i Guess — no. go on
Sheena McDonald on the unpredictable, the incompatible and the nature ofstar-crossed love.
What am I?
A clue? Well. it‘s my time of year— the time when I really ﬂourish. come into my magnificent own. No need to scramble for epithets — just stand back and admire. Yeah — walk around me - savour the full experience. Pretty mighty. what? Man. this is one bad sister. . .
Got it? No. no. no— nothing at all
to do with the Edinburgh Festival!
3 (Yet . . . )We‘re talking global here— ; nay. galactic— or. at least.
constellatory. Aha! — you‘re there!
. Yes — it‘s my birthday — which.
zodiacally speaking. means that for one vainglorious moon-to-moon I
i am every woman's magazine's
STA RSIGN OFT} IE MONTH.
And. as you wipe the slime from the
above from your eyeballs. it won‘t take a crystal ball to divine that I
; fancy myself— no. there‘s more - that
I fancy myselfas A LEO. Well. I am ‘a Leo‘. to use the vernacular. Not. you understand. that I take it seriously. No. no. Date ofbirth‘sone thing. but time of birth and rising wotsits and cusps — no. the detail of it passes me by. and life is definitely now too short to find time to scan the daily prognostications in the yellow
But once in a while. I confess. I am drawn by the childish magic of determinism. and fancy myself indeed characterised to a greater or lesser degree by the consequence of my parents' autumnal coming together. (So to speak . . .) Come to think of it. why isn‘t o'ne‘s astral character defined by the moment of conception. rather than the less predictable moment ofarrival? Perhaps that‘s where the rising wotsits come in. I digress - haven‘t
you ever — be honest — said — Yes.
that‘s me — I am like that — how astonishing — haven’t you? After all. look at old Leo: the King ofthe Zodiac. the leader. the director. the
star; big-hearted. big-headed (no. literally—thank-youl);ambitious.
firm-willed. huge vitality — I mean. you could be drawing me from life!
' What‘s this? ‘Vain. arrogant. prone to flattery?‘ Well. there‘s always a detailortwothatvitiatesthe perfect analytical system. The point is made
— it‘s uncanny how accurate blarney can be . . .
And it was in this sausage-headed frame of mind that I tenderly surveyed the starry profile of a new
i swain. a little while ago. Well. you do — don‘t you? Just as you leaf
. through these LOVE AND YOUR
: STAR-SIGN manuals in bookshops
to find your ideal mate — wouldn‘t dream of actually buying one. of
. course. but it's good fora laugh —
yes. yes. . . lgave it up whenl discovered that Leos are too bossy and lazy to find compatability with anyone — but on this occasion still nurtured hopes that a lion might mate with a — well. guess! ‘Above all'
' ran the text ‘devastatingly sexy — the - he-man ofthe zodiac‘. lpurred. It
might not seem likely on paper. but a lioness and a scorpion might just be
that dream team. I checked through
the other details — yes. that was him
= alright — nailed by some mystical and ancientintelligence strongerthan
our own free will. I reviewed with scorn his predecessors — A Taurus. a Cancer. a couple of Aries — well. it was obvious! ("ouldn‘t possibly have worked - wrong star-sign! At last. fortune had smiled and pointed me to Mr Right — a Scorpio!
It was only after I missed his birthday that I found out he was actually a Libra (‘aggrieved. disappointed. confused‘).
So is it all hokum? In the interests ofa television programme. I was once given the once-over by a renowned astrologer. She produced two sheets of paper. based on the circumstances of my Dunfermline coming-out. ()ne sheet contained the uneannily accurate character-profile. The other — much more exciting — listed the predictions for the year ahead. ‘You will undertake a long journey by sea. You will write a book. A marriage will be very important' — okay.
guarded. but optimistic — ‘You will be happy". It was February. I sat back with relish and waited. By November. nothing had happened. I complained to a friend.
You dummy! he delineated. accurately. All she did was to assess the kind of things you‘d like to do. and call them predictions. It works because you want it to work. She simply encourages you to do what she thinks you want to do.
Now if that works. that really is magic! Bearing that in mind. what does it say for August? ‘You‘ll make new friends and feel really revitalised. Travel will be great!‘ Hooray! ‘But something needs to be done about your finances” — too right! I‘ve just gone freelance! ‘One source of income might come to an end before August is over. . .’ You
know. it‘s quite uncanny. . .
