G U T L E R
yet wholly appropriate illustrations. Given two illustrations for each episode, Honeysett economically encapsulates the eerie feeling of estrangement that children have from the adult world. as well as their horrified fascination with the human body.
The text and drawings complement each other perfectly. nowhere more so than in the episode where Ivor is ordered into the back green by two girls. ‘Emma Walker. . . and an ex of mine, Millie Hamilton. “Take your cock out!" whispered Emma. fiercely. l undid my buttons and took it out, where it stood blinking in the unaccustomed light. Millie produced a dod of filthy cotton wool and fell to dabbing at it purposelessly. . . I suppose I was one of the props in some secret game.‘ In the illustration. lvor stands transfixed and uncomprehending. while Millie. filthy dod in hand. stands crouched and ready for action. her expression one of deep disgust.
These days, Cutler visits Glasgow rarely, partly, he says, because he doesn’t have the energy to travel around that he used to. For the same reason, he won’t be doing any gigs for the next nine months or so, although he is working on a project for radio, following on from his recent Radio 3 series with long-time collaborator Phyllis April King. He has also given up teaching, although that was because he could afford to, and felt he had outgrown the need to teach. Besides his creative work, his chief interest now is in the environment. ‘I’m going nuts at the
moment over air pollution,’ he says. ‘I was brought up in Glasgow in the
Depression and one can‘t be anything else but a socialist. But at the age I am now I‘ve seen the Tories and Labour going back and forth without seeming to get anywhere. so I‘ve become a Green. I felt a bit ashamed that I‘d betrayed socialism. but someone told me the other day not at all. there are a lot ofpeople who think that way.‘
It is typical ofCutler‘s humility that ‘someone else‘ should be required to reassure him. It is perhaps this humility. and his openness to new inﬂuences. which allows him to retain a young audience. long after artists 30 or 40 years his junior have become set in their ways. He cites a fondness for ‘ethnic music. especially slow Irish airs‘. and says that pibroch. too. has had a strong effect on his work. His biggest inﬂuence, however. was Franz Kafka. ‘I only discovered two or three years ago that he was regarded as black comedy.‘ says Cutler. ‘It wasn‘t comedy that l was getting out ofit, it was just the empathy of frustration. The Castle is his biggie — that‘s the one that changed my life for me. When I finished that book I started writing a bit, and discovered I was getting in touch with my own unconscious. And I‘ve kept in touch ever since. Apart from Kafka I admire all the usual guys. . .‘ He pauses to think.
‘Mel Brooks. And the Marx Brothers.‘
And I thought he was going to say Dostoevsky.
‘Naw, he wasn’t a laugh actually.‘
Glasgow Dreamer is published by Methuen, price £6. 99.
‘Come on down to the midden,’ called Emma Walker. You did what Emma Walker asked. And anyway, she was three years older.
I went through the dunnie to the back green. There, waiting for me, was Emma, and an ex ofmine, Millie Hamilton.
‘Take your cock out!’ 0 whispered Emma, fiercely.
l undid my buttons and took it out, where it stood blinking in the unaccustomed light. Millie produced a dad of filthy cotton wool and fell to dabbing at it purposelessly.
‘That’s enough,’ said Emma in undirected disgust, just asl was beginning to respond, and the pair of them walked quickly away, without a thank you, leaving me totally bewildered and a bitdisappointed.
Isuppose l was one ofthe props in some secret game. And the cotton wool looked as if it had come off a sore thatwas healing. I could have caught a disease and died for all they cared.
lnever played with them again, and exercised greater initiative in future games with girls, in a dreamy way.
The List 4— 17 May 19907