The write way to walk
After two years in Edinburgh, the Scottish Literary Tour Company goes west this fortnight. What will Glaswegians make of it?
Words: Hannah McGiII
In 1981, Alasdair Gray located Lanark in a city without an Imaginative life, a Glasgow yet to be realised in words and images. Since then, it is as if writers, readers and critics alike have conspired to right the balance. The city has become a backdrop to fictions ranging from Rab C. Nesbitt’s monologues to the brittle romances of AL. Kennedy.
Whether pursurng the spirit of the modern city or nostalgically evoking its industrial past, writers such as Gray, Kennedy, Janice Galloway and James Kelman have peOpled the city’s streets With characters and captured its atmosphere in words. In doing so, they have also forged a link With Scotland’s wider literary history.
It was this Vibrant present and neglected past that inspired the Scottish Literary Tour Company to shift its focus west, after two years of running its launch protect, the Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour. Producer Morris Paton puts the success of this project — awarded the 1997 Scottish Thistle Award for Arts & Tourism — down to its innovation.
'We aimed to create a contemporary context for 300 years of literary history, using professional actors to play characters who dip in and out of extracts and weave them into a dramatic dialogue,’ he explains. The Edinburgh tour commenced at the Act of Union and
'Contemporary writers are making a real contribution to the expression of a Scottish national identity - a large percentage of them are emerging from Glasgow.'
Writing Glasgow into imaginary life: (left to right) James Kelman, A.L. Kennedy and Alasdair Gray
Culminated With the writers Paton calls 'the pre-SNP custodians of Scottish independence' — Hugh MacDiarmid, Sorley MacLean and George Mackay Brown.
To give Glasgow the same treatment seemed a logical progreSSion, although the balance was weighted towards the present. ’There is such a huge list of contemporary writers who are making a real contribution to the expression of a Scottish national identity,’ says Paton ’A large percentage of that new voice is emerging from Glasgow —- and being internationally appreCiated '
Paton worked With writer and literary historian Mona Burgess, and three pairs of actors 'Capturing the spirit, life and col0ur of a city takes some domg, you have to scratch away for QUite a while to find the hidden gems — and to do so in the most entertaining way possible,' he says
The protect aims to transcend the Cultural boundaries that diVide the city ’l'd be delighted if Glaswegians w0uld come along and learn something
new about their city,’ says Paton, who has designed the tour to appeal not only to scholars, but also to those who have never read the books under discussion.
Paton is hopeful that Glasgow will respond positively, although he identifies a palpable difference in audience reaction between the two cities. 'In Edinburgh, the focus tends to be on tourism; Glasgow is more of a working city. The architecture, the layout, the sense of space all translate into an attitude.’
Alasdair Gray's unimagined city has evolved into a Cultural capital With a firmly established literary identity, and what better way to pay tribute than by locating the words of writers past and present among the very streets and buildings that inspired them? (Hannah lvchill)
The Glasgow Literary Tour, Sat 15 Aug-Sat 12 Sep. starting at the statue of Sir Walter Scott in George Square. 3pm 8i 6pm. £6 (£5). The Scottish Literary Tour Company is also running a new Edinburgh tour as part of the Book Festival, running Mon 17 Aug-Sat 12 Sep. This commences at 1pm and 3.30pm at the Writers' Museum, Lady Stair's Close, just off the Lawnmarket, £3 (£2.50).
Drama is listed by city. then alphabetically by venue. Tourin shows are listed at the end of t e drama section. Dance is listed after drama for each city. Touring shows are listed at the end of the drama 8: dance section. Shows will be listed, provided that details reach our offices at least ten days before publication. Drama 8: dance listings compiled by Simone Baird.
DISABLED ACCESS KEY
Access: P = Parking Facilities. PPA = Parking to be Pre-Arranged. L = Level Access. R = Ramped Access. ST = Steps to negotiate.
Facilities: WC = Adapted Toilelts). WS = Wheelchair Spaces. AS = Adjacent Seats. H = Induction Loop System. IR =
available front the Ticket Centre. Candleriggs. Mott—Sat ll).3()aiii until 6.30pm in person or until 9pm by phone on 014] 287 55l l. Sunday opening is noon-5pm. Any Ticket Link box office can sell tickets for other venues.
Tl“ indicates venues where Theatre Tokens can be exchanged for tickets. Tokens can be bought from Ticket Centre. Candleriggs. Glasgow. ()l-ll 2R7 59H); most branches of Wll. Sitiitli. John Menzies and James Thin Booksellers; or by credit card front Tokenline. ()l7l 2-10
BELSHILL CULTURAL CENTRE Bellshill. 01698 2675l5.
Magic Bob Thu 13 Aug. 2pm. £3.50 (£2.50). For kids: exciting comedy routines. circus skills and loads of audience participation.
Infra Red System. G = Guide Dogs
Allowed. R = Restaurant Accessible. C = Catering Accessible. T = Adapted ’l‘eleplioiie.
Help: A = Assistance Available. AA = Advise Venue in Advance.
Tickets for major venues in Glasgow are
117 THE usr 13—20 Aug 1998
By the statue of Walter Scott. Information: 287 29l7/(l-l ll) 75-1 563. The Glasgow Literary Tour Sat ls Aug—Sat l2 Sep. 3pm ck 6pm. £61925). The pilot of a new project by the Scottish Literary Tour Company. w hich ltas run tours in Edinburgh for the past two years. See prev ievv on this page.
7.30pm. Thu and Sat mats
l2l Renl'ield Street. 332 ISM). [Access: ST. Facilities: WS. G. Help: AA]
The Celtic Story Until Sat 5
Sep. Mon-Sat 7.30pm. Sat mats
2pm. £54.15. Ten years after its original appearance celebrating the mom anniversary of Glasgow‘s legendary football club. Dave Anderson and David MacLeitnan's play
Bath Street. 237 55l I. [.Ac‘c‘c‘ss: I’I’A. I.. Facilities: “KC, “'5. H. (i. C‘. Help: A.
Youthquake Tliti 20 Aug. 7.30pm. 1. Ill/£7.50 1 family lic‘kc‘l £35 1. SCC
(ireenside Place. 557 2590. [.Access: R. l.. Facilities: WC. “S. G. Cl Closed Stilts. Rhythms Of The Celts L'ntil Sat l5 Aug.
£5~£2250 lpltone for details of concessions l'or llltI|\ iduals and group bookings). The worldwide history of the Celtic people. toltl by a cast of 50 in a lively combination of music. dance and
This section lists all future dates in the Central Belt of shows that are on tour.
Youthqualte Vibrant young song and dance group front Grenada. who use upliﬁng calypso rhythms to put over a Christian message. For details call 0l360 850 274.
S! Man- it ('ttI/it'r/rul. [Edinburgh Wed 1‘) Aug. 7.30pm.
K i'ng 'x 'I’lit'ulrt'. (ilusgmv Thu 20 Aug. 7.30pm.
‘ Comedy is listed by date, then by
city. Shows will be listed, providing that details reach our offices at least ten da 5 in advance of publication.
Come y listings compiled by Simone
i Baird. i SATURDAY 15 .30pni.
Cosy Comedy Cafe State Bar (downstairs). Holland Street. Charing Cross. 332 2159. 9.30pm (doors open i 8.30pm). £4. Weekly. Edinburgh Festival Special with Fringe comedians yet to be announced.