A grave Alan Taylor

entertains thoughts of the Grim Reaper, but decides

on more refreshing

entertainment in the end.

It comes to us all. death. Alright. Alright. I know that’s trite but if you‘d had the week I‘ve had the last

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mind are ashes

financial suicide - in the Crypt coffee-house. He wanted to know why I hadn‘t been in touch about a

on Wednesday

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introduction and used words like quotidian. [wanted to puke. Instead I went home and had a drink and thought about how only the young are supposed to die young. Ifit‘s true I‘m in for a knock and a half. Most of my folks have had good Bothamesque innings. My old Uncle Jock must be near his century and he still visits the Antipodes every other year by boat. The last thing on his

he was almost fifty before he married so I don‘t suppose he really counts. My mum died young and everyone says how good she was. I can‘t say because I was young and stupid at the time. She certainly wouldn‘t have allowed two small kids go swimming unsupervised and she would have wondered what her first-born was doing in a bookshop

Tippex thinner. Everyone and his

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. But he waited until

evening drinking

thing on your mind would be the mot juste. [don‘t remember when thoughts ofdeath first struck me but at some point I was pondering a story by Somerset Maugham about a chap who spots Death in the market place and beetles off to Samarra. (No, I‘ve never heard of Samarra either). His master is miffed at the disruption caused to his domestic arrangements and asks Death what he‘s playing at. Death is bemused and pleads innocence. ‘I was not looking for your servant today but I do have an appointment with him tomorrow in Samarra.‘ See what I mean about it coming to us all? Can‘t avoid it. Then, twice. in a matter ofdays I met he who makes moving house

will. He sugared the demand with a smile. I studied his eyes but they were as cold as a poker player‘s and I couldn‘t tell whether he was serving a Stygian subpoena or just touting for business. I promised to get in touch. And I meant it. So I went to hear the Canadian writer Alice Munro in the monstrous David Hume Tower. She read a story I‘d read the day before about a kid who nearly drowns in a pool in a place called Miles City. Montana. When I hear about kids in trouble I want to cry but this one was saved with no thanks to the lifeguard who was snogging with her boyfriend. It made me angry but not half as much as the bearded academic who did the

mistress was there to help launch Ron Butlin‘s first novel which I'm told is about an alcoholic. Ron read an extract which had been carefully chosen to keep gratis consumption down. We decamped to the Oxford which is a pale shadow of its former self now that Willie Ross had gone to that great taproom in the sky. though no doubt he would have approved of the din from a trio of folksingcrs rehearsing. I was there an hour and didn‘t hear them finish a single song. But before it all got intolerable someone told a few Oor Willie stories. Like the one about the pukka QC who inquired after ‘the drink situation‘ and was eventually supplied with a halfoflager.

Encouraged by this he asked for a roll. ‘No rolls'. said Willie emphatically. and gave the same reply to requests for pics and crisps. Finally. the O.('. gambled on a packet of peanuts. Willie was even less amused than Queen Vicky and led the bumptious Rumpole out into the street. He pointed to the pub sign and demanded it be read ‘Oxford Bar‘ said the hungry punter. ‘So where the fuck dae yi get the idea it‘s a restaurant'?‘ asked Willie. Well it made me laugh. and stopped me dandering in the valley of the shadow 0deth between closing and opening times. 'l‘hen Sally wanted to know ifl knew any odd undertakers. I don‘t think I look the sort of person who would know any undertakers. odd or otherwise. but perhaps she knows something I dont't. So I'm off to Samarra incognito for a few days. (Alan Taylor)

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0 Italian Language Classes Dante Alighieri Society. 53 Rowallan Gardens. Glasgow. 01 1 71H 0413341552. Beginners‘ Class on Wednesday Afternoons. vacancies at other levels on Tuesdays. Contact the secretary for details.

