STATE OF THE ARTS FEATURE
twenty-eight-year—old, somewhat publicity-shy Glaswegian. who writes about relationships, women. men, poverty. injustice and — occasionally - joy with exquisite sensitivity. Her unflashy. painstakingly-wrought. quietly compelling prose allows her themes to seep unforced through the fabric of her subjects, with results more
powerful and moving than any amount of literary pyrotechnics. lf she keeps this up. the sky‘s the limit.
Ranked among Scotland's most adventurous poetic talents. Leonard is best known for his work in transliterated Glaswegian speech. in which his scant sympathy for struggling English readers is signalled by lines such as ‘helluva hard tay read theez init‘. His collection Intimate Voices. co-winner of the Saltire Society Book of the Year in I984. is memorable for its combination of exuberant humour and serious meditation on subjects such as religion and football. Leonard was editor of Radical Renfrew. an anthology of work by dissenting West Coast poets. and has recently published Places ofthe Mind. a study of the life and work of 19th century Scots poet James Thomson.
Poet and playwright. Lochhead is easily one of Scotland's most popular talents. She has said she wants her work to ‘make sense to my landlady and the man in the corner shop“, while also rewarding scholarly probing. She achieves this balance through her warm. psychologically acute observations of people and relationships. described through extensive wordplay and carefully manipulated ambiguity. Her plays often tackle classical and historical subjects — Mary Shelley's life in Blood and Ice. Scotland's past in Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Oﬂ; she also wrote the text for Communicado's 1990 landmark Jock Tamson ’s Bairns. She appears currently to be concentrating on readings and performance.
TDM MDDIIATII Since editing 60s hippy magazine International Times, McGrath has
pursued an ever-changing career as a playwright, from the minimalist gruntings of Animal to the real-life Jimmy Boyle drama The Hard Man and the bourgeois yuppy parody of Trivial Pursuits. As the Scottish Arts Council‘s man in charge of all things literary. he tends to be involved with more artistic projects than is medically safe. but his eclectic tastes make him ideal for the job. His next two major plays are boxing biography Buchanan at Edinburgh’s Traverse and the second part of his Tankred Dorst adaptation Merlin at the Royal Lyceum.
Since leaving the Guild Hall in February 1992. the 21 year-old C rieff- born MacGregor has landed a starring part in Dennis Potter‘s current six-part TV drama Lipstick On Your Collar. a role in a Joe Orton stage-play. a bit part in the new Bill Forsyth film. and a major part in a BBC adaptation of Stendhal. ‘Resting' has yet to enter this particular actor‘s vocabulary. As Mick Hopper in Lipstick he looks likely to become rapidly recognisable in the street, but his main ambition at the moment is apparently to appear on stage at the new Traverse. Ian Brown please note.
MDDDIIII LDDAN DUNCAN & DPFER This architectural practice has an impressive knack of landing interesting commissions for the private houses of high proﬁle clients. As these designs and finished buildings cannot normally be publicised or visited, they are better known for their recent conversion of the Tron Theatre and their modem tenement in Maryhill which demonstrates their ability to develop traditional forms and ideas. This almost circular construction has an inventive section which keeps large scale public rooms to the front while stacking smaller bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens to the rear. Current projects include the transformation of an old warehouse in Miller Street Glasgow where through the careful use of steel. beech and colour they propose to create a refreshing new location for the Stirling Library.
One of Scotland’s most warm-hearted writers, MacIlvanney derives his deep understanding of and affection for the West Coast working class from his own humble but emotionally humane Kilmarnock roots. His novels. notably | Docherty. The Big Man and his thriller 2 series featuring detective Jack Laidlaw. probe beneath Glaswegian sterotypes of the ‘hard man‘ and proletarian solidarity to reveal the human reality beneath. Occasionally his conscience threatens to overburden his prose. but mostly his skill at characterisation and plotting wins the day. An accomplished essayist and orator. he is currently heavily involved in the Scottish democracy campaign.
Gone are the pork-pie hats and unlikely tanan accoutrements, these days this ex-Merry Mac performer is far more involved in the serious business of writing comedy. Nestling himself into the world of TV sitcom after the reasonably successful My Dead Dad
(which. it must be said. did not achieve the lightness of touch of the original play Dead Dad Dog). McKay still enjoys the relative freedom of the theatre and his latest play. My Brother 's Keeper. is currently on tour with
Cumbcrnauld Theatre. Typical concerns: new men. split personalities and the upwardly-mobile Scot.
Only a few years ago. Mackenzie was contributing the occasional article to The List. Then came a First Reels grant and his directorial debut with the 2()- tninute film noir Dirty Dianumds. which ensured a sell-out screening of New British Shorts at the 1992 Edinburgh International Film Festival. He is now about to set up his own Edinburgh-based production company. is working on a short drama and has submitted a script to the BH New Directors scheme.
A former art teacher turned filmmaker who honed his directorial skills at the National Film and Television School. Mackinnon won acclaim for a trio of TV films — Conquest oft/1e South Pole. Needle and The Grass Arena —- before directing Albert Finney and Aidan Quinn in the successful turn of the century Irish romance The Playboys. Although he was snapped up by George Lucas to direct an episode of the TV Young Indiana Jones series. he is now planning to develop his talents as a writer.
Although he is by no means at the start
of his artistic career and now has works
in most of Scotland's major public collections. Macl.ean was not widely recognised as a leading artist until I992. when a large retrospective of his work was accompanied by a book Symbols of Survival by Duncan Macmillan. McLean‘s inspiration are the Highlands and their history. the legacy of the Clearances and the rich literary tradition; he is particularly interested in the writing of Orkney poet Sorley Maclean. His wooden constructions create an atmosphere of poignancy. without resorting to nostalgia.
Taggart remains Scottish 'I'elevision‘s only real sustained success story on the ITV network and substantial credit for that must go to the gritty performances of Mark McManus in the title role. Over the years. he’s developed into a kind of anti-Morse. although he shares the Oxford aesthete's misanthropy and impatience with his juniors. .‘vchanus himself eschews publicity (the Glasgow i
L A .g as .g.
University Rectorship nomination notwithstanding) and it's difficult to imagine him in any other role. Not that it‘ll worry him overmuch. with 'Iaggart attracting its biggest-ever audiences. Long may he continue to pull deid boadies out of the Clyde.
The burst of intense creative activity which brought composer MacMillan to such prominence in the late 80s and early 90s has established him as arguably the most powerful young voice in British classical music. and has perhaps left him with a rather weighty burden of expectation on his shoulders. But with two major Proms successes already behind him and string of commissions which seem set to keep him busy for the rest of the century. MacMillan is aware that he must ignore the hype and concentrate on his art. The extraordinary energy. ingenuity and sense of purpose in his writing derives in pan from strongly held religious and political convictions and his success is encouraging younger composers like Gordon McPherson. now emerging in his wake.
DRAEME MCIIAUGIIT The Motherwell-born classical pianist j studied in Germany before winning the inaugural Scottish l’iano (‘ompetition
in 1986 but is now firmly settled in ~ Glasgow with his partner. the novelist Janice Galloway. and determined to build his career from borne base. He works in a variety of settings. from solo 3 piano recitals to concertos with the RSNO. and has made a particular
impact as a sensitive accompanist to singers. His regular collaborators in the latter role include the great American
. bass Willard White and Scottish i
soprano ('hristine Cairns. His affiliation l
.ist 26 February—l 1 March 1993 13