Issue No 44 26 June —9 July 1987
Screenprint by Dominic Snyder.
American performance artist.
Robert Dawson Scott gets down to earth with the larger-than-life naturalist.
Glasgow Jazz Festival
Kenny Mathieson introduces Glasgow’s Jazz Jamboree. With complete Daily Diary.
Listings Full guide to events this fortnight. Art 4] Media 40 Cabaret 20 Music 2‘) Dance 22 Open 2-1 Film 1 I Sport 1‘) Kids 23 Theatre 20
Books. Nightlife and Clubs (iuide Coming Soon plus the (ireasy Cafes (iuide.
Publisher Robin Hodge.
Editors Nigel Billcn. Sarah l lemming. Associate Editor Allan Hunter.
Design Simon listerson. Advertising Robin Hodge. Sheila Macl .ean.Accounts (icorgettc Renwick. Richard (iray. Typesetting .Io Kennedy and Hewer'l‘cxt. Production Editor Paul Keir. Production Assistant A ndrew Young. Art Alice Bain. DOORS .- .lan Taylor. Classical MusicCarol 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 I lemming. Camera Edinburgh Make-up Services. Cover: Screenprint by Dominic Snyder. Cover Design Paul Keir.
Published by The List Ltd. 14 l Iigh Street. Edinburgh. 5581191.
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HUTCHESON TOWN IS FALLING DOWN
The Gorbals story continues. Ness Raison raises two cheers for the razing to the ground of Hutcheson Town‘s infamous ‘E‘ Block.
Monday 22 June brought the demolition ofthe first block of the Hutcheson Town ‘E‘ in (ilasgow‘s Gorbals. Originally the Hutcheson scheme for the (iorbals was intended to create a city ofthe future. with a health centre. parklands. schools and community centres. But. for the last six years Hutcheson ‘E' has stood derelict and empty. a monument to the failure ofthe (‘iorbals experiment.
A design fundamentally unsuitable for this country. condensation was the insuperable problem that lead to the dramatic decision to bring down Ilutcheson ‘E‘. While successful in the South of France and Algeria the formula of prefabricated. concrete slabs for walls. ﬂoors and ceilings. with internal insulation. was not compatible with Scotland‘s rainy climate. Bill Sharkey a life long resident of the (Viorbals who moved into Hutcheson ‘E‘ when it opened in 196‘) remembers that it was damp from the start. He was assured ‘That's just newness. It takes a while for things to settle and dry out.‘
By the second year conditions had grown worse. and tenants were forced to live with mould on the walls. damp curtains and furniture. and an unpleasant smell permeating the houses and lingering in their clothes when they went out. Sharkey tells how many residents were reluctant to complain. embarrassed that it was somehow their fault: 'There were even wee beasties and creepy crawlies. People didn‘t want to tell anybody they had creepy crawlies.‘ ()fficials were happy to reinforce the idea that it was the the tenants‘ fault. and gave such ludicrous advice as ‘open the windows and turn on the heating‘.
‘When I showed the official at room. he asked who slept there.‘ a resident told the Sunday Mail in November 1975. ‘I told him the children. and he said the heavy breathing would cause the dampness.‘
Most distressing of all for the tenants was the effect on their health. Many could not work through flus and colds while others grew seriously ill. ‘lt must have killed a lot of people.‘ comments Sharkey. ‘l‘m not joking. People with bronchitis and the elderly.‘ Having to live in such discomfort and danger drove tenants. aided by local housing associations and Lauriston Information Centre. to set up a campaign to persuade the District Council that the dampness was caused by structural defects rather than tenants' living habits. Through a series of rent strikes. lobbying of the District Council. and public meetings. (includinga rally of 1000 people at the Citizens' Theatre with
1? . i 4,.
‘5‘ Block comes down.
locals staging a battle between Mr Fungus. Mr Anti-Dampness and a five-man Dampness Monster). the Anti Dampness Campaign resulted in an unhurried. but finally complete. rehousing ofthe tenants: a success story setting a precedent for other community action.
