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The Natives Issue

Welcome to Barra Island

Bored to cerebal palsy of writing about the shite that happens in the grey, boring, bloated worlds of cities and towns, we made this issue all about life in the remote Outer Hebridean island of Barra (in Scotland).
AC
Κείμενο Andy Capper
1.1.06

  Bored to cerebal palsy of writing about the shite that happens in the grey, boring, bloated worlds of cities and towns, we made this issue all about life in the remote Outer Hebridean island of Barra (in Scotland).

About 40 miles square and with a population of under 1,200, depending on your personable foibles, Barra is either a paradise of peace, beauty and zen, or the most boring, barren place in the world.

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Alcoholism is pretty high but crime is practically zero. The most significant illegal act that had occurred there in the last two weeks was that somebody had scratched somebody’s car with a key.

The population is made up of fishermen, families of guys who work at sea on oilrigs and some old people who’ve never left the island. Most of these people are working-class, friendly, proud, happy with their lot and totally distrustful of people from the city carrying cameras and microphones.

Saying that, some of them let us into their worlds to help make this issue and for that we are eternally grateful. We hope that this issue doesn’t cause the same stink on the island that an article the Glasgow Herald ran about joyriders and “pimple-faced” kids being “out of control on booze”.

While there was a fair amount of drinky-winks going on at all times, the island is a haven of pure, simple living and one of the most beautiful places we’ve ever been to. Getting back to the city was depressing.

For this issue, we’d especially like to thank:

Jessie McNeil
Head of Barra Voluntary Services, she gave us the phone numbers of pretty much everybody we needed to talk to on the island.

Katy Denehy
There’s little for young people to do on the island but Katy seems to run a different kind of youth club event every night. She hooked us up with the kids and the Gaelic-speaking highland dancers.

The staff at the Castlebay hotel and bar
For whisky and black pudding

Peter Brown
For being cool even though we sunk his car into the sands on the beach. And the kids and the guy with the tractor who pulled us out.