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  • Alistair Braidwood

Dear Scotland is Two, Indelible Ink Continues, World Keeps Turning…

Dear Scotland, the tremendous Scottish cultural website, which you can find here, has just celebrated its second birthday and it has been quite an undertaking. The Dear, for it is he who is the enigmatic mastermind behind the sight, has managed to post a new article, sometimes two, almost every day over that period, discussing and dealing with music, film, football, animation and books, both fiction and non. Understandably there are now going to be a few changes to the site as The Dear finds increasing demands on his time.

However, I’m delighted to say that the Indelible Ink column will continue, appearing, as always, on the first Monday of every month. For those of you who are not regular readers it is a column which looks at a different Scottish novel each time, and tries to place it in not only in a literary context, but also a cultural and social one. So far there have been over 20 and I’m delighted that it will be on going.

This month’s Indelible Ink looks at Robin Jenkins’ 1958 novel The Changeling, with a little footage of The Doors in case you get bored (you’ll have to read it to get the connection which you can do now by going here indelible-ink-robin-jenkins). Next month’s featured novel will be Doug Johnstone’s tales of a rock n’ roll life The Ossians. Here’s a quick preview: Next Month’s Novel: Novels about bands can be hit and miss. There are so many rock n’ roll clichés to begin with that a novel has to deal with them with care to avoid becoming formulaic, and after ‘Spinal Tap’ it is difficult to take the actions of bands in fiction entirely seriously. In his novel ‘The Ossians’, Doug Johnstone’s way of overcoming this is to go dark, and have the structure of a band as the backdrop to one man’s breakdown. As with all of Johnstone’s novels the action goes at a fair lick, and there is sex, drugs and the senseless killing of seagulls to accompany the rock n’ roll. ‘The Ossians’ is a must read for anyone who has ever been in or around bands. Some of the behaviour may seem excessive, but there is an undeniable truth at the heart of the novel. Making music, and all that accompanies it, may distract you from life, but you can’t avoid it forever.

To give people a chance of reading the forthcoming books I like to plan five books ahead, so here they are:

  1. Doug Johnstone The Ossians (July)

  2. Alexander Trocchi’s Young Adam.(Aug)

  3. Alan Spence Way To Go (Sept)

  4. A.L. Kennedy Paradise (Oct)

  5. Alice Thompson The Existential Detective (Nov)

Hopefully the list includes one of your favourite novels or novelists, and you can have a go at my opinions any time. The aim of Indelible Ink is to promote lively conversation, as well as the best books Scotland has to offer.


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