Christmas Present Bookiﬁ
from SCOTTISH ACADEMIC PRESS
THE BOOK OF SANDY STEWART Roger 1mm (0 7073 0560 8, £15.00)
This insight into the outlook of the travelling folk provides a memorable evocation ofa little-understood strand of Scottish life
TRAVELLERS IN A BYGONE SHETLAND Derek Flinn (0 7073 0524 1, £17.50)
This fascinating book immortalises the many and varied intrepid travellers to Shetland between 1550 and 1850.
TOPO: The Story of a Scottish Colony near Caracus 1825-27 Hans Rheinheimer Key (0 7073 0547 0, £1 7.50)
A beautifully illustrated and unusual volume, the story of Topo is a microcosm of the hopes and ultimate agony of Scottish emigration.
FAREWELL MISS JULIE LOGAN byJM Barrie Alistair McCleery (0 7073 0576 4, £4. 95)
‘. . . belongs to a very distinguished group of supernatural tales striding through Scottish literature.‘ The Scotsman
139 Leith Walk, Edinburgh EHG 8NS
EEKRAL msK .IJ‘VE mg I O H N SMITH g ; &SON 2 g (GLASGOW) LTD § 2 Tel: 041-334-1210 WSELLERS S STATMRS NE ‘751
A Scottish Company Since 17:31
Margaret Drabble & Ludovic Kennedy
who will be discussing the themes of their new books, housing and euthanasia, respectively:
"Safe as Houses" & "Euthanasia"
(Chatto & Windus CounterBlasts £3.99 each)
at 7 p.m. on Wednesday 28th November in Lecture Room A, in the Boyd Orr Building, University Avenue, Glasgow
CHRISTMAS BOOKS SPECIAL
. LAUGH? l NEARLY
STARTED THE GULF WAR
Andrew Burnet sadly tails to split his sides over most at this year’s ‘humorous’ stocking tillers.
There are those who express wonder at the continued success at Britain‘s most rapidly swelling organ, but Viz: The Spunky Parts (John Brown £6.99) will undoubtedly outshalt the stillest competition this year. The magazine‘s great success, at course, is that it‘s lar clevererthan it appears. Chris Donald and his cohorts understand their material and their marketplace so astutely that they are able to appeal equally (and- let's be honest—on basically the same criteria) to Sid Sun and Gideon Guardian. Although those who choose to identity with the characters will tind it insulting, and the tabloid parodies are sometimes a bit tired, Viz is easilythe best in its lield.
Also available: Billy The Fish Football Year Book (John Brown £3.50).
Belonging in the same category at predictable ribaldry is The Best 0t Sunday Sport Volume 2 (Sphere £3.99), though here the rehash seems staler. I've always maintained that the Sport was a relatively harmless rag, since even its most intellectually impoverished readers must at times doubt the veracity at its scoops. But as its sales soar (you can now ‘get it’ tour times a week), the Sport has dropped all pretence ol reportage, and thus undermined the essential joke. The pressure to come up with bizarre headlines has led to the use at lormulaic material (aliens, household pets, royals, lesbian witches and physical lreaks), and the real treats are now a rarity.
Lord Gnome is also alter a last buck this Christmas. The Complete Gnome Mart Catalogue (Corgi £3.95), The Best 0t Newman (Corgi £2.95), Colemanballs 5 (Corgi £2.95) and On And On? Further Letters 0t Denis Thatcher (Corgi £2.95) are all out-takes lrom specilic sections ol Private Eye, and will be best enjoyed by people who have particular lavourites.
Far more meaty and engaging is My Gorgeous Lite by Dame Edna Everage (Pan £3.99) issued in pauperback (sic) tor the benelit at those unlortunate possums who lacked the necessary to read the housewile megastar‘s autobiography between hard covers. Dame Edna's glamorous persona and charm-laden delivery are at course absent lrom the page, but hervoice is still clearly audible in the narrative style, and it's a lair substitute.
Less successlully sundered lrom its
charismatic performer, Glad To Wear Glasses by John Hegley (Andre Deutsch £4.99) is a collection at the bespectacled bard's recent works. Hegley‘s poetic vision is dogged by two themes—the ophthalmic and the canine — and berelt ol the myopic stare, the hessian bound, the conlrontational delivery and the aggressively thrashed ukelele, it can seem bland and repetitive. But there are a lew gems here, especially in the lield ol irrelutable observation, such as ‘one at the main dillerences/ between Blackburn and Preston/ is that Preston/ is more western‘, a splendid quatrain
which lirst appeared in The Guardian. .. .50 You'a; coNCERNED Awur MY "S‘tYI-E oF Wt?" ARE You ‘1’?
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So too did The Revolutionary ll. . . by Steve Bell (Methuen £4.99), this year’s collection lrom the best and easily the liercest ol the paper‘s cartoonists. With a caustic imagination that leaves Swill and Voltaire looking like Pam Ayres, he demolishes the establishment on both sides at the House, gets serious about Northern Ireland, provides a worrying guide to greenhouse weather conditions, and does so with superb visual panache and a great deal at hearty rib-tickling.
By contrast, Alex lll: Son 0t Alex by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor (Penguin, £4.99) belongs in a world apart, where Independent readers presumably send their senses ol humour. Alex is in The City, as are most at his supporting cast. He is happily married, and in the course at this collection ol short strips becomes a lather; but although these two milieux are linked (by a tax machine, in the case at the birth), they have no real connection with the outside world.
Even middle-class guiltlailsto penetrate Alex's smugly cushy
number. . To conclude on a high note,
Scarleland by Gerald Scarle (Hamish Hamilton, £10.99) does not disappoint. A rather pricey paperback reissue ‘with new additions’, this is a kind at Dante's Menagerio, in which Scarle‘s everyman travels through a bizarre, mythical land, where he encounters all manner at strange beasts, like the Mad Hattersley Hare, the lmeldapede (with shoes lor every pair at leet) and The Gigantic Fergie (Yorkus Elephantiatus). The launa at this lost land is captured with hideous accuracy in Scarle’s grotesque yet elegant penstrokes, though publication was too early to include the notorious Saddam Ant. Next year, perhaps.
92 The List 23 November — 6 December 1990