But the success stops there. for the site will not be replaced with council housing. or even private housing. The construction compar y Lafferty bought the land from the council for six million pounds — the council placating the tenants' association by promising to spend the money on repairs within the remainder ofthe Ciorbals. Indeed a new roof is being fitted onto the Hutcheson ‘(" Scheme in Queen Elizabeth Square. a concrete high rise slab on stilts designed by architect Sir Basil Spence. Lafferty's intend to commercially develop the land. building a new shopping and sports complex. But Sharkey. along with many residents. is scornful of the scheme feeling that it ignores the real needs ofthe remaining locals: ‘ 1 his is hardly going to improve our lot.‘
Once a thriving community set apart from the rest of Glasgow by the river. (‘no (iorbals person ever said they were city centre‘). the Gorbals is now considered central. Fast becoming wine bar land for lawyers. the atmosphere is a long way from the original community spirit ofthe immigrant Jews. Poles. Irish and Scots from the Highlands. Sharkey recalls the Mass where 19.000 Irish Catholics. many illiterate. gathered to hear the local news. Now. he says only the Irish-Catholics are left. But it is not just that the (iorbals is changing. rather it is being forced to diminish; the loss of2500 inhabitants from Hutcheson has resulted in the closure of two primary schools, one secondary school. many shops and the library. Bill Sharkey feels strongly for the hometown that no one wants to save: 'The material is all there ifsomeone wants to write a book about it. The way they treated the (iorbals is a disgrace. an absolute disgrace‘.
Laurieston Information Centre is running a ‘(iolden Brick 'scheme to raise the £200, ()00 needed to build a new yoth communin centre in the (iorbals.
( 'onrributors can have their name engraved on a brick. Enquiries: [.aurieston Information Centre. (iorbals. Glasgow. Tel 041 4293254.
OPERA’S NEW HOME Carol Main reports on Scottish Opera’s decision to play at the Edinburgh Playhouse.
As its summer Edinburgh week reacheas an end. Scottish ()pera reveals that next season it will forsake the King‘s for the much larger Playhouse. With a season Managing Director Richard Mantle describes as ‘very exciting and one of the most popular. but not without its interest.’ Scottish ()pera-goers in the East of Scotland can see Aida. Lqu. La Boheme. ( 'osi/en ’I'uite. but not Death In Venice. which stays at home in (ilasgow. If your memories of the Playhouse are of cavernous tattiness. its 3000 seats and. more particularly your seat. showing signs ofdamagc. then worry no more. Richard Mantle assures us ‘the actual facility for the audience will be much improved on the last time they came‘. while Gerry Tait of Playhouse owners Apollo Leisure not surprisingly endorses this by saying ‘We have spent a considerable amount of money. a lot ofit admittedly just to get the licence. We've had new fire alarm systems and we‘ve started on the seats and put carpeting down in the stalls.‘ But what about Edinburgh Festival Director Frank Dunlop's plans for more ambitious development. including a huge glass structure built out front'.’ ‘It‘s a little bit pie-in-the-sky.‘ says Tait. “something that Frank Dunlop and Apollo’s Managing Director are working on — and they're keeping us in the dark. Plans are for the Festival to inject money into the theatre so as to extend the stage to the same size as Covent Garden. '
Reasoning behind Scottish Opera‘s move is explained as being financial. A box office potential of more than 3000 is almost double that of the King‘s. but as Scottish ()pera usually play to less than capacity audiences at the Kings at the moment (apart from very popular draws like the current Silver Jubilee production of Madam Butterfly). it seems a rather optimistic justification. Does it perhaps really mean that Scottish Opera have now given up all hope of there ever being a purpose-built opera house in Edinburgh. but by going to the Playhouse can get the next best thing to it‘.’.
2 The List 26 June — 9 July