Tell me about the ‘Glasgow 1990 Cultural Capital ofEurope‘. What‘s happening? I subscribe to your magazine. and if there have been any articles about Glasgow‘s favoured status I missed them. All I have seen is the odd event advertised with a sort of‘PS‘. this is happening in the Cultural Capital‘. Even what one might have thought to be the lesser event of Mayfest seems better publicised. I doubt this is your fault. As secretary of Close Shave. Glasgow‘s only Barbershop Chorus. I was approached by some 50 ofour American cousins with a request that they might be allowed to perform somewhere for free. ‘Easy.‘ I thought. ‘just the sort ofthing the Cultural Capital needs.‘ I enclose a copy of what seems to be a standard and mass-produced letter of rejection from the Festivals Office. Clearly you have written nothing about the events that are not happening: regrettable. but inescapably sound journalistic policy. Nigel Tantrum Loch Laxford St Leonards East Kilbride.
At the turn ofthe year we ran a four-page feature interviewing some of the leading participants in the Year of Culture; since January. we have published a monthly preview of official Year of Culture events; and we have also run features on such events as Glasgow 's Glasgow. As for the Barbershop Chorus. as long as the A mericans can finance their own visit to Glasgow. there seems to be no reason why you shouldn 't find a
ven ue for them to perform in — you don ‘I need the official sanction of the Festivals Unit to put on a show. If you find a venue, let us know — we'll be happy to publicise it. Meanwhile. as an incentive in kind, here's aJose Cuervo tequila T-shirt for the best letter this issue.
Lest any of your readers should injure themselves in the rush to obtain tickets for the Abbey Theatre‘s production ofShadow ofa Gunman in the belief that they will be rolling around the aisles with mirth. may I be so bold as to point out that to describe this play as a ‘witty tenement tragedy‘ is a touch inaccurate (Abbey Theatre Mayfest Competition. issue 119).
Given that in Dublin the word ‘tenement‘ is equated with ‘slum‘. and that most of O‘Casey‘s work deals. indirectly. with the inevitable poverty and deprivation associated with such living conditions, there shouldn‘t be too many opportunities for a good old belly laugh. However.
100 The List 4— 17 May 1990
The best letter next issue will win a bottle of Jose Cuervo tequila. Letters, which may be edited for publication, should be sent to The List, Old Athenaeum Theatre, 179 Buchanan Street, Glasgow 61 ZJZ, or 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 lTE, before Friday 11 May.
MOIRA NICOI. y\uvg\
it is fair to say that there is indeed a good deal ofwit contained in this playwright‘s work. but this wit comes from his ability to capture the colourful speech of the average Dubliner rather than an attempt to write a comedy.
Nonetheless. I‘m sure it‘s safe to presume that this particular production will be up to the Abbey‘s usual high standard. and for those who like their tragedy softened a little this is one for you.
Maire Ni Dhiluinn Blairhall Avenue Langside Glasgow.
Thanks for the Jose Cuervo T-shirt
( a warded for the best letter last issue). I‘ll wear it with my balaclava to the Rule 43 theme night at my local. the Puke and Vomit. which is being held to raise money to research a cure into missionary position heterosexuality. as well as to annoy the straight-laced and tight-assed regulars next door in the Beak and Beadle. who recently had a quiz night to raise money for the Victims ofJimmy Boyle. Anyway. after burning some semen-stained mattresses we‘ll probably climb up onto the roof and pitch slates at any authority figures who happen to be passing below in Leith Walk — preferably uniformed (including traffic wardens). but anyone wearing a collar and tie will be a legitimate target also.
