Volume 05 Issue 3

The SRB Interview: Ian Jack

October 14, 2009

Born in 1945, Ian Jack spent his childhood in Lancashire, where his father had moved in search of employment, and North Queensferry. The boats he watched as a child sail the Firth of Forth sparked a life-long passion; he also has an equally enduring interest in railways, and he writes about both forms...

Volume 5 – Issue 3 – Editorial

September 2, 2009

IN THIS ISSUE of the magazine we are carrying a review of the first biography of Muriel Spark. This book, by Martin Stannard, has already received much attention elsewhere, undoubtedly reflective of Spark’s literary status. She is the one Scottish twentieth-century writer whose reputation transcends...

SRB Diary: Galloway Diary – Windmills on Her Mind

October 14, 2009
by Sara Maitland

NEARLY FIVE YEARS ago I took a short cut, turning off the A75 onto an unclassified road up through western Galloway and into Ayrshire. It was just chance really. I drove up a pleasant valley and through a small village and then on over some decrepit cattle grids and onto a single-track unfenced road,...

Villages of the Damned

September 4, 2009
by Tom Pow

TWO YEARS AGO, I was in Edmon-ton, Alberta. I was sitting in a cafe on Whyte Avenue, feeling a touch melancholic, when I opened the Edmonton Journal and came across an article about a dying village in the district of Leon in northern Spain. The village was called Villabandin and, according to the article,...

Opportunity Knox

October 14, 2009
by Hugh MacDonald

THE GROWLING BEAST of revolution is often just the mild-mannered man of reform with a drink in him. What starts with the merest sense of grievance can escalate quickly, gaining a momentum that is fuelled by blood and increasing resentment. Revolutions do not start with gunfire and death, but with a...

No Patter Merchant

October 14, 2009
by Ian Bell

RECENTLY I CAME across a description of Tom Leonard’s poetry, entirely typical, that almost made me laugh. Not quite, but near enough. The poems, said a BBC website, dispensing with irony, make “frequent use of Glaswegian vernacular speech”. That, as even an Edinburgh boy thought, will be right. As...

Ten Years Hence

October 14, 2009
by David Torrance

CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM, particularly in a Scottish context, seems to produce quixotic aspirations. In 1885 the much-lobbied for post of Scottish Secretary was created amid expectations of a national revival; in 1999 a Scottish Parliament was created with widespread anticipation that it would become a...

Memento Mori

October 14, 2009
by Alan Taylor

WHEN IN THE MIDST of the Second World War Muriel Spark divorced her husband she did not revert to her family surname of Camberg. Instead, as she acknowledged in her autobiography, Curriculum Vitae, she decided to retain her husband’s name. Her reason, initially, was so she could share the same name...

The View from Castle Rock

October 14, 2009
by Magnus Linklater

AS A CHAMPION of Scottish literacy, intellectual rigour, profound thinking and weighty criticism, Francis Jeffrey stands as a non pareil. His editorship of the Edin-burgh Review in the early nineteenth century, made it a model of what a literary journal should be, at a time of political and cultural...

From Calvin to Calvino

October 14, 2009
by Pat Kane

If you don’t know about Momus, aka Scottish musician, writer and con-ceptualist Nick Currie, then you need to know about him: for me, he’s one of the most challengingly brilliant Scottish minds of the last twenty years. On the trivial, arts-page level, his CV is impressive. Momus was an early star...

Report Card

October 14, 2009
by Owen Dudley Edwards

SIR KENNETH CALMAN introduced his 15-member Commission’s ‘Final Report’ with no misgivings as to its claim to discuss ‘Scotland and the United Kingdom in the 21st century’. Yet any realistic student of 21st century Scottish politics will find the subject incomprehensible without considering...

Volume 5 – Issue 3 – Gallimaufry

October 14, 2009
by Theresa Munoz

Little Hut of Leaping Fishes Chiew-Siah Tei PICADOR, £7.99 pp320, ISBN 9780330454391 A graduate of Glasgow University’s creative writing programme, Chiew-Siah Tei has emerged with a debut novel that eschews tricksiness for tradition, and the gentleness of her prose may incline some to think she has...