in his cheek. He is at his most pointed and pertinent when juxtaposing disparate and seemingly unrelated incidents as in his MacCaigish Edinburgh poem ‘Post Festival‘ where a Bible-waving fanatic predicts Armageddon and a newspaper vendor offers the
‘. . . Late Late Final/to the last despondent clowns/on their way to Waverley Station/in the perennial rain.‘ It‘s not a pretty picture. but it‘s unpretentious. puissant poetry. (Clive Yellowjohn)
o The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper Blake Morrison (Chatto and Windus £4.95) The long rousing title poem won Blake Morrison the 1985 Dylan Thomas Memorial Award: others in this his second collection are equally deserving of bouquets. Whatever their topical content — the US bombing of Libya or the Chernobyl disaster. for example —- the style is fluent and reveals. beyond the surface content. a profound. personal perspective. Morrison lays bare the motivation behind eccentricity. domesticity. and eomapanionship and in ‘Him‘. in particular. probes the thoughts ofa man observing schoolgirls. waiting for an opportunity to attack:
Something has broken from the front of his mind
leaving just the back of it. a daubed cave
of hunters and hunted
where no one but these girls can be allowed.
So he waits for them, leggy like deer
Allan Hunter reports back on Cannes’ fifty-seven varieties.
Cannes has always seemed the most irresistibly schizophrenic of international film festivals. On the
one hand it exists to honour excellence and innovation in the greatest artistic medium of the century. On the other hand it serves as a marketplace where one can
in their ankle socks.
load with innocence he takes for the lack of it.
full of themselves. full of their mums and dads.
0 Beginning the Avocado Gillian Allnut (Virago £3.50) Gilliam Allnut‘s heart is ‘an avocado stone in a pot ofearth‘ and her poems are the key to what this means. expressing both the stages of growth of the poet and her poems. Her subjects are diverse. from troubled South Africa to agaraphobia. Hiroshima to metaphysics. and veer from the insightful to the disengaging. But whether or not we relate to her content. Allnut‘s poetic prowess is patent. Often eshewing punctuation. she demands to be read slowly and with care. Though predominately a free verser she also experiments. delightfully. with rigid forms like haiku. (Paola Trimarco)
O Partlnglime Hall James Fenton and John Fuller (Viking/Salamander £7.50) When a squid. or should that be a squib. is attacked it exudes a lot of inky substance. This reaction is somewhat similar to the merry poetic japes of Fuller and Fenton on discovering parody. They exude empty threats in print of a handsome type but little depth.
They exercise their formidable knowledge ofverse forms by seizing up and throttling themselves with laughter at the names of fellow poets:
Wendy can cope. I know she can.
extract the very last centime from the ancillary rights to some schlock epic. Space Sluts in the Slammer was a favourite among this year‘s cognoscenti.
The 40th anniversary hoopla was a characteristic meeting place of high art and low commerce. The Official Selection included the latest works from Fellini. Woody Allen. Wim Wenders and Jean Luc Godard, whilst stars like Paul Newman. Diane Keaton and Lillian Gish eagerly promoted their new releases. (Yes. even at 93 Miss Gish has a new film to promote.) Meanwhile among the hawkers and peddlars titles like SurfNazis Must Die and I Was A Teenage TV Terrorist vied for attention.
Cannes can be the land of opportunity, of surprise and discovery; the much vaunted masterpiece can turn out to be a turkey and the little, low-budget production like She’s Gotta Have It will quickly become the toast of the town. One of the biggest surprises this year was the recipient of the Palme D‘Or. the festival‘s highest honour. Maurice Pialat‘s Under Satan ’3 Sun, about the conflict
between belief and atheism. was so disparaged by those who had previously seen it that I decided to ignore it. The jeers when it was
Up, periscope.’ And down, divan.’
