del Rosso review: Blessed Unrest’s LYING

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.11.06On 52nd Street in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, The Interart Theatre Development Series is presenting Blessed Unrest’s production of “Lying,” a stage adaptation by Matt Opatmy of Lauren Slater’s metaphorical memoir of the same title.  Going in, I knew Blessed Unrest to be an exuberant, adventurous company. I also knew Director Jessica Burr was a Lucille Lortel Award winner in 2011.

“Lying” is the coming-of-age of Lauren (Jessica Ranville)  – wait, the fourth wall is broken, so it’s really a meta-metaphorical adaptation of a metaphorical memoir.  Jessica the actress plays Lauren the writer though Matt did the adapting. Jessica playing Lauren’s coming of age is told through the prism of epilepsy – wait, but the real Lauren may not have had epilepsy; she may be “Lying.” Then again, the details about the auras and regarding the ground as a crash pad are spot-on, and I should know, because I have epilepsy, and I am not lying. So if the real Lauren did not have epilepsy, then she did an inordinate amount of research, including but not limited to what it feels like to be conscious during a brain operation.

My question is: Why?

Published in 2000, the book “Lying” was Lauren Slater’s fourth memoir; perhaps the words “fourth memoir” should give one pause.

Out of the mouth of Jesus, beautifully played by actor Nathan Richard Wagner, comes this: “Patients with Munchausen’s Syndrome use fake illness as a conduit for conveying real pain. They pretend or exaggerate not for money but for things beyond weight, beyond measure.

Many choose epilepsy.”

Near the end of the performance, Jessica the actress playing Lauren says, “I am not an epileptic. I am really really not an epileptic. I have had many serious psychiatric and neurological problems in my life, but epilepsy has not been one of them. I have a fitful, restless brain, I feel I have several selves. I have had auras all my life and I take anticonvulsant medication daily. The metaphorical world and the material world blend and blur, become each other; believe me, I have suffered seizures.

Jessica Burr is a fascinating director: endlessly inventive, visually exciting. She is an innovator when it comes to combining music and choreography, and the results can be transformative.

Why choose this material?

If Lauren’s truth as well as her journey is mercurial, Burr can go meta-crazy: she can break the fourth wall at will; she can tease as much humor and fun out of the script without sacrificing poignancy. She can cast brilliantly -Charise Green, Nathan Richard Wagner, Sonia Villani, Rich Brown- who play up to eleven roles each, including Lauren’s three-headed mother, her small father, nuns, Jesus, a neurosurgeon, a therapist, AA members, and a sexually-addicted famous writer. And that’s not even half. Jessica Ranville is equally adept at the various incarnations of Lauren. Burr can evoke emotions through the use of music and employ an industrial-sized fan in a witty, olfactory way. In short, she has a lot of room, and knows how to use every inch.

It’s interesting to like “Lying” yet find the source material for this devised work distasteful. Then again, that could be my epilepsy talking. I thought Act I was superb and Act II less successful. On the long but pleasant walk home from Hell’s Kitchen to the Upper West Side, I tried to figure out why. There was less humor. It seemed to be full of desperate people. Or maybe, instead of running out of ideas (not something Blessed Unrest could ever be accused of), it had too many all at once.

When Jessica the actress playing Lauren finally learns how to fall (in Act I), I was genuinely moved. That is a testament to Director Jessica Burr and her talented cast. “Lying” may actually be about a liar, a thief, a manipulator, a sociopath: Burr made me care about her. And that is no lie.

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As the media we’ve been used to collapses around us and politicians are proving to be more corrupt than at any time since the English Civil War, it’s worth looking backwards to get a taste for how things might be in the future.

Three hundred years ago, before the advent of learned journals and newspapers, Europe’s intellectuals conversed with each other by letter. These letters were written in Latin and took dangerous, twisting paths from the author to the recipient. If they survived the highwaymen and the perils of the voyage, the letters were ready avidly by those who received them, and most usually by an extended circle of admirers as well.



Great Britain has always been a country in love with the amateur and only during the last two-thirds of the twentieth century has that in practice, if not altogether in theory, diminished. Sport, for instance, whether in field sports, boxing or equestrian, was an activity for amateurs, usually gentlemanly ones, until spectator interest attracted the attention of commercial interests and big money produced sporting heroes able to earn good money through their talent, thereby attracting regional or sectarian fan-support , which made their sport widely popular, commercially viable and above all: professional. read more —>


Just yesterday, I was attending a meeting at the local burgh hall. Very rainy, steamy, humid Saturday afternoon with a weak cup of coffee kind of affair.



The recent entry by my ONE colleague Stephen Thompson on science and mysticism came at a time when, coincidentally, I’d just delivered a talk at the University of Wales on how scientists should communicate with the public.



“It’s a pandemic, my aunt has it!”

