Voluntary Action Shetland   Voluntary Action Shetland
Voluntary Action Shetland
The 246th New Shetlander is out, complete with a CD of Shetland poets and authors.

   The CD, created by the Shetland Museum and Archives in conjunction with BBC Radio Shetland, mostly comprises recordings that have appeared on the radio station over the years.  Most of the pieces were originally published in the New Shetlander. E.S. Reid Tait's classic reading of Haldane Burgess's 'Scranna' is there, recorded by Billy Kay around 1960; so are other famous poems by Stella Sutherland and Billy Tait. Tom Henderson reads an extract from his great short story "The night that Mouat was lost", and George Peterson speaks about the youthful occasion when, a bairn marooned in Papa Stour, he broke his leg. John and Lollie Graham read their own work, and poems by others, in their inimitable styles. And there is recent material too: poems by Mark Smith, Lise Sinclair, Laureen Johnson, James Sinclair and many others. Alex Cluness's brilliant poem "The Flying Dutchman" appears on the CD, and also features in the magazine.
   No. 246 is full of dialect work, from Charlie Simpson's edited version of John Irvine's thoughts on fish feeds, through Laureen Johnson's tale for bairns, to John Cumming's story of a sledge. There is a good crop of dialect poetry, notably Paola Dante's "Gyaun aff", and the latest of Lise Sinclair's agricultural pieces. Mark Smith writes a pungent essay about the kind of poetry he wants to see written in Shetland, with a few cautionary words about how not to do it. And Wendy Gear deploys some famous Shetland verse to make points in her final "Wadder Eye".
   Jim Taylor's fine story "The Muppet Show on ice"shows us Shetland in 2008: no worse, no better, no less kind than anywhere else in the world. And the editors welcome Barack Obama to the world stage - with some words of advice   Ronald Prout tells an extraordinary story from the second world war, "Half a dozen one inch holes". In "A walk through history" the Norwegian ethnologist Amy Lightfoot deals with footwear in Shetland over the centuries. Her article contains some beautiful illustrations. The usual big review section underlines how diverse and rich is the material about Shetland that is appearing nowadays.
   The New Shetlander costs £3 this time, a slight increase to finance the CD: it's an astonishing bargain, and if you want to get a copy you should rush to a paper shop. The edition isn't expected to last long!
            Brian Smith
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