Pictures by Paul Bum:
REVIEW OF THE YEAR
George Bush. perhaps. but who could have foretold Govan and Curried Eggs? Stuart Bathgate looks back
Small wars raged around the world: disasters and massacres occurred with depressing regularity. from the North Sea. where we were moved most directly. to Armenia where a shocked world did what little it could: and Cliff Richard had his ninety-ninth hit. Not the best year ever. was it‘.’
White Australia launched its bicentennial celebrations. and aborigines were still dropping dead in police stations. Neighbours continued its inexplicable success: Kylie Minogue brought her special brand of lyrical subtlety to our airwaves. while Lucy reached puberty. and in an astonishing display ofoutre originality grew not only breasts but a new head and body too. Oznost came to the Edinburgh Festival with Rod Ouantock‘s bus. the Doug Anthony Allstars and ('ircus ()2. Long before the end of the year most of us were sick of the whole sub-continent.
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A similar feeling ofennui was induced. come autumn. by Celtic‘s centenary: it was all right when Wildcat put on their Celtic Story during Mayfest. but as the number of catchpenny (catch £5.95 more like) publications about the Glasgow club increased. even some dichard fans must have become less than enthusiastic. The team did win the domestic double, though. in a year somewhat lacking in international sporting achievements by Scots. Sandy Lyle on his day was the best golfer in the world. Stephen Hendry. still a teenager, rose to number four in the world snooker rankings. McColgan and Murray won minor medals at this summer‘s Seoul Olympics. although the event for which the Games will be best remembered is undoubtedly the disqualification of Ben Johnson for steroid abuse. Later in the year. 1972 silver medallist David Jenkins was sentenced to seven years in an American jail for running a steroids-selling racket. while the same country sentenced the world to four years of President Bush and VP Quayle.
over a year ofthe good.
Will Reagan’s reign compared to l them. be regarded as a golden age‘.’ i In perhaps the last major act ofhis ' two-term presidency. he agreed to talks with the Palestine Liberation Organisation. whose chairman Yosser ‘Gie‘s a l Iomeland~ Arafat‘s recognition of the state of Israel gave ' a glimmer of hope that one of the world’s longest running disputes would eventually be solved by peaceful means. The Iran-Iraq war stuttered to a close after Western pressure sapped even the Ayatollah's resolve. I Iussein‘s regime had clearly grown bored with killing Iranians. so turned its hand to the Kurds instead: an estimated 5000 died through chemical weapons in one village alone. In Chile. Pinochet lost his own plebiscite and promised to go — but not quite yet. And the Soviets seemed less than wholehearted about their resolve to leave Afghanistan.
'I‘wenty years on from the first civil rights marches. the cycle of violence in Ireland showed no signs of being broken. The SAS killed three IRA members in Gibraltar. A lone gunman shot several people dead at one of the subsequent funerals in Milltown cemetery. At a funeral subsequent to that. two British soldiers were dragged from their car. beaten up by a mob then shot dead by the IRA.
The government's response. to ban so-callcd apologists for terrorism from TV and to propose a I permanent Prevention of'I'errorism ‘ Act. was just one in a long line of j censorious measures which enraged most of the population at one time or another. Football supporters in England and Wales were told they would need ID cards to get into grounds. a measure opposed by good old Rhodes Boyson on the grounds that it would hinder his demand that everyone should carry identity cards. Clause 28 became Section 28 of the Local Government Act. preventing local councils and schools from ‘promoting' homosexuality . The i implications for the arts were i
potentially grave. with the possibility :— V f i...--»:T. . ﬂ I ‘. g -- 't a y,‘ .— 1" l r?" t .- . ) b ‘r /! ' q e I"...‘: . .- >- . I... :3? ‘ . I . x; w -:i ’ \l - as: x ’21, ‘ .1' s ’ - Ind?» v r' T, < Y ‘1 D_ i
the bad and the ugly.
