‘There are a lot of problems in
Scotland.‘ says Georgina Stewart of the 3
Edinburgh Gypsy Council. ‘but the
biggest problem we face is racism — we ;
are still the outcasts of society.‘
The fact that there is still a large community of traditional gypsies — Stewart estimates that there are over
10.000 families living in Scotland — has .
recently been overshadowed by the panic surrounding New Age Travellers. Unsurprisingly. gypsies are concerned that the new recruits to the travelling bandwagon do their own cause few favours.
‘I don‘t like New Age Travellers.‘ says Stewart. ‘They are a pack of hippies; why should they take the name traveller when they are all about drugs and raves? They give us all a bad name.‘
Though gypsies may feel they have little in common with the travelling circuses of the New Age convoys. it is the desire ofboth groups to live outside the bricks and mortar of modem society that seems to arouse deep suspicion. In an attempt to increase understanding of traditional travellers‘ culture, a programme of exhibitions and events has been organised to celebrate gypsy
Already the mind of at least one Edinburgh person appears to have been broadened by the event. Conservative district councillor lan Hoy initially objected to a civic reception for the organisers but after a visit to one of the sites put on record his view that ‘the only way to break down ignorance is [for people] to come along and see for themselves.‘
The heritage week includes a screening of Into The West. a film starring Gabriel Byme as the Traveller King who throws in the nomadic life for a tower block in Dublin. There are also a number of sessions of traditional music. craft workshops and story- telling.
One of the biggest threats to the traditional travelling life is the lack of
:3 x .s ‘
'53 «was: ~3. . like sites. Stewart acknowledges that many provided by councils such as the one at
Duddingston in Edinburgh are suitable I but there are too few to make it ? possible to move freely round the
country. ‘There are few sites. which is a deliberate attempt to stop movement,‘ she says.
However. Edinburgh District Council. which is funding the heritage week. has just lodged plans for a second site for travellers — Claylands to the west of the city. This would bring provision of sites up to the Scottish Office‘s recommended minimum. according to a council spokesman. (Eddie Gibb) Travellers Heritage Week runs 13-20 November and is based at Stepping Stones in the Grassmarket. For details call 225 4472.
I Hogmanay hoolie Plans are being hatched for a three-day New Year celebration centring on Edinburgh‘s Calton Hill. The event will run from 30 December and is likely to feature torchlight processions. fireworks and street performances. There will also be indoor events including concerts and a traditional ceilidh.
I Student unions The Govemment proposals to reform student unions are ‘damaging and unworkable‘ because they fail to understand the positive work that unions do. according to the Committee of University Vice- Chancellors and Principals. In a submission to the education secretary John Patten. the committee argues that the proposed changes would undermine legitimate student activity and asks the
Government to ‘fundamentally rethink‘ ‘
I Bridge plan An alternative transport solution to congestion problems on the Forth Road Bridge has been put forward by an environmental consortium which includes Friends of the Earth and the Scottish Wildlife Trust. The ForthRight proposal was
second bridge. an option the Scottish Office appears to favour but which has alarmed environmental groups.
I Dusty Springfield An urgent plea from a Dusty fan for fellow fanatics to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the singer‘s first solo single. The event
St Margaret, the 11th century Scottish
queen, has been described as the
Mother Teresa of her age. This year the organiser of an event to commemorate the 900th anniversary
: of her death suggested her life as a Hungarian emigre has echoes of suggested as an alternative to building a '
modern Eastern Europe. ‘She was a figure of compassion,’
explains writer lan McFarlane, who ' has commissioned a programme of
new work to mark the anniversary.
1 ‘Then there were people losing their homes in Eastern Europe and Margaret - cared for those who were ‘
response’ to the anniversary and ‘Margaret - A Saint for Scotland’ has been entirely funded by corporate
sponsorship from financial services
company Baillie Gifford & Co.
‘The fact that it is happening at all is quite miraculous,’ McFarlane says. ‘Hopefully it will bring together new
visions oi Scottish history and
culture.’ The event at Dunfennline Abbey,
where Margaret married King Malcolm
in 1069, includes projections of work by Scottish painters including Bruce
I Team Caledonia Scotland‘s only women’s cycling club is expanding into the West of Scotland. The club aims to promote and encourage women of all ages to become involved in cycling, whether for fun. leisure or competition. Events organised include touring bike rides. bicycle maintenance and road safety courses. off-road trails and active road racing and mountain bike racing events. The inaugural meeting is on Thurs l8. 7.30—9.30pm at Kelvin Hall lntemational Sports Arena. Argyle Street. Edinburgh Team Caledonia are holding their AGM on Wed l7. 7.30pm. Meadowbank. Details from Women In Sport 041 227 5933.
I LETS Launch and Trade Fair Launch of a West Glasgow Local Exchange and Trading Scheme. All are welcome to come and join this local barter scheme on Sat 6. llam—lpm. Hyndland Secondary School, Clarence Drive. Hyndland. Further details from Mr Boase. 041 339 3064.
I How Communities Conference Beatrix Campbell. George Baxter and Lesley Riddoch are among the people involved in community politics who will be leading a day of discussion. debate and workshops about
. community action and new initiatives
; on Sat 13 (10am—5pm) at Leith
Academy. This Democratic Left
: organised conference will encompass a wide range of topics from the Zero
McLean and Fred Crayk, together with ;
Tolerance campaign and community initiatives for crime prevention to anti- racist initiatives and creating ﬁt and stimulating environments. Tickets cost £8 (£3) and are available only in advance from 031 554 2276. I AWlP Benefit The African Women‘s Legal Project aims to provide financial help for women‘s legal organisations throughout Africa which are dedicated to protecting the legal rights of women and children. They are holding a i'undraising benefit on Sat 6 (l()pm—3am) at the Edinburgh Vaults with DJs from Tribal Funktion and Arch. Tickets £4. I Women and HIV/AIDS Glasgow Women's Library has published a bibliography on women and HIV/AIDS. This valuable resource for further research and reading covers articles reports and studies published by a wide range of organisations. many of which have not appeared in similar bibliographies. Available from Glasgow Women‘s Library. 50 Hill Street. Glasgow G3 68H. price £2.95. I TALKS and LECTURES: Finland and European Union 4 Royal Terrace. Edinburgh. Tue 9. 8pm. Lecture by his Excellency Leif Blomqvist. Mountains Are My Garden RBG Lecture Theatre. 20A lnverlieth Row. Wed 10. 7.30pm. Tickets and details from 031 552 5339. Sustainable Strathclyde Renfreld St Stephen‘s Centre. Bath Street. Glasgow. Thurs ll. 7.30pm. The Channel Tunnel Delegation Cultural Francaise. 7 Bowmont
The anniversary year has been a strangely low key affair with few attempts to raise the profile of this important figure of Scottish history. ‘ McFarlane tried for two years to I secure support for a ‘cultural
a selection of rarely performed early
. music. (EC) ‘Margaret - A Saint for Scotland’ is on 18 and 19 November at 7.30pm in liunfennline Abbey. For details call 0383 720108.
3 Gardens. Glasgow. Thurs 18. 7.30pm.
I if you have news of any events or
5 courses which you want publicised in this column, please forward them to
. ‘Action’ at The List, 14 High Street,
‘ Edinburgh EH1 1TE and include a day-
on 20 November at Lister Housing. 36 Lauriston Place. Edinburgh will feature 1 music and videos of the Great White Lady. and a chance for fans to swap anecdotes. memorabilia and records. Details from Sarah Nelson on 031 332 4552 or 031 556 3882.
' time phone number.
The List 5-l8 November I993 5