* James Crecknell & Ben Fogle First across the line in the last Atlantic Rowing Race, the Olympic gold medallist and the outdoorsy TV presenter survive to tell the tale, as part of the GRCH's Conversation Pieces series. See preview, page 24. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Tue 10 Oct.

* Black Hletory Month 2006 October brings a catalogue of events to celebrate the contribution of black and ethnic minority people in Scotland. Glasgow’s museums and galleries are spearheading the series of events. See preview, right. Various venues, Glasgow, throughout October.

* Tenth Edinburgh Independent Radlcal Book Fair Dynamic and provocative thinker Vandana Shiva cuts the ribbon on five days of politics, poetry, literature. activism and discussion. The fair bills itself as a 'flea market of ideas’ and is packed with talks and readings. Out of the Blue Drill Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 11 -Sun 15 Oct. * WASPS Artists Studios Open Weekend Offering affordable studio space across Scotland, the arts trust opens up its locations for a weekend. The event is an opportunity to meet artists and find out what inspires them. Van'ous venues, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Sat 7 & Sun 8 Oct.

Wht sin

Christian missionaries and Hollywood myths misrepresent the nature of voodoo, discovers Robin Lee as a new exhibition of images from Haiti comes to Glasgow.

he popular conception ol' Voodoo is that til. a

dark. \‘engel'ul cult. where witch doctors stick

pins in dolls. eyil priests turn their enemies into /ombies. and the possessed writhe and jerk to a relentless drumbeat. World-renowned pholojotlrnalisl l.es Stone. a Veteran or war Iones and conflict points. has Visited llaili extensiy’ely oy‘er the last two decades and now presents an exhibition of eyocatiye photographs showing the religion and its l'estiyals.

()l‘ the three cliches. Stone belieyes the last is grounded in truth. 'l'y‘e spoken to people al'terwards and they have no memory whatsoever. ’l’hesc people consider possession by the spirits to he extremely real.' he explains. 'The voodoo doll thing is a myth made up by Hollywood. ()ne ol‘ the James Bond moyies. Lire and Let Die. had a y'oodoo aspect to it. You will lind sacred trees around Haiti. and the dolls are nailed to them - they‘re actually l'ertility pieces.‘

\y'hen .-\l'ricans were brought oy'et' to Haiti as slayes. they used Christianity as a coyer to continue to practise Voodoo. leading to a bi/arre mix ol- l‘aiths. termed synchretism. ‘Thcre‘s a complete mixture with (‘atholicismf says Stone. '.-\t the titne the slay‘es

hid their beliefs as they‘d be whipped and killed it

they were found to be practising \‘Utttltm. becatise it was also a political statetnent.' ln lact. it's belicyed that a slay'e rebellion in I791 was sparked by a

yoodoo ceremony. and led to the establishment or

Haiti as the lirst black (‘aribbean republic in lb’llJ. Many ol‘ the photographs in the exhibition are

striking. In one. a man wearing Mickey Mouse-

branded sunglasses balances a child‘s skull on his

head: there is little distinction between me and death in the religion. In another. two eyes pop out iii a lace coated in mud. sinking into a gloopy puddle. lle's smoking a cigarette too why'.’ ':\ cigarette is not a cigarette necessarily. it‘s actually all till'ct'lllg. 'l'obacco plays an important role: Baron Sainedi. the gatekeeper ol the ceremony. smokes cigars. lle's almost always portrayed with a top hat and a cigar. ’l'hey tise mud as a cleansing ritualf

lllspit‘etl. I make it my llll\\lt)ll lt) seek (llll \titidtiti practitioners in Scotland not an easy task. .‘\s lar I know. none ol' our cities haye llaitian quarters. and l'ye ney er stumbled across a ctiltitlrl'tll. lltlisy parade celebrating lite and death in the same breath while stalking lioineward along l.citli \Valk. hunched against the dreich skies. l)id l.cs Stone know ol' any l‘ollowcrs here'.’ Nu. :\ll\t)ll Kelly. ctll'altil' (ll world religions at St Mungo .‘yluseum'.’ No.

And then it clicked. There was one than who could guide me through the nexus linking Haiti and Scotland: the Reycrcnd ()badiali Steppenwollc lll. cttltllc creation Hi. Jim Muir. and Southern Baptist preacher turned dabbler in the dark arts. He has a skull atop his walking cane? He's cursed many a young Virgin? lixccpt he wasn't returning my calls: what a pain in the neck. And in the arse. ()w. and in the leg? ()uchl Stop sticking those pins in. key. I promise I won‘t bother you again!

Vivid Voodoo, St Mungo Museum, Glasgow, until Sun 14 Jan. October is Black History Month - see www.9lasgowmuseums.com for events.

'3 7’; On? 1/2")". THE LIST 23