Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Busy times.

Been up the proverbial back alley with a photographer for the Daily Record. I am worried that I now find standing in a puddle in the pouring rain, arms out as if I am about to have a shoot out at dawn through the saloon doors of the OK corral, as my natural pose.

Two weeks ago I was on STV's The Hour with Michelle and Stephen. Scary! And the scariest thing was there was no run through or previous meeting or discussion of questions - what you see is what happened - exactly. So, when interviewed by Mark Lawson of Radio 4 you kind of know what you are going to be asked ie something about writing, hopefully. But with Michelle? - it could be "so you're a crimewriter, is that noe great. " How do you answer that? "Aye, next question please."

And then somebody pointed out that I am the dead spit of Eva Peron. I then found out he has since been operated on for an eye problem, no kidding, get better soon Dave! No doubt when he gets a bit better he'll tell me that I look like J K Rowling's big sister.

Then we were off the Milngavie - Fish N' Chips night with champagne - well chip butties and Irn Bru in my case. I was there with Shirley McKay and Gary Moffat (G I Moffat as he is on the cover of his books) and we were dutifully chaired by my favourite QC Len Murray.

At this event 200 fish suppers - this is fish and chips wrapped together in a wee greasy parcel for anybody reading this who isn't a Scot - are delivered from the local chippie. The award winning fish shop closes for half an hour and they get frying as if they are on steroids. The suppers arrived hot but 20 minutes late so us four had to ad lib for a full 20 minutes, at one point we were interviewing each other and then we were asking questions to the audience.

It was also Weegie Wednesday. The award winning short story writer who I confess I thought was a poet but there you go, Donal McLaughlin and I went out with Deborah Niven, who writes stories about moles - all moles are spies - and a German academic who lives in Switzerland and has just written a crime novel. Interesting stuff and a keen observation: so what are the Swiss passionate about I asked? Anything they are good at - pause - unlike the Scots who are passionate about all things they are bad at.... which is just as well... he added in a tutonic kind of way. I found myself thinking of Josef Fritzel. Wolfgang, Wolfie to his pals, was no doubt presented with whisky, tartan and a piece of Harris tweed. But we went one better and in the interests of understanding within the European Union, we gave him Irn Bru, tablet, a macaroon bar and a dictionary of Glaswegian slang. Poor man.

Meanwhile due to an oversight of the greatest PA in the world, I was actually dirving in the muppet mobile with no valid MOT as a lovely policeman pointed out on the A91 in St Andrews. He was very kind and drew directions how to get to the Kincardine Bridge in the dirt on the bonnet. He asked me what I was doing driving about at three in the morning with no real sense of direction. I explained I had been to see Sweet Charity at the Byre Theatre. He shook his head saying that he didn't know any of those songs. I gave him a few bars of Hey Big Spender. He told me to go on my way.

Subsequent visit to the local cop shop to display correct documentation was very interesting with a very drunk lady flat out on a bench - indeed rather well dressed drunk lady - gayly urinating all over the floor. It was the middle of the afternoon. The cops were great in understatement "watch your feet as you go miss" he said.

In the spare three minutes I have I am writing a piece for Red Herring on the collective noun for crime writers - I'm rather fond of a 'denouement'. Indeed my denouement for this blog is I have passed my exam. I have no idea of what letters I get after my name now but I kind of like Diploma in Forensic Medicine - DipiFormed.

Monday, 6 September 2010


Lots happening as you can imagine.

Next week I have an event with Alex Gray at Dunfermline Waterstones on Wednesday 8th. Even if you don't like either of us, there is a glass of wine on offer!!

Even better is the champagne at the Fish, Chips and Champagne night on Sunday 12th with Gary Moffat and Shirley McKay, that is always a really good event. Last year there was nearly an impromptu performance by Denise Mina, Karen Campbell and myself doing the Nolan sisters ( but not quite so shiney and much more sweary).

Then I'm doing something for the Daily Record midweek .. apart from that, finishing touches to book four and starting book time is my own.

I've never done so much publicity for a book before... got lost in Clydebank trying to find radio Clyde, been mistaken for somebody who appeared on X factor, ended up giving the DJ a giggling fit on Radio Manx, claimed I wrote Atonement in the Sun ( I didn't - I wrote Absolution but I got the train of thought the journalist was obviously on) and was mistaken for a prostitute a certain Glasgow hotel. ... can't work out if that last one was a complement or not.

However, the highlight of the stress was going on STV's The Hour with no rehearsal, no warning, no clues, nae nuffin!!! but in a strange kind of way, it was fun. Stephen and Michelle were great.. that job is a lot harder than it looks, I'd go cross eyed if I had to read auto queue for more than two minutes. But I was on with two border collies looking for a home... and I tried to steal the puppy, it was soooo cute. He was blind and a real wee charmer. But I don't think the bold Emily.. (who is officially the ugliest dog in Glasgow) would have been too chuffed.
For the French and Saunders fans amongst us, do you remember the series of sketches they did about breakfast tv? And what does the queen have mid morning? A hob nob? Well, I couldn't get that out my head while I was sitting on their sofa... I kept thinking.. when do I move?? You know when the guest gets up and the camera catches them leaving rather than being being removed off camera.... or even worse the presenters hand shoots out and they growl 'stay there' out the corner of their mouth. So I made sure my backside was glued to that sofa until I was given the green light to get out the door. eeekkk.

But all the camera crew were laughing... and at one point Stephen Jardine looked a wee bit scared. I considered my job done!

will blog again soon, time allowing