST 13 Dec 2001—3 Jan 2002

villagers follow torch bearers carrying 10ft blazing poles. The procession marches to the four points of the compass before throwing torches onto the bonfire and dancing around the village square. The ritual is hundreds of years old and is a must for Beltane believers.

Stonehaven Fireball Festival High Street, Stonehaven, 01569 764009. Midnight. Free. www.castlesandwhisky.com

Lets hope the EU never gets wind of this one. as there's b0und to be some crazy laws banning individuals parading up and down their high street swinging balls of fire around their heads. This 19th century tradition requires fireballs to be created with circular wire cages filled with rags. twigs and anything else that burns brightly. They're on the end of a 5ft handle. if that makes you feels any safer, and after being swung vigorously in circles. they end up in the sea. One for those who like their Hogmanay with a dangerous edge.

Biggar Bonfire

High Street, Biggar, 01555 661661. 9pm. Free. www.seeglasgow.com

We really should thank those pagans for giving us traditions we can still enjoy today. For hundreds of years the villagers of Biggar and their guests have been building a huge bonfire to dance around. and this year will be no different. A pipe band and torchlight procession will get you in the mood. then it's time to kick up yOur heels and embark on some traditional reels and jigs.

Burghead Bumlng Of The Clavie

Burghead, near Elgin, 01343 835773. 11 January, 6pm (approx). Free. www.castlesandwhisky.com

Have you seen The Wicker Man? If so. this might not appeal. But to others. this anCient festival (people are still fighting over whether it's Pictish. Roman. Celtic or Viking in origin) will make Hogmanay unforgettable. as the townsmen carry a creosote daubed whisky barrel around the streets. It's on fire. obviously. and its final destination is an old fort on Doorie Hill. Apparently the embers bring good luck. but remember to wait till they're cool before grabbing a souvenir. Also note the date: 1 1 January is the old Hogmanay. circa 1660. before we changed to the modern calendar.

Toploader: live in Leith

Rochn’ the Dock

ome songs and scenarios

gel like rock stars and bad

hairdos. Like dancing in a Spanish nightclub to J-Lo's “Let's Get Loud'. a dusk beach-barbie lamented by Coldplay's ‘Yellow' or a house party with drunken Oasis-style carousing. Now imagine at the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay. in a normally quiet dock in Leith, basking under the stars with thousands of revellers to Toploader's live rendition of “Dancing In The Moonlight'. If their quite specta0ular tented gig in a sodden Kinross field is anything to go by. this Hogmanay gig could create a perfect life-experience memory.

Leith has pulled off a major coup by signing up the EastbOurne five- piece. The deal was struck while the band were staying at the town's Malmaison Hotel for Dan Hipgrave and Gail Porter's nuptials. and frontman Joe Washbourn is relishing the prospect of taking a break from writing their second album to put in a stellar live show. “It's probably one of the last times we're going to be playing all the old stuff. because next time we go out we‘ll be doing a lot of the new album.‘ says Wasthurn. ‘We'll probably finish on 'Dancing In The Moonlight' and then we can get off and get pissed with everyone else.‘

With Shed Seven and The Imperial Racing Club laying the groundwork for Toploader's honky- tonk tomfoolery. sparks Will fly. even before the requisite fireworks.

One niggling thought remains: haven't TOploader reached a stage in their career when they can afford to down tools and relax at New Year? ‘That isn't work.‘ laughs Washbourn. ‘T0uring in Germany is work. but having a laugh on New Year's Eve With however many thousand people isn't. I know if it was me in the audience. y0u c0uld put The Tweenies on stage and I’d get into it.' (Maureen Ellis)

I Rocki'n' The Dock featuring TOp/oader. Commercial Quay Car Park, Ocean Drive, Leith,

Mon 37 Dec.