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We hear a whisper from the campus of Stirling University about the recently appointed Principal. Prof A.J. Forty. A very amiable and pleasant man. by all accounts. Professor Forty is also a little thin on top. and has taken to wearing a hairpiece to disguise the fact. The rug. however. is not a permanent fixture. being worn in a manner similar to that in which one would wear a hat. although it is not reported to have been doffed in the presence ofladies. Bearing this in mind. and the fact that his previous work experience was in high management with a well-known chain ofsupermarkets. certain scurrilous persons on the campus have coined a nickname for him Gro'I‘esco.

A casual dropper-in at The List oiiice in Edinburgh had us roiling In the aisles with this tale oi a recent encounter in a barber's shop. Apparently as our iriend was sitting there having his short back and sides and deciding whether he needed anything ‘iorthe weekend’, a regular customer, who happens to be blind, walked into the shop and began to engage the proprietor in conversation. ‘I am reliably iniormed,‘ he said, by way at breaking down the barrier oi reserve always evident on such occasions, ‘that there is an uncanny resemblance between Fatima Whitbread and Colonel Ghadaii.’ Check this one out. or perhaps book it in. The hotel group Stakis is. very worthily, sponsoring a series of Masterclasses at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. It has just been announced that one of these classes is to be given by Miss Prunella Scales. best known. of course, for her portrayal of Sybil Fawlty in the TV hotel management comedy series Fawlty Towers. And

this not four weeks after the not very well publicised closure of the real-life Torquay hotel on which the series was based.

A forthcoming attraction at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen, and after that at Mayfest in Glasgow, is a new show entitled ‘Dr Who’, in which the Doctor, portrayed by Jon Pertwee, is engaged ‘to influence world peace' by travelling through the universe battling with various enemies beiore at last encountering the Daleks. And who has sent the ageing time lord on this latest mission? Mrs Thatcher, that’s who. All at a sudden things take on a much more sinister aspect. What, tor instance, does this ‘intluence world peace' business mean, and what is the Daleks’ role in all this? Are they not already acting as election agents for the Conservative Party in a number at constituencies? And what at Davros, their evil creator who, as we revealed exclusively a iew weeks ago, now occupies a position at some iniiuence in a major Scottish weekly newspaper? The Origins 0f()ur Traditional Festivals And Customs: No 2 in an occasional series. Some scholars have said that Easter is not so exciting as Christmas. because you don‘t get presents or cards with snow scenes on them. and you don‘t get to stand around singing seasonal songs whilst eating mince pies and quaffing lashings ofpiping hot mulled wine. Many. furthermore. have claimed that Easter is in fact mindlessly boring because. unless you like to wallow in the misery ofbreaking open the hollow ovoid chocolate merely to discover that it contains three ofthose milk chocolate buttons and a pretend Smartie. the only enjoyable thing about it is the good telly. and even that is all repeats of the stuff they showed at Christmas. All this. ofcourse. is perfectly true. and the explanation is that our ancestors. when they invented Easter. simply wanted us to be miserable. got a great deal of enjoyment out ofthe thought of future generations having an awful time annually. and laughed their socks offwhen somebody hit upon the wizard wheeze ofchanging the date every year so that you don‘t know more than three weeks in advance when it‘s coming. Bastards.


After speculation about funding, Mayfest 1990 has now officially been unveiled. Kristina Woolnough reports.

At the press conference which began the count-down to this year's Mayfest. District Councillor Jean McFadden swiftly brushed aside the narrowly-avoided sudden fall in funding from Strathclyde Regional Council as ‘a few local difficulties‘. Although Strathclyde did restore their full £60.000 commitment at the eleventh hour. their threatened withdrawal of£40.000 nonetheless caused a few grey hairs for the Mayfest team. Jean McFadden explained: ‘Strathclyde announced in February that instead ofthe expected £60,000. we were only going to get £20,000. Because the decision was made so late. and the companies were already contracted and the programme was about to go to the printers, it left us with real problems.‘

‘We had a very useful meeting with Charles Grey. Leader of Strathclyde. about ten days ago. He confirmed that they would keep it at £60,000 this year. and more importantly. that their decision about next year‘s funding will be made in the autumn so we won‘t be in this position again.‘

‘Essentially. it came down to a matter of timing.‘ added William Burdett-Coutts, Mayfest Director.

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‘Strathclyde‘s financial planning for this year only started in January. They‘ve also been putting together a new arts policy which only came to fruition in January. The pressure of time that was on us was very different from the Regional Council‘s working schedule. But I think it‘s settled now.‘

Strathclyde Regional Council‘s new arts policy contains very specific rulings which might. feels Jean McFadden. be counter-productive: ‘Their guidelines involve employment. education and social work. so they‘ve got to meet one or other of those criteria. To be honest. their arts policy is actually more restrictive than it should be. Glasgow District Council doesn‘t have an arts policy. and that allows us to be totally flexible. I think it‘s better that way. Strathclyde were looking at their funding in terms of chunks £20,000 for community projects. £40,000 for special projects which they would consider later on. It may well be that they‘ll introduce a flexibility factor which allows for other things.‘

With the troubled recent past finally tucked away. proceedings turned to the Mayfest in store. A brief history from Councillor


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4The List 24 March—6 April 1989