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Volume 01 Issue 2 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 01 Issue 2

Volume 1 – Issue 2 – Editorial

October 28, 2009

RECENTLY, Stuart Cosgrove, a television executive, bemoaned the miserabilist tendency of our national culture. In his opinion our writers, artists, musicians and, in particular, film-makers, are stuck in the doldrums. “Dismal, dreary, depressing”, ran the headline in the Observer’s Scottish edition,...

SRB Diary: Fever Pittodrie

October 28, 2009

I AM WRITING a book about Scottish football. This involves grappling with the present, the future – and of course the past. I have been applying what I now think of as the Charlie Cooke test. I ask whoever I am interviewing “Do you remember Charlie Cooke?” or “Have you heard of Charlie...

SRB Diary: How Television Changed My Life

October 28, 2009
by Christopher Rush

IN 1954, when I was ten years old, the first twelve-inch-screen black-and-white television to arrive in St Monans was wheeled in all its majesty into the upstairs living-room of our neighbours across the street, where it caused an immediate sensation. Not even the coronation the previous year, with...

Clearances? What Clearances?

October 28, 2009
by Michael Fry

THE CLEARANCES have become a defining piece of history not only for the Highlands but also for Scotland as a whole. They add a bit of colour, of lurid red or heathery purple or unnatural green, to one of our major modern images of ourselves, as a grey and wan victim-nation. The best Scottish blood is...

Scots for Dummies

October 28, 2009
by Kenneth Harrison

Actors, Scottish theatre. In the Scottish theatre world, alcohol is frowned upon. It is well known that the bulk of Scottish actors are teetotal, preferring the backbreaking discipline of mastering their craft. (see Pantomime & Liver replacement). Alcohol Heritage Centre. Popular tourist draw celebrating...

A Divided Self: Reclaiming R. D. Laing

October 28, 2009
by Steven J Sutcliffe

WHO WAS Ronald David Laing, what did he write, how did he live, and what is his legacy? These are questions asked in a new introduction to Laing by Gavin Miller, which I shall come to shortly. But first, the bare facts and a few comments to set the scene. Laing was born in Govanhill, Glasgow, in 1927,...

Roull of Corstorphin

October 28, 2009
by Stewart Conn

Roull Posited Whilst out hunting King David, separated from his attendants, was heavily thrown and about to be gored by a hart with auful and braid tyndis – whereupon, a cross placed miraculously in his hands, the beast fled. He endowed an Abbey on the spot with the holy rood: later, on a narrow Isthmus,...

Stinkpots of Literature

October 28, 2009
by S. B. Kelly

AS A RULE, book reviewers and critics do not tend to attract the most flattering epithets: mangy curs, streams of urine, harem eunuchs and species of maggots have all been used as comparisons. We are hacks, Grub Street parasites and pernicious scribblers. In the words of Percy Shelley, reviewers are...

Not bad for a housewife

October 28, 2009
by Karl Miller

Volume 1 Issue 2 Alice Munro won the Nobel prize for literature in 2013. This piece is from our archive from 2009. TWO OF SCOTLAND’S most gifted writers, of all time, are born-and-bred Canadians – Alice Munro and Alistair MacLeod, now in their seventies. Are they as Scottish as their names,...

Plant Life

October 28, 2009
by Brian Morton

MY DAYS at the moment are divided between sitting at my desk and, when the rain is at any angle other than the horizontal, trudging down to the beach to drag up bagfuls of seaweed. About half is thrown on the compost heap, the remainder heaped with composted bracken on ground cut to make lazy-beds for...

In the Year 2020

October 28, 2009
by Paul Hutcheon

IN FRANCIS WHEEN’s How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered the World, the Telegraph’s riposte to the broadcasters who urged viewers to watch the hoax Roswell video with an open mind is reprinted: “If you open your mind too much, your brain may fall out.” Such a put-down made me think of the The Red Paper...

Volume 1 – Issue 2 – New Poems

October 28, 2009
by Norman MacCaig

Autobiographical Note The Calton Jail, it used to be. When I was a boy a man was hanged there at eight in the morning. In its place now. – St. Andrew’s House, a papermaking mill of Civil Servants, an ants’ nest of bureaucrats. My long shanks, pelmeted with short trousers, storked me into the school...

Volume 1 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

October 28, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

Gordon Brown by Tom Bower HARPER PERENNIAL, £7.99 pp.528 ISBN 0007175418 On arriving in Rome on official business in 1997, the Iron Chancellor is reported to have asked whether anyone at the British embassy had a Sky subscription. “I’ve got to see the Scotland-Latvia match,” he said, revealing...