This first post is a little mission statement as to the reason for writing this blog. Contemporary writing and commentary that deals with Scottish art and culture often obsesses over questions of inclusion and exclusion, questions that usually arise from the thorny issue of nation. This blog aims to, if not ignore such questions, demote them to the sidelines as all aspects of art and culture are discussed and dissected. I cannot deny that I am Scots, writing in Scotland, and will concentrate (although not exclusively) on Scottish writers, poets, music, films, TV, art, comedy etc, but ‘where and when’ is of far less importance to me than ‘what and why’. Discussions can be had elsewhere as to what is or is not Scots and often they become a barrier to the enjoyment of that which is under discussion.
And that is what this blog is really for, to celebrate, debate and enjoy art in its widest sense. To deal with the art itself, and allow discussion and comment that looks at the old and new anew. To not take too seriously something which I take very seriously indeed. We have an ongoing relationship with our respective cultures throughout our lives and it is important to remember the relationship as it was when first consummated. The joy, wonder and the reason we fell in love in the first place with bands, films, poems and books. Like all relationships it changes, becomes more ‘serious’ as time goes by, and although I cannot pretend that a wary, weary and cynical side will be suppressed fully, (nor would I wish it so,where is the fun in that) I want to focus on my belief that art in all its forms can give us a reason for living better lives.
My first post proper will be thoughts on John Byrne’s Tutti Frutti which I have just watched for the first time since it originally screened in 1987. What struck me is the way that Byrne created a thoroughly Scottish drama, one that wears its roots and knowledge lightly, giving reference to outside cultural influence without apology, and does so with a light touch and a self-mocking sense of humour.
It is in this spirit that I write this blog. Of course this may change at any time, but until it does please excuse the indulgence and read on…