I have just started Lanark. Only just. I’m not the fastest reader and I started much later than I wanted to, which meant my eyelids already were starting to get heavy barely one chapter in. I managed two. Lol. And am already attributing the identity of Sludden to a certain someone. Lol. And I would be any of those hangers on – apart from Gay – I should be so lucky! Or Rima (she has standards – it seems so far anyways). So I guess it only leaves me to be Frankie – most likely – or the other one whose name escapes me (irony!).
Anyway! Early days.
But I am already wanting to explore the world of Alasdair Gray so much more already as a consequence of those couple of chapters of Lanark.
So very later last night, after listening to a new episode of The Archers (now caught up with the real world – Ambridge is now in lockdown too) – and a very emotional yet beautiful Desert Island Discs with Charles Hazlewood as the castaway – highly recommended listening by me, not always easy, granted! (I still keep wondering when the frig they are going to get Jim on there!). I then put in Gray’s name in the search wondering if the BBC had done any adaptations to his books, etc, so thought I’d see what a search of him would bring up.
Well, it brought up this in the search results. A wonderful interview with BBC Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth. I didn’t know what to expect from it when I started listening. I had assumed Gray would sound very dour and “Weegie” for one – but I found his voice mesmerising and beautiful. He has such music in his voice. A beautiful burr and lilt that I just was not expecting – almost as if he sang as he spoke. As a consequence, as enthralled in the interview as I was, I found myself drifting off to sleep halfway through, to awake again for the final few minutes and the talk of the hardships of making a career from art – making a sustained paid professional income from artistic pursuit.
His final goodbye was pure music, and rather poignant for this must have been one of his final interviews. He passed away at the end of December last year.
I fell in love with him. He sounded like a magical being. Like a pixie or elf or something. Little did I know my flippant little line to Jim the other day about “starting a book at chapter three – seems like my kinda guy” would ring so true.
You can listen to the interview via BBC Sounds HERE
I posted about this around a month or so ago and linked to the podcast but they were only on a 30 day “listen again” time limit. I downloaded the episodes so they could be available here permanently.
I had the reminder yesterday, by way of His Kerrness (it was that title of his homage to Little Richard what done it, “the darker the night, the brighter the stars”) to get these episodes uploaded to the blog.
So, here we go, Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot, in four parts.
I do love listening to BBC Radio dramas, book readings, etc. They do them so well. I recently listened to another Dostoevsky adaptation – that of The Brothers Karamazov – also equally well done. I’ve listened to three of the episodes of The Idiot so far, and will listen to the final one tonight.
I’m sharing the link to the podcasts for now, but the episodes won’t last for long but I’ll get them and create permalinks here for them. In the meantime, if you want some escape from lockdown and you just want to close your eyes and listen to something – you could do much worse than escaping to Russia and listen to The Idiot.
Enjoy the dulcet tones of acting doyen, Roger Allam, in amongst the cast.
UPDATE: Now finally uploaded the episodes, here’s the permalink:
Wow! It is looking GORGEOUS! And…I’m no expert (but by now I pretty much SHOULD be…) but I am certain some of Virginia’s photos have been used in it – she did tell me she was approached and was hoping some would be used.
VIOLA! (Well, I am awaiting confirmation, but I think I know her stuff well enough these days to detect it.)
Oh, but there are lovely images from Laurie Evans and Richard Coward in there besides.
The book looks STUNNING! (Just like the main man featured inside. OMG…Jim Kerr, you are sssooo frigging beautiful!)
I read a piece from The Guardian yesterday as to why author Karl Whitney believed that Glasgow is the best city in Britain for the popular music-lover. He talked about the vibrancy of the scene, the number of venues the city has, a number of them more intimate music/pubs, some offering a fully vegan menu. I had been in two of them mentioned, The Flying Duck (making my mind up about Walnut Road and hearing Cities being played as some kind of omen) and Mono, in which I had that delicious kumquat margarita – and also checked out adjoining Monorail record bar.
I’ve walked past Nice N’ Sleazy’s numerous times but have never ventured in. And also for me personally, the notion that I am going to be living just 15 minutes away from the Royal Concert Hall fills me with SO MUCH EXCITEMENT…I can’t even!
And he also talked about the shops too, mostly around the West End on the Byers Road. In all my visits to Glasgow so far, one of the things that has eluded a visit is Byers Road. And only this last time did I get a sweeping glance of it as we passed by on the sightseeing tour bus (highly recommended, I must say – and if you love a bit of history and Neil Oliver’s dulcet tones float your boat, you’re in luck! He provides the audio commentary on the bus). But when the move happens…well, I’ll be on the lookout for bargains and by all accounts the Sally Army store up near Partick is the place to go – two birds, one stone!
Anyway, Karl extolls the virtues of my very, VERY soon adopted city much more than I can. Click the image of Barras to read the article.
News on the Virginia Turbett front. There’s a book on Iggy Pop coming out. In his own words, it seems. Not quite a memoir, as such, but more the printing of his lyrics with notes and photos complimenting and elaborating on the thought processes involved in the craft of songwriting.
It sounds really good. And a bit of a left-field choice for a publisher like Penguin Books!
Some of Virginia Turbett’s photos of Iggy feature in the book. And wow, she has taken some AMAZING photos of Iggy over the years. Along with continuing to expand upon my own personal Simple Minds archive of VT’s work, I plan to get some Iggy photos from her as well.