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...

Growing Up with Glasgow

March 21, 2016
by Harry McGrath

MY grandmother, Mary McGrath (née Dunn), lived much of her life on Saracen Street in Possilpark, Glasgow. She was married to John McGrath, a biscuit salesman, and they had a daughter and two sons. John’s parents were wed in the Catholic Chapel in Moy, County Tyrone and the marriage certificate describes...

Sutherland’s Law

March 21, 2016
by John MacLeod

NOTHING in all of Scotland’s history – the weepy career of Mary, Queen of Scots; the ’45 and its appalling aftermath; the hammer-blow of the Great War on communities and industry; Margaret Thatcher’s premiership, or the high drama of the late independence referendum – is as emotive a topic...

The Many Lives of Guy Burgess

November 3, 2015
by Ian Mitchell

AFTER Guy Burgess, the celebrated ‘Third Man’ in the Cambridge spy ring of the 1930s and ’40s, had fled to Moscow, he said, ‘My life ended when I left London.’ He lived the remainder of his life out of context, in a land where politics was supposed to be about policies not personalities. ‘The...

Inside Project Fear

November 3, 2015
by Alasdair McKillop

WHEN Henry McLeish questions the clarity of your position on the constitutional question you are probably in trouble. The former First Minister was responding to the suggestion made by Kezia Dugdale, the recently elected leader of Scottish Labour, that MPs and MSPs would be free to campaign for independence...

Silver Darlings

November 3, 2015
by John MacLeod

IT was hard in the 1970s, even as a Glasgow Highland boy, to get away from herring. A vast salted bucket of the beasts sat in the back porch. Each Saturday they were boiled for noonday dinner, regardless of our protests, served up with steaming potatoes. We could only endure them with lashings of tomato...

Collecting Mania

November 3, 2015
by Alan Taylor

TEN years ago, by way of a leaving present from his post as Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, Sir Timothy Clifford commissioned from himself a book which formed the basis of a remarkable exhibition. Choice, sub-titled ‘Twenty-One Years of Collecting for Scotland’, was an unashamed...