A time to look backwards and forwards. It’s been a privilege to act as editor for three years bringing The Gateway to life once more.
Sometimes it feels depressing to look at Leatham’s writing and realise that he had many answers to problems we still encounter – and realise that if people had listened to his reasoning then, we may not have had these problems still. If people failed to listen to him then, how much more do they need to listen to him now, when hindsight shows us where we have taken wrong forks in the path, and Leatham is able to suggest where we might have taken a more positive approach. And a positive approach is something I try to hold on to, because without it there is no possibility of change for the better.
The work of Leatham, and past/present responses to it certainly provide a salutary lesson in the way our society works and how it has developed. Utopian idealism has always been with us – but real, robust choices have also been both possible and revealed. Reading Leatham’s work has highlighted to me both the futility of going against the grain, and the very vital importance of continuing to speak truth to power without fear or favour.
It is not our personal responsibility that things have ‘turned out’ the way they have. But the realities we live in now have been explored, explained and many times presaged by Leatham’s writing. Perhaps it is too late to ‘go back’ to correct errors of the past, but surely an understanding of the path we’ve taken (or been forced to take) might help us to engage with building a better future. Or is this just another cycle of ‘utopian idealism’? Cynicism, defeatism and the drive for individualism are all victims (sometimes willingly) of the economic system we live under.
I am left with no final conclusion other than that I wish more people had taken the notion of Co-operative Commonwealth seriously in days gone by, and that more people looking for a ‘better’ or ‘alternative’ system, would educate themselves in it now. There are alternatives.
When I began my editorship I was, perhaps naively, bemused by why his work had been so ignored, so thoroughly air-brushed from our social and cultural history. Now I have grown to know Leatham more through his writing, I am confident I know the answer. He was dangerous. He is still dangerous. His ideas are complex, challenging and comprehensive. He represents over sixty years of a man’s views – a man who saw the world as it was – and knew how he would like it to be.
I am convinced he will remain in the shadows because he shines light into some very dark places – places those in power are determined will stay dark to us all. And because of all this I am proud to have been responsible in some small way to bearing witness to a truth that was not afraid to speak its name. A truth that is once more available to readers - to those brave enough to engage with it and those who want to reach out beyond the cage (gilded or otherwise) in which we find ourselves today.
In this, the last online Gateway we look both ways, with our full focus on the work of Leatham. His seven Part: Glasgow in the Limelight concludes (and will soon be available as a complete work) and we offer a chapter of the thought provoking and entertaining ‘serial’ Twixt Desk and Shelves, which ran in Gateway for twenty five years from 1916 to 1941. Written in 1917 it offers some unusual views on women’s suffrage. His argument, though perhaps unpopular, has some resonance. Far from being a misogynist, I read it as suggesting that women (people in general) should be educated before they are simply given a vote. With the power comes the responsibility after all. The argument for an educated electorate is rather compelling when you consider some of the results of our exercise of democratic votes in the past few years!
One day, I hope to edit a complete edition of Twixt Desk and Shelves, as they show an interesting ‘alternative’ social history of Turriff and its people. Also this month is Leatham’s pamphlet about the Renaissance – affording us the opportunity to reflect back on a ‘rebirth’ and consider its consequences in a post-Renaissance world. Finally, it seemed fitting to include news of the recent visit to Aberdeen and Turriff by descendents of Leatham himself. It proved, if it was needed, that there is a vibrant link between past, present and future, and I am happy to have played my part in the process.
This is the final online edition, but it is not the end either of Gateway or Deveron Press. In the future we will be putting more work online as and when we can. We will build an online Index of all articles in Gateway to aid further exploration. We will continue to work to ‘voice’ authors who have something important to say and whose stories might otherwise remain hidden. We will publish in digital and print form where possible to keep spreading the word and advocating for the writing of Leatham and others who have been forced into shadows and neglected for too long. We will keep shining light into the dark places of our country, our culture and our world. Please do keep enjoying the archive of material online as it remains freely available.
Rab Christie, Editor.
Friday the 13th in an age of superstition.
