m: Top marks to The Penguin Dictionary Ot Jokes (Penguin £7.99) for neatly fulfilling the essential requirements of all so-called ‘humorous' books that publishers churn out by the skip-load every Festering Season. To wit: (1) No sentence in it has more than one clause. thereby requiring little mental effort

and leaving your brain free to concentrate on more weighty matters such as the abject trauma and misery unfolding on the bumper Xmas Day edition of Eastenders. (2) It can be flicked through desulton'ly and randomly in about five minutes. before i being recycled as a New Year pressie to someone you sort of like. (3) It’s not funny.

Be A Bloody Train Driver (Penguin £4.99) is a collection of cartoons by Jacky Fleming. Boys and men are sad and pitiable. girls and women are not. this is the message. ‘Wry‘ is the word. ‘Sardonic‘ is another. Truer than it is funny. but it does fulfil criterion number (2) rather excellently. Cynthia Heimel's Get Your Tongue Out at My Mouth, I’m Kissing You Goodbye (Picador £5.99) has too many words. 1 can’t be bothered to read it. After a typically corpulent Christmas. neither will you.

Jo Brand's A Load Of Old Balls (Simon

& Schuster £9.99) has lots of words too. But there are excellent pictures

account of her general satanic-ness) f who have changed/ruined the world.

757 701/? ilfitsrs-J' 0!” » OF My mum. I'M ass/re y . g.

(Take That The Early Years! Maggie Thatcher The Android!) and 50 savage snapshot portraits of 50 men (Thatch being an honorary bloke on

Natch. given the viciousness of Brands bite and wit. no one is safe.

Jenny Eclair's Book Of Bad Behaviour (Virgin £6.99) is only funny if you can imagine Eclair's scabrous hagbag self reading it to you. Art Brevis by Chris Garratt & Mick Kidd (4th Estate £6.99) is Guardian-land clever-cleverness. But at least you get 31 arty-looking. irony- reeking postcards for your cash.

So cheers for the free books. publishers. that’s my Christmas shopping sorted. I will be keeping the new edition of The Patter (Glasgow City Libraries £3.99). as it is a

compelling sociological and

anthropological insight into my Weejie

brethern. That. and Gary Far Side

Lat-son‘s The Curse Of Madame ‘C’ (Warner £5.99) because Larson is reportedly retiring. Christmases come and go. but jokes about ruminating ruminants never go out of fashion. (Craig McLean)

Jenny Eclair. comedian: If You 're Tit/king To Me You Must lie In Trouble by Joe Quecnan. ‘Each orifice oozed with laughter when I read this.‘

journalist to plug his excellent book aptly


This past year has been a notable one for Scottish poetry. although perhaps not of quite the same standard as the previous year. But a year that has seen collections and selections from established writers such as Carol Ann Duffy. lain Crichton Smith. Kathleen Jamie and W.N. Herbert. and encouraging new volumes from David Kinloch and Raymond Friel ought not to go uncelebrated.

Sweeping Out Of The Dark by Edwin Morgan (Carcanet £8.95) is something

of a pomnanteau collection. containing

; both new and previously unpublished poems. as well as an astonishing range oftranslations into Scots and English. At times formally innovative and challenging. Morgan rarely loses his popular touch. using common materials

to sophisticated ends. This volume is a useful introduction to Morgan's later

works and concerns. Frank Kuppner‘s Everything Is Strange (Carcanet £8.95) contains two separate sequences Last

Eternal Moments and In A Persian

i Garden the latter a radical re-working

of the Rabaiyat of Omar Khayam. The

Popular sophistication from Morgan

first sequence consists of over 100 pieces. where everything is strange. the mundane seen through Kuppner‘s eyes revealed as extraordinary.

Dream State (Polygon £10.95). edited by Donnie O'Rourke. is the first anthology of young Scottish poets for some years and welcome for that reason alone. The poets themselves are a heterogeneous bunch. as they should be. and the. poems of varying quality. from the dire to the excellent. O’Rourke defends his selection passionately and articulater in his introduction. He has produced an invaluable sampler. (John Cairney)

Don Paterson. poet: Gorse Fires by Micheal Longely. ‘He won the Whitbread Poetry Prize with this and should have won the biggy. At the moment the fashion is to be very shouty and demonstrative. but Longer is a lot quieter and extremely moving.

The focus at the moment is to be very clever and l think that people have forgotten that poetry can actually move

you to tears.‘


I Four Poets at the Uisge Beathe Sat 2. 3.30pm. Uisge Beathe. Woodlands Road. Call David Kinloch at the University of Strathclyde. 552 4979 for details. Poets appearing include Gerry Cambridge. Angela McSeveney. Richard Price and Brian Whittingham.

I Meg Henderson Wed 7. 7—8pm. Paisley Central Library. High Street. Paisley. 889 2360. A relaxed evening of talk. readings and book-signing with the author of Finding Peggy A Glasgow Childhood I Mordecai Richler Sat 3. 7.30pm. Royal Academy of Music and Drama. 100 Renfrew Street. info 332 5057. Tickets £10/£7 for the lecture and £15 for supper with the author. The distinguished Canadian novelist whose latest novel This Year In Jerusalem will be making his first visit to Glasgow to deliver his lecture ‘The Literary Life‘.

I Out From Beneath The Boot Tue 13. 8pm. Clutha Vaults. 167 Stockwell Street. 552 7520. A launch for said publication with contributions frotn John McGarrigale. Joe Murray and an appearance from the dead Chilean poet Pablo Neruda apparently. Plus music.

I Hugh Mcllvanney Sat 3. t—me. Dillons. 174-~l76 Argyle Street. 248 4814. A signing from the legendary sports

titled .llt'llt'annev ()1: Football (Mainstream £14.99).


I Raymond Blanc Fri 2. 7pm. Waterstone's West End. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. The renowned chef will be talking and signing copies of his latest tasty book Blane Mange (BBC £18.99). I Tom Weir Tue 5. 7pm. Waterstone's West End. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. Scotland‘s most colourful and informative walker gives a slide-show and talk based around his latest tour entitled W'ir's World (Canongate £14.99).

I A Taste Of Scotland Fri 8. 7pm. Waterstone's. 83 George Street. 225 3436. Billy Campbell. head chef at the Balmoral Hotel gives a seriously cordon bleu demonstration to launch this essential reference book for eating out in Scotland. (A Taste Of Scotland £9.99).

I Terry Jones Fri 9. 7pm. Waterstone‘s West End. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. The funny man gets historical with his latest book The Crusades (BBC £17.99) that precedes the BBC TV programme early next year.

I P.J. O’Rourke Tue 13. 7.15pm. BBC Studios. 5 Queen Street. Tickets £2 from Waterstone‘s. 83 George Street. 225 3436. Sponsored by The List. the Republican reptile will be in conversation with Janice Forsyth and plugging his latest acerbic tome All The Trouble In The World (Picador £14.99). . -IBTIE- . I Word Power A brand new radical independent bookshop opened last week

at 43 West Nicolson Street. Edinburgh. More next issue.

I Creative Writing Glasses Organised by Motherwell Leisure. these classes cater for every level and type of budding author from Krantz to Kennedy. Call (0698) 266166 for details.

The List 2—15 December 199417