This fortnight, Scotland’s vibrant literary scene takes a leap forward with the launch of underground litmag Rebel Inc. in book form at the launch of Reading Lights, Glasgow’s new book festival. Below, Rebel Inc. founder Kevin Williamson and author Alan Warner tell Deirdre Molloy their story, while opposite we publish an exclusive extract by Irvine Welsh from the imprint’s debut book, Children Of Albion Rovers.
rom his office in Edinburgh, Albion Rovers coach Kevinacchio Vilhelmsonya insists his team are in good shape: fitness by years of substantial training. as he puts it.
But who is this continental-style coach when he’s at home? None other than Kevin Williamson, 34-year-old founder of Rebel Inc., the notorious Edinburgh-based literary magazine that ﬁrst unleashed the likes of Irvine Welsh onto an unsuspecting public, and fused club culture with the city’s underground writing scene via its legendary pre-club events.
Born in Thurso, but resident in the capital for some sixteen years, Williamson is now branching out into book publishing as editor of the Rebel lnc. imprint, a subsidiary of Edinburgh’s Canongate Books. This month Rebel lnc. launches its first three titles at Reading Lights. a new book festival to be held
‘Bodies honed to the very peak of
Kevin Williamson: on the march with his army oi writers
in Glasgow this month.
Spearheading the troika is Children Of A lbion Rovers. 21 collection of novellas by six Scottish writers. Alongside well-kcnt players like lrvine Welsh (goalie), Alan Warner (defender) and Gordon Leggc (midfielder). Williamson is bringing lesser-spotted names onto the Albion Rovers team. ‘lrvine and Alan have done it,’ he says. ‘They’re successful writers now, but for me the beauty ofthis book was getting the other four writers, in particular Paul Reekie and Laura Hird.’ James Meek, who left his native Edinburgh in l992 to become The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent. completes the line-up.
For sheer professionalism. lrvine Welsh’s The Rosewe/l Incident — a bizarre tale of alien youth and Hibs casuals pooling their swedging skills to become planet Earth’s top boys — is equalled by Warner, Legge, and Reekie‘s contributions. So morale is high, but are they fit. like?
Ahem. news reaches us that the coach and his
defender have been out on the randan. ‘I haven’t read Albion Rovers,‘ slurs Alan Warner, half man, half Guinness residue. ‘1 had a proof copy but I got drunk with Kevin and I lost it.’ (That’ll be the training Williamson is talking about.)
‘I think as team managers go, I’m more likely to get the sack for not producing the results,’ Williamson jokes, smoothing over his dcfender’s gaffe.
Warner’s tale After The Vision is taken from The Far Places. an unpublished novel he wrote in 1991. ‘lt’s a piece about burning people, and that’s always going to go down well in thisjolly land of ours,’ he says. cackling insanely. Then the author grows misty-eyed, recalling the team’s early days at Rebel lnc. nights, circa 1993.
‘Every time you bought a bottle of Becks you got a rafﬂe ticket, so my table was bound to win the rafﬂe, man. And of course the prizes were contraband. Once I won a porno video and when I got home, smashed out of my face with this video. my [now] ex-girlfriend goes, “Where the fuck have you been? Look at the time, look at the state of you!” I said: “I’ve been at a poetry
‘We did a lot of weird and wonderful things at the beginning, some of which involved total na’ivety on my part. ’ Kevin Williamson
reading.” And it was true.’
Williamson concurs on this subject. ‘We did a lot of weird and wonderful things at the beginning. some of which involved total na'ivety on my part. We tried to get Norman McCaig to stand on a soap box and read as part of a Rebel lnc. platform in Princes Street Gardens, but he said. “Oh no, I don’t do soap boxes.”
Such events have tailed off since I994, but Williamson and his followers are regulars at the
Yellow Cafe nights, orchestrated by poet