Volume 10 Issue 6

The SRB Interview: Robin Robertson

May 30, 2015

Robin Robertson is a poet whose work is infused with classical myth and folklore. The gods and prophets who inhabit his poems are shape-shifting and transformational figures, such as Dionysus or Proteus. His visceral and sometimes violent verse displays a carefully controlled rhythm and musicality....

Volume 10 Issue 6 – Editorial

September 13, 2013

IN 1933, the novelist Eric Linklater contested a by-election in East Fife on behalf of the National Party of Scotland which, a year later, amalgamated with the Scottish Party to form the Scottish National Party. Linklater, who was born in 1899 in Penarth in Glamorganshire of Orcadian stock, recalled...

SRB Diary: Reading the Runes

May 30, 2015
by Alan Taylor

A few days before the General Election a friend who had been campaigning on behalf of the SNP in Edinburgh South texted to say he’d placed a bet on the Nationalists to make a clean sweep and win every seat. If I recall rightly the odds were 5-1 which at the time did not seem to me to be overly generous....

A Bridge Too Far

May 30, 2015
by George Rosie

In the last few years I have visited Queensferry several times to see how the new road bridge is coming along. On one occasion I ran into a grizzled, middle-aged American from Ohio. Over drinks in a nearby hotel he said he had been working on the bridge and was on his way home. What he told me took...

Northward Ho!

May 30, 2015
by Patrick J. Murray

TRAVELLING to Scotland has a long tradition in English letters. In 1803, for example, William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge embarked upon an expedition north in the aftermath of their Lyrical Ballads. Similarly, their fellow Romantic poet John Keats carried out his own foray into the Highlands,...

The Moral Maze

May 30, 2015
by Rosemary Goring

As a boy growing up in Durham in the 1970s and 80s, James Wood was given the ideal start for a literary critic. Although his parents lived in the city – his father taught zoology at the university, his Scottish mother was a schoolteacher – he was sent to an ecclesiastical boarding school, where...

Remember the Referendum?

May 30, 2015
by Alasdair McKillop

THE referendum was a model of simplicity. The people of Scotland were asked a straightforward question to which there were two possible responses. But to reduce it to a momentary act in the privacy of a voting booth would be to discount too much. It was also the accumulation of developments spanning...

Volume 10 – Issue 6 – New Poems

May 30, 2015
by Ron Butlin

SCOTTISH CAT AND SCOTTISH MOUSE The very first Because (no paws or claws but logic’s laws) came once upon a mouse-click slick as any electronic tick . . . tick . . . tick . . . through Time’s deleted was.   Binary YES and binary NO, the cursor showing where to go (its heartbeat is what matters...

Sink or swim: The Venice Biennale

May 30, 2015
by Joseph Farrell

THERE are 89 nations represented in the official pavilions of the Venice Biennale, clustered partly in an area known as the Gardens and partly in the old Arsenal, and 44 semi-official fringe, or ‘collateral’ events as they termed,  distributed in deconsecrated churches, palaces, and courtyards...

Crimes Against Fiction?

May 30, 2015
by Colin Waters

‘TARTAN noir’ has been used to describe crime fiction written by Scottish crime writers for so long now – well over a decade – we’ve grown numb to it. Strange that a genre, or subgenre more accurately, that prides itself on mapping the moral badlands of contemporary Scotland should accept...

Closet Correspondent

May 30, 2015
by Zoë Strachan

Sssnnnwhuffffll? Hnwhuffl hhnnwfl hnfl hfl? Gdroblboblhobngbl gbl gl g g g g glbgl. MY O Grade English class did not respond well to a recording of Edwin Morgan’s ‘The Loch Ness Monster’s Song’. Chairs were scraped and faces pulled, until all succumbed to outraged laughter. Needless to say,...

Landlockers and Damplings

May 30, 2015
by Nick Major

ONCE upon a time there was a girl called North, who lived on a floating circus with her pet bear. North was an orphan, but did not mourn her parents. She did ‘miss the idea of a family’ though. The circus, which doubled as a ship called Excalibur, ‘was not a bad substitute’ for her mother and...

Detroit: How Motown became Mowtown

May 30, 2015
by Andrew Lees

AN obsession with polished aspirational black music finally carried me to Detroit. Poking my nose against a high window in the MGM Grand Hotel I survey this strung out city. Michigan Central looms in front of me, the morose emblem of the city’s mutation in death. Through the perforations in its eviscerated...

Sixty Degrees North

May 30, 2015
by Malachy Tallack

Driving through the hamlets of Bigton and Ireland at the south end of the Shetland Mainland, the sun was icy bright and the sky a polished blue, barely troubled by clouds. Half a mile away the Atlantic lay like a desert, and beyond, the horizon, a soft, blunt edge interrupting a view that might otherwise...

Flower of Scotland

May 30, 2015
by Harry McGrath

TO a younger generation of Scots, Ronnie Browne is probably better known as that guy fae the fitba (or rugby) rather than the guy from The Corries. His vigorous pre-game rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’ has become something of a trademark in recent years. In fact, Scotland’s unofficial national...


May 30, 2015
by Theresa Munoz

SCOTTISH by formation, Mick Imlah was an Oxbridge critic and poet and a member of the London literary establishment. With his twin sister Fiona, he was born in Aberdeen in 1956. The Imlahs lived in Milngavie for ten years until his father, who worked in insurance, moved the family to Kent in 1966. Imlah...

Breaking Bad

May 30, 2015
by Brian Morton

JONATHAN Swift’s Laputans had a very singular cast of vision, with one eye turned down to the ground, the other directed steadily at the zenith. This was meant as a satire on the vogue for the microscope and the telescope respectively, and of a scientism that excluded the human middle in preference...