Welsh Rarebit

October 26, 2009
by Ronald Frame

No, I hadn’t read Irvine Welsh either. His books seemed easy to resist. The hype. The style-accessory business. The yoof market (even if the author wasn’t young). I recall a press story about the Grampian police deploring the effects of Trainspotting, the film, its glorification of drugs. You...

Volume 3 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

October 26, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

Jungle Capitalists – A Story Of Globalisation, Greed And Revolution Peter Chapman CANONGATE, £10.99 pp220 ISBN 184195909X The UK’s favourite fruit, the banana, tastes as sweet as its history is foul. At its height, the United Fruit Company, had a virtual monopoly on the growth and sales of bananas,...

Bridge Builder

October 26, 2009
by Douglas Gifford

IT’S ALMOST QUARTER of a century since The Wasp Factory brought to attention Iain Banks. Since then, he has produced eleven novels and the non-fiction whisky-and-personal reflection odyssey, Raw Spirits, while working under the Iain M Banks moniker he has written nine science-fiction novels as well...

Serious Characters

October 26, 2009
by Alan Riach

WHEN I ARRIVED at Browns-bank Cottage, having taken my time driving over the border hills enjoying the afternoon, Valda met me at the door: “You’re late!” she pronounced, and proceeded to bundle me back into the car, to drive her into Biggar to the bank before it closed, to pick up her...

Volume 3 – Issue 4 – Reviews

October 21, 2009

Girl Meets Boy: The Myth Of Iphis Ali Smith CANONGATE, £12.99 pp224, ISBN 1841958697 REVIEWER: HANNAH MCGILL It’s no longer quite as fashionable as it was in the earnest Seventies and Eighties for writers to illuminate new values through the appropriation and reinterpretation of old stories. When...

Man of the Folk

October 21, 2009
by Ray Burnett

THIS IS A SINGULARLY apt moment for Hamish Henderson’s life to be told. In Westminster, Gordon Brown is a Prime Minister committed to the continuing deployment of weapons of mass destruction in Scotland, Scottish troops deployed in an unpopular illegal war and a foreign policy that buttresses American...

Volume 3 – Issue 4 – Gallimaufry

October 21, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

Greenfields Richard Price CARCANET, £9.95 pp114, ISBN 9781857549201 Richard Price’s unlikely madeleine is “The smell of roadworks”, an aroma that transports him back to his childhood and into his writing, which he describes oddly, or rather, originally, as “a milkman’s boy/treading gravel,...

Ewes Too

October 21, 2009
by John Herdman

JAMES HOGG believe, or so at least he wrote to a friend at the time of his first failure as a sheep farmer in Dumfriesshire, that his misfortunes in that sphere were such as to suggest that providence wished to direct his energies into another field of activity. If that was the case he certainly proved...

Identity Parade

October 21, 2009
by Ajay Close

JACKIE KAY IS ONE of those autobiographical writers whose work can also be read as a biography of the times. Race and nationality; blood and belonging; how it feels to be black and lesbian in a land as white and narrow as Scotland can be; what it means to grow up in a country where “Angela Davis...

Pinch Me! But Where Do We Go From Here?

October 21, 2009
by John MacLeod

IT’S OLD AND IT’S the sort of story which, as us tabloid hacks like to say, is really too good to check. A grand New York publication, feeling rather hands-across-the-seaish and with a seasonal edition to fill, rang round assorted UN ambassadors to ask what they really wanted for Christmas. “Freedom...