August 9, 2016
by David Black

It seems metaphysically appropriate that Edinburgh, a city riven by an urban duality, should have had two singular and very different golden ages, as well as two distinct architectural personalities.


August 9, 2016
by Alan Taylor

Not so long ago, if the hype was to be believed, the book was doomed. Jeremiahs joyfully foretold of its imminent demise and imagined a paperless future in which trees could grow tall without fear of being hacked down, pulped and transformed into the Sun. Nor were book lovers any more sanguine. It...

SRB at the Theatre

March 21, 2016
by Joseph Farrell

IN this case, there are two faces, two attitudes to life, two plays, both one-act, one-woman pieces, written by Peter Arnott, featuring identical twins, Isobel and Morag, played by the one actor, Janette Foggo, staged in successive weeks at Oran Mor, but begging for some imaginative producer to bring...

Crowd Power

March 21, 2016
by Colin Waters

FEW things are likely to leave me feeling less festive than a festival. Which is unfortunate: I live in Edinburgh, home of the world’s largest annual arts festival. Each year, the same, but worse. Ticket prices that could bring tears to a sultan’s eyes; egos observable from outer space; unpromising...

Still ‘Yes’?

March 21, 2016
by Jamie Maxwell

IN case you hadn’t noticed, Scots are struggling to find consensus on the origins of modern Scottish nationalism. Supporters of independence see the roots of their movement as essentially civic: a political response to the alienating effects of Westminster ‘misrule’. Unionists, meanwhile, advance...

The Moor’s Last Sigh

March 21, 2016
by Michael Fry

THERE is a good argument for saying that the capture of Quebec in 1759, and the subsequent absorption of Canada into the British Empire, was owed first and foremost not to the English hero, James Wolfe, who fell in the moment of victory, but to one of his officers, Captain Donald MacDonald of Clanranald....

We’re All Doomed

March 21, 2016
by Dani Garavelli

ON April 20, 1535, a strange cosmic sight appeared above the city of Stockholm in Sweden. For several hours, three suns seemed to shine out of the same sky, with haloes of light radiating out from each of them. It was a time of great religious upheaval, so it was natural the crowds that bore witness...

Oor Willie

March 21, 2016
by Zoë Strachan

WILLIAM McIlvanney chose ‘Growing Up in the West’ as the title of his contribution to Karl Miller’s 1970 collection of essays, Memoirs of a Modern Scotland. ‘It is perhaps not too fanciful to suppose,’ he writes, ‘that special contour lines of experience invisibly demarcate certain regions...

Rebel Inc.

March 21, 2016
by Brian Morton

If you were planning to run a revolution from a post office now, you’d have to take a number and wait in line. The nodes of cultural communication as well as of social power have shifted since 1916, more democratic in some aspects, infinitely more entrenched and imperial in others. The editors’...

Panama Hell

March 21, 2016
by Rosemary Goring

WHEN rumours leaked out that the Scots were considering setting up a trading colony in Panama, the Prince of Orange, William III, denounced them as ‘raging madmen’. Even the Pope waded into the growing chorus of disapproval, condemning a venture that threatened to undermine the Catholic believers...