Search

12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it

Tag

Edinburgh Book Festival 2011

Getting to Grips With Graphic Novels

This is my last post about the book festival, which finished yesterday with what I can only assume was a life-changing production of Alasdair Gray’s Fleck (I don’t know for sure as I didn’t manage to get a ticket.  Instead I went to see The Guard, a black comedy with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle which was very funny – highly recommended).

Said post contains my thoughts on a session I went to last week about graphic novels, run by Dr Mel (“don’t google Mel Gibson, google Dr Mel Comics!”) Gibson and self styled ‘comicker’ Emma Vieceli.

“I had a crush on Asterix,” offers Emma early on in the discussion.

“Fair enough,” Dr Mel lies effortlessly (or maybe she really does think it’s fair enough.  Who am I to judge.)  “We had Asterix in the school library in every single European language other than English.  English was cheating.”

Continue reading “Getting to Grips With Graphic Novels”

James Yorkston at Edinburgh Book Festival

There is a copy of singer James Yorkston’s book, It’s Lovely To Be Here: The Touring Diaries of a Scottish Gent, in our house.  I know because I bought it as a birthday present for my flat mate, who says it’s very good. Unfortunately I haven’t borrowed it yet, mainly because my mighty pyramid of to-read books is so enormous it hurts my brain.  Still, that didn’t stop me going to see Mr Yorkston talking about it with Ian Rankin at the book festival over the weekend.

It was a great event, the atmosphere was very friendly and there was cheery banter aplenty.  After a brief overview of his new guitar (made from Tazmanian blackwood, spruce and Brazilian Rosewood), Rankin began by asking about Yorkston’s background.

He grew up in Fife and attended Madras college in St Andrews, a few years below Kenny (King Creosote) Anderson and amongst such luminaries as KT Tunstall and Steve Mason from The Beta Band.  Listening to him describe his early years “dancing with my across the road neighbour, Vic Galloway (a BBC Scotland presenter and DJ) like dafties on the lawn,” it strikes me the East Neuk is overdue an Almost Famous style look at the music scene – there are so many artists compressed into that area it’s a bit ridiculous.

Apparently Yorkston wrote his first song at the age of 8, him on electric guitar and Galloway on banjo. “It went, baa baa goes the cow, moo moo goes the sheep, woof woof goes the hippopotamus and they all went to sleep.”

I felt exactly like Cameron Crowe as I typed that up, seriously.  This could work.

Continue reading “James Yorkston at Edinburgh Book Festival”

Smoke Heads and Pack Men

left: Alan Bissett, right: Doug Johnstone

I first came across Doug Johnstone and Alan Bissett when I worked in the library service.  I happened to start by reading second novels by both of them (The Ossians by Johnstone and The Incredible Adam Spark by Bissett), although this wasn’t deliberate and technically The Ossians was Johnstone’s first novel, it just came out second.

At the time I thought maybe I liked these books because I could relate to them; they were about things I recognized.  Johnstone’s book is about a band touring the edges of Scotland, which starts off in Edinburgh – I live in Edinburgh and all my flatmates are in bands.  Meanwhile Bissett’s is about a lad with learning difficulties living in small town Scotland – I grew up in small town Scotland worked for a while with kids who had learning difficulties.  Having read more of their stuff, though, I know I’d have enjoyed them even if they hadn’t happened to appeal so specifically to my experience.  This is because the quality of the writing is high, and because they are both doing something a bit different.

Rather than giving them an event each, the book festival decided to put the two men together last night to chat about their newest books, Smoke Heads (Johnstone) and Pack Men (Bissett).

Continue reading “Smoke Heads and Pack Men”

All Made Up – Janice Galloway

This morning I trumped along to Charlotte Square once more to see Janice Galloway talk about her new book.  Following on from her anti-memoir about her childhood, This Is Not About Me, volume 2 is about her teenage years in Ayrshire and is called All Made Up.  I sense a theme.

The event was held in the RBS Main Theatre, and it was rammed.  The girl sitting next to me, who was writing about it for Three Weeks, had seen Galloway before and didn’t find this remotely surprising.  I sense I have been missing out – I came because the programme blurb looked interesting.

As the lights go down and everyone settles in, event chair Ruth Wishart introduces All Made Up as a book “where sex and music jostle for priority status.”

“And Latin,” Galloway chimes in.

This sets the tone, and leads the author into an explanation as to why she doesn’t see the book as a straight memoir.

Continue reading “All Made Up – Janice Galloway”

Andy Stanton Interview

Andy Stanton is probably best known as the author of the Mr Gum series of books (technically aimed at 7-10 year olds, but I started reading them at 24), and the mastermind behind hit TV show Bag of Sticks.  If you haven’t read anything by him and you’re not sure whether you’d like to, my rule of thumb is to suggest you head to your nearest book shop or library, pick up a copy of You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum!, and turn to chapter 4.  If it doesn’t make you laugh, there’s probably something wrong with you. 

I interviewed the man himself on Monday afternoon after a hectic weekend at the Edinburgh Book Festival.  Here’s what he had to say.

Andy Stanton Masters Kung Fu © abraham_love (www.abrahamlove.com)
 
 

Still Writing…

Today I thought I’d revert to type a little bit and talk about how the 12 books in 12 months project is going.  For those of you who haven’t visited before and have been directed here by the Guardian Books page, the title of the blog means exactly what it says – this site is about my endeavour to write a book every month in 2011. If you read back through old entries you’ll find all manner of witty banter about word counts and synonyms and procrastination.  And some pictures of chickens.

However, because it’s August and I’m based in Edinburgh, I’ve been trying to give readers a bit of respite from constant posts saying things like “I haven’t written enough” or “I have written a whole load, read it immediately and give me validation,” by posting about the assorted festivals that are going on this month.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had several guest posts about shows with literary themes, and I’ve written about assorted events at the Book Festival too.

There is more of that to come, including an interview with children’s author Andy Stanton tomorrow, but in amongst it all I’m still trying to write a whole bunch of fiction with which to entertain the masses.  Sometimes it’s good to remind myself.

Continue reading “Still Writing…”

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: