UNDER THE COVERS
Jean Paul Bluey Manuick is the head honcho behind Britain’s leading soul/funk outﬁt Incognito. Their fourth album 100° and Rising is out now as is a new single I Hear Your Name. Here, Bluey talks about how he has recently discovered the joy of reading, and how he hopes it will change his life.
‘1 came to England at the age of ten. 1 was just beginning to get a grasp of French and here 1 had to learn a whole new language. As 1 flitted arotrnd French. English and the patois of Mauritius. 1 got a lot of abuse at my local school. 1 never really got that involved in reading as books couldn‘t hold my attention.
‘A couple of years ago. some friends recommended some books so I began to read whatever school books 1 still had. like Cull oft/1e Wild by Jack London. I've only read a little but it means a lot to me. I‘m not saying I‘m a literary genius. but 1 am really happy that l‘ have discovered something new.
‘1 like books that take you on adventures and onezof the best I've read is Iced by Ray Shell. 1 could not put that book down. It in ‘ant a lot more to rne when I went to New York and saw some of the crack dens. l was introduced to this gtry who. with a great job in a record company. had everything going for him.Then bang. nothing. he lost it all. The way Iced was written really hit tne when l was in the den and 1 saw this bloke with a pipe. lt wasjust like it was in the book. life is hell when it sinks that far.
‘l‘ve just started I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. From the way it has started 1 think it’s going to be an inspiration to me. When 1 read books by strong women writers. I feel a certain sense of imbalance because the business hit in is so male dominated. Hopefully this book will be able to ptit me in touch with the more feminine side of my character and 1 can work from that to maybe redress the balance (Philip Dorward)
NOT ONLY COWGIRLS
I Last Go Round Ken Kesey (Black Swan £5.99) This latest offering frotn Ken Kesey. best known as author of the legendary One Flew Over The ('in'koo is Nest finds him in ftrll saddleblazing. Wild West mode. lit a story frlched from turn of the century ()regon folklore. Kesey unleashes a rollicking tale fttll of bucking steeds. gambling and drinking. feisty women (or ‘sassypants' to the local ‘saddlebums') and small town swindling.
It‘s a story of how the lure of money and showbiz. via Buffalo Bill‘s Wild West Extravaganza. entered the Pendleton Round Up of 191 l and
almost caused mayhem in a tiny town that prided itself on its homegrown. clean-cut rodeo entertainment.
From the memory of a myth he first heard as a boy. Kesey has created a simple. no-nonsense. authentic Old West tale filled to bursting with
kaleidoscopic characters like wrestler
Frank ‘the crusher" Gotch. cowgirl Prairie Rose Henderson. strongman lndian preacher Parson Montanic. not to mention the one and only Bttffalo Bill Cody.
But as the round-up gallops to a climax and the story to an end. ttnless you‘re a die-hard Western fan there‘s little left to get worked tip about. and the colourful medley of lovable characters has become a decidedly gaudy mishmash. (Katy Lironi)
I One Moonlit Night Caradog Pritchard . (Canongate £8.99) This is the first complete translation of a novel many I consider to be a Welsh literary classic. 3 Published in 1961. Pritchard had originally intended ()ne Moon/it Night. like Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood. as a radio play. What this translation shows is that it makes a remarkable and tragic novel.
The initial story - a boy. lluw. growing up in the grim deprivation of a Welsh town during World War ll serves as a backdrop to the ensuing narrative that explores the l 'ghtening relationship between the boy and his : mother. l
The novel is an explosive delight. as l powerful a description of mother/son I turmoil as you could expect to find in i any language. It is at times a shocking l
swathe of language that combines an evocative exploration of Huw‘s
One Moonlit Night munitions .
disturbing childhood experiences with a sharp sense of the spiritual. a poignant understanding of the human condition. (Toni Davidson)
FIREBALL I Killer Jerry lee Lewis and Charles White (Century. £16.99) Dead wives. dead children. guns. liquor. amphetamines. women and rock 'n‘ roll the autobiography ofJerry Lee Lewis is clearly a wonderful idea. The reality is something of a let down. True. the Killer‘s own rambling reminiscences can swagger off the page with a genuine mythic backwoods lyricism and epic certainty which confounds the contradictions they contain.
