•Happy New Year....and it does not take long for the cultural year to get going.
Celtic Connections is only just around the corner (beginning on 17 January) as well as the Glasgow Film Festival (14 February). Some lovely events look ready to cheer us up in the endless dismal winter.
•It was no surprise that the Scottish-set animated Disney Pixar film Brave has been short-listed for a Bafta today: if it hadn't, that would have been more of a story. With the Oscar nominations due tomorrow (Thursday), it is likely to be honoured by the other Academy too. You would think the movie, which I enjoyed but cannot say was overwhelmed by, has a good chance of winning both gongs in a fairly undistinguished year for big animation movies. Brave looked fantastic - its evocation of the Scottish landscape was beautiful - but its actual story, which was fun, could have been set in any medieval country in Europe (indeed it was primarily inspired by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson according to its original writer Brenda Chapman). And when you think of the beasts of Scottish wilderness in past times, bears do not leap to mind. It seems inevitable a sequel will be made - one can easily imagine many adventures for Merida, the lead character (maybe meeting James Macpherson's blind poet Ossian?) - and thus more chances for tourism bosses to plug visits to Scotland using the plucky flame-haired heroine.
•Congratulations also to Glasgow-based film maker Johnny Barrington, whose Tumult is nominated in the Short Film category in the Baftas.
•It seems all has gone quiet on the Creative Scotland front. But there are movements behind the scenes. For starters, a new corporate plan - to reflect the changes signalled by the Board before Christmas - is being written. There is also some internal debate over how to proceed with the organisations top job. Right now, there is a definite feeling at the top to not 'rush' the search for Andrew Dixon's successor as Chief Executive.
Mr Dixon, the departing chief executive, officially leaves on 31 January and I am told there is 'no timetable' for the advertisement of his successor. In the meantime, Iain Munro, director of Creative Development, is essentially in charge as the official "accountable officer" to the Scottish Government.
It will be interesting to see how the process of replacing Mr Dixon goes. Will another head hunting firm be tasked with finding high profile candidates? Will the salary be the same?
Right now, the senior management team and the board are concentrating on the internal reforms promised last year, and indeed may even by re-thinking the chief executive role itself. Mr Dixon had a role as both pitch-man for the organisation and all its works, and was also running it. Some influential voices have suggested that a Chief Operating Officer, to head up the administration of the body - leaving the Chief Executive to concentrate on being a public advocate - is needed to balance the power structure at the top. The feeling overall is that that Creative Scotland wants to change itself before placing a new man or woman at the top, and if that is the case, the new boss will be arriving later rather than sooner.
•And more on Creative Scotland in tomorrow's newspaper....
•The new designs for Glasgow's George Square include one (we don't know which, they are anonymous) which features input from the Turner Prize winning Glasgow artist Richard Wright.
•The best book I read over Christmas was Train Dreams by Denis Johnson. An extraordinary, powerful, and very short novel, it is lyrical, fascinating and haunting. I heartily recommend it.
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.