Endangered Species

February 10, 2018
by Kirsty Gunn

The essay is an attractive option for addressing a huge range of subjects in a kind of prose that may be casual and simple, or scientific, ornate or allusive. It has no rules. It is demotic or rhetorical, compact or discursive, or all of these. Its only requirement is, as the word suggests – from...

For Those In Peril

February 10, 2018
by John MacLeod

You have almost certainly never heard of the Tuscania. Nor another liner, the Otranto. I certainly had not. Yet, in 1918 and as the Great War wound up to its denouement, both these British troopships – laden with hundreds of American conscript soldiers – went down, and with great loss of life; even...

Wooing Jimmy

February 10, 2018
by David Torrance

A few years ago, when the Scottish National Party was still riding high in the polls, I was chatting to a thoughtful Nationalist about the party’s tendency to co-opt figures from the Labour movement. I mentioned the former Scottish Trades Union Congress president Campbell Christie, who had passed...

The Debatable Land

February 10, 2018
by Harry McGrath

When I was a school boy in the Scottish Border town of Galashiels, the block of flats next door to us was reserved for members of the local police force. There were six flats in total, a generous allotment for a smallish town with a low crime rate. I could almost count the minutes before an officer...


November 18, 2017
by Colin Waters

The Wikipedia entry for events due to take place in 2023 is bare, currently. London is due a new, £4.1 billion ‘super-sewer’ by that date, while ‘the Compact of Free Association between the United States and the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands expires’. Otherwise, no...


November 18, 2017
by Nick Major

When I sat down to make notes for this review the first and most pressing problem I arrived at was that Martin Amis is my superior. This is not sycophancy. It is an acknowledgement of where I stand in the pecking order, and an early excuse for any stylistic faults that may undermine my authority to...


November 18, 2017
by Dani Garavelli

Towards the end of Mayhem, Sigrid Rausing’s book about her brother Hans’ heroin addiction, she muses on the origins of words for ‘guilt’. In her first language, Swedish, it is ‘skuld’ which also means ‘debt’; in English, it is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ‘gylt’, which, in turn,...


November 18, 2017
by Dr John R Young

There has been a renewed interest in the history of Glasgow in recent years with the publication of Robert Crawford’s On Glasgow and Edinburgh, John Moore’s Glasgow: Mapping the City, Alan Taylor’s Glasgow: The Autobiography, Raymond Depardon’s photographic account, Glasgow, covering the year...


November 18, 2017
by Jamie Maxwell

The night before last year’s US presidential election, on 7 November 2016, Bruce Springsteen performed at a rally for Hillary Clinton in downtown Philadelphia. He only played three songs: ‘Thunder Road’, ‘Long Walk Home’, and ‘Dancing In The Dark’. But he broke-up his acoustic set by...


November 18, 2017
by Mandy Haggith

At first sight, this looks like a sweet coincidence: here are two Scottish writers, both called Jim C, based in the urban central belt, writing on rural issues and making ample use of metaphors taken from jazz. Both books have cool blue covers with monochrome images. The similarities end there. One...