Why Brexit

Opinion piece Artwork 201 November/December 2017

Wasn’t joining the EU the most sane thing we’ve ever done?  For my generation and that of my parents, it was a proud moment.  In their youths, my Mum and Dad were conscripted to fight Germans and Italians.  Mum tried to shoot down German bombers while RAF pilot Dad, dropped bombs on Sicily.   Damaged by war, they welcomed the founding of the then European Economic Community as, if nothing else, it would ensure peace.  When an uncle, a diplomat, worked with Edward Heath, to secure Britain’s entry into the EEC, someone in the family asked why.  “Isn’t it better to be part of Europe than a satellite of America?” he replied. 

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Largie Castle, a rifled nest (Excerpt)

Angus Macdonald died twice, once by drowning, after his transport was torpedoed by the Japanese in WW2, and again in the press 10 years later, when a survivor published his version of the tragic event. Years after spending 26 days in a lifeboat, the survivor revealed the cannibalism of others, but admitted only to innocence and authority for himself. Sixty years on, Mary Gladstone revisited the life of her uncle Angus and found it admirable and the survivor’s story questionable. The full story is told in Largie Castle, a rifled nest, to be released by firefallmedia in hardcover March 2, 2017, the 75th anniversary of her uncle’s death. With scant evidence, due to Angus’s restraint & love of solitude, Mary succeeds in this tour de force, of giving her uncle a living place in the British narrative.

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A Vindication (Short Story)

New Writing Scotland 4 (Anthology)

Dear D,

…. How should I begin, or should I be writing to him at all? I’m just one of the many he deals with; I doubt if he gives me a moment’s thought from one week to the next…..

Dear D,

Your letter of the 6th inst. was received yester…. Good God! To think that I call myself a writer; it reads more like a bank manager’s letter. Come on Rosamund, pull yourself together. Write one of your sensitive, literate letters to your publisher……

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The Funny Farm (Short Story)

Broadcast, BBCX Radio 3, 27 April, 1984. Repeat broadcast BBC Radio 3, 11 April, 1985.      

From my window I can see the cows walking towards the byre. They are drugged by sun and stuffed with grass, and look as docile as we do who swallow pills each day. Weighed down by huge udders which bump against their hind legs as they walk, these animals look more drowsy than the ones back at home. I should know; I know all about farming. I’m a farmer’s wife.

The cows are now walking through the door. I count them. There’s a small one at the end of the row. What’s her name, I wonder? What kind of names do these cows have? I’ve no idea. I only know the names they give cows in the neighbourhood where I live.

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The Interview (Short Story)

Broadcast BBC Radio 4, “Morning Story” February, 1990. Repeat broadcast BBC Radio Scotland, “The Best of Scottish” August, 1990 . Published, “Under Cover”, An Anthology of Contemporary Scottish Writing, Mainstream Publishing, 1993

For her interview Elizabeth decided to buy herself a new pair of tights. She found a pair in Safeway’s for 55p, in the right colour. As she rummaged through the packets she made up her mind not to get 15 denier because they’d inevitably catch on her stripped pine chairs and then ladder. She realized that 20 denier was the right thickness.

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Catalan elan

Travel feature in The Weekend Scotsman, November, 2001

Tucked away in the north-east corner of Spain Mary Gladstone discovers an idyllic village untouched by time – until the surveyors moved in next door.

We never knew Marina. She left Madremanya before we had the chance to meet her. Now the former doyenne of the village is settled in nearby La Bisbal D’Emporda, a town only 20 minutes’ car-ride from the Costa Brava.

On our first evening in the village, my sister, Janet, took us for a walk in the wood past Marina’s old vegetable patch (hort in Catalan). All that was left were a few straggling vines whose stems crept across the path. The peaches on the unpruned tree were the size of walnuts now and a mass of weeds covered the well, from which trailed a perforated water pipe.

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Married to a Cameron (Article)

Full page feature written when David Cameron became leader of the Conservative party.  Published in The Herald on Wednesday December 7th, 2005. 

It was the late sixties and I was still in my teens when a party was given for me at Granny Cameron’s flat.  She lived somewhere in London’s select SW7 district and her daughter, Frances (my future mother-in-law) planned the event so I could meet the family. 

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What about J M Barrie’s Scot on the make, then? (Article)

OPINION PIECE IN ARTWORK 180, September/October, 2013 

Earlier this year, Vicky Featherstone, founding artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, left for the south.  However, under her successor, Laurie Sansom, NTS’ reputation hasn’t dimmed; during this year’s Edinburgh International Festival, no fewer than 6 of its productions were nominated for awards. 

Although Sansom plans larger scale touring shows than before and promises main stage classical productions, he has kept at its heart NTS’s hallmark of championing  experimental work and unconventional versions of the classics, played in unconventional venues. 

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Review of “The Modern Mariner”

Review of “The Modern Mariner” performed at the Traverse on 29th March, 1985 by Catherine Lockerbie in The Scotsman.

One of the most memorable verses in Coleridge is “And the many men so beautiful / And they all dead did lie; / And a thousand, thousand slimy things / Live on, and so did I.” At the start of Mary Gladstone’s play The Modern Mariner, the young woman feels like this: isolated, surrounded by physical and spiritual death. By the end of the play, the men in the audience may well share Coleridge’s sentiments, for the male sex and all its works have been verbally slaughtered.

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Review of "A Vindication"


“The writer as subject is entertainingly presented in Mary Gladstone’s “A Vindication”, where a woman writer makes several attempts to write an honest letter of resentment to her somewhat old-fashioned male editor. It is entertaining because we find ourselves amused not only at the stereotyped male publisher, but also the crusading, liberated author, whose central character is – naturally – a feminist, lesbian single-parent!”