0 Glasgow Buddhist Centre 329 Sauchiehall Street. Glasgow G2. 041 333 0524. Wide range of Buddhist and related classes. Mondays, 7.30pm Regulars‘ class; Tuesdays 10.30am Introductory Meditation Class. 6pm Karate Class at the Glasgow School of Art. 7.30pm Double Meditation; Wednesday 1.30pm Study Class; Thursday 10.30am Introductory Meditation Class. 6pm Karate Class at the Glasgow School of Art. 7.30pm Intermediate Class.

0 Centre Stage 14 Orwell Terrace. Edinburgh 031 337 0749. Contemporary Dance Classes with Lyn Denton. Tom Yang. Carolyn Gavin. Raymond Kaye. Beginners Wednesdays 6.30-7.30pm (£1.95). Intermediate 6—7.30pm (£2.50). Tai Chi with Tom Yang. Mondays llam—noon (£2).

0 Open Drama Sessions Drama sessions for local children run by the YWCA Triangle Arts Centre in West Pilton Bank. Edinburgh. 031 332 0877. New

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children welcomed. Thursdays. 6.30-8pm. Free.

0 359 Gallery 233 Cowgate. Edinburgh EH 1 . 031 225 3013. Practical and academic classes in Art. Tuesdays: Drawing and Painting Class. 10am—noon. Art History Workshop. 7.30—9.30pm; Wednesday: Scottish Architecture. llam—noon. Gallery Guides (opportunity to visit with experts ten Edinburgh Galleries). 2.30—3.30pm; Thursday: Artists‘ Life Classes 2.30—4.30pm. Life Drawing and Painting 7.30-9.30pm; Saturday: 369 Art Club (8—12 years) 10.30—noon. Prices from £10—20. concessions for U840. Students. Senior Citizens. Single Parents. etc.

0 Traditional Shiatsu Massage Randolph Centre. 7 Randolph Place. Edinburgh. Organised by The Young Womcns‘ Christian Association of Great Britain. six week courses given by registered practitioner. Patrick Gillon. Details from Merle Davies. 031 225 4379.

e The Garret Mask and Puppet Centre 39b Otago Street. Glasgow G12 811.041339 6185.Phone for details of courses.

0 Drop in tor Fun Glenogle Swimming Centre. Glenogle Road. Edinburgh. 031 667 7211 (Royal Commonwealth Pool).

After—school activities for 5— 12 year olds (any time up to 6pm. Monday to Friday).Creative play sessions. arts and crafts. swimming and fun outdoors.

0 Edinburgh Theosophical Centre 28 Great King Street. Edinburgh. 031—556 5385. Various talks and courses throughout the year. Phone for further details.

0 Glasgow Theosophical Centre Various courses and talks throughout the year including: Tai Chi Ch‘uan courses given by Ronnie Robinson. 041 638 2946; Ilypnotherapy. regular courses given by The National College of I lypnosis and Psychotherapy. details 0282 699378; Reflex Zone Therapy of the Feet. courses by Anne Lett ofthe British School of Reflex Zone Therapy. details041 332 4924; Massage courses. introductory and advanced. given by Ian Holland . details 041 334 5846.

o Homoeopathy Sell ilelp Classes Renfield St Stephen‘s Church Centre. 260 Bath Street. Glasgow. Organised by the Scottish College of Homoeopathy. PO Box 322. Glasgow. G44 6HR. One Day courses from 10am to 4pm. Simple introduction to the subject with everday applications. Next dates. 14 Feb. 14 March. £10 per session.




Be Afraid . . . Be Very Alraid

The List has 10 pairs of tickets to be won lor the new horror film The Fly (5 pairs tor Glasgow Odeon and 5 pairs tor Edinburgh Odeon). Simply answerthe questions below and send in the form to reach us by Thursday 26 February.

1. What kind oi insect doesthe hero in Kalka's Metamorphosis get turned

2. What film was promoted with the slogan ‘In space no one can hear you

First 10 correct entries opened on Thursday 26 February will be sent a palroi Free Tickets plus a List badge.

The List 20 Feb 5 March 47