“You get it from eating pigs.”

“It’s more deadly that real flu, I read that somewhere!”

“Just hack off the infected limb and watch for further signs of zombification.”

“Is it the end of the world, like?”

“I hear licking at autistic child is a vaccine!” read more —>


Not so long ago someone in Edinburgh called me a ‘fucking coon’. The particulars of the incident I won’t dwell on: suffice it to say that there was a mild difference of opinion, a trifle when I really think about it, which resulted in the abovementioned insult. I was speechless. I hadn’t been on the receiving end of that kind of abuse, not to my face, since I was a child living in deepest, darkest east London. read more —>


For all that science has transformed our lives, it seems that scientists are still regarded as a uniformly dull breed. Surely this has to be a mis-perception, for even if the stereotype were true of your average lab technician – and I don’t suppose for one moment that it is – it certainly isn’t true of your Einsteins and your Paulis, your Bohrs and your Schrödingers. These were men of almost boundless creativity and imagination, men of passion and vision. To suggest they lacked personality is like saying Napoleon had no military flair. read more —>


The absence of any confidence or even belief in the probity or competence of those who have been elected to govern, either on a national or regional level, is now so universal that the question must be asked: Why are so few people standing up to challenge those in power, who it is obvious are interested in little other than feathering their nests and getting re-elected until it is time to retire? read more —>


editors’ note: If you know anything about John Calder, one of the UK’s most notorious publishers — who has brought us Alleg, Beckett, Duras, Hiss and Selby, you’ll note that even he jokes that anything electronic, from the TV to computer, tends to malfunction in his presence.

This is his first and only blog, an experiment. Typed in London on a manual, mailed to and re-keyed in Glasgow, ONE Magazine is pleased to present the Man for Monday. If your computer freezes on the article, you’ll know you went to the right place. read more —>


However much one might disagree with Jonah Goldberg, the New Review columnist, there can be no doubting the importance of his #1 US best-seller, “Liberal Fascism”, recently published in Britain and every bit as relevant to this country as it is to Goldberg’s native United States.


ONE blogs – JOSHUA SPEARS – The BNP Charm [is] Offensive.

The BNP or British National Party. To some, a symbol of national pride. To others, a rabble of racist thugs and a real threat. For anyone who hasn’t heard of these so-called “political activists”, read on… What this blog post isn’t about is the BNP’s racism and highly offensive policies. It’s worse: how they are getting smart, and winning votes.

Back in the 1980s and 90s, the BNP were seen as a neo-Nazi rabble, a collection of down-trodden bullies. Now, with a failing economy, a surge of immigration from Eastern Europe, a sensationalist media that makes every mugging, rape and shooting front page news of a week — good people are getting angry. Perhaps, rightly so. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOSHUA SPEARS – Circle Cafe Bar Open Mic Night Tonight! (06/4/09)

Hey guys and girls, how we all doing today?

Just a quick post to remind you all that the Open Mic Night at Circle Bar will be held tonight at the Circle Cafe Bar, from 20:00 til late. Be you a writer, poet, stand up comedian, we want you! If your not, we want you to come anyway and support this event. Its so important to Carlisle that things like this happen because of its arts-starved status and the venue itself is one of the few in Carlisle not dedicated to the all-night-loud-trance-music crowd. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOSHUA SPEARS – Reflections on Rebellion

As the subject has already been put forth by the astute fellow that is Mr. John Calder, I thought it important to put across my view on the art of protest.

You see, when we speak of rebellion, the images conjured in our minds are that of stroppy teens, punk rock bands, The Rebel Alliance, a chaotic yet good natured person. Robin Hood, for example, prime example of a fellow who rebelled and protested for peace and equality.

But to some, Robin Hood was not a rebel. He was a terrorist. read more —>


These days, it’s a commonplace to say that idealism in politics has been replaced by gross materialism. And it’s even more common – in Britain at least — to lay the blame for that gross materialism at the feet of the Conservative party and Margaret Thatcher’s government.

But whatever one might think about Thatcher and her politics, at least the Conservatives of the 1980’s had (initially) the great merit of honesty. They didn’t pretend to foster a new society: indeed, Thatcher famously remarked that, “there is no such thing as society.”



Two lettres in one day. It’s a thin line, between love and hate.



Once, when I was younger, back around 1979, I was sitting in Mrs Bland’s classroom beside my friend at the time Jay Hull. Jay and I’d been spending our morning lying about all the girls we’d done and were gonna do and had been told we could do (there was time for some of that, back then).



No one is learning much of anything in the retail and banking sectors in this economy. Shops are still chock-full of overpriced goods produced by Third-World fingerless children, Afghanistani Heroin floods the streets at a hometown near you; and then there’s the altars of capitalism…

ONE blogs – JOSHUA SPEARS – A Poem- “To all Those I Have Loved Before”

In high sun or fall

To snow drifts melting into spring

In seasons numbered in all

Under cloud, stars, moon or sun

Be it bitter with wind or cool with dusken breeze

Till night dies, and morning does come


Nick Davies, a former investigative reporter with The Guardian, has just published “Flat Earth News” (Vintage,, probably the most important book about hackery for decades.


