Friday 15 February 2013

Tracking down Nuspeak editions, Blythswood Square's free publication

Related to the writings of Cordelia Oliver are the issues of NuSpeak that began as a free publication when the Scottish Arts Council Art Centre was located at 5 Blythswood Square.

These issues are quite hard to find, but the paper theses "The Artist as Critic: art writing in Scotland 1960-1990" by Susannah Thompson helps to see the first edition on Page 79, where the Third Eye Archive was presented with the last edition with no apparent complete collection anywhere in the world.

It began "This is the first edition of Nuspeak, an inter-personal information device. It is, as you see it, just a piece of paper with some words on it. But it is going to four thousand nine hundred and ninety nine other people by mail and is being circulated as a giveaway in different places. My name is Tom McGrath and I am setting up this scheme in conjunction with the Scottish Arts Council's new arts centre which will be opening in Glasgow late summer of this year with myself as director. If the arts centre hasn't opened by then, Nuspeak will tell you why."

Here is an image of one of the sections from the last issue that give a sense of fun that the layout had as well as the tone.

(A small portion, one eighth of a full-page spread of Nuspeak's last edition, 1975. The image is courtesy of the Third Eye Centre/CCA)
It is one of the best visual references to get a sense of everything that is going on in the art scene at that given moment. I put together a list of all the people it mentions with an asterisk if that person was graced with a full paragraph or an image of themselves or their work.

Derek Bailey
Jacques Barzun
Stan Bell
Earl Birnie
Mark Boyle
Stan Bonnar*
Boys of the Lough
Alison Buchanan
Bill Buchanan
John Byrne*
Cantilena Baroque
Shrley Cameron
The Cage
Sri Chinmoy
Martin Carthy
Cricst theatre group from Poland
Miles Davis
Joan Eardley
Michael Edwards*
Duke Ellington
Morton Feldman
Allan Ginsburg
Alasdair Gray
David Harding*
Peter and Phil Hartigan
Mike Horovitz
Richard Hough*
Walter Kershaw and the "Rochdale Sculptors"
Bob Laing
Steve Lacey
Jolyon Leycock*
Tom Leonard*
Sorley Maclean*
John McColl
Ewan McColl
Adrian Mitchell
Roland Miller
Edwin Morgan*
Robin Munro*
Cordelia Oliver
George Oliver
The People Show
Art in Revolution
Odile Redon
Ray Russell
Sahasrara, the crown Chakra
Peggy Seeger
Sonic Arts Union
Jim Torrance
Traditional Folk Club
John Upton

It ends by saying:
"With the opening of THIRD EYE CENTRE, all of its staff's energies and its finances have to be devoted to activities in the centre. We hope that you agree it is better, if you have to choose, to do something than to read about it. We don't have the resources to continue a free arts newspaper but if you feel strongly that a publication like Nuspeak should continue to exist in Scotland then write to the Director of the Scottish Arts Council and let him know your views. Our thanks are due to Tom Kinninmont and especially to Ian McFadden who, under rushed and shoestring conditions, managed to edit the paper."

These publications if collected in their entirety would paint a fascinating picture of the moment in time that the Blythswood Square paved the way for the Third Eye Centre and the ways that Tom McGrath in particular wanted to promote an awareness of everything cultural that was going on and to receive feedback.

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