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Volume 08 Issue 2 – Scottish Review of Books

Volume 08 Issue 2

The SRB Interview: Kathleen Jamie

June 8, 2012

Kathleen Jamie was born in Renfrewshire in 1962 and brought up in Currie, near Edinburgh. She was a philosophy student at the University of Edinburgh when her first poetry collection Black Spiders was published in 1982.

Volume 8 – Issue 2 – Editorial

June 8, 2012

Is there any meaning in anything?’ Such was the understandable reaction of Rhea Mitchell, the wife of James Leslie Mitchell, who is better known by his pseudonym, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, to her husband’s sudden death in February 1935. Gibbon was just 33 years old when he died of peritonitis. Writing...

SRB Diary: No Time to Lose: A Glasgow Diary

June 8, 2012
by Ronald Frame

THE END. That’s the last of a trio of novel dramatisations completed for BBC Radio 4. The author of the novels? Georges Simenon. If you must adapt another writer’s work, then why not the very best? For me, Simenon is The Master. I’ve read dozens, scores, of his novels. Ideally they should be consumed...

From Scenes Like These

June 8, 2012
by Christopher Harvie

80% of kids from Scottish technical colleges not even up to motor maintenance’. This came after a programme of PFI school/college building had  saddled local authorities with terrific debt and dodgy buildings, often, as in Earlston or Duns, duplicating recent construction that’s now lying derelict....

Lost in Translation

June 8, 2012
by Allan Cameron

Translations are like women: when they’re beautiful, they’re not faithful, and when they’re faithful, they’re not beautiful,’ wrote Carl Bertrand in the introduction to his late nineteenth-century French translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy.

You Couldn’t Make it up

June 8, 2012
by Joseph Farrell

A conventional work of theatre begins, if it is really old-fashioned, when the curtain goes up or, in a more avant-garde piece, when the actors dawdle on to the stage, but it is more difficult to establish exactly what point marks the opening of The Enquirer. It might be when the intending audience...

Afgans in Oban

June 8, 2012
by Brian Morton

On the locomotives now, Simon had the night roads all up in his mind. He too could close his eyes and divine exactly where he was throughout these blinded lands . . .’ This is a young railwayman, learning his trade in the early 1970s, when ‘the railways’ – along with ‘coal’ and ‘steel’...

Kay’s Portraits

June 8, 2012
by Todd McEwen

A few years back, the social critic Judith Williamson wrote a despairing essay in which she described how it was becoming possible for young girls to exist in a parallel world, a non-world made entirely of pop music, dreams about hair and sexual fantasy. That was before celebrity culture and the web...

Preaching Nationalism

June 8, 2012
by Harry Reid

The rapid rise of the SNP to the status of a respected and popular party of government from its previous eccentric fringe status is remarkable, not only in the political sense but also as a social and cultural phenomenon. The engaging memoir of James Halliday, a veteran SNP activist and office bearer...

A Low, Dishonest Decade

June 9, 2012
by David Torrance

I was born in 1977, between the renewal of the Lib-Lab Pact and the death of Elvis Presley. My mother certainly remembers the latter event, for she was still in hospital – Edinburgh’s now demolished Elsie Inglis – recovering from having delivered my twin brother and I. It is, on reflection, curious...

“Black Angus” At 70

June 9, 2012
by Peter MacKay

In the approach to his 70th birthday, Aonghas MacNeacail might be forgiven for pausing to take stock. But the poet known as Aonghas Dubh – ‘Black Angus’ – is still a relentless force of nature, despite the silvering of his distinctive beard and shaggy mane. The next few months will herald a...

Volume 8 – Issue 2 – New Poems

June 9, 2012
by Aonghas MacNeacail

TIMBER/TIMBRE it’s not the squeal a chanter makes but how your tapping fingers turn that thread of sound into a melody DEFENCE so give the boy who volunteers his uniform and tell him he’s defender of the free and ask the mother to believe that cloth setting him in a marching cloud will parent him don’t...

Paradise Relived

June 9, 2012
by Harry McGrath

My great-grandfather’s name was Thomas Dunn. When Celtic became ‘Celtic Football and Athletic Company Limited’ in 1897, he took shares in it. Dunn did not have many years to enjoy his new investment. He died in 1903. Thirty years later his daughter Margaret Dunn asked what happened to his shares....

Shopping For Borges

June 9, 2012
by Stephen Phelan

I moved to Buenos Aires the weekend before the 30th anniversary of the first day of the Falklands War. I knew enough not to call it that in Argentina, where those islands are known as Las Malvinas. To refer to them by their British name is a political statement if deliberate, and a dead giveaway if...

Volume 8 – Issue 2 – Gallimaufry

June 9, 2012
by Theresa Munoz

UPSIDE DOWN HEART Graham Fulton, Illlustrations by Becky Bolton CONTROLLED EXPLOSION PRESS: £6 Brimming with desire and insecurity, this is a sequence of twenty-two poems about sex. The title refers to origin of the heart shape as an imitation of a woman’s upside-down buttocks. But this illustrated...