Being dumped by text used to be considered the height of bad manners. So how much worse is the prospect of Global Armageddon by tweet? Well, that’s the Trump era world we live in. Am I alone in feeling like I’m going to have to spend the next couple of years (if I’m lucky) not breathing, in the hope that we’ll get through it relatively unscathed? And then ‘four more years?’
As I write this shades of ‘war is inevitable’ ‘not in my name’ keep swirling round my mind. The Cabinet is meeting in Downing Street. The MP’s are ‘revolting’ that they want to have their say but they’re not due back till Monday. By which time decisions may have been made. Or not.
In the meantime, the media (social and anti social) argues for and against fake media – and the people of Syria continue to be a pawn in the ugliest game in town.
And nothing we can do will make any difference. We, after all, are just so much data. The human is almost totally stripped from the phrase human resources. We have become resources. Is this a consequence of Brand Loyalty? The best dystopia money can buy, anyone? We can’t blame Zuckerberg for it all because we all ran to help him open the bottle and let the genie out and we’re still there, enjoying the bread and circuses of the early 21st century. Ultimate® is alive and well and we are all doing ‘productive work’ for them every time we log on.
This is the ‘context’ in which we look back this month in Gateway. Leatham offers pieces on Optimism/Pessimism and the Orraman goes his dinger on Ignorance, both of which have something of a particular relevance to my current mood. Perhaps it’s just me. The more Leatham I read the more I find that the problems have all been experienced and noted before. Do we never learn? Is it more that we mutate and survive and that the virus of hatred and corruption (and capitalism) is stronger than any other virus. The hopes of Socialism held in the 1920s certainly seem to have disappeared. Though even in the 1920s Leatham was reflecting back on how much had been ‘lost’ from the early, optimistic days of the emergence of Socialism. (real Socialism that is, before, as he points out, it became Labourism.) The pessimist in me sees Socialism as a cause seems as dead in the water as Communism is in practice. But then Soviet era Communism itself was a corruption of a noble ideal. The ‘Co-operative Commonwealth’ never really caught on. If I could imagine Donald Trump reading a book (let’s face it he doesn’t even write his own books) it would be more Ayn Rand than anything else. But who reads any more these days? I mean, who really reads?
Flip the coin to optimism? Today it’s hard to impossible to do. As we hold our breath Bay of Pigs style over the weekend to see who will blink first – or what ‘conclusions’ will be made about what the ‘best’ response will be to the Assad regime – I can’t find anything of comfort. I’m lost in the political algorithms of who will work out the best ‘probability’ in the particular game theory that’s being played out. I’m trying to second guess which interest is best served how and how it will be dressed up for us and which variety of fake news will contain any grain of something that used to be believed in called truth in it.
Is it any wonder we seek escapism in fiction? Though even in fiction I suggest there’s plenty to exercise the mind beyond simple escapism. This month we offer you an insight into the world beyond the ‘Stickit Minister’ – you have the option of escapism by just reading a story – or delving deeper from the download of the ‘retrospective’ by Cally Phillips, the leading Crockett authority of our times. It may be a niche interest, but isn’t it a more positive way to spend your life than finding ever new ways to justify killing ever more people in order that the virus of capitalism continues to prosper and dominate the globe? Like I said, optimism’s thin on the ground this weather at the Gateway.
This month we've a fair wheen o' politics for you as we reflect what it means to be political and non political past and present. Russia and Britain are arguing over nerve agents. Gets on my nerves, certainly.
Leatham concludes his 'on being non political' offering us some insight into the European 'troubles'. He laments how in his youth people used to debate, and know how to debate:
In my own young manhood there were literary and debating societies on every hand.
He noticed the change from the 1890s to the 1920s. How much more have politics, culture (and any connection between them) changed since then. In the 1920's he writes:
One has seen men with a passion for music, or for books, or for the theatre, or for wine, or money, or flowers, or horseflesh. We may make shift to do, at a very great pinch, without any or all of these, but we cannot do without politics. Wherever men are gathered together there must be rules of the social road, and these rules are politics. As all are equally oppressed by bad and blessed by good laws, clearly all have an equal right to participate, less or more, as arranged in the making, altering, and administration of the laws.
