Laughing matters

Re: Stand alone comedy (issue 397)

I'd like to expose the severe problem that comedy performers in Scotland are encountering in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

For some time now all comedians who work at The Stand Comedy Club in both cities have been ’obliged’ to sign a 'booking condition' contract which means they agree not to appear at any other comedy club in the relevant city for a period of two weeks before or after they perform at The Stand. If they don’t sign, they may/will not be booked at all.

What this means is that the other smaller venues find it increasingly problematic to book good acts. The pool of eligible performers declines, the shows attract fewer customers, the venues eventually close, there are fewer gigs for the performers and the audience decamps to The Stand, which can then control what the public sees. This means that when you go to The Stand you won't see the full range of talented comedy performers who work in Scotland. What you see is what one or two people think you should see.

Is this right?

There is almost unanimous opposmon to this policy from the acts. Despite their anger, they know that dissidence could have dire consequences, so they remain silent. As a comedy performer who was one of the founding members of The Stand and, of late, their most booked act, I’m afraid my first loyalty must be to the greater good of comedy in Scotland. That is why I resigned from The Stand, and why I have sacrificed so much for my beliefs. I am now one of the people behind the establishment of a new comedy club for Edinburgh which will have no such conditions.

For comedy to flourish, we must not allow one club to control everything. We have to have a level playing field. That is why I am publicly calling on the directors of The Stand to abandon fully and openly their hugely unpopular booking condition with immediate effect. If they do not, then further direct measures to publicise this injustice will be inevitable.

Bill Dewar via email

Funny busmess

Re. Stand alone comedy (issue 397) As a comedy promoter, I feel I am in a position to comment upon the state of the Scottish comedy circuit. I believe the way Tommy Shepard and Jane Mackay of The Stand go about their business is detrimental to the own. I know just about everyone on the circuit and am tired of hearing their stories about The Stand’s

Write to:

React, The List, 14 Hi h Street, Edinburgh EH1 1TE or React, The List, McLe Ian Galleries, 270 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow 62 3EH or e-mail

treatment of them. Fact: Bill Dewar is Jane Mackay’s common-law son-in-law. Consider

how difficult it must have been for Bill |

to start this rebellion and therefore how important the issue is to him.

Fact: The Stand's booking policy is a restriction on comedians' ability to work.

Fact: Tommy and Jane are medium- sized fish in a very big pond, but they do have influence over 'minor' comedians. As soon as comedians get more experienced and professional, The Stand loses control. If the comedians abide by The Stand's rules, they won't get anywhere. If they don't, it’s not in the club's best interests.

i run a comedy promotions company and I have seen the consequences of The Stand’s treatment several times, from frightened comedians wishing to cancel gigs two days in advance to allegations of The Stand refusing to

book new comics who have not taken

part in its own comedy classes.

Most comedians on the circuit are aware of my position. I am not trying to harass comedians into not playing at The Stand. You can’t fight fire with fire. But if you want something to stop, you must stand-up and be counted. I therefore make this appeal to comedians, to promoters, to the press and most important of all, to the public: if you agree with everything The Stand does then by all means carry on; if not, I suggest you withhold your support.

Ann Cummings Promoter, The Comic Club, Glasgow via e-mail

Majority moral

Are we funding the wrong films?

Who really wants to know about The Madness of King George, Gilbert and Sullivan, Hamlet and Elizabeth outside the old boys’ network of the BFI? People want to see entertaining, British-produced films with themes that relate to their lives or good dramas, sci-fis, thrillers, romantic comedies and the like.

American stOrywriters like myself are not wanted by the BFI because we

see as our main objective films for the

public, not for awards, mostly set in the States and certainly using the American or universal style in the stories. That style of movie is successful, slick, snappy and fast, always entertaining. That's where our style has got to go if we hope to be

treated as a serious filmmaking nation .

instead of a joke.

