Legge works

With his new collection

of short stories, GORDON

LEGGE is stretching himself to make the

ordinary extraordinary.

Woros Deirdre Molloy

(iordon Legge would hayc you belieye he's not bothered about his cult status. Maybe that’s because with him it's the real thing. The moy ed l‘rom (irangemouth to lidinburgh si.\ years ago. has been l‘ctcd in all the right places the New York Time». The l'il/u'l' Hun/t (If PHI) and. 01‘ course. by Rebel Inc who haye promoted his work iron] the

author. w ho


Litmus pl'ool. ol- this staltts is

that his low' prolile remains intact. l-‘ans are beguiled by the sly humour. spot-on language and bi/arre twists ol' his liction. all set in a central belt town not dissimilar to (irangemouth. (‘hul‘l'ed with themselyes. they’ll quote you bits from his l'unniest stories while nobody else has a


The author himself is sanguine. liyen with Near .\'eig/r/mur.\. his second collection ol short stories.

he still speaks about the success ol.

()(ls Scottish l‘iction like a spectator. ‘\\'hen Kelman won the Booker l’ri/e l was punching the air.' says Legge. ‘l was so thrilled. it was like Scotland w inning the World (‘up. And haying just read Alan \Varner's The Sopranos. I just l‘eel so proud that a l'riend ol mine has produced something that w'onderl'ul.‘

Taking its cue from the title. the oyerriding theme ol .Veur .\'eig/i/murs is lil‘c liyed in close quarters. liach story is told in close-up. And when Legge moms in. there‘s no airln'ushing. Wherey er the locus couples. l'riends. workmates the

is directed author‘s knack for teasing out the quirks and flaws in people‘s relationships kicks- in.

What these mini-dramas amount to can’t be delined in terms of realism or knockabout satire. though there's plenty ol‘ both to

relish. It‘s more like being party to the secrets people hoard about themselyes before they unrayel in at times hilarious. occasionally poignant. but neyer spitel‘ul. ‘ll‘ you ey er hear yoursell being talked about by other people you don‘t recognise yoursell'. We don‘t really recognise


'When Kelman won the Booker Prize I was punching the air. I

was so thrilled, it was like

Scotland winning the World

Cup.’ Gordon Legge

ourselyes as we are perceiy ed by others.‘ Legge ._ __.

Near Neighbours is published byiJonathain Capeoin


liinding inspiration in the day -to-day has unlocked

98 THE UST 7' )5 rot: l998

Thu 25 Jun at £9.99.

Gordon Legge: hot gossip

Legge's imagination rather than limiting it. he reckons. ‘I think it‘s liberating. I used to lantasise lilm plots while I was out cycling and work through all the details. l‘hcn when I started writing. it wasn't l'antastic like that at all. It‘s political to a certain extent. w riting about where you come horn. and lor w here you come from to be recognised.‘

Men are just as gossipprone and insecure as women in his stories. .\lostly. l'olk are conl'used. looking l'or reassurance. ‘l’op l.il‘e'. which chronicles how a shared passion tor music reunites thrcc lriends

alter a protracted l‘alling-out.

is bonding material par

excellence. (itillsldel'tllg the subject matter. as ama/ingly l‘rce ol' musical I‘clcl'cnces

only Bowie and l'.l\is get a look in. '.\rly taste in lllllslc is quite snobbish.’ l.eggc admits. ‘.'\nd a big problem

these days is all these maga/ines telling people what are the greatest records ol~ all time. ey er. I think people should go out and disco\ er that lor themsclyes. 'l‘he journey's just as good as getting thcrcf It the cyer—changing soundtrack on his answer machine is anything to go by. Legge is still in transit.

The write stuff

Screenwriter, stand-up and comedy teacher Marc Blake has just written a thriller about death, double- crossing and dogs. But who does he reckon is the most sinister living Scotsman?

Five words to describe yourself '.'.. it"‘(it \ .m. . .'l \(i ti".l‘ ' .21‘1‘.

4:, ..".t"<:°.t' Five words to describe Sunstroke " ' r: ' i;,' Hat-711, Who is the most sinister living Scotsman Li .a- 7.1a. My", ~ .- '.yia;;.t {ya/oat)

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