Volume 08 Issue 1

The SRB Interview: Jamie Byng

March 2, 2012

For someone who has made their living in literary journalism over the past decade, entering the Edinburgh headquarters of the publisher Canongate can be a poignant experience. The walls are covered in shelves housing old and new editions  of books Canongate has published; as you gaze at their covers,...

Volume 8 – Issue 1 – Editorial

March 2, 2012

As this issue of the SRB was wending its way towards publication the death was announced of Marie Colvin, the war reporter. Colvin was in Syria on assignment for the Sunday Times in the embattled, besieged city of Homs. Together with the French photographer Remi Ochlik, who was also killed, Colvin had...

Who Was The Lockerbie Bomber?

March 2, 2012
by Alan Taylor

It happened in the second last year of the reign of Ronald Reagan. On the evening of 21 December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 imploded above Lockerbie instantly killing the 259 passengers and crew. On the ground, in the Dumfriesshire town which then had a population of around 4,000, a further eleven people...

Democratic intellectual: Remembering George Elder Davie

March 2, 2012
by Brian Morton

In one version of Scottish cultural history, you might say that contraception won out over metaphysics. Until the 1960s, philosophy was a rite of passage at the University of Edinburgh, understood as the magister vitae, and the compulsory cornerstone of a humanities degree. By the time I got to Edinburgh...

Mother Courage and her Children – Four Songs by Bertolt Brecht translated by Tom Leonard

March 2, 2012
by Tom Leonard

Mother Courage is a character who has inspired several writers. She appears in The Runagate Courage, a novel published in 1670 by the German author Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen. The novel, inspired by the events of the Thirty Years War, tells the tale of a woman torn between making money...

Gay Caledonia

March 2, 2012
by David Torrance

There’s a question I often put to gay friends of mine in Edinburgh – a predominantly informed, professional and therefore naturally anti-Conservative lot – which is, ‘when was homosexuality decriminalized in Scotland?’ Most can’t pinpoint a specific date but are reasonably sure it was during...

Warsaw Pact

March 2, 2012
by Joseph Farrell

Warsaw airport is officially called Chopina airport, which is scarcely in itself surprising. Many cities call their airports after celebrated citizens, Charles de Gaulle, Leonardo Da Vinci or, in Britain, John Len-non and George Best, but there is a special tone of assertiveness to the choice made...

Castle Heinz

March 2, 2012
by Kenneth Steven

Attending a writers’ retreat is rather akin to handing someone the key to a cell and asking them to throw it away. We do it because so little creative writing can be justified in a society like ours: what is the worth of a poem or a short story or a play? Most of us are busy trying to justify our...

Boz in the North

March 2, 2012
by Paul Schlicke

Charles Dickens grew up in the shadow of Sir Walter Scott, and some of his deepest convictions had been articulated by Scottish Enlightenment thinkers of the 18th century. He was proud to marry into a Scottish family, and like Lord Byron, the romantic poet of Scottish descent, he ‘awoke one morning...

Afgan Hounds

March 3, 2012
by David Pratt

I’ve long had a love affair with Afghanistan. At times painful but always passionate, it’s been going on now for the best part of 30 years. Almost entirely throughout that time this hard land and its generous people have been wracked by war. That was what took me there in the first place and why...

Don Roberto

March 3, 2012
by Brian McCabe

In his preface to the series, Alan McGillvray rightly maintains that Cunninghame Graham’s work as a writer has often been obscured by his larger-than-life reputation as a man: ‘the apparent flamboyant persona of “Don Roberto”, the Spanish hidalgo, the Argentine gaucho, the Scottish laird, the...

In The Zone

March 3, 2012
by Colin Waters

A dark room where your desires are enacted… It’s a cinema, isn’t it? In Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker, however, there is a room that goes beyond what your local multiplex offers; it is a loom of dreams, the place where your wishes solidify. This Aladdin’s lamp is located...

Volume 8 – Issue 1 – New Poetry

March 3, 2012

WHEREVER WE LIVE NOW Elizabeth Rimmer RED SQUIRREL PRESS, £6.99 PP76 ISBN 978-1906700546 Elizabeth Rimmer’s poetry is connected to the earth. Calling herself a ‘poet, gardener and river-watcher’, this Liverpool-born writer likes to describe ephemeral moments in nature. Her poems are like puzzles...

Volume 8 – Issue 1 – Gallimaufry

March 3, 2012
by Lesley McDowell

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?  – SPORT, THE TROUBLES AND ME Teddy Jamieson YELLOW JERSEY, £14.99 PP336 ISBN 978-0224082976 Jamieson weaves together sport and a history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland together to produce an account of sectarianism that, incredibly after all this time and all that has...

Volume 8 – Issue 1 – Classifieds

March 3, 2012

PUBLISHER ADVERTISERS Classified contains a listing of new titles submitted for inclusion by publishers in Scotland. Advertisers in this section are: Argyll Publishing 01369 820 229 argyllpublishing.com Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) 0141 330 5309 asls.org.uk Backpage Press backpagepress.co.uk Birlinn...