The List is sort of like Time Out, but for Scotland. And like Time Out it is a bit of a relic and is sold to the sort of people who still maintain magazine subscriptions. In short it records absolutely everything that is happening for the benefit of people who never go out. Many of them won’t even pick up the phone to ask someone to install the internet so that they don’t have to buy The List anymore.
The most anachronistic thing you can do in Scotland is to read The List into a tape recorder, and then make a little Dymo letter-punch label to stick on the cassette case. Actually that sounds more satisfying than thumbing through The List, because The List is too concerned with telling you absolutely everything to tell you much at all.
The List will typically review your show on day one of the Fringe, and then hang it up like a dead pheasant to go gamey, eventually serving it to the public on day 25. It will have been written by someone who banged out 500 words, then sub-edited down to 40 by someone with a pathological hatred of nouns, and then stuck on a page by someone who knows that print media is the new coal mining and nobody’s reading the damn thing anyway. The result is grammatically correct but unhelpful. A List review will read something like: “A disappointing hour of inventive comedy that was occasionally hilarious and often left a sour taste. The audience were left wondering what to eat, and why, which is a shame, because it could have been awful but was effervescent and slightly chalky. Three stars.”
In between the reviews is some rewritten PR bumph and some freakish people its reporters have stopped in the street to ask where they bought their clutch bags. For all its faults, however, The List is remarkably sober, even-handed and unexcitable, having seen everything that has ever happened in Scotland since Culloden. It gave the Jacobites three stars and wrote ‘Encouraging but could do better’.