Friday, 21 December 2012

On Alasdair Gray...

email conversation about Alasdair Gray's recent controversial article (more background in the excellent BELLA CALEDONIA article)

Bill... What is your take on the attack on A Gray' in the Scotland on Sunday article? I think (as a recent immigrant) his words were welcoming, thoughtful and are being twisted by Better Together at the moment.


reply by Bill Newman

I have no concerns whatsoever about Alasdair Gray's comments which seem to me to be factual.  As a sassenach I (and you) have settled in Scotland  and, as Gray says. we are as much part of Scotland as any other immigrant and, of course, immigrants in the past have included Vikings, Irish, Normans and so on.  Colonialists are different and are those who spend time in the colonies of an imperial power, make their money and return home; again, surely a literal description of the English who come to Scotland, take a senior position, pocket the proceeds of his/her activities and goes back to the Imperial power - England.  I wonder if he had the unlamented director of Creative Scotland in mind?  Gray will not be upset by the criticisms - he never is - and he is not a man to change his considered views, nor the way he expresses them.
He is dreadfully underestimated as a writer and artist, probably because he doesn't fit into any ism.  I think that Lanark is the finest novel by far to have been written in Scotland in the 20th century and his visual work merits much higher praise than it receives.  Of his recent work, why isn't his magnificent ceiling and surrounds in the top hall of Oran Mor better known and why is his more recent mural in the booking hall of Hillhead Subway Station not acknowledged as the witty and humane masterpiece which it certainly is.  He is, of course  a socialist, but  of an individual and iconoclastic bent.   A great man!!

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