Gagging for it Re: comedy coverage

I'm writing with both a comment and a complaint.

First of all, as a performer and writer who has been working on the Scottish comedy scene since 1993, I have seen an enormous increase in the quantity and, crucially, the quality of live comedy in central Scotland. When I began there was only one regular comedy club in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow. At very best these clubs would operate on a Friday (and occasionally Saturday) night. Now there is much more happening, and there is a variety of shows that span the entire week.

Comedy is the most accesSible artform there is. There has always been an open door policy for anyone who wants to perform; the wannabes ranging from the delightful to the disastrous (long may it continue!) Now how many other artforms can make such a boast? At a grassroots level, comedy is a meritocratic system. If you are funny, you can take it as far as you want, regardless of class, colour or creed.

Inexplicably, organisations like the Scottish Arts Council have never expressed an interest in helping writers and performers of comedy to develop their work. Surely their remit is to foster the promulgation of every artform? Instead, the inherent snobbishness that exists in organisations of this kind prevents populist artforms like comedy from receiving any form of assistance, preferring instead to plough funds into more obscure projects such as ’physical dance theatre’. I would wager that there are far more comedy fans in

Scotland than there are PDC aficionados.

So, What’s my pOint? Well, looking through The List, I see that despite the phenomenal rise in Scottish comedic talent, the magazine still gives scant coverage of the subject. It’s not just for stand-up comedy either, for example the success of the excellent sketch show Chewin’ the Fat on TV. In this country we have a rich tradition of superb comic ability, way out of proportion to the amount of people IiVing in Scotland. So let’s have some interViews, more preViews and more reViews. Shouldn’t The List be on the absolute cutting edge of what’s happening out there in comedyland?

Bill Dewar

via e-mai/


Re: Glasgow Art Fair (issue 384)

I came to Glasgow in I993 from Los Angeles where I had lived since my pre-teens. My first impression of the USA, aged eleven, was that it lacked irony and that it always boasted of haVing the biggest, largest, strongest in the world of anything you could name. These Americana values were tossed around in order to suck the loneliness out of the indiVIdual and show you that you are a part of something much bigger and, sadly, !ess personal.

I have a strong affinity With both Cities, but I chose Glasgow as my home. I feel that the people of Scotland have a sense of history and ViSion and can commit to an idea Without forgetting that there are ’people' involved

Scotland has a good product, but it seems unable to think big. Perhaps it’s an unWillingness.

There Is a belief here that by thinking big, you can lose the essence of an idea and it somehow Will become blander and more 'American’_ I don't believe this is necessarin the case. Ideas can be enlarged Without sacrifiCing their sense of community or values, as long as they have a sufficiently strong identity.

Take the Glasgow Art Fair, which this year was reduced in scale. I was pleased to see more contemporary art and thought that UZ’s organisation was very profeSSional. But Why is it not bigger, more adventurous and able to involve more galleries or other city-based arts actiVities?

In LA I worked With Angles Gallery for one year. This gave me an insight into the art market. As an artist I had conSCiously chosen to dismiss this world, but found working behind the scenes very revealing. I worked at several art fairs where there were very eXCiting mixtures of international galleries, artists of varying stature and lots of original work created speCifically for the fairs. Even at my most Judgmental I c0uld not help but feel the buzz.

ln ViSiting the Glasgow Art Fair in George SQuare this year, yOu were posnioned in front of a magnif:cent land mark, the City Chambers, but opposite an eyesore, an enormous pint of beer the s:ze of a building. It was emblazoned With the words, ’Good Progress'. Why can this space not be given over to an artist, by the sponsors, for the duration of the fair? It's not 'Good Progress’ for the City to continue to undersell itself when it has so much more to offer the rest of the world.

Nicola Atkinson-Griffith via e-mai/

Write to:

React, The List, 14 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE or React, The List, McLellan Galleries, 270 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow 62 3EH or

e-mail react@list.co.uk


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27 Apr-l I May 2000 THE LIST 119