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Shandy, Andy?

Kirstin Innes gets her bunnet on, dashes up her White Sergeant and embraces St Andrew’s Day wholeheartedly.

Let’s face it. There is no way that St Andrew’s Day celebrations will ever, ever be cool, and no special guest appearances by Amy Macdonald or thon wee laddie fae West Lothian who won the X Factor are ever, ever going to change that. Processed that? Good. Shuck off the skinny jeans (you can’t Strip the Willow in drainpipes, hipster kids) and the sneer for one weekend this year, and let’s revel in the unashamedly kitschy, sentimental, tartan-tastic, sweat-drenched ceilidhoscope of our national day. (OK, two to five days, depending on how enthusiastic your local council is.)

In Edinburgh, they love an excuse to get out into the streets and call it a festival, and this year, the eager little beavers on the east coast have rather fittingly booked out the whole of St Andrew Square (geddit? Oh, never mind) for the pleasingly self-explanatory Edinburgh’s St Andrew’s Day Celebrations (27- 30 Nov). Essentially, turning up outside Harvey Nicks at any time of the day or early evening, you ought to encounter a programme of poetry, song and dance. At the Scottish Parliament, get into the mood with some ‘interactive Jacobite Drama’ (no, us neither, but we’re kind of excited) and storytelling sessions (26-29 Nov). Glasgow, going for an ‘ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ outlook, are wheeling out the deservedly popular Shindig (George Square, 27-28 Nov) for another outing: Saturday night is a free concert featuring some of Scotland’s rockingest trad and folk acts, while on Sunday the whole square hosts a day-long,

family-friendly ceildh. Hoots.

St Andrews wins our Best St Andrew’s Celebration gong this year (eagle-eyed readers may note they had a bit of an advantage with the whole name thing anyway). The St Andrews Festival (26–30 Nov) is a four-day-long ceilidh, in both the modern and traditional senses of the word, with over 50 outdoor gigs, food tasting sessions, torchlit processions, craft workshops and endless opportunities to get your Gay Gordons on packed into one weekend. They also win a prize for having an informative, easy to use website still a in St Andy’s circles: www.standrewsfestival.co.uk. If that’s tempted you to wander further afield over the weekend, Historic Scotland have very sweetly waived the entrance fee on a huge number of their properties, from Skara Brae to Stirling Castle for the duration of the festivities. Indulge all that suddenly-swelling patriotism by exploring your heritage full details at www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/freeweekend. rarity

Alternatively, you could pull a Fair Isle knit over your simmet, scowl at they noisy weans down the close, and lock yourself indoors with a malt, mince and tatties, the latest Broons annual and a Rab C Nesbitt box set. It’s probably what St Andrew himself would have wanted.

Basic listings for most St Andrew’s events in the country can be found at scotlandswinterfestivals.com, but if possible check with the venue websites for full details.

✽✽ Blockenspiel We love a bit of roller derby here in the Around Town section. And this international fixture caught our eye the Auld Reekie Roller Girls are taking on the Berlin Bombshells, and we bet they have awesome derby outfits. Meadowbank Sports Centre, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Nov. ✽✽ Compassionate Living Fayre Organisations campaigning for animal rights, human rights and the environment show their wares and angle for your support. The Augustine Church, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Nov. ✽✽ Art and Activism: The Aberdeen Climate9 Jury Trial Members of the Climate9 climate change activist group speak about their ongoing criminal trial for successfully closing down Aberdeen airport for a day in March of last year. Glasgow School of Art, Wed 24 Nov. ✽✽ St Andrew’s Festival 2010 Yer actual St Andrews (the town) are leading the way in St Andrew’s (the saint) Day celebrations this year, with a packed-out programme of eating, dancing and merrymaking. See preview, left. Various venues, St Andrews, Fri 26–Tue 30 Nov. ✽✽ Write Way to the Wild Woman Storytelling, singing, guitar-playing, creative writing and an all-round lovely ladyfest. Glasgow Women’s Library, Sat 27 Nov. ✽✽ What Should Happen to Your Brain After You Die? Great title for this series of presentations and discussions on the pros and cons of donating your brain to science. Glasgow Science Centre. Mon 29 Nov. 18 Nov–2 Dec 2010 THE LIST 29