Scotland has never been short of creative talent. But too often in the past it has been ignored by the rest
of the world. Either that or folk
have been obliged to head south if they are to have any chance of developing their work.
In the past few years all that has changed: literary prize lists regularly feature Scottish writers. international galleries and collectors fall over each other in their efforts to secure the latest canvas from a succession of Glasgow painters and a new generation of composers and musicians is attracting a growing audience to Scotland‘s music.
To show the range and depth of original artistic activity happening now in Scotland. The List has selected a hundred individuals and groups who together are shaping contemporary Scottish culture. Fifty profiles are included in this issue and 50 more will follow in the next issue. out on Thursday 25 February.
Morwenna Banks. John Sparkes. Jack Docherty. Gordon Kennedy. Pete Balkie and Moray Hunter write. produce and perform all their off—the- wall material. The Channel 4 comedy team used to rehearse over the road from Scottish Television programme chief Alistair Moffat. He missed them but their eclectic talents are probably better suited to the minority channel anyway. Individual projects loom. with Baikie and Docherty working on their own show and Banks reportedly off to the States. but as a comedy ensemble they have few peers. and they’ll be back.
PHIL ANO TOM BANOROFT
Much of the current activity on the Scottish jazz scene is down to the creative input of the Bancroft twins. either as instigators of their own projects. as in drummer Tom‘s electrifying big band. or as crucial
L-.- _ . . _ 8 The List III—25 February I993
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members of the most exciting groups around. notably those of Chick Lyall , and the John Rae Collective. Phil is the Q most viscerally exciting of saxophonists. and recalls American giants like David Murray in his ; muscularity and invention. while Tom
is one of the few drummers around who is comfortable with freer time. Both have been noticeably absent (and much i missed) in recent months as they ; complete their medical studies. but will be free to concentrate on music again ‘ very soon.
IAIN (M) BANKS
When Banks‘s first novel. The ll’asp l'aermjv. was published in 198-1 the brutish horror of its casual violence
won him a level of notoriety few ever achieve. Written in the evenings over four years while working in London. the book‘s commercial success allowed him to turn to writing full time. It was quickly followed by The Bridge. the hallucinatory dreams of a car crash victim. themes close to his heart. His highly successful science fiction as Iain; M. Banks tends towards communist- utopian space operas. 1992’s The ('run- Road showed a return to form and increased maturity. Born in l‘)5-l. he now lives in life.
[ESLEY BANKS Banks took variotisjobs when she left . art school. until l98‘) when she devoted
herself to painting full-time. Her first solo show in 1991 confirmed her place as one of Glasgow’s new young stars. Banks‘s compositions are based on everyday scenes — a man washing windows or. most famously. her series on Glasgow‘s Arlington Baths. Her fascination with surface texture and the effects of light are remniscent of David Hockney. Although the scenes she paints are apparently mundane. in each case there is an element of melodrama. In one of the Arlington Baths pictures. for example. one of the women is reading an article about the Gulf War.
SALLY BEAMISH Like Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. composer and violist Sally Beamish
hails from the north of England. but has
made her home in Scotland. where she is fast emerging as one of the most prominent of the new composers on a currently active contemporary music scene. She is a distinguished viola player. and a member of the Hebrides Iinsemble. but now prefers to concentrate on writing. (,‘omposition has tended to be a male-dominated vocation in the past. and it is good to see Judith Weir and Beamish now being joined by younger composers like lilaine Agnew and Jane (iardner. Beamish has several important
commissions in hand. and we should be -'
hearing a lot more of her music in the next few years.
; JOHN BELLANY
' The most famous living Scottish painter i (born l‘)42) actually lives in London.
i but his work over the last 30 years has consistently drawn from his childhood in the Calvinist fishing town of Port
I Seton. a place he describes as ‘a bit like
i Under Milk Himrl‘. liarly on. Bellany developed a vocabulary of marine symbols with which to explore his ideas about life. death. sex and guilt — 3 he sometimes paints himself and his
life was saved by a liver transplant. an experience he documented in the exhibition A Renaismnee. Since then his work has been imbued with a sense of spiritual and artistic renewal.
Director. playwright. founder member. along with Aileen Ritchie. of Clyde L'nity Theatre. Binnie has kept himself out of the world of mainstream theatre.
preferring to take his work into low- profile community venues on exhaustive Scotland-wide tottrs. The self-containment ofClyde Lfnity has led to a home-made. semi-amateur feel to some of the work. but it has also given Binnie space to develop into an increasingly mature and sensitive playwright whose work as director and
wife wearing animal masks. In 1988 his .