_ Art attack

The rumbling discontent from some quarters which followed the announcement by the trustees of Scotland‘s art collections that they favoured Kelvingrove as the site for the proposed Scottish gallery looks set to turn into a concerted attempt to overturn the decision.

At a public meeting next week, leading figures front the Scottish arts will criticise the trustees for failing to consult the public fully before making its recommendation and there could be a call for their resignation. The campaign, organised by Saltire Society vice-chairman Paul Scott, is particularly angered by the proposal to break up the collection at the Scottish Portrait Gallery.

‘The Edinburgh or Glasgow debate distracted attention front the real issue.‘ Scott says. ‘We would question the rights of the trustees, who are unelected people. to make such a decision. it is very difficult to find a good intellectual case for what they propose.‘

Although the predominantly Edinburgh-based lobby has been accused of sour grapes because the trustees‘ decision went in Glasgow‘s favour. Scott argues that it is not too late for the proposal to be changed. The question of where the funding will

come from must be answered and the

trustees have still to make a detailed

recommendation to Scottish Secretary

Ian Lang, who could reject the scheme.

‘A resolution will be put to the

' meeting which will call on the Secretary of State to veto the decision,‘

' Scott says.

Concern that a new and costly gallery in Glasgow would spread the National Galleries of Scotland‘s resources too

thinly has been expressed by Duncan Macmillan. curator of the Talbot Rice Gallery. ‘There is a real question of space,‘ he says. ‘But they could do something within Edinburgh to relieve

the problem that was not as expensive and disruptive as creating a new

gallery. What is so pernicious about

a. " \_ «and» ‘I

Kelvingrove: best site for proposed gallery?

this proposal is that it breaks up collections.

‘lt‘s very important to pursue this to the last. We shouldn‘t see it as an Edinburgh and Glasgow thing but about the survival ofthe National Galleries as a whole. But if it is a question about distributing collections ; then Glasgow doesn‘t necessarily have the first claim.‘

Macmillan will speak at the meeting.

as will Julian Spalding, director of

Glasgow‘s museums and staunch advocate of the Glasgow gallery option. r who will be defending the trustees'

l decision.

l The public meeting is at Edinburgh

l College of/lrl. Lauristmr Place on

i 'liresda)‘ I 8 January at 6.15pm.

_ Magnum force

A simmering row between the two cinemas in Irvine is set to come to a head next week at a meeting of Cunninghame District Council. The problem follows a complaint by commercial operator WMB that its audience is being squeezed by the

releases such as Aladdin and Jurassic Park.

WMll owner Bill Mather claims the Magnum should concentrate on second-run and art-house films, leaving his cinema to show new films when they are first released.

‘llo small town these days can support more than one commercial cinema,’ according to Mather, who indicated that like many small cinemas, the WW! is struggling. lle has already had a meeting with councillors to argue his case and is

due later in January.

Entertainments officer William Freckleton wouldn’t comment on the WMll case but pointed out that the council has a strong policy of supporting local cinema. (T hem Dibdin) '

council-owned Magnum cinema, which receives a subsidy and now shows new

now waiting for the council’s decision,

The organisers of Edinburgh’s llogmanay were due to meet formally for the first time since the three-day festival as The list went to press, but early signs are that the event is likely to be repeated.

Police estimates put the crowds on the streets for the bells at over 40,000 - nearly three times as many as usually turn out at the Tron - and all the main ticketed events sold out. The tourist office reported an increase in the number of foreign visitors, particularly Australians, and believes the international profile of the event would be much higher if it is repeated.

‘We felt that it took a while to build up in the public’s estimation,’ says Pete Irvine, director of Unique Events which organised the festival. ‘But we knew this was a big deal, a festival waiting to happen. At least twice as many people came out on llogmanay


as our best estimate.’

The funders of Edinburgh’s llogmanay, which included the district and regional councils, were meeting to review the impact of the event and are likely to begin deliberations on the future of the festival, including whether to appoint a full-time organiser. (Eddie Gibb)

4 The List 14—27 January I994

:— Stirling rock

; Woodstock, Monterey, Isle of

l Wight . . . Blairlogie; it could happen if .3 the Mean Fiddler organisation, the

E promoters of the Reading Festival and 5 Glasgow Fleadh, secure an

i entertainments licence to hold a

I three-day festival on farmland near Stirling.

The site is one of three being considered by the Mean Fiddler, says director Melvyn Benn, and a number of local and international bands have i already been approached to play at : the event scheduled for July. ‘We are 3 in a position to get the festival off the ground this year, subject to being granted a licence,’ Benn says. ‘0ur ? intention is very much that we are going ahead but until it’s advertised, it’s not an event.’

The proposed event would be a 5 similar format to Reading -— a field, a 3 stage and hundreds of tents - and

could attract crowds of up to 25,000. ‘We think there is room for an annual festival in Scotland and Stirling is good because it’s a well known location,’ explains Benn.

According to a spokesman, Stirling District Council had been given little

licence application could be considered by councillors in early February. The council jointly organised a successful rock festival with the Scottish Tllc over three years ago, which featured bands such as

I Deacon Blue and Bunrig. (Eddie Gibb)

Beyond the Fringe

After a combined innings of two

, decades. Mhairi Mackenzie-Robinson and Trisha Emblem are resigning as

; administrator and assistant

administrator of the Edinburgh Festival ; Fringe. leaving open the possibility ofa . I"

f change of direction for the organisation. During their tenure, the world‘s . biggest arts festival has grown even l bigger and the pair has overseen the organisation‘s move from a makeshift ticket-centre to a purpose-designed office with computerised sales counter. separate press office and a full-time staffof five. But Mackenzie-Robinson believes it‘s time to step aside to allow : a new stage in the festival‘s development. ‘lt‘s time for the Fringe to have a change and it‘s certainly time for us to have a change,‘ she says. The direction of that change is largely ; unclear, however. The assistant's job is

Mhairi Mackenzie-Robinson saying goodbye to the Fringe

to be absorbed by the existing staff and

the top position, re-defined as Fringe

,. director, has just been advertised.

Whoever fills the post will be expected

i to bring a fresh eye to the day-to-day working ofthe Fringe Office ‘This organisation should have some new

' ideas pumped into it, even ifthey are

; dismissed,‘ says Mackenzie-Robinson

} —- but it will be harder to affect the

l nature of the Fringe itself, an organic

i free-market over which the Fringe

Office has virtually no artistic control.

l The new person will certainly need

very particular qualities; qualities that can withstand being for three weeks a 2 key person in Edinburgh‘s arts world. and for 49 weeks just another

g administrator who sometimes sells

l postcards in the front shop. ‘Whoever gets this job will have to realise that if ! they are budding artistic directors.

; they're in the wrong organisation,‘ says Mackenzie-Robinson.

l Emblem and Mackenzie-Robinson

tried to operate a kind of welfare state.

f to continue the economics analogy,

i which lent disproportionate support to . young and inexperienced companies.

i But to interfere too much would merely i produce a break-away fringe of the

I Fringe. they warn.

l ‘l think it will have to change.‘ says

i Fringe Society chairman Jonathan Miller. ‘but I don‘t think any one person will decide what that change

will be it will be a Darwinian

I process.‘ (Mark Fisher)

I M81188! resignation By coincidence another key Scottish arts post has just become vacant after Mayfest‘s director Robert Robson has announced his move to take charge of His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen. This year‘s event will be his fourth and last as Director.

information about the proposal but the