ONE blogs – JOSHUA SPEARS – Sweeney Todd – A Mini Review


So, my dear lady and I picked up some DVDs to watch recently, and amongst the lower priced ones stood Sweeney Todd- The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Having a mixed opinion of musicals (out of the two I’ve seen, I liked one and hated the other), I thought I would give this one a chance. read more —>

ONE blogs – JOSHUA SPEARS – First Blog Madness!

While I wait for my iPod nano to charge its music batteries before my sojourn into town, I thought I would write my first blog, having had it set up for me by that enigmatic figure whom goes by the name of Martin B. So, with reserved doubts and the goal of constructive rambling in mind, I present to you… read more —>


Main Street in Park City is crammed with people for the first time during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. People are running down to giant screens at the bottom of the street where Aretha Franklin is singing “I vow to thee my country”: the image of a black woman born in a brothel, beaten and raped as a teenager, singing in front of two million people in the National Mall and millions more around the world says it all – the chance for America to once more become what it first claimed it was more than two hundred years ago.


ONE 2 • Mean City to Big Apple II: An Update

A lot has happened since my first article for the first ONE…over three months since my arrival on American shores and what an adventure it is!


ONE 7 • Charley Boorman: Two Paths on the Road

Let’s get it straight from the start. I have a few personal issues, which are triggered by Charley Boorman’s latest book By Any Means, so please allow me to put my cards on the table.


ONE 7 • Tomorrow Lies in Ambush: a conversation with Ken MacLeod

Science fiction is a time machine for the imagination, with a remarkable way of transporting us from the here-and-now to the distant past or the far-flung future. The problem is, according to author Neil Gaiman, “You can tell the date of an old science fiction novel by every word on the page. Nothing dates harder and faster and more strangely than the future.”


ONE 7 • ONE on OBAMA : special section

There’s no question that in the next thirty or forty years, a Negro can also achieve the same position that my brother has as President of the United States, certainly within that period of time.
— Robert F. Kennedy, 1968




ONE 7 • Before Obama: Rickey, Robinson and King


Like most liberal Americans, I have awakened every morning since Election Day rubbing my eyes with disbelief about the outcome. Yet the more I hear the phrase “President- elect Barack Obama” the more I get used to it, and somewhere in the great beyond Wesley Branch Rickey and Jack Roosevelt Robinson are also smiling at the news of Obama’s winning the Presidency of the United States.


ONE 7 • ONE on OBAMA : Election Night in Harlem

Coming from a place where sunny weather, palm trees and the “Hollywood” sign is the welcome mat for visitors — I never thought I’d move to cold weather, and a neighborhood of graffiti-covered brick buildings in Harlem, the capital of black America. Harlem is not only a community, it’s a state of mind. On November 4, 2008, the mindset of the people in my community became a united front, uplifted by optimism. We embraced each other without reservation as we waited for the verdict of our fate. Could Barack Obama actually become the first black president of the United States?


ONE 7 • U.S. Election : Dispatches

Pennsylvania. October 19, 2008.
Twenty-one electoral votes were up for grabs in the battleground state of Pennsylvania (PA) and pollsters were showing a tightening race between the two presidential candidates: Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. With this in mind, my friends Stephanie and Anne and I decided to travel from New York City to Pennsylvania to help win that state for Barack Obama.


ONE 7 • How Obama Spoke to Me

After spending last year studying in New York, I am more interested in US politics than ever before. I watched debates and interviews, particularly with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama fighting it out.

From the start I felt a strong affiliation with Obama. As a white British male in my 20s, the only obvious trait we have in common is our gender, so why do I feel like he spoke to my sensibility so much?


ONE 7 • Me On the Outside

1. Confusion

As a 6 year old kid growing up in Glasgow, in Scotland, I was moved from one area to another, getting passed around my family like some piece of used clothing. My father was not around. I quickly learned to hide my emotions, pretend to be someone else, put on a front: be strong, act and look happy. Being strong means that I had to stay quiet, but stick up for myself at the same time. My grandparents always told me that if I didn’t stick up for myself, I wouldn’t get anywhere in life, and when I was fighting: “If you don’t batter him, I’ll batter you.” But then again, people say a lot of things; my mother, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends of the family knew I had too much anger in me. They always said that my eyes were pure evil, that one day I’d end up in prison. I was 6 years old when they said it. While it wasn’t said directly to me, it was in front of me as if I wasn’t even there — or couldn’t understand. I could, however, because since then I’ve always presumed I’d end up in prison, on the run, or dead.


