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New Shetlander - 272 Simmer 2015

New Shetlander issue 272 front cover

The Simmer issue of the New Shetlander is on sale from Friday 19 June. Its content is as varied as ever. The editorial comments on the recent political ‘spasm’, locally and nationally.

The lead article, ‘In music we are alive’, is a version of the presentation given by music therapist Alice Mullay at the recent opening of the new Dementia Resource Centre. Alice believes passionately in the power of music to reach dementia sufferers, and explains the purpose and the benefits of music therapy both for sufferers and their carers.

The successful revival of the musical Tell Wiz! is featured in ‘A legacy o memories an songs’, by Mary Blance. Mary saw the production from all angles, and here brings some insight into backstage aspects of the show, including the visit by members of the original 1958 cast. The magazine’s cover picture, by Craig Sim, is an action photo from the musical.

The range of content extends this time as far as Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Morag MacInnes was recently invited to visit students on a university Creative Writing course which involved archive research. As Morag describes in her article ‘Archives and maple leaves’, she had the opportunity to spend time in the fascinating archive of the Hudson’s Bay Company, which contains, among many other things, records of the explorer John Rae, and detailed evidence of life in the Canadian outback for Company employees.

Brian Smith’s paper on ‘The campaign for a Town Hall in Lerwick, 1880-1887’ brings to life the campaign, the fund-raising and the construction of one of Shetland’s best-loved buildings – a considerable community achievement and a source of great pride. Drawing largely upon contemporary reports in the Shetland Times, the piece is full of insight into life and attitudes at the time.

Stella Sutherland writes a thought-provoking collection of examples of ‘Something unexplained’: forebodings, strange apparitions and other uncanny happenings, usually vouched for by trusted sources. Alex Bendix again casts a youthful ‘Wadder eye’ over contemporary life, describing an important part of the modern summer in his enthusiastic account of competing at yoal racing, and coaching a team. Whalsay’s S.G. Irvine has sent more weather observations. Appearing under a pen-name is a strange tale: ‘The last lair of a Dr Strangelove’, which may re-pay study.

Some striking poetry appears in this issue, by several of the New Shetlander’s regular poets, on themes as various as voar, pawn shops and fans of The Men They Couldn’t Hang. Writers include Christie Williamson, who has just produced his first full poetry collection.

Book reviews complete the magazine, which still costs £2.

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