llushl .‘yfovc very ' quietly ’— try not to stepon a twig. or you‘ll frighten ‘ them away. [.ook — can you see'.’ On the second branch ofthat oak that I’m lying beneath. on this still. warm midsummer night. a mother owl feeding four little owlets (is that right'.’) — there! See them'.’ ’l‘hey're quite big already — must be a few weeks old. ldon't know very much about owls. actually — and what I do know I suspect comes from A. A. Milne. But isn't that the most amazing thing you've ever seen‘.’ I’ve been lying here for ages. and they haven‘t noticed me. Aren't they simply beautiful? Yes.you can watch with me — but keep quiet. Beats television'.’ I tell you — it heats real life altogether!
Because this isn‘t the only extraordinary thing I've seen this week. Last night. I was walking home across Arthur's Seat. ()r was it Rannoch Moor‘.’ At any rate. I’d been eating (‘hinese food. I reached the little rise before the familiar flat meadow — and there. before my eyes. was a lake. a lochan. a stretch of unfordablc water with no apparent way around or across. There has never been water in that place - so how to get home‘.’ enlightenment arrived in the form of a line of motor cars. nose to tail. which swept across my overnight mere without so much as change of gear. revealling the depth of water to be less than a wheelbase. And so. of course. when I looked down. I was wearing wellingtons. the journey continued. [Intil the phone rang. . .
Is it disappointing to discover that I‘m talking about dream-owls and dream-tarns'.’ I don‘t think so. Involuntary sleight-of-imagination is a kind of reality. if you're lucky enough to remember where your midnight mind has been. The image ofa tree-living feeding family has. for me. become a memory to be savoured and recalled with pleasure. and is as much a part of my life‘s experience as the voluntary but immemorable motorway-trip. Not every memory. mind you. is a happy one. There was the night beside the sea when two colossal. sleek. black.
A midsummer night's dream: Sheena McDonald explores the nature of mind over matter.
l l l l l
long-necked sea-beasts rose. incredibly. from the shallow cove. and flew over my head. towards the village. Kids‘ stuff? I was certainly possessed by a childish terror of being unable to cope. to prevent. to influence. (‘lear proof of an immature mind. snortthe scientistsand mathematicians. who find mystery enough in the physical. the chemical. the atomical. lt maybe so. I humbly submit. and worry more that I do too little to maintain the ancient traditional sites of mystery. I did go to Stonehenge -- once. and only once. It was more than a decade ago. and already the great stone circle was bound and held by barbed wire. and men and dogs and torches kept the teepee-dwellcrs and seasonal revellers well at bay. Only the Druids were permitted to breach the defences. What earns them their M()l)or Home Office or whatever-it-is accreditation. I know not. I can only tell you what I saw. The Druids arrived in an air-conditioned coach. 'lihe crowd parted reverentially to watch them file through. For the most part. they wore plirnsolls and glasses. 'l‘heir ritual was plausibly interminable and predictably uninvolving. We strained through the wire and the gloom to glimpse their shuffles and catch their intonations. The sun did not rise that morning. At (to. l l . or whatever the appointed moment of revelation was. we perceived that the sky would radiate no more that day than a spectrum of grey.
There are still magic places. which have not been tamed for tourists. or colonised by men and wire. You and 1 know where they are and will protect them when the threat arrives. I hope. But. as every cabinned writer and confined thinker knows. the greatest. most revlatory and most real magic is cribbed within the cranium. and l. for one. need no Freud to tell me that my birds and beasts and travellings by night are symptoms of a depraved and deprived libido. For all I know. they are a foresight of a time to come. though I may have to cross the final dark tarn to see them again.
So be it. lfeternity is watching a pair ofowls feed their young in a great high tree. it‘s not so bad to be good!
ANN-MARIE DI MAMBRO
Atthe Traverse Theatre during the recent ‘Scottish Accents‘ season. asmall lady with huge glasses could be seen sitting in the front row. giggling away delightedly asthe audience around hertellabout laughing at herplay ‘Sheila‘. This was Ann-Marie Di Mambro. a part-time lecturer at Langside College. who started writing when she was expecting herthird child and since then has been unstoppable-listing among herstage credits ‘Sheila'. ‘Hocus Pocus‘. ‘Dixon‘s Has Blasted‘. ‘Visible Differences‘ and the wonderfullyfunny 'Joe'.
