Issue No 43 12-25 June 1987
Alan Cummings and Forbes Masson. alias Victor and Barry. Photo by David Williams.
4 Victor and Barry
Forbes Masson and Alan Cummings. who created the infamous Kelvinside thespian duo. talk to Sarah l lemming about their cabaret.
6 Evil Dead ll
Trevor .lohnston reveals the scarey truth.
Georgian State Dancers Lucy Ash meets the dazzling Russian dancers as they return to this
Nuremberg Festival Special Complete daily diary to (ilasgow‘s festival celebrating the culture ofits twin (ierman city.
Full guide to events this fortnight.
Art 33 Media 32 Cabaret 2() Music 23 Dance 21 Open 22 Film 1 1 Sport 3‘)
Kids41 Theatre 18
Books. Nightlife and Clubs Cxuide plus Coming Soon section.
Publisher Robin l lodge.
Editors Nigel Billen. Sarah 1 lemming. Associate Editor Allan Hunter.
Design Simon lislerson. Advertising Robin l lodge. Sheila Mael .ean. Accounts (icorgette Renwick. Richard (iray. Typesetting Jo Kennedy and Hewer'l‘ext. Production Editor Paul Keir. Production Assistant Andrew Young. Art Alice Bain. Books Alan Taylor. Classical Music Carol Main. Dance Alice Bain. Film Allan
l lnnter. Trev or Johnston. Folk/Jazz Norman Chalmers. Kids Sally Kinnes. Open Nigel Bitten. Rock(Edinburgh) Alastair Mabbott. Rock (Glasgow) John Williamson. Listen! Alastair Mabbott. John Williamson. Sport Kenny Mathieson. Theatre Sarah I lemming. Camera lidinburgh Make-up Services. Cover: Alan Cummings and Forsz Masson. Cover Photo David Williams. Coveroesign Nigel Billen and Paul Keir. Published by The List Ltd. 14 l ligh Street. ladinburgh. 5581191.
£ 15 per year. £8 for (i months. payable to The List Ltd.
HOME THOUGHTS Being homeless means more than not having a roof over your head. Ness Raison discovers wider political implications. ‘I would like to request that we stop playing politics with housing.’ So said the Spokeswoman for the (,‘onservative Party. Councillor Daphne Sleigh. at Shelter's challenge to the political parties on 4 June.
Homeless people in South Africa are forced to live far from white towns under bushes or in tents. In Britain they have more choices: they can either sleep under a bush. or stay with friends or in a hostel. While the circumstances are different. both groups are stigmatised by the society they are from. In South Africa people are forced into homelessness through the terror of apartheid. In Britain the economic pressures are more insiduous but real enough for all that.
These are the conclusions I came to after attending three excellent meetings on homelessness in the weeks preceeding the election.
At a conference in Westerhailes on 3(lth May. Jenny Sweet from the African National Congress provided a vivid. passionate ‘glimpse into the lives ofordinary people in South Africa‘ under apartheid — so moving a portrayal was it. that the following speaker began his speech in tears. Sweet has seen a child torn from the breast of its mother. and the police brutally check that she was (as she stated in protest) lactating. This an action made permissible because she had left her pass at home. White man‘s law. When her fellow black women are raped by white men. they are they are told to recompens with a bagofmaize. White man‘s justice. Black men are hung for the same crime against a white woman.
Sweet moved her audience again with the tale of a mother‘s proud
The first show ever to completely sell out at the Glasgow Citizens‘ Theatre before first night, Wildcat Theatre Company‘s phenomenally successful The Steamie looks likely to go down in Scottish theatre legend. Offering a comic, slightly fantastical glimpse into the gossip of hard-pressed working-class women as they labour in an old communal laundry, since it opened it has toured theatres and community venues to packed houses and uniform hilarity.
