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Black Lamb

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Now in its 14th year of publication, this magazine was created to offer the discerning reader a stimulating selection of excellent original writing. Black Lamb Review is a literate rather than a literary publication. Regular columns by writers in a variety of geographic locations and vocations are supplemented by features, reviews, articles on books and authors, and a selection of “departments,” including an acerbic advice column and a lamb recipe.

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Archive for the 'Wilce' Category

Invitation to stray

May 1st, 2007

BY GILLIAN WILCE

londoncab-copy.jpgOne of the all-time best-known pieces of advice to tourists visiting London was Gerard Hoffnung’s “Try the famous echo in the British Museum Reading Room.” It was, of course, tongue in cheek — a winning entry in the New Statesman’s weekly competition. Being involved with this competition — including moonlighting as one of the many pseudonymous characters (Ms. de Meaner, perhaps) who inhabited the mythic “Comp. Complex” and set and judged the competitions — was one of the jolliest aspects of working at the New Statesman. Misleading advice for tourists was a favorite and was repeated several times over the years, though none of the results ever quite matched the brilliant succinctness of Mr. Hoffnung’s entry. Another highlight, also before my time (which was in the 1980s), was the Graham Greene parody competition, won by a new name in competition annals, which turned out to be a pseudonym for — yes, Graham Greene himself. I also remember with fondness a competition to provide gnomic sounding but outstandingly meaningless proverbs, like the solemn dictum: ‘“He digs deepest who deepest digs.”’

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Wilce | Link to this Entry

Back in Bloomsbury

March 1st, 2007

BY GILLIAN WILCE

I am leaning on the railings in Queen Square in the cool dusk, staring at the building opposite me and thinking how different a place can look according to why you’re there. The building is the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and six years ago I spent some stifling summer weeks driving regularly and anxiously round the oblong “square” looking for a parking space en route to visit a friend who had just had two lots of emergency brain surgery. If I’d been asked to draw the area during that time, I’d have sketched a huge hospital with a small undistinguished patch of greenery outside it.

Now, though, my friend’s recovery long established, the shrunken building opposite, its legend obscured by the dusk, is not even distinguishable as a hospital (ambulances come and go out of sight behind it). It’s just one of the buildings round a rather festive London square with people criss-crossing it as they head home from work or seek out the warm interior of one of the nearby homely Italian restaurants, while others can be glimpsed eddying and animated in the lit windows of the adult education centre to my right.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: Wilce | Link to this Entry

An on-off affair

November 1st, 2006

BY GILLIAN WILCE

When I was a child I thought that smoking was very glamorous. It wasn’t just the lazy smoke drifting from the lips of the heroine in the black-and-white movies on TV. It was that our house smelled smoky only at Christmas, and only on those Christmases when our uncle and aunt and cousins came to visit. So the scent of tobacco loitering in a room meant something different from the humdrum, the everyday: festivity, more games (charades with four was, after all, a bit sad), more talk, more fun.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Smoking & Drinking Issue, Wilce | Link to this Entry

Love it or hate it

March 1st, 2006

singingdetective.jpgBY GILLIAN WILCE

Each week in the British satirical mag Private Eye, “Glenda Slagg” tackles some issue in the style of the worst kind of tabloid comment, her piece spattered with exclamations and question marks and always taking two opposed and incompatible points of view. Well, that’s pretty much how I’ve been thinking since the request came down the wire that we write about television this month. On the one hand, there’s the “Television, doncha love it?!!” article and, on the other, the equally possible “Television, doncha hate it?!!” article.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Television Issue, Wilce | Link to this Entry

Trial by fire

September 1st, 2003

BY GILLIAN WILCE

Life-changing films? Well, I first smoked dope after seeing an American public education film on the evils of marijuana (raucously enjoyed by its 1970s audience, but not quite in the spirit its producers intended) at the Electric Cinema in the Portobello Road. Similarly, I had my first snog (in the unlovely teenage argot of the day) in a double seat at the Rushden Ritz at the precise moment when God, as mediated by Cecil B. de Mille, was inscribing the Ten Commandments in stone. But I somehow don’t think it was exactly this kind of counter-suggestible behavior that my editor had in mind.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Movie Issue, Wilce | Link to this Entry

A turn for the verse

June 1st, 2003

BY GILLIAN WILCE

I have been doing anything rather than write this piece. The task of writing about an influential book ought to be a delight. And yet I have done the ironing, I have read a crime novel (by Ian Rankin — very enjoyable, but not a candidate), convictreadingI have looked up unnecessary and irrelevant sites on the Internet, played minesweeper and been out to stare at the river (very full and wide, very, very grey, and swept by little squalls of hailstones). I have read the small ads in the property section of The Evening Standard and I have done the quick crossword — every word of which put me in mind of a quotation or a book. For the problem is not lack but excess.

I can’t think of a single book that changed my life in an obvious way (except perhaps a psychology textbook, which led me to Jung, which led me to psychoanalysis, which led me to … – but that is another story, one which would probably have unfurled anyway from some beginning or other). On the other hand, I can’t imagine what a life without books would have been like. They are part of my fabric, just as they are of the fabric of this city.

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Posted by: The Editors
Category: All Book Issue, Books and Authors, Wilce | Link to this Entry

Author profile

December 1st, 2002

Gillian Wilce, who lives in Bermondsey in London, has worked in the city all her life — as a mental health social worker, a secretary, an editor (including five years as Literary Editor of New Statesman), and finally a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. She contributed to The Sexual Imagination from Acker to Zola and has in the past reviewed books for New Statesman, The British Journal of Psychotherapy, Fiction Magazine, and Winnicott Studies. (Entirely coincidentally the latter two publications no longer exist!) She presently divides her working time between psychotherapy and copy-editing. Her Black Lamb column is called London Pride.

Posted by: The Editors
Category: Wilce | Link to this Entry

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