Is it now more important to please the arthouses instead of the public at the multiplexes by giving millions to people whose films will never be seen by the people at their cinemas? Our films are period dramas, bleak nightmares or stark reality drugs movies from the minority side of life. Where are the mass market films for

the public here and in the States? We have a chance of making these if we stop the low-budget wastes of time. Barry Dubber

Grampian Street


Share your clean air

Post-Chernobyl appeal

The board of the 'Leleka’ Fund is writing to find support and help in our work. The Fund unites citizens who wish to help Ukranian children by organising recuperative trips and improving the children’s health.

The board of our organisation has prepared a new project, 'Clean Air', the main aim of which is organising recuperative trips for children and youths from Ukraine who live in the areas contaminated by radiation after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. We ask to pass Our address to your readers and hope that it will help to find some families or organisations which would be able to receive Ukranian children for Christmas and would give them an opportunity to breathe clean air and to eat fresh food, free from radiation.

It would be a great opportunity to meet your culture and traditions as well.

Anyone who can help should write to the 'Leleka' Fund at PO Box 328, Kiev-2, 02002, Ukraine or e-mail Yuri Slobodyanuk Fund president Kiev Ukraine

Kid stuff

Re: autumn music special (issue 397) Why are the music press so keen to encourage banality? Where, for instance, will one find a well-balanced review of Radiohead's Kid A? Every publication is offering us an ’exclusive’ on it, saying how ’wonderful' it is, how it’s 'the best album ever made’ and other such meaningless epithets. One gets a depressing sense of deja vu here. It’s the same thing that happened when OK Computer was released, three years ago. Radiohead, like REM before them, have notes from their mums, excusing them from having bad words written about them.

Come on people. Say what you think, give your readership a genuine Opinion, don’t just cut and paste paragraphs from one reView to the next. Give us objective, informed reViews, not herd- followmg hacks. You're supposed to be opinion-formers, not freelance PR for record companies.

Having said that, The List is (generally) an honourable exception to a tired and dreary rule. Keep up the good work and maybe the rest will see fit to follow.

Jonathan Muirhead via e-mai/

Contributors Publisher & General Editor Robin Hodge

Editor Mark Fisher


Deputy Editor Brian Donaldson Assistant Editors Miles Fielder, LOUISa Pearson, Mark Robertson Research Helen Monaghan, Kelly Apter, Lowsa Pearson, Maureen Ellis, Henry Northmore

SALES AND MARKETING Sales 8: Sponsorship Director Mino Russo

Sales 8. Marketing Manager Amanda Mungall

Snr Sales & Sponsorship Executive Justine Watt

Sales & Sponsorship Executive Emma Lawson Sales 8: Promotions Executive

Daniel Pollitt

Circulation Serge DiVito


Art Director Stephen Chester Production Manager

Simon Armin

Production Assistants

Moira McFarlane, James Cargill DTP Nikki Turner


Accounts Manager

GeOrgette RenWick

Accounts Assistant Manager Donna Taylor

Reception Betty Offerman Edinburgh Office Pippa Wright Glasgow Office Jane Hamilton New Projects Director

Mhairi Macken2ie RobinSOn

Art Helen Monaghan Books Brian Donaldson City Life Maureen Ellis, Jane Hamilton

Classical Music Carol Main Clubs Catherine Brorrley, Jack Mottram

Comedy Steve Cramer Dance Steve Cramer

Film Miles Fielder

Film Listings Helen Monaghan Folk Norman Chalmers Food Barry Shelby

Games Iain DaVidson Internet Steve Blair

Jazz Kenny Mathieson Kids Maureen Ellis

Market Lowsa Pearson Music Mark Robertson Rock Listings Mark RobertsOn, Fiona Shepherd

Television Brian Donaldson Theatre Steve Cramer Travel Lowsa Pearson Videos Miles Fielder

©2000 The List Ltd. Reproduction in whole or in part is forbidden Without the written permission of the publishers.

The List does not accept responSibility for unsolicited material. Printed by Scottish County Press, Sherwood Industrial Estate, Bonnyrigg, Midlothian.

5—19 Oct 2000 THE “ST 119