Saturday, September 10, 2011


In our early courting days, my wife went to a book-signing event with Alasdair Gray and got him to sign my copy of Lanark. Since we moved in together, the Lanarks seem to have multiplied, since we now have three. She also gave him a copy of my own novel, which he said he would read (the thought that there is an outside chance that he may indeed have read it, or at least a few lines of it, on the train back to Scotland is rather lovely). He probably thought me rather gauche for trying to implicate my girlfriend in such a desperate act of fandom, and he told her, "He should ask you to marry him for doing this." Which I did!

This video, which shows him designing a mural for an underground station, is wonderful. He describes himself as an old-fashioned post-impressionist, very interested in directness and "hard edges" when he paints and writes. In this, and in his very practical acceptance that he needs both to write and paint to make a living, he reminds me of another favourite artist / graphic designer of mind, David Gentleman. I like his own description of how he makes his characters speak: "In my writing, most of the characters, in their speech, say exactly what they mean, to an extent that he thought was a bit unusual, since most people talk in order to hide what they mean."


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