Issue No 41 15—28 May1987
John Hannah in Brond
3 Anne Bancroft
Now starring in the film 84 Charing Cross Road the actress talks to Allan Hunter.
Nigel Billen talks to Frederic Lindsay. author. and John Hannah. star, ofthe new thriller series.
5 Mayfest Special
Ten pages of Mayfest: daily diary of events, food. drink, map and venue
information. 15 Listings Full guide to events this fortnight. Art 41 Music 33 Dance 31 Open 14 Film 15 Sport 23 Kids 24 Theatre 29
47 Backﬁst Book Special
A classic tale of publishing Nightlife and Clubs Guide plus Coming Soon section.
Publisher Robin Hodge.
Editors Nigel Billen. Sarah Hemming. Associate Editor Allan Hunter.
Design Simon Esterson. Advertising Robin Hodge. Sheila MacLean.Accounts Georgette Renwick. Richard Gray. Typesetting Jo Kennedy and Hewer Text. Production Editor Paul Keir. Production Assistant Andrew, Art Alice Bain. Books Alan Taylor. Classical Music Carol Main. Dance Alice Bain. Film Allan Hunter. Trevor Johnston. Folk/Jazz Norman Chalmers. Kids Sally Kinnes. Open Nigel Billen. Rock (Edinburgh) Alastair Mabbott. Rock (Glasgow) John Williamson. Listen! Alastair Mabbott . John Williamson. Sport Kenny Mathieson. Theatre Sarah Hemming. Camera Edinburgh Make-up Services. Cover: John Hannah. Cover Design Nigel Billen and Paul Keir.
Published by The List Ltd. 14 High Street. Edinburgh. 5581191.
£15 per year. £8 for 6 months, payable to The List Ltd.
Ness Raison on the house that Jack wants to build.
‘There are literally thousands of people who would like to live in Central Edinburgh. but this is the
last available plot of land of any size,‘
says Edinburgh Discrict councillor Richard Kerley.
The £4.7 million Pleasance development made possible by a special covenant scheme enabling the council to borrow more than central government allocates
provide 125 much-neededhomes. PrOJects such as this one in
Edinburgh have not become scarce just because of the lack of available sites. In Edinburgh the council faces the two-fold problem of finding land and money. A report commissioned in 1985 by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) reveals that the number of new council houses built by Scottish local authorities has fallen steadily from over 28,000 in 1970 to approximately 1800 and estimates that 371 million pounds needs to be invested every year to provide a modest ten to twelve thousand houses.
With this evident need for council housing. it is all the more important then that the houses that are built do not repeat the concrete prefab disaster of the Sixties and Seventies. One welcome idea is that of involving tenants in the design and building process.
One such development is taking place at Dalmarnock in Glasgow. Here thirteen prospective tenants have been meeting with architect Les Dawson over the past seven months to discuss Scottish Special Housing Association’s development of 39 homes. Costing£l,127,()00, the scheme will incorporate 16 family homes. 13 amenity houses for the elderly and four for disabled people.
At the Bingham Estate near Niddrie in Edinburgh. involvement is even greater with a strong Tenants‘ Group, an Information Worker (Jean Quinn) to co-ordinate between the tenants and the council, and a sympathetic Housing Co-ordinator (Gail Donoher) for Bingham from the Council.
Tenants and council meet once a month. With architects Willy Peden and Andy Pierson, the tenants have visited other new housing estates for ideas and instructed the architects as to their choice of fuel, colour scheme, number of bedrooms and types of kitchen and bathroom fittings to be used for their homes. They can watch the development of their new homes from the windows of their old drab concrete Orlit-Bison houses built after the war. These are dark with damp patches inside and, with no insulation and only coal fires. are difficult and expensive to heat. One tenant described life there as ‘like living in ice-boxes.‘ Originally the council embarked on a scheme to
improve conditions, but on discovering cracked concrete ﬂoor slabs in some of the houses, decided to demolish them all and rebuild 250
houses in this £6 million scheme. The scheme. the largest contract in Scotland. is due to be completed by 1989.
Robert Dawson Scott explores community spirit. This word community. as in community arts. community events. community education and so on. What does it mean? It clearly doesn’t mean ‘a body of people organized into a political. municipal or social unity‘ (QED) otherwise I‘d be in one and I know I’m not because no one every tries to face-paint me or involve me in a multi-media oral history performance project followed by a disco in the community centre — oops. there it is again.