ONE 7 • Life’s Lessons

Life can be heaven
Or life can be hell
It depends where you’re borne
It depends where you dwell

ONE 7 • Giving Back

the realities of what can happen inside…
Before prison I was a cheeky, arrogant little bastard who didn’t care about anyone other than myself. Add the consumption of alcohol and I turned into a complete animal. It’s not the question of who I was, it’s what I was.

ONE 7 • Give

What is it to give? The dictionary states that the meaning of the word ‘give’ is: “to grant something to somebody or to allow somebody to have something — such as power or right.”
When I think back, only one thing sticks out that was given to me. When I was younger, I was too much for some to handle and because of that a lot of people gave up on me.

ONE 7 • My Wee Sister

My Wee Sister

ONE 7 • Wullie

I am twenty-two years old and standing in a cold, bland church, looking at one of my best friends, lying in a dark, oak box. The sanctuary is pale with death. I think of my old days. There was drink, drugs, women, girls, some good banter and of course, plenty of battles. Life was a war. A war among young kids in adult looking bodies. I spent most of my time just getting high and scouting for girls — not looking for fights. Fighting found me.

ONE 7 • Paris Notes: Once More with Feeling

Paris is the city of light and romance year-round. In spring, it teems with visitors and there is a certain kind of kinetic energy pulsing along its narrow winding streets that entices some women to walk home alone even in the dead of night. I must admit, as a Native New Yorker that felt a bit daunting to me at first, but it didn’t take long before I too began to understand the merits of a long stroll at the end of a late night dinner at Le Bar à Huîtres in Montparnasse. After all, how else can one walk off a seafood feast of such proportion and still get to marvel at the night sprinklers in Luxembourg Gardens as they create inlets of perfumed water
on the streets heading down to St-Germain-des-Prés?

ONE 7 • Thoughts on the Present Crisis

Thoughts on the Present Crisis

John Calder
Although my university training was in Political Economy, I have never practised economics, but I well remember what I learned, and my only surprise about the great financial bubble that has burst is that it took so long. I have been expecting it to do so for most of the last decade. It is useful to look at the events that have led up to the inevitable collapse of the free market economy and perhaps, in time to come, of the capitalist system itself.

ONE 7 • Tangled Embroideries

The day after Diwali was always the quietest in Amrur. Street dogs, which spent most mornings howling after cyclists, crouched fearfully in garbage shelters. Three-legged autorickshaws that hooted and tooted while ferrying passengers from Amrur to other parts of Bangalore were silent, having been abandoned on street corners. Vendors with cracked voices selling onions and tomatoes in wooden carts did not appear for their daily rounds.


ONE 6 • Shall the Geek Inherit the Earth?

Shall the Geek Inherit the Earth?

In his recent book, Point to Point Navigation, Gore Vidal asserts: “Today, where literature was, movies are… there can be no other reality for us since reality does not begin to mean until it is made art of. For the Agora, Art is now sight and sound; and the books are shut.” Or are they? Peter Simpson offers a possible new angle to the conversation.


ONE 6 • Hitting the Wall

Hitting the Wall

Like a present-day Don Quixote, I had the windmill firmly in my sights. It was clear that timing would be crucial.


ONE 6 • Safe as Houses?

Safe as House: Questioning a media myth

Chinese Puzzle: According to recent reports, one and half million Chinese citizens were forcibly evacuated from their homes to make way for the Olympics in Beijing.

David Ferguson digs a little deeper…


ONE 6 • Spoiled for Sports?

I was naïve kid, raised in a very conservative family. Thoughts of being anything but straight was never up for consideration.


ONE 6 • Black Rock City Notes

Black Rock City Notes

The Burning Man festival takes place every year in late August, in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert — an expanse of crackled, alkaline desert ringed by mountains. This year, I arrived on a Saturday, two days before the event officially opened, when the playa was still noticeably dotted with skeletal half-built geodesics. In the days to come, I watched as a transitory polity known as Black Rock City seethed into being around me, complete with grand hotels pitched in muslin tents, elites, tourists, a fire department and a city ballet. The new citizens of Black Rock City might have been half-naked, spangled, dusted zombie-white, but their social structures remain oddly familiar, similar to the lives they came to leave behind, the “default world.” Until recent years, Black Rock City was typically framed as a place for evasion: its annual themes emphasized delirium and disconnection.


ONE 6 • Style of the Times

“Do you feel that your imagination is different than the imagination of those generations that succeeded us?”
– Petr Kral at Prague Writers’ Festival ‘08

How does a young artist find inspiration in a society where “everything has been done”?


ONE 6 • Bland Republic

Does prize culture in the arts spells disaster? In an era where “Everyone’s a Winner”, the bar continues a downward decent, and children are given “diplomas” for completing nursery — James W. Wood argues that creators, artists and audiences should have only one interest: pleasure.


