Sep 022014

Edward Heath Made Me Angry: The Christie File: Part 3, 1967-1975. (The later memoirs of a West of Scotland ‘baby-boomer’)  eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

This third volume of Christie’s memoirs provides the historical and political context for the international anti-Franco resistance of the anarchist ‘First of May Group’, from 1967 to the dictator’s death in 1975. It is a first-hand account — by someone accused but acquitted — of the campaign of anti-state and anti-capitalist bombings by diverse groups of libertarian militants who came together as the ‘Angry Brigade’ to challenge the aggressively anti-working class policies of the Tory government of Edward Heath.

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Jan 112014

CoverGrannywebMy Granny Made me an Anarchist: The Christie File: Part 1, 1946-1964. First published by ChristieBooks in 2002 in a limited edition of 100 copies, this fully revised, updated, unabridged eBook (eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

“This fascinating personal account offers a remarkable picture of the late-20th century, seen through sensitive eyes and interpreted by a compassionate, searching soul.” Noam Chomsky

“Stuart Christie’s granny might well disagree, given the chance, but her qualities of honesty and self-respect in a hard life were part of his development from flash Glaswegian teenager — the haircut at 15 is terrific — to the 18-year old who sets off to Spain at the end of the book as part of a plan to assassinate the Spanish dictator Franco. In the meanwhile we get a vivid picture of 1950s and early 1960s Glasgow, its cinemas, coffee bars and dance halls as well as the politics of the city, a politics informed by a whole tradition of Scottish radicalism. Not just Glasgow, because Stuart was all over Scotland living with different parts of his family, and in these chapters of the book there is a lyrical tone to the writing amplified by a sense of history of each different place. When we reach the 1960s we get a flavour of that explosion of working class creativity and talent that marked the time, as well as the real fear of nuclear war and the bold tactics used against nuclear weapons bases. It is through this period of cultural shake-up that Stuart clambers through the obstructive wreckage of labour and Bolshevik politics, and finds a still extant politics of libertarian communism that better fitted the mood of those times. Now, in 2002,it is Stuart who finds himself quoted in an Earth First pamphlet as the new generation of activists for Global Justice by-pass the dead hand of Trotskyist parties and renew the libertarian tradition.” John Barker

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A Visit To The Island of Sanday by the Revd. Alexander Goodfellow eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

 Reportage, Scotland, Travel  Comments Off on A Visit To The Island of Sanday by the Revd. Alexander Goodfellow eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)
Jan 292013

SandayA VISIT TO THE ISLAND OF SANDAY by the Revd. Alexander Goodfellow. First published 1912 by W. R. Mackintosh, Kirkwall. Second edition published 1978 by Cienfuegos Press,, Over-the-Water, Sanday, Orkney, KW17 2BL. ISBN 978-0-904564-10-5. This eBook edition published 2013 by ChristieBooks. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

Being a new edition of the introduction to Goodfellow’s Church History of Sanday, with some light-hearted illustrations* that have no justification other than serving to stimulate the imagination as to how it might have been. The text is prefaced with a rather tortuous introduction by the publisher, Stuart Christie, relating to current political problems facing Scotland in general, and Orkney and Shetland in particular.

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James Kelman — Why I Withdrew from the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference

 British radicals, Essay, News, Scotland  Comments Off on James Kelman — Why I Withdrew from the Edinburgh World Writers’ Conference
Aug 132012

The British Council and the Edinburgh Writers Conference

On a recent Sunday the Herald had a twenty page full colour supplement in association with the Scottish Tourist Board. Stories from the land that inspired Disney Pixar’s Brave. That’s us. The land “Where Legends Come to Life”. People wonder why we get irritated occasionally. It isn’t to do with the movie itself. I havent even seen it. The storyline involves loveable indigenous aristocrats, which is familiar: the kind of shite favoured by Scottish politicians, cuddly comedians and cuddly actors, cuddly rockstar rebels, millionaire sportstars and, of course, the cuddly ruling elite. This particular movie has a royal daughter hero rather than a royal son, which appeals to some as a blow for female emancipation, apparently.

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Mar 292012

James Kelman — On Self-Determination

In an article for the US magazine NY Arts, Glaswegian writer James Kelman nails his colours to the mast with regard to the current debate on Scottish Independence:

‘In an American journal I read a prominent English writer was described as ‘very British’. What can it mean to be ‘very British’? Could I be described in this way? Can my work be described as ‘very British’? No, not by people in Britain, or by those with a thorough knowledge of the situation. The controlling interest in ‘Britishness’ is ‘Englishness’. This ‘Englishness’ is perceived as Anglo-Saxon. It is more clearly an assertion of the values of upper-class England, and their validity despite all and in defiance of all.

Power is a function of its privileged ruling elite. To be properly ‘British’ is to submit to English hierarchy and to recognise, affirm and assert the glory of its value system. This is achieved domestically on a daily basis within ‘British’ education and cultural institutions. Those who oppose this supremacist ideology are criticised for not being properly British, condemned as unpatriotic. Those Scottish, Welsh or Irish people who oppose this supremacist ideology are condemned as anti-English. The ‘British way’ is sold at home and abroad as a thing of beauty, a self-sufficient entity that comes complete with its own ethical system, sturdy and robust, guaranteed to outlast all others.

