Monday, 24 August 2009

Scots, and Wry



Hello there ma wee blog.

Just crawled back from the second of two trips to the Edinburgh Book festival this weekend and am having a coffee before heading to bed.


Well, two completely different events.

Last night we went to see Irvine Welsh, author of "Trainspotting" among others. The lovely G came along even though she hasn't read any of his work and so didn't really know what to expect, although she has seen the film. His stuff, if you dont already know, is tough and very uncompromising, set in the hard hitting, violent and aggressive world of drug culture and depravation, inner city life and mindless thuggery. Its written in the rough language of the streets that it comes from so it doesn't pull its punches.

He read from a collection of short stories called "Reheated Cabbage". The name he explained came from translating an Italian expression which describes someone repeating the same mistakes in life over and over. Its a collection of stories which were mainly written in the '90s, some published and some not, which he has put together as a volume representing the kind of work he was doing then. { the unkind among us can read that as "I need the money but can't be bothered writing anything just now" but we could be being uncharitable.} The story he chose was about a character from "Trainspotting" called Begbie, who was the uber violent psycho in the film and tells of him spending Christmas day with his family. It was loud, energetic and totally engrossing and he held the audience enthralled because under all that coarseness and swearing, bigotry and hate was a story of well observed character and situation told in a way that held you fixed by its raw power and its honesty. Just fascinating.

Tonight was Frank Skinner, TV presenter and stand up comic. A world apart from last night, he was presenting his second autobiography which deals with returning to stand up after some 10 years of TV work, caused by in his own words " the work drying up". He was again, very honest, especially in talking about his own insecurity in going back to stand up, an area where he had been acknowledged to be a master in his previous career. He was absolutely terrified of failing publicly and damaging his perception for more TV work and also was afraid of how the new generation of comedians working now would react to him. Would they accept him or would they just think he was up himself and out to grab the cash?

He read a couple of passages which reflected different sides of his experience and I found that once again they were masterfully observed and nicely self deprecating. He was very open during the interviewing questions and with the audience and, as he had come in with a small musical case - explaining that he had just come from his fringe show and that he thought that if the readings weren't going well he could try and win us over with a song - he was persuaded to give us a song. Surprisingly the instrument was a ukelele and he sang a song in the style of a hero - George Formby! I thought he was just using this as a comedy tool but he IS an absolute afficiando of George Formby and proceeded to give us a rendition of a song which he had created with great affection in the style of aforesaid WWII icon.

Of course it was a funny, bringing Osama Bin Laden to life through the eyes of GF, and absolutely hilarious.


So, two good nights, and more still to come. Love it, Love it, Love it....................


Tonight though I have yet another Childrens Panel training session, but, as the lovely G is oot an aboot in toon hersel', at least I'm not at home on me tod.

Ah well, got to go. I really didn't mean to be writing a mini review.


listening to Sia, 'little black sandals'
see you later.........................

3 comments:

The Clever Pup said...

Never saw Trainspotting but Begbie was the brilliant Robert Carlyle, right?

Alistair said...

absolutely right C-pup, but if you haven't seen the film, you must be a fan of the man himself. That was one of the roles that brought him to international attention, although he was quite well known here at home.

AJC said...

Irvine Welsh lives at least half the year on Miami Beach, which we (Books & Books) didn't know until we scheduled him for an autographing.

For "Crime" last fall, he took over a South Beach club for after the event. The password to get in for free (and drink for free) was the book's title. It was fun watching all these booksellers breeze past the velvet ropes, while the South Beach glitterati looked on.

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