ONE 6 • X Marks the Spot


The International Olympic Committee says “no”, but the Scottish Parliament says “yes”. Is the Saltire a national emblem or flag of convenience? Andrew J. Wilson unravels what the most important symbol of Scotland means today.


ONE 6 • Independently Minded? A Conversation with Murray Pittock

In his incisive introduction to The Road to Independence? Scotland Since the Sixties, Murray Pittock defines an ongoing problem: “Separate histories of Scotland are fine for Scots. That is the general consensus… But across the UK in general, Scottish history occupies a rather strange no-man’s land between the local and national.”


ONE 6 • Poetspace 6: International Poetry

In the Thigh of Evening
for H.C.
We sit here in the thigh of evening
you in my memory and I–
black treetops are moving
music scored on sky

ONE 6 • Entropy Rising

Entropy Rising

1968, the world boiled: riots in Mexico City, a military coup in Iraq, the Pope condemned birth control, France ground to a three-week halt, US Marines made a massacre of Mai Lai. The Beatles released the White Album, Andy Warhol painted cans of soup, Kubrik made a monkey out of humanity in 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the first Big Mac was served in Pittsburgh. Martin Luther King Jr was murdered, Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, another Kennedy took a deadly bullet and Soviet/Warsaw Pact tanks rolled into Prague.


ONE 6 • Edward Louis Bernays: Doctor Freud’s PR whiz nephew

Edward Louis Bernays: Doctor Freud’s PR whiz nephew

Have you heard of this man? If, not, read on . . .


ONE 6 • Pixie’s Glasgow Kiss

original fiction by Brian Whittingham

illustration by Oliver Paterson

My weekly routine was always the same, up until last Saturday. I’ve had ticker problems that I won’t bore you with, but it means I can no longer hold down a regular job, and I rattle like a maraca from the amount of tablets I take. So, it’s a bit of an early retirement for me, and I can now indulge in my two favourite pastimes – hot tea and Jimi Hendrix. read more —>

ONE 6 • Bon Appétit: Healthy Cooking for the Immune System

Bon Appétit: Healthy Cooking for the Immune System

Food writer and broadcaster Nell Nelson is a practicing nutritional therapist based in Edinburgh. In this issue Nell begins a regular look at the world of food and offers ONE readers her own perspective on healthy eating and better living.


ONE 6 • Tasting Notes: Children of the Grape

Tasting Notes: Children of the Grape

Until recently, my life seemed like a tiresomely enthusiastic New World wine — so stuffed full of flavours that it resembled nothing less than Piccadilly Circus in a bottle. On top of the day job, I’d been burdened with a troublesome trio of additional duties, and frankly, that’s four too many.


ONE 5 • The Wheel Deal

The Wheel Deal

What does it take to stand back outside the pack and see the world from a different angle? Individualism and commitment. But to make that initial step in the first place takes something more… Is it courage, bravery or could it be described more accurately as a lack of fear?


ONE 5 • Orpheus in the Old Town: In Memoriam – Angus Calder 1942-2008

Orpheus in the old town

Angus Calder (1942-2008)

Words meant everything to Angus Calder, they were his life, and when I knew him, words sometimes seemed to be all that he had left. Now that he’s gone, it’s only right that there should be a few more to commemorate him.


ONE 5 • The Making of a Makar: A Conversation with Ron Butlin

The Making of a Makar: A Conversation with Ron Butlin

No sooner had Ron Butlin been made Edinburgh Makar than the UNESCO City of Literature allowed its new poet laureate to be auctioned off. Makar is a Scots word that stresses the importance of craft and skill involved in poetry, but in today’s climate, this award-winning author has to do more than write. ONE Magazine asked Ron about the role and his plans for the future.


ONE 5 • How I survived my French TV Talkshow Debut

How I Survived my French TV Talkshow Debut

Elliot Murphy and son on stage with Bruce Springsteen

What me politics? Although I have been living in the land of la gauche et la droite for over 18 years, strangely enough I am rarely asked my opinion on politics. Actually, this probably has more to do with that wonderful dying French art of suave formality and aggressive politeness than with no one caring what I have to say on the subject. At least I hope that’s the reason. read more —>

ONE 5 • Prague Notes

Prague Notes July, 2008

“Where is Czechoslovakia? … You say it Scheckoslovakia.It’s a country made out of bits and bobs that used to be Austria.”
—Janet Hitchman, The King of the Barbareens

The alchemists who thronged to Prague in the time of Rudolph II would no doubt, with their belief in numerology, have nodded in satisfaction as historians in our time point to the recurrent significance of the number 8 in Czech history. 1918: the creation of the independent state of Czechoslovakia under Tomas Garrigue Masaryk. 1938: the annexation of the Sudetenland and the imposition of Nazi authority on the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. 1948: the Communist coup which forced the newly liberated Czechoslovakia firmly under Communist control. 1968: the Prague Spring and the Soviet invasion. Traditionally, this number is associated in numerology with wholeness, change, leadership and power. Change, certainly. But wholeness?


