Jun 22 2018

ALLAN ARMSTRONG REVIEWS ‘THE RED AND THE GREEN’ BY GERARD CAIRNS

Review of The Red and the Green – Portrait of John Maclean by Gerard Cairns

Gerard Cairns has recently published his informative and challenging new book, The Red and the Green – A Portrait of John Maclean. I have known Gerry since the early 1990s and I would find it hard to call him Gerard, so I will use Gerry for the rest of this review.

The book’s title reveals the two main aspects of Gerry’s assessment of John Maclean. The Red and the Green highlights Gerry’s research into ‘Red’ John and his relationship with the ‘Green’ or Irish community on Clydeside .[1] A Portrait of John Maclean examines Maclean the political activist and family man. It raises questions about how Socialists organise and relate to others, especially their partners and families. When assessing  Maclean, Gerry brings his own personal experience to bear. “This has been a very personal portrait of a man I have researched, studied, lectured on, debated for a long time.” [2] Thus Gerry’s book is viewed through the prism of his own life of political activism. Continue reading “ALLAN ARMSTRONG REVIEWS ‘THE RED AND THE GREEN’ BY GERARD CAIRNS”

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Mar 29 2017

PADDY BORT – 1954-2017

Allan Armstrong writes about the contribution made by Paddy Bort, who died on February 17th, to our understanding of Scottish and Irish cultural and political links.

 

PADDY BORT – 1954-2017

Eberhard Bort, Germano-Scot and Germano-Irish by choice, “in essence the ultimate European”, and known to most acquaintances in Scotland and Ireland as Paddy, died unexpectedly on February 17th. Steve Byrne, founder member of the folk group, Malinky, and convenor of the Hamish Henderson Archive Trust, wrote what has become Paddy’s much circulated obituary. It begins with the strikingly appropriate words, “A hole the size of Arthur’s Seat is in the Edinburgh folk scene today.”
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Mar 09 2016

HAMISH HENDERSON, FOLK SONGS AND THE BUILDING OF SCOTTISH LEFT WING IDENTITY

Adam Ramsay of  open democracy has written the following review article after seeing the new film, Hamish, about the life of Hamish Henderson. It was first posted at:- 

 

https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/adam-ramsay/hamish-henderson-folk-culture-and-building-of-scottish-left-wing-identity

 

HAMISH HENDERSON, FOLK SONGS AND THE BUILDING OF SCOTTISH LEFT WING IDENTITY

 

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For me, he was the polyglot communist who first translated Antonio Gramsci into English. For my singer sister, he was Scotland’s great musicologist, the iconic folk song collector who left thousands of recordings now found on Tobar an Dualchais. For my Dad, he was the charismatic founder of Edinburgh University’s School of Scottish Studies and its folk society, and the rumoured son of the philandering husband of his great-aunt Kitty, the Red Duchess.
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Oct 03 2014

‘THE STORY OF SANDY BELLS: EDINBURGH’S WORLD FAMOUS BAR’ – A review

Allan Armstrong (RCN) writes a review of Gillian Ferguson’s new book, The Story of Sandy Bells: Edinburgh’s World Famous Bar.

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Sandy Bells on Forrest Road is “Edinburgh’s World Famous Folk Bar”, as the subtitle to Gillian Ferguson’s informative and entertaining new book, The Story of Sandy Bells, tells us.

Gillian is not exaggerating. Traditional and folk music enthusiasts do come from all over the world to visit Sandy Bells. “The traditional music department at Tokyo University recommends Sandy Bells to students visiting Scotland.” In 1977 Sandy Bells launched the very influential fortnightly Broadsheet covering Scotland’s vibrant folk scene. By the “8th year, the international demand saw copies being despatched as far as Canada, USA, Sweden, South Africa, Eire, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Bermuda and France.”

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