WEEK FIFTY-ONE – Gregory’s Girl/Local Hero

>> Gregory’s Girl

Local Hero <<

gregorys-girl        local-hero-1

Scotland’s greatest living movie director is undoubtedly Bill Forsyth. In a relatively brief 20-year career he made some of the finest films ever to come out of Scotland, starting with the minor classic That Sinking Feeling in 1979. Scotia Extremis was incredibly moved by his 1981 BBC TV drama Andrina based on a George Mackay Brown short story, but it was his feature film Gregory’s Girl that same year which propelled him to fame. Natural dialogue and simple direction made this movie about struggling with adolescence and teenage romance in an inner city secondary school (actually filmed in Cumberbnauld) a joy. The marvellous acting was centred on a young cast including John Gordon Sinclair and Clare Grogan, plus an unforgettable cameo from Chic Murray as the headmaster. Two years later Forsyth explored a very different vision of Scotland in Local Hero, this time set in the fictional West Coast village of Ferness, the inhabitants of which are about to have their lives changed forever with the arrival of an oil boom. An older cast including Rikki Fulton and Fulton Mackay are joined by the legendary Burt Lancaster in another perfectly-pitched cameo. Both movies, one with an urban setting and one rural, are about the blossoming of love; shy and awkward teenage love in the first instance, and that mysterious love of landscape and a way of life which rural Scotland still has the power to inspire in even the hardest of hearts.

Gregory’s Girl
by Patricia Ace

In another million years, there’ll be no men, no women. There’ll just be people. Just a world full of wankers.
(Eric, Gregory’s Girl)

Some things are gone forever:
the clack of a typewriter under the secretary’s fingers;
the gowned headmaster playing piano in the lunch hour;
the low wolf-whistles of school gardeners
greeting girls strolling past in anoraks and parkas;

Bella bella!

Some things are still there but transformed:
boys find tits, bum, fanny; the lot with one swipe on their phones;
the shops in the precincts are boarded up and forlorn
but in the homes of new towns electric toothbrushes drone
alongside laptops, iPads, Fitbits, all bought online.

Arrivederci, Gordon.

And other things remain the same:
For girls, being the best doesn’t mean you’ll make the team ―
it’s not that simple and window cleaners still dream
of wooing bored housewives with their streak-free gleam.
Girls help each other, invisibly, behind the scenes.





Where’s The Door Here?
by Jane McKie

Sky. Sea. Desire and pining. Stuff fetching
up – there is no door, only horizon.

How do you do business with a man who has
no door? Knock on the window, the long dawn.

The ethics are the same here in the north
as they are in your heart: impossible

to say… but pick up the receiver, dial;
keep watching the sky. “Sky, sir? It’s amazing.”





Patricia Ace has published First Blood (HappenStance, 2006) and Fabulous Beast (Freight Books, 2013). Her work appears in Be the First to Like This : New Scottish Poetry (Vagabond Voices, 2014), Hallelujah For 50ft Women: Poems about Women’s Relationship to their Bodies (Bloodaxe, 2015) and Umbrellas of Edinburgh (Freight Books, 2016).


Jane McKie‘s first two collections of poetry were Morocco Rococo (Cinnamon Press), which jane-mckiewon the Sundial/Scottish Arts Council award for best first book of 2007, and When the Sun Turns Green (Polygon, 2009). In 2011, Jane won the Edwin Morgan poetry prize and published a pamphlet, Garden of Bedsteads, with Mariscat Press, a PBS Choice. Her most recent collection is Kitsune (Cinnamon Press, 2015). She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.


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