Open letter to the Scottish Arts Council.
We. the undersigned. are clients of the Scottish Arts Council. and other members of the visual arts community in Scotland. We are dismayed by the claims of Lindsay Gordon. Art Director ofthe Scottish
Arts Council. on BBC TV on
Wednesday 20 February. that there is no crisis in the visual arts in
i Scotland. and furthermore that the
closures of the Fruitmarket Gallery and the 369 Gallery are merely ‘coincidental‘.
()n the contrary. we believe that there is an unprecedented crisis in the visual arts. In fact. we are of the opinion that SAC‘s actions have precipitated the closures of these galleries and that the inconsistency ofSAC‘s policies threatens the
future stability of many other visual
l I should think you'd have to be 80 The List 8- 21 March 199]
We are critical of: l)The lack of adequate funding for the visual arts in scotland. resulting from the absence of a powerful visual arts lobby within the SAC itself.
2) The lack ofan informed. long-term. coherent and developmental policy for the visual arts in Scotland.
3) The lack of accountability and democracy in the administration of present funding and policy.
We believe that it is imperative that the decision to withhold grants to Fruitmarket Gallery and 369 Gallery be reconsidered within a wider context. Confidence in the well-being of the visual arts in Scotland has been undermined to such an extent that we consider it essential for SAC to attend a public debate to discuss the present and future state of the visual arts in Scotland.
We invite you to attend a public debate at the Traverse Theatre. West Bow. Edinburgh.
Signed by over 50 artists and SAC clients
(‘ () SALVO
Royal Lyceum Theatre
( I rind lay Street
Vic: ay there’s the rub
Now. I'm not one of those people with nothing better to do ofa Friday evening than stay in and watch telly (the Edinburgh and Lothian Matchbook Collectors' Guild has some pretty wild social outings. let me tell you). But on the recommendation of your man Lappin. I thought fit to cancel my outstandingengagements to assess the mettle of this Vic Reeves fellow. lmagine my disgust. then. to find this self-styled ‘entertainer' to be a charlatan of the lowest order.
neither talented nor funny. nor even.
like that strange little man Paul Daniels. willing to compensate for his atrocious lackofcharisma with a bit of healthy self-deprecation.
Write to The List, Old Athenaeum Theatre, 179 Buchanan Street, Glasgow G1 2JZ. or 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 lTE. The best letter next issue will win a bottle ofJose Cuervo tequila.
either falling-over drunk or else in the thrall ofsome dramatically
influential narcotics to enjoy a Big Night Out (sic) with Vic. Unless of
course you're that bald geek with the biros. who seems pretty content with
a lowly station in life. Simon Wardle Spottiswoode Road Edinburgh.
Theyjust won’t let it lie
I used to think that programmes like 'A [10. 'A [10 or Beadle 's A bout were the nadir ofTV comedy until I saw the first in the new series by your cover so-called ‘star' Vic Reeves. Rolling about on the ﬂoor in a stupid costume uttering inanities is not my idea of innovative comedy. Vic and his pathetic assistants are third—rate Morecambe And Wise without the intelligence. Channel 4 and the hordes of trendies latching
onto the Reeves bandwagon must be I
trying out the old Emperor‘s New Clothes trick. I for one atn not fooled. A complete waste of air-time. and not big and clever at all.
I wish to complain. in the strongest possible terms. about the comments made in the Listen music column (The List 142) concerning the reformation of the rock group Yes. As a fairly tolerant observer of the acidic bitching endemic in most of the music press these days. lam perfectly clear that they are his or her personal opinions. I do not. however. expect a publication of the quality of The List to reproduce such opinionated garbage on its pages without qualification.
As a member of'l‘he Yes Music Circle. the reformation of Yes is an event which I‘ve been looking forward to with great expectation and not a little faith since the band
effectively split up eleven years ago.
Now that they have finally reformed.
myself and other Scottish members of the YMC have been lobbying the Yes management as hard as we possibly can to get Scottish dates added to the tour schedule. It is. therefore. disheartening to see one’s efforts so obviously unappreciated in Scotland‘s leading arts reveiw;l would remind the author of Listen ((1 propos of his sarcastic relief at Yes coming no closer to Scotland than Birmingham) that Anderson. Bruford. Wakeman and Howe (Yes minus one member) were forced to add an extra date at the Edinburgh Playhouse in October 1989. due to their first date selling out. As has frequently been observed. the minority makes the most noise. Damian Beagan
Gray’s Eulogy II
The letter in last issue from (3.1.. Maxwell reminded me of the other great achievement of Alasdair Gray. At a conference some years ago on the Predicament of the Scottish Writer. various oh-so-worthy speakers agonised in public over the many and terrible dilemmas that troubled them in their work — the dominance ofthe English literary establishment. how to convey the richness of Scots dialogue on the page. the dead-hand of the Kailyard School. etc.
After many hours of learned contributions and fruitless wrangling. Gray sprang to his feet and banished all the humbug. ‘For me.‘ he said. ‘the predicament ofthe Scottish writer is all about not having enough money.’ A hushed silence descended upon the embarrassed audience. who liked to pretend such things were too vulgar to discuss. But they listened as Gray continued: ‘and I can tell you I have solved the problem. Some years ago. I came across a very large flat in Glasgow. so
large in fact that the Council couldn't get anyone to rent it from them. Nobody had a big enough family to occupy all the rooms. Rather than see it lie empty. I persuaded them to let me have it at a low rent. Then I got all my friends to move in and pay me rent. That way I solved the
j predicament of the Scottish Writer ; and managed to live off my friends
and with them at the same time.‘ Perhaps the Scottish Arts Councrl
could make similar arrangements for
other writers. Andrew Matthews Balfour Street Edinburgh.
Presumably. your predicament is not having enough alcohol. But (10 not despair: a bottle of J ose Cuervo tequila is on its way to you.
Currently on tour in Scotland. the National Theatre has inexplicably become the Royal National Theatre. Why the need for this off—putting regal adjective'.’ It serves to give obsequious succour to our unelected. undemocratic monarchy. More acceptable would have been the People‘s or Citizens‘ National Theatre.
I half-intended going to one ofits plays. At least its sycophantic change of name has persuaded me otherwise — and so saved me the price ofa ticket.
The worm returns
With friends like my sister. who
needs back-stabbing. two-faced
; enemies‘.’ When I'm buried in
; Greyfriars graveyard I‘ll have to
5 leave instructions for guards to
watch over my plot. lest Lynn digs up I my corpse in order to sell it to an
anatomy professor. Knowing her.
; she'd just walk into Crocketts the
lronmongers in West Nile Street and brazenly ask for ‘basic grave-robbing equipment. please'. rather than buy spades and shovels separately. And she'd haggle over the price ofmy remains. demandingover ltlshillings because I died ofan exotic illness. In fact. ifshe could get more by cutting me up and flogging me off organ by organ she‘d do so.
There's a word for little Glaswegian urchins like her— NlPPY SWEETIE. And Lynn — people who ask for reviewing work or a T-shirt never get anything. It’s so non-U to ask. Try Smash Hits or Twinkle instead.
David M. Bennie
Nippy Sweetie is two words — Ed.
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