This month’s Shetland Life, on sale Friday, is the first to be produced by new editor Tom Morton.
The magazine has a new-look front cover – very different but deliberately designed to draw attention to the content.
And this is plentiful and stimulating. Morton’s editorial has a celebratory theme, obligatory at this time of year, though he is celebrating Shetland rather than Christmas. Celebrations, he warns, can be messy when they are of the “ambulance at midnight and Bacardi Breezer bottles at dawn” variety, but Shetland is a better place to live than anywhere else in Scotland. Or at least, he says with the irony reminiscent of Nippy Sweetie, we like it more than any of the alternatives.
Christmas is not far away, however, and regular contributor Marsali Taylor writes about her love of it. Rosa Steppanova muses on the etiquette of sending Christmas cards – imagine writing a note in a card: “As we didn’t receive one from you last year we believed ourselves struck off and struck you off in turn, but as we’ve since received your Christmas card, we realise we were mistaken.” But regular columnist Vaila Wishart sums up the whole event as “Bah, humbug”.
More regular columns come from Fair Isle man Jimmy Stout and from Louise Brewer in Tasmania, plus one from Bryan Peterson, and there are many more aspects of the magazine that have not changed at all with the new man at the helm.
Douglas Sinclair’s fascinating glimpses into the past continue with a look at a frozen Clickimin Loch, and the Canadian series also continues, albeit with new contributor Colin Webster, formerly resident in Mossbank, now enjoying the more dramatic setting of the “great white north”.
There is festive fare from Ann Prior, some of which, like zabaglione ice cream, is pure indulgence, a dialect spot, pages of photographs and a selection of crosswords, sudoku and a puzzle photo with a prize.
Then there is a thought-provoking article from Sandy Cluness – whose oil is it anyway? – and council chief executive Alistair Buchan answers 21 questions.
Morton contributes several articles, including an interview with The Economist’s Africa correspondent, Jonathan Magnus Ledgard, who was born in Shetland, and there is another interview with Clive Munro of the eponymous record shop.
Altogether the magazine is packed with interest and great value.