The Eskimo Republic Concert, written for the 1994 Glasgow Folk Festival by Gordon McCulloch, was performed twice, on a single evening (21 June), at the Tron Theatre. The show sold out for both performances. Primarily an enthusiastic musical homage to the ‘Glasgow Eskimos’, the post-war political folk song movement, and the radical socialist Scottish anti-Polaris movement of the early 1960s,the songs and the recitations also addressed more contemporary political events. As Gordon said about the show: ‘There was very little time to write the piece or to rehearse it . . . I think that shows on the amateur film that was made by Larry Taylor. . . but no matter . . . we didn`t set out to make a slick professional show . . . and I hope it captured some of the gritty exuberant spontaneity of the actual events at the Holy Loch . . . The “core” songwriting Eskimos were five in number . . . Morris Blythman, Nigel Denver, Jimmy Maclean, Josh MacRae and Jackie O`Connor. But I suppose if we were going to be a bit pedantic . . . then the real Eskimos were the canoeists and kayakists (such as Terry Chandler and others of the Committee of 100) that had a go at the Proteus. On a much broader view, I reckon that every one of the young and old, men and women who took part in the anti-Polaris demonstrations earned the right to call themselves Eskimos. The idea for the format of the piece was essentially Brechtian…”agit-prop” with a large dollop of the “living newspaper” techniques (quotes from contemporary newspaper articles) used by The Red Megaphones and Theatre Workshop in the early days of Ewan McColl.’
Artists in the evening’s lineup included Ronnie Alexander, Finlay Allison, Bob Blair, Bobby Campbell, Ian Davison, Robin Hall, Arthur Johnstone, Enoch Kent, Ian Kirkpatrick, Danny Kyle, Jimmie Macgregor, Gordon McCulloch, Geordie McIntyre, Adam McNaughtan, Ewan McVicar, Brian Miller, Palaver: Aileen Carr, Gordeanna McCulloch, Chris Miles & Maureen Jelks, Sam Ramsay, Jimmy Ross, and Charlie Soane. Sadly, three of the cast members, Robin Hall, Danny Kyle, and Bobby Campbell are no longer with us. See FILMS for video of the full concert (84 minutes)
Gordon has recently written an article “a.k.a. Thurso Berwick: Doon Amang the Eskimos” for The Bottle Imp published by The Association for Scottish Literary Studies (Glasgow University) in which he goes out of his way to pay tribute to the “core Eskimos”, especially Jim Maclean, but also Morris Blythman, Josh McCrae 1 and 2, Jackie O`Connor and Nigel Denver.