Scottish Television producer Robert Love saw ‘Hocus Pocus‘ and liked it so muchthathe commissioned Di Mambro to writea playlor Dramarama. the children‘s tv drama series. The result. ‘Brainwaves‘. Di Mambro's first tv play. won heran award. and she was commissioned again to write a second play lorthe series. 'Brainwaves' was about epilepsy. and the new play. ‘Boom foane More' also tackles a tough subject — racism. It is a subjectthat Di Mambro feels is of pressing importancefor teenagers. and also an issuethatshe herselfis perhaps‘aweebit extra-sensitive about“. being otltalian background. Herplaytellsthe story ofa boy caught between his new Asianfoster-brother and a local racist ruffian. Writing about the issue for teenagers has its own problems however: One of the difficulties is that adults appreciate what‘s wrong withthe characters. whereasthe kids might identify with them.‘ points outDi Mambro.
Hernexttelevision projectwill be lorBBC and fora ratherotderaudience. 'I love writing lortelevision — it‘s so exciting because you‘ve got this chanceto tell a story with pictures. I‘d hate to concentrate on writing forone mediumnto the exclusion of the other. though. lthinkthey benefit so much from an understanding ofhowthe otherworks.‘
At present she is not working on any stage plays. though she has plenty of ideas in mind. ‘l‘m opento suggestion! I‘ve constantly gotthings brewing for stage.‘
She would also be open to suggestion for projects fora biggerstage thanthe studios forwhich she has mostly written. ‘Dixon‘s Has Blasted had a cast of seventeen. lwould loveto do something really big
again. I think it‘s probably true ola lot otScottish writers that they write mostlytorstudio audiences — so that the idea of a big stage becomes almost lrightening. But there are so many big themesto be tackled.‘ (Sarah Hemming) ‘Room ForOne More‘ is
broadcaston Scottish Television on Mon 27 June 1 at 4.45pm. See TV Listings.
The Traverse Theatre will
be touring ‘Sheila‘ round Scotland nextSpring.
E Edinburgh‘sracistswould bewelladvisedtokeep
: clearolDrummond High
‘ School on Friday the 24th of June. Forthere. delivering the annualDrummond
Lecture. will be longtime
scourge of racism. Gus Jon".
GusJohn. onetime Dominican Friar. almost GrenadianAmbassadorto London and a man of overpowering intellect. is
currently an Assistant
Education Officer with the soonto disappearlnner London Education Authority.
He paid his own way through education in Grenada before comingto Britain in 1965to undertake further study. A lormerVice Principal of Community Education in Manchester. he is currentlythe Chairman otthe ManchesterBlack Parents Group and is. or wasdepending on your viewpoint. a member otthe MacDonald Inquiry intothe murderoflqbalAhmed Ullah at Burnage High School in Manchesterin September1986.
Since Maythis year. when itbecame clearthat ManchesterCity Council was not goingto publishthe MacDonald Report. ostensibly because it Iibelled various people. the lourmembers ottheteam have been doingtheir utmostto pressurisethe council to reverse their decision. Sadly, the report. which has been extensively leaked. has been seized upon bythe rightwing and thetabloid press as an exposition otthe
uselessness otanti racist policiesin aneducational
‘Room For DneFd—ore': Ann-Marie Di Mambro
context. John deniesthis. He claims that the findings of
2 The List 2-1 June — 7 July 1988
the report have been totally distorted and that whilst it is true thatthe report slams what they term ‘Moral and symbolic anti racism'. their conclusion is that a proper anti racist policy. one which was drawn up by all those concerned. the students. parents. teachers and other staff. would have had a better than average chance of eliminatingthe atmosphere in which Ahmed was murdered.
In the Drummond Lecture he will be spelling outwhy moral anti racism fails and whatthe alternative is. One thing is certain. he won‘tbe putting any punches. noris he likely to be polite to any well intentioned liberals who attend in the hope of
The Lecture. which is open tothe public. is at1.30pm. Friday 24 June. in Drummond Community High School. Cochrane Terrace. Edinburgh.
Charles Sturridge bounds around the Howard Hotel with the gaitand demeanourol an enthusiastic sixth-former. fresh from a partiucarly well-received school production. ltscarcely seems possible thatthis youthful fellow acted twenty years ago in Lindsay Anderson‘s iconoclastic landmark ‘lf‘ and. asa director. has a rosterof distinguished credits on
TV (Brideshead Revisited). film (the best segmental Aria) and stage (The Seagull—from his own translation of course). Now. with Brideshead producer DerekGrangerhe has returned to the literary pearls of Evelyn Waugh with a film version of A Handful OfDust