Wednesday 15 July 2009

And We Call Upon The Author To Explain...

Sometimes, your worlds can collide and your joys and pleasures intersect in a most serendipitous way.

On Friday we were at the music festival T In The Park. Every year it becomes the fifth largest city in Scotland as up to 85,000 people descend on rural Perthshire. 12 stages, around 180 artists, a fairground and enough loo roll used to stretch from Glasgow to London.

The Good
  • The Yeah Yeah Yeahs (complete with giant eye floating over the crowd and being batted back and forth)
  • Idlewild
  • The Posh Toilets (OK, they might have been the most expensive way to spend a penny at £2 a tinkle, but it was worth it - real flushing toilets that were CLEAN).
  • The 6 foot tall pink rabbit peeing against the fence (courtesy of Fancy Dress Friday rather than drugs...well, on my part anyway).
  • The sunshine.
  • Healthy T - a little oasis of calm with good food, drumming lessons, massages and places to sit down with a nice cup of tea (yes, that probably means I'm too old to go to festivals).
  • The scenery - what a stunning setting.
The Bad
  • Many amongst the festival crowds don't seem to go for the music. I think there's actually a fair number of them for whom it's going to be more The Lost Weekend than T In The Park. I like to get pretty close to the stage. Not mosh pit close (not any more, anyway), but close enough to see the faces of the band and make sure it's not a tribute band I'm watching. However, there's a minority of people in that section who insist on throwing plastic cups containing lager (please tell me it's not anything worse) into the front of the crowd. I don't like beer at the best of times. And the best of times is not all over my bloody hair when I've just had it done. Thank you.
  • The sound quality for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. At times I could harld hear them. Especially because of...
  • The group of shrieking teenage girls next to us. One was crying and showing her text messages to her pals saying "Paul's chucked me. I love him and I bet he's gone off with that Sarah cow. I love my Paul." over and over again. For about half an hour. I felt sorry for her for the first five minutes. However, things improved for her after half an hour when a guy behind her started chatting up her and one of her mates. She suddenly perked up, got out her make up bag and started re-applying her mascara. Paul? Paul who? Unfortunately, now she and her friend were shrieking at the tops of their voices trying to out-do each other in front of the poor benighted lad who was chatting them up. It was like watching a pair of loud and drunken black widow spiders circling their prey.
  • All the other toilets apart from the Posh Toilets. Ewwwwwwwwwwww.
  • The Mars Volta
The Absolutely Bloody Brilliant
  • Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds. They were headlining the NME stage and were up against the brilliant Kings of Leon on the Main Stage. Tough choice but we decided that we weren't going to get anywhere near the stage for that one and we had seen KoL in December, and we both love Nick Cave, so it didn't take us long to decide. And what a great decision it was. What an amazing set. They played several of my favourite tracks - Midnight Man, The Ship Song, Deanna, The Weeping Song, We Call Upon The Author and Red Right Hand. I wish they had played Breathless, then my happiness would have been complete. When I've seen them before they haven't done that one either, so maybe they just don't do it live. It was an electric performance - one of those where you can feel the smile spreading over your face and you look at the crowd around you and everyone has the same big grin.
And Nick Cave is noir. How about these lyrics from Abattoir Blues:
Everything's dissolving, babe, according to plan
The sky is on fire, the dead are heaped across the land

I went to bed last night and my moral code got jammed

I woke up this morning with a Frappucino in my hand

So it's a joy to discover that his first book for 20 years is coming out in September. Described by Irvine Welsh as 'part Franz Kafka, part Benny Hill', THE DEATH OF BUNNY MONROE, is part of a mouthwatering array of fiction being published at the end of August/beginning of September to try and compete with Dan Brown's new one. BUNNY MONROE is about a sex-obsessed travelling salesman in search of a soul as he travels around the UK with his son after the suicide of his wife. There will also be an audiobook read by Cave himself, and here's a video of him reading from the book to whet the appetite. In addition, more worlds collide as he is currently writing a film score of Cormac McCarthy's THE ROAD.

And, since this has turned into a distinctly non-Scottish-oriented blogpost, this seems a fine time to mention Noircon - a convention that I really want to go to. Crime fiction conventions are great places to meet up with good friends, enthuse about crime fiction, blether about anything and everything and hug some of my favourite people. I've heard great things about previous Noircons and it's on my wishlist. The next Noircon is from November 4th to 7th 2010 in Philadelphia.

Here's a summary of various reports from Noircon 2008. And a podcast from that Noircon on wise guys and femmes fatales. There are several podcasts from Noircon by Clute and Edwards on Behind The Black Mask - which also features great podcast interviews with some of my favourite crime fiction writers. Clute and Edwards feature heavily on my ipod with Out Of The Past too - fascinating podcasts on film noir.

Sorry for the meandering post. Bback to your normally scheduled Scottish crime fiction tomorrow, I promise.


  1. Noircon rules. Not sure we'll have any chubby Cambodian hotties in 2010, though.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    “Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

  2. But those dates are November 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th.

  3. Cheers Peter - I have no idea why I wrote December! I'd love to go one year - especially after hearing Reed, Ken and Christa on that night out :o)

  4. Hearing Reed, Ken and Christa? Have you seen the picture of them in bed along with Ken Bruen, Gary Phillips and Eddie Muller? (I was off to the side, sitting on the refrigerator and passing out plastic champagne glasses.)

    My verification is just a letter short of being one of the best ever: iditic
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  5. I have indeed. And was lucky enough to hear the story from the horses mouths one evening at Bouchercon last year. It was hilarious - almost as good as being there. Almost :o)

  6. Everybody in the room was clothed, though one of the men was wearing a dress not his own.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  7. So I understand - and believe me, I haven't been able to get that image out of my mind...

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