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The Skinny Current Issue

As you are no doubt painfully aware, this month marks a year of being in and out of lockdown (mainly lockdown, everything being mainly closed). So we’ve been thinking about that – looking back, looking around and looking forwards with some spring-induced hope to see what the future might hold.

In our lead feature, Anahit Behrooz talks to frontline workers in the NHS to find out what the reality has been over the last 12 months. We have all witnessed the strategy of propaganda to heroise / martyr this essential tax-funded service, obscuring the fact that the challenges it faces are due to ideological decisions by the Tories of underfunding and managed decline. A nurse, a doctor and a support worker tell us why it would be better to be provided with the basic tools necessary to do their jobs (e.g. a desk, free parking, a locker) than applauded of a Thursday evening. It goes without saying that pensioners shouldn’t need to raise money for something we already pay taxes to fund when ministers are handing out contracts worth millions or billions of pounds to their unqualified pals.

Back in the cultural sector, our Clubs editor marks a year since nightlife shut with an ode to the things she loves about clubs. Casual acquaintances, new people, the possibility of surprise and discovery are all things that we are now realising we are missing in our lives. Nadia looks at what this absence means to her, in particular the intense friendships forged in surprising locations. She also pens a tribute to visionary artist and musician SOPHIE, lost far too soon and too suddenly.

The physical and psychological restrictions of the last year have in themselves provided a space for new, sometimes surprising projects to develop. An ambitious new programme in Dundee, Ignorant Art School, aims to break apart the hierarchies of traditional education with a series of free-to-attend events, meetings and exhibitions over three years. Our Art editor Adam meets some of the artists and organisers who are making it happen. We meet the founders of Cipher Press, a new publishing house that opened mid-2020 celebrating queer books. Gayfield Enterprises Demos, released this month, has a touching origin story of a son coming across his dad’s old cassette recordings from the 80s in lockdown 1, realising he loved his music, restoring and remastering it for release.

Another strange marker of one year of lockdowns is Glasgow Short Film Festival, preparing to present their second programme online. Film editor Jamie finds out what to expect from its organisers while in our regular Q&A on the back page, Adura Onashile shares dream dinner guests ahead of the screening of her film Expensive Shit within the GSFF programme. We also explore Sweetheart, a coming-out drama more concerned with what happens next. And, as Trainspotting turns 25 (mind blown emoji) we consider how it helped change Scotland forever.

This month sees the publication of the first in our series of longer form pieces of writing produced in partnership with Edinburgh International Festival. We take a deep dive into how theatre has recovered from previous closures, from plagues to totalitarian regimes, and even evolved in the process. Then, we speculate about what it might look like after this particular crisis.

Wild speculation about the future also features in our Food section this month, as a host of folk who have adapted to weather this storm discuss how it might affect their business practices going forwards. More outdoor eating and drinking sounds like something to look forward to as it finally starts to get lighter and warmer.

 [Rosamund West]

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