The exclamation mark also appears to all its known effects in a verbal romp about Mr Pole‘s constituents entitled ‘Poem against Catholics‘ which has the jolly well repeated line: ‘God we hate Catholics and their Catholic God.‘ The joint ‘joke‘ about Paul Muldoon and Edna Longley (‘Chlorine Gardens. Belfast‘) was lost on me. The realisation that they might be attempting a ‘go‘ at Edwin Morgan in ‘From the Aztec‘ simply made me appreciate the difference between humour and ham. The title piece is a ‘film script‘ ofdeep banality in lines involving ‘Lolly Schruijker‘ and ‘Mr Mountgragechurch McDiarmid.‘ Swift it is not. but it is all immediater forgettable. (Hayden Murphy)
INTERNATIONAL WRITERS WEEKEND
All events are in the Queen's Hall, Clerk Street, Edinburgh, 031 225 3722. Individual tickets for events are £1 (50p) but a two-day ticket to all events is available for £4.50 (£2 conc). Tickets from the Queen’s Hall, the Central Library, and the Usher Hall box office.
o Society’s Besponsibilityto Literature 2—3pm. Stephen Vizinczey. celebrated Hungarian author of In Praise of Older Women whose An Innocent Millionaire is currently
declared best film are a testimony to the mutual feeling ofshock and the vociferousness of Cannes‘ audiences.
Much more predictable and welcome was Marcello Mastroianni‘s Best Actor prize for Black Eyes. A perfectly-pitched. crisply judged adaptation of a Chekov short story. the film features a performance of rare warmth, grace and comic dexterity from Mastroianni and must rate as the most pleasurable ‘heavyweight‘ of the Festival. Barbara Hershey. who has enjoyed a spectacular run of recent successes. was named Best Actress for her depiction of obsessive mother-love in Andrei Konchalovsky‘s ultimately unconvicing Shy People. The Brilliant Prick Up Your Ears also won a prize for artistic contribution.
Prick Up Your Ears led a healthy crop of British contenders that included Peter Greenaway’s rather indifferent Belly ofan Architect. Alan Clarke‘s coarse. offensive and frequently funny Rita, Sue and Bob T00 and the absolutely delightful Wish You Were Here which marks the directorial debut of David Leland. recently scriptwriter of Mona Lisa and Personal Services.
Set in a 19505‘ seaside resort Wish You Were Here explores the world of
being filmed by the Merchant-Ivory team gives this lecture. The event is chaired by the Editor of the Glasgow Herald. Arnold Kemp.
O Fringe Event In the cafe.3. 15pm. Four years on from the 1983 Feminist Writer‘s Conference which produced a collection of papers now being published by Hutchinson under the title In Other Words. This is a forum for discussion for women which looks at the progress made since then.
0 From Print to Film 4—5pm. Barry Hines whose novel A Kestrelfor Knai'e was memorably filmed by Ken Loach. talks about the difficulties ofadapting it for film.
0 Cabaret 7.3(l—lllpm. Liz Lochhead introduces Alasdair Gray. Brian McCabe. Ben ()kri. Gerald Mangan. Hunter Steele and Kathleen Jamie. who will read from their works.
0 Small Magazines 2—3pm. Editor of the Edinburgh Review Peter Kravitz chairs an investigation into the state of literary journalism in Scotland.
0 Open House (New Writing Competition) 4—5.3(lpm. Winners of free for all Writers Weekend competition read their pieces.
0 Cabaret 7.3(l—lllpm. Owen Dudley Edwards. the discriminating‘s Terry Wogan and the intellectual‘s Frank Delaney. presents literary entertainment from Jim Kelman. Ronald Frame. Joan Lingard. Bernard MacLaverty. Norman MacCaig and Valerie Gillies.
a restless. foul-mouthed teenager as she attempts to cope with boredom. her own sexuality and the stiﬂing hypocrisies ofher elders. Emily Lloyd gives the kind of accomplished. charismatic performance that should guarantee her international stardom and. ifit‘s not too presumptuous. even an Oscar nomination.
Other Festival hits that deserve to be seen in Britain include John Sayles Matewan. a sober account of union struggle amidst the coalfields of 19205‘ America. One would also expect to see the assured and sophisticated Mali drama Brightness and two Canadian first features the engagingly humorous I've Heard the Mermaids Sing and the brutal but strangely tender Un Zoo, La Nuit.
It‘s impossible to sum up two weeks in two columns but Cannes has lost none of its ability to dazzle or its significance in the film calendar. There is simply nothing else quite like it. No other events where it is possible to see so many films or encounter the like of Elizabeth Taylor. Jon Voight. Bo Derek. Mel Gibson, Norman Mailer. Jonathan Demme, David Puttnam and Lillian Gish. And that was probably just on the first day. I can think of few better ways to spend two weeks in another town. (Allan Hunter)
“The List 29 May— 11 June