ONE 5 • Spring Edits, Velvet Living: Atwood, Kral and Gorbanevskya

Spring Edits, Velvet Living: Atwood, Kral and Gorbanevsky

How could I possibly join the convention of writers in Prague for a festival, focused on the Soviet/Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, without getting stirred up, and in my Southern-American speak, all a twitter? Quite frankly, I’ve tired of the 60s, primarily because I am the 60s: Generation X and a bottle of guilt. What I remember about the time of the peace-love-sex-and-drug movement of the 60s, which spilled well into the 70s, is an incredible optimism. The problem is that a lot of me and mine, naively, believed it. Little did I know that some people I would very likely have wanted to call friends were dying to save a radio station in Prague, 21 August 1968, two days before my second birthday.


ONE 5 • Atwood à la Carte

Atwood à la Carte

Margaret Atwood’s career spans six decades—earning her a reputation as a powerful writer and a challenging interviewee. Undaunted, Geraldine Sweeney engaged her in conversation and discussion for an in-depth interview with the author, conducted in Prague.


ONE 5 • Europa: Paradise Lost, A Conversation with Slavenka Drakulic

Face to face with a writer who has lived, worked, survived and chronicled decades of sweeping changes in Europe, GERALDINE SWEENEY takes a trip through time with Slavenka Drakulic and examines what her experiences reveal about our future.


ONE 5 • Perspectives: 1968 + 40

 ONE Magazine presents verbal snapshots of that landmark year and its aftermath, as witnessed by internationally authors Homero Aridjis, Günter Kunert and Dimitris Nollas. Three interviews conducted by STEFAN PEARSON at the Prague Writers’ Festival and woven together by ANDREW J WILSON.


ONE 5 • Poetspace 5: Margaret Atwood, Mary Folliet and Sarah Porter




Walking was not fast enough, so we ran.

Running was not fast enough, so we galloped.

Galloping was not fast enough, so we sailed.

Sailing was not fast enough, so we rolled

merrily along on the long metal tracks. Long

metal tracks were not fast enough, so we

drove. Driving was not fast enough, so we flew.


ONE 5 • Tasting Notes: Turquoise Nights

A voyage along Turkey’s Turquoise Coast seemed a well-deserved reward for the trials of spring until I discovered it had been arranged by Asquith Royal, our inventively opportunistic accountant. This promotion of his new Wine Cruise venture was a prospect that left me longing to stay in my Balmoral Palm Court sanctuary. Alas, the complication that six “lucky” amateur limerick writers had already won a competition to enjoy my company on this jaunt confirmed that I’d been cornered.


ONE 4 • Europe’s New Faces: The New Europe film festival reviews

The Second Annual New Europe Film Festival launches in Edinburgh with a dual mission…

The 2008 New Europe Film Festival presents cutting-edge work from Eastern Europe within the UK, while simultaneously promoting a dialog between autochthonous citizens of Scotland and new immigrant communities. The bulk of the film work is from Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania and Romania, creating a rich palette of themes common to both sides of the Channel.


ONE 4 • SQUEEZEBOX! The Movie: a rock review by NYC’s Glenn Belverio

While firmly rooted in Scotland, ONE Magazine has strong international ties. Issue 2 featured an excerpt from Martin Belk’s upcoming nonfiction chronicle, Pretty Broken People: lipstick, leather jeans, a death of New York — which includes his account of 8 years as a producer for the NYC Gen-X answer to Max’s Kansas City and CBGB’s.


ONE 4 • Oil and Water: Scotland’s Changing Political Landscape

Scottish Parliament made a difference – or is it just an expensive irrelevance?

KEITH STUART CAMERON examines the delicate manœuvring between Holyrood and Westminster over ship-to-ship oil transfers and comes to some surprising conclusions.


ONE 4 • Mean City to Big Apple: my last bites

Today the New York sky reminds me of a famous Rothko painting I saw in the Metropolitan Museum, ‘The Met’ to us locals. Rich blues contrasting with a deep Manhattan skyline. In a week or so, my horizons will once again change as I return to Scotland. Let the reminiscing begin…


ONE 4 • When the Bubble Bursts • Mortgage Update — Mike Holmes

Since When Mortgages Buy the Farm was published in the second issue of ONE Magazine, the global credit crunch has begun to look more like a full-blown crash. The UK’s Northern Rock has now been nationalized to prevent it going south, and Bear Stearns has fallen victim to a bear market in the States. The Saga continues…


ONE 4 • Hot! Hot! Hot! Burlesque for the Masses

If you look up ‘burlesque’, you’ll find that it means ‘in an upside down style’. Now this popular blend of satire, performance and strip-tease is being reinvented across Scotland and around the world. PAUL F COCKBURN talks to Missy Malone, Chaz Royal and Dan Bear to find out why an art form that turns the world on its head has landed on its feet.

