he Front


ince last week's egg-and-iab scuffle.

this year's general election really has

picked up the pace. But despite the hilarious scenes from the campaign trail. most of us are getting more excited about Survivor hitting our TV screens than who has the best policy on tax.

Even Geri Halliwell managed to monopolise the big event and guarantee more wall-to-wall coverage of her svelte new frame by appearing in Labour's party political broadcast. But. alas. even Political Spice will inevitably fail to engage the thousands of young people who can't muster the energy even to be apathetic.

The malaise that surrounds all things political is particularly heightened this time rOund. with the result all but deCided. From the polling evidence, it is doubtful that even an admission from Tony Blair declaring that he wore women's panties on a weekend would dent his chances of a second term.

In light of the easy Victory that all but William Hague and his cronies predict. the turnout. along with interest levels. is expected to be low. The highest turnouts have transpired only in the most closely fought battles. notably

‘— Young voters turned off by electron '

Will Geri get US to the polls? Words: Rachel Richardson

1992 and 1974. Indeed. the 1997 election had one of the lowest voter turnouts on record. with 44% of 18 to 2/1 year olds not bothering to visit a polling booth.

With such clear indifference. especially among the under-30s. would lowering the age of majority help to engage young people before they become cynical sceptics? A motion recently tabled in the Scottish Parliament by Andrew Wilson MSP argued that the franchise should be extended to sixteen-year-olds. because they are affected by political decisions jllSI as much as eighteen-year-olds. This may be true. but it does not necessarily mean that they are interested or informed. or that by giving them the vote they would be encouraged to be so.

If Geri cannot get the political pulse of young people racing are we to remain indifferent until we are directly affected by policy? Probably so; apathy is endemic and is further compounded by the lack of a real election battle between ideologically opposed parties. The centre ground occupied by the main parties is so pathetically crowded it only helps to make Tommy Sheridan look like a radical. Who could possbly get excited about that?

Coming quite soon . . .

News, gossip and opinion

Bands rock for health

Glasgow indies raise mental health


The cream of Scottish indie are getting together to do

their bit for charity this fortnight With a quartet of shows around Glasgow. Teenage Fanclub. Eugene Kelly. Snow Patrol and Astrid are among the artists taking part in a four-day, four-venue festival between Thursday (31 May and Sunday 3 June.

The object is to raise money for and awareness of the

Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH). The

statistics show that one in four people Wlll suffer from

mental health problems at some point in their lives.

(Mark Robert son)

I For fu/l details of the fine-ups see rock listings.

Cash for the Nash Next step for National Theatre

The recommended structure of a proposed Scottish National Theatre was unveiled at a press conference on Friday 18 May. Representing the independent

working group for the Scottish National Theatre. chair

Donald Smith. Shona Powell, director of the Lemon Tree and James Brining of TAG. outlined their plans

for the next five years.

The initial year of setting up. in 2002—3. would cost 530.5 million. after which the bill w0uld rise to $72.8

million in 2005—0 and 2000—7. They also recommended a management structure. in which a creative director. answerable to an as- yet-unappointed board. would employ ten permanent staff. including two assooate directors. who would assist in the creative processes. The proposals are being submitted to the Scottish Executive. (Steve Cramer)



Will Smith gets set to sting like a bee

Damon Albarn and Liam Howlett are clearly not content With storming the charts and swinging onto live stages with their animated zombie hip hop troupe Gorillaz. but they're after telly audience approval. too. Channel 4 are set to give them airtime in half-hour chunks of cartoon capers from late September . .

While Chewrn' The Fat gets set to go into production for a new series. Karen Dunbar is enc0uraging new writers to get into the sitcom business. Intrigued? Cause you are. For full details. call 09065 550000. Be quick though. the deadline is Thursday 31 May . . . Zinnie Harris‘ Fringe-

storming play Further Than The Furthest Thing is set to tow South Africa in July while her contemporary Douglas Maxwell has his Our Bad Magnet coming to this year's Fringe before touring across the land . . . Those fractious Appleton Sisters are beginning to burn their saintly bridges

with a solo project now underway and a first single ‘Blow My Mind' due out later this year . . . We have very high hopes indeed for new Scottish mowe Late Night Shopping and the creators are already thinking of their next project. Saul Metzstein and Jack Lothian are all set to start work on Northern Soul, a romantic

comedy set in Blackpool. of all places . . . Sports biopics are either brilliant or goddawful. With A/i, you can expect the former. Due out early next year, the combination of a serious Will Smith. crack director Michael Mann and the greatest boxer ever to strut round a ring should be dynamite.