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The musical community in Scotland was taken completely by surprise last

week when it was announced that the

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the Scottish Opera Orchestra would merge, to create a new ‘National Orchestra of Scotland‘. The new orchestra will have a full playing strength of94. thus making necessary the redundancy of thirteen professional musicians. The Musicians‘ Union criticised the fact that the decision had been made without consultation with the union or the general public.

The NOS will be administered by a new company based at Scottish Opera‘s offices in Glasgow and will have a five-strong board consisting of two representatives from the BBC. two from Scottish Opera and a neutral chairperson. No new funding will be forthcoming from the Scottish Arts Council as the orchestra will be financed jointly by the two other organisations to the tune of £25 million. John McCormick. controller of BBC Scotland. promised that the £500,000 annual saving that the merger creates for the BBC will be invested in music and

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BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: gone in merger

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arts programming. In recent years. there has been severe pressure from the BBC‘s

' London headquarters to close down ;

its Scottish Symphony Orchestra. while financial difficulties have shrouded the future ofScottish

3 Opera. and so it could be argued that

one secure orchestra is better than

; two that are skimping along. unable

to fulfil their potential.

Nevertheless. Scotland as a nation

now has one orchestra less. a move

that will obviously have a

: detrimental effect on the number of

' concert performances by

Scottish-based orchestras who traditionally promote new Scottish

composers. On a more positive note,

j the NOS will now be of a size that ' allows it to tackle large-scale symphonic works by the likes of Mahler and Bruckner, as well as extend the repertoire ofScottish Opera.

The National Orchestra will have

musical director-elect, as its principal conductor, and is due to play the Edinburgh Festival on 3 September 1993. (Alan Morrison)

:— Homeless rise

Homelessness in Scotland has reached the highest ever recorded level for the third year running. The Shelter (Scotland) Annual Homelessness Survey showed that 37,519 homeless applications were received from families and single people in Scotland last year, an increase oi 9 per cent on the year before and of 128 per cent since Shelter began records in 1983. Of thistotal, almost 12,000 were families with small children a shocking statistic which means that last year approximately 84 children in Scotland become homeless every working day. ‘The fact that record homelessness has occurred for the third year in succession means that the time is now well past forthe usual government platitudes,’ said Amy Isaac, Director of

. Shelter (Scotland), who putthe blame

firmly on the long-term failure to invest in public sector housing. ‘Despite the small extra cash allowances made available periodically to deal with the symptoms of homelessness, the numbers keep rising and we still do not have a credible housing strategy to

4m: List 18 necessaries; iliilEfiéry 1993

tackle the root causes. It is time that we stopped hearing the same expressions of regret followed by the same failures to take effective action every year.’ The greatest increase was in remote . and rural areas, although numbers j there remain small compared with ; cities. Applications in Edinburgh i reduced slightly overthe year, but in neighbouring West Lothian they rose by 65 per cent. Glasgow District Council saw a 16 per cent rise in ; applicants, with the result that the city E now accounts for about a quarter of all ; Scotland’s homeless households, and Strathclyde Region for just over half. Meanwhile, Edinburgh-based charity the Rock Trust is fast establishing itself as an important new initiative in helping 16 to 21-year-old homeless Scots in the Lothian area. As well as running social-worker-led projects for young people in crisis, many of whom were previously in care, the Rock Trust collects second-hand furniture for renovation for its housing project and is planning meals for young homeless people at the Ark in New Street on 2 Jan i 1993. Anyone wishing to make food, furniture orfinancial donations, or receive further details of the Trust’s I work, should contact its office at 53 Blackfriars Street, Edinburgh (031 557 4059). (Alan Morrison)

Richard Armstrong. Scottish opera‘s

lToyland tussles

Hulk Hogan and cronies have beaten Brains, Lady Penelope and the Tracy boys by a clear submission in the Christmas toy chart, according to the British Association of Toy Retailers. The WWF Wrestlers were clear at the top of the Christmas stocking filler list in the immediate run-up to Christmas, despite a surge by the Thunderbirds team. And the ever-present Barbie can smile at her vanity mirror knowing that she’s sitting at number three while arch

rival Sindy languishes at number ten.

On the video games front, Nintendo appears to have the edge on Sega, while Trivial Pursuit Genus III tops the board games chart, with honorable mentions for traditional favourites including Scrabble , Mousetrap and Monopoly. The 1992 toy market is expected to rake in £1.3 billion for retailers, of which around 60 per cent is spent at Christmas. (AM)

A bridge too far?

The cost of repairs to Glasgow’s Kingston Bridge - possibly the busiest in Europe, carrying around 132,000 vehicles every day- has soared to £20 million. City drivers are now facing four years of hold-ups and diversions as work lasting from spring to autumn is likely to cause lane and slip road closures. And Councillor Malcolm Waugh, chair of the transport committee, indicated that a ‘worsf scenario’ could involve the entire

bridge being closed.

Already 6000 tons of concrete and 25,000 one-ton boulders have been used to strengthen pillars, but the Region now has to consider placing high tension steel cables through the main span in order to stop the bridge, which has dropped twelve inches since ltwas built, sagging further. Strathclyde Region is currently suing the designers of the bridge for £7 million. (AM)


I RSAMD Chair: Malcolm Mclver, solicitor and senior partner of Bird Semple Fyfe Ireland WS, will take over as Chairman of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama on New Year‘s Day, succeedingJohn N. Anderson. Mr Mclver is currently a member of the RSAMD board, a director ofseveral companies, trustee ofvarious charities and also serves on the Company Law Committee of the Law Society of Scotland. Born on Stornoway in 1935, he is a graduate ofGlasgow University.

I Uni name: Staff and students at Glasgow Polytechnic and the Queen‘s College Glasgow have finally agreed on a name for the city‘s third university, to be formed when the two institutions merge in April (The List 190). Having previously failed to find success with Queen‘s University Glasgow and Glasgow Merchants University, the 8000 eligible voters chose Glasgow

Caledonian University ahead of

Glasgow St Mungo, Glasgow

Lomond and Glasgow Metropolitan


I SAC Vice Chair: Fiona Walker, the

member ofthe Executive Committee ofthe National Trust for Scotland currently charged with the reorganisation of the Trust’s archives, has been appointed Vice Chair of the Scottish Arts Council by the Arts Council ofGreat Britain. Ms Walker (47) was born in Glasgow and studied English. History of Art and History of Architecture at the Open University. The appointment is for the period ending 31 March 1995. I Mlners’ Walk: The Scottish miners who set off from Glasgow on 14 November to walk the 636 miles to London in opposition to the government‘s pit closure programme arrive at their destination on Saturday the 19th December. Everyone who supports their cause is being asked to show solidarity by switching offall the lights in their homes for five minutes at 8pm on the day. I Fringe Film Awards: The most popular film at this year’s Fringe Film and Video Festival was Somewhere Else, directed in Edinburgh by Avie Luthra and shot on Super 8. Lark won the Hammerhead lighting award and the chaotic Mariella's Tips the art direction award. Film critics Angus Wolfe Murray, Richard Mowe and our own Thom Dibdin judged The Journey their favourite. Twice as many people saw films at the festival than last year, with an average 77 per cent of seats sold. Seven screenings

were sold out. #1