Previous page: Communicado's Jock Tamson's Bairns, the ambitious and controversial production that opened a highly successful year at Tramway, where Peter Brook's French-language version of The Tempest (above) was performed in October.
Throughout the year, The List set the pace for coverage of a staggering 700 exhibitions, 1200 performances and sixteen different festivals, from Hogmanay to Hogmanay via The Big Day.
I le Lochhead (Poet, playwright and cabaret performer) "The best thing was The Big Day, which was great, one of the best days of my life, and it was free. so everyone could enjoy it. I found the third Wooster Group show pretentious, but I was pleasantly surprised that there was a huge, open-minded audience for experimental theatre. The worst thing really was not being able to keep up with all the shows you wanted to see.‘
I Gerard Kelly (Star of BBC Scotland’s City Lights and Associate Director of 7:84 Theatre Company) ‘My favourite production of 1990 was Bill Bryden‘s The Ship. in that it celebrated Glasgow‘s greatest industrial achievements and most optimistic years without sinking into a highly inapproprite nostalgia and ill feeling of loss for an industry that died more due to progress than the often-proposed connivance of those in power. The special effects were awe-inspiring, but even against that challenging backdrop, Tom Watson’s and Jimmy Grant‘s performances were stunning.”
I George Wyllie (Scul?t0r) ‘The Tramway Theatre was the star of 1990 in Glasgow. It‘d be a tragedy if it should go — something else should go in its place. In a quiet way, the visit of Kenneth White was very important; he suggested a new type of art form called geopoetics which means you grab anything you can and do it in any poetic way you can. None of the Scottish theatre productions, very sadly. were up to much. I wish to God they had been but they weren‘t.‘
I Arnold Brown (Comedian) ‘It‘s been an amazing year. How else would Frank Sinatra have had the opportunity of being on the same platform as me'.’ It‘s great that people are still arguing over the idea of culture. It might be a few middle-class intellectuals versus a few working-class intellectuals but it‘s great. The only thing is, what will be the spin-off when things get back to normal? With Thatcher going. it could mean a decrease in the arts— if people don‘t feel so angry they might go back to watching Noel Coward plays.‘
I Charles Gray (Leader of Strathclyde Regional Council and Chairman ofthe European City of Culture Committee) ‘The best of 1990 was the spontaneous appreciation of the spread of culture throughout Strathclyde via the Departments of Education and Social Work. The worst was the preparation ofa budget which threatens much ofwhat the Region is best at in the provision of services.’ I John Legg (Social Worker) ‘We‘re very positive about projects funded by the Regional Council to work with groups in areas for priority treatment like Drumchapel, Maryhill and Ruchill. There have been over 60 arts projects right across Strathclyde, and it‘s been like the Heineken advert, refreshing the parts . . . I hate to sound so positive. but people who say it‘s all city-centre based obviously don‘t know what‘s been going on (and is continuing into
1991). Would mentally and physically handicapped groups, elderly groups and children in care have had these opportunities otherwise? I doubt it.‘
I Julian Spalding (Director of Glasgow Art Gallery & Museum, Kelvingrove) ‘The best of 1990 was all the commitment, energy and enterprise that got it rolling. The worst was the self-seeking, carping sideliners who tried, unsuccessfully. to stop it.’
I Giles Havergal (Artistic Director of Citizens‘ Theatre) ‘The best of the year — the monument — would be the opening ofthe Concert Hall. The worst would be people‘s whingeing. The task ofchanging. or even denting, the worldwide reputation of the city as being razor gangs and thugs is worth an enormous amount of money. At best we may have seen that reputation right off. Our job now is to change the reality.‘
I Gerard Mulgrew (Founding artistic director ofCommunicado Theatre Company) ‘The Lantern Procession was very moving, and I greatly enjoyed the Wooster Group at the Tramway. The creation of that venue was also good. I thought that some ofthe argument and controversy about the whole year was healthy. The least favourable aspect was the rather cynical pre-judging ofthe event before it had even got offthe ground.‘
I Joyce Machllan (Theatre critic and columnist) ‘My highlights were La Tempéte for sheer brilliance;
LSD. . .Justlhe High Points. . . for
sheer modernity; Tramway for being a theatre that‘s really fashionable. where young poseurs can go to be seen; GlasgowAlI Lit Up which was moving, jolly and lovely.
and Jock Tamson's Bairns, the great unsung success of the year. It was an exceptionally clever attempt to get to grips with Scottish identity, and I‘ll never forget it. The only thing I would express reservations about was The Ship.