And the conclusion is still very apposite:
And the inescapable penalty of taking no part in the business of government is that we shall be obnoxiously or even disastrously governed by others.
We have been warned. We were warned. Did we heed the warning? People these days don't value either politics or literature (or culture) much more than as a capitalist venture. We were warned of this too:
As I write, the efforts of official Labour seem to be directed towards maintaining the life of Capitalism rather than ushering in instalments of the Co-operative Commonwealth.
Politics has become a career, every bit as murky as the career of literary critic which was emerging along with men such as Andrew Lang. Orraman gives his own personal opinion on that state of affairs.
Which brings us some might say ironically, onto the lists and 'advice' of writers, editors and critics. Leatham and Lang both fulfilled a critics role in different ways, but reading this month's articles I'm led to conclude that really, as Leatham says:
When all is said, Literature of all subjects is least to be taught by tabloid. A lifetime and a temperament are required for it.
In my research this month I came across the following. And thought it was worth sharing. This was the P&J in 1926, offering a critique of Leatham and Gateway.
Aberdeen Press and Journal July 1926
Mr James Leatham of the Deveron Press, Turriff, has already made quite a name for himself as an essayist, and though often extreme his views have frequently the piquant flavour of originality. He has also the gift of argument and his reasoning is at times quite plausibly convincing.
As editor of ‘The Gateway’ a journal of life and literature, he has found a voice for his theories and opinions, and the mid-July number contains much that is readable. In his article ‘Dog does not eat Dog,’ his criticism of Mr Baldwin’s economic theories is violent, and many will be roused to indignation by his cynical derision of Dean Ingo in ‘Is this A God’s World or Devil’s’, with ‘Jacobus’ in his contribution, ‘Cliches and Solecisms’, wherein he adopts as his slogan, ‘If we can’t men the world, let us mend our speech,’ there will be general agreement.
I wish you all the best this month with casting a critical reading eye over the Gateway past and present and drawing your own conclusions. What you choose to do with it, or learn from it, is up to you.
I'd like to say there's something for everyone in this month's Gateway, but an aversion to the cliche prevents me.
Instead, I'll suggest that if you are looking for a pattern amongst our pieces this month (as Editor this surely is part of my task) it might be the suggestion that we should read because (and what) we want to rather than what we are told. And that we may find 'friends' in some unusual places.
There's been a lot of ill-mannered behaviour from women (and some men) over Rabbie Burns. There's been rather too much gushing from women (and some men) over Muriel Spark and there's been some reflection from women (and some men) about the Suffragettes.
And who says women don't have the whip hand? (pause while I await the accusation of mysogyny to fall on my brow) I take precedence from James Leatham. I've read arguments of his in various places which suggest that women are seriously deficient in many of life's skills (including the capacity for serious reading and thought.) Either he was a serious mysogynist, or perhaps, just perhaps something is lost in the translation of 70+ years. I think it behoves us to be pretty careful how we a) interpret and b) retrofit those from the past. Certainly, Leatham had a 'strong' mother, a wife and four daughters and he must surely have known the strengths and weaknesses of the 'fairer' sex. Perhaps he understood and engaged in 'banter' in a way that we cannot culturally condone these days? Perhaps times were just different then? I'm not sure it really matters. It is perhaps less important to change the past than to try and change the future.
One finds strange bed-fellows when attempting to go beyond the 'mainstream' and I think it's always worth remembering that these people were people first. Do you only have friends who share all your views? Do you condemn those with differing views in this wonderful age of tolerance? I, personally, cannot thole Radio 3. Many folk have been Sparking up there this month... I've missed them all. I'm a Radio Scotland man. And this month one of Leatham's better known pals is getting an airing. Since Deveron Press last year published a book on Cunninghame Graham - An Eagle in a Hen-House (by Lachie Munro) it seemed fair enough to give it a wee plug... so here goes the promo...
