When last we checked in with the young upstarts currently fomenting a Scottish literary revolution at Cargo Publishing, they were sticking two fingers up to Glasgow’s Aye Write! festival with the second year of their own Margins festival. It was a bit alright. More than that, it provided a focal point to the ever-evolving overlap between disciplines in the Glaswegian arts scene, with literature bleeding into music and theatre, and music and theatre contributing some bodily fluids of their own to literature.
Riding high on the success of the festival, Ewan Morrison’s recently published Tales From The Mall and the publication later this week of their hugely ambitious Second Lives project, the publishers took to Twitter last Friday to announce three new signings that are very, uh, them.
Anyone as yet unfamiliar with the Facebook and Twitter sensation that is 50 Shades of Glasgow 1) clearly has a dearth of Scots in their social networking feeds, because we’ve been amusing ourselves with little else for the past month and 2) has probably figured out that it is, of course, a 50 Shades of Grey parody written in the voice of a particularly grubby Clyde-dweller. Now, this is a family website, so we couldn’t possibly reproduce (huhuhuh – ‘reproduce’) any of said shocking filth here, but suffice it to say, it’s everything you could hope for and more. The insanely fast turnaround in getting it to book form – seriously, this thing didn’t exist anywhere a month ago – shows just how fleet-footed and shrewd the independent publishing model can be when applied by people who know what they’re doing.
Another instance of seizing upon a word of mouth internet hit, Fraser Syme has been posting excerpts from ‘an as yet unpublished book entitled ‘My Book of Absurd Letters to British Football Clubs’ under my nom de plume Struan J. Marjoribanks’ on his WordPress blog. Evidently, he can now remove the ‘as yet un-‘ qualifier, as the full thing is seeing the light of day next year. Hopefully, it will provide further answers to burning questions along the lines of ‘what colour of bon bons does the 1986 Hibernian squad like best?‘ and pleadings with the club chaplain of Stenhousemuir to intervene in the Australian court case of a big fan.
Lastly and, for this writer, most excitingly: ‘Final bit of signing news today. Alasdair Gray signs with Cargo for a memoir, “Some of Me & Others” due out 2013. Full story to follow.’
Gray – the living Scot with the greatest claim upon the title ‘genius’ – was, of course, the subject of a very fine 2008 biography by his one-time secretary and more-than-one-time novelist Rodge Glass, but the opportunity to hear the man’s memories recounted in his own wonderful, baffling, absurd, beautiful words is one not to be sniffed at. Camp out at your nearest bookshop like it’s T in the Park before it went rubbish.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.