Yes please. I want my own column. Whatever happened to Alan Taylor‘s East Life? It used to be the best thing in your mag. I really enjoyed your last issue. mainly because of the excellent Spring Book Bonanza section. I made a few scribbled notes in the margin as I read it on the shooeg coach on Sunday on the way back to Embra, having been in the Big G to witness yet another X-rated horror show from Celtic. Saturday night was spent slumped against the bar in the Blessed Virgin, where for penance
we watched .S‘portscene to see the Huns wrapping up the league title. Father Flyte was having a crisis of faith. and we helped him drink all the communion wine. Baby Albert was doling out what he said were anti-depressants. but which turned out to be medication for mono-psychotic delusions! And. after watching Steve McQueen in Bullitt. The Syringe jumped into the Popemobile (his ice-cream van. which instead ofjingles plays Bach‘s Jesu. Joy ofMan 's Desiring and Handel‘s Zadok the Priest) and roared offin the general direction of Larkhall with an Irish tricolour fluttering out of the window. He‘s probably being held hostage by now. only to be freed when Celtic again win the league. Ifso. he‘ll be as old as Nelson Mandela when he gets out. So to a few thoughts triggered off by issue 119: '
1. I see Canongate are set to hit back at Mainstream with the planned Letters To Gorby. What kind of lobotomised morons sit down and write letters to the President ofthe Supreme Soviet? But dark horses coming up fast on the rails in an effort to win the Lowest Common Denominator Stakes are Lennard Publishing with Taggart's Glasgow (presumably full of ‘deed bodeys‘). and Glasgow District Libraries Publications with Jean Marshall‘s Cathcart and Environs: A Pictorial Reminiscence (‘Sold out already? Shit — I knew I should have ordered it.‘)
2. Apparently Glaswegian exile Martin Millar‘s new novel is about ‘what it feels like when your girlfriend leaves you.‘ Obviously not afraid to tackle the Big Issues of Literature is our Martin. . .
3. Dear Scottish Arts Council. thanks for your smug. self-satisfied. patronising half-page ad. although I was educated to learn that you spend £16 million a year on the arts in Scotland. This is bloody outrageous. We could have a new. state-of—the-art national football
stadium for that money. Don‘t you believe that ‘the greatest happiness
. of the greatest number should be the
foundation of morals and legislation"? But what did Jeremy Bentham know anyway? He didn‘t even qualify for an Arts Council subsidy.
4. In your preview of ‘The Dorm‘. a play about ‘young life behind prison walls‘. you quote the writer Lance Flynn as saying ‘There‘s a lot of marching and shouting and ifyou can‘t march you‘re fucked.‘ Really? Do Amnestv International know about this? Prison warders are card-carrying bastards. but in my experience they‘re violently heterosexual.
5. The ‘Persist and be Published‘ piece was both funny and depressing. Agnes Owens: ‘I didn‘t have a lot of rejections because I didn‘t send many things away.‘ That‘s probably the best way. dearie. Rejection hurts. so why risk it? So Liz Lochhead‘s first book was published with a grant from the good old Scottish Arts Council — one of its more heinous crimes against literature. William ‘A sentence without a simile is like a hard man without a stare‘ Mcllvanney managed it again: in less than 100 words he got another one in! — ‘It‘s like the Grand National. it can go overa few hurdles. . .‘
6. To end on an upbeat note. I was delighted to see that Aldo Busi‘s The Standard Life of a Temporary Pantyhose Salesman is now out in a paperback translation. An Italian Martin Amis. he‘s very funny. I of course prefer to read Dante and Boccachio in the original. but Busi‘s verbose. vertiginously baroque language in a modern idiom will be much easier on the brain if it is well translated. At £4.99 I recommend it to all pseudo-intellectual foplings with a sense of humour.
Finally. Hey. Jules— Bill and Ted say, ‘Let‘s be excellent to one another.‘ I‘m afraid that was the only good line in the film. But it was a good one.
David M. Bennie Haddington Place Edinburgh.
Re. Persist and be Published in the last issue. I enjoyed most ofthe article. but want to point out emphatically that I am not ‘music critic for the Glasgow Herald‘. That particular honour falls to Michael Tumelty who. since he has a heart of gold. will. I hope. realise an indefinite article has been missed out somewhere by someone. This is the second time the mistake has been made (by different magazines), and while it‘s fairly ﬂattering to be confused with Michael. it‘s also inaccurate. I work sometimes as a music reviewer — one of several — for the Herald.
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