No doubt the Edinburgh District Council will be whining about the Festival‘s community programme in a few weeks’ time. In the meantime it is Mayfest whose bleeding heartfelt commitment to the community includes such accessible events as electronic opera, ballet with musical aerosols, a one-woman play about trans-sexualism, and Educating Rita. Down at the Kinning Park Neighbourhood Centre. just off Paisley Road, they‘re not too impressed with Educating Rita after only twelve folk turned up. In fact audiences so far for their extensive programme have been 12, 8, 0, 12 and 8. Wheh you finally get to the old red sandstone school building it’s not hard to see why. It‘s in the middle of a grubby patch ofwaste ground surrounded by the leavings of urban decay. The windows are heavily barred and the front entrance is barricaded over. Only the Mayfest banner, fluttering against the wire netting which used to surround the playground, persuades you to persevere. When you finally push your way through the rusty gate down one side you find yourself in a giant urinal - stone floor, tiled walls and dark.
What they really mean by community is poor people. Community art is art for poor people. Community centres are where poor people go when they can’t go to the pub. Mayfest’s community programme is the poor relation. It gets 10% ofthe local budget; not enough, according to Grace Grant, poor people organiser. Admission charges for most of the events in Mayfest at ppor people venues are 50p (25p concessions) but you get to see whatever it is in the worst possible conditions; no blackout, but no lights; no stage, but no raked seating; and at South Camtyne Tenants’ Hall, the evocative aroma of peas in a poke wafting through the hall from the kitchen.
It is thoroughly desirable to make provision for those who want it. At Kinning Park, the Mayfest organisers and the lads from Alien ' Arts, Bashi and Frank, have moved mountains to create a workable studio theatre. Other places get involved if thev feel like it. Grace
Grant says categorically ‘It’s not part of my job to persuade them.‘ Two things still worry me. The first is that there‘s a stench of pious, patronising middle-class do-goodery attached to it. The second is that we are now. even as we appear to be democratising it, enshrining the status quo ofone art for the rich and another for the poor.
There is hope and its comes in the form ofTony Roper‘s new play The Steamie. It is not my business to review theatre in this organ but at the performance in the South Carntyne Tenants‘ Hall last Saturday night, in the middle of a pretty dismal housing scheme. something very special was happening. It involved the dignifying, the celebration ofthe lives and experiences of the people watching it and of the very language that they speak. It was not about them or even especially relevant — dreadful word— to them. But then, in the words of Glen Walford who runs the Liverpool Everyman Theatre, ‘If you live in a tower block all day the last thing you want to see if you do go out for the evening is a bunch of people who don’t live in a tower block telling you how bloody awful it is to live in a tower block.’ It worked so hard at doing these important life-enhancing things because it went back to first principles (not consciously, I don‘t suppose. but it did just the same) and was A Good Night Out. And I venture to suggest it will have the same effect wherever it plays
PEARLS BEFORE SWINE
Mao had his little Red Book, Kim Il Sung‘s more prolific than Barbara Cartland so why shouldn‘t the greatest Leaderene in world history, the ‘Great Housekeeper’ have her pearls of wisdom carved in tablets of stone? MacDonald Daly and Alexander George thought so too and here’s a top ten taster from their little blue book Margaret Thatcher in her Own Words (Penguin £2.50).
No 1. Dennis does like a bit of glitter.
No 2. I go for agreement, agreement for the things I want to do.
No 3. I am painted as the greatest little dictator, which is ridiculous- you always take some consultations.
No 4. (On the Toxteth riots in July 1981) Oh, those poor shopkeepers.
No 5. I am only too delighted to do everything we can to make like difficult for such things as hippie convoys.
No 6. Oh, I have got lots, lots of human weaknesses, who hasn’t?
No 7. Pennies do not come from Heaven. They have to be earned here on earth.
No 8. I don‘t believe people who go on strike in this country have a legitimate cause.
No 9. I probably care more about the future of the coal industry than many Labour MPs.
No 10. In other words, I want to get totally rid of class distinction. As someone put it in the papers this morning: Marks and Spencer have triumphed over Karl Marx and Engels.
2The List 15—28 May