Reviews

IN PRAISE OF CHAOS

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...

THE CASE FOR CRITICISM

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...

SCANDINAVIAN NOIR

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,...

UNOFFICIAL CAPITAL

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...

HOW HILLARY BLEW IT

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...

WINTER WORDS

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...

McCANADA

August 12, 2017
by Harry McGrath

No country has been described in terms of another to the extent that Canada was by Scotland. From the Dunbar area of Vancouver to Inverness in Nova Scotia, Scots festooned Canada with familiar toponyms. One relatively small corner of southern Alberta, for instance, has a Calgary, a Banff, a Canmore...

Back In The USSR

August 12, 2017
by David Robinson

Back in the days when newspapers had money and could afford foreign correspondents, it was often felt that the best thing to do with these aristocrats of the trade was to shift them around every few years. That way, it was felt, they wouldn’t ‘go native’. As Angus Roxburgh makes clear in Moscow...

Another Time, Another Place

August 11, 2017
by Rosemary Goring

Asked to describe her upbringing, in an interview in later life, Jessie Kesson spoke of her ‘accidental’ birth in Inverness Workhouse. Her mother was not married, which was disgrace enough in 1916, and no doubt to escape the local gossips she had hightailed it to the city. As a result, her child,...

Who’d Be a Man?

August 11, 2017
by Zoë Strachan

Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman, sang Tammy Wynette. I’d like to think that her lyrics reach their emotional apotheosis when delivered at West of Scotland karaoke nights. That is not meant as an ironic statement, nor do I suspect is it a phenomenon strictly limited to the West of Scotland, simply...