15 YEARS OF THE “ST
anyway. Running a magazine is an instinctive. unscientific business. rather like government without the help of focus groups. You don‘t know how something will be received until you release it into the ether. The core of The List was always its listings: the shot of whisky in the haggis was the features. which helped define it and give it personality.
Also crucial though were events such as Glasgow‘s Year of Culture in [990. Anticipated by Peter Brook‘s marathon Mahabharata. which brought Tramway to life in 1988. and his stunning version of Carmen in 1989. the year began with Communicado's Jaek Tamsan's Bairns and steamed on from
highlight to highlight. Fora brief
year. Glasgow was the cultural hub of Scotland. open late. playing host to performances that resonated around the globe. while simultaneously striking an ambivalent attitude towards it all. with many Glasgow artists — in the broadest sense of the word - questioning the relevance of it to their wee bit hill and glen. In that sense. it was a very Glasgow affair. For The List. the Year of Culture was a formative period. It was the year. I suspect. it lost its virginity but not entirely its naively. Once. I was invited to the (‘aledonian Hotel to
interview Edmund White. author of
the gay classic. A Bay's ()wn Story. Where. he asked. might he find cottages? l informed Ed tartly that Edinburgh was known for its incomparable Georgian architecture. If it was cottages he was after. he‘d be better off in the
worldly folk back I I in the office later
revealed the gay interpretation of a ‘cottage‘. Similarly. when Armistead Maupin. whose Tales Of The ('in had not yet made much of an impact outside his native San Francisco. dropped by the office. I was astonished when he complimented me on my pants. I thought my trousers must be sec-through. When
you're young — or youngish — it's worrying how literal you can be.
By my recollection. I wrote in every issue of The List for its first ten years. It became addictive. To me it was. as I‘m sure it was to others. more than a magazine: it was a cause. It could also seriously damage your health. There was the day. for instance, when a rock band turned up at the office hoping to find Alastair Mabbott. who had given them a bad review. Luckily. they didn't know what he looked like and he escaped unharmed. physically if not mentally.
Who says the arts are a cushy number? It could be war out there. especially during the Edinburgh Festival when the office was besieged by itinerant performers desperately seeking a favourable notice. Few doctors' waiting-rooms reek of such panic. My solution was to avoid it if possible. One year I moaned so much the editors exiled me to Barra. Beautiful island: lots of sea. sand and shellfish. No listings magazine though. Another chance for opportunity to knock? Why not‘.’
Alan Taylor is associate editor of The Sunday Herald. The Assassin's Cloak: An Anthology of the World's Greatest Diarists, which he edited with his wife, Irene, is published on Thu 2 Nov by Canongate at £25.
0 Comedian of the year:
- Angus Deayton proves popular in Have I Got News For You
Top: We got our Billy Connolly exclusive by passing him a note on a fun run
Bottom: We interviewed James Kelman at Shawfield dog track
- Another bizarre result as Bill and Hillary Clinton are voted man and woman of the year
0 TV show of the year: Twin Peaks 0 Vic Reeves is our choice as worst comedian of the year
0 Alan Parker’s feelgood soul flick The Commitments gets our vote as best film
14 TIIE LIST 2-l6 Nov 2000