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The Independent Culture
The Spring 1996 issue of the venerable Stand magazine (pounds 2.75) has reached the grand elevation of Vol 37 No 2, whereas Edinburgh's new bi-monthly The Source (pounds 2.99) is launching Issue No 1. But this wee bairn is fully formed and strutting. "We're already getting lots of subscribers," says co-editor Andrew Kelly.

The Source's fiction is vivid enough, with its dead babies, crims, social workers and murder. There is bargain-bucket Kelman: "`Look Paul, it's gid of you tae come round but ...' Fuck aff. Incomer. Despoiler. Conqueror. Go haem. Leave our land. GO!", but also some neat phrasemaking: "spill livid tartan afterbirth onto a National Health plastic sheet". Young offender Tam in James Cressey's "Soup" beats a widow "as if by matrimonial right". The cartoons, too, are accomplished, by contributors to Tribune and Private Eye, but the journalism is slack. Christina Jackson's piece on Toxteth informs us that: "The 1980s had been particularly desperate times for Liverpool with frequent strikes and unemployment at an all-time high." No! And someone should have advised Sam Gilliland not to call his verselet "Dead Poet (For Edwin)". There's fun to be had in the contributor's list: it's good to learn that one correspondent lives and works in Sicily, and that another is translating the work of Portuguese poet Mrio de S-Carneiro into Scots.

Still, nothing is as funny as the biog to Peter Fay's poem "Saxifrage" in Stand. Pete, it seems, "has written on and off all his life, but has never submitted work before, now wishing to make something more substantial of what he perceived as `lazy and suspect talents' and share them at last." Well, thanks.

! Stand Magazine, 179 Wingrove Rd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (0191 273 3280)

! The Source, 19 Cumberland St, Edinburgh (0131 556 8673)