Volume 04 Issue 2

The SRB Interview: Alice Thompson

October 19, 2009

BORN IN EDINBURGH, Alice Thompson’s first artistic endeavour came not in literature but in popular music. After reading English at Oxford, she joined The Woodentops, a succès d’es-time, as keyboardist in the mid-Eighties, touring with, amongst others, The Smiths and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds....

Volume 4 – Issue 2 – Editorial

October 19, 2009

IN THIS ISSUE of the Scottish Review of Books we are privileged to a publish a diary by Candia McWilliam, in which she describes how she is coping with a disease called blepharospasm. Defined byChambers as “spasm of the eyelid”, it sounds relatively innocent. It is not. As Ms McWilliam explains,...

SRB Diary: My Annulled Eyes

October 19, 2009
by Candia McWilliam

“The greater we are, the less we may feel that circumstances press greatly upon us”. These words and I cannot be sure that they were these words exactly, came at me powerfully from the tape unabridged version of Middlemarch some nights ago – and I felt very small. I cannot be sure of the exact...

Mad About the Boy

October 19, 2009
by Ian Bell

WHEN ALAIN ROBBE-GRILLET bid a definitive adieu to his devotees recently, the London obituarists achieved a tentative consensus. Formal French brilliance, they conceded; and high seriousness on every page. Foremost among the nouveaux romanciers, they said, this was a man who really thought about the...

Close But No Cigar

October 19, 2009
by George Rosie

IT’S ALWAYS THE STUFF we didn’t know about that makes a senior politician’s memoir worth reading. The less the politician has to lose the more beans he’s likely to spill. And in his autobiography Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell, the recently-deposed leader of Lib Dems, spills quite a few. Here’s...

Aff Wi’Her Heid!

October 19, 2009
by Harry Reid

THE LIFE OF MARY, Queen of Scots is generally presented as a tragedy. It could equally be regarded as a comedy, if a somewhat grisly one. Her story is at once a curious succession of mishaps and a series of grotesque misjudgements. It may ultimately be viewed as an extended misadventure. Whether all...

Volume 4 – Issue 2 – New Poems – Andrew Greig

October 19, 2009
by Andrew Greig

The Tidal Pools of Fife I mind our town’s tidal swimming pool: rough concrete walls, a sluice, some changing huts, that fluid space folk clenched to enter. Quick or slow, either way it really hurt at first; shocked awake by way of entertainment, as though pain were the price of admission to the club, as...

Love Craft

October 19, 2009
by Pat Kane

IF THE DEFINITION of a craftsman, according to the social philosopher Richard Sennett, is someone who is “dedicated to good work for its own sake”, then in my own family I have known (or known of) at least two craftsmen of note (one of which, to be precise, is a craftswoman). My namesake and grandfather,...

Westward Ho!

October 19, 2009
by Brian Morton

In his ‘Cornish Heroic Song For Valda Trevlyn’, Hugh MacDiarmid makes much of the connections between Cornwall and Scotland: not just their marriage, or the reproduction “golden lunula” he has made for her – “Linking the Early Bronze Age and the Twentieth Century” – but also something...

Only Connect

October 19, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

WHEN I ATTENDED university, probably around the same time that Andrew Crumey did, it was pretty much a given that arts students and science students looked down on each other’s work. Science thought art lazed in bed till lunch-time and sat exams a two-year-old could pass; art despised science’s...

Volume 4 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

October 19, 2009
by Lesley McDowell

Missy Chris Hannan CHATTO AND WINDUS, £12.99 pp304 ISBN 0701180439 This debut novel by award-winning playwright Hannan is about as good as storytelling gets. Missy is the colloquial name for opium in mid-nineteenth century California, and heroine Dol, “flash-girl”, has quite a taste for it. When...