Volume 13 Issue 2

VOLUME 13 ISSUE 2 EDITORIAL

June 2, 2018

Twelve or thirteen hours into the flight from Glasgow to Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island the will to live starts to evaporate. It had taken seven hours to reach Dubai, through whose labyrinthine airport we marched to our gate as if to an appointment with an amateur dentist. Where were all...

A MUSE’S STORY

June 2, 2018

In the whirlwind of Freshers’ Week at Edinburgh College of Art in 1961, Helen Percy, 18 years old and newly arrived from Golspie, attended a concert, ‘a wild, orgiastic, anarchic charade’, in which a pianist, draped in a fishing net, with a butcher’s bone on a rope around his waist, ‘thundered...

THE SRB INTERVIEW: David Greig

June 2, 2018
by Nick Major

One of the age-old qualities of art is its capacity to transcend the limits of place, time and selfhood. At a time when countries around the world – especially in Europe – are retreating into themselves, art might function as a countervailing force: a way of looking beyond the horizon. The playwright...

HAPPY DAYS

June 2, 2018
by Harry Ritchie

Brexit. Trump. Putin. The Chinese. Terrorism. Fundamentalism. Et bloody cetera. You’ve got to say, the late teens of the twenty-first century do not look like a great time for the whole rational-progressive project. Endarkenment Now seems the much more accurate title for this book, given that the...

SRB DIARY: IN LOCHINVER

June 2, 2018
by Mandy Haggith

‘Quinuituq’ is an Inuit word for the deep patience required to survive in the arctic, where the rhythm of life consists of long still-ness broken by sudden movement: ice hanging at the front of a glacier then crashing into the ocean; long, dark winters erupting into the brief summer feasting...

SRB AT THE THEATRE: IN DUBLIN

June 2, 2018
by Joseph Farrell

‘I had never really thought about leaving Scotland,’ says Graham McLaren, but in 2016 he and Neil Murray were lured from the National Theatre of Scotland to become joint directors of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin. Murray had experience as manager and producer at the Tron as well as at the NTS, while...

NEW POEMS: Brian Johnstone

June 2, 2018
by Brian Johnstone

Treading the Boards The air of 1960 holds him still in mid-dive, arms extended, legs aligned: the ten year old who took the top board in his stride, took this year younger kid, every bit a show-off, up as far as second top to execute the flop that still stings in recall. He hangs there yet, the older...

IN THE SWALLOW’S NEST

June 2, 2018
by David Cunningham

There has never, to state the very obvious, been an easy time to pursue a writing career. But certain events in the past decade – the Great Recession, the onslaught of digital, the economic decline of print journalism – have made it harder still. We seem to have entered a world where Virginia Woolf’s...

TURGENEV AT 200

June 2, 2018
by Brian Morton

In a two-part essay originally written for Partisan Review, Arthur Koestler meditated on the origins of ‘The Intelligentsia’. It was typical Koestler, a mixture of windy science and visionary percipience. In the first part, he speculates on the nature of brain cells: were they ordinary body cells...

DERE’S AALWIS STORIES

June 2, 2018
by Dani Garavelli

In the opening chapter of The Valley at the Centre of the World, Shetland-raised writer Malachy Tallack’s first novel, two of the main characters, David, a crofter, and Sandy, the ex-partner of David’s daughter, come together to slaughter and skin some of David’s lambs: an act Tallack describes...

FOR PEAT’S SAKE

June 2, 2018
by Cal Flynn

In William Atkin’s The Moor, a heady brew of literary criticism, topography and nature writing, our attention was directed to that most enigmatic and evocative of landscapes. It is a stark place – clean-lined, curving, emptied of landmarks – the perfectly bleak backdrop of that classic work of...

IS THERE LIFE AFTER CORBYN?

June 2, 2018
by Alasdair McKillop

Just imagine what your family members would be saying if you’d been a decade in the dying and there was still no prospect of you doing the decent thing. People say very bad things indeed about the Labour Party so does that mean it’s taking its time getting into the ground? The Daily Telegraph columnist...

CONCRETE AND CHEMICALS

June 2, 2018
by Rosemary Goring

Were John Ruskin alive, you would hear him cheering at the Court of Session decision in March against Dr Reiner Brach, a steel trader, who wanted to keep his Highland estate off bounds to the public. To that end he had erected high gates and warning signs to prevent their access. As Ruskin wrote, ‘of...

WHO NEEDS LIGHT?

June 2, 2018
by David Black

You probably wouldn’t believe this tale if your read it in a library book. In 2004 Edinburgh became the world’s first Unesco City of Literature. This celebrated its writers, as well as initiatives which had consolidated its status as a home of the written word, from Allan Ramsay’s 1725 circulating...