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Just Janice: this year's Scottish cultural highlights

Looking back at my cultural highlights of 2012, it's the moments that made an emotional connection that really stand out.

Hollywood star Alan Cumming's triumphant return to Glasgow with his one-man Macbeth was an exhilarating experience.

There was the sheer chutzpah of the man acting all the characters himself - his Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seduction scene being a particular highlight - but the audience was part of that mix.

I went twice, and on the second occasion found a single seat among a group of schoolkids, who were beside themselves with excitement, asked loads of questions at the after-show talk, and were loth to leave the theatre. Don’t tell me Shakespeare’s boring!

Danny Boyle’s Olympics Opening Ceremony, with its celebration of the NHS and its sky-diving HM, was a testament to the power of the arts to shock and awe, but my favourite moment was when a scene from Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl beamed out, and there was John Gordon Sinclair, speaking Glaswegian to the planet. Magic!

There’s a Bill Forsyth connection with another highlight. Anthony Baxter’s moving documentary, You’ve Been Trumped - about The Donald’s Aberdeenshire golf development - includes scenes from Local Hero.

It certainly packs an emotional punch - making many viewers angry about the treatment of the residents on the estate, and infuriating Mr Trump, who tried to stop it being broadcast.

It was lovely to see members of Eric Liddell’s family at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre for the Scottish premiere of the remastered version of Chariots of Fire. Like the Trumped film, it’s well worth adding to your DVD collection.

But my cinema stand-out this year was French director Bertrand Tavernier’s Death Watch at the GFT. A neglected masterpiece, this 1980 sci-fi fable, which was filmed in Glasgow, is another must-see, and it’s finally available on DVD, thanks to local company, Park Circus.

Tavernier trembled with emotion as he spoke at the GFT about the film coming home.

Incidentally, in the late 1970s, Chariots of Fire & Local Hero producer David Puttnam advised Tavernier not to film in Glasgow, saying that his equipment would probably get nicked. Fortunately Tavernier ignored him.

The inaugural Scottish Album of the Year Awards was a brilliant, feel-good night at Film City in Govan, with top prize going to the marvellously bearded Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat for Everything’s Getting Older.

Everyone felt older next morning after adjourning for Buckfast cocktails the night before.

The George Wyllie retrospective at the Mitchell Library is so good I’ve seen it twice too. And will go again.

The playful yet sharp and original observations about the absurdities of life that are a theme of Wyllie’s work, are also a characteristic of Brian Limond’s comedy.

Limmy’s Show was back on TV for a third series, which Limond not only stars in, but also writes and directs. Ludicrously, the freshest, most original comedy series in years is only screened in Scotland.

If you don’t like it, you’re entitled to your opinion. But you’re wrong.

Happy Christmas!

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