Playing hard to get
Having followed with interest your recent articles about the Scottish Society of Playwrights’ demands for more money, I looked forward to hearing the response from the Federation of Scottish Theatres. Presumably the question still remains about where any extra money should come from. I can’t really believe that the Federation is against new playwrights, but their viewpoint has yet to be put forward. There was a similar silence when Radio Scotland’s Head On picked up on the same debate. Why the censorship? Is The List in the pay of the Scottish Society of Playwrights or is this just lazy journalism?
Mark Fisher replies: The Federation of Scottish Theatres are maintaining a no-comment policy while they formulate their response to the dispute. It’s an understandable approach, but it does prevent a genuine debate taking place in public. In the meantime we can only speculate about what their angle might be.
How shaming it is to be living under the administration of Edinburgh District Council. If money is tight, that’s understandable, but Councillor Moira Knox’s remarks about Communicado‘s Jock Tamson ’s Bairns are incomprehensible. Can she really believe that this masterpiece of Scottish theatre is ‘absolutely appalling’? If the same show had been an export from some exotic country during the Edinburgh Festival, I have no doubt that it would be awarded the international status it so deserves. It takes a small-minded council to fail to see the worth of this production and not to put up the money to have it staged in Edinburgh. Before The List’s Glasgow readers get cynical about all the 1990 hype, just think twice about the philistine administration you could be living with.
So television producer May Miller (List 113) promises her new programme ‘won’t be alienating like BBC2’s The Late Show’? A less appropriate adjective would be hard to ﬁnd. My main interests are literature and cinema, but time after time, having turned on to see something on one of these subjects, I have watched the whole of The Late Show, as the items are well chosen and presented with an invention lacking in most other arts programmes.
Shocked, Shotts, hasn’t written to us yet, but don’t let that stop you. The best letter next issue will win a dead trendy Jose Cuervo tequila T-shirt. Letters, which may be edited for publication, should be sent to The List, Old Athe‘naeum Theatre, 179 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2J Z, before 16 February.
Only the other week the entire programme was given over to French designer Philippe Franck: I don’t normally give a toss about design, but again I watched the whole thing, as it was entertaining and informative, completely devoid of pretension or pomposity. Far from being ‘alienating’, it was the most accessible programme on design I can remember seeing.
Jim Banks Marchmont Street Edinburgh.
What a Whopper
Having condemned the attitude of my book Of Darkness And Light towards women, Mr Bathgate (List 113) is now unable to find anything in the narrator’s behaviour to justify his opinion. So he now bleats instead that Gary Scott (the narrator) mentally regards women as sexual playthings, even though he does not put it into practice. I see. Perhaps this is why he tells his dying girlfriend, ‘I wouldn’t want anyone else. . . just want you.’
Then Mr Bathgate resorts to describing my attitude as ‘adolescent’ and ‘macho’, citing Gary Scott punching someone (who, in my opinion, was born to be punched) and telling him, ‘That felt good, you little fuckpig.’ As a matter of fact, I am in the habit of punching people I dislike, and it does feel good. If Mr Bathgate regards that as adolescent or macho, he is entitled to his opinion. But, when the assault in the book takes place, Gary is a bit upset, just having had to watch a woman cut bits of herself off in front of his eyes. That, in my opinion, excuses Gary quite a lot.
As to the ‘naughty’ and ‘macho’ language in the book, I simply describe the speech of people in Glasgow as it is, not as fools like Kelman imagine it to be.
Mr Bathgate apears to be particularly offended by Gary’s assertion, when asked, that he has ‘a big dick’. That particular statement was in fact autobiographical, and if Mr Bathgate requires evidence, I shall be happy to provide him with a photograph of my penis. Let me know.
Mr Bathgate says he has not seen any reviews attesting to my brilliance. He should read Scottish
Field, The Observer, and listen to BBC Radio’s 15-minute feature on my work. I would also refer him to the Christmas edition of The Worm book supplement for the intelligent
analysis of the book that he is obviously not capable of.
I’m not greatly surprised at this sort of criticism. It is the same sort of idiocy that greeted the brilliant Naked Lunch by William Burroughs (who writes like a weak imitation of me, but is brilliant all the same) when it first came out. Time will tell. Barry Graham Hamilton Place Edinburgh.
I have just completed the reading of ‘Barry Graham’s’, excellent and chillingly accurate book, Of Darkness And Light. Reading between your reviewer, (I use the term lightly) ‘Mr Bathspite’s' (sic) uneducated lines, it is obvious that i) he never read the book, ii) the man drinks ‘Super lagers’, and iii) ‘Bathspite’, (sic) appears peeved that ‘Graham’ has easily outwrote the usual, no matter how it’s cooked, served or tastes, ﬂavours of every month.
Of Darkness And Light is a cleverly crafted and compelling debut. ‘The normal man of the book’, ‘Gary Scott’, is living all over ‘Glasgow’ along with his attitudes towards women and violence, including the notorious ‘East End’! If anything my only criticism of ‘Graham’ would be his letting out of ‘Men’s’ secrets, as ‘Gary Scott’ will be too close to home and pseudo equality, for comfort, to most men. Then again all this will be news to ‘Bathspite’, (sic) . . . Not having read the bloody thing!
David Mc Teague Possilpark Glasgow.
That’s enough free publicity for an over-priced book. This correspondence is now closed.
A foul miasma of round teabag-fuelled bad judgement seems to have wound its oily tentacles around the once-vital heart of that beast we call ‘yoof’ . Every day when I walk to work down Cockburn Street I see at least half a dozen mongs wearing FLARES.
Now it could be that the fash-biz has reintroduced flares to Britain in a misguided attempt to show solidarity with our lumpen counterparts from eastern Europe. Or are there more sinister reasons involving Messrs
Wrangler, Satan and Thatcher?
Think about it. Could you see the army of King Mob descending on Downing Street like a killhammer from hell in ﬂares? Forget it boy, it just ain’t gonna happen.
People might think they look ‘cool as fuck’ in flares when what they really look like is a Francis Bacon painting (after a six-pack and LSD breakfast) of amphetamine pigs running amok in a Chinese pork factory. Empty head held high. Body draped in stomach-churning sheaths of slime design dangling over flared
stonewashed wigwams flapping
aimlessly in the wind of change. Charles Holmes
God knows what you 're going on about. But you win this issue’s prize of a bottle of Jose C uervo Tequila. Let’s hope you ’re more comprehensible once you’ve drunk it.
In last issue’s letters page we invited suggestions on how The List could expand its coverage. Here are a few of the more interesting replies.
What about a big section on how to screw the dole, get laid and get trashed for cheap? (South African two-litre bottles of sherry - £3.99 at Peter Dominic’s - lose your conscience and then lose your mind). Peter Harro wer
What name did Rodrigo Borgia take when he became Pope? Where is Wanky Colliery? Is zeugma a figure of speech, a Greek delicacy or an excruciatingly painful skin disease? Why doesn’t The List have a trivia quiz?
St Alban’s Road
Tell us the answers to your ﬁrst three questions and we’ll reply to your fourth.
Why not have an occasional photo-feature on the best grafﬁti in public places? Not that I’m suggesting you encourage anything illegal, of course. You could also run a competition to find the best examples. My current favourite is to be found in the men’s bogs in a certain Tollcross pub. There it is, right up in the t0p left-hand corner of one cubicle, pencilled in in tiny writing: ‘If you’ve looked this far, why not try the Eastern Coptic Church?’
84 The List 9 - 22 February 1990
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