DON ROBERTO Begins Tuesday, February 20, 2018 at 1.30 pm on Radio Scotland and available on the BBC iPlayer world wide for 30 days thereafter.
A five part series written and presented by Billy Kay which includes the original four archive programmes from 1999 and a new introductory programme for 2018 - The Adventure Begins.
A portrait of R.B. Cunninghame Graham - A true Scottish romantic hero and founding father of both the Scottish Labour Party and the National Party – forerunner of the SNP.
The model for leading characters in George Bernard Shaw’s plays "Arms and the Man" and "Captain Brassbound’s Conversion". his friends included Oscar Wilde, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. The latter contrasted his own enclosed life compared to the flamboyant exoticism of R.B. Cunninghame Graham - "When I think of him, I feel as though I had lived all my life in a dark hole, without seeing or knowing anything". If ever a major Scottish figure deserved re-discovery it is surely the life and legend of Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham.
The more you read about RB Cunninghame Graham the less likely it seems that he would have been a pal of James Leatham, which only goes to show us how little we know. Neither men is well known today of course, whereas the world still goes wild over William Morris (though not for his politics) and maybe I'm being cynical by suggesting that RBCG is privileged over JL because he is in a different class. Read on...
R B Cunninghame Graham, (1852 - 1936) was one of the most influential men in Scottish literary and political life in the 20th century - by far the most glamorous and romantic. With Scottish and Spanish aristocratic blood in his veins - he was often called the uncrowned King of Scots due to his family’s claim to the throne through their ancestor Robert II. His life spanned several continents and cultures, all of which he touched and in all of which he is revered.
A schoolboy at Harrow, his childhood was divided between London and his family estate at Gartmore in Stirlingshire. As a young man, he followed the Spanish side of his heritage to Paraguay and Argentina. In Argentina he is regarded as a national hero and the father of the gaucho - the man who rode on the Pampas then brought the glories of the South American cowboy to the outside world through his short stories. His legendary status is such that many in the Lake of Menteith area swear that gauchos have come to the Isle of Inchmahome to sing melancholic Spanish eulogies at his graveside. Married to a Chilean poetess Gabriela de la Belmondiere (actually an English actress Caroline Horsfall) his life as a cattle drover and rancher took him all over South America and up into Texas. Everywhere he went, he had sympathy for traditional ways of life under threat, and used his writing to highlight the plight of marginalised cultures. This aspect of his legacy was in the news in the late 1990’s when the body of an Ogala Sioux Indian chief was re-patriated from London to the Dakotas. The English woman who organised the event, had read of Long Wolf through the account of his life and death in the writing of Cunninghame Graham , who had befriended him.
On the death of his father, Cunninghame Graham succeeded to the Gartmore estates and he returned to live in Scotland. He became involved with the turbulent politics of the late 19th and early 20th century, and despite his background, always identified with the masses: “the damned aristo who embraced the cause of the people” as Hugh McDiarmid described him. He was Liberal MP for North Lanarkshire from 1886 till 1892, radically espousing the miners demands for shorter working hours and going to Pentonville jail for six weeks following his participation in a banned demonstration against unemployment which resulted in a riot. A close friend of Keir Hardie, he became the first president of the Scottish Labour party when it was formed in 1888. After the first World War, he became increasingly interested in the Scottish question. He became president of the National Party of Scotland in 1928, and on its amalgamatiion with the Scottish Party in 1934, he became the first president of the Scottish National Party. He died in Argentina in 1936, but his body came home to Scotland to rest in his ancestral lands in Stirlingshire.
Because of his extensive writings on different cultures, his influence outwith Scotland was extensive - the Indian story just one of many with resonances in Spain, Morocco, Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico and the U.S. His short stories like the much anthologised "Beattock for Moffat" on a Scottish exile returning home to die, are also used to illustrate the programme. His polemical writing on Scotland too is increasingly relevant, as the tension between nationalism and unionism in Scottish politics is still unresolved.