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Jun 142011

Review of ‘Homage to Caledonia‘ by Daniel Gray and ‘An Anarchist’s Story: The Life of Ethel MacDonald‘ by Chris Dolan (Scottish Review of Books, Vol 5, No. 1, 2009). PDF or ISSUU

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The Eskimo Republic Concert (1994 — Gordon McCulloch) see FILMS

 Concert, Events, Films, Protest songs, Protest songs, Scotland, Scottish radicals, Street protests  Comments Off on The Eskimo Republic Concert (1994 — Gordon McCulloch) see FILMS
May 222011

The Eskimo Republic Concert, written for the 1994 Glasgow Folk Festival by Gordon McCulloch, was performed twice, on a single evening (21 June), at the Tron Theatre. The show sold out for both performances. Primarily an enthusiastic musical homage to the ‘Glasgow Eskimos’, the post-war political folk song movement, and the radical socialist Scottish anti-Polaris movement of the early 1960s,the songs and the recitations also addressed more contemporary political events. As Gordon said about the show: ‘There was very little time to write the piece or to rehearse it . . . I think that shows on the amateur film that was made by Larry Taylor. . . but no matter . . . we didn`t set out to make a slick professional show . . . and I hope it captured some of the gritty exuberant spontaneity of the actual events at the Holy Loch . .  . The “core” songwriting Eskimos were five in number . . . Morris Blythman, Nigel Denver, Jimmy Maclean, Josh MacRae and Jackie O`Connor. But I suppose if we were going to be a bit pedantic . . . then the real Eskimos were the canoeists and kayakists (such as Terry Chandler and others of the Committee of 100) that had a go at the Proteus. On a much broader view, I reckon that every one of the young and old, men and women who took part in the anti-Polaris demonstrations earned the right to call themselves Eskimos. The idea for the format of the piece was essentially Brechtian…”agit-prop” with a large dollop of the “living newspaper” techniques (quotes from contemporary newspaper articles) used by The Red Megaphones and Theatre Workshop in the early days of Ewan McColl.’

Artists in the evening’s lineup included Ronnie Alexander, Finlay Allison, Bob Blair, Bobby Campbell, Ian Davison, Robin Hall, Arthur Johnstone, Enoch Kent, Ian Kirkpatrick, Danny Kyle, Jimmie Macgregor, Gordon McCulloch, Geordie McIntyre, Adam McNaughtan, Ewan McVicar, Brian Miller, Palaver: Aileen Carr, Gordeanna McCulloch, Chris Miles & Maureen Jelks, Sam Ramsay, Jimmy Ross, and Charlie Soane. Sadly, three of the cast members, Robin Hall, Danny Kyle, and Bobby Campbell are no longer with us. See FILMS for video of the full concert (84 minutes)

Gordon has recently written an article “a.k.a. Thurso Berwick: Doon Amang the Eskimos” for The Bottle Imp published by The Association for Scottish Literary Studies (Glasgow University) in which he goes out of his way to pay tribute to the “core Eskimos”, especially Jim Maclean, but also Morris Blythman, Josh McCrae 1 and 2, Jackie O`Connor and Nigel Denver.


Jan 122011

The Stone of Scone - Stone of Destiny

The Wee Magic Stane (Music: Trad /Lyrics: Johnny McAvoy) is a humorous Scottish Republican song commemorating the liberation of the iconic (for Scots) Stone of Scone from under King Edward’s Chair/Throne in Westminster Abbey in 1950, for return to Scotland. This performance at ‘THE ESKIMO REPUBLIC’ at Glasgow’s Tron Theatre is probably the last made together by Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor. It was also the last public performance by  fiddle player Bobby Campbell. Other artists include: Ronnie Alexander, Finlay Allison, Bob Blair, Ian Davison, Arthur Johnstone, Enoch Kent, Ian Kirkpatrick, Danny Kyle, Gordon McCulloch, Geordie McIntyre, Adam McNaughtan, Ewan McVicar, Brian Miller, Palaver: Aileen Carr, Gordeanna McCulloch, Chris Miles & Maureen Jelks, Sam Ramsay, Jimmy Ross and Charlie Soane.

THE WEE MAGIC STANE (MP3 and Lyrics) See also FILMS: LYRICS – The Wee Magic Stane

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from a room in Glasgow by James Kelman

 Essay, Ideas, libertarian socialism, PDF, Politics, Scotland, Scottish radicals  Comments Off on from a room in Glasgow by James Kelman
Nov 112010

I should lay my cards on the table: I did not vote in the last UK General Election. Nor the one before. Nor the one before that. I never take part in any UK elections. I enjoy a game of charades now again but preferably with my grandchildren.

It is presumed that those who hold my position have no politics. People say: But you must vote! Men and women died for your right to take part! This can be true or false, depending on the argument, but such statements typically indicate an ignorance of radical history. Anti-parliamentarianism is the forgotten strain of the socialist movement in Scotland. Most people know nothing of this. They wait until somebody like myself stops talking then they switch topics. Those who hold views similar to mine are isolated unless directly engaged. Popular history focuses on obsequious warriors in tartan kilts who idolise chieftans and monarchs, lay down their lives for these glorious leaders, and consign for eternal subjection their children and children’s children.

There is an irony somewhere, given that the Scottish Enlightenment is premised on the inherent value of the individual perception. Young people were encouraged to ask questions. Nowadays they learn intellectual deference if not obedience; our education system has lost its own foundation, in favour of the Anglo-American model.

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No smoke without you, my fire (Edwin Morgan: 1920-2010)

 Obituaries, Poetry, Scotland, Scottish radicals  Comments Off on No smoke without you, my fire (Edwin Morgan: 1920-2010)
Aug 232010

Edwin Morgan - June 2009 (Iain Clark)

I took Edwin’s portrait in June 2009. I had been trying to organise it for a while and had visited him a couple of months earlier to introduce myself and take a look at his room in the care home. He had a nice room, he was surrounded by his books and a few other possessions. He was so gentle and had a strange combination of steeliness and humour in his eyes. It seemed to me that here was a man who had lived a satisfying life and was content to see out his remaining days in peace. Iain Clark

EULOGY by George Reid, 26 August 2010, Glasgow University

IN MEMORIAM – Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) BELLA CALEDONIA