But co-author Charles White. clearly in a state of loving awe. is content to
hint at. skin around or paper over far too many contentious times. Like the tussle between the sacred and profane which characterises his life. there is a schizoid element to Lewis' storytelling; eager to explain his actions one minute and gloriously unrepentant a few pages later. Can the man here explaining the Elvis feud as a media-hyped myth (‘Elvis was my friend — you‘d better believe it') really expect us to forget quotes like this from 1989: ‘I'm ll()l putting l'ilvis down. btrt he was a shitass. a yellow belly and I hated the fucker.‘ Fantastic discography. though. (Damien Love)
I The Memoirs of a Survivor Doris Lessing (Flamingo £5.99) A prolific and multi-faceted author. 76-year-old Lessing's classic science-fiction outing is bold and gripping. the characterisation quite remarkable. In a future age plagued by societal breakdown and impending famine. a middle-aged woman observes the decay whilst her charge. the eerie young limily. emerses herself in the jungle law of the city.
I The lonely Planet Boy Barney Hoskyns (Serpent‘s Tail £8.99) Subtitled ‘a pop romance'. this chronicles the life of Kip. a schoolboy music fanatic whose subsequent career as a music reviewer escalates in tandem with the career of his beloved Mina. a unique and flamboyant singer. At 166 pages. music critic and biographer lloskyns' debut novel is overpriced and occasionally cliched. yet remains immensely readable.
I Juggling Barbara Trapido (Penguin £5.99) When sent to an English boarding school. privileged and polar New Yorkers Christina and her adopted sister Pam encounter the equally oppositive Peter and Jago. 'l‘rapido deftly explores their complex relationships. ultimately introducing a riotous ltost of faces from the past. An aptly titled novel. Juggling boils down to a no-nonsense good read. I Best Short Stories 1995 edited by Giles Gordon and David Hughes (William lleinernann £8.99) Selected from published linglish language works from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries. this good-looking tome seamlessly blends old dogs (Edna ()‘Brien. Muriel Spark. . . ) with young pups (Will Self. Nick Hornby . . . ) to offer 25 solid stories originating from [Edinburgh Revieii' to .llurie ('luire with New Yorker dominating. Look out for the best of 1986—1995. containing the cream of a successful decade of volumes.
I Signals 0t Distress Jim (‘race (Penguin £5.99) Winter 1836. and an American emigration ship is wrecked off Wherrytown. West England. Whilst repairs are on-going the naive locals offer hospitality to the crew. and the crew embark upon a spree of raucous debauchery. Add to this the incompetent forays of wife-seeker and idealist Ayrner and you have a really diﬂe/‘ent read. (Susan Mackenzie)
Alex Benzie Thurs 10 Aug. 6.30pm. John Smith & Son. Byres Road. 334 2769. Free. The Glaswegian author reads front his debut novel The Year 's Midnight (Viking £16). set in a Scottish farming village at the turn of the century. but with more of a penchant for magical realism than the pastoral.
Allan Massle, David Wishart & James
Jauncey Thurs 27 Jul. 7pm. Waterstones. 128 Princes Street. 226 2666. Free. Three Sceptre published authors read from their new books. 'King David’. ‘1 Virgil Ovid' l
and ‘The Mapmaker'. respectively. There's also the chance to win £100 worth of Sceptre books in the prize draw. which should come in handy to purchase all the titles you'vejust heard.
Hugh MacMillan Fri 4 Aug. 7.30pm. The West End Hotel. Palmerston Place. 337 8277. £1.50 (£1). ‘First Friday Poems & Pints‘. organised by the Edinburgh Writers Association. with special guest Hugh lvlaclvlillan. whose wonderful short story Nan .‘llur‘lhntuld'x Uri/tilde is soon to be published in Flamingo's Scottish Short Stories 1995. All are welcome. phone if you require further details.
Priscilla Barlow Mon 7 Aug. 6.30pm. James Thin. 57 George Street. 225 4495. Free. Reading from her new book ‘Wise Enough To Play The Fool‘ (John Donald £14.95). a biography of Duncan Macrae the late Scottish actor. famous for his roles
in ‘Whisky Galore‘ and ‘Para Handy' and
his work with the early Citizens' Theatre. Michael Kerins Wed 9 Aug. 2pm. Central Library. George W Bridge. 225 5584. Free. Michael Kerins is a story-teller with a difference and if you're aged between 8- 12. go along and find out why. Also
; reading at Kirkliston Library ( 10am).
Sighthill Library (11.30am). and ()xgangs Library (3.30pm).
West End Book Circle It‘ you enjoy modern fiction and would welcome the chance to dissect some over dinner. then this could be just what you're looking for. This small but eager to grow group of all ages meet every six weeks for an evening of literary banter. the next cause for discussion being A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth on 6 September. Phone Francoise Robertson 0131 337 3406 for further details.
82 The Ll\t .‘8 Jul-10 Aug 1995