It's clear from the above that the find art of marketing and branding is alive and sparking... and also that Cunninghame Graham and James Leatham, while united in their desire for Socialism had very little else in common. Does that need to concern us, the modern reader? I think not. It's for us to wade through the hype and make our own choices. That means looking beyond the politically correct, or our own prejudices. Do our views count any more than our votes? I wonder. Here at Gateway we try to offer you choice and allow you to daunder along in your own direction at your own pace - whatever your class, race or gender preferences.
Another year older. Are we another year wiser? I doubt it somehow. This months' Gateway offerings are substantial in length and so I won't add much to that. My observations for this New Year are that we have definitely not learned from mistakes of the past and therefore are most certainly condemned to repeat them (endlessly, with variations.)
This month, Leatham writes about the 20th Century Puzzle. This is one that surely, as we settle into the 21st Century we should have solved. But no.
I can't help but feel (at least politically) that the appropriate advice is 'abandon hope all ye who enter here' as we move into 2018. The Star Wars Saga continues but I see no 'New Hope'. I see a new generation, struggling with fundamentally the same issues, in a new format - but never looking back with enough insight to realise the lessons we might learn - including that Hope is never enough!
Is the answer Decadence? Leatham thinks not. His essay on Decadence in society and literature is interesting if for nothing else than to remind us how loose definitions can actually be - and how culturally relative so much of our life experience is.
But beyond decadence, the question is how to lift oneself out of the gloom? Well, the world may be going to hell in a handcart (but then, hasn't it always been?) and I suggest it is possible to escape into the past and fictional worlds and learn something in the process. This month Orraman explores Hogg's Brownie, and we counterpoint it with Nicolson's version. My short conclusion is that the world is in need of Brownies more than ever today. Politics won't save us. Brownies might help us save ourselves, if we learn the lessons they have to teach. So - this month - read and weep - or laugh -but above all read and THINK. For yourself.
Two years ago this month we embarked upon the revival of James Leatham's work.
The Commemorative edition of The Gateway was published in time for the re-launch of The Deveron Press on what would have been James Leatham's 150th birthday on December 19th 2015.
The launch event was held in the Municipal Buildings, Turriff - in the very room Leatham served as Provost. Like Leatham's reputation, it had fallen into a parlous state.
We have played our part in restoring both place and reputation. The Municipal Buildings is now a community owned Museum and Heritage Hub, managed by the Turriff and District Heritage Society.
The Deveron Press has also published 'The Centenary Collection' of 10 Leatham related works including first publication of Leatham's unfinished autobiography as well as becoming a voice for contemporary North East and Scots writers.
And every month we have brought you a selection of Leatham (and other writers) works in the New Gateway, free online.
Leatham's Gateway ran for 361 editions over 30 volumes. We knew we could never compete with this. Our goal has been, and remains, to make Leatham's work as available as possible as widely as possible. On this, the second anniversary of the 'relaunch' we have taken the decision that we will bring out a total of 30 editions of the New Gateway. This will take us to June next year. (Volume 3) It's a small tribute to Leatham's prolific masterwork, but hopefully it has whetted the appetite of a few to read further and deeper.
We have made hundreds of public domain articles available free on the internet and they will remain here. We will also list the complete index of all Gateway articles from all 361 editions of the magazine so that interested people can seek them down - at present complete sets are held at Special Collections, Aberdeen University Library, British Library and incomplete but extensive holdings at Aberdeenshire Library HQ in Old Meldrum.
We will then focus on bringing 'compilations' of some of Leatham's political and cultural works together for publication as well as continuing our commitment to local and Scots contemporary writers - keeping the 'radical' view alive well into the future.
So - there's another 6 editions to go... we hope you will enjoy them. And for our publications, please go to the Leatham Centenary Collection at www.unco.scot and the Contemporary unco authors section.
Can you believe we’re all still here, a year after The Donald became President. And our Former First Minister is about to make his debut as a chat show host? Does the world get any crazier? Of course it does. Scotland is in the grip (you won’t have noticed it) of a massive Cultural Conversation/Strategy/Consultation… and which word you choose to employ probably informs and is informed by what your understanding of culture means.
