Stand comedy club puts down roots

SCOTLAND’S first purpose built comedy club Will open in Edinburgh next month, capping a turbulent twelve months for its owners.

Founders of The Stand Comedy Club Jane Mackay and Tommy Shepherd have had to cope with eviction from their previous residency at W). Christies in West Port, and attempts by other venues to muscle in on the comedy market.

However, they now hope to have the last laugh by grvrng the art of chuckle- making a home in Scotland to rival the likes of London’s Comedy St0ie. It Will be in York Place in a converted Georgian townhouse.

Mackay said the success of The Stand had reached a stage where they needed

their own venue. ’Our audiences have grown and it isn’t ideal to be running in different premises on different nights of the week.’

The main stage will have a capacity of 120, increasing the club’s pulling power, McKay claimed.

’Because we can offer two reasonable paying gigs it should lead to bigger names coming to Scotland,’ she argued.

Early headliners already booked include Johnny Vegas, Dave Spikey and Hovis Presley.

The club will have a bar bistro where Sunday lunches will be accompanied by free improvisation (in both senses) and the weekly programme will also include a ’world Of comedy quiz show.’

Mackay herself will feature, for as she said: ’Even if I'm not funny I’m the compere, so tough.’

Bruce Morton, who has recently moved from Scotland to London, said the new Stand would help bridge the gap between the comedy-laden Festival fringe, and the rest of the year.

’The fringe is like this huge balloon that makes a farting noise and then disappears again,‘ he said.

’There aren’t many clubs for new comics to get experience. This Will broaden the entertainment landscape.’

But he stressed that a shortage of venues had nothing to do with his own decision to move to London: 'I came south to be closer to my girlfriend,’ he said. (Stephen Naysmith)



Morton: backing for new venue

Wilson back; disabled lobby

IT IS EASY to complain about public transport, but if you want to get really Stroppy, you need TV's Mr Grumpy Richard Wilson, alias Victor Meldrew.

The Scots actor visited Glasgow to launch a partnership between Scotrail and Disability Scotland.

Scotrail claimed to be irriprovuig access tO their stations With a regeneration programme, bringing new lifts to Linlitltgow and Stirling, while the cor‘npany have contributed £12,000 towards the cost of a fund- raising ball for the charity.

But Wilson said he would like to see more done: ’Public access for the disabled is not what it should be.

’I can understand the frustration of people who are wheelchair-bound and why disabled people chain themselves to buses.’

And Wilson, a proiiiii‘ient labour supporter at the last electron said he was concerned about some of the Government's plans.

'We shouldn’t lose sight of what the Labour Party is supposed to be about,’ he said.

Wilson, who is to speak at Disability Scotland’s ball in Edinburgh on 7 March is now filming a three-part BBC drama In The Red. (Stephen Naysmith)

Wilson: concerned

22 THE LIST 20 Feb-S Mar 1998

Warning over sex sprees after break-ups

OVER 25’s who have recently ended a long-term relationship stand accused of promiscuity and practising unsafe sex.

Now health officials are asking ’suddenly singles’, as they have termed them, to confess all to researchers.

The latest national survey of sexual attitudes and lifestyles indicates that peOple who have divorced, separated, or been widowed at the end of a long- term relationship often embark on a sexual spree upon re-entering singledom.

Among this group, an estimated 10.2% of men and 4.3% of women had more than two partners in the last year, sparking concern among health officials that this group may be not practising safe sex.

Now the Health Education Authority (HEA) are appealing for volunteers to provide personal case studies, prior to the launch of a nationwide campaign next month.

This marks a significant move away from previous safe sex campaigns which have tended to focus on adolescents and gay men.

'We’re not saying "don't go out and meet new people", or even "don’t have sex with these people” but just that you should be aware of the risks,’ explained Jonathan Cope of London Health Education Authority.

David Johnson, director of Edinburgh- based Waverley Care Trust, which cares for and treats people with HIV, welcomed the scheme.

'lt's important to catch people before they begin to have sex, but while it may be more difficult , it is never too late to teach someone to practice safe sex,’ he said.

But the old adage about teaching an old dog new tricks still seems to hold true and those who slipped through the safe sex education net may be unwilling to change the habits of a lifetime. Stuart, a 32-year-old

publisher, is typical of the ’it couldn’t happen to me’ attitude prevalent among some sectors of the over 25 age group.

'l’ve hardly ever used a condom in 15 years and l've never caught anything,’ he says. He also expresses the potentially dangerous opinion that the heterosexual population aren’t at risk from HIV.

But Cope isn’t deterred. ’By personalising the issue and making it more relevant to people through real case studies we’re hopeful we can make them Sit up and take notice.’ (Claire Prentice)

Anyone aged 25-44 who has come out of a long-term relationship and would be willing to speak anonymously to the media about their experience of sex and single life as part of the campaign should contact Jonathan Cope in confidence on 01714131970.

One in three boys think hitting women ‘OK’

ZERO TOLERANCE campaigners are blaming adults for attitudes uncovered in a survey of young people in Glasgow, Fife and Manchester.

The findings alarmed researchers, who found that four out of five young men agreed that violence against women was never OK, but the strength of that answer broke down under closer examination.

Researchers interviewed over 2000 young people aged 14—21, and asked whether violence was justified under certain circumstances.

Nearly 80% of young men and 53% of young women said women were sometimes to blame for the violence they experienced.

Certain circumstances might excuse

hitting a woman, some young men believed. One in four thought violence might be justified if she had slept wrth someone else; while one in eight named nagging; and one in ten thought it all right if she was his wrfe.

Other figures showed that forcing a woman to have sex was seen as less of a crime if she was your wife, if you had been going out with her for a long time, or if a man was 'so turned on he can't stop.’

Evelyn Gillan, Convenor of the Edinburgh-based Zero Tolerance Trust, said peer pressure, mass-media and adult examples were reinforcing undesirable ’macho’ male attitudes.

’One of the things we have always tried to do is to look at the continuum

of vrolence’, she said. 'The less extreme end of harassment, name calling and grabbing girls breasts is part of a spectrum - wrth gang rape and forced sex at the other extreme.’

'When sporting icons can hospitalise their partners and no action is taken, and the Prodigy can release ’Smack My Bitch Up’, I believe that contributes to the problem.’ she added.

’Girls pick up on these attitudes too. They are angry about the pressure to submit to sex and the gurlt they feel if they don’t.’

She also criticised magazines such as Loaded. ’We need to tackle the whole peer pressure issue so that boys do not think Gazza is cool, Loaded is cool,’ she argued. (Stephen Naysmith)