Waterstone‘s in Edinburgh hosted last Sunday night the ceremony at which the prizes torthe Sunday Times New
Scottish Writing competition were to be
handed out. The competition had been announced at the beginning at November, and details of how to enter. what you win and how wondertul the whole thing was were printed in quite a tew issues ot the paper‘s Scottish supplement. The prizes, it was announced, tor the best stories on the subject ot ‘What happened on January 1 1997; The day Scotland gained independence‘ were to be awarded at a ‘special celebrity party.‘ The thronging crowds in attendance, according to one at the List's small, blind, burrowing rodents, did not include the chairman ol the panel which judged the competition, orthe editor, orthe arts editor oi Sunday Times Scotland. Perhaps the explanation for this is that these personages, despite the prestige and responsibility at their ottices, and their prominence within the Sunday Times Scotland organisation, nevertheless possess a becoming and highly praiseworthy modesty, and retuse to think at themselves as celebrities, thus disbarring themselves trom attending a ‘celebrity party.‘
You tnay have read in The .S'mrsmurt tltis week that Scottislt 'l‘elevision is to liven tip its ttew year schedules with a sltovv called .118. which is to be art arts artd listirtgs progratttttte. You ntay also have ttoticed that there is a free glossy magazine with the sante title to he picked up iit various locations itt Edinburgh attd
(ilasgow. Although the people at the
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maga/ine. which exists mainly as a velticle for advertisirtg. were understandably delighted at Scottish 'l‘elevision's decision to give them what amounted to a free plug. there is. according to (ius Mac d ottald. controller of programming at Scottish 'l‘elevision. no connection between the magazine and the TV programme.
Xmas Attack ot Aquatic Assassins Shock Horror! Festive Season Shattered by Sharks! Glasgow is reeling this Christmas undér the impact at two separate inlestations of sharks. At the Citizens’ Theatre, large portions ol the cast at Pinocchio are, at every single pertormance, swallowed by one at these murderous elasmobranch sea-fishes, though so lar there have been no tatalities. Worrying, nevertheless. At the Scottish Exhibition Centre, meanwhile, seven sharks are reported to have been seen lurking in a specially constructed tank. The sharks. some of which are up to ten teet long. are Nurse Sharks and Lemon Sharks, varieties whose apparently benign names belie their vicious nature. They are joined several times each day by a nubile, and, given the prevailing weather conditions, scantily clad young female marine biologist, who, in an attempt to show that even sharks have lighter, cuddly sidesto their natures, swims around with them and cadges lilts on their dorsal tins. It only the ‘Glasgow Herald‘ had run this story, it would have been a case of ‘Shark! the Herald angels sing.‘
'l'here are a rtutttber of other ('hristmas carols artd songs with an aquatic feel to them: We Fish Ynua .llerry ( ‘ltris‘mtus attd l 'm Breeming ofu w'lu‘u» ( 'ltrislmus being the two which sprittg tttost readily to mind. Some schools of tltougltt have suggested that (‘hristmas itself yvas originally a pagan fish festival before it was taken over by the (‘hristian church artd used as a convenient date upon which to celebrate the birth of the Messiah. ()riginally. they say. people used to decorate their (‘hristmas trees with the skins of all
the eels. and the shells of all the oysters they had caught durittg the year. Our habit of sending ( ‘hristmas cards is derived front a pre-( ‘hristian custom of sending ('hristmas (or rather Fish Festival) carps. attd kissing underneatlt the mistletoe was originally fishing underneath the mistletoe. 'l‘he lyncltpin of this argument. ltow ev er. is the fact that we celebrate ('hristmas every year by eating turkeys. which are large. feathery land-dwelling lislt w ttlt wings. Doesn’t really ltold tttuclt water. does it‘.’
‘Outrageous‘ seems to be the most general response of those in the know to Anthony Armstrong‘s Glasgow Collection, a set of eight reproduction pastels to mark Glasgow‘s year as Culture City, which are altered for sale at over £700. The controversy centres on the phrase ‘limited edition prints' used to promote the series. Since these are reproduced photographically, they are not strictly prints in the accepted sense, and since there are 500 of each. they are not desperately limited in number. ‘lt‘s outrageous. A large edition of original prints would normally be 100.’ says Glaswegian Robert Livingston, director ot Edinburgh‘s Printmakers Workshop. 'I am very sad that Glasgow District Council should endorse an enterprise that is at best misleading to the public. We‘re lighting this kind of thing all the time.‘ The prices asked are also lelt to be, well, outrageous, since a reproduction ol this sort costs around
22-53 to produce; but rather more alarming is the quality ol the pictures themselves. Pretty pastels like these are hardly state-ol-the-printmaking- cratt, and are produced in most cities, whether or not they happen to be European City at Where It‘s At 1990. John Mackechnie of Glasgow Print Studio comments that Armstrong is ‘an artist with no international standing‘, to which we might add ‘and no great standing in Scotland,‘ but at this time of year who wants to be outrageous?
‘Black 'l‘ie.’ said the invitation. ‘or Fancy Dress.‘ .-\ttd a very chic soiree it was too. 'l‘he ('ity (‘afe's first birthday party w as attettded by a host ol'very well attired arid terribly trendy socialites. together w itlt a delegation lrottt I'lte I.t.v’1\\lticlt tried hard to keep tip appearances. Black lies. dinner suits and cocktail dresses abottttded. attd every body w as
dressed up at least to the itittes. sottte to evett higher numbers. livetybody. tltat is. except one: standing. engrossed in conversation by tlte bar. was a large. middle-aged man wearing w ltat appeared to be a pair of shocking blue lyct‘a underpants. "that must have been the fancy dress.‘ art observer suggested. but it rather seemed to fail to live up to at least one of the two elements itt that description 'l‘en ottt often for brass neck. though. attd if his intention
w as to leav e people wondering ‘w ho was that unmasked man'." then he certainly achieved his aim.
WE'LL SEND THEM ' ANOEARL‘I XMGS messes-r FIRE romances.
Publisher Rtiltltt littdge. Editors Nigel Btllen. Sat ah llemnting. Associate Editor Allan lltitttet. Editorial Assistants stuait Bathgate. Andrew Burnet. laitt (irant. Design Sitttoit t'stctson. Advertising/Circulation Jess Barrow . Rhobat Bi y n. Sheila Macleatt. Accounts (icoigette Rettwtc k Typesetting .lo Kennedy. flew er 'l'ext Production Editor Paul Keir.
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\\ miltttittglt. Classical Music ( litol .\lattt. Dance Alice liattt. Diary lattt
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