Robert Louis Stevenson, the man, the writer, the legacy (and the moustache) is a good case in point. Over the past decade he’s come out of the doldrums and, having been ‘marketed hard’ into the mainstream, is now no longer easily dismissed.
Let me make it clear here and now, I’ve long been a fan/advocate/champion of Stevenson as a writer so if I am critical it is not of his writing. And it may seem churlish of me to be critical of one of our own being brought back into the literary fold. It’s the literary fold itself that I have problems with – that and the methods which need to be employed to get ‘noticed’ or ‘brought back into’ that place.
Probably I’m just at odds with the modern world and the modern way of doing things. I accept that. But it sits uneasily with me that we are asked to don fake moustaches in support of RLS. That the only way for a writer to get ‘noticed’ is to become primarily an ‘iconic’ or ‘legendary’ marketing opportunity. What about the actual WRITING folks?
To that end, we’ve given over this month’s Gateway in tribute to RLS. Alongside the final part of ‘The Most Important thing in the World’ we present the first of a two parter by Leatham on Stevenson’s style – an interesting and as anticipated somewhat challenging read from the 1910’s– as well as SR Crockett’s 1895 Memoriam piece. We also feature a piece of RLS’s own writing, ‘Person’s of the Tale’, revealing another perspective on ‘pieces of eight.’ To show that it’s not just RLS with hidden depths we also shine a light on an RLS buddy, J.M.Barrie. This month he takes over from the Orraman in presenting a cultural critique in the form of a short play.
Are we simply jumping on a bandwagon, or offering a different perspective in tribute to a writer who stands, shoulder to shoulder among peers who have not yet been brought into the light of Leery’s lamp.
Flashlight alert. Watch out. Next year is the centenary of Muriel Spark – another overlooked Scots writer. As a woman she’s got the edge these days – she can be marketed for ‘feminism’ and ‘equality’ and all that. Just read the stories folks. That’s the real power of a writer after all.
The cultural ‘debate’ rumbles on in the mainstream and in the margins. Politicians become chat show hosts. Reality stars become Presidents. And silly season has become a year round experience! Might I suggest that those who do not learn from the past are now condemned to watch it in eternal return on television as ‘formats’ designed primarily to sell you both things and the ideology of things. In the virtual world it’s harder than ever to ‘keep it real.’
Happy St Andrews Day when it comes. As yet it’s still not a mainstream contender with Halloween/Trick or Treat, Christmas, Thanksgiving or New Years (!!). If you celebrate St Andrews Day, please do so responsibily – not to mark an iconic/branded ‘experience.’ Keep it real, pal.
Another month older – wiser? Who can say? As we prepare for a long hard winter ahead, this month at the Gateway there’s loads to reflect on, perhaps even something to learn from.
We have J.M.Barrie’s address ‘This Entrancing Life’ which he delivered on becoming Chancellor of Edinburgh University in 1930. All but forgotten of course, but he has some really interesting and important things to say about education and society. Juxtapose that with the final part of Leatham’s ‘The Most Important thing in the world’ which reminds us that Capitalism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and there are more important things than money, and you won’t have wasted the time it’s taken you to read both pieces. To continue your free (in all senses) education on Gateway you might delve into the history of the Peasant’s Revolt and, perhaps a bit more locally, the history of Turriff. Beyond that, the Orraman comes to some conclusions in the ongoing battle for Scots culture. What more could you want?
This month in 2017 we’ve had party conferences and really seen how the media can turn and twist any and everything round to the way they want. While the mainstream media bay for her blood, calling her weak and predicting her demise, here at the Gateway if we are to make predictions it is that Theresa May is going nowhere any time soon. As Orraman suggests, we need to watch out not for bread and circuses but for adult colouring books. A prime minister coughing through a speech is not, I repeat NOT more important than the events going on in Catalonia folks. The internet, that purported great democratiser, has become, via social media, more than anything a soma for the masses. Be afraid, be very afraid. In the virtual world you are your data and for most practical purposes nothing more. So perhaps step away from the smart phone apps, stop posting selfies and pictures of cats and use the technology for something sensible instead of as yet another distraction from using your brain. Just a gentle wee piece of advice.
