Had a very good night at writers group last week with a guest writer Alistair McIver. He’s a children’s writer and into folk lore and kelpies (no that’s not illegal!). I knew he was a professional story teller and I attended with some misgiving as I thought ‘oh no, he’ll be a very worthy beardie in cashmere who will nod sagely and think the world would be a better place if we all paid attention to the life cycle of the lesser spotted haggis.’
This young man appeared. He reminded me of a friend of mine who is to be found in the corner 48 hours after the party has ended, still in his tie dye t-shirt, still with his braveheart hair, still a bit dazed from doing agadoo until 4 in the morning and overdosing on Night Nurse - bad hangover but clear sinuses. Such is the type of Mr McIver – if not a rebel with a clue, he is at least a rebel with a cause - the cause is storytelling and story writing. His voice is a tad Alex Ferguson meets Sir Ian McKellen. I was surprised that he wasn’t RSADA, he has that degree of presence.... he is convincing even when he’s talking about the invasion of the sausage people and the best way to defend ourselves. The skill of a good story teller I presume.
I did google him to find out that he’s not a Glaswegian, his accent is from Dumfries yet his acting and observation of the Glaswegian ned is uncanny.
He wrote a book called the Glasgow Fairytale. He entered it for a competition for young kiddies but the reading age of the book was too old. He talked at some length about the phrasing and vocab for books for kids of different ages yet as I read the book I am aware that it’s a very subtle and complex plot .. an intelligent read for kids as well as being laugh out loud funny. This book has its multi storylines that intertwine and I suppose that shows that kids can deal with very sophisticated tales as long as they are crafted for that age.
So far, in the book a guy has been sold three magic beans by the jakey on the bus. I think Rapunzel might be an Asylum seeker, there’s a whole sectarian subplot with Cinders and the Ugly sisters and plenty of wry comment on the care system in place for young teenagers. I was with the little pigs all the way through their meeting with the planning officer (we’ve all been there!!!), I was cheering them on with the skin on my chinny chin chin!
Great stuff. I have no idea how it will pan out so from that point of view, it’s better than Steig Larsson. Will Snowy White, the albino chick magnet make it through to the end of the book now that the mirror has named him as the bonniest man in all of Glasgow. Should there have been a superinjunction??
Buy this book if you own a teenager who reads Tolkien a lot and is getting bit serious about life. Read it yourself before you hand it over. Don’t read page five while on public transport, there’s such good joke in there it can provoke spontaneous hilarity and you will walk about all day singing a song from your childhood about yer granny and a bus and you will probably get arrested.