Senscot Bulletin: 17.04.14

Dear members and friends,


The fictional detective, Philip Marlowe has had the impact on my life of a real person. John Banville, who won the 2005 Booker Prize with the ‘The Sea’, has been persuaded by the estate of Raymond Chandler to write a new Marlowe novel. For me, this is sacred ground – best left undisturbed – but this week I read ‘The Black- Eyed Blonde’; unsurprisingly I’m disappointed.
            The tone of the prose is actually quite good – and I can believe that we’re in 1950s Los Angeles – but it’s the character… I feel I know Marlowe well – over many years – and much of what Banville has him think, feel and do is out of character. I particularly dislike the novel’s concessions to modernity; graphic violence (I don’t want to know when someone’s eyeball has popped out); casual sex with his client (not Marlowe’s style); even the excessive drinking is too realistic – sordid. I realise that my Marlowe is quintessentially a romantic figure – quixotic – I don’t want him ‘modernised’.
            In fairness to Banville – I was never going to like what he wrote; and even if Chandler himself returned to life – I don’t think he could add to the legend. In the final two novels – the effects of his out of control drinking were showing through; a tad too much sentimentality – a new sententiousness creeping in. But the character of the care-worn Philip Marlowe – fully realised over the seven novels – is a major literary achievement and he remains a reliable friend whom I visit regularly; I wish they’d leave him alone.


We still have copies of Laurence’s book ‘Kindness’; a selection of Bulletin intros from 2007 – 2012. See,


I’ve been picking up vibrations about a new left-wing economist called Thomas Piketty – whose work is making waves. Will Hutton’s Observer column this week is about Piketty’s book ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’ – which argues that the current level of wealth inequality (still rising) imperils the very future of capitalism. He says that Capital is blind – that once its returns exceed the real growth of wages and outputs – the stock of Capital will ineluctably rise. He deploys 200 years of data to show that the consequences for the world are ‘potentially terrifying’ Hutton ends: “I suspect that some of the energy behind Scottish Independence is the drive to build a country where toxic wealth inequalities are less indulged than in England’. See,


The progress of the Jimmy Reid Foundation’s Commonweal initiative is impressive – and it’s still gathering momentum; the link is to a list of 50 papers at different stages of completion. Given our electoral system – I’m wondering how the Commonweal will transform into a political force. At the end of the day someone has to assemble a manifesto – folk have to stand for election. I’m not being critical – just wondering how it will work. See,


Scottish Government has been slow to see the potential of Community Shares as a means of local empowerment. (Senscot made representations since 2007) We get the impression that DTAS, as the lead contractor, has made comprehensive preparations for the Community Shares Unit – which is well funded – and that it is set to become a major player on the landscape. This information memorandum is impressive.


One of the reasons I enjoy Gerry Hassan’s writing is that I share his instinctive distrust of the establishment – the self-perpetuating elite who control the institutions of the Scottish state; the committees of the Great and the Good – middle class, respectable, polite – sometimes even wise – but a poor substitute for true democracy. This piece is about the proposed Scottish Constitution – who will write it – how we must get beyond the usual suspects; how can we tap into ‘the mass of sense’ of ordinary citizens.


NOTICES: We can’t flag all notices here, but more jobs, events and tenders available on our website. See  this week:
JOBS: Assist Social Capital, Community Shares Scotland, BE United, Community Enterprise, Firstport
EVENTS: Sharing: Getting It Right & Boundaries Training, 1 May; Social Enterprise Mashup, 23 April; Social Enterprise Trade Fair – Opportunities To Grow, 7 May
TENDERS: Cleaning services, The Wheatley Housing Group Limited; Landscape Maintenance 2014 – 2017, Southside Housing Association; Feasibility and Business Planning, Skye and Lochalsh Mental Health Association; Recycling of Dry Recyclable Material, Inverclyde Council;


The SENs Weekly Update; Kim writes: Over the last twelve months, the work and activity around the thematic SENs has been steadily increasing. The four thematic SENs – Sport; Health; Community Food; and Culture and Creative – has seen significant growth in their respective memberships and, equally importantly, a similar increase in joint working initiatives – either for ‘on the ground’ delivery or policy development – with Scottish Govt departments; other public agencies; as well as with colleagues from across the third sector. We have also begun a process this year of bringing together members of thematic SENs and Roundtables. This work will continue in the year ahead. We will also be looking to link up more effectively the work of the thematic SENs with that of the local SENs. One immediate example is CC SEN and Glasgow SEN meeting up with Glasgow City Marketing Bureau re the role of SE in the city’s tourism strategy.
For more SENs News, see


Tomorrow is the closing date for applications for the post of paralegal with Senscot Legal. This post – funded through the Enterprise Ready Fund – and will be based in Bath St, Glasgow. To access the application pack, see Closing date: Friday, 18th April 2014


Bulletin request: Do any of you know of a social enterprise that provides services for people with dyslexia in Scotland? Senscot was contacted this week by a regular reader with contacts in the USA who is on the look-out for a Scottish-based SE providing such services. There could be some interesting potential in this. If you know any, it would be good to hear from you. Contact –


Out of the Blue (OOTB) – the Edinburgh-based creative social enterprise – celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. OOTB has been a hot house of creativity since its birth; born in a small shop in Edinburgh’s Old Town back in 1994 when to find creative space in Edinburgh was a massive challenge. Created by determined young artists, who having seen what was possible in the cities of mainland Europe, returned home to a commercially rich yet creatively poor city. Today, thousands of people now visit the OOTB Drill Hall for studios, classes, workshops, markets, projects, events, festivals as well as their popular Cafe. Congratulations all round. For more, see,


Still on the anniversary/birthday theme, this week`s bulletin re-visits Re-Union – based in Edinburgh but operating right along the Union Canal – that is celebrating its 10th year in business. Set up in 2004 Re-Union’s aim is to encourage canal communities to engage positively with their canal.  Since its inception, Re-Union has been offering training in building and operating boats; hosting education trips and floating youth clubs; as well as delivering training programmes in partnership with other agencies (e.g the NHS). Re-Union’s business model is a mix of funding and income generation. They currently operate 20 boats and is the majority shareholder in Capercaillie Cruisers – a commercial venture based at the Falkirk Wheel. Surpluses from this venture go to support Re-Union social activities. For more, see
For more, see


Raymond Chandler wrote no better novel than ‘The Big Sleep’ (1939) – and in the 1946 film noir of the same name – Howard Hawks exactly captures Chandler’s wry and humorous tone of voice. This is a famous exchange between Bogey and Bacall:


“And I don’t like your manners”. “I’m not crazy about yours”, I said. “I didn’t ask to see you. You sent for me. I don’t mind your ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a Scotch bottle. I don’t mind you showing me your legs. They’re very swell legs and it’s a pleasure to make their acquaintance. I don’t mind if you don’t like my manners. They’re pretty bad. I grieve over them during the long winter evenings. But don’t waste your time trying to cross-examine me.”


Our willow tree has spring-awakened with the freshest pale green coat – and the two great geans are in full blossom. I’ve just read again Philip Larkin’s ‘The Trees’. “Last year is dead, they seem to say, begin afresh, afresh, afresh”. See,


The Senscot team would like to wish you all a joyful Easter.


That’s all for this week.
Best wishes,




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Senscot is a Company, registered in Scotland. Company Reg No. 278156: Scottish Charity No. SC 029210