One ofthe most pleasant surprises of last yearwas the debut single by The Sugarcubes, an Icelandic band which announced its presence to the British with the blissful ‘Birthday'. three minutes of understated drums and wires made unforgettable by this issue's cover starBiork. whose swooping and soaring voice led enraptured listeners through a fragmentary. dream-like childhood tale. Some people found ita transcendent enough experience to declare it the single ofthe year. and major labels offered huge advances to sign with them. butThe Sugarcubes have stayed put on the independent One Little Indian label.
Bjork's stunning vocal performance on ‘Birthday' (that scream!) had obscured the fact that the band boasted two vocalists. Einar Orn Benedhitsson being the perfect deadpan (and male) foil to her compelling. woman-girl‘s voice. The playing-off of the two against each other. the tension of worldly and impishly cynical against the mysterious. almost mystical, is a Sugarcubes trademark. well to the fore on their excellent debut LP, ‘Life's Too Good'. Fora change. translation into English actually adds something to The Sugarcubes' obliquely-written tales and evocatively impressionistic reflections. Appropriately. three of the band (Einar. guitarist Thor and bassist Bragi. though no doubt drummer Siggi and newly-recruited keyboard player Mela: are justas willing to philosophise on life) are published poets in Iceland. adding to the aura that surrounds the band. Although Einar is mainly unconcerned with their image in the press so far. his modesty spurs him to clarifya point of two.
GUEST lIST . _
‘People have an idea that we're an intellectual band. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We're
I stupid. You know why we
- don'tplaycoverversions, because we can't. lithat‘s not the final testament to
our stupidity i don't know
And astorthe much-publicised affinity between Sugarcubes and alcohol (beer is virtually unavailable in Iceland, and the spirits are so expensive
I that drinking is purely done
to get legless not for socialising). ‘The
3 drunkennessisiustnot 5 right. Journalists cometo I lcelandandlthinkthey
over-react. But they need to make a living. we needto make a living. so lhope
pairing come about? ‘We just thought it would be nice to work with some nice Scottish people. so we asked them. We were very surprised when they said yes.‘ (Mab)
Fife Aid is on 23 & 24 July. See Rock listings and feature.
The European 800 metres silver medallist and erstwhile Lanarkshire brickie makes two increasingly rare home appearances. first in the Scottish National Outdoor Championships in Glasgow on 22 July and then in the Miller Lite IAC Grand Prix at Meadowbank on 29 July. He will receive several thousand poundslor appearing in the Grand Prix event, which will be televised live throughout Europe. and is one ofthe qualifying rounds forthe still more lucrative Grand Prix final.
So how significant isthe
? Miller Lite meetingfor
soon we‘ll have Sugarcubes -
articles all overthe world.’ Einar confesses to being ‘surprised' by their inclusion on what he calls ‘a very strange bill' at Fife Aid. but says he doesn't mind what kind of audience they play to. even if ecological
issues tend to get swarms of i
hippies out of the closet. Is there. one wonders. a greater concern about the environment among the general population in Iceland than there is here? “We don't need to preserve our environment.‘ Einar answers. ‘We've only got three tower blocks and one aluminium factory. We don't have nuclear power. You're the ones who need to preserve your environment. Gaia.’ he adds
mysteriously. ‘will take care of it in the end. Butyes. respect for the environment is part of our upbringing.’ After Fife Aid, The Sugarcubes dash off to the States for 51 days. While they've written a few songs since the LP. they've been kept much too busy to do any more recording fora new one. Whatthey have put down on tape isa re-recording of ‘Birthday'. as a collaboration with East Kilbride's most famous feedback-hamessers The Jesus and Mary Chain. to be released sometime soon.
How did such an unlikely
McKean? ‘lt's of no significance whatsoever'. says coach Tommy Boyle (McKean himself ‘only speaks to the press after races“). ‘Tom has two goals this season. The first isto qualify forthe Olympics at the British trials on August 6. and the second is to do as well as he can inthe Olympics themselves.‘
And if he qualifies forthe Grand Prix final? ‘Tom plans not to compete'-a singularly refreshing attitude. perhaps. in a sport increasingly dominated by financial wrangling between individual athletes and race organisers.
As a schoolboy McKean was only fourth fastest in his age group. but coach Boyle realised he had ‘speed allied to
2 'l he rm :3 July
4 August lilSh