Shot in the arm for gay festival

GLASGOW’S GAY AND LESBIAN arts festival Glasgay! may not be an organised event this year, but it looks like being a case of spot-the-difference as many companies press on under the banner Waiting For Glasgayl.

After Glasgay 95!, when founding festival director Cordelia Ditton bowed out of the organisation, replacing her proved difficult and the bi-annual festival’s future looked uncertain. But with Waiting For Glasgay! (24 October—9 November) the gay and lesbian arts festival appears to be very much alive.

A full programme of events including the eagerly-awaited premiere of mct theatre’s Molly’s Collar And Tie are programmed at the Tron Theatre, while the GFT also has a full film programme including Ma Vie En Rose, 60 Fish and a party showing of Torch Song Trilogy with drag usherettes. Fotofeis has brought Pierre et Gilles to Glasgow's Gallery of Modern Art and photographer William Yang to the Tron.

Glasgay! board member Natalie Wilson said the organisation had published a brochure to support existing events, but some venues have since programmed extra items. 'By doing Waiting For Glasgayl, we have generated more events than there were in the first place,’ Wilson claimed.

Glasgayl, apparently rejuvenated by this shot in the arm, is seeking opintions on the format of future festivals. Mouthing Off, a free session on Sunday 9 November at the Tron, will let audiences have their say. (Colin Lennox)

I For Waiting For Glasgay events see individual sections.

Scottish low pay in focus

THE GOVERNMENT consulted Scots this week over plans for a minimum wage.

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Inverness on the first stage of a national tour to gather evidence on who the minimum wage should be aimed at and how much it should be.

Professor George Bain, LPC chairman, said: 'There are lots of theories about the minimum wage. What we must do is meet the people who it might affect.’

Commissioners heard evidence from over 30 organisations, including the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Scottish Low Pay Unit, who this week argued the case for a minimum wage of £4.42. The LPC must report back to the Government by May 1998. (Stephen Naysmith)

QTHE UST 24 Oct—6 Nov 1997

Security overshadows Commonwealth events

PUBLIC EVENTS ON the fringe of the Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting in Edinburgh could be a flop, with visitors scared off by security and travel restrictions, organisers fear.

A wide range of attractions including music, dance, theatre and exhibitions has been programmed alongside the CHOGM conference, which runs from 24-27 October.

However, ticket sales have not been encouraging and venues are blaming adverse publicity concerning traffic and security. ’People feel the city is going to be a no-go area,‘ one angry promoter told The List. ’The message has been: "If you are thinking of going to Edinburgh don’t,”’ he claimed.

Organisers of CHOGM, Common- wealth Edinburgh 97, who include the City Council, argue it is not their job to advertise events. However one council insider admitted: ‘The security message has been completely over the top. It has not been coming from us.’

Kathakali: 'unique'

Many venues are concerned by the lack of public interest. Fay Ward, general manager of St Bride's Community Centre, which hosts the classical Indian dance drama Kathaka/i,

said sales had been poor. 'It is sad, given that it is something you wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to see,’ she said.

Joanna Bremner, coordinator of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival is also concerned about the negative publicity. 'It would be nice if there was equal coverage for the cultural side of things,’ she said.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said he was ’surprised and disappointed’ to hear that events were struggling. 'The message we have been putting out is leave your car at home, but disruption is going to be confined to very specific areas, which have been well-publicised,’ he added.

Spokeswoman for Commonwealth Edinburgh 97, Marjorie Kenny said they had done all they could to advertise events. 'The message we are giving out is that the city is open for business and pleasure and there is lots to do and see.’ (Stephen Naysmith)

Exiled author leads protests over Nigeria

WOLE SOYINKA, WHO is facing treason charges in his home country of Nigeria, will be among the many organisations and individuals lobbying the Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) conference in Edinburgh this week.

The Nigerian author and playwright earned the wrath of the state’s military government after speaking out against human rights abuses in Africa’s most populated country.

Nigeria has been suspended from the Commonwealth since the last CHOGM meeting in 1995, but the regime's human rights record will be highlighted by a host of pressure groups which are descending on Edinburgh as the conference hits the city.

Soyinka will be speaking at a meeting in the Assembly Rooms on Friday 24 October, while one of his radio plays A Scourge Of Hyacinths is to be performed at the Traverse Theatre on Sunday 26.

The meeting has been organised by Euro MP Glenys Kinnock, who has long been a supporter of Soyinka, while several other organisations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch WI” also be lobbying for action to be taken against Nigeria.

Soyinka will share a platform with Ken Wiwa, son of Nigerian activist Ken Saro Wiwa, executed in spite of international opposition two years ago.

’The attempts by the Nigerian government to move towards

democracy are widely thought to be a sham,’ said a spokesman for Glenys Kinnock.

Scottish playwright Peter Arnott is directing the reading of A Scourge Of Hyacinths. ‘Putting on the play is the least we can do as a tribute and also to let people know the calibre of this person who is being accused of being a terrorist,’ he said.

While most of the decisions at CHOGM are pre-determined, fringe events such as Soyinka's appearance are crucial focal points, Arnott argues. 'The conference could be anywhere, but Soyinka brings the presence of the world to Edinburgh in a way the sanitised meeting itself cannot do,’ he added. (Stephen Naysmith)

Scots hoping for repeat show

A SCOTTISH UNIVERSITY is in line to sc00p the top award in student broadcasting for the second year running.

Glasgow University's SubCity Radio was last year chosen as the best in Britain in the Radio 1 Student Radio awards. This year, after winning the licence to broadcast from T In The Park in July, they are again short-listed for the top award. Station manager Adam Uteman and presenter Matt Swan are also bidding for individual prizes.

Uteman thinks SubCity are unlikely to take top spot again: 'They can’t really give it to us two years in a row, but we might win the innovation award after our T In The Park coverage,’ he explained.

During the festival, SubCity broadcast

in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Balado Simultaneously using ISDN digital link- ups. Uteman believes it is a first for student radio.

'We have really benefited from Winning last year. It is always difficult to interest advertisers and sponsors, but when you have support from Radio I, it gives you more credibility,' he added.

This year's overall Winners will be allowed to programme one hour of Radio 1’s output, and all indiVidual winners Will receive either training or work experience packages which could kick-start their career in the industry. (Stephen Naysmith)

I SubCity Radio is on-air again from 7~28 November, on 706.2 FM in the Glasgow area.

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Uteman: festival radio first