So, is silly season over yet? It all started to get a bit serious over the last month, with Trump and his North Korean oppo squaring up for who can press the nuclear button first - the Japanese are, understandably pretty worried. The South Koreans? Well, all I know about them is from re-runs of Mash. I’m guessing it’s not strictly accurate. Fake news?
But as we all once more stood on the brink of something truly horrible, along came not one, not two, but three wee hurricanes to take our minds of man’s inhumanity to man. Hurricane Irma has shown us that nature still holds the trump (no pun intended) devastation card in the pack.
I can’t help but wondering what is going on between US/N.Korea in the background though. And let’s not even begin with Brexit. If America and UK are two countries divided by a single language, the ‘lost in translation’ between UK and our European ‘cousins’ is clear for all to see. Not only are we not singing from the same hymn sheet, we’re not even holding anything that looks like a roadmap. Doesn’t stop the Tories from trying to take all the power in a Henry VIII style ‘land grab’ – Be afraid, be very afraid of The Great Reform Bill. That’s a warning from history for the future.
Looking forward is scary, so why not look back and get more of an idea how we came to this ugly pass. This month we have Leatham writing about The Peasant’s Revolt, and ‘The Worst Thing in the World’ as well as a lighter piece set in Turriff a century ago. But they all serve to show us that the more things change the more they stay the same. There’s a Doric poem from Tibby Tamson of the Cabrach – one of those remote and desolate places. It was always remote but the desolation was man-made! And bringing us bang up to date there’s the Orraman gaun his dinger about ‘culture’. What more do you need when the world is falling around about you? Enjoy this month’s Gateway. It’s better for you than all the Bake Off’s, Celebrity MasterChef’s, Strictly Come Dancing’s or this week’s J.K.Rowling plays grown up drama put together. In my opinion at least.
It's Easter Rising. Last year of course was the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising in Dublin. For those who believe in such things there was an earlier, religious ‘rising’ which we now celebrate with chocolate eggs. Go figure. Tradition’s a strange thing. And every right minded reader knows that Christmas is the time when new books flock to the fore. However, this month I’m able to tell you of a wheen of new books that have come to my attention.
Hot on the heels of the two William Morris biographies last month, Deveron Press this month brings out James Leatham’s ‘Shakespeare Studies’ (on the anniversary of the date of the death and birth of the Bard.) Of course Shakespeare probably wasn’t born on the 23rd April (handily St Georges Day) any more than Jesus was born on December 25th, but he died (allegedly) on that day and since no one was sure when he was born (I’m still talking Shakespeare here) they tied it all up nicely and gave him the same date to be born and die on. Nice trick if you can manage it.
Leatham’s Shakespeare studies are like nothing you will have read before. Isn’t that enough to whet your appetite. Find out more in our Gateway article.
And Deveron Press are marking the end of the Centenary Year with the full Centenary Collection ready to purchase in one handy set for a bargain price. Find out more HERE.
But Deveron Press are not resting on anyone’s laurels and looking forward to Centenary + the first brand new book is out this May (but pre-publication sales have already been flying off the virtual shelves). It is the debut collection of short stories by Macduff loon Pat Hutchison. You may have come across his stories on the internet, especially on McStorytellers, but Deveron have captured a whole 26 of them in a collection titled ‘Sanners Gow’s Tales and Folklore of the Buchan’ which is out now, though officially launched on May 20th in Turriff. (Macduffers will get a first shout on May 6th) and before that on May 1st at the opening of the ‘New’ Museum in Turriff (the very same building in which James Leatham was Provost) Pat will be ‘in residence’ signing copies and maybe even reading a wee story or two.
And for those who like to be well prepared, word is that Pat’s second short story collection will be out in good time for the Xmas market!
Beyond that, this month sees the anniversary of the death of Samuel Rutherford Crockett, and Orraman offers a reflection on the restoration of reputations. In Gateway another weel kent but lang forgoteen man, Sandy Cran, is featured. All in all there’s plenty to keep you reading well into May.
To find past articles please use monthly archives.