Political drama takes centre stage

The formation of a new Scottish Parliament will undoubtedly make 1999 an historic year for the entire (Ountry, but what effect \Nl“ the new body have on the nation's cultural agenda - and Vice versa7 The List spoke to lain Reekie of 7:84 Theatre Company, fresh from directing last year's most political play >— Stephen Greenhorn’s Dissent, an acclaimed critique of New Labour's time in office.

'The Parliament wrll hopefully decentralise power, and that’s got to change the very nature of what our culture rs,’ argues Reekie 'lt'd be impossible for the artistic community not to respond to that in so rte way The arts help reflect and even create the desire for change v/ithin Scotland Cinema can speak to vast numbers of people, but theatre cornrr‘iunicates ideas almost an an individual basis, due to its irttirriate nature

The director feels that the influence and stature of Scottish drama is uivlervalucj-d in its native country while being celebrated abroad ’I was in Stuttgart recently reading a maga‘zrne, and Scottrsh playwrights Davrd Greig and Davrd Harrower were plastered all over it. We can definitely be reluctant to champion the work that's done in this country.’

Given that Dissent expressed serious disillusionment With Blair’s Government and featured a compromised lytSP as protagc‘inist, does Reekie feel that Holyrood has already been tainted by events lll \Ar’estrniris er? 'l think there's a healthy scepticism,’ he says, 'but l also think that whether they realise it or not, the Labour Party has Created something which, by its nature, is going to democratise Scotland My personal belief is that something positive wrll come from it,


lain Reekie: throwing a spotlight on the Scottish Parliament

maybe not in the first or second term, but eventually.’

Reekie and hrs colleagues at 784 Will be addressing the issue of self-government directly in a forthcoming production with the working title Par.’r>'iment. ’We want to look at the concept of autonomy - how it's linked to nationalism, and how that differs from a positive desire for a national identity and hunger for democracy’

The piece will form the final part of a trilogy, begun by DaVid Greig's Calendonr‘a Dreaming and continued with the Greenhorn play, but Will take a more internatit‘lnal approach 'We're planning to use three writers, one c'ac h from Quebec, Catalonia and Scotland,’ Reekie explains 'I think that could give us a genuine inSIght into what is a \‘/<)Tl.’i-\‘Jld(‘ issue, and one that seems to be of increasing importance '

(Rob Fraser)

Traders lose that sinking feeling

Surviving the drop

: Mary Ann King of Mr Ben

When Virginia Galleries, Glasgow's Aladdin's Cave of alternative consumerism, fell victim last year to subsidence -- Widely believed to have been exacerbated by the acliacent Marks 8; Spencer redevelopment - some 39 small businesses found themselves homeless The Lot tracked lifN'Jll some of the traders affected to find out what exactly happened, and where they now operate

Lorri Morton of clothing store Kosi remembers the day after the historic budding sank more than ten inches overnight. ’My boyfriend went to open the shop and he couldn't even get down the street The galleries were all boarded up '

Rub a Dub Records boss William Sanrlison also suffered. ’Our whole business collapsed, we weren't even allowed to get our stock out,’ he recalls. ’The effect was devastating, espec rally as the run up to Christmas is the busiest time of year’

It was six weeks before traders were even allowed to View the damage and recover stock, a situation which made

finding new premises even more (iliiKUlI. 'Everywhere was taken for the Christmas season,’ says Mortor. 'ln the end we were very lucky to get King's Court '

Joining KOSl and Rub a Dub in King's Court are Mr Ben and Kat/en Haus, with Possibly Clothing and hip nearby on Parriie Street and King Street respectively Nirvana will serve all your piercing needs from Osborne Street. ’The whole area has so much going for it,’ says Mr Ben's Mary Ann King, accentuating the positive. 'There's The 13th Note, the print studio, the art galleries and now us '

Further afield are the Clone Zone on Dixon Street; Right Track records among the choice cuts of meat in Argyle Market, and the Glory Hole, currently flourishing in the West End's Ruthven Lane. The latter's proprietor Alison Keith said '|t was sad to leave, but since then We discovered different opinions about the galleries and how the shops there seemed to merge into one Now I’m striking out on my own and attracting different customers.’ (Katie Hutchinson)

The Scottish Inquisition

Questions you don’t expect. This issue: Carol Stevenson, Events Co- ordinator of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Tabloid or Broadsheet?


First arts related job?

Researcher and booker for The Mervyn Stutter Thing, Edinburgh Fringe ’95. Career highlight?

Being appOinted to my current post. Name a work of art you cannot live without . . .

The Good Sold/er by Ford Madox Ford and ’Ain’t Nobody' by Chaka Khan.

. . . and a law you're proud to have broken?

Smuggling booze through Customs into a dry country.

Where would you spend your last night in Scotland?

Hearing the RSNO play something baroque, dinner at the Amber Regent, a few long vodkas at Budda, then back to my suite at One Devonshire Gardens. I find a little decadence numbs the pain of exile very well. Glasgow, City of Architecture and Design: which building should be destroyed?

The Clydeway Centre, Finnieston Street, and all branches of McDonalds. What should be in the Millennium Dome?

A botanic garden, medical research centre, and a couple of intimate performance spaces

Lifetime contribution to Scottish culture goes to . . .

Ena Baxter.

Top Scot for the new millennium? Craig Armstrong,

How do you see Scotland's future? I have trouble seeing next week. (Compiled by Rob Fraser)

7-21 Jan 1999 THEUST 29