Missmg beat

Gil Scott-Heron cancellation

This is a letter on behalf of the Big Beat Club addressed to all those who came down to see Gil Scott-Heron on 10 November only to find the gig cancelled. He did not show for any of his Scottish shows, including The Arches in Glasgow, as he did not appear in the country until ten days later than expected.

As for the Edinburgh gig, we are still very unclear what happened. All we know is his flight into Scotland was booked for 5 November. This was changed at his instigation to 7 November and again to 8 November. There were then two flights he could have caught to make the Aberdeen gig, both of which he missed.

Unfortunately, the agent omitted to inform us of any of this and the first we knew of any problems was on the evening of 9 November when we received a call from his literary publisher to inform us that he had missed his Aberdeen gig. At this stage, we were assured by his tour agent that he would make at least one of the two remaining flights in order to appear in Edinburgh.

We were dubious about this and spent the day of 10 November phoning anyone who could shed light on his whereabouts. We had been told that he’d not been seen since the evening of 8 November when he left for his flight. However no one, not even those at his house or the different agencies at JFK or Heathrow, could give us any idea where he was.

So all we could do was wait and see if the agent was right and that he would arrive. He did not. As for what did happen, we simply do not know. We have been told so many conflicting stories we have no way of telling which is accurate.

We apologise to all those who had, like ourselves, been looking forward to the gig, especially those who had travelled to make it. Be assured that we did everything in our power to make it happen. We had to wait until 8pm on the night of the performance until we knew he was definitely not coming, by which time all we could do was organise refunds.

Many thanks to those who decided to brave the disappointment and come into the club anyway. Gil Scott-Heron may not have been there in person, but a good time was had by all.

The Big Beat Team Edinburgh



Re: book pages

I wanted to thank you for the reviews of my novels The Advent Of The Incredu/ous Stigmata Man and Cold Snap by Kirsty Knaggs. This thanks comes not just because the reviews were favourable, but moreover because she was the only reviewer who had obviously read the novels

Write to:

React, The List, 14 Hi h Street, Edinburgh EH1 "E or React, The List, McLe Ian Galleries, 270 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow G2 3EH or e-mail react@list.co.uk

Larding you once more with a

picture of the objects of our criticism

and understood where they were coming from. To a writer just about ready to chuck in the towel, that means a lot.

I trust the business of reviewing novels is a little more inspiring - and lucrative - than writing them at the moment. I miss Scotland a lot: Denmark is as flat as the proverbial pancake and I crave a good climb up a craggy ben, not to mention music, comedy, pubs . . .

Kelvin Mason Vadum Denmark

Close call Call centre exploitation

A newspaper recently ran an article about how call centres must change if they want to stop high staff turnover rates. I could not agree more.

I worked four hours per night, six nights per week in one. During the four-hour period, I was allowed one fifteen-minute break, holidays were almost forbidden and the one night per week I was allowed off was virtually set in stone. I would take up to 80 calls per night, registering mobile phones - and customers often had none of the details required.

This work regime soon took its toll on my health. Before going to work there, I visited my doctor twice in two-and-a- half years. In the five months I was there, I made three visits, all of which were to do with problems I’d never had before: firstly, conjunctivitis caused by having to look at a computer screen for four hours solid in an excessively dry atmosphere; secondly, muscular pains in my shoulders and wrists caused by incrediny uncomfortable upholstery and non-provision of necessary items such as wrist rests.

The general low morale when added to a computer system which was always slow and frequently broke down pissed off customers and caused some staff to suffer near- breakdowns. In four months, my team of ten people had eight leave. I'll be the ninth. The hard truth is, call centres just like any other form of big business, are interested only in maximising profits. They'll put a caring face on for the media, go to the lowest common denominator to woo the customer and treat their staff like shit.

Admittedly, my rates of pay were very good, but in four months of working in two jobs, I learned one very important lesson: money isn’t everything. Except to those who run call centres.

Name and address withheld

Geek practice Re: Hannah McGill on Charlie's

Angels (issue 402) ’. . . pimpled ranks of lonely, net— fixated fanboy geeks . . . lonely, net-

fixated fanboy geeks . . .’

Even accounting for the repetition, it's a bit hard on us geeks isn't it? After all, most of my life the most visible purveyors of exploitation have been the tabloids which are staffed I believe by journalists.

On the other hand maybe it's empowering for Ms McGill to write the article, larded as it is With pics of the objects of criticism. Having known a List journalist (long since departed) I find it amusing to be told how sad geeks are. After all, we're merely looking for a reasonable career in this hard world and most of us lack the wit, wisdom and morals so frequently displayed by the nation’s journalists.

Michael Barnes via e-mail

Fairy 'nuff Re: letters (399, 400 and 401)

It’s just typical of Whispy Cowsbreath to get in a plug for her and her goblin associates. If I've seen the ’trick’ she does ’with three dew drops and sprig of thyme’ once, I've seen it a hundred times and every time it's a dead loss. It’s nothing but goblin hype. You can even see the cobwebs.

It’s hardly surprising that your reader Shirley McKay should find it funny. Those of us living in a different sphere of existence have a hard enough time of it as it is, without goblins like Cowsbreath fooling around.

We in the pixie world have campaigned long and hard to stop it, but the goblins are a law unto themselves. I urge your readers not to be taken in by their stuff and nonsense.

Clover Cloudeyes

Vice-convenor of the Pixie Council The Enchanted Wood



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30 Nov-14 Dec 2000 THE LIST 127