Doctor in the house
Where is the shout ofyouthful idealism? Leafing through this year's Edinburgh Fringe magazine. I am once again appalled at the crudity of our medical youth Surely . in this year of monumental change in our health service. we could at least expect a decent political satire that addresses the real issues in our beleagured health service? Once again. I fear we will be presented with yet more vacuous lavatorial torture with as much independent and challenging thinking as a decerebi ate baboon.
The dismal ‘National Health Theatre Company" catch the eye with "I'he Cunning Linctus‘. A few leaves later. w e come across the same pitiful word play in another medical troupe. ‘The Cunning Linguists‘. Are things so desperate in our hospitals that we hay e to share jokes as well as beds?
Junior doctors work on average 90 hours a week (Dowie I990), every third week most work 120 hours in a single week. including a continuous shift of 80 hours for which a houseman earns less than £2 per hour betore tax. In 1988. the Royal College ofSurgeons cited 170 deaths at the hands of overtired undersupervis‘ed juniors. Despite its protestations. the government and the BMA have done very little to halt the carnage.
Is killing patients when you're tired really the only way to learn? In a year when junior doctors are to be balloted on their views about ‘action‘. is it too much to ask for a medical show that treats the audience as vertebrates and offers an intelligent and educative insight into the caring professions from the ministrators themselves?
Dr P. Hammond (Trainee General Practitioner. Calne)
DrT. Gardner (S.H.O. in Geriatrics. Taunton)
‘Struck Off and Die'
Venue 6. Aug 12—25. midnight Cheltenham Road
A tune a day
Your interviewer must have caught Ewan McVicar before he‘d heard Songs Front Under the Bed No 2. Therein is ‘a truly outstanding song about the poll tax‘ — Eileen Penman's ‘Poll 'I‘ax Dodgers‘. I‘ve listened to a fair amount of ‘protest‘ songs but this one took me aback when I first heard it. While being short and to the point it relates the anti-poll tax movement to other movements historical and contemporary and comes to a remarkable close which is both a statement and a question.
What‘s more it is sung with clear spirit and graced by an excellent guitar accompaniment by Robin Turner. It is available from John Greig at 37 (‘laremont Bank. Edinburgh for £3.50 which anybody
who‘s interested can easily afford since, presumably, they‘re no payin‘! Tony McManus
It’sthe David Bennie Show!
Question: Just what do you get ifyou propagate a nihilistic confrontationalist with a superiority-complex-laden sociopath? Answer: yes. that's right. David M. Bennie. But let‘s not get carried away with the compliments.
Mr Bennie’s comments on Sheena ‘Big Time‘ Easton only serve to show his crass bad taste and ignorance of subject matter. Which reminds me. you‘re quite right. Julie Rugg of Falcon Avenue (see last issue’s letters page). I don’t belive he read Iloggart‘s The Uses ofLiteracy either. What‘s more Mr Bennie. Ms Easton really ought to try to live in Castlemilk or for that matter Drumchapel. Easterhouse. Possilpark. Craigmillar or dare I say it. yes I dare, Haddington Place. Edinburgh. After all. ifa person really has to live in an area ofcultural deprivation. what better place to start?
It would appear to me, Mr Bennie. that a) you are hopelessly besotted by the aforementioned Ms Easton and for that matter probably by any other lobotomised bimbo desperate enough to appear in Miami Vice — hence the sociopathic tendencies? b) you have never been further than a hundred yards from your Sky programme guide. This. I venture, is the reason for your astounding cultural apathy, for if you had, you would know that Cumbernauld is neither in the middle of nowhere nor a cultural desert as you prognosticated in your last pre-pubescent drivelling. it having produced and played host to some of the finest musical and theatrical talent around during the last decade.
What's more. genetically programmed foetuses have been
around for some time. it seems. I
The best letter next issue will win a bottle ofJose Cuervo tequila. Letters, which may be edited for publication, should be sent to The List, Old Athenaeum Theatre, 179 Buchanan Street, Glasgow Gl 2JZ, or 14 I High Street. Edinburgh, EH1 lTE, not laterthan
mean, have you looked in the mirror recently, Mr Bennie? Ifyou must aspire to the art ofcriticism. at least learn the meaning of the word ‘objective'. You should find a dictionary fairly useful.
Eh. how about that bottle ofJose Cuervo for the effort? Alan D. Bell Broadholm Street Parkhouse Glasgow. Sorry, no luck in the tequila stakes, but we're gladyou enjoy wee David '5 contributions so much.
Bennie the Bore
I hereby tender my resignation from the Tartan Army (Armchair Observation Corps). The 74 campaign in Germany, when we didn‘t score enough goals against the footballing pygmies of Zaire. was admittedly a glorious failure. but how many more do we have to endure? Against Holland in 78 defeat was once again snatched from the jaws ofvictory. Spain in 82 saw us setting out on a wave ofemotion. only to be sunk without trace. Against ten-man Uruguay in Mexico in 86 we were in a no-win situation. And no win we did. Nicol’s miss from zero yards defied the known laws of physics.
I do. however. sympathise with Roxy over the Costa Rica result — I mean. their goalkeeper Conejo had the temerity to play well, an eventuality our national coach could hardly have been expected to take into account when preparing his flow-chart diagrams and video-analyses. We beat the suicidal Swedes by reverting to our true type, discarding creative pass painting in favour of kicking lumps out ofthe opposition and blootering the ball up the park — none of this playing football out of defence crap. But against a poor Brazil we again returned to a sweeper system. as alien to the Scottish mentality as non-alcoholic lager.
All through history if Scots hold the strategic high ground we will give it up for the ﬂeeting thrill ofa
dramatic dash down the hill screaming like dervishes, only to be gubbed when we hit the bottom. It‘s not often I find myselfin empathy with the soaraway Sun . but its edition of 12 June captured the' national mood succinctly: WORLD CUP SHAMBLES SPECIAL— WE NAME THE GUILTY MEN! Offthe pitch. . .Sean Damer. author of Glasgow: Goingfora Song. ought to realise his good fortune in coming from Embra‘s ‘bungaloid suburbia.‘ He may be in love with the Big G‘s working class. but some of us are doing our best to escape from it. while being held back by our guttural vowels and macho prejudices. Also. I was surprised to see in last issue's letters that the British North American Indian Association is based in Sandyhills. Glasgow being better known for its cowboys rather than its Indians. David M. Bennie Haddington Place Edinburgh
Benniethe Fan Club
During a recent trip to London I came across your publication and became so engrossed with what David Bennie had to say that I missed my stop on the tube. Being a native New Yorker. practically raised on the subway. I don‘t miss many stops. Yet your David Bennie stopped me.
Has he thought ofgoing international? Irene Miranker Union Street, C3 Brooklyn New York You want him? Take him. 50p and a packet of Cadbury '5 Chocolate Buttons. He ’5 yours.
Please Mr Post-man
Please settle a family argument. What exactly is post-modernism? Robert Cathcart
Damned if we know, Bob. Try writing to The Doc, The Sunday Post. Port Dundas, Glasgow and see ifhe can help you.
I have just come back from a holiday in Ireland where I was amazed by the availability of hard drugs. especially in the rural west. I even saw a sign outside one village pub, openly inviting passers-by in for ‘Beer, Music and the Crack’.
Call us immature, callus Viz readers, we don 't care. But this made tut giggle, so it gets the grog. One bottle of Jose Cuervo on its way.
UOThe List 13 —- 26 July 1990
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