SRB at the Theatre

November 3, 2015
by Joseph Farrell

What Goes Around went around Scotland in autumn in a touring production by Cumbernauld Theatre Company. The NTS has done sterling work in taking theatre to theatre-starved parts of the country, but somehow this particular work brought back memories of the good old days when several companies, Wildcat,...

On Camusfeàrna

November 3, 2015
by Peter Ross

IN 1987, at the age of 18, Dan Boothby made his second visit – pilgrimage, really – to Sandaig in Wester Ross, the former home of the writer and naturalist Gavin Maxwell, who had referred to it in his books as Camusfeàrna. Here Maxwell had lived with his otters – Mij and Edal – and wrote about...

Best of Times, Worst of Times

November 3, 2015
by Brian Morton

HERE is our story, not as the proud unfolding of an inexorable national logic, nor in the Eeyorish tones of a people that ‘always’ manages to give away a dodgy penalty in the last minute, but far more interestingly as a ‘recurring sequence of uncertainties’. Alistair Moffat ends his tight, brisk...

What Did Oil Do For Us?

November 3, 2015
by Jonathan Wills

FEELING sorry for the oil companies is something I normally leave to Chancellors of the Exchequer but, after devouring Mike Shepherd’s highly entertaining and informative new book about the past 45 tumultuous years in the North Sea, I think I have a better idea of how Gordon Brown and George Osborne...

Militant Tendency

November 3, 2015
by Nick Major

THE plot of Ajay Close’s 2014 novel Trust turns on two modern political crises: the miners strikes of the early 1980s and the financial crash of the late noughties. The characters who garner sympathy struggle to maintain moral steadfastness in the face of an unjust political situation. There are the...

Who will be the next U.S. President?

November 3, 2015
by Jamie Maxwell

NO post-war US president, including John F. Kennedy, holds a tighter grip of America’s political imagination than Ronald Reagan. Republicans and Democrats agree that Reagan’s presidency was ‘transformative’. For Republicans, Reagan rescued the country from decline after the disaster of Vietnam...

Bombing Belfast

August 14, 2015
by Wood Ian S.

ONE of the late Brian Moore’s many fine novels was The Emperor of Ice Cream, published in 1965. It is a coming of age story whose young hero, Gavin Burke, the son of a middle class and Catholic Belfast family, decides, after the outbreak of war in 1939 to do his bit for Britain’s cause by joining...

Grecian 2015

August 14, 2015
by Brian Morton

NOT many critical essays stick in the mind on the basis of title only, but ‘Sheherazade runs out of plots, keeps on talking – the king, intrigued, listens’ is one of them. Philip Stevick’s 1973 Tri-Quarterly article was a manifesto of the new ‘fabulatory’ fiction and criticism of the decade,...

Dam Builders

August 14, 2015
by Rosemary Goring

THE beaver, writes Jim Crumley, ‘is the animal that gives rodents a good name’. It’s an arresting comment from one of the country’s best known and most prolific nature writers, who has turned his attention to countless birds and animals over the years, from foxes, owls and badgers to swans,...

In Cold Blood

August 14, 2015
by David Robinson

ODD, isn’t it, how friendships form? Take Duane West and me. We live on different continents, have only spent six hours in each other’s company eight years ago, and might never meet again. Yet every month or so we exchange emails. He’ll tell me about life in Garden City, Kansas, and I keep him...