It didn‘t challenge Glasgow’s perception of itself and descended into schmaltz. Overall. though, I thought the year was extremely successful.‘
I Adele Patrick (CO-ordinator of Women In Profile) ‘Best of 1990: Castlemilk Womanhouse; Glaswegians Exhibition; History of Women‘s Aid Exhibition; Glasgow Girls; Elspeth King (and Elspeth King at the Women‘s Conference); Paddy‘s Market (daily excluding Sunday); Arpana Caur Exhibition; Maud Sulter Exhibition. Worst of 1990: Glasgow‘s Glasgow; Ubiquitous Pat Lally; Elspeth King
‘ “affair”; Michael Donelly “affair”;
Jude Burkhauser “affair”; British Art Show; Great British Art Show; that logo.‘
I Angus Farguhar (Artistic director ofTest Department) ‘The worst moment was blacking out on 5 January with the news that Strathclyde Council had rejected the Second Coming proposal for the second time. The best was, nine months later, the spontaneous shouts of the cast when they pulled a 35-ton snowplough the length of the
four-acre shed to ﬁnish the show.‘
I Seona Held (Director of the Scottish Arts Council since September 1990) ‘The worst thing about 1990 was that I missed most of it! The best thing. . . there was so much to choose from — that was the strength of 1990 — the sheer scale and
‘ variety of events and activities on
offer. Glasgow put on a show and the world joined in. 1990 captured the imagination ofus all.‘
I Ian Spring (Lecturer and author of Phantom Village— The Myth Of The New Glasgow, published this month by Polygon, price £8.95) ‘The best of Glasgow 1990 is really the fact that it‘s still standing in the face ofgales Ofinflatcd rhetoric. although I must mention at least one ofChic Charnley‘s goals. The worst? The invasion of kitsch art nout'eau on every street corner, or Glasgow‘s Glasgow — not only because it didn‘t work. but because ofthe rancour that lives on.‘
I Michael Boyd (Artistic director of Tron Theatre) ‘The best: Deacon Blue on Glasgow Green; staging Crow; Brook‘s Tempest; the World Theatre season; Lepage‘s inventive Tectonic Plates; staging The Guid Sisters in Toronto; being in Tuscany for Ireland v Italy; Mahler‘s music in Century '5 End. and Craig Armstrong‘s music for other Tron productions. Cinema Paradiso at the Grosvenor; being so busy rehearsing I couldn’t see more. The worst: Sheena Easton on Glasgow Green: the World Theatre season‘s empty seats and Bergman‘s Markissinnan (1e Sade; Charles Rennie Mackintosherie; Glasgow Patter street signs; the British Art Show; being so busy rehearsing I couldn‘t see more.‘
I David Hayman (Artistic director of 7:84 Theatre Company; director of the film Silent Scream) ‘It has to be said that universally Glasgow‘s reign as Cultural Capital of Europe has been a resounding success. This year I have been lucky enough to have worked in New York. Berlin. London. Madrid and Los Angeles and everywhere the wholehearted appreciation of what Glasgow has achieved has been extraordinary. At home, ofcourse. there has been criticism — and rightly so - of many aspects of 1990. But let us take the confidence we have found and the lessons we have learned from this year to build and strengthen our unique cultural identity.‘
I Nikki Millican (Performance Director ofThird Eye Centre) ‘It would be unfair to the artists concerned if I were to highlight particular'I‘hird Eye projects in preference to others; there have been so many moments ot‘joy over the last three years. I think it is important to stress that Glasgow‘s commitment to a cultural programme has taken place over a three-year period and not just the last twelve months. No other European City ofCulture has come
5 close to Glasgow‘s achievements.
and for that we should be proud. and silence the denigrators and whiners who derive pleasure from decrying Glasgow‘s success.‘
The List 21 December 1990— ltlJanuary 199113