A punk and a gentleman | With R&B punk band Dr Feelgood returning to public consciousness thanks to the story of co-founder Wilko Johnson’s battle with cancer, writer Zoë Howe believes it’s a good time for recognition to be given to the band’s other co-founder who died aged 41. In Lee Brilleaux: Rock’n’Roll Gentleman, she argues for a long overdue appreciation of his legacy. Continue reading “#edbookfest: Zoë Howe: “Lee [Brilleaux] was the classic rock ‘n’ roll Jekyll and Hyde.””
The last policeman on the moon | ‘Living on the moon? What were we thinking’ The lunar colony is winding down and the last cop’s beat is getting steadily smaller. In the plaintive, pared-back style of his popular Guardian cartoons, Tom Gauld’s new graphic novel Mooncop is a story that beautifully captures the realities facing a dying community.
“I’d been thinking of doing a story set on the moon.”
Tom begins by showing two alphabets he worked on, the wonderful future and the dreadful future. In fiction people either picture the future as a utopia, or a dystopia. The wonderful future A-Z includes aerial cities, bionic limbs, droid medics, food for all, jetpacks, kindly aliens, quantum computers, robot servants, VR and xeno pets. The not so wonderful future atomic wasteland, cannibal gangs, evil corporations, giant worms, killbots, pollution, sinister new religions, weaponised animals.
The point? Well, his is neither, really. Continue reading “#edbookfest: Tom Gauld: “I’d been thinking of doing a story set on the moon.””
Defying the Doctors | According to the medics, Wilko Johnson should be nowhere near Charlotte Square, having been given ten months to live back in 2013. The former cohort of Ian Dury and founder of Dr Feelgood tells of his life with and without cancer in his inspirational memoir Don’t You Leave Me Here. With Vic Galloway, he discusses a future that he never thought he’d get to experience.
“There was every reason to get passionate.”
“It’s the first book I’ve ever written,” says Wilko on adding ‘author’ to his endless CV. “Once I got into it, you think, “Yeah, I’m an author!”
Almost forensically, the pair detail Wilko’s childhood in Canvey Island, his hatred of his father and how he was often made to say things like ‘Battle of Hastings’ in front of the class to show what happens when you drop letters. Continue reading “#edbookfest: Wilko Johnson: “Fuck, I’m alive. Everything was vibrating.””
Celebrating our buildings book by book | For the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, we celebrate the brave and bold ways in which publishers are bringing innovative design and Scotland’s architectural heritage to new audiences. James Crawford of Historic Environment Scotland and Adrian Searle of Freight Books present their work and discuss the ways in which design-led books and publishing contribute to the reading experience.
“Design is a way of levelling the playing field.”
“You can’t not communicate,” says Adrian. It’s one of the most important things you have to bear in mind. Through design “we’re saying something about the book and about ourselves as publishers.” Continue reading “#edbookfest: Publishing By Design: “Design is a way of levelling the playing field.””
Depression and how to laugh it off | ‘Nothing makes me happier than talking about depression,’ says Glasgow-based comedian Susan Calman. Despite being one of Britain’s funniest women, Calman has lived with what she called ‘the crab of hate’, whispering in her ear for as long as she can remember. Now she’s written Cheer Up Love, a book full of stories, humour and serious ideas about coping with the black dog.
“The crab is never on stage with me.”
“I try to make it something to show what it feels like to have depression,” explains Susan, on the crab of hate that sits behind her head and says horrible things in her ear. “The crab is never on stage with me,” she continues. On stage she’s the business, off stage she’s shy and likes to hide. It’s like a character – Al Murray isn’t the Pub Landlord. Continue reading “#edbookfest: Susan Calman: “It’s part of the conversation – I’m a depressed person, this is who I am.””
Star writer returns to the dark side | Crime-writing Fifer Val McDermid has had a busy year so far, having found a cameo role for the First Minister in a play she penned for Radio 4 and campaigning to save an award-winning Orkney mobile library. Now she’s back on familiar ground as she launches another of the gripping, spine-tingling bestsellers that have turned her into one of Britain’s best thriller writers, and she joins the Edinburgh Book Festival to discuss.
“Ideas are cheap. Ideas are everywhere.”
Out of Bounds, the new book, returns to Karen Pirie. Four young lads in Dundee steal a car – “What else is there to do in Dundee?” – and DNA matches a historic case, but it becomes far more complicated than that. So why return to Karen? “At my heart I’m a lazy person,” says Val. She had an idea for a Cold Case story, she thought she’d use the character she already had. “Characters have a way of creeping up on me and making themselves heard,” she continues. Karen was practically shouting at her. Continue reading “#edbookfest: Val McDermid: “Ideas are cheap. Ideas are everywhere.””
Tales of the unexpected | Curious mysteries take deft turns in new books by two emerging stars. Edinburgh-based Mary Paulson-Ellis’ fine debut The Other Mrs Walker follows a woman on a seriously odd case for the Office for Lost People. Nicholas Searle makes a strong case to be le Carré’s heir with debut novel The Good Liar. A successful conman is about to pull of one final coup, but this one is not as simple as first imagined… Continue reading “#edbookfest: Mary Paulson-Ellis & Nicholas Searle: “Writers do lose control of their characters.””