The current New Shetlander, number 247, is a lightsome and varied issue.
An extract from the poem Mindin by the late Willie Barclay of Hoswick leads off. Barclay’s writing is most familiar locally through his song lyrics, set to music and sung by his son Eddie.
Mindin takes the reader back to a time of sailing men and sailors’ yarns, and paints a vivid picture of life on board ship. It is followed by Swept away, a sparkling, energetic short story by the well-known American writer TC Boyle, reprinted here by permission. The setting is Unst – though perhaps not as we know it!
Four other short stories appear. Donald Murray contributes the splendidly humorous Valentine’s Day in the Hebrides, while John Cumming writes the brief but haunting Walkin Man. Barbara Fraser’s pen-portrait Doris Jenkins manages also to paint a picture of our changing village life in recent years. Caitlin Watt’s 2050 was the dialect prizewinner in the 2008 Young Writer competition.
Ian Tait is in whimsical mood on the subject of Men in tights at Up-Helly-A’. There have been squads of men dressed as women since the festival began, Ian explains, but in the early days they were very different in style to modern “female” guizers.
Local linguist and interpreter Derick Herning is brave enough to relate some of the few occasions when his meaning got lost in translation, with amusing, though sometimes embarrassing results.
Charlie Simpson provides a “last chapter (almost)” in the story of the Town Hall ceiling.
Jim Coull produces more of his fishing-based research, this time focusing on Hay & Co’s smacks. Da Wadder Eye deals with a range of topical subjects, while the editors reflect on the latest proposals for legislation on alcohol.
There is more good poetry, led by work from James Sinclair, Lise Sinclair, Mark Smith and Jim Moncrieff.
Mark Smith’s work has been inspired by two Shetland soldiers who died in the Great War, Lawrence Thomson and Karl Manson, currently the subject of an exhibition in the museum and archives. Photos of a clear hand-written letter and some other artefacts in the exhibition accompany the poems.
Mark Smith’s article in the last issue has produced a response – from Wisconsin! It isn’t only in Shetland that issues arise about writing in dialect or non-standard English, and author Alex Bledsoe has contributed an interesting American angle on Vernacular abandon: writing the way we speak.
The bright, attractive cover for the voar issue is by Meilo So, with the magazine priced at £1.90.