ONE 4 • Success, Failure, The Scottish Tradition. Doug Johnstone


ROCK DRILL: A Conversation with Doug Johnstone

Doug Johnstone is a musician, a journalist and a doctor of experimental nuclear physics – what’s more, he’s just published his second novel. ANDREW J WILSON talks to a renaissance man about success, failure and the Scottish condition.


ONE 4 • Bob Dylan. Michael March. a residue of recollections

Summer ‘66 and the world destroyed Dylan. Not on some rocky road/highway 61. Neck broken by harmonica holder cycling through village. Somewhere back in ‘65, maybe at Forest Hills, the crowd devoured his image while masturbating itself. But Dylan still exists hidden in Woodstock, New York with wealth, wife, and piano. Stoned with Clapton one night, we visited. What remains is a residue of recollections.


ONE 4 • Poetspace 4: James W Wood, Rodney Relax and Jane McKie

Listening to the Language of the Birds (Li Bai)
The sky creeps along the city walls: clouds and crows
alight from branches, telephone poles, narrow lanes.
In a canal-side flat a girl is knitting clothes
for fog, mist, drizzle. She hears the birds’ black refrain
and waits: her hands are stopped trains, endlessly delayed;
her hope is this empty room; her tears are the rain.
– Sam Meekings

ONE 3 • Putting Yourself in the Picture

When director Michel Gondry wrote his latest feature, Be Kind Rewind, it seems likely that he worked out the solution to his plot before coming up with the problem it subsequently resolved…


ONE 3 • A Swedish Reality Show since 1891

Reality vs fiction—what do we really mean when we make such a distinction? In this age when almost anything can be replicated and mass-produced, many of us long for something we perceive to be truly authentic. On television there is such a variety of programmes with documentary-like content, it is hard to draw the line between fiction and what is actually caught by a camera.


ONE 3 • Mean City to Big Apple III: Heading South

Christmas in New York means doing some really touristy activities. First I took a train up to mid-town to see the ice-skating and the huge tree in Rockefeller Center, then trotted along to Radio City Music Hall to see the legendary Rockettes—which was the most spectacular show I have ever seen. Sharp choreography, talented dancers and elaborate costumes, light toys, soda and pretzels make for one fine afternoon. Me and my partner were sitting in the very front row of a peculiarly quiet audience. No one else seemed to feel the need to join our screams and our whoops, except for a few little girls in the seats just behind us. At times we whipped ourselves into a frenzy along with hundreds of dancing Santas, dancing girls and jumping bears. Then, the serious bit. Everything goes quiet, and they wheel out the baby Jesus and bring some enormous real camels onto the stage, and re-enact the wise men scene just before the curtain falls. A stark contrast to the product placements and neon nativities that littered the first half of the show. Shopping seduction and spiritual realignment American style — all in one af read more —>

ONE 3 • Prisons, Cemeteries and Concentration Camps: them & us

Last spring, I began to teach creative writing at Polmont Young Offenders Institution, a prison for young men in Scotland. Society would like to believe prisons are liminal: prisoners go in, spend some time, are rehabilitated, come out reformed.

At the end of my first visit, when I walked out, I left the front door open. My escort-guard smiled and said, “Hey Martin, close the door, it is a prison, remember?”


ONE 3 • Beyond the Troubles

These photographs, taken in February 2004, document the Northern Irish city of Derry-Londonderry, which, after decades of sectarian violence (known as “the Troubles”), has achieved peace.


ONE 3 • The Music of Chance: A Conversation with Sheila Colvin

“It’s been a mess and yet it hasn’t been a mess.” Sheila Colvin has had an extraordinary international career in the arts—including playing an vital role in the Edinburgh International Festival. JANE McKIE talks to her about the adventure of a “completely unstructured life” that took her to London, New York and Rio de Janeiro.


ONE 3 • Culture Shock: an interview with Iain M. Banks

Almost quarter of a century after he made his explosive debut with The Wasp Factory, Iain Banks is still shaking up the literary world. ANDREW J. WILSON discusses space, time and middle initials with one of our greatest contemporary authors.


ONE 3 • Poetspace 3: Mary Palmer, Steve Plummer and Kevin Cadwallender

~in memory of Players
Edwin Booth & Samuel Clemens~
Words are nets through which all truth escapes”
– Paula Fox


ONE 3 • Under the Rising Sun: Some Impressions of Japan

Science-fiction author CHARLES STROSS really has seen the future, but he didn’t need a crystal ball or a time machine to do it. All it took was a long-haul flight to the other side of the world…


ONE 3 • Orwell’s Sound of Silence

As Niels Bohr said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” George Orwell never claimed to be a prophet, but as ANDREW B. SMITH shows, his thoughts about the trends of his time still resonate today.


