Opportunity Knox

October 14, 2009
by Hugh MacDonald

THE GROWLING BEAST of revolution is often just the mild-mannered man of reform with a drink in him. What starts with the merest sense of grievance can escalate quickly, gaining a momentum that is fuelled by blood and increasing resentment. Revolutions do not start with gunfire and death, but with a...

A Life in a Year

September 14, 2009
by Alan Taylor

A Life in a Year – Alan Taylor IN 1786, BY WHEN he had reached the age of 27, Robert Burns was already a man with a reputation as a rake. His girlfriend, the woman he wanted to make his wife, Jean Armour, was pregnant with what would be their twins. Not surprisingly her father was appalled...


September 14, 2009
by Christopher Harvie

Mayday! – Christopher Harvie I ask myself, is it just a matter of a few dozen passengers, or do I watch the whole human race over there, haphazardly hanging on to some run-down cruise-liner, fit for the scrapyard and headed for self-destruction? I cannot be sure. I am dripping wet and I listen....

Volume 5 – Issue 1 – Gallimaufry

September 14, 2009
by Theresa Munoz

  Gallimaufry – Lesley McDowell and Theresa Munoz Scotland: A Very Short Introduction Rab Houston OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, £7.99 pp140, ISBN 019923079X Racing through Scotland’s history in a hundred and forty pages isn’t an easy task: although a rare exception is made for Mary, Queen...

Breaking Up Is Easy To Do

September 14, 2009
by Harry Reid

Breaking Up Is Easy To Do – Harry Reid   MAINLAND SCOTLAND, often encouraged by its indigenous media, has been too keen to sneer at the spiritual life of the inhabitants of the Long Island (Lewis and Harris) and in particular their efforts to protect the Sabbath. Demonstrations against...


September 14, 2009
by Brian Morton

Tete-a-Tete – Brian Morton FOUR RIVERS ran out of Eden. Three flow through Langholm, and young Christopher Grieve could tell each of them by its sound alone. It was a first lesson in native harmonics and a vernacular cadence that sought nothing less, when he became Hugh MacDiarmid, than to put...

Volume 5 – Issue 1 – Reviews

September 14, 2009

Volume 5 Issue 1 Reviews Sex, Lies And Shakespeare Christopher Rush BEAUTIFUL BOOKS, £15.99 pp352, ISBN 1905636415 Reviewer: RONALD FRAME With Christopher Rush on a roll, title after title of late, it might seem mean-spirited of me to question just what the latest, called Sex, Lies And Shakespeare,...

Our Discontented Winter

September 4, 2009
by John MacLeod

Our Discontented Winter – John MacLeod MOST OF US – and certainly everyone born since, or who were then too young to remember – have a certain idea of the Seventies in Britain. It was a long dark twilight of strife, shortages and a collapsing economy. It was drab. It was bigoted....

Volume 5 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

September 4, 2009
by Theresa Munoz

Gallimaufry – Lesley McDowell and Theresa Munoz Angel With Two Faces Nicola Upson FABER, £14.99 pp432 ISBN 0571237959 This is the second detective novel in a series featuring real-life 1930s crime writer, the Inverness-born Josephine Tey. Upson is revisiting what is usually called the ‘Golden Age...

Why Interview Writers?

September 4, 2009
by Ali Smith

Why Interview Writers? – Ali Smith AFTER MORE than twenty years of in-depth interviewing of Scottish writers for the Sound Archive she first began to create in the mid- 1980s, and after editing and publishing exactly twenty, in all, of these good lengthy interviews, Isobel Murray has...