The Beltane Fire Festival is set to prove that paganism is the religion for party pepple in Scotland’s major cities. Edinburgh will celebrate the last Beltane before the millennium with a torchlit procession on Calton Hill, culminating in a bonfire. Expect an anarchic spirit, live drumming, bizarre costumes and much open air drinking. Glasgow’s spin on the ancient celtic festival takes place on Glasgow Green. Look out for a procession including fire eating, aerial performance and contributions from performance groups Mischief La Bas and Te Pooka. (Peter Ross) Beltane, Edinburgh, Fri

30 Apr. Assemble at

i the Acropolis, Calton Hill, 70.30pm. Beltane, Glasgow, Sat 7 May. Assemble at Nelson’s

Column, Glasgow Green, 9.30pm. Both events are free, although the organisers of Edinburgh ’5 Beltane will be seeking donations on the night.

Glasgow Art Fair

George Square once again becomes a magnet for potential purchasers and casual browsers as the 1999 Glasgow Art Fair hits town. Original works are available to buy from between {SO—£20,000. Design is a key word this year, With local boys Dene Happell and Alistair Bell (designers of Air Organic) putting their stylish stamp on everything from publicity material to the tented pavillion itself. An added draw is the exhibition The Art Of Design, featuring the cutting edge likes of Brit design guru Ron Arad's B.0.0.P. Coffee Table (pictured below). (Rob Fraser)

Glasgow Art Fair, George Square, Thu 29 Apr—Sun 2 May. See art listings, page 70.

.m 11?‘ h

:0. :g!’ 6

6 mausr 29 Apr—-13 May i999

As the ciosing credits roll on another omnibus edition of this soap opera life, y0u find the herorne clinging to a vrtriol life- raft With the desperate grip of a woman gorng under the riptide of technological advancement. Within a fog of confusion, the shining light of call centre culture and its increasing stranglehold on the process of communication has become a beacon for my tossed dinghy mind.

This bizarre turn of events has come abOut at the end of a

is hanging on the telephone


been the sole reserve of plumbers asked for a quote. 'But it’s dead, more so than the parrot,’ | quietly tell her. Her very implacability makes me want to surgically remove her customer care procedure chip With nothing more than a Stanley knife and grim determination.

After it transpired I had to Jump through the hoops of their requirements, I meekly posted my phone away ’for repairs’. The phone is duly inspected and, a week later, my fears are confirmed. The brain surgeon at the end of the line informs me that, yes, it is broken and a new one Will be dispatched. And could I wait in between April and May for a replacement?

Seasons change A Spice Girl gives birth and war is declared My phone arrives, bringing a

I calmly explain my mobile has gone away to play in the big phone garden in the sky.

series of exchanges that, had there been more doors and Vicars involved, COLild be deemed farcical, It began With me dropping my mobile phone in the bath. Before rumours begin to circulate, l w0u|d like to stress that this came abOut in purely innocuous Circumstances and has absolutely nothing to do with the flourishing sex line business in Glasgow.

Clutching my 24-hour replacement warranty like an Aztec talisman, IJdUlltlly punched in the appropriate number. Once a series of digits on demand had elicited all but my inside leg measurement, St Celine and her heavenly chorus began to serenade and I found myself cravmg the only customer care anyone really wants -~ the right to choose our own hold music. Two remixes later, My Heart began to feel like it could no longer Go On, as I was shuttled from option to option,

After screaming, Prisoner-like, 'I JUST WANT TO TALK TO SOMEONE', l was Jacked into the mainline and suffered a mutation of stage fright once the company rep’s lengthy greeting had SLIDSIded Stuttering out my request for a new phone induced an intake of breath which had previously

whole new set of challenges. The c0urier delivering it grills me as to the whereabouts of my old phone, and l calmly explain that it has gone away for a very long time to play in the big phone garden in the sky. Despite brandishing a letter to that effect, the c0urier has no instructions for this. Crippled by procedure, he experiences some kind of free- thinking meltdown and whisks the new phone away.

A day of shouting ensues and, once again, I have the phone in my hand. But the computer still has no instruction for receipt of a phone withOLit return of another and, despite a verbal approval from a more enlightened member of personnel, the c0urier feels it's more than his Job's worth. At this iuncture I have the front door locked and am prepared to stage some kind of ham Bickle-flav0ured protest if I do not get my way After a fifteen minute stand Off, my obduracy is rewarded and phone grail delivered. For one glorious instance, woman has triumphed over machine. Simply by shouting. If only I’d known it was that easy .

Gill Mills is on Radio Scotland, Sun 7-8pm and co-hosts The Loafers on BBC Choice,

Tue-Fri, 10pm.