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The Skinny Current Issue

Our September issue is usually assembled in the furious chaos of August, the last gasp of effort from a team working beyond their limits after the mega Edinburgh festivals edition, preview and review issues of Fest, our student guide either inside or alongside the main magazine, and literally hundreds of reviews of live performance published online.

2020 is, of course, entirely different. For September, we cautiously return with our first magazine since April, thankful that we have been allowed to do so in large part by our readers. We are eternally grateful for the support you showed us through our crowdfunder and can truly say that this issue wouldn’t be here without you.

As the world settles into this strange in-between of half-opened but still distant, we have taken a look around – this has been a period of intense reflection in all areas of life, and we aim to document some elements of that great stocktake here. In Scottish music and comedy, behaviours that have previously been swept under the carpet in the great rush to get on have been spotlit and challenged. Better is demanded – no more will we tolerate womxn having to tolerate abuse just to exist within a creative space.

The shuttering of the physical world has led to dynamic shifts in ways of working. Individual creatives, businesses, and entire sectors have had to think on their feet to come up with new approaches to making, performing, communicating. We take a look at some of these new modes, from a performance artist working online in our first Showcase, Tamara Macarthur, to theatres adjusting to safely present live shows, cinemas creating safe screenings, film festivals presenting entirely online, to the apparel companies who have pivoted to face mask production with at-times overwhelming success.

The food & drink industry has seen some of the most stringent restrictions and also some of the most nimble adaptations. Our Food & Drink editor Peter Simpson takes a long hard look at where things stand, from embattled workers’ rights to premature easing leading to freshly curtailed liberties. He makes a case for supporting small business, cafes as community hubs, and food as a home for the collective spirit we all need in these difficult times.

Our second Showcase presents Marilena Vlachopoulou’s documentary photography of lockdown, a visual record of this strange time we are living through. In Intersections, Anahit Behrooz writes a paean to platonic intimacy, while Katie Goh pens a blistering reflection on all the shit that’s happened this year inc. performative activism, political disdain and the possibilty of hope.

During lockdown, Scottish musicians have continued to write, record and release new albums, so many in fact that we have had to completely adjust our reviewing format to accommodate even a sample on the printed page. We’ve got a round-up of those releases, followed by an overview of some of the books that have similarly come out during this period. Film already had the reviews for this month lined up because it turns out film festivals still existed in early 2020, a fact so startling it is almost impossible to accept.

As the film release calendar ramps up, we (distantly) meet a pair of directors to discuss their new works. Hong Khaou introduces his graceful second feature Monsoon while Sarah Gavron talks working collaboratively on East London-set drama Rocks. Local Heroes continue their quest to map the Scottish design world, interviewing Too Gallus’s Barrington Reeves about his creative studio’s multi platform practice.

We close the magazine with a Q&A with Anna Meredith, who has received an eminently deserved Mercury nomination while we’ve been away. Turns out she last vomited after drinking Dragon Soop, a disturbing booze and energy drink combo that surely must be in the running for the accolade of Drink of the Pandemic.

And that’s a wrap on our first issue since April. We’re so happy to be here – as always, keep an eye on our site and socials for a slower than usual but still steady stream of fresh features and events news. [Rosamund West]

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