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 – 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...

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...

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,...

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Reviews

October 28, 2009

THE WEE BOOK OF CALVIN: AIR-KISSING IN THE NORTH-EAST Bill Duncan PENGUIN: £7. 99 REVIEWER: RICHARD HOLLOWAY The jokey cover and the grouchy introduction could easily mislead you about this book. On a first look it appears to be a wintry counterblast to all those sunny little books of spiritual valium...

Volume 1 – Issue 1 – Gallimaufry

October 28, 2009
by Colin Waters

Writing Scotland by Carl MacDougall POLYGON, £8.99 With Edinburgh now branded the UN’s first World City of Literature, MacDougall’s survey of Scottish writers provides backing for the cause while reminding readers there’s more to the nation’s literature than just the capital’s contribution....

A long walk with Kenneth White

October 28, 2009
by Ian Bell

Some day, sooner or later, someone will get around to admitting that you cannot write a haiku properly in English. It doesn’t work. The language does not take well to syllabic verse-forms, not least when filched from ideographic Japanese, even if we can all count out the 17 syllables required. What...

Hyperventilating with self-congratulation

October 28, 2009
by Rosemary Goring

Carl MacDougall’s recent BBC 2 series, Writing Scotland, swept a magisterial yet kindly eye over the history of Scottish literature. It was an intelligently economical programme, deftly simplifying complexity to make a highly watchable, informative series that until recently would not have got past...

Volume 3 – Issue 2 – Reviews

October 26, 2009

The Devil’s Footprints John Burnside JONATHAN CAPE, £14.99 pp224, ISBN 0224074881 Gift Songs John Burnside JONATHAN CAPE, £9.00 pp80 ISBN 0224079972 REVIEWER: CANDIA MCWILLIAM The work of John Burnside constitutes one, and one fair, answer to the question asked of all writers of fiction: “Where...

Best Laid Plans

October 26, 2009
by Pat Kane

IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATELY Geddesian to push a review of essays about the great and chaotic Scottish generalist to the very rag-end of a deadline. But I could only attempt to write this in the aftermath of the Scottish Parliament general election of 2007. And if the SNP had failed to achieve even that...