Volume 02 Issue 3

The SRB Interview: Candia McWilliam

October 28, 2009

CANDIA MCWILLIAM WAS BORN in Edinburgh in 1955. Her father, Colin McWilliam, was Assistant Secretary for the National Trust for Scotland and editor of The Buildings Of Scotland series. In 1971, she won a Vogue writing competition, going on to work for the magazine between 1976 and 1979 after graduating...

Volume 2 – Issue 3 – Editorial

October 28, 2009

“I’M SICK OF THESE murder people, every book has to have its murder. It’s ridiculous. Why is it so unpleasant to people, to consider reading a book actually about life, as close as one can get to it, to what things are really about? Why is that so horrible, whereas reading a million gory murder...


October 28, 2009
by Tessa Ransford

Conference-going 20 May Leave home with the anxiety that tends to accompany solo packing and planning. Overnight in Glasgow with family which takes in the Da Vinci Code. Contrary to the opinion of all the reviewers (suspicious unanimity) we enjoy its relatively meditative pace and the lack of over-acting....

William McIlvanney’s Long Weekend

October 28, 2009
by Ronald Frame

SOME NOVELISTS WRITE too much. One sees the reasons why. Publishers realise they’re on to a good thing – the proverbial milch-cow. Agents in their eye-to-the-main-chance way hint that other publishers might be even more interested. The more one book can resemble its predecessor, the better. A zippy...

Wee Yin and Big Yang

October 28, 2009
by Hugh MacDonald

THE TITLE OF Greatest Living Scots-man has fallen into parlous disrepair since the days of Hume and Carlyle or even Reith and Fleming. It may be time to restore the competition to its former glory. And the best, most typically Scottish way to begin is with an argument. There will be those who make claims...

Kill and Be Kilt

October 28, 2009
by Hamish Whyte

I BLAME JAMES ELLROY. Google ‘Tartan Noir’ and you get 26,000 entries. Ellroy coined the term in a blurb for Ian Rankin – and it stuck. There is an awful lot of Scottish crime fiction about – the pile of books I got through for this piece measured a metre in height – but it contains precious...

The Atkinson Diet

October 28, 2009
by Ajay Close

MOTIONALLY WEIRD. KATE ATKINESON’s third novel, boasts several suspicious deaths. An English lecturer offed by falling volumes of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary; a “harmless wee wifie” who may or may not have met a natural end at an old folks’ home; three murders by drowning (one matricide,...

Scotland Dialling 999

October 28, 2009
by Ian Bell

IN THE AYRSHIRE of Andrew O’Hagan’s third novel there are no happy people, not one. This is a non-trivial detail: the absence of all happiness is peculiar. The locals staring into the shifting Irish Sea, with no Tolstoyan means of support, are meanwhile unhappy in a peculiar way. God or an author...

Irish in Denial

October 28, 2009
by James MacMillan

AN UNEXPECTED AND delightful request came my way recently. On 5th November 2005 a new statue of Brother Walfrid was unveiled outside the main entrance to Celtic Park. Otherwise known as Andrew Kerins he was the Marist brother from Sligo who was principal founder of Celtic Football Club in 1887/88. The...

A Thrust in the Buttocks

October 28, 2009
by Lawrence James

SOLDIER’S FEET MARK the beat of time. Its rhythms are captured in this marvellous biography of an illustrious Scottish regiment. Trevor Royle has deftly interwoven four narrative threads: the story of the Royal Scots, the changing nature of war and soldiering, the relationship between the army and...

Image Conscious

October 28, 2009
by Mark Cousins

I STARTED GOING TO THE Cannes film festival in the early Nineties. Since then I have come to hate the expensive fakery of that Le Pennite former fishing village on the Cote d’Azur, but this year I enjoyed it. As well as seeing films – which is always the best bit – I spent time with my friend...

My Middle Name is Patrick

October 28, 2009
by Neil MacKay

MY FIRST INKLING that such a thing called Loyalism existed must have come around 1973 when I was just three years old. These were terrible times in Northern Ireland. Blown up bodies were being shovelled off the streets of Belfast into black bin bags, and murder gangs were torturing people to death in...

From Grangemouth to Satsumas

October 28, 2009
by Geoffrey Elborn

GEORGE DOUGLAS, IN THE HOUSE OF THE GREEN SHUTTERS, comes close to describing the quality of Alan Spence’s writing when it is at its best. An Edinburgh Professor tells Gourlay’s son that the highest form of imagination is “both creative and consecrative…merging in diviner thought. It irradiates...

Volume 2 – Issue 3 – New Poems – Tom Leonard

October 28, 2009
by Tom Leonard

Litany: Blair’s Britain to seek the truth is to foment terrorism to call war state violence is to foment terrorism to question the news is to foment terrorism to press the mute button is to foment terrorism to call Bush fundamentalist is to foment terrorism to study Blair’s hand-gestures is to foment...

Volume 2 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

October 28, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

On The Atlantic Edge Kenneth White SANDSTONE PRESS, £7.95 pp.108 ISBN 1905207085 “Honest to the point of ferocity (that’s the Scot in me)” – so Ken-neth White, architect of ‘geopoetics’, describes himself. And he is fierce, not to mention occasionally iconoclastic, in his denunciations....