Writer Tony Roper is more than agreeably surprised, not least as this is his first play. He puts its success down largely to the virtuoso comic cast (including Dorothy Paul, Elaine C. Smith, Katy Murphy and Ida Schuster) and partly to the fact that ‘I wrote it as an actor would have written it, not as a writer would have written it.’ ‘When I look at the audiences they can laugh and they can cry and there's a sort of something in itthat says aren’t people
nineteen year-old son. protesting for the release of Nelson Mandela with members of the African National Congress. He was hanged for treason.
In South Africa to have no roof over your head and nowhere to call home is but a small injustice — if you're black. And yet somehow the injustice is easier to see there than the injustices facing the homeless in our democracy.
Jenny Sweet tells how black people who live too near to white towns are forcibly removed. First the whites attempt to drive them away by cutting off the water supply and bulldozing a building important to the community such as the school.
The denial of these people‘s voice and freedom was. however. curiously echoed in the hustings and mock ballot for homeless people held in the Cowgate Day Centre on 4 .lune. The setting was bizarre and ironic: in the dingy Day Centre about seventy people unable to vote sat in the audience while. at tables in front. Alastair Cameron. Secretary of the local group of YSH. chaired the speeches and a question and answer session with four parliamentary candidates for Edinburgh Central accompanied by a cardboard cut-out of Sir Alex Fletcher. The Conservative member of parliament was ‘unable to accept the invitation‘ -~ or to send anyone else in his place. Perhaps he felt he did not need to waste his time here since these people would not be voting in the election
The extraordinary fact is that out of
a population of half a million in Edinburgh. 7000 are effectively disenfranchised. As Alastair Cameron explained. many homeless people missed being put on the electoral roll in October because at the time they were sleeping rough. staying with friends or were not registered by their landlord. For still other homeless people their polling card lies in a residence they have long since left.
goo to eac ot erwhenthips are down.’ Given that the chips are down for a
While in South Africa. homeless- ness is part of an overt and co-ordinated political policy. in Britain it is nonetheless reasoned an acceptable economic inevitability. So. trucks unload cardboard boxes for those under the Embankment in London to sleep on. and laws do not actively address the problem. The Housing (Homeless Persons) Act of 1977 helps families. the elderly and vulnerable individuals but excludes many single homeless people. as Dr Peter Robson. who Chairs Shelter Scotland. exemplified in his black humoured account of the state of housing in Scotland at the Westerhailes Confrence. People staying with friends or relatives and causing overcrowding are not regarded as homeless he reminded us. before going on to highlight the ignominious phrase. ‘lntentionally homeless‘.
While racism produces homeless- ness in South Africa. homelessness produces its own apartheid in Britain. Carolyn Dougill from Stopover describes two boys who spend all of their money on clothes to avoid being labelled as homeless. and Dr Peter Robson relates suggestions in West Sussex to house people in public conveniences.
The International Year ofShelter for the Homeless has brought attention to the causes of home- lessness within nations. and furthermore. demonstrated how economically the first world has been responsible for much of the home- lessness in the third.
Will Britains' newly elected government take the first step on the road to redeeming this situation and legislate to establish that here at least a home is a basic human right? Homelessness is a political issue, but no one is playing.
Shelter‘s annual conference will be held on l9th June at Clyde Hall. Jamaica Street. Glasgow.
Enquiries: Claire Stevens. 65 Cockburn Street. Edinburgh EH1 1BU. Tel: ()31 226 6347.
great many people in today‘s divided Britain, perhaps Roper has touched on some essential disappearing sense of community and optimism about human nature? ‘If I did, then it's by accident-I didn’t set out to do it. I think one of the Steamie’s strengths is that it doesn't tell people the way they should act. It’s just a night out, and if it does anything else, it’s a bonus.‘
The Steamie may be returning to the stage this autumn. In the meantime, Tony Roper has returned to the acting side of his career, recording John Byrne's Normal Service for BBC Scotland's Play forToday series. At the moment he is resisting any temptation to follow up Steamie with a new play. We had some otters of commissions but I've not said yes to anybody. ldon’t feel like writing anything just yet. Because I’m an actor I want to get the characters first. . . Iwrote Steamie very fast in ten days. It was all in my head and it just came out. I need to wait for that to happen again.’
2 The List 12 — 25 June