— still untested in the courts— that ‘promotion‘ might include the staging in a council-owned venue of any play in which a gay character was ' portrayed with even a modicum of self-respect or integrity.
Just to remind us that the Tories hold no monopoly on paternalism. I.almur-controlled Glasgow District Council decided to ban Ken Russell‘s The Devils when the GET wanted to show it. They allowed Martin Scorsese's Last Temptation of( 'hrist to go ahead. much to the chagrin of those people who went to see the film. and were sorely tempted to walk out or just fall asleep. Another temptress became unlikeliest sex symbol of the year. when Jessica Rabbit hit the silver screen with her husband Roger and co-star Bob I Ioskins. Jim I lickcy relinquished his role as director of the Edinburgh Film Festival to concentrate on running Filmhouse. and Bertolucci’s British-made The Last Iz‘mperor won nine Oscars. Hit of the summer was Hairspray. whose star Divine died shortly after the completion of shooting.
Charles Hawtrey. Kenneth Williams and Roy Orbison made their final exits. but Emperor Hirohito and Salvador Dali kept the obituarists hanging on. Presley. Monroe and Hitler. meanwhile. were resurrected after a fashion by the gross but occasionally chortleworthy Sunday Sport. Vi: ('omie— not so gross but generally funnier — saw its circulation soar as schoolboys of all ages warmed to Johnny Fartpants. Biffa Bacon and chums. Loadsamoney ﬂaunted his wad on TV. and lager louts were born. The brewing industry had its own share ofverbal fisticuffs. as a war of words broke out between Scottish and Newcastle and unwelcome predators Elders IXL.
Just as the tabloids were discovering the evils of acid house. the attention of the quality press turned to Iidinburgh in August when Scotland on Sunday was launched. By a remarkable coincidence. October saw the start of Scottish
supplements in both The Sunday Times and The Observer. Freelance reporters might have been jumping for joy at the unprecedented demand for their work. but the concern of most readers seemed to be the number of trees which were chopped down to give us a supposedly wider choice.
The Gold of the Pharaohs exhibition in Edinburgh’s City Art Centre emulated the Emperor‘s Warriors for local attendances (beating the latter‘s record for an exhibition held outside London) and lack of attention from the London-based media. The Traverse Theatre celebrated its 25th anniversary in the presence of Prince Edward (the richest stagehand in the land). The really useful person‘s brother kept complaining about modern buildings. while their old dad displayed his renowned sensitivity by making a speech which compared wives to prostitutes. Ever seen the Queen strutting around Blythswood Square late at night‘.’ No. neither have I.
Glasgow began to prepare for its role as European City of Culture 1990. and Princes Square opened. although the two events are not necessarily connected. Peter B rook‘s Mahabharata came to town — probably the theatre event of the year in Britain. certainly when compared to what was agreed to be a somewhat substandard Edinburgh Festival. Manfred Karge conquered the South Pole. Richard Nixon of revered memory went to China courtesy of The St‘otsperson. but the greatest publicity went to shy. retiring Timothy Clifford and his revamped National Gallery. red flock wallpaper and all.
Michael Clark and The Fall — long mutual admirers— collaborated on I A m Curious. ()range. one of the more original and fruitful musical experiments of the year. The Proclaimers toured places last visited by the Majestics. Wet Wet Wet and Fairground Attraction had number one hits. as did the Time Lords with theiranthemic ‘Dr Who‘. In a summer when only one major benefit in Central Scotland made any money at all. the most conspicuous failure ofall was Fife Aid. which needed to set up further benefits for itself to get out ofdebt.
David Alton's abortion bill failed because of lack of time to make its way through Parliament. but the poll tax was passed. and dire threats about the consequences of non-payment began dropping through letter-boxes all over Scotland. ‘Nationalists trail Labour by 34 per cent'. said the opinion polls
58 The List 23 Dec 1988— 12 Jan 1989