THE WINNER of the 2018 Excelsior Award Junior is the Little Mermaid by Metaphrog.

Glasgow-based Metaphrog are Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers, winners of Sunday Herald Scottish Culture Awards 2016 Best Visual Artist.

Their graphic novels have received international acclaim and multiple award nominations, including three for the Eisner Awards (the Oscars of comics).

Louis – Night Salad was also Highly Commended for the Scottish Children’s Book Awards 2011.

Herald features writer Teddy Jameieson described The Little Mermaid as “The lushest thing they’ve done… reinvents the tale as a swimmy, gorgeous version of beauty and despair.”

The Little Mermaid is the product of nine months of commitment. And that’s just for the artwork.

“We worked for six days a week, long hours,” explains John Chalmers. “And I think the time of investment in the making of it is slightly deceptive because Sandra has been working for 23 years, building on her skills and making something that we hope people will spend time in.”

“I think I also like to explore new avenues,” adds French artist Sandra Marrs. “I’m not one of these artists who would just stick to the same way of doing things over a lifetime.”

The Little Mermaid, they say, is not just for young adults. “We hope it’s for people who love books,” suggests Chalmers. “We asked the publisher to make it look like an art object.”

Take This

JAYNE McKenna is starring this week at Glasgow’s King’s Theatre in The Band, the musical comedy based around the music of Take That.

However, Shakespearean star McKenna, freely admits she was never a great fan of the music of Gary Barlow and co. “I was more into bands such as Hipsway,” says the East-Kilbride born performer. “But working in the show has introduced me to their music. And when your hear it performed on stage it gives this show, based around the lives of their fans, it’s quite incredible.”

Worship at the Temple of Dub

THE TEMPLE Of Dub returns to Belladrum this year.

After the success of the first bespoke “reggae, dub roots and jungle” stage, The Temple of Dub located in the woods of the estate,will return this year to the Highland festival.

Once again the Temple of Dub will be powered by by Electrikal’s trademark sound system as well as a full decor, lighting and production set up.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2018, near Inverness, runs from August 2-4 at . . . world-renowned line up of artists.


KAFKA for kids? Who’d have thought it.

But it’s set to happen the the Edinburgh Festival.

Beetlemania – Kafka For Kids is a Kafkaesque show created by Pappy’s Tom Parry and director Russell Bolam, who return to Edinburgh following their smash-hit adaptation on Gogol’s Marriage.

Franz Kafka is not always recognised for being a bundle of laughs but the Czech author, known for such disorientating works as The Trial, The Castle and Metamorphosis, found his own stories hilarious, laughing so hard whilst reading the first chapter of The Trial aloud that he repeatedly had to stop to collect himself.

However, “Kafka” and “funny” are not words that often sit side by side.

But Parry and Bolam read them and say they recognise how comical and absurd these stories are.

As a result, they are now on a mission to bring both child children and adult children in on the joke.

Edinburgh Fringe Comedy, Pleasance Dome - QueenDome, August 1 – 26,