Archive for the Scotland Category

Scotland’s folk hero: Hamish Henderson

Scotland’s folk hero: Hamish Henderson

‘Poetry Becomes People’, the second volume of Timothy Neat’s biography of Hamish Henderson (Polygon Books, £25), completes the life of one of modern Scotland’s architects. The first volume, ‘The Making of the Poet’, (reviewed in Scottish Review, 6 January 2009) ends with Henderson starting his career as […]

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The eleventh hour: why I wear my poppy, and not my CND badge, this day

The eleventh hour: why I wear my poppy, and not my CND badge, this day

As a young man I wore my CND badge, rather than a poppy, on Armistice Day. For very different reasons, my father, a regular soldier from July 1939 until 1946, also avoided both poppies and Armistice Day: ‘I don’t need a special day, I remember my pals […]

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Rebel Hamish: Alex Wood on a Scottish folk singer who was a natural anarchist

Rebel Hamish: Alex Wood on a Scottish folk singer who was a natural anarchist

I should have watched Scotland play Holland. Normally that’s what I’d do. Instead I spent the evening in the local Masonic hall at a tribute to Hamish Imlach, the Scottish folk singer.      Imlach came to prominence, along with Matt McGinn, the Fishers and Alex Campbell, in […]

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Up to you, old boy: the groundwork for Megrahi’s release was done over a cup of coffee in London

Up to you, old boy: the groundwork for Megrahi’s release was done over a cup of coffee in London

One of the enraging features of modern politics, thrown into sharp relief by the Megrahi affair, has been the naïve posing, by politicians and the media, of questions to which the answers are known. The repeated cries by the Tories and the media for Gordon Brown to […]

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The lost community: Alex Wood, following the death of his mother, reflects on the profound social changes that have occurred during her lifetime – and his

The lost community: Alex Wood, following the death of his mother, reflects on the profound social changes that have occurred during her lifetime – and his

My mother died recently. She was 93 and was in residential care. There was no house for disposal, only some cursory business and the sorting of papers, photographs and letters but that task reminded me sharply of how the world has changed in her lifetime. My unmarried […]

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Towards a more tolerant Scotland: Alex Wood sees some hope in the controversy engulfing the Church of Scotland

Towards a more tolerant Scotland: Alex Wood sees some hope in the controversy engulfing the Church of Scotland

There’s a Presbyterian streak in many Scots, including those without denominational affiliation or even religion, but that serious concern about ethical issues is insufficient to explain the interest in the Scott Rennie case at the General Assembly. It is almost unbelievable, as we approach the second decade […]

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Hamish Henderson: the man who escaped Scottish Calvinism Review

Hamish Henderson: the man who escaped Scottish Calvinism  Review

Volume I of Timothy Neat’s Hamish Henderson, a Biography (Polygon Books, 375 pp, £25.00), explores the early life of Hamish Henderson, the poet, folk-lorist, soldier, communist and nationalist, one of contemporary Scotland’s most dazzling intellectual stars.  Henderson was born in 1919, the illegitimate son of a respectable […]

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The radical English

The radical English

Scotland is reviewing its own history.  The BBC’s controversial series, A History of Scotland, has been damned as Anglo-centric but its very production signalled a recognition of the thirst for identity in Scotland.  Scottish schools have been encouraged, as part of the Curriculum for Excellence exercise to […]

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Review: The Wound and the Gift, by Ron Ferguson

Review: The Wound and the Gift, by Ron Ferguson

With The Wound and the Gift (St Andrew Press, £19.99), Ron Ferguson, journalist, minister, writer, has produced a stunning, insightful and unorthodox biography of the Orcadian poet, George Mackay Brown.  Ferguson knew Mackay Brown.  When he was minister of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall he became close […]

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School’s out for summer

England’s summer riots have left a few smug grins on Scots faces.  That they have not occurred here is no cause for major rejoicing.  I don’t defend these events but they had a certain warped sense of carnival.  Somehow that ebullience doesn’t quite fit the Scottish psyche.  […]

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