ONE 3 • Orwell and the Scots

Orwell’s early attitude to the Scots and Scotland could best be described as frosty.

In his excellent biography, Bernard Crick refers to the period during 1934 when Orwell had a girlfriend in Hampstead, a member of the Labour League of Youth, who remembered that he talked little about politics, “except to curse the Empire and the Scots by whom he appeared to imagine it dominated’”.


ONE 3 • Happy Hour: New Fiction from Edinburgh’s Makar

She called her pack of pills her very own Advent calendar—her chemical countdown to a good day or to a very good day. The choice was hers…


ONE 3 • Paris Notes: Plus Ça Change Plus c’est la Même Chose, However…


(The more things change the more they remain the same, however…)

“Je t’aime, ô capitale infâme!”
—Charles Baudelaire (“Le Spleen de Paris”)


ONE 3 • American Baseball in Black and White


“Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules and realities of the game—and do it by watching first some high school or small-town teams.”

—Jacques Barzun

ONE 3 • Tasting Notes: Vinyl Solution

A desire to dim my presence in the eye-watering constellation of celebrity explains my preference for the Balmoral Palm Court Bar. A location where such Appellations de Hollywood Contrôlée as Tom Hanks and Jack Burns sojourn is the ideal spot for Vins de Pays such as myself to pass unobserved. Vins de Table rarely intrude, but alas, I do have my followers.


ONE 2 • Looking for Glasgow

Full time student and urban explorer JENNI CHITTICK begins her search for some of Glasgow’s hidden treasures — from shops, to chatty traffic wardens to dead robots — it’s all in a day’s walk.

I love my Glasgow, but don’t really know it. I can navigate my way to the nearest coffee house, of course, but if I go any further than St George’s Cross, I feel the need to renew my passport. It’s time for a change.


ONE 2 • Raising the Bar

The Skinny Editor Rupert Thomson surveys the ethos of a night out, bar decor and why we go here instead of there.


ONE 2 • The Late, Great, State of Free Speech

 It might have escaped your notice, but in the US and the UK attacks on free speech are on the rise. In order to protect us from subversion and terror, our dutiful lawmakers on both sides of the pond are busy dusting off ancient legislation, passing new statutes and making the world safe for dissenters to politely shut their mouths.


ONE 2 • Jazz Funeral for a Drowned City

Two years on from the Hurricane Katrina disaster, New Orleans is still being battered. The city known for its combination of virtue and vice, is being swept by hostile forces — big corporations want to sanitize and package it as The Big Easy Experience. Readers from Scotland to Darfur can relate to clearances: the greater New Orleans metropolitan area has 30% fewer residents than before Katrina, and those who remain are living through record crime and murder rates. Behind the tourist façade, a battle is on for the soul of the South.


ONE 2 • Café by Starck

I. The Kid


ONE 2 • The Sleep of Reason: The Strange Case of the Gorbal’s Vampire

For much of the twentieth century, the Gorbals district of Glasgow was one of the most deprived and dangerous areas in Europe. The last thing it needed was a resident monster, but half a century ago, that’s exactly what it got. PAUL F. COCKBURN investigates the strange case of the Gorbals Vampire.


ONE 2 • When Mortgages Buy the Farm

Why did Northern Rock start to crumble?
Is the credit crunch a new kind of breakfast cereal?
And who blew the financial bubble?


ONE 2 • Poetspace 2: Folliet, Calder and French Decadents

Entre Guillemets

“Euphemistically Speaking” or Are You Kidding Me?

Every jest is an earnest in the womb of time”

– George Bernard Shaw

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ONE 2 • 26.2: A Run through Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and the Bronx

On November 4, 2007, still drowsy from too little sleep, we quietly gathered at Park Avenue and 32nd Street in Manhattan just before dawn. Our buses sat idling as we runners climbed on board for the first leg of what we hoped would be a spectacular 26.2-mile marathon run through the five boroughs of New York City.


ONE 2 • Horn from Beyond

Is there life after death? Only the dead can tell, and they’ve got a funny way of going about it.

Original fiction by GAVIN INGLIS.


ONE 2 • Punchlines 2

Mailer in Edinburgh • Farewell Mr. Cheam • Restless Native Poetry • Mile-high Breakup

Stormin’ Norman

There’s no way that a column called “Punch Lines” could fail to note the passing of Norman Mailer, the two-fisted tornado of American literature, who flung in the towel on 10 November at the age of eighty-four. The author of The Naked and the Dead, The Armies of the Night, The Executioner’s Song and this year’s The Castle in the Forest, he won the